By Emma Kaden
On Wednesday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement, allowing President Donald Trump to appoint a new justice. There has been a mixed reaction to the news, but one response is hope that the new justice will be a constitutionalist— someone who believes in a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Some argue that the U.S. Supreme Court serves as a “living constitution,” constantly evolving and shifting the values originally penned by the Founding Fathers. However, the U.S. Constitution is part of what made the United States such an exceptional country in the first place, and if we want to reserve that role, we must also preserve the values on which America was founded.
Much speculation has been made as to who will succeed Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. However, it’s important that whoever follows Justice Kennedy prioritizes the values that originally made the United States so exceptional. Liberty, democracy, opportunity, and freedom— these are the principles that the Founding Fathers decided were important for the United States to uphold, and they are principles that should continue to flourish, even centuries later. The Supreme Court holds vast power as the safeguard of liberty. Because the Supreme Court is tasked with setting precedents for future legal issues, it is imperative that each and every decision upholds the original intent of the Founding Fathers: freedom. By embracing the idea of a “living constitution” that evolves with the culture, the Supreme Court is failing to maintain the values that made the United States the beacon of freedom. A constitutionalist justice on the Supreme Court would ensure that the original tenets of the U.S. Constitution are defended and preserved.
When Justice Kennedy’s retirement was announced, people from all across the political spectrum speculated on what political ideology the new nominee would hold— but really, that shouldn’t matter. Supreme Court justices should focus on prioritizing the core values of the Constitution, not their own political beliefs. Justices viewing cases through their own political lens look to twist the words of the Constitution are derelict in their duty. By doing so, they tip the scales of justice in favor of their personal beliefs. If we want to have a truly fair and impartial justice system, political bias must be taken out of the equation, so that the principles of the U.S. Constitution can be upheld. One can only hope that the new justice will respect the ideals that the Founding Fathers fought so hard to establish, and defend the original idea of the Constitution: freedom.