What do the nomination of a replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor, constitutional law, and moral chaos have to do with one another? A good deal more than you may think.
In Federalist No. 2, John Jay wrote of America that "providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people--a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs." Such a people enjoy the same moral assumptions, the cement that forms a society rather than a cluster of groups. Though Jay's conditions have long been obsolete, until recently Americans did possess a large body of common moral assumptions rooted in our original Anglo-Protestant culture, and expressed in law. Now, however, a variety of disintegrating influences are undermining that unanimity, not least among them is the capture of constitutional law by an extreme liberationist philosophy. America is becoming a cacophony of voices proclaiming different, or no, truths.
Alexis de Tocqueville observed that "if each undertook himself to form all his opinions and to pursue the truth in isolation down paths cleared by him alone, it is not probable that a great number of men would ever unite in any common belief. . . . Without common ideas there is no common action, and without common action men still exist, but a social body does not."
Contrast Tocqueville with Justices Harry Blackmun and Anthony Kennedy. Justice Blackmun wanted to create a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy because of the asserted " 'moral fact' that a person belongs to himself and not others nor to society as a whole." Justice Kennedy, writing for six justices, did invent that right, declaring that "at the heart of [constitutional] liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." Neither of these vaporings has the remotest basis in the actual Constitution, and neither has any definable meaning other than that a common morality may not be sustained by law if a majority of justices prefer that each individual follow his own desires.
Read the entire article on the Wall Street Opinon Journal website (new window will open).