David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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One of the chief arguments against a constitutional Bill of Rights is that it gives judges too much power. The courts interpret the constitution, and from the highest court there is no appeal (though the Constitution can be amended -- a difficult process). As Americans sometimes say, "The US Constitution is whatever the Supreme Court says it is". In many cases the Supreme Court has interpreted the Bill of Rights by means of wire drawn reasoning, reflecting the judges' political and social views. For a survey of Supreme Court Cases on the Bill of Rights see M. Konvitz, Fundamental Liberties of a Free People . The Supreme Court's power to interpret the constitution has made the appointment of judges a political issue, and in 1937 President Roosevelt sought to appoint additional judges (to "pack" the Court) so as to change the court's attitude (the US Constitution does not fix the number of judges). A President is expected to nominate judges ideologically acceptable to his supporters, and the Congress scrutinises these nominations in a partisan way. See article on George W. Bush's nominations. Since judges hold office for life, a President's nominations may make a long term difference to the interpretation of the constitution.
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