President Obama has nominated Goodwin Liu, an accomplished academic, to the 9th US Circuit Appeals Court. Some wonder whether President Obama hopes to put Liu on the fast-track to the Supreme Court.
This nomination is especially newsworthy because Liu believes that the Constitution should be adapted to reflect changes in society. In one of his books, Liu writes that “Applications of constitutional text and principles must be open to adaptation and change … as the conditions and norms of our society become ever more distant from those of the Founding generation.”
Perhaps my understanding of constitutional law is incorrect but it has always been my belief that the US Constitution was a guiding collection of timeless principles that created, and set limits on, government. Which principles in the Constitution ought to be adapted and changed? Perhaps our first amendment right to free speech or our fourth amendment rights protecting our privacy?
Failing to recognize that the principles of the Constitution are timeless renders the document little more than a collection of words. Believing that the document should adapt over time relies on the assumption that the principles of freedom, liberty, limited government in individual rights are subject to change at the whims of a judicial official. Our Constitution does not need to adapt or change but perhaps Mr. Liu’s views on it should.