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Thursday, June 1, 2023


The Octogenarian: my favorite little book

Ted Cruz Supreme Court cartoon

| Art by Herschel Levin/The Cougar

For the past 20-some years, I have always had a certain little book with me. That isn’t entirely true because this beat-up, kind of raggedy copy is my third copy, since the original two that I started with have worn out. My little book is only about 2.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches long with 46 dog-eared pages plus six pages of special inserts.

The title of my well-worn, much read, often referred-to book is the Constitution of the United States, and my little book is under attack.

Recently, one of the great leaders in jurisprudence in our nation, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, passed away. The author of many controversial decisions, whether you agreed with him or not, Scalia has been, by far, the leading proponent of the Originalist Theory for the interpretation of the content of the Constitution. Justice Scalia was persuasive, never shy about sharing his views, eloquent, and ever uncompromising in his deeply felt beliefs.

History shows us that a jurist of Scalia’s capacity and personality can never be reproduced when lost from the Supreme Court.

And therein lies our problem.

Justice Scalia would have told you, and I will tell you, that my little book is a how-to manual that tells us, in detail, what to do in every situation confronted by our government.

Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution states, “(The President) shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint …… judges of the supreme Court …… whose Appointment are not herein otherwise provided for…”

What My Little Book says is that the Republicans, who claim to love the Constitution of the United States, are willing to hypocritically disobey those long-ago written words for the expedience of their own politics.

My little book states clearly that the president must appointment his selection to replace Justice Scalia and that the Senate must then advise and consent to the president’s selection, which gives them the right to vote to accept or to not accept the president’s nominee.

For either the president or the Senate to not take the action prescribed in my little book is to ignore and to fracture the law of our land. So let us seal this little problem with the words of no less a constitutional authority than one Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, who said, “In question of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” 

Speaking to my fellow students here at University of Houston, I would remind you again that I am old, and my opinion is more important than yours, at least to politicians, for one reason — us old folks vote, and you don’t.

Quit letting us old fogies get away with it.

Opinion columnist Ken Levin is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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