posted by Bill: Linda Greenhouse hopes that retired SC Justice David Souter will continue to share his thoughts in public as a guide to his thinking on the bench. His recent Harvard commencement address included the following statement on why the court does more than parse the Constitution for a "fair reading:"
The reasons that constitutional judging is not a mere combination of fair reading and simple facts extend way beyond the recognition that constitutions have to have a lot of general language in order to be useful over long stretches of time. Another reason is that the Constitution contains values that may well exist in tension with each other, not in harmony. Yet another reason is that the facts that determine whether a constitutional provision applies may be very different from facts like a person’s age or the amount of the grocery bill; constitutional facts may require judges to understand the meaning that the facts may bear before the judges can figure out what to make of them.