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Hearings on the confirmation of judge Jackson to be a justice of the Supreme Court will begin soon.  I sent the following to all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and hope she will be asked:

  1. You have been nominated for justice, not for judge.  Most nominees have been asked if they will follow the law, and many senators have desired an affirmative answer.  But the Supreme Court has occasionally refused to follow the law and declared a law unconstitutional.  Are you willing to strike down a law as unconstitutional? 

  2. Originalists interpret the Constitution as they believe the founders did.  Thomas Jefferson wrote: “institutions must advance also and keep pace with the times.  We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regime of their barbarous ancestors.”  Do you agree with originalism or with Jefferson?

  3. Cases deciding a law as unconstitutional or not are rarely decided unanimously, so it is far from obvious what “unconstitutional” means.  What does it mean to you?

  4. Rule of law is extremely important and adhering to the law is of value even when a law conflicts with your view of justice and the Constitution.  Will you sometimes give deference to the law and precedent even if you believe a law unjust?  If so, how would you decide that the injustice is so important that the law should be overridden?  Do you think that sometimes a law should not be followed even if the case fits the law as written and the law itself is not unconstitutional?   

  5. The 2nd Amendment says in its entirety: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Banning all private ownership of firearms is clearly unconstitutional, but we do infringe the right to bear arms.  I think we can agree that it would be a bad idea to allow Space X to put a nuclear weapon on one of its rockets, or allow a disgruntled airline passenger to have a basement full of anti-aircraft missiles.  Where should the line on protected weapons be drawn?  Single shot muzzle loaders? Weapons used by the National Guard? Automatic weapons? High capacity magazines? Fighter jets?

  6. Do the words of the preamble of the Constitution have any force of law, or are they just aspirations and a statement of purpose?

  7. The Constitution says: “No appropriation of money to that use [i.e. the army] shall be for a longer term than two years.”  Are military contracts for projects lasting more than 2 years unconstitutional?

  8. The 14th amendment says that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, … shall not be questioned.”  Is a statutory federal debt limit unconstitutional?

James L. Eliason

Storm Lake


Published in the Storm Lake Times and Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune 16 Mar., 2022

Submitted to the Sioux City Journal  03/09/2022

Questions for SCOTUS nominee

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