Sonia Sotomayor, the Founding Fathers, and Hidden Treasures
By: Jim Byrd
Benjamin Franklin Gates, was a descendant of a family of treasure seekers, who sought one treasure, and one treasure only–the Brobdingnagian treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers shortly after the Revolutionary War. The Gate’s family was made aware of the treasure by their ancestor, Thomas Gates, who was a stable boy for President Jackson. Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, unable to pass the information about the treasure to Jackson, was left with the only option available to him at the time: to pass the information to the stable boy, Thomas Gates. The plot involves characters such as pharaohs, emperors, the Knights Templar, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Clues to the location of the treasures are hidden in the most elaborate and clandestine places with the most intellectually defying cryptic clues imaginable. Each clue leads to another clue, then another, and etcetera. This is, of course, not real; it is the plot line from the movie National Treasure, starring Nicholas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates, and is just a fantastical cinematic adventure, (or so I thought).
The man who is considered the author of the Constitution and who proposed the Bill of Rights, James Madison, abetted by the surreptitious influence of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine, unbeknownst to the other Founders, inserted secret meanings and rights into the text of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As in the movie, National Treasure, it would be almost two hundred years before a man, and a court, would be able to find the adumbrated cache of privacy rights hidden within the Constitution and Bill of Rights without the use of lost maps and encrypted clues; their only tool was an agenda.
During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questioning of Sonia Sotomayor at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, she was asked how she felt about the Roe v. Wade ruling. She responded that “there is a right of privacy…the court has found it in various places in the Constitution.” She also stated that the right to privacy is in the Fourth Amendment regarding unreasonable search and seizures and in the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. Her conclusion is far from an original thought, as it is an obtuse and incestuous parallel of the descriptive language Justice Blackmun used when authoring Roe v. Wade.
“Found” it! Chief Justice Warren Burger and his court “found” this particular right to privacy in the Constitution after two hundred years. Pardon me, but conventional wisdom dictates that for something to be found, it had to have been either misplaced or hidden in the first place. Either the authors of the Constitution misplaced the “right to abort a fetus” through some arbitrary privacy right, or they went to elaborate lengths to ensconce this “privacy right” within the words of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Considering the intricate and laborious lengths the Founders endured to craft, then ratify the Constitution, they would be impervious to misplacing certain rights. That would leave the alternative of cryptically hiding the rights. At that time, there must have been a legitimate reason for them to not want anyone to know about this “special right to privacy” that would permit the aborting of fetuses, especially since the Constitution contains no express right to privacy, so they obviously decided to hide this particular right. But, for how long did they intend for this to be hidden, and from whom? It would not be hard to imagine that once they ratified the Constitution and Bill of Rights, they all sat down and chortled about their caper over a pint of ale.
Justice Blackmun used the word “penumbra” to describe his finding of previously undiscovered privacy rights within the Constitution, a breathtaking discovery that had eluded legal scholarship for two hundred years–though there is serious doubt anyone was looking for it. The dictionary definition for “penumbra” is: a shadowy, indefinite, or marginal area. Shadowy, a staple in the making of Hollywood mystery and adventure movies. So how did the court find it? Quite simple, actually, all it took was boundless imagination, special decoder-agenda rings, and enough chutzpa to flagrantly write a law from the bench. Disregarding the one and only legitimate capacity of a justice, to apply the law to the facts, Sonia Sotomayor, with her bromidic concurrence that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” is also reaffirming criticism that she does indeed endorse a judge’s right to create law from the bench.
The Warren court may have been the first to find hidden “privacy rights” in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and then its ensuing anomalous application, but they were not the last. Since Obama has taken office, he and the Democrat-led congress have somehow, in their first six months, been able to find all genres of cleverly hidden treasure troves never before discovered in the Constitution and have feverishly been trying to apply them ever since.
There have been several things “found” during the Sonia Sotomayor hearings as well; she may be a Latina woman, but it would be a stretch to label her a “wise Latina woman.” Smart, sure, but wise, not so much. She has stumbled, given non-answers, backtracked on previous statements, then backtracked on her backtracks. Her command of the English language, as can be ascertained by her writings, pales in comparison to someone of a generally accepted wise, or intellectual aptitude. Her discourse during the hearings was pregnant with such an abundance of malapropian language, it could at times have passed as a comedy script. It has been “discovered,” “found,” or “detected” that Sonia Sotomayor may be a smart individual, but she is not wise, nor an accredited intellect, regardless of her credentials. And just as Justice Potter Stewart, when unable to define pornography in Jacobellis v. Ohio, stated, “but I know it when I see it,” I don’t see it.
Jim Byrd's website is A Skewed View.