What’s It All About, Teddy?

Ted Kennedy delivered an incoherent denunciation of Sam Alito today, arguing for a filibuster to give the American people time to realize–as best I could understand his rant–that Judge Alito is really Jefferson Davis in disguise. Here is an AP account that includes this revealing paragraph:

“I think he is the wrong judge at the wrong time in the wrong place,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., a longtime liberal stalwart. “I do not believe he is going to be part of the whole movement of the continued march towards progress in this country.”

Kennedy’s assessment ties in neatly with my recent article in the Daily Standard:

When liberals talk about a “living Constitution,” what they really mean is a leftward-marching Constitution. Liberals–especially those of an age to be senators–have spent most of their lives secure in the conviction that history was moving their way. History meant progress, and progress meant progressive politics. In judicial terms, that implied a one-way ratchet: “conservative” precedents can and should be overturned, while decisions that embody liberal principles are sacrosanct.

Many liberals actually believe that the job of a Supreme Court justice is to be “part of the whole movement of the continued march towards progress.” That is to say, to impose liberal philosophies by fiat when Americans won’t vote for them. I think Kennedy is correct in believing that this is not Judge Alito’s understanding of his job description.