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Ed Meese: High Court, Constitution at Risk Under Obama's Judges

By Jim Meyers   |   Tuesday, 12 May 2009 03:01 PM

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese tells Newsmax "it would be a very perilous thing" if President Barack Obama appoints "politically biased" judges to the Supreme Court.

Meese, who served under President Ronald Reagan, also said that closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay would be a "mistake of monumental order."

Newsmax.TV's Ashley Martella noted that Meese is an "originalist," a lawyer who believes in a strict and literal interpretation of the Constitution. He asked if Meese thinks there are an increasing number of judges who instead think of the Constitution as a living, breathing document that should be changed to reflect the times.

See Video: Former Attorney General talks about the threat Obama’s judicial picks could post to the Constitution - Click Here Now

"There are probably more judges today who do understand the real meaning of originalism and the Constitution than there were a few years ago," said Meese, who holds the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation,

"But there are still too many judges who call the Constitution a living document when actually they mean it's a dead one that should be disregarded."

Martella asked how Meese feels about Obama's decision to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

"I think this was a mistake of monumental order," Meese declared.

"I must say it's a bipartisan mistake since the previous administration had the same idea of closing Guantanamo. But what has happened here in this administration is to close it without any plan of what to do with the prisoners that are there. I think [this] is sadly mistaken.

"Certainly if there is any attempt whatsoever to bring them back to the mainland or to have trials here, leaving them in this country and perhaps even at some point having the potential that they would escape or otherwise be allowed to enter into the communities surrounding where they're being kept, I think is absolutely ridiculous and absolutely dangerous for the country.

"The best thing of course would be to leave them at Guantanamo. It's a perfectly excellent custodial facility. This is all a matter of public relations and propaganda in the sense of kowtowing and giving in to the propaganda of leftists and people who do not want our country well."

Martella observed that some liberals in Congress are demanding the prosecution of lawyers who advised the Bush administration on interrogation techniques used on terrorist suspects, and asked for Meese's view on that.

"I think it's absolutely wrong," Meese responded.

"It goes against every tenet of our civilized legal system. The idea of lawyers giving honest and legitimate legal advice and then to be prosecuted because certain politicians don't like it is absolutely wrong."

Martella also asked Meese about the warrantless wiretapping of phone conversation involving suspected terrorists abroad.

"The Constitution gives the president power in a wartime situation to intercept or have our military intercept conversations that might produce intelligence, where it involves international communications rather than domestic communications and where there is evidence of a terrorist or a potential terrorist being involved," Meese explained.

"Even if one end of the conversation happens to be in the United States, as long as it is in fact an international communication, the courts have held that that was a legitimate thing for the president to do under the Constitution."

Martella asked: "Do you see the balance of power in the Supreme Court shifting sharply during Obama's tenure?"

Meese: "I certainly hope that it would not. We now have a Supreme Court that is pretty evenly divided in a sense between those who believe in fidelity to the Constitution and those who in effect would substitute their own ideas for what the Constitution actually says.

"And I think it would be a sad thing for the United States, it would be a danger to our liberties and it would be a very perilous thing for the future of our country if it did shift toward those who want to substitute their own policy preferences or political biases for what the Constitution actually says."

Martella asked Meese what he remembers most about Ronald Reagan.

"I think I remember most the fact that he was always cheerful and optimistic," said Meese. "You couldn't have had a friendlier person to work for. He always was considerate of others and was just a magnificent human being.

"That of course is the personal aspect of it. In terms of what he accomplished, the fact that he revitalized the economy of the United States, that he put into place the forces that ended the Cold War, and that he revived the spirit of the American people in his eight years as president, those things are part of history."

See Video: Former Attorney General talks about the threat Obama’s judicial picks could post to the Constitution - Click Here Now|

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