On Monday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., expressed concern that Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s choice to replace former Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, would (gasp) follow the Constitution as it is actually written, not as how she thinks it should read. To make her point, she cited the Salem Witch Trials, which took place about 100 years before the Constitution was adopted.
“It was not so long after women had been burned at the stake for witchcraft, and the idea of an automobile, let alone the Internet, was unfathomable,” she said.
According to Townhall:
Feinstein began by noting she was “deeply disappointed” that Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, did not get the luxury of a hearing. Nevertheless, she said it is now the committee’s job to determine whether Gorsuch is a “reasonable mainstream conservative” fit for the highest court in the land.
She did not seem to have much confidence in the nominee. Feinstein is disturbed by Gorsuch’s originalism, she argued, because she believes the concept “ignores the intent of the framers.”
“It’s a framework on which to build,” she said. “I firmly believe the Constitution is a living document that evolves as our country evolves.”
Feinstein noted that at the time of the document’s initial drafting, slavery was still an institution and women were still being burned at the stake for witchcraft. If the document had not evolved with culture, she added, we would still have segregated schools and women wouldn’t be equally protected under the law.
Actually, the Salen Witch Trials ended about 1693, according to History.com:
Though the respected minister Cotton Mather had warned of the dubious value of spectral evidence (or testimony about dreams and visions), his concerns went largely unheeded during the Salem witch trials. Increase Mather, president of Harvard College (and Cotton’s father) later joined his son in urging that the standards of evidence for witchcraft must be equal to those for any other crime, concluding that “It would better that ten suspected witches may escape than one innocent person be condemned.” Amid waning public support for the trials, Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer in October and mandated that its successor disregard spectral evidence. Trials continued with dwindling intensity until early 1693, and by that May Phips had pardoned and released all those in prison on witchcraft charges.
In January 1697, the Massachusetts General Court declared a day of fasting for the tragedy of the Salem witch trials; the court later deemed the trials unlawful, and the leading justice Samuel Sewall publicly apologized for his role in the process. The damage to the community lingered, however, even after Massachusetts Colony passed legislation restoring the good names of the condemned and providing financial restitution to their heirs in 1711. Indeed, the vivid and painful legacy of the Salem witch trials endured well into the 20th century, when Arthur Miller dramatized the events of 1692 in his play “The Crucible” (1953), using them as an allegory for the anti-Communist “witch hunts” led by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.
Sen Feinstein attacks "originalist" philosphy of Gorsuch. Notes in 1789, it wasn't long ago "women had been burned at stake for witchcraft."
— carl hulse (@hillhulse) March 20, 2017
Is this being used as an argument to advocate against the Constitution? https://t.co/36Vbs7vjag
— Dee The Perpetually Bored (@ihate_everyone2) March 20, 2017
Sure sounds like it.
Sen Feinstein doesn't seem to realize an entire century passed between the Salem witch trials & the adoption of the US Constitution #Gorsuch
— Eric Scheidler (@EricScheidler) March 20, 2017
Jeez, Feinstein isn't that smart. This is embarrassing.
— Jon (@Jon_D_) March 20, 2017
Sadly, it’s to be expected with modern Democrats…
- Video: Dianne Feinstein says Americans must prove their innocence if they’re on a watch list
- White House petition calls for Sen. Dianne Feinstein to be tried for treason
- Why elections matter: Neil Gorsuch and U.S. Supreme Court balance
- Story that Gorsuch was leader of ‘Fascism Forever’ club debunked as ‘false’
- Gorsuch denies criticizing Trump
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