Radio Address to the Nation on the Supreme Court Nomination of Douglas H. Ginsburg and the Federal Budget

 

October 31, 1987

 

My fellow Americans:

 

I'm speaking to you today by a taped message, because I am away from Washington and my usual microphone. But I'd like to take a few minutes to talk to you about two issues that have occupied our Nation's Capital this past week, issues that will affect the lives of all Americans for years to come.

 

The first has to do with the Supreme Court. This week I nominated Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to fill the open seat on the Court. Judge Ginsburg is the kind of Justice I want on the Court. This means that he believes, as I do, as every judge I have nominated or will ever nominate must, that the proper role of the judiciary is to interpret the laws, not make them. It means that he believes that in our democracy it is for the elected representatives of the people to make the laws and that unelected judges must never attempt to substitute their private will for the will of the people. You see, Judge Ginsburg remembers, as I do, the warning of James Madison that ``if the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the Nation is not the guide to expounding it, there can be no security for the faithful exercise of its powers.''

 

My concern is that in recent years too many judges have forgotten that one of the goals of our Founding Fathers was to ensure domestic tranquility. Too many judges have reinterpreted the Constitution, got away from the original intent of the Founders and, in the process, made law enforcement a game in which clever lawyers try to find ways to trip up the police.

 

Our courts must protect the rights of all Americans, and that includes the rights of the victims of crime and of society, not just of criminals. I believe that Judge Ginsburg will do just that. He has had a distinguished legal career that has included teaching at the Harvard Law School and serving as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney General.

 

As the Senate takes up Judge Ginsburg's nomination, I hope that it will join with me in defending the integrity and independence of the American system of justice against the kind of campaign of pressure politics we saw during the consideration of Judge Robert Bork's nomination. The way to show its determination to prevent such a campaign from happening again is for the Senate to insist that the Judiciary Committee hold hearings promptly, no delays to gear up opposition or support for this nomination -- prompt hearings. You have a right to expect nothing less.

 

The other issue I wanted to talk about is the economy. Our economic expansion continues strong. In November it will enter the history books as the longest peacetime expansion on record. During the expansion we've created nearly 14 million new jobs. Employment levels this year have been the highest ever recorded. Industrial production is rising strongly, much of it because our manufacturers are exporting more. Despite the trade deficit, since the day I was sworn in for my second term, America's total real exports have risen at a powerful annual rate of over 8 percent. And the budget deficit is on the way down. This week it became official: The budget deficit was $73 billion smaller in the fiscal year that just ended than it was the year before. And what's more, it was technically within the range of what was called for in the original Gramm-Rudman-Hollings bill. Now, that's good news, but in the last few months, I've warned that we could end the expansion and send the economy into a tailspin. Well, now the stock market is giving its own warning. And there are some steps we can take in Washington to deal with the Federal deficit, to reject moves toward trade protectionism, and to examine the stock market mechanism and procedures.

 

This week leaders of Congress sat down with me and members of my administration to talk about the budget deficit. These were bipartisan meetings to make sure the budget deficit comes down again this year by at least $23 billion. If we can do that, it'll be the first time deficits have dropped 2 years in a row since 1974. But cutting deficit spending can no longer be a sometime thing. Let's resolve that from now on we will join together each year to bring it down again until the budget is balanced. When we cut spending, it must stay cut, no coming back to next year with new programs or replacing old reductions with new increases. From now on, deficit cuts, like diamonds, must be forever.

 

The world is looking to Washington for leadership. So, I say to the leaders in Congress: Let's roll up our sleeves, pull together. The things we want aren't all that different -- a better life for all Americans.

 

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

 

Note: The President's address was recorded on October 30 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast at 12:06 p.m. on October 31.