Saturday, June 19, 2010

Al Franken, People's Hero

That, you will have to admit, is a pretty catchy headline, because pretty much everybody in the U.S. knows who Al Franken is and because the calling someone a "hero" is pretty sure to raise curiosity in readers. "Hero? What did he do?"

In sum, Al Franken gets it. He gets what it means to be an ordinary American. But not only he gets it, he cares. And he is a United States Senator. It takes someone pretty heroic, if you ask me, to sit in the same room as people like Blanche Lincoln, Max Baucus, and Jon Lieberman (not to mention any of his Republican colleagues) and not to lose one's head and either strangle them or shoot oneself in the head. Though they sit in the same chamber, and are united by a common title, they have nothing in common. Because Lincoln, Lieberman and Baucus are first and foremost interested in keeping their jobs. Sen. Franken is interested in keeping his job too, I am sure, but not for the sake of the job, but for the sake of those he was elected to represent: the people of Minnesota, yes, but also you and me.

So it is with pleasure that I am linking to the text of Franken's keynote address (PDF) at the Eighth Annual American Constitution Society National Convention, delivered only a couple of days ago. It is well worth reading, because it contains a healthy and needed reminder of what the role of the Supreme Court is, and what a good Senator can and should to to ensure that Supreme Court appointments to come offer better representation to ordinary Americans (understood as Americans who do not the money, influence, and power to appoint and or buy their own personal judge or Justice).

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