We seem to have a fundamentally different view of Jurisprudence, especially in regard to the interpretation of Constitutional Law, and if I was as intelligent as you try to give me credit for, I would probably leave it at that, rather than venturing into your field of expertise to make my case; but, alas, I fear I shall allow my imprudence get the better of me.
Having said that, I'm still going to disagree with your notions of a strict constructionist view of the constitution and in fact all legal doctrine. I know we'll disagree on this point, but strict constructionist Judges lead to guys like Antonin Scalia, who in my books, is certifiable. I think he twists and contorts legal doctrine worse than any of the most "liberal" Judges on the Supreme Court.
In the context of Civil Jurisprudence I do not see how a posistion other than strict constructionism could be construed to be anything other than Judicial Activism. The Constitutional principal of the Seperation of Power relies on each branch of government not oversteping the authority given to them, and avoiding absolute power in anyone's hands; this is, of course, the primary reason that the courts have no power to enforce their decisions, but are dependent on the Executive branch to enforce their decisions (of course, when the Executive branch does not enforce their decisions, like during the incident during Andrew Jackson's administration, there is a Constitutional Crisis and the Court becomes powerless and is dependent upon the Legislative branch). Now as a theocratic monarchist I see inherent problems in this system (as in all democratic and republican systems), though I will admit that this is one of the best attempts at a republican government in history, unfortunately human nature and desire for power can never be dismissed, looking throughout history we see a great many checks and balances that have been removed from our government, and the slow slide into anarchy and despotism; popular election of Senators and Electors, and the election of Electors along party lines (not illegal, but a problem not forseen during the drafting of the Constitution, though later realized, and condemned, by Washington in his farewell address) may not seem like great problems at first, but they are a couple of checks and balances that have been eliminated, and from the course of history we can only logically assume that, with time, the destruction of more will follow.
The Courts overstepping their authority of interpret the meaning of the law and instead infusing their own opinions into the law is another blow against the Checks and Balances that were originally inherent in our system; however, until we can write a computer programme to legislate, and we vote it in as our court system, I do not see how we can avoid this problem in a republican government; save that we, by chance, appoint honest people to fulfill these Judicial Roles, which may happen from time to time, but is hardly a reliable way of maintaining the system. The role of the Judge is to interpret the law in the manner that it was intended to be interpreted, not to infuse their own ideologies, morals, or ethics into the interpretation of law. The place for morals and ethics is in Congress, not in our Courts; our Courts are a place of law, without regard for morals, ethics, or any rights not enumerated in the Constitution, but only for legality.
In regard to Justice Antonin Scalia, I agree with many of his decisions, though not all, where I disagree with his decisions is where he fails in his strict constructionism, one prime example of this is the issue of Abortion. I believe that Roe vs. Wade was a wrong decision on account of the fact that the Constitution does not directly address the issue, and the tenth amendment (I know, it hasn't been cited since the 1850's, but it's still an essential element of our Constitutional law) states that 'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,' thus the proper decision of the Federal Courts would be to let each state deicide their own policy. However, in regard to the recent Partial-Birth Abortion Ban of 2003, Justice Scalia has already voiced his support of it (even though it has yet to come before the Supreme Court), and if it comes before the court he will support the law. However, from the strict constructionist view, this law is illegal for the same reason that the Roe vs. Wade decision was wrong, the authority to legislate this area of common law is not given to Congress, and therefore is reserved to the States. Though there is a weak argument that could be made in support of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban of 2003 by using Sections 1 and 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution; however, even the most Activist Judge will admit that the original purpose of this Amendment was to ensure equality before the law regardless of race (it was not even initially interpreted in give equality of genders, it actually upholds male-only sufferage); ultimatley, this is a instance when Justice Scalia is letting his morals get in the way of his job, and if he rules the way that he has said he will, he will technically be commiting perjury by failing to uphold his oath of office and responsibilities to the Constitution.
But with that said, I believe that doing ones job properly on the Supreme Court is EXTREMELY difficult, and while Justice Scalia tries, and often does well, at times he fails, for he is only human. This difficulity is a natural result of having the Legislative and Judicial branches seperate, and the ability Judiciary to overturn the decisions of the Legislature, if the Judiciary does not interpret laws in the strict constructionist manner, they become nothing more than a new super-legislative branch of government. Because of this difficult posistion of the Judicial branch, many ethical issues do arise, and because of them I would question whether or not it is an office that it would be acceptable for an Orthodox Christian to hold, for in holding it one will most likely be required to either commit perjury, and not uphold his oath of office, or to act contrary to the moral values of the Chruch (See Canon 29 of St. Basil for more detail).
If I may analagize for a second (and I maybe making a huge mistake), but my impression of strict constructionists (legally speaking) is like reading the OT, without the NT.
I don't believe your analogy to be fair in regard to strict constructionists, for strict constructionists dont believe in the absolute nature of the law, they simply support the Constitutional system and due process (or at least, like myself, believe that these methods are better than the alternative of Legislation from the Bench). For example, though I have expressed my opinion that the Supreme Court has a responsibility to rule Abortion to be a States Rights issue, I am completely opposed to abortion as being nothing more than premeditated murder, and would strongly support a Constitutional Amendment to ban it; however, that's where the due process comes in, the courts shouldn't be allowed to ban it, we should have to use the constitutional procedure to Amend the Constitution, at which time it becomes Constitutional law, and the Court is then obliged to uphold the law. The Constitution is not a Static Document, this is attested to by the 27 Amendments we have today; however, with that said, a Constitutional provision is law until it is overturned by an amendment, and should be interpreted in the manner that it was intended, if another situation comes up, you must go through the process of amendment again.
I think, reading the constitution, without some interpretation, is disastrous, and I would argue very un-Christian.
Well, as a theocratic monarchist, I would probably argue that are entire system of Government is un-Christian; but that's an issue for a different day. But with respect, I believe that you are confusing the role of the Judiciary with the role of Constitutional Conventions.
Remember, at the time the Constitution was drafted, blacks were viewed as sub-human as were women and probably most (not all) non-Anglos (or those closely related). So I think there is some danger in this.
I'm quite familiar with American history, from both a Social and Legal Perspective; women were not allowed to vote and blacks were 3/5ths of a person (though, ironically, it was the Slave States that wanted them to be legally considered a whole person (though without voting rights, of course), for reasons of representation, 3/5ths was a compromise), and yes I believe that at the time the Supreme Court ruled properly in the Dred Scott, they were not at liberty to rule otherwise, for to do so would have been a violation of their Constitutional Powers. However, with time, the problem was solved through the process of Constitutional Amendment, and the Dred Scott decision was made irrelevant (mind you I believe there were a few problems surrounding the radification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments...but that's a discussion for another day, and probably another board, as well).
So dont take the posistion of the Strict-Constructionists to be necessarily a support of all the Social Principles of the Authors of the Constitution, but rather it is (the Constitutional) posistion that advocates due process over Judicial Legislation. I know I may have gone on more than some would think appropriate to this fourm, but since we are dealing with the legal issues surrounding the Terri Schiavo case, I believe some Legal Philosophy and Constitutional Law is called for...plus, it's a fun subject