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美国前最高法院大法官David H. Souter在哈佛毕业典礼上的演讲(附译文)

2010年10月5日 发表评论 阅读评论

052710_COM_JI_381.jpg Former Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter recently received a honorary degree from Harvard University, his undergraduate and law school Alma Mater, and delivered the Commencement Address. His speech was a concerted criticism of the conservative judicial doctrine of “originalism,” which contends judicial decisions should be rendered by adhering to a strict reading of the Constitution.

Following is the text of his Address, delivered Thursday, May 27, 2010.

When I was younger, I used to hear Harvard stories from a member of the class of 1885. Back then, old graduates of the College who could get to Cambridge on Commencement Day didn’t wait for reunion years to come back to the Yard. They’d just turn up, see old friends, look over the new crop, and have a cup of Commencement punch under the elms. The old man remembered one of those summer days when he was heading for the Square after lunch and crossed paths with a newly graduated senior, who had enjoyed quite a few cups of that punch. As the two men approached each other the younger one thrust out his new diploma and shouted, “Educated, by God.”

Even with an honorary Harvard doctorate in my hands, I know enough not to shout that across the Yard, but the University’s generosity does make me bold enough to say that over the course of 19 years on the Supreme Court, I learned some lessons about the Constitution of the United States, and about what judges do when they apply it in deciding cases with constitutional issues. I’m going to draw on that experience in the course of the next few minutes, for it is as a judge that I have been given the honor to speak before you.

The occasion for our coming together like this aligns with the approach of two separate events on the judicial side of the national public life: the end of the Supreme Court’s term, with its quickened pace of decisions, and a confirmation proceeding for the latest nominee to fill a seat on the court. We will as a consequence be hearing and discussing a particular sort of criticism that is frequently aimed at the more controversial Supreme Court decisions: criticism that the court is making up the law, that the court is announcing constitutional rules that cannot be found in the Constitution, and that the court is engaging in activism to extend civil liberties. A good many of us, I’m sure a good many of us here, intuitively react that this sort of commentary tends to miss the mark. But we don’t often pause to consider in any detail the conceptions of the Constitution and of constitutional judging that underlie the critical rhetoric, or to compare them with the notions that lie behind our own intuitive responses. I’m going to try to make some of those comparisons this afternoon.

The charges of lawmaking and constitutional novelty seem to be based on an impression of the Constitution, and on a template for deciding constitutional claims, that go together something like this. A claim is made in court that the government is entitled to exercise a power, or an individual is entitled to claim the benefit of a right, that is set out in the terms of some particular provision of the Constitution. The claimant quotes the provision and provides evidence of facts that are said to prove the entitlement that is claimed. Once they have been determined, the facts on their face either do or do not support the claim. If they do, the court gives judgment for the claimant; if they don’t, judgment goes to the party contesting the claim. On this view, deciding constitutional cases should be a straightforward exercise of reading fairly and viewing facts objectively.

There are, of course, constitutional claims that would be decided just about the way this fair reading model would have it. If one of today’s 21-year-old college graduates claimed a place on the ballot for one of the United States Senate seats open this year, the claim could be disposed of simply by showing the person’s age, quoting the constitutional provision that a senator must be at least 30 years old, and interpreting that requirement to forbid access to the ballot to someone who could not qualify to serve if elected. No one would be apt to respond that lawmaking was going on, or object that the age requirement did not say anything about ballot access. The fair reading model would describe pretty much what would happen. But cases like this do not usually come to court, or at least the Supreme Court. And for the ones that do get there, for the cases that tend to raise the national blood pressure, the fair reading model has only a tenuous connection to reality.

Even a moment’s thought is enough to show why it is so unrealistic. The Constitution has a good share of deliberately open-ended guarantees, like rights to due process of law, equal protection of the law, and freedom from unreasonable searches. These provisions cannot be applied like the requirement for 30-year-old senators; they call for more elaborate reasoning to show why very general language applies in some specific cases but not in others, and over time the various examples turn into rules that the Constitution does not mention.

But this explanation hardly scratches the surface. The reasons that constitutional judging is not a mere combination of fair reading and simple facts extend way beyond the recognition that constitutions have to have a lot of general language in order to be useful over long stretches of time. Another reason is that the Constitution contains values that may well exist in tension with each other, not in harmony. Yet another reason is that the facts that determine whether a constitutional provision applies may be very different from facts like a person’s age or the amount of the grocery bill; constitutional facts may require judges to understand the meaning that the facts may bear before the judges can figure out what to make of them. And this can be tricky. To show you what I’m getting at, I’ve picked two examples of what can really happen, two stories of two great cases. The two stories won’t, of course, give anything like a complete description either of the Constitution or of judging, but I think they will show how unrealistic the fair reading model can be.

The first story is about what the Constitution is like. It’s going to show that the Constitution is no simple contract, not because it uses a certain amount of open-ended language that a contract draftsman would try to avoid, but because its language grants and guarantees many good things, and good things that compete with each other and can never all be realized, all together, all at once.

The story is about a case that many of us here remember. It was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on June 26, 1971, and is known as the Pentagon Papers. The New York Times and the Washington Post had each obtained copies of classified documents prepared and compiled by government officials responsible for conducting the Vietnam War. The newspapers intended to publish some of those documents, and the government sought a court order forbidding the publication.

The issue had arisen in great haste, and had traveled from trial courts to the Supreme Court, not over the course of months, but in a matter of days. The time was one of high passion, and the claim made by the United States was the most extreme claim known to the constitutional doctrines of freedom to speak and publish. The government said it was entitled to a prior restraint, an order forbidding publication in the first place, not merely one imposing a penalty for unlawful publication after the words are out. The argument included an exchange between a great lawyer appearing for the government and a great judge, and the colloquy between them was one of those instances of a grain of sand that reveals a universe.

The great lawyer for the United States was a man who had spent many Commencement mornings in this Yard. He was Irwin Griswold, dean of the Law School for 21 years, who was serving a stint as solicitor general of the United States. The great judge who questioned the dean that day was Mr. Justice Black, the first of the New Deal justices, whom Justice Cardozo described as having one of the most brilliant legal minds he had ever met with. The constitutional provision on which their exchange centered was the First Amendment, which includes the familiar words that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Although that language by its literal terms forbade Congress from legislating to abridge free expression, the guarantees were understood to bind the whole government, and to limit what the president could ask a court to do. As for the remainder of the provision, though, Justice Black professed to read it literally. When it said there shall be no law allowed, it left no room for any exception; the prohibition against abridging freedom of speech and press was absolute. And in fairness to him, one must say that on their face the First Amendment clauses seem as clear as the requirement for 30-year-old senators, and that no guarantee of the Bill of Rights is more absolute in form.

But that was not the end of the matter for Dean Griswold. Notwithstanding the language, he urged the court to say that a restraint would be constitutional when publication threatened irreparable harm to the security of the United States, and he contended there was enough in the record to show just that; he argued that the intended publications would threaten lives, and jeopardize the process of trying to end the war and recover prisoners, and erode the government’s capacity to negotiate with foreign governments and through foreign governments in the future.

Justice Black responded that if a court could suppress publication when the risk to the national interest was great enough, the judges would be turned into censors. Dean Griswold said he did not know of any alternative. Justice Black shot back that respecting the First Amendment might be the alternative, and to that, Dean Griswold replied in words I cannot resist quoting:

“The problem in this case,” he said, “is the construction of the First Amendment.

“Now Mr. Justice, your construction of that is well-known, and I certainly respect it. You say that no law means no law, and that should be obvious. I can only say, Mr. Justice, that to me it is equally obvious that “no law” does not mean “no law,” and I would seek to persuade the Court that that is true.

“As Chief Justice Marshall said, so long ago, it is a Constitution we are interpreting….”

The government lost the case and the newspapers published, but Dean Griswold won his argument with Justice Black. To show, as he put it, that “no law” did not mean “no law,” Dean Griswold had pointed out that the First Amendment was not the whole Constitution. The Constitution also granted authority to the government to provide for the security of the nation, and authority to the president to manage foreign policy and command the military.

And although he failed to convince the court that the capacity to exercise these powers would be seriously affected by publication of the papers, the court did recognize that at some point the authority to govern that Dean Griswold invoked could limit the right to publish. The court did not decide the case on the ground that the words “no law” allowed of no exception and meant that the rights of expression were absolute. The court’s majority decided only that the government had not met a high burden of showing facts that could justify a prior restraint, and particular members of the court spoke of examples that might have turned the case around, to go the other way. Threatened publication of something like the D-Day invasion plans could have been enjoined; Justice Brennan mentioned a publication that would risk a nuclear holocaust in peacetime.

Even the First Amendment, then, expressing the value of speech and publication in the terms of a right as paramount as any fundamental right can be, does not quite get to the point of an absolute guarantee. It fails because the Constitution has to be read as a whole, and when it is, other values crop up in potential conflict with an unfettered right to publish, the value of security for the nation and the value of the president’s authority in matters foreign and military. The explicit terms of the Constitution, in other words, can create a conflict of approved values, and the explicit terms of the Constitution do not resolve that conflict when it arises. The guarantee of the right to publish is unconditional in its terms, and in its terms the power of the government to govern is plenary. A choice may have to be made, not because language is vague but because the Constitution embodies the desire of the American people, like most people, to have things both ways. We want order and security, and we want liberty. And we want not only liberty but equality as well. These paired desires of ours can clash, and when they do a court is forced to choose between them, between one constitutional good and another one. The court has to decide which of our approved desires has the better claim, right here, right now, and a court has to do more than read fairly when it makes this kind of choice. And choices like the ones that the justices envisioned in the Papers case make up much of what we call law.

Let me ask a rhetorical question. Should the choice and its explanation be called illegitimate law making? Can it be an act beyond the judicial power when a choice must be made and the Constitution has not made it in advance in so many words? You know my answer. So much for the notion that all of constitutional law lies there in the Constitution waiting for a judge to read it fairly.

Now let me tell a second story, not one illustrating the tensions within constitutional law, but one showing the subtlety of constitutional facts. Again the story is about a famous case, and a good many of us here remember this one, too: Brown v. Board of Education from 1954, in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that racial segregation in public schools imposed by law was unconstitutional, as violating the guarantee of equal protection of the law.

Brown ended the era of separate-but-equal, whose paradigm was the decision in 1896 of the case called Plessy v. Ferguson, where the Supreme Court had held it was no violation of the equal protection guarantee to require black people to ride in a separate railroad car that was physically equal to the car for whites. One argument offered in Plessy was that the separate black car was a badge of inferiority, to which the court majority responded that if black people viewed it that way, the implication was merely a product of their own minds. Sixty years later, Brown held that a segregated school required for black children was inherently unequal.

For those whose exclusive norm for constitutional judging is merely fair reading of language applied to facts objectively viewed, Brown must either be flat-out wrong or a very mystifying decision. Those who look to that model are not likely to think that a federal court back in 1896 should have declared legally mandated racial segregation unconstitutional. But if Plessy was not wrong, how is it that Brown came out so differently? The language of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws did not change between 1896 and 1954, and it would be hard to say that the obvious facts on which Plessy was based had changed, either. While Plessy was about railroad cars and Brown was about schools, that distinction was no great difference. Actually, the best clue to the difference between the cases is the dates they were decided, which I think lead to the explanation for their divergent results.

As I’ve said elsewhere, the members of the Court in Plessy remembered the day when human slavery was the law in much of the land. To that generation, the formal equality of an identical railroad car meant progress. But the generation in power in 1954 looked at enforced separation without the revolting background of slavery to make it look unexceptional by contrast. As a consequence, the judges of 1954 found a meaning in segregating the races by law that the majority of their predecessors in 1896 did not see. That meaning is not captured by descriptions of physically identical schools or physically identical railroad cars. The meaning of facts arises elsewhere, and its judicial perception turns on the experience of the judges, and on their ability to think from a point of view different from their own. Meaning comes from the capacity to see what is not in some simple, objective sense there on the printed page. And when the judges in 1954 read the record of enforced segregation it carried only one possible meaning: It expressed a judgment of inherent inferiority on the part of the minority race. The judges who understood the meaning that was apparent in 1954 would have violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution if they had not held the segregation mandate unconstitutional.

Again, a rhetorical question. Did the judges of 1954 cross some limit of legitimacy into law making by stating a conclusion that you will not find written in the Constitution? Was it activism to act based on the current meaning of facts that at a purely objective level were about the same as Plessy’s facts 60 years before? Again, you know my answer. So much for the assumption that facts just lie there waiting for an objective judge to view them.

Let me, like the lawyer that I am, sum up the case I’ve tried to present this afternoon. The fair reading model fails to account for what the Constitution actually says, and it fails just as badly to understand what judges have no choice but to do. The Constitution is a pantheon of values, and a lot of hard cases are hard because the Constitution gives no simple rule of decision for the cases in which one of the values is truly at odds with another. Not even its most uncompromising and unconditional language can resolve every potential tension of one provision with another, tension the Constitution’s Framers left to be resolved another day; and another day after that, for our cases can give no answers that fit all conflicts, and no resolutions immune to rethinking when the significance of old facts may have changed in the changing world. These are reasons enough to show how egregiously it misses the point to think of judges in constitutional cases as just sitting there reading constitutional phrases fairly and looking at reported facts objectively to produce their judgments. Judges have to choose between the good things that the Constitution approves, and when they do, they have to choose, not on the basis of measurement, but of meaning.

The fair reading model misses that, but it has even more to answer for. Remember that the tensions that are the stuff of judging in so many hard constitutional cases are, after all, the creatures of our aspirations: to value liberty, as well as order, and fairness and equality, as well as liberty. And the very opportunity for conflict between one high value and another reflects our confidence that a way may be found to resolve it when a conflict arises. That is why the simplistic view of the Constitution devalues our aspirations, and attacks that our confidence, and diminishes us. It is a view of judging that means to discourage our tenacity (our sometimes reluctant tenacity) to keep the constitutional promises the nation has made.

So, it is tempting to dismiss the critical rhetoric of lawmaking and activism as simply a rejection of too many of the hopes we profess to share as the American people. But there is one thing more. I have to believe that something deeper is involved, and that behind most dreams of a simpler Constitution there lies a basic human hunger for the certainty and control that the fair reading model seems to promise. And who has not felt that same hunger? Is there any one of us who has not lived through moments, or years, of longing for a world without ambiguity, and for the stability of something unchangeable in human institutions? I don’t forget my own longings for certainty, which heartily resisted the pronouncement of Justice Holmes, that certainty generally is illusion and repose is not our destiny.

But I have come to understand that he was right, and by the same token I understand that I differ from the critics I’ve described not merely in seeing the patent wisdom of the Brown decision, or in espousing the rule excluding unlawfully seized evidence, or in understanding the scope of habeas corpus. Where I suspect we differ most fundamentally is in my belief that in an indeterminate world I cannot control, it is still possible to live fully in the trust that a way will be found leading through the uncertain future. And to me, the future of the Constitution as the Framers wrote it can be staked only upon that same trust. If we cannot share every intellectual assumption that formed the minds of those who framed the charter, we can still address the constitutional uncertainties the way they must have envisioned, by relying on reason, by respecting all the words the Framers wrote, by facing facts, and by seeking to understand their meaning for living people.

That is how a judge lives in a state of trust, and I know of no other way to make good on the aspirations that tell us who we are, and who we mean to be, as the people of the United States.

当我年轻时,我经常听1885班的一位校友讲述哈佛的往事。那时侯,法学院那些可以来剑桥参加毕业典礼的老毕业生们不会等到团聚年才重回学院。他们想回来时就回来,会会老友,看看新人,并在榆树下来一杯鸡尾酒。这位老人聊起旧日夏天的某天,当时他吃完午饭走向广场时,路遇一名新毕业的师弟,此人估计刚开怀畅饮了不少那种鸡尾酒。当二人渐渐走近,新毕业的哥们亮出刚拿到的文凭, 大喊一声“受过上帝的教育!”

即使我手握哈佛大学荣誉博士学位,我也了解,没必要向全校的人高呼,但本校的宽容确使我有足够的勇气站在这里说 ,以我过去19年在最高法院的经历,我学到了一些关于美国宪法的知识,以及法官在裁定宪法案件时是如何运用这些宪法知识的。我很荣幸能以一名法官的身份,在接下来的几分钟里向你们讲述这些经历。

今天当大家在此欢聚一堂的时刻,也正是我们的国家公共生活中两件和司法有关的大事临近之时:去年的最高法院开庭期1即将结束,因此审理案件的步伐也加快了;为填补离职法官空缺而进行新的大法官提名的程序也接近尾声,正待确认。结果就是,我们将不断的听到或讨论到一种特别的批评,这种批评往往针对那些较具争议的最高法院的判决:这些批评说高院在立法,还说高院宣布的宪法条例在宪法中根本找不到,批评还说高院正在涉足扩大公民自由的司法能动主义(activism)。我们当中有许多人,我肯定今天在场的许多人的直觉反应就是,这些批评往往是文不对题的。但是,我们常常不会稍加思考这些批评言辞下隐藏的宪法概念以及涉宪审判的概念,或者把它们与我们自己的直觉反应背后的概念进行比较。今天下午,我要试着来做些这方面的比较。

批评最高法院在立法、在更新宪法,似乎是基于对宪法的某种印象,基于审理涉宪案件的某种模式,这两者结合在一起产生了此类批评。涉宪案件有时候是政府提起诉讼说它有权行使某种权力,有时候是个人根据宪法的某一特定条文主张享有某种权益。原告援引这一条款,并提供事实证据,以证明他所主张的那种权利。一旦所主张的权利被确定,剩下的就是被提出事实是否支持这种主张。如果是,那么最高法院就判决给原告,如果不是,那么最高法院就判决给被告。从这个角度来看,判决涉宪案件应该是一项很直接了当的工作:忠实阅读宪法原文以及客观的认定事实。

当然,确实有些涉宪案件是可以用这种忠实阅读宪法原文的模式来判决的。如果今天有位21岁的大学毕业生向法院提起诉讼要求参加今年美国参议员的竞选,对于这种诉求只需简单地展示该人的年龄就可以被驳回,根据宪法规定,参议员的最低年龄为30岁,并解释道这一要求是为了防止某些无法胜任的人获选。没有人会说这是高院在制定法律,或者提出反对说年龄限制的规定不是关于参选权的规定。运用忠实阅读宪法原文的模式可以得出这个案子的判决结果。但这种案子通常不会进入法院,至少很少会出现在最高法院。而那些在最高法院审理的案件往往会使整个国家绷紧神经,忠实阅读宪法原文的判决模式很难在现实中应用。

只要稍假思索就可以明白为什么忠实阅读宪法原文的模式是不切实际的。宪法中有相当多是特意设置的开放式保证,例如“正当程序原则”,“受法律平等保护原则”,以及“免于不合理搜查的权力”等。这些宪法条文无法与“要求参议员必须在30岁以上”的条款以同样的方式执行,它们需要更加详细的探究,说明为什么同样的一句概括性的语句适用于某些案件,却不适用于另外一些案件;为什么随着时间积累,各种判例就形成了宪法原文中没有提及的规则。

不过这种解释还只是蜻蜓点水。宪法审判不仅仅是忠实阅读原文和简单的事实认定相结合,其原因也不仅仅是宪法必须用大量概括性的语言,以便在很长一段时间内都能适用。还有一个原因是,宪法包含的各种价值观互相不一定能和谐共处,可能互相对立。再一个原因是,某些用来判定是否适用宪法的事实与诸如一个人的年龄或收银条上的金额这些事实是迥然不同的;涉宪法案件中事实可能需要法官们在弄清楚他们想如何使用这些事实之前,先要理解这些事实所包含的意义。这点可能会比较令人费解。为了说明我的意思,我选了两个真实的案例,两个伟大判例的故事。当然,这两个故事绝不是对宪法或审判的全部描述,但我认为它们将展现出忠实阅读原文的判决模式是如何的不切实际。

第一个故事是关于宪法是什么样的。它将表明,宪法不是简单的契约,并不是因为它使用了相当多开放式语句,而合同起草者会尽量避免这些开放式语句;而是由于它的文字赋予并许诺了太多美好的东西,而这些美好的东西又彼此冲突,不可能同时或者一次全部实现。

这个故事中的案例,我们这里许多人肯定还能回忆起来。这就是著名的“五角大楼文件案”。1971年6月26日,这一案件在美国最高法院开庭辩论。《纽约时报》和《华盛顿邮报》各获得了一份由负责指挥越战的政府官员准备并编制的机密文件副本。报纸打算发表其中一些文件,政府要求法院下令禁止刊载。

这一事件发生的很突然,而且一般案子从初审法院到最高法院都需要数月,这个案子却在短短的数天之内就从初审法院打到了最高法院。事情发生的时间点是一个公众情绪高涨的时侯,而由美国政府所提出的诉讼要求又是对言论和出版自由宪法原则的挑战最为极端的一例。政府表示,它有权预先禁止,即禁止发表,而不是对非法出版行为做出之后再进行处罚的命令。法庭辩论在一个为政府出庭辩护的伟大律师和一个伟大的法官之间展开了,而他们之间的辩论正是知微见著的实例。

那个为美国政府出庭辩护的伟大律师在这个校园里主持过许多届毕业典礼。他就是欧文·格里斯沃尔德(Erwin Griswold),他担任哈佛法学院院达21年,中间还担任了一段时间的美国联邦总检察长。那天向格里斯沃尔德院长发问的那个伟大的法官就是布莱克大法官(Mr. Justice Black),他是罗斯福新政期任命的首位大法官,被卡多佐大法官(Justice Cardozo)誉为他所见过的最杰出的法律人才之一。两者关于宪法的交锋集中在第一修正案,包括大家耳熟能详的句子“国会不得制定任何法律……剥夺言论或新闻自由。”虽然从字面而言,第一修正案禁止国会通过立法剥夺公民自由表达的权利,该项权利保证可以被理解为用来约束整个政府,并对总统可以要求法院做的事情加以限制。而至于其余的条文,布莱克法官宣称也要从原文的字面意思上解读。当宪法说不允许,就表明没有任何回旋的余地,禁止立法剥夺言论和出版自由是绝对的。为了体现对布莱克法官的公平,我们必须指出,第一修正案的条文从字面上看就和要求参议员必须年满30岁的要求一样明确,没有别的人权法案的权利保证形式比这一形式更加绝对的了。

但是,格里斯沃尔德院长并没有就此打住。尽管第一修正案的文字已经如此明确,他还是试图说服法院同意,当言论的发表会给美国的国家安全带来不可弥补的损害时,禁止发表是符合宪法的。他辩称历史上有足够的证据体现了这一点;他论述道,两个报社打算发表的内容会危及生命,损害政府试图结束战争,接回被俘将士的进程,并削弱政府未来与外国政府和通过外国政府进行谈判的能力。

法官布莱克回应说,如果当国家利益遭受损害的风险很大时,由法院出面禁止发表,那么法官就会变成审查员。格里斯沃尔德院长说,他也想不出来还有任何其他选项。布莱克法官马上反击道,尊重宪法第一修正案就是其他选项,针对这句话,格里斯沃尔德院长的回应我实在忍不住要在这里引述:

他说道,“这个案子的问题就在于对宪法第一修正案的解释。”

“法官大人,你对第一修正案的解释是众所周知的,我当然尊重。你说,不得立法的意思就是不得立法,这应该是显而易见的。法官大人,我只能说,对我来说是同样显而易见的是“不得立法”并不等于“不得立法”,我将设法说服法庭,我的观点是正确的。
“首席大法官马歇尔(Chief Justice Marshall)很久以前也曾说过,宪法由我们来解释……”

这个案子最终是政府败诉,报道刊发了。但格里斯沃尔德院长却在与布莱克法官的辩论中胜出。为了表明他所说的“不得立法”并不意味着“不得立法” 格里斯沃尔德院长指出,宪法第一修正案不是宪法的全部。宪法还赋予政府权力,使其提供国家的安全,并授权总统处理外交政策和指挥军队。

虽然他未能说服法庭,政府行使这些权力的能力将因为报纸文章的发表而受到严重影响,法院也承认,在某些时候,为了保证格里斯沃尔德院长所提出来的政府权力的行使法院可以限制出版权。法院对该案作出裁定的依据并不是基于“不得立法”的字面表达即表示不允许有任何例外,也就是说表达的权利是绝对的。持多数派意见的法官们的决定只是说,政府没有满足举证的重任,拿出事实证据来为自己要求的禁止发表作出辩解,个别法官还在设想一些可以让政府赢得案子的情形。像诺曼底登陆计划这样的事情如果报社要发表是会被禁止的;布伦南大法官(Justice Brennan)还提到如果文章的发表可能会引起和平时期的核战争也可以禁止。

可见,即使是体现了言论和出版自由是和任何基本权利一样至高无上的宪法第一修正案,也不能达到绝对保证的程度。不能绝对保证是因为宪法必须作为一个整体来解读,当作为一个整体解读时,其他价值观就会出现,与不受约束的言论与出版自由发生潜在的冲突,比如保护国家安全的权利,和总统处理外交和军事事务的权力。换句话说,宪法的明文规定会造成各种被承认的价值观之间的冲突,而冲突出现时,宪法的明文规定又解决不了这一问题。出版自由是宪法明文规定的无条件保证,而政府行使宪法赋予的权力也是绝对的权利。选择往往是不可避免的,不是因为语言是模糊的, 而是因为宪法体现了美国人民的愿望,就像大多数国家的人民一样,我们总是希望鱼和熊掌兼得。我们想要秩序和安全,我们也要自由。此外,我们不仅希望得到自由,还希望得到平等。我们的这些想要兼得的愿望会发生冲突,而当这种冲突起时,法院就不得不在鱼和熊掌之间作出选择。法院在做这种选择的时候需要的不仅仅是对宪法原文的忠实阅读,必须决定哪一个价值在此时此地拥有更大的权利主张。而法官们在像“五角大楼文件案”中所做的选择形成的判例,也成了构成我们所说的法律的一部分。

让我来做个反问。这种选择和对这种选择的解释,能被称为非法的法律再制定吗?当法院必须做出一个选择,而宪法又没有预先予以明文规定的时候,这能称得上是超越司法权的行为吗?大家知道我的回答。这种认为所有涉及宪法的法律都在宪法原文中,只是等待一名法官来忠实的按字面解读的想法颇有局限。我们先谈到此为止。

现在让我来讲第二个故事,这个故事不是关于宪法范围内的各价值观之间的冲突,而是显示了涉宪事实的微妙之处。同样这个故事也是关于一个著名案例,这里很多人肯定也记得:1954年的“布朗诉教育委员会案”(Brown v. Board of Education),最高法院一致认为法律规定的公立学校的种族隔离是违宪的,它违反了法律的“平等保护原则”。

布朗案结束了分离但平等的时代,其模式是在1896年的普莱西诉弗格森(Plessy v. Ferguson)一案中确立的,在那个案子中最高法院的裁定是,要求黑人乘坐被隔离的车厢这一做法没有违反平等保护原则,因为黑人的车厢和白人的车厢在物理上来说是同等的。普莱西案中也有法官提出的一个论点是,让黑人乘坐隔离的车厢是让他们感到自卑的铭牌,但持多数意见的法官们回应道,如果黑人们这样认为,这种感觉只是他们自己大脑里的产物。60年后,布朗案则认为,让黑人儿童上被隔离的学校是一种内在的不平等。

对于那些认为宪法审判只是忠实阅读宪法原文语句并运用到客观公正的事实之上的人来说,布朗案肯定要么是个彻底的错误,或者是一种诡异的判决。他们也不太可能认为联邦法院在1896年就宣布这种法律授权的种族隔离行为是违宪的。但是,如果普莱西案没有错的话,为什么让布朗案的结果会如此截然不同呢?宪法关于公民拥有受平等法律保护的权利的语句在1896年至1954年间并没有改变,要说普莱西案中显而易见的事实发生了改变,似乎也很难说得通。普莱西案是关于火车车厢,而布朗案则是关于学校的,这种区分没有太大区别。其实,两个案件之间的区别最好的解释是它们判决的时代不同,我认为时代的不同可以很好的解释它们判决结果的不同。

我在其他场合也曾经这样说过,在普莱西案中,法院法官们想到的是,曾经在美国的很多州,法律还允许奴隶的存在。在他们那个时代,黑人享有和白人同样的火车车厢已经意味着进步了。然而时间到了1954年,法官们已经没有了奴隶制这样的强烈对照背景,法律强制的种族隔离就不是等闲之事了。结果就是,1954年的法官们从种族隔离中看到了某种意义,而在1896年持多数人意见的前辈们并没有看到。那个意义并不包含在物理上相同的学校,或物理上相同的车厢的描述中。这些事实所包含的意义源自其他方面,其司法感知取决于法官们的经验,以及他们从不同观点角度来进行思考的能力。需要法官们的洞察能力去解读这些并没有通过白纸黑字简单而客观的书写出来的意义。所以当1954年的大法官们了解到了法律强制的种族隔离行为,这个事实只包含了一种可能的意义:这种做法传达出了对少数族裔人先天低人一等的判断。法官们只要认识到这点在1954年显而易见的意义,又没有把这种种族隔离政策判定为违宪,那就可以说背叛了他们维护宪法的誓言。

让我再做一次反问。1954年的大法官们有没有越过合法性的红线,用你们在宪法中根本找不到条文的书面结论,来立新法呢?基于事实的当下意义来判案,是不是司法能动主义呢?要知道该事实与60年前普莱西案的事实在纯粹客观的角度看是完全一样的。同样,你知道我的回答。这种认为事实就在那里,只是等待一个公正的法官来察看的概念是很局限的。

现在,让我作为一名律师,总结一下今天下午我想表达的意思。忠实阅读宪法原文的模式不能很好的传达宪法想要表达的意思,同样它也无法理解法官别无选择而必须做到的事。宪法是由各种价值搭建的神殿,很多艰难的案例之所以难,是因为当某一种价值观与另外一种价值观起冲突的时候,宪法并没有给出一个简单的裁定规则。即使是最不妥协的和无条件的语言也无法解决一个价值观与另外一个价值观之间的冲突,这些冲突是宪法缔造者们留待后人去解决的,后人再留给后人。我们所做的判例也无法为所有冲突提供答案,任何一项决议也不是一劳永逸,不需要重新思考的,世界在变,旧的事实的意义可能在不断变化。这些理由足以证明忠实阅读宪法原文的模式,认为法官只需就坐在那儿忠实的阅读宪法条文,并客观地看待事实,就可以做出裁决是多么的偏离要点。法官们必须在宪法所认可的各种好的价值中间作出选择,而当他们的选择必须是基于意义的基础上,而不是在测量的基础上。

忠实阅读宪法原文的模式没有抓住那个要点,宪法需要解决的事情更多。请记住,在那么多艰难的宪法案件中需要我们做出裁决的各种冲突的价值观,正是来自于我们的愿望:我们渴望自由,以及秩序,公平和平等。而当某一个最高价值与另外一个最高价值值之间发生冲突的时候,恰恰也反映了我们自信可以找到一个解决这些冲突的办法。这也说明为什么以简单的模式对待宪法会有损我们的这些愿望,打击我们的信心,并让我们退步。这种看待审判的简单模式是在消磨我们坚韧不拔的意志以兑现这个国家宪法的承诺(我们的这种坚韧有时是相当顽固的)。

因此,我们也会很轻易的把这种说高院在立法,说高院是在搞司法能动主义的批评简单的视为拒绝美国人民众多良好的愿望。但还有一点不容忽视。我必须在这些批评声之后还有更深层次的东西,我相信在大多数希望有一个简单的宪法的想法背后,是人类本能的对于确定性和可控性的渴望。谁不曾体会到这种渴望呢?我们中难道会没有人曾经有过片刻的,或持续数年的,这样的渴望?渴望人世间黑白分明,渴望人类制度中的某些东西亘古不变?我也没有忘记自己曾经对于确定性的渴望,我还曾很激烈的抵制大法官霍姆斯(Justice Holmes)的名言:通常来说,确定只是一个幻象;静止不是我们的宿命。

不过,我已认识到霍姆斯是正确的,基于同一道理,我明白了,我与我所描述的那些批评者的不同之处,并不仅在于看到了布朗案中的智慧,或拥护法庭不采纳非法获得的证据的规则,或在理解人身保护令适用的范围等等这些事情上。我猜想我与他们之间最大的不同之处在于,我相信在一个我无法控制的不确定的世界里,还是有一种信仰,那就是我们总可以找到一条通往不确定未来的道路。对于我而言,国父们所缔造的宪法的未来也只有寄托在这一信仰之上。如果我们无法体会到缔造宪法的先贤们头脑里的每一种设想,我们仍然可以以一种他们当初肯定设想到的方式,来解决宪法的不确定性,那种方式就是依靠理性,尊重立宪者所写的所有字句,通过面对事实,并试图理解这些字句对于当代人的意义。

这就是一名怀抱希望的法官,要使我们在那些愿望中做对的事,除了抱有信仰别无他法。这些愿望告诉美国人民,我们是谁,我们将去向何方。

notes
1 译注:每年十月至次年六月是最高法院的开庭期。

http://www.24en.com/read/speech/2010-09-19/129936.html

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