I appreciate Greg’s linking judicial restraint to the primacy of republican self-government. And I especially appreciate his insistence that constitutional issues must be the concern of the political branches and the people, not simply the courts. Indeed, I’ve been perplexed in the last several years by originalists of one form or another who take comfort in the fact that President Trump appointed originalist jurists, while undermining the Constitution in so many other ways. “But Gorsuch” was a perverse embrace of judicial supremacy and a legalized Constitution. So Greg and I are in ready agreement that the Court, despite its claims to the contrary, is not … Continue reading Republican Self-Government and Judicial Restraint
Greg offers a thoughtful response to the tension between judicial deference and constitutional principle. Let me begin with our agreement. I think Greg is altogether correct that protecting liberties is not the task of the judiciary alone. It is, as he puts it, the important work of “civic cultivation” that cannot simply be handed off to the judiciary. And insofar as representatives, citizens, and associations in civil society leave this to the judiciary alone, our liberties are likely to be less secure. As Judge Learned Hand, famous for situating himself in the tradition of judicial deference with James Bradley Thayer, put it … Continue reading Judicial Deference, Legislative Motives, and Constitutional Ends
George Thomas makes an excellent case that there is more tension between judicial deference and constitutional principle than my essay on the topic acknowledged. The Constitution, he correctly notes, does not rest on a simple principle of majority rule. Legislatures might violate rights on what, like election security, would otherwise be legitimate pretexts. Let me push back, for the sake of clarifying my original point and asking George for his thoughts: First, the Constitution may not operate on a principle of simple majority rule, but neither does it have a provision for what James Madison said was ultimately the only … Continue reading Do Legislatures Have Discernible Motives?