Neil Gorsuch Fits the Founders’ Vision for a Supreme Court Justice

Judge Gorsuch stands by the time-honored American tradition that judges are not appointed for their politics, but faithfulness to the law.

By Joshua Charles Published on April 6, 2017

In national politics, the Supreme Court of the United States is now the football on the field. As the debate over Neil Gorsuch has shown, it will remain so for many more years to come.

You can thank the leftist idea of a “living Constitution” for this. For many on the left, the Constitution means whatever their favorite judges decide it means.

Conservatives Don’t Support a “Dead” Constitution

Does this mean that conservatives support a “dead” Constitution?

Certainly not.

We stand for a legitimate Constitution. We stand for a Constitution interpreted according to its text, history, and time-honored legal principles. One that lives by its own rules, and adapts, changes, and thereby “lives” by amendment (required by Article V). Not one that changes by the fiat of five Justices who cannot be held accountable to the people. A Constitution that means something, and is not a blank slate for judges to cover with their own meaning.

Conservatives don’t support a “dead” Constitution. We stand for a legitimate Constitution.

If justices had the authority to change the meaning of the Constitution, then the abolitionists and the suffragettes wasted a lot of time getting the 13th and 19th amendments ratified. Of course they didn’t waste their time, since they knew the truth that Justice Scalia warned we were losing. They knew that to leave such big issues to “a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine” was tantamount to violating “a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.”[1]

The Importance of Article V 

Does that mean conservatives just want to return to the past, that we have made idols of the Founders? No. In fact, that would not be faithful to the Founders themselves. George Washington himself said, “I do not conceive that we are more inspired — have more wisdom — or possess more virtue than those who will come after us.” That’s why the Framers established Article V, which provides a way for the whole people to change the charter of their government.

It’s also why the American people have done so 27 times.

Washington warned that anything less was “usurpation … the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” When judges rewrite the Constitution by fiat, they usurp the authority of the people.

Gorsuch: Faithful to Law, Not Opinions

Conservatives like Judge Gorsuch oppose that. In his acceptance speech in January, he observed:

In our legal order, it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws. It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.

Judge Gorsuch stands by the time-honored American tradition that judges are not appointed for their politics. They are, or should be, appointed for their faithfulness to the law. In applying this standard, “the intention of the parties to it [the Constitution] ought to be kept in view,” said Madison. “[A]s far as the language of the instrument will permit, this intention ought to be traced in the contemporaneous expositions.”[2] This is why the Democrats could not destroy Gorsuch. His answers squared with what American judges were meant to do. They are to apply the law, not their politics.

A Nation of Laws

The whole point of having a written Constitution is that it cannot mean just anything. If it could, there would be no need to have a text. While it can encompass a wide array of public policies (as the Framers intended), it can’t mean what it could not mean to those who wrote it.

The whole point of having a written Constitution is that it cannot mean just anything.

That is why James Madison attacked judges “who study, by arbitrary interpretations and insidious precedents, to pervert the limited government of the Union into a government of unlimited discretion, contrary to the will and subversive of the authority of the people.”[3] The point of the American Experiment was to bind not only citizens, but the state itself to a law that stands above it. This includes the Justices of the Supreme Court. If the Constitution means whatever the “panel of nine” says it means, it is no longer a Constitution. And we would thus become a nation of men, not laws.

Judge Gorsuch knows he is only a man. Thus, he intends to judge according to only the law.

Any other sort of Justice would contradict the American experiment.

The Senate is right to confirm him. Let’s hope it’s the start of a trend.

 


[1]Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. __ (2015).

[2]James Madison to Spencer Roane (May 6, 1821).

[3]James Madison, The Union: Who are Its Real Friends? (National Gazette; April 2, 1792).

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  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Partisan politics do not belong on the supreme court. It should not be a part of the confirmation process. Certainly that is not nor has it not been the case in varying degrees when judges to the highest court of the land are considered. Well, the left would chime in , that is what this administration has done by selecting such a threat to the ideology of the left. Problem is, those positions conflict w/ constitutional precedent as implied by Mr Charles. Seems like the true constitutionalists don’t have much of a welcome from the left. Probably because the left are not right. Pun intended.

    • Sonnys_Mom

      So many of the committee members’ questions seemed deliberately intended to force Justice Gorsuch to recuse himself, should these issues eventually come before him.

  • Too bad Neil Gorsuch doesn’t fit God’s vision for a justice at any level. Nor do any of the other Supreme Court Justices:

    “…The Bible stipulates, among other things, that judicial appointees must be men of truth who fear Yahweh and hate covetousness. (See Chapter 5 “Article 2: Executive Usurpation” for a list of additional Biblical qualifications.) The United States Constitution requires no Biblical qualifications whatsoever [thanks to Article 6’s Christian test ban by which mandatory biblical qualifications for civil leaders was also eliminated]. Nowhere does the Constitution stipulate that judges must rule on behalf of Yahweh, rendering decisions based upon His commandments, statutes, and judgments as required in Exodus 18. That not even one constitutional framer contended for Yahweh,3 as did King Jehoshaphat, speaks volumes about the framers’ disregard for Him and His judicial system:

    ‘And he [King Jehoshaphat] set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for Yahweh,4 who is with you in the judgment…. And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of Yahweh, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.’ (2 Chronicles 19:5-9)….”

    For more, see online Chapter 4 “Article 1: Legislative Usurpation” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Online Books page, click on the top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 4.

    Then find out how much you really know about the Constitution as compared to the Bible. Take our 10-question Constitution Survey in the right-hand sidebar and receive a complimentary copy of a book that examines the Constitution by the Bible.

  • James Higginbotham

    ya NAILED IT TED.
    BUT I HAVE HIGH HOPES FROM GORSUCH TO BE A GREAT JUDGE.
    AND I PRAY TRUMP CAN APPOINT MORE LIKE HIM.
    WE NEED GOD FEARING JUDGES ON ALL THE COURTS THROUGH THE NATION.

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