Tags: Supreme Court | justice | neil gorsuch | constitution | dred scott | brett kavanaugh

Justice Gorsuch Blasts Idea of 'Living' Constitution


Tuesday, 17 September 2019 05:57 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday made clear his belief in the idea of "originalism" — preserving the Constitution as the Founding Fathers wrote it.

But, in a discussion at the National Archives in Washington, President Donald Trump's first appointed justice to the high court also took sharp issue with the view of liberals that the Constitution is a "living" document that adapts to changing times.

"A living Constitution?" Gorsuch told a packed auditorium. "Who wants a dead one? I prefer the term 'enduring Constitution.'"

The onetime U.S. Court of Appeals judge from Colorado went on to explain that when judges consider the Constitution a "living" document, "they add stuff that isn't there."

Gorsuch specifically cited the "Dred Scott" case of 1857, in which the Supreme Court held the Constitution did not include U.S. citizenship for black people and thus the rights and privileges of American citizens did not apply to them.

The seven justices who ruled as they did in "Scott," Gorsuch said, "did so because they wanted to avoid a war, and they got it wrong."

He also cited the notorious "Korematsu" ruling ("right up there with 'Dred Scott'") in which the high court upheld the government's authority to intern Japanese-American citizens during World War II.

"Again, they made it up and acted as legislators and guessed wrong," said the justice. "Judges make lousy politicians."

In underscoring his belief in originalism — "a term I didn't hear until I was in [Harvard] law school and Antonin Scalia, then a young justice on the Supreme Court, used it in a lecture there."

An originalist, Gorsuch explained, "is all about preserving your Constitution."

If the Constitution is to be revised or updated, he emphasized, "than you can fix it. You — we the people — gave women the right to vote and enacted the amendments to the Constitution that ended slavery and enhanced the rights of black Americans."

The justice also delighted the crowd with "insider stories" about the Supreme Court. Its much-publicized 5-to-4 rulings, he revealed, amount to "about 25-to-33% of court's [overall] rulings and this is the same as it has been since 1945, when eight of the nine justices were appointed by the same president [FDR]."

Gorsuch also pointed out the high court hears only about 70 cases per year — contrasting that with the 70 cases a day "heard by some of my colleagues on the bench in Colorado. And that was just before lunch!"

The junior justice sitting on the court is responsible for throwing a dinner for the incoming justice, so Gorsuch did the honors for Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was sworn in last year. After learning Kavanaugh was a major baseball fan, Gorsuch said, his office arranged for two of the presidents who are mascots for the Washington Nationals to join the Kavanaugh dinner at the Supreme Court.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Preserving the Constitution as the Founding Fathers wrote it, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday made clear his belief in the idea of "originalism," Newsmax's John Gizzi reports.
justice, neil gorsuch, constitution, dred scott, brett kavanaugh
Tuesday, 17 September 2019 05:57 PM
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