Against “Judicial Engagement”

The Framers did not envision government by judiciary.

Conservatives and libertarians share the goal of limited government, and especially of confining the federal government to its enumerated powers. Where they differ is their conception of the relationship between man and state—the heart of constitutional theory. The death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia last year created an unexpected vacancy on the badly split Supreme Court, which throughout the presidential campaign focused attention on the importance of the Court and the selection of Scalia’s successor. “I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy,” said Hillary Clinton in the final debate. Advocating desirable policy outcomes without even mentioning the Constitution itself, as Clinton did in the debate, is a hallmark of the “living Constitution” philosophy, which has prevailed among liberals since the New Deal.

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