With Trump’s first supreme court nominee being confirmed and to much of my delight being an originalist I couldn’t be happier. However, in talking with friends, I have realized that many of the people close to me don’t even know what an originalist is and why it’s such a big deal. So we are going to take a few minutes today to make sure that you are properly schooled in what this means and how it affects judges and bureaucrats alike.
A judge is a tough job, and many who take on the position admittedly shed their opinion on law and political thought prior to holding the job. This can drastically alter what a judge is thought of and how they even rule in cases. A perfect judge will not carry any bias into a court case that they are trying. A judge that sits on the supreme court often is tasked with determining if laws and or actions are legal or illegal under the guards and guidelines of our constitution.
Essentially the Supreme court is the ultimate decision-makers when it comes to what laws are ok and what laws are not. Time and time again the legislative body (Congress) decides to pass a law that depending on your interpretation is within the bounds of what is legal and not under the constitution. So the key here is how the individual interprets the law and constitution.
The Modes of interpretation of the constitution vary in today’s court, but the most common are pragmatism and judicial precedent. Pragmatism allows the judge to consider the most amount of flexible interpretation given that depending on how they believe the law will deliver future benefits and or costs. Judicial precedent focuses on any past decisions as being the basis for determining the interpretation. Originalists is the concept that involves the sole focus of the text of the document and what that text meant at the time the document was written.
Neil Gorsuch is a classic originalist and his record is consistent to the point where we the people can know what to expect from his decisions moving forward. The real question is why would anyone want a judge that wasn’t an originalist? I have to believe that the only logical reason why someone would prefer a different mode of interpretation would be to be able to change their interpretation based on subjective bias.
Given we want consistent and fair courts it would make sense to me to only want Originalists in the courts, I for one am ecstatic that Gorsuch now sits on the highest court in the land.