Mitt Romney on the Supreme Court and the Constitution

by Ed Whelan

Via Jim Geraghty, here are excerpts from a speech that Mitt Romney is delivering today at the NRA convention:

[T]he principles of our Constitution are enduring and universal . . . they were not designed to bend to the will of presidents and justices who come and go. The belief that we are all created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights — these are not relics from another time, they reflect truths that are valid in every era.

The framework of law created by the Declaration and the Constitution is the source of our greatness. It has generated unparalleled opportunity and prosperity. Our Founders understood this, which is why they created a system of government that is limited.

This President is moving us away from our Founders’ vision. Instead of limited government, he is leading us toward limited freedom and limited opportunity.

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This administration’s attack on freedom extends even to rights explicitly guaranteed by our Constitution. The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they’ve been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it.

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Consider the courts. President Obama has an unusual view of the Supreme Court and its responsibilities, as he reminded us just the other day. He said, quote, “I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Of course, what President Obama calls “extraordinary” and “unprecedented,” the rest of us recognize as “judicial review.” That concept has been a centerpiece of our constitutional system since 1803.

Judicial review requires that the Supreme Court strike down any law that violates the Constitution — the founding document that is the bulwark of our freedoms. But President Obama seems to believe that Court decisions are only legitimate when they rule in his favor, and illegitimate if they don’t. He thinks our nation’s highest court is to be revered and respected — as long as it remains faithful to the original intent of Barack Obama.

That’s the problem with those who view the Constitution as living and evolving, not timeless and defining. They never explain just who will decide what the Constitution means and in which way it will “evolve.”

In his first term, we’ve seen the president try to browbeat the Supreme Court. In a second term, he would remake it. Our freedoms would be in the hands of an Obama Court, not just for four years, but for the next 40. That must not happen.