Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Political Labels Don’t Fit


There will be a lot of debate about whether Justice O’Connor was “conservative” or “moderate” or “liberal”. This debate is worse than silly.

Using political labels for justices obscures the underlying power issues at stake. We need justices who respect the broad realms of activity that the Constitution leaves to the people but who enforce the real limits that the Constitution imposes. Over the last several decades the Court has engaged in numerous lawless power grabs at the expense of the people, particularly on “culture war” issues. Political conservatives don’t seek “conservative” justices who would impose conservative policies on these issues. We seek democracy-respecting justices who will let the people decide how to govern themselves and their communities.


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