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Will’s Straw Man


George Will writes, in part:

Conservatives should be reminded to be careful what they wish for. Their often-reflexive rhetoric praises “judicial restraint” and deference to — it sometimes seems — almost unleashable powers of the elected branches of governments. However, in the debate about the proper role of the judiciary in American democracy, conservatives who dogmatically preach a populist creed of deference to majoritarianism will thereby abandon, or at least radically restrict, the judiciary’s indispensable role in limiting government.

This is a straw man. Who are these conservatives who contend that judicial restraint means always bowing to majority rule? If that were the case, there would be no need for a judiciary. Judicial restraint is simply a short-hand albeit imperfect way to describe the limits of judicial power. I don’t understand why Will insists on inaccurately describing originalists.


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