Bench Memos

Re: More on Will

Ramesh has characterized my position pretty well–though I might have used somewhat different words myself. And he’s certainly right that no one in the spectrum of conservatism represented here is simply against “judicial review” in toto. I should know since I probably come closest–or maybe Mark Levin wants to compete for the title.

Anyway, George Will should get out more. Here in his hometown this morning, I attended a panel of the Claremont Institute, at the APSA meeting, at which a variety of conservatives took a variety of views on constitutional issues, none of them as weak as the straw man arguments Will employed in his column this morning.

The panel was titled “A Justice Thomas Court?” Fittingly, there was much praise for Thomas’s jurisprudence–from Phillip Muñoz of North Carolina State for his opinion on religion under the First Amendment, from Jeremy Rabkin of Cornell for his dim view of the use of foreign legal sources in our constitutional law, and from commentators Paul Mirengoff of Power Line and Michael Uhlmann of Claremont remarking on the papers of Muñoz and Rabkin. The succeeding discussion, including audience members, revealed differences in the room regarding Thomas’s jurisprudence, regarding Justice Scalia’s by comparison, and regarding the proper relation of the Court in general to other institutions. An enlightening time was had by all. I wish George Will had been there. More, I wish he’d been there before he’d written his column for today. He’d have written a better one.

Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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