The Corner

Law & the Courts

Today In: They Really Mean It

Writing in Slate, Mark Joseph Stern is surprised to learn that the textualists on the Supreme Court are . . . textualists. At issue was a case involving mandatory arbitration for certain truck-drivers, and the unanimous decision is being praised as a “victory for workers.” Not only that: “Gorsuch deserves credit for following his textualist principles to a liberal outcome,” Stern writes.

And when he follows his textualist principles to a conservative outcome? That’ll be a different story.

I am reminded of the so-called liberals who were mystified when Justice Scalia ruled in favor of the “liberal” position in the flag-burning case. Scalia was reproachful toward the flag-burners, but the law says what the law says. Some judges are serious about the law. Some of them are serious about getting the political outcomes that their patrons want. It is not difficult to tell which is which.

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