The Corner

Prompted by Brother Hugh, I Go in Search of Ramesh

Got a couple of emails today from Hugh Hewitt, who is (he rubbed this in very gleefully) on vacation in Florence.

On vacation he may be, but willing to relent in the matter of Harriett Miers he is most certainly not, and Hugh pressed the argument that serving as a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States really isn’t–or shouldn’t be–all that hard. Ms. Miers, in other words, has all the qualifications she needs, and then some.

I resist this argument, on a couple of simple grounds: First, ours is a system based on precedent, and there are now a couple of centuries worth of precedents. Any prospective justice, in other words, needs to have mastered an extensive body of case law. And second, originalism, as neatly defined in the WSJ this morning by Judge Bork, rests on understanding, as accurately as possible, what the founders themselves understood the text of the constitution to mean. This in turn requires any prospective justice to have mastered a great deal of eighteenth-century history. (By the way, I’d love to hear a senator ask Miers what she makes of the recent book by Philip Hamburger, Separation of Church and State. Hamburger argues–to my mind, convincingly–that the Court has spent the last sixty or so years getting it all wrong because it has so thoroughly misconstrued the meaning of the First Amendment to the founders themselves.)

The reply to all this of Brother Hugh? That I am, in effect, describing the Supreme Court as a high priestly sect–the very fault into which the liberals are always falling.

Brother Hugh is onto at least a little something there, I think, and I’m not sure what to do with it.

Ramesh?

Peter Robinson — Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More
World

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More
Health Care

For Planned Parenthood, No Doctors Need Apply

Poor Leana Wen. She took Planned Parenthood’s propaganda a little too seriously. And now she’s out of a job. For the longest time, Planned Parenthood has insisted that it’s a health-care organization, and it only cares about abortion — supposedly a tiny share of its business — insofar as it’s a ... Read More