The Corner

Running to Court

Yesterday, I criticized Giuliani for (what I characterized as) his “habit of asking the courts to overturn democratically enacted laws with which he disagrees.” A reader writes in:

Surely you can’t mean what this literally says–that it’s intrinsically wrong to challenge any democratically enacted law as unconstitutional.

Obviously, liberals and conservatives differ on what the Constitution requires, but I didn’t think they differed on the basic point that a law which is unconstitutional should not remain the law of the land simply because the legislature passed it.

I don’t think it’s intrinsically wrong to ask a court to strike down a law as unconstitutional–although I do think it’s important to distinguish between laws we have good reason to think are unconstitutional and laws we simply dislike. But I think it should be done sparingly, and not be a habit.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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