A recent New York Times story, titled “A Polarized Supreme Court, Growing More So,” illustrates how left-of-center media distort perceptions of the U.S. Supreme Court. The story’s problems begin with the lead paragraph’s assertion that Justice Neil Gorsuch’s appointment is “a conservative replacing another conservative.” What the Times probably intended to say is that the appointment replaces an originalist with an originalist. Originalism and conservatism are not the same thing. Originalism is untied to political results, whether liberal or conservative….
Among the best tools for interpreting the Constitution are public explanations by its advocates made during the ratification fight. These explanations helped shape how the public understood the Constitution. They reassured the public about what the Constitution did NOT mean. Those statements were at the heart of the ratification deal. One reason the Federalist Papers are so useful because they were exactly this sort of literature. But they are tough going for many readers, both now and then. That helps…
A majority of state legislatures have voted to trigger the U.S. Constitution’s most important procedure for reforming the federal government. This is the gathering that Article V of the Constitution calls “a convention for proposing amendments”—more popularly known as a “convention of states.” Advocates of a convention of states rely on a supportive statement made by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 1979, when he was still a law professor. Opponents counter with a 2014 statement they claim contradicts his earlier one….
Americans finally have a real chance to “clean up the mess in Washington.” That’s the implication of the news that the Arizona legislature has called the first national “convention of states” in over 150 years. The conclave will meet in Phoenix on September 12. Its purpose is to plan for a later convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Contrary to some histrionic claims, neither the planning assembly nor the subsequent gathering will be constitutional conventions….