Tuesday, July 19, 2016

We are all Federalists; we are all Republicans

What would Thomas Jefferson do? If he were attending the Republican National Convention, I should add. The group named after the party of his arch nemesis gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn for a luncheon featuring US Senator Mike Lee, who of course cited to Hamilton at the convention -- the constitutional one, that is. The Federalist Society lunch produced a most refreshing talk by Senator Lee about the need to reinvigorate federalism and separation of powers. He showed no signs of fatigue or discouragement from having lost the floor fight yesterday in opposition to the Trump nomination. No one at the lunch asked him about it. The questions, from an audience of mostly lawyers, asked questions more about the constitution than public policy. But Senator Lee offered an intriguing infusion of the two when he advocated for members of Congress to voluntarily cabin their lawmaking according to traditional views of constitutional powers rather than as liberally interpreted by the Supreme Court in recent decades. Senator Lee is clearly a talented constitutional law scholar, not to mention a lawmaker who presents himself as modest with a great sense of self deprecating humor. Let's hope that Trump, should he get elected, lets bygones be bygones. Trump would do well to have Lee on his side, putting his constitutional mind to work on initiatives both Federalists and Republicans of the Trump variety can support.

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