Friday, September 22, 2017

L'ville Loved Justice Gorsuch

The McConnell Center at University of Louisville hosted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch yesterday and he surpassed everyone's expectations.

It was a packed crowd of 550 or so, mixed with students, lawyers, faculty.  No protests -- to the contrary, both Gorsuch and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received standing ovations.

Gorsuch's line that appeared to resonate the most with people referred the the limited institutional competence of the judiciary and it's constitutional limitations for fixing bad statutes:  justices wear robes, not capes.  That is, we cannot expect the judiciary to fix Congress' bad policy choices. That's for the elected branch.

Gorsuch explained originalism in a way that was clear enough for non-lawyers to understand but nuanced enough to those who had been reading for thinking about it for years. He made a good argument that it is constitutionally mandated by the doctrine of separation of powers, and also supports that doctrine (and hence liberty).

My favorite moment: Gorsuch addressed a group of 40 army soldiers who have been spending the month at the McConnell Center as part of a Strategic Broadening Seminar. Gorsuch thanked the group for their service, and noted "if you don't do your job, I can't do mine."

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