26 Jun Personally…
My Very Fine Friends,
The United States Supreme Court stepped up big time in two cases over this last week. In neither case did they make a political calculation or adopt a popular policy position, as some wanted them to do. In both cases, they simply applied the constitution. Which is their job.
First, they affirmed in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case the undeniable truth that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms is as important as the First Amendment right to freedom of religion, speech and assembly, and as important as all other rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
In striking down a New York State law requiring citizens to prove to the government a special need in order to receive a concealed carry permit, the majority opinion made the point that in no other constitutionally guaranteed right would we agree that we need to prove something to the government before we are permitted to exercise that right. Imagine having to justify to some official your need to speak freely or to practice your religion, before you can do that.
Second, in the long-anticipated Dobbs decision, they reversed Roe vs Wade and affirmed the undeniable truth that the constitution does not guarantee women the right to an abortion. As has been pointed out for decades, the Roe vs Wade case was an exercise of “raw judicial power” that “usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people.” The issue belongs in state legislatures, not the Supreme Court.
There is a deeply unfortunate ignorance among millions of Americans about the role of the Supreme Court and of the importance of the constitution. This ignorance causes some to mistakenly conclude that SCOTUS made wrong policy decisions in these cases, or that the justices sided with one political faction over another.
There is a similarly devastating ignorance about the idea of “rights.” Arguments that the Dobbs decision took away “women’s rights” will be the rallying cry of many politicians and activists, but this is again a mistaken understanding of our constitutional republic and the meaning and purpose of the constitution.
My points here may sound sterile or academic in light of the legitimate outrage over gun violence and the deaths of innocent children, and in light of the fact of the myriad circumstances leading to unwanted pregnancies. The temptation in both issues is to enter the fray of the policy arguments, and let that drive your view of whether SCOTUS made good or bad policy decisions.
But upholding the constitution’s primacy should drive our passion and inform our views about these decisions, regardless of our political persuasions. Because without the constitution we will be governed by the whims of public opinion, and under threat of losing what really are rights at the hands of the tyranny of the majority.
THAT is why we have a constitution.
More about both cases and the issues they impact, this week.
Speak Truth About America.
Facts Matter. Truth Matters. America Matters.
I’ll talk to you next week. I can’t wait!