« More from Will Foster on Janus v. AFSCME
Michael Ramsey
| Main | Timbs Tomorrow
Michael Ramsey »

11/26/2018

John McGinnis on Originalists in Congress
Michael Ramsey

At Liberty Law Blog, John McGinnis:  Meet the Federalist Society Caucus.  It begins:

Much has been written about the rise of judges who were nurtured in the Federalist Society. They are likely to continue a revolution of formalism in both statutory and constitutional interpretation. But almost nothing has been said about the rise of U.S. Senators who also grew up with the Federalist Society. With the election of Josh Hawley from Missouri, there are now four such senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

The Federalist Society Senate Caucus, as it were, is also an important development. It brings a kind of intellectual firepower to the Senate that Republicans have rarely had. John Stuart Mill called the Tories the “stupid party,” and their American counterpart rarely in the twentieth century possessed the kind of intellectual heft that the Democrats had in the form of such senators as Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Paul Douglas. But some of these new senators, although quite young, may yet rival these giants in intellectual vigor and achievement. For instance, Josh Hawley wrote a book on Teddy Roosevelt even before going to law school and Yale Professor Paul Kennedy called him the best student he ever had. Ted Cruz brilliantly argued many cases before the Supreme Court.

Greater intellectual acumen can make a difference. This has already been obvious on the Senate Judiciary Committee where Mike Lee and Ted Cruz are the most effective questioners, defending originalism better than many nominees. And the speeches of these Senators on constitutional interpretation remind us that defending the Constitution is not only the province of the judiciary, but of every department of government. It is essential to have articulate originalists in Congress if we are to have pressure for restoring a more originalist Constitution.