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06/17/2019

Ken Kersch Responds to Symposium Commentary on "Conservatives and the Constitution"
Michael Ramsey

At Balkinization, Ken Kersch has several responses to the symposium on his book Conservatives and the Constitution:

The Other Side of the Mountain: Restoration, Redemption, and Originalism

Ayn Rand, Gary Lawson, and the Supreme Court

From the introduction to the latter:

Gary Lawson has contributed two provocative, engaging, and very interesting posts for the symposium on my book Conservatives and the Constitution.   What follows is a response to the first first, and the second second.
 
Gary’s first, more general post responds to Conservatives and the Constitution in light of his own significant experiences as a conservative legal movement insider at the highest levels, including as a clerk to Antonin Scalia on both the D.C. Circuit and on the Supreme Court, in the Office of Legal Counsel at the height of the Reagan administration, and as a founder of The Federalist Society.  Gary reports that he and his friends mostly had not read Leo Strauss, Richard Weaver, or John Courtney Murray.  This does not surprise me, nor is it inconsistent with the thesis of my book.  My argument is that the different parts of the movement had their own touchstones for their framings and political and economic philosophies (or, to touch base with Gary’s second post, their own metaphysics and epistemologies).   Gary’s deep background in Rand and Ludwig von Mises fit who he was.  That of Right-Wing Catholics would fit who they were.  And that of evangelical Christians would fit who they were.  I would not expect those from each of these different parts of the coalition to know the entire breadth and scope of the thought of the others.   That is why I argue that they came to coalesce around the common language of legalist originalism:  it came to serve as a common ground, and a basis for distinguishing their allies from their opponents, or even their enemies.  That is my argument, or at least an important part of it.