RealClearPublicAffairs’s 1776 Series: “Republican Self-Government Versus Judicial Supremacy”
By Greg Weiner
“Last June, the Supreme Court made its ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, a case that asked whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited employers from discriminating against gay or transgender people. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, the Court’s liberal core, were predictably aligned in favor of the view that it did. Chief Justice John Roberts, whose positions on such cases are harder to guess, sided with them, tipping the majority. Then came the sixth vote and the author of the majority opinion: Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Social conservatives were shocked. Their hopes for the judiciary were no small part of the reason they preferred Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton in 2016. How, many wondered, could the Court have strayed so far from the plain meaning of a statute—and how, of all its members, could it have been Gorsuch, President Trump’s first nominee to the nation’s highest bench and possessor of a doctorate earned under the late John Finnis, the famed Oxford philosopher of natural law?…”
Gregory Weiner is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Assumption College. His research and teaching interests include the political theory of the Constitution, the political thought of James Madison, civil liberties, and the role of the Supreme Court. In addition to The Political Constitution, he is the author of Old Whigs: Burke, Lincoln, & the Politics of Prudence (2019), American Burke: The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (2015), and Madison’s Metronome: The Constitution, Majority Rule and the Tempo of American Politics (2012). Professor Weiner’s research and teaching are informed by the several years he spent as a high-level aide and consultant in national politics, including his service as Communications and Policy Director to U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, D-Nebraska, and as founder of the Washington, D.C.-based speechwriting firm Content Communications, LLC.
Professor Weiner is a Jack Miller Center faculty partner.
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