Constitutional vs. Judicial Conservatives
Randy Barnett, writing for the American Spectator, captures the zeitgeist of the Tea Party movement in a rousing essay about the need going forward for a different kind of mindset when judging conservative judicial nominees:
Now we will have an election to decide the ultimate fate of Obamacare. But this election should also be about who will be selected to serve on the Supreme Court. Should Republican presidents continue to nominate judicial conservatives who are enthralled with the New Dealers’ mantra of judicial restraint? Or should they nominate constitutional conservatives who believe that it is not “activism” for judges to enforce the whole Constitution? All future nominees should be vetted not only for their views on the meaning of the Constitution, but for their willingness to enforce that meaning.
With Barnett’s distinction in mind, it’s no wonder that Tea Party-inspired Senators like Marco Rubio (FL), Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY), Jim DeMint (SC) – and soon-to-be Senator Ted Cruz (TX) – all identify themselves as constitutional conservatives. Restraint in judging liberalism’s faulty governing assumptions hasn’t gotten conservatives many substantive victories. We need smart, bold nominees eager and able to make the case for the kind of limited government our Founders envisioned; both in the political branches and on the bench.