As the U.S. Senate holds confirmation hearings, the spotlight of the world’s greatest deliberative body will shine brightly on Judge Neil Gorsuch. Before donning the black robe of a Supreme Court Justice, the nominee is required to demonstrate impartiality, balance, and restraint before the law. These qualities, as opposed to conviction, passion, and persuasion are the true measure for a Justice of the People.
While it is the job of the Congress and the President to be proactive, it is the job of the Courts to be reactive. This separate but co-equal branch must serve as an unwavering and indifferent body against the passions of the majority. To quote U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, “The Constitution is a decidedly and intentionally anti-majoritarian document, it exists to protect our rights and liberties even when one might hold unpopular views.”
Yet, today things feel out of balance. In response to the seemingly unending political gridlock in Washington D.C., there has been significant growth of power in the Executive Branch over the last two decades. This growth has created a far-reaching bureaucracy of over two million unelected officials writing, executing, and adjudicating regulations, which reach into every aspect of our daily lives. The consolidation of such power into the hands of one branch of government sets a dangerous precedent for all Americans.
James Madison famously wrote in Federalist 62, “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood: if they be repealed or revised before they are promulg[at]ed, or undergo such incessant changes, that no man who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.” Our Founding Fathers recognized that tyranny was not limited to the British Monarchy in the late 18th Century; tyranny only requires an unchecked branch of government to thrive. Hundreds of thousands of federal regulations are an indication that it has found traction in the 21st Century U.S. Government.
According to Columbia Law Professor John Coffee’s estimate, there are as many as 300,000 federal regulations that carry criminal penalties. These regulations are far reaching, touching nearly every aspect of our lives, most often without our knowledge. The only thing that stands in between the People and the Government’s tyrannical overreach is the Separation of Powers doctrine. The preservation of liberties that all Americans enjoy are secured by this doctrine in the Constitution, which holds each branch accountable to staying in their “enumerated and delegated” lanes.
Whether conservative or liberal, every American should have an interest in a full revival of the Separation of Powers doctrine. When one branch outstrips its enumerated powers, the other two must respond in earnest in defense of the document they swore to defend and uphold. One step in the path of restoration of balance is the nomination of Supreme Court Justices who are willing to submit their personal political leanings in favor of adherence to the law.
The U.S. Senate has a tremendous opportunity to bring balance to the U.S. Government by evaluating a Supreme Court nominee through the lens of Constitutionalism. The American people deserve a Justice who does not represent the will of one party over another, but who represents the Constitution. Because this nominee embodies these principles, I suspect that Neil Gorsuch will be our next United States Supreme Court Justice, the People’s Justice.
“A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.” -Judge Neil Gorsuch
Jonathan Jakubowski is the Executive Chairman of the Wood County Republican Party, Division Leader of SmartSolve, founder of Champions in Action, and advisory board member of the Forge Leadership Network