NEW VIEWS ON TALKERS
14TH AMENDMENT TEST
President Donald Trump is expected to announce his Supreme Court nominee Monday, the same day the 14th Amendment turns 150. The intersection of these events creates an opportunity to ask the nominee a crucial question: Would you rather be a state legislator or a judge? Depending on how one views the 14th Amendment, it could be either.
Passed amid the gusts of national changes following the Civil War, many legal scholars argue that the portion of the amendment known as the equal protection clause was intended to simply guarantee equal rights to newly freed slaves. There are academic tussles about this assertion, but nearly everyone agrees that federal judges have gone much further than that. The Constitution was drafted to strike a careful balance between state and federal power. If it’s misused by the next justice, the equal protection clause will exacerbate those disputes.
Political questions belong in state legislatures, where you can toss out those who pass laws you oppose. When policy issues amble into courts administered by unelected, the balance of American law and government tilts against accountability. The stage is set. Our next Supreme Court justice has a choice of roles: the toadying showmanship of a lawmaker or the quiet reflections of a judge. Columbus