BYH Zoning Commission. Take your chairs and sit in the field by Bostic Sugg in morning or afternoon and tell the...

War over SCOTUS finally won


Hugh Hewitt


Saturday, October 27, 2018

The confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh brings to the Supreme Court a fifth conservative, and the reconfigured court is about to raise the curtain on a new age. The "30 years war" for the court, begun with the rejection of Robert Bork's nomination, has been won.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito Jr., Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh compose a natural, stable and hopefully predictable coalition. Yet liberals should not fear an age of "activism," but rather look forward to the end of the madcap judicial imperialism that began with the arrival of Chief Justice Earl Warren and on which the curtain has hopefully come down with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

For six decades the court has been assigning to itself an ever larger and more powerful role in the nation's life. It has gone from being the umpire of disputes to a role more closely resembling that of a commissioner of a major sports league. Commissioners such as the National Football League's Roger Goodell and the National Basketball Association's Adam Silver are less arbitrators of disputes than czars of their domains. And that is what the court has morphed into: the commissioner of the United States Politics League. This must end.

To be sure, the court did need to act as "commissioner" when the promise of the 14th Amendment had been systemically ignored by Jim Crow. The court itself had blessed the monstrosity of segregation and needed to reverse its terrible error. The ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, though itself a magnificent decision, unfortunately triggered a sort of intoxication among the then-serving and subsequently confirmed justices. Collectively, they began to fashion for themselves a role far greater than that imagined in the Founding Era.

Once the court became the commissioner of our national life, with final say over any issue or dispute it maneuvered before it, it was bound to become a battlefield. The battle has been fierce, and scarring.

The framers intended political disputes to be settled in and by Congress and the president — elected officials who could be replaced. Now, perhaps — hopefully — a new era of judicial modesty is opening. The court should retreat from absurdly insisting on creating a perfect society with measured and judicially mandated outcomes, "scientific" precision, balancing tests and invented doctrines, all administered by federal judges. The justices should stop "judicializing" politics and insist that if the political branches do not resolve a controversy, that controversy will not be resolved.

The court should neither "hurry up" nor obstruct social change. It should not try to redirect or dam the mighty river "Culture," and it should cease trying to vacuum away the delicate compromises local, state and national legislators make between the deeply felt religious beliefs of a vast and diverse people. Rather, it should read closely the laws that Congress passes, hold them up to the Constitution's guarantees and refuse the efforts of elected officials to punt power to bureaucracies.

The Constitution was debated and agreed to largely by farmers (brilliant farmers, of course, but men of the land and its unavoidable rules of growth and harvesting, birth and death, work and return on work), then sent to conventions in the states largely made up of more farmers. It was widely debated before it was adopted. It is not a secret society's hidden sacred text. It's a great design, a rule book, and it can be read and understood by young adults of average intelligence.

We live in a complex world, full of incredibly difficult problems and rapidly emerging threats. Everything is accelerating. It is thus tempting to pine for a Commissioner of Everything, a King Solomon for every situation.

But that isn't freedom. It isn't the Constitution's design. It isn't a republic of liberty.

The unlikeliest of people to work a revolution of modesty is President Trump, but that is what he has done. The battle to contain the court has been won. And a court modest about everything but the protection of individual liberties is and will remain Trump's greatest achievement.

Hugh Hewitt is a Washington Post columnist, law professor, author and hosts a nationally syndicated radio show.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

February 15, 2019

On Bleecker Street in Manhattan, you can find both a Planned Parenthood clinic and a boutique for pregnant women.

According to Vogue, the store, Hatch, "is arguably the first of its kind, in that it was designed specifically for pregnant shoppers: Changing rooms have a size chart to help you figure…


February 15, 2019

The decision by Virginia's top three elected officials to hunker down and cling to their jobs is bad for both the state and the Democratic Party. If they won't go, the only thing to do is investigate them all.

Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring have all…

Eugene Robinson

February 14, 2019

Of all the headlines about the scandals concerning the alleged past sins of one after another high official in Virginia, one struck me most poignantly. It was this, from the front page of The Washington Times:

"Democrats to vet candidates closely for secrets in past."

Maybe I have spent too much…

February 13, 2019

As our new legislative session fully uncoils, it's good to recall that just a few weeks ago workers in 20 states saw an increase in the minimum wage. The federal minimum, $7.25, was last raised in 2009. Since then, 29 states and dozens of cities and counties have chosen to exceed the federal floor.…

Gene Nichol

February 13, 2019

President Trump, in his State of the Union speech, broadly and wrongly portrayed illegal immigrants as murderers, rapists and drug dealers who must be stopped. But Trump does not limit his anti-immigrant zeal to them. In service to Trump, authorities are now handcuffing and shackling non-citizens…

Take Back North Carolina Press Conferece - US Attorney Robert Higdon speaks at press conference.jpg

February 13, 2019

Ten states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Twenty-two other states, along with U.S. territories Puerto Rico and Guam, allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. Let's examine some hidden issues about marijuana use.

Before we start, permit me to…

Walter Williams

February 12, 2019

Serving as speaker of the House has been good for Tim Moore's bank account.

The job of speaker isn't itself lucrative: $38,151 annually, plus $104 a day for housing and food when the legislature is in session. That's a decent income for many North Carolinians, but it's not going to buy you that…

Colin Campbell

February 11, 2019

North Carolina's franchise tax is a punitive and opaque tax levied on businesses organized under one of the usual corporate forms. It is inconsistent with both good economics and good government and should be abolished.

Conceptually the franchise tax is quite simple. It is a tax on the net value or…

Roy Cordato

February 11, 2019

There is a reason why most rural communities in North Carolina do not have broadband speeds of 25 megabytes per second, even after the state has spent more than $500 million on infrastructure over the last 10 years.

According to internet service providers, or ISPs, it is simply not profitable to…


February 11, 2019

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Despite threats, pleas, and entreaties from senators and citizens, Democrats and Republicans, former governors and most of the General Assembly, Ralph Northam remains Virginia’s chief executive — at least the last time we checked. And it appears, according to the…

315 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 32
        Next Page»   Last Page»