Gorsuch and the Rule of Law

Posted: Apr 10, 2017 12:01 AM
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Judge Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed as an associate justice to the United States Supreme Court. Americans on both sides of the aisle should be pleased and proud of the Senate’s confirmation. Sophisticated arguments have been levied back and forth over the propriety of Judge Gorsuch, and liberals and conservatives both claim their support or opposition are in accordance with the “rule of law.”

What does the “rule of law” actually mean? It means, simply, that we are a nation of rules not of rulers. This philosophy and understanding is a hallmark of American government. Consider this analogy: When playing a board game, like chess for instance, there is a specific set of rules that applies to every game. Regardless of the players, the strategies that they employ, who is cheering for Player 1 or Player 2, the rules apply equally and fairly and are dictated to the players by the rulebook or “supreme laws” of the game.

Similarly, our U.S. Constitution functions like a rulebook. It is the supreme law of our land, and dictates the limited, specific powers that we the people, by our consent, have given to the federal government to operate. Within Article III of the U.S. Constitution, certain powers and specific, limited rules apply to the judicial branch. Within the laws and rules Congress and the States legislate through their constitutional authority, our judicial branch is vested with the power only to apply that law to cases that come before the courts.

The Democrats are opposed Judge Gorsuch’s nomination because they want judges who are willing to change the rulebook. Liberals want to change the rules of any given political issue during the “chess game” to control the outcome of who wins. This philosophy is expressly against the rule of law. Our Founders established a constitutional republic that was specifically not subject to the whim of a sovereign ruler like a king (or a 9-member Supreme Court), so that our individual, unalienable rights were predictably protected.

We should all love rules and want rules. Rules preserve the integrity of the game. Rules ensure that the fatness of one’s pocketbook is irrelevant. Rules ensure the hallmark of our courts is equal justice under the law. The rule of law preserves and protects the integrity of our courts. The rule of law guarantees that Player 1 and Player 2 have fair and equal access to justice.

Judge Gorsuch recognizes this limited role and specific power of the Supreme Court, and has a splendid track record on the Tenth Circuit for following the rules of the law, rather than being an activist for a specific outcome. His most telling and brilliant response during the confirmation hearings reiterated this commitment when he said, “If you don’t like my rulings based on the law, write better laws.” Essentially, if you don’t like the rules of the game, create better, more constitutionally sound laws.

Democrats are counting on the American people to not understand how “the rule of law” actually works and functions in a constitutional republic to be predictablejust, and full of integrity. Integrity simply means being whole and undivided. Honest. Moral. Right. Fair. Everything a court of justice should be.

We shouldn’t want justices on the Supreme Court who are advocates for specific policy interests and political causes. Policy and political perspective and partisanship is reserved through our rule of law, our U.S. Constitution, to the legislative branch. Our courts must be under the U.S. Constitution, and we should not have justices that think they can reach up and over our rule of law in favor of Player 1 or Player 2’s “cause.”

Judge Gorsuch is what the law calls a fair dealer. Neither side should want an activist if we are truly conserving our rule of law and justice in American jurisprudence. For this reason, all Americans should celebrate the next step in our history protecting our Constitution and the rule of law in the confirmation of a superb associate justice.