Who Should Reign Supreme? Reason Asks Libertarian Legal Experts: Who Are Your Favorites-Past, Present, and Future-On the Nation's Highest Court?

Reason, July 2005 | Go to article overview

Who Should Reign Supreme? Reason Asks Libertarian Legal Experts: Who Are Your Favorites-Past, Present, and Future-On the Nation's Highest Court?


During the next three years, George W. Bush will certainly nominate one and perhaps as many as three new Supreme Court justices. Any one of those nominations could set off a battle comparable to the political donnybrooks over Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork; just one could be enough to shift the balance of power on the bench.

With senatorial filibustering over lower-court appointees filling the headlines as of print time, we'll leave the question of what will happen for another day. For our special courts issue, we asked several legal experts whom they'd like to see on the court. We also asked whom they

liked best on the current court and who was their favorite Supreme Court justice of all time. Our participants range from the far left to the hard right, but they're all libertarians in whole or in part.

A lawyerly bunch, some respondents chose not to answer every question (we're not sure why, but those with cases pending in front of the Court seemed especially reluctant to name a current fave), but they all gave us interesting--and sometimes radically different--responses.

Andrew Napolitano

Napolitano, the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in New Jersey history, is a senior judicial analyst for Fox News and the author of Constitutional Chaos (2004).

Nominees for the Court: Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; Ron Paul, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Texas).

All three of my nominees share some truly invaluable traits. Each has successfully triumphed over a form of tyranny: Kozinski escaped from Eastern European communism, George neutralized a liberal Princeton faculty, and Paul has resisted the Republican House leadership. Each believes the Constitution means what it says; that is, that the federal government is legally limited to the 18 specific powers given to it in the Constitution, and that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are in fact guaranteed and cannot be taken away by Congress or the executive branch. They all hold that life begins at conception. They also believe that our rights are pre-political, hence natural, hence they come from God, not the government, not the consent of the governed, and not from any other source. Finally, and just as important as all of the above, each of my nominees possesses great personal courage.

Favorite sitting Supreme Court justice: Antonin Scalia, for writing in Printz v. United States (1997) that the Constitution confers upon the Congress "not all governmental powers, but only discrete, enumerated ones."

All-time favorite Supreme Court justice: George Sutherland, for writing in his dissent in Home Bldg. & Loan v. Blaisdell (1934) that "whether the legislation under review is wise or unwise is a matter with which we have nothing to do. Whether it is likely to work well or work ill presents a question entirely irrelevant to the issue. The only legitimate inquiry we can make is whether it is constitutional. If it is not, its virtues, if it have any, cannot save it; if it is, its faults cannot be invoked to accomplish its destruction. If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned."

Nadine Strossen

Strossen is a professor at New York Law School and the president of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Favorite sitting Supreme Court justice: David H. Souter. His well-researched, thoughtful opinions reflect the kind of classic conservatism that respects individual freedom and restricts government power to undermine it. His opinions also make clear that he is conscientiously engaging in intellectually honest, rigorous analysis, applying governing precedents and principles to the particular facts, rather than providing post hoc rationalizations for conclusions that result from personal policy preferences. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Who Should Reign Supreme? Reason Asks Libertarian Legal Experts: Who Are Your Favorites-Past, Present, and Future-On the Nation's Highest Court?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.