Cato Supreme Court Review 2005-2006

By Roger Pilon; Robert A. Levy et al. | Go to book overview

FOREWORD
Politics and Law, Again

Roger Pilon*

The Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies is pleased to publish this fifth volume of the Cato Supreme Court Review, an annual critique of the Court’s most important decisions from the term just ended, plus a look at the cases ahead all from a classical Madisonian perspective, grounded in the nation’s first principles, liberty and limited government. We release this volume each year at Cato’s annual Constitution Day conference. And each year in this space I discuss briefly a theme that seemed to emerge from the Court’s term or from the larger setting in which the term unfolded.

A year ago, with the Roberts hearings looming immediately before us and several stormy years of appellate court confirmation hearings just behind us, I focused on Politics and Law, arguing that our judicial confirmation hearings had become so “political” because so much of the twentieth century’s constitutional jurisprudence had amounted to politics trumping law. With that politicization of the Constitution illustrated by several cases that term we should expect nothing less than politicized confirmation hearings.

In the year since then, much has happened, of course. The ink was hardly dry on last year’s Review when Chief Justice Rehnquist died. Judge Roberts was then nominated to be chief justice, and Judge Alito was nominated to fill the O’Connor seat for which Roberts had originally been nominated. Their hearings followed, with some delay in the case of Judge Alito’s. The hearings were long and stormy, unlike most hearings in the past, and they served to illustrate again how politics today so dominates law.

*Vice President for Legal Affairs; B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies; Director, Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute.

-vii-

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