Tag: Robert George

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Having been involved in special congressional elections, they are often hard to poll and analyze. They typically aren’t “bellwethers” until they are. This is especially true for special elections in districts that coincide with decennial redistricting. That can be very confusing. An especially painful memory involves a special election I helped co-manage. In 1985, following […]

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The Abortion War’s Next Battlefront: Building a Culture of Life


When the Supreme Court overturned the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade decision on June 24, it didn’t “settle” the issue of abortion in America. SCOTUS moved the battleground from the courts – where the issue never belonged, and most people don’t want it – to their elected representatives. SCOTUS held that they didn’t have the authority to make policy on abortion – just who should make it.

Annual “March for Life” protester in Washington, DC (Reuters photo, via National Review magazine)

But other consequences are emerging as well. First, reasonable people – not the ones yelling “shout your abortion!” – are thinking and talking with each other. And as they do, they’re confronting the fundamental question – is it a child? And if it is – the science is undeniable, unless you believe the evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium – then what is the government’s role in protecting innocent human life?

Contra Robert George


Madison’s Notes is a good podcast, and the latest episode is an interesting one — interesting not so much for its content, but for what it reveals about the conservative intellectual establishment. What it reveals is, of course, futility.

This particular episode is a recording of an event held in September and sponsored by Princeton University. The event, which featured back-to-back talks by Robert George and Ryan T. Anderson, was titled “The Baby and the Bathwater: Toward a Recovery of the American Idea” and was pitched as a rebuttal to the growing contingent of post-liberals on the right: the likes of Sohrab Ahmari and Patrick Deneen. The right shouldn’t throw aside the small-l liberal constitutional tradition, argue George and Anderson. We must “stay the course” and “keep the faith.”

Peter Robinson and the Constitutional Complexities of Gay Marriage


Peter Robinson’s post yesterday cites Robert George’s passionate attack on claims for the constitutionality of gay marriage, wherein George argues that this weighty issue should be decided analytically at the wholesale level. He looks at what he, and many others, think to be bad decisions by an activist Supreme Court and urges that Republicans, both in and out of government, should treat the decision “as an anti-constitutional and illegitimate ruling in which the judiciary has attempted to usurp the authority of the people and their elected representatives.”

This is a very radical claim and the effort to upset the doctrine of judicial supremacy, far from being confined to this decision, could easily be extended to any other ruling that is subject to extensive political disputation. Professor George seeks to make this argument by analogizing the situation with gay marriage to earlier cases. Here’s the relevant section that Peter quoted:

Calling Richard Epstein and John Yoo, or, if the Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage, How Should We Respond?


shutterstock_103670531Constitutional scholar Robert P. George, writing in First Things:

Dred Scott v. Sandford was the infamous case in which the Supreme Court of the United States, usurping the constitutional authority of the people acting through their elected representatives in Congress, purported to deny the power of the United States to prohibit slavery in the federal territories. It is very much worth recalling that Dred Scott was not just a case about slavery. It was a case about the scope and limits of judicial power. It was a case in which judges, lacking any warrant in the text, structure, logic, or historical understanding of the Constitution, attempted to impose their own favored resolution of a morally charged debate about public policy on the entire nation.

The Supreme Court did it again in 1905 in the case of Lochner v. New York (invalidating a worker protection statute enacted by the state legislature), and then several more times in the Warren Court era, culminating in Roe v. Wade—the Dred Scott decision of our own time. Now we face the prospect of yet another Dred Scott-type decision—this time on the question of marriage. I say that, not because same-sex relationships are the moral equivalent of slavery—they are not—but because five justices seem to be signaling that they will once again legislate from the bench by imposing, without constitutional warrant, their own beliefs about the nature and proper definition of marriage on the entire country.