Photo Credit: European University Institute
On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered a pointed but severe open smackdown to the Court’s newcomer, Justice Neil Gorsuch, one that highlighted their incompatible interpretations of the U.S. Constitution.
At LawNews.com, Colin Kalmbacher wrote that the sell happened during verbal arguments in the Gill v. Whitford redistricting case which could potentially understanding a fatal blow to narrow-minded gerrymandering in U.S. congressional districts.
Ginsburg is what’s famous as a Living Constitutionalist, i.e., a person who believes that the Constitution is a ask that must develop and change along with the people who live in the Democracy enshrined within it. This mostly places her at contingency with rigid, conservative “Originalists” like Gorsuch and the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who belong to a fundamentalist interpretation of the Constitution as it was created in 1787.
Attorney Paul M. Smith was reporting to the Court — at Ginsburg’s ask — that it must take a active role in finale narrow-minded gerrymandering, which has allowed some states to effectively hospital one-party rule.
“As Smith explained, Gorsuch tripped him up by bringing into play certain Constitutional minutiae,” Kalmbacher said, “which derailed the reason into an event for Gorsuch to explain Smith was making an evidence opposite from the evidence that was actually being made.”
“Isn’t that accurately what you’re trying to do?” Gorsuch prodded Smith.
“No,” Smith replied, adhering to the proof of his argument.
The two went back and onward before Gorsuch portentously intoned that he would like to plead “the keen matter, the Constitution,” implying that Smith’s evidence is discordant to the values slated in the Constitution.
He then launched into a involved and lofty bit of legalistic sleight-of-hand, arguing, “If you demeanour at the Fifteenth Amendment, you demeanour at the Nineteenth Amendment, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, and even the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2, says Congress has the power, when state legislators don’t yield the right to opinion equally, to intermix congressional representation. Aren’t those all textual indications in the Constitution itself that maybe we ought to be cautious about stepping in here?”
“What Gorsuch was trying to promulgate here is a contempt for using the courts to scold an purported wrong when the Constitution theoretically provides avenues for redress,” Kalmbacher explained.
Smith replied that it is good within the court’s reach to use “the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment to umpire the violent supervision of state elections by state government.”
As Gorsuch’s harangue escalated and he and Smith seemed to be held in a hopeless deadlock, Ginsburg asked, “Where did one-person/one-vote come from?”
The answer, as Kalmbacher noted, is a brusque reprove of Originalism. The right of the opinion to every citizen is not enshrined in the Constitution itself, but “rather it was review into U.S. Constitutional law by Chief Justice Earl Warren around the case of Reynolds v. Sims. This, to be sure, is a finish desertion of Gorsuch’s Constitutional worldview.”
Touché, Madame Justice.