… is from page 35 of my late colleague Gordon Tullock’s 1993 article “Public Choice: What I Hope for the Next Twenty-five Years,” as this article is reprinted in Virginia Political Economy, which is Vol. 1 of The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock (Charles K. Rowley, ed., 2004):
The famous constitutional cases that you read in courses in constitutional law in law schools are almost exclusively cases in which the Supreme Court laid down a rule that was not in the Constitution. In many cases the rule seems to be rather inconsistent with the rest of the Constitution although, of course, in other cases it simply extends them.
DBx: Happy Constitution Day, my fellow Americans.
Gordon’s observation above – with which I completely agree – gives me the opportunity to express once again the lament that conservatives, over the past several decades, have leapt recklessly from their justifiable objection to courts’ extending the meaning and reach of the Constitution to their unjustifiable objection to courts’ defending the meaning and reach of the Constitution. Fearful of courts’ practice of reading into the Constitution meaning that is not there, conservatives themselves unwittingly and ironically joined “progressives” in reading into the Constitution meaning that is not there – namely, that, with rare exception, electoral majorities ought not be disturbed by Constitutional constraints.