Inspired by a recent concurring opinion written by Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, George Will warns of the dangers lurking in the sort of judicial deference to legislatures long advocated by many conservatives. A slice:
In Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton wrote that “the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority.” However, the presumption of statutory constitutionality has this practical consequence: Although the members of all three branches of government swear constitutional oaths, legislatures enjoy practical primacy.
But as Bolick says, only the courts can be the ultimate arbiters. Otherwise, legislatures will be the judges of the scope of their own authority. The presumption of constitutionality means that individuals “face a judicially manufactured uphill battle any time they challenge an infringement of their rights.” And the presumption permits “the legislature’s self-interested determination of its own constitutional authority.”
Mr. Trump’s judges are self-conscious originalists and textualists, and they will gradually change the jurisprudential weather. Even many of the president’s opponents concede that his appointees are some of the brightest and best-credentialed jurists appointed by any president.
Speaking of cronyism, Scott Lincicome writes wisely and informatively about the unwise and uninformed applause, from the right and left, for U.S.-government subsidies doled out to American manufacturers of semiconductors.
Along the same lines, we could engage in more trade liberalization with countries that share our core values. Penalties directed at China are confrontational; a trade liberalizing agreement among other countries is less so. Importantly, we should not characterize such an initiative as an effort to “constrain China.” It is about moving ourselves forward, not holding others back. In essence, this would be the Transpacific Partnership model, but it would be less focused on China, in terms of its geography and its content. It would include a renewed effort to liberalize trade with the European Union, as well as a trade agreement with the newly independent United Kingdom.