America According to the Gospel of Originalism; Or Why I Never See Originalists In the Hood, Only in the Club
I. Oh, I Get It, You Biggie and He’s Puffy
On the last day of January 2017, the 45th President of the United States announced his pick for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court of the United States: Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch comes factory-made for a seat on SCOTUS. This scion of conservative nobility, whose record has already faced scrutiny, can be counted on as a reliably Republican vote. The Scalia comparisons are facile—he is more a jurist’s jurist than his vituperatively Catholic predecessor/progenitor—but apt. His neoconfederate patterning fits the hole carved in the Republicans’ judicial vision by Scalia’s death. The seat was an Originalist’s, so the argument goes that it should remain an Originalist’s, which thinking is completely in keeping with a party that has, ever since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, styled itself as the enemy of progress, a party for whom the Constitution is ringed by a picket fence. The people for whom its protections were meant are ensconced safely within while the rest of us fend for ourselves outside, forgotten, doing our best to avoid the lesser angels of America’s nature.
At its core, that is the province of Originalism as a method of interpreting the Constitution. The vintage Instagram filter, sepia-toned, nostalgic, ever the attempt to return to a better time. Law schools are where orignalist reasoning finds its greatest praise, and it should be no coincidence that one would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere a higher concentration of intellectual onanists.
The Supreme Court Bench is hardly the place for masturbation.