Few men who have lived in recent years embodied the spirit of the Constitution more than Justice Antonin Scalia who passed away earlier today. The brilliant jurist was one of my inspirations to study the Constitution since I was young, but his stirring words in his opinions and speeches during his final year are what prompted me to write a book on judicial reform. On a personal level, I haven’t been this devastated over the death of a public figure since Ronald Reagan.
Scalia’s final year was spent ominously warning about the threat of the court to democracy, most profoundly manifest through its promotion of “social transformation without representation.” Ironically, his untimely demise has illustrated his worst concerns and embodies his ominous warning.
The entire political world is now plunged into turmoil over the question as to who will appoint his replacement and how that effects every important social and political question of our time. Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, the very fact that so much is resting on the balance of the court should concern you. The courts were never granted the power to decide every major societal or political question. Judges were supposed to interpret the laws, not remake them. They were to have “neither force nor will,” in the words of Alexander Hamilton. That the entire future of our country should rest on the controversy of replacing a single judge demonstrates how far we have moved from our Founding vision.
As Scalia always asserted, a democracy means that the political decisions and social questions are to be decided by the people through their elected representatives. That is why representatives are elected and judges are not. Judges cannot have the benefit of elected officials without standing for election.
Following the marriage decision last year, Scalia delivered a number of speeches in which he candidly stated that the court was always liberal and lawless from the day he began serving but had only gotten worse. The marriage decision, he noted, was the final frontier at the bottom of the slope of judicial tyranny.
Undoubtedly, we must block Obama from appointing any replacement and we must certainly force the next [Republican] president to appoint only someone who will adhere to the Constitution as it was originally adopted and someone who is willing to overturn lawless precedent to restore its original supremacy. However, what is more important is to honor Scalia’s legacy by pushing long-term judicial reform to restore the scope and jurisdiction of the court to its original construction. This is certainly a goal to which I plan to dedicate the rest of my career.
One could sense Scalia’s growing frustration with the perverted and flawed laws of man on this world in recent years. He is now with the ultimate King who created the perfect set of laws. And he is now united with the Founders of this great nation who are undoubtedly dazzled by a man who was so committed to upholding their foundation of democracy over 200 years later, even when it was no longer in vogue.
The rallying cry of “no taxation without representation” spawned our revolution. Let’s pick up Scalia’s rallying cry of “no social transformation without representation” to restore the principles of that revolution.
May God comfort his wife of 55 years, Maureen, and his nine children.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.