‘Wait, It Gets Worse’: Gorsuch Explains Why It’s Dangerous to Ditch the Original Meaning of the Constitution

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: President Donald Trump points to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day Gorsuch, 49, was sworn in as the 113th Associate Justice in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch explained why those who stray from originalist interpretations of the Constitution could be making things worse in the United States.

Constitutional originalists believe that the articles and amendments to the Constitution should be considered to mean what they meant at the time they were written. Justices like Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and the late Justice Antonin Scalia champion this view, while others, like Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, believe the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” and can adapt to present-day situations.

During an interview with the Washington Examiner, Gorsuch outlined why he believes viewing the Constitution as a “living document” could result in rights being “diminished” because the courts write into the Constitution something the original writers never intended.

“When that happens, your rights get diminished and the Constitution gets amended in ways you never agreed to,” said Gorsuch, later adding, “Your rights get lost when you depart from the original meaning. And then sometimes, wait, it gets worse. Not only does it take stuff away, it puts stuff in there that isn’t.”

He noted that he doesn’t believe important legal outcomes should be interpreted into law by “nine older people sitting in Washington making stuff up.”

Gorsuch explained that he believes Supreme Court justices should be thought of as “custodians,” not legislators. He noted that justices should just keep laws in their original form, rather than rewriting them to whatever the current time demands.

“Our job is to make sure this amazing Constitution and the laws that other people have adopted, not us, they’re not ours, we’re just custodians,” Gorsuch told the Examiner. “We’re keepers of that.”

Gorsuch is one of two justices placed on the bench by President Donald Trump. His seat was vacated by the death of Justice Scalia and kept open by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who refused to hold a vote on Judge Merrick Garland, a nominee chosen by President Barack Obama at the end of his presidency.

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General Confusion
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“our God-given rights” Jeffrey Moore

You are confused. We have NO god-given rights. How ridiculous!

Sherri
Member

Thank God Trump picked him!!!

Jeffrey Moore
Member

I’m also an originalist with the Bible. Our inventions and technology cannot and do not change the Word of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, the love of God, or the help He provides. Nor can inventions, technology, or opinions change the structure of an honest republic, our God-given rights, true freedom, or true liberty.

Craig
Member

Brandeis and Frankfurter were the first two to propound the idea of the Constitution is a living and breathing document as if ascribing organic qualities would improve it. Rather, I look upon the Constitution as static while enunciating eternal truth about the nature of humans, government and power. It is just organic enough to allow amendments to it by a supermajority of ratifying states. This allows us to presumably allow for experience and wisdom to further refine it toward a more perfect union.

Shang
Guest
Shang

Once you begin to make your own interpretations of the Constitution, Bill of Rights or any other document, it immediately becomes politically charged. At least the originalists, conservative though they may be, understand the danger of interpretation for political ends. Heaven knows there has been enough reinterpretation (if not outright destruction) of history to fit the left’s narrative and agenda.

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