The Right Coast

July 10, 2005
Enlightenment at last
By Tom Smith

George Will, who likes baseball more than probably anybody, weighs in on who our next Supreme lawmaker should be. I think I see his point. He suggests, as Squire Hortence Squiggly used to say in his unpublished letters, that from the center of moderation emerges the soul of prudence, in which we must ever look for the heart of compassion, in a democratic process governed by men who should first of all be wise, and least of all trapped in the disconcerting but false light of an overweening theoretical construct. Or words to that effect.

For my money, nothing is more tedious than this pompous hunt country pseudo-conservatism. I will try to be fair and not hold Professor Will's endorsement against Judge Wilkinson. I liked the line at the Corner, though: one Lewis Powell was enough. Besides, within one hundred miles of Richmond there is so much self esteem that adding to it with a Supreme Court appointment might cause some sort of explosion, and many innocent horses would be killed.

We should all know by now that ordination by Will is no longer ecclesiastically valid. It's not 1980 anymore. Conservatives no longer have to try to impress liberals by pretending to be the really top drawer sorts, don't chew know. What we really need is a justice who will follow the law; any number of reasonable judicial philosophies will do. About this Will is just utterly wrong. He says conservatives think there is some sort of interpretive holy Grail -- I guess he's talking about originalism. From this we can infer Will thinks Scalia doesn't throw a lot of weight around the Washington social swirl. Maybe he should try to less Italian or something. In fact, conservatives are not looking for mystical certainty, just judges who won't make things up. It may be too late to change Roe, but what a good example. With apologies to Nike, the idea is, just do law. Just try to get the easy cases right. If Will had spent any time around courts, he would know this.

But the last thing we need is someone who cares about the benedictions that DC's various druids care to bestow. Give me somebody on the young side who has proven they don't give a damn what the establishment thinks of them. It's a court, not a country club. There must be at least a dozen experienced judges and scholars of the first rank who fit that bill. I know there are. Their blue blazers may be too new or gotten at the wrong place, but as they wear black robes, who cares.