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How to preserve the American republic? The Constitution and originalist justices like Amy Coney Barrett

John Kass, Tribune Content Agency on

About packing the Supreme Court, adding members, which would delegitimize the court and turn it into an auxiliary of the legislature. That’s not exactly toppling a statue of some forgotten abolitionist in a hysterical mob frenzy. But it is about doing greater violence by other means.

And the rest of us? Many of us don’t know our own history even as it is now being changed, deconstructed by politics, in the public schools of our children. Generations of Americans were not taught rudimentary civics. Now we see the result.

Trump is a thoroughly transactional man whose temperament and braggadocio is off-putting. I don’t think there’s a conservative bone in those barbaric Twitter thumbs of his. But as to the Supreme Court and federal judges, he kept his promise. He made his mark.

On the first day of her Senate hearings, Justice Barrett was asked to define what being an “originalist” meant.

“In English that means that I interpret the Constitution as a law,” she said, “and that I interpret its text as text, and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. So that meaning doesn’t change over time and it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it.”

Exactly.

 

The framers understood. And so does she.

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(John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. His e-mail address is jskass@chicagotribune.com, and his Twitter handle is @john_kass.)

©2020 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

 

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