If the Constitution is law, then presumably its meaning, like that of all other law, is the meaning the lawmakers were understood to have intended. If the Constitution is law, then presumably, like all other law, the meaning the lawmakers intended is as binding upon judges as it is upon legislatures and executives. There is no other sense in which the Constitution can be what article VI proclaims it to be: “Law….” This means, of course, that a judge, no matter on what court he sits, may never create new
constitutional rights or destroy old ones. Any time he does so, he violates not
only the limits to his own authority but, and for that reason, also violates the
rights of the legislature and the people….the philosophy of original understanding is thus a necessary inference from the structure of government apparent on the face of the Constitution.
Robert Bork, one of the titans of American Law, has died. The foremost expert on anti-trust, and a champion of originalism in regard to the Constitution, Bork was appointed by President Reagan to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In 1987 he was nominated by Reagan for the Supreme Court. In a campaign of lies and personal vilification spearheaded, fittingly enough, by Senator Edward M. Kennedy his nomination was defeated. If he had been confirmed, Roe v. Wade would now be merely a bitter memory.
After he was defeated he wrote many books and articles on the law and cogent analysis of the American contemporary scene. His Slouching Towards Gomorrah was an on target look at how moral decay leads inevitably to political and legal decay. He converted to Catholicism in 2003. Go here to read all about it. In a time of intellectual laziness and moral collapse Bork was a throwback to better days of intellectual rigor and absolute integrity. He was an honest and upright Judge and a good man and we are poorer for his loss. May he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.