Carrie Severino, the president of Judicial Crisis Network and co-author with Federalist Editor in Chief Mollie Hemingway of “Justice on Trial,” said in a press briefing Thursday that this Supreme Court term “has been a resounding win for the rule of law” as the justices held to principles of originalism despite intimidation and hostility that culminated in an attempted assassination.
Severino praised the court for ruling based on “original understanding of rights,” instead of a “judge-made balancing test” that gives a huge amount of authority to the courts because such tests can be used to achieve almost any outcome depending on how judges weight different factors. She said the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson was another victory for the rule of law because, unlike the dissent, the majority opinion didn’t “beat around the bush” by considering political effects.
Severino also addressed the concern that Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion could lead to the court overturning its decisions on contraception and same-sex marriage. She said his argument was not against the court’s decisions but against the reasoning the court had used to arrive at them.
According to Severino, Thomas wasn’t arguing that those rights weren’t defensible but that “the substantive due process line of reasoning should be reconsidered.” She said this illegitimate line of reasoning essentially gives the court a “blank check to read into the Constitution” and was used in Dred Scott v. Sandford to argue that a slave was property.
She said the court has changed a lot in the time Thomas has been on it. “He really is a leader on this court in a very significant way.”
Severino said the court this term served as a critical check and balance on the other two branches of government, which should be a reminder of how important judicial nominations are. In a nod to Benjamin Franklin’s quote about the republic, Severino said “We have an originalist court, if we can keep it.”
Olivia Hajicek is an intern at The Federalist and a junior at Hillsdale College studying history and journalism. She has covered campus and city news as a reporter for The Hillsdale Collegian. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.