Full Episode Transcript
- [RDV] We believe and have always believed in this country that man was created in the image of God, that he was given talents and responsibilities and was instructed to use them to make this world a better place in which to live. And you see, this is the really great thing of America.
- It’s time to discover what binds us together and finding it has the power to transform our world. That’s what I believe. How about you? Well, welcome back to Believe! everybody. Hello and welcome. We’re glad to have you with us. Today, we have a fascinating topic and a wonderful guest to help us think through it a little bit more differently. We’re asking the question today is the Supreme Court on the right track or even more generally, the judicial branch. We have a unique government structure. And very important for those of us, as Americans, it’s important for us to understand how that structure works and we may have memories from our history or from being young of how our government works, but today’s world, lots of things get covered different ways and there’s different expectations that people have of our institutions of government. And so we have an incredible friend, a gentleman named Leonard Leo, who is with us here today. Leonard is the co-chair of the Federalist Society and Leonard has worked with that organization for over 25 years, has worked in a variety of government capacities with President Trump, with President Bush, and in many other different capacities. So Leonard, welcome to Believe!. We’re thrilled to have you here.
- Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be with you.
- Well Leonard, you know more than anybody about our judicial structure and the Supreme Court, but why don’t you take a little bit first, tell us a little bit about the Federalist Society, tell us a little bit about your personal interest in this space. Our conversations and with our audience is all about helping people learn about something so they can get to a place where they believe something, where they feel they’ve learned something, can have a belief system and a belief structure. Help us understand how you got engaged with this topic personally and some of the work that you’ve done and the work of the Federalist Society.
- Sure. Well, I first became interested in the courts and in the Constitution well before law school. But really what motivated me to become so actively involved in helping to transform the judiciary and to become involved in the cause for our Constitution was the idea that basically respecting and enforcing the limitations of government contained in our Constitution was really, in my view, the very best way to preserve the dignity and worth of all people. You can have a long list of rights, and as you know, the Soviet Union did, it had over 100 provisions that supposedly guaranteed rights, but without a structure that limits, constrains, and defines the power of the government, those rights are mere parchment barriers. They don’t really mean anything. You have to have structural limitations on government power that are enforceable. And so this concern about the dignity and worth of people and the way in which the limits on government power contained in our Constitution really were the first best defense of that dignity and worth of people was what got me involved in the law and in the Constitution and in the issue of the courts. And that’s why I, many years back, got involved with the Federalist Society, which was founded in 1982, really as a way of trying to introduce the American people, and in particular, the legal culture to the idea that we had to return to our Constitution as it was originally written, we had to return to the idea that limits on government power were the way to protect freedom, dignity, and worth, personal responsibility. And it was all about making sure that the courts did its job, interpreted what was in the Constitution, but didn’t make things up that weren’t in it, that society was all about making sure that the other branches of our government respected their boundaries and that there was a healthy role for the states in our federal system of government. And all of this again, was meant to ensure that government didn’t trample on the dignity and worth of people and giving people the opportunity to pursue the callings that they had and the opportunities that they had in life.
- Wow. Well you have laid out so many important elements just as you go through that a little bit and you talk about your interest in that. Was there anything that particularly happened in your life? Did you just observe or did you see something that, was there a spark at some point? And I’m, again, trying to compare to our listeners, was there a spark of something in their life that gets them intrigued in this topic? Was there anything like that or did you just observe it and always have that sort of passion?
- Well, I think there were two things. One was probably very personal and the other one was more intellectual or academic. On the personal side, my dad passed away when I was very young and so for a period of time,
- I’m sorry.
- my grandfather raised me. He was an immigrant, came from from Italy, and he was really the epitome of the American dream, right? He had this opportunity here that he wouldn’t have had probably anywhere else in the world. This was person who came here at 14 years old, didn’t know English, didn’t know how to read, ended up becoming a senior executive at Brooks Brothers later in his life. And really, it was through the sweat of his brow and it was the freedom and opportunity that our country gave him that I think really helped him become who he was. And of course his own work ethic and his sense of humility and determination, but there’s no question that the opportunities that he was able to avail himself of here because of our freedom and our opportunity, which is guaranteed by our Constitution, was very important. And that stuck with me as a child. And quite often, he talked about how great our country was and what he witnessed here as someone who immigrated from Southern Europe. So that was kind of the personal experience and obviously that formed me at an early age. And then when I went to college, I went to Cornell University and I studied under a number of very distinguished government political science professors who were trained in what we call the Straussian school. That was a philosophical school that was very much embedded in the ideals of the American founding and our Constitution and the Western cultural tradition. And I began to become introduced while in college to what was happening at the Supreme Court. We had a court that was not interpreting the Constitution according to its words and its original meaning. We had institutions of government that were not respecting their boundaries. And it became apparent to me that this Constitution that protected freedom and opportunity and human dignity through limits on government power really wasn’t having the kind of effect and impact that it was supposed to have. And that a lot of that problem fell at the feet of the Supreme Court and a federal judiciary that wasn’t doing its job the way it was supposed to do. And so that inspired me to think seriously about finding a way to become involved in the law and in the legal culture.
- Wow, that’s fascinating. Thank you for sharing that story about your grandfather. You know, it’s personal. This is, and I’ve had wonderful conversations with many who have that story of the American dream, of people living it, and we’ve asked in some previous episodes is the American dream still alive and well today? And you’re at the forefront of protecting it and making sure it still is, or certainly that opportunity for it is. Can we dive down a little bit, you’ve talked about this idea of the limits on the size or the role and the scope of government and the structure in there. And many times people will talk about three branches of government, but help us, can you help us understand the real importance and why our founders took such time to separate powers and even with it, the idea of federalism, of the difference between the states and the federal government. But it help us understand so we can have a good background of why that was put in the first place and then we can connect it to why it’s so important for us still today.
- Well really, the Constitution is just grounded in an understanding of human nature. And the idea is that if you don’t constrain power and authority, if you don’t place limits on the discretion that someone can exercise, there will be an enormous temptation for people in leadership or people in power to abuse their authority, sometimes for evil or bad reasons, or for some sometimes because they think they’re doing good. But the point is that they will naturally be tempted to extend their authority beyond what is permissible and beyond what is appropriate if what you’re trying to do is give people the space they need to be who they are supposed to be and to take up the callings that they may have in life. And so when you look at the way the founders structured our government, it was with this understanding in mind that if you put the power of legislating and the power of enforcing the law and the power of judging in one set of hands, the risk of abusing peoples’ freedoms, the risk of constraining peoples’ talents and abilities, the risk of offending their dignity and their worth was much greater. And of course, that’s the experience we have. If you’re even the most casual student of human history, going all the way back to the early civilizations, there have been very, very few ruling governments or regimes through the course of human civilization that have succeeded in preserving the dignity and worth of the human person. And it’s really only been those regimes that have had the kinds of constraints and divisions on government power that we’re talking about where the human condition has been better, has flourished, and has prospered because of the limitations on the power of government and the ability to enforce those limitations when they’re transgressed.
- So, so.
- The founder understood this, right? They knew, if you read the Federalist Papers, they talk a lot about the regimes of Western civilization and some of the good things and not so good things that all of those regimes had. And they borrowed from all of that experience to build this government that had the bells and whistles attached to it that would ensure that that people were free and imbued with dignity.
- Yeah, yeah. Thank you for going back and helping us understand the significance and the work that went into the Constitution and the evaluation of civilization or history before and trying to take the best of every idea and make sure we leave the worst on the side of the road if you will. Can you help us? So let’s kind of get, you know, fast forward again, you talked about some of the things that were driving you towards this direction in your life. Can you give us some of those examples? What were the things that you saw in the Supreme Court where boundaries were not being respected, where power was not being limited in an appropriate way and how it had an impact on human dignity and freedom? Give us a couple examples, again, to set the tone in our mind, some of the things that you saw at that time, and then we’ll keep kind of moving ourselves forward to maybe start talking about a few things closer to today.
- Well, I think there are a number of different areas. First of all, because the court, because the Supreme Court in particular, wasn’t respecting the limits on its power by interpreting the Constitution as it’s written and interpreting the Bill of Rights as it’s written, there were many areas of constitutional law that just were totally messed up. We had very inappropriate constraints on the freedom of religion because of very poor decisions rendered by the court regarding the establishment and the free exercise clause. And of course, that had an enormous impact on freedom of conscience, which in turn has enormous impact on the dignity and worth of the human person, perhaps more than anything else. We had a court that decided to take onto itself the power to judge the propriety of many different aspects of social policy in areas like reproductive health, sexual freedom, privacy, and so forth. Those were decisions that should have been left to the political branches. And people, reasonable people, in the political world could have made their views known and could have developed the policies that best suited them in the various states around our country. And then there was just the structural problems at the federal level, a versioning, growing, administrative state that in many instances, wielded legislative executive and judicial power all at once, depriving the elected political branches of much of the discretion to make policy that the Constitution expects of them, depriving states of much of a discretion that they have to chart courses for their own citizens. This isn’t about a particular policy agenda, this isn’t about whether you like religion or don’t like religion, like abortion or don’t like abortion, like capitalism or don’t like capitalism, like regulation of the environment or don’t like regulation of environment, none of what I’m talking about is normative in the sense that it dictates a certain result. What I’m saying is we try to leave things as best we can to the political branches, that’s where most decisions, when government decisions need to be made, that’s where most decisions ought to be made. And to the extent possible, we allow those decisions to be made at as local a level as possible because it allows the greatest amount of participatory democracy when you do that. And so that’s how our system was devised. And what I saw in the 1980s was a trend in a completely opposite direction. So for me, it was more about how do we restore our democracy, our republic, in ways that give people the freedom, discretion, choice, political autonomy that they were intended to have under our Constitution. And then let the political process play out the way it will. You know, if progressives in our country have the votes for certain kinds of regulation or certain kinds of reproductive and sexual freedom, then fine, that’s the way our country’s gonna move. If they don’t, then they lose. But the Constitution isn’t a ratchet for certain kinds of policy. It’s a document that creates a process that ensures the people have discretion and authority to make most decisions. And of course, the Constitution sets boundaries so the people can’t do certain things. And of course the first three articles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights explain that. And if you look carefully at the language of those provisions and the original meaning, you can get some sense for what those boundaries are and they’re healthy boundaries and they need to be followed.
- Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s very helpful as you go through those sorts of things and let me try to explore a couple issues in there. One of the things that it seems there’s a lot of discussion about today is legislating from the bench, that people are looking to judges to make law or to advocate one thing or another. I think that’s what you’re referring to is what you saw in the ’80s. And it seems to me, there might be an example, I’ll still take a somewhat controversial example, but maybe less so, of with regard to immigration. Immigration, many tenants are the principles of an immigration policy from data that I’ve seen are widely agreed across the country that we wanna welcome people in and there should be a process, ’cause some of those kind of basic elements and principles with regard to immigration, but yet Congress doesn’t seem to act on them and we end up with a lot of fights either with one administration has an executive order one way and the next administration rescinds it and has an executive order the other way and it just tends to go back and forth and then the courts get involved in trying to get engaged in that. But doesn’t it just make sense for Congress to write the new law, review the things that many of them on both sides complain about that they see lacking currently? Am I just missing something like that or talk about a little bit what Congress can do to help, if you will, the judicial branch to stay in its lane. Are there things that it can do?
- Here’s part of the problem, Congress right now doesn’t have as much of an incentive to do its job. Because if you have courts that are going to make all the tough calls for you and if you have an administrative state that’s gonna make all the tough decisions for you, all you have to do is show up, engage in lofty platitudes, give your floor speeches, shake hands, look good on TV, but you don’t have to legislate, you don’t have to govern. And that’s the problem that we’ve had in our country in part because courts just don’t wanna follow the Constitution. When the court allows the administrative state and its own judges to legislate, to take all the tough questions and decide them on their own, and not require Congress to do its job constitutionally, Congress doesn’t have an incentive to do its job. And of course, what would you expect if someone has to run for office every two years or every six years, right? You know, there’s a real incentive to pass the buck and not have to make those tough decisions that some people may not like. And that’s what’s happened since the 1960s or 1970s, Congress has abdicated a lot of its responsibility, it’s been able to do that because it’s had a Supreme Court that has historically allowed the administrative state to legislate and it’s had a Supreme Court that has decided that it will legislate itself. When you take that away, there’s no place else for anybody to go but Congress or the state legislatures. And that’s what you want, right? That’s what you want. Because right now, who can the people hold accountable? Congress can just say, “Well, that’s not my fault. The administrative agencies did that.” “Well, that’s not my fault. The courts did that.” And so Congress can pass the buck. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard senators and members of the house say, “Oh, we don’t have to decide that question. The agency will deal with that.” “We don’t have to decide that question. A judge will interpret what we wrote.” No, article one, section one, the legislative power rests in a Congress, not in a judge, not an agency bureaucrat. And that’s a big part of the problem that we’ve had. And again, that doesn’t say anything about the outcome of a particular policy battle, right? This is not about outcomes, this is about who decides, and we shouldn’t be afraid of that. Both sides, progressives and conservatives, should not be afraid of the democratic process and allowing the American people and their elected representatives to sort through the tough questions.
- Right, right. Well, and that’s what brings everything closer to us, right? Because those elected representatives have to come and talk, they have town halls, people get mad, people that welcome them, whatever the case may be, if they’re liked or disliked, but the more you get into the administrative state and to the judiciary, it’s removed from the citizens, isn’t it?
- Yeah, it removes elected leaders from responsibility for what’s happening and it creates a mismatch in terms of transparency and accountability in our government. It’s a big problem. The founders recognized that problem, they understood it. And they tried to do something about it in the way they structured our government.
- Yeah, yeah. And this may give a good time for us to, we’re back and forth in time to some more current issues and then kind of going back to the founding, but talk about this concept, and I think there’s a term that a lot of us will hear, originalism or textualism or going back to reading what the document said, help us understand what that is. I think there’s another term that people use, they talk about like the living Constitution or making it current with where we are today, because there’s a lot of things in the history of our country that were not so good and things that we did is a nation that, yeah, we don’t look back necessarily with pride. We may have learned from them or gone through or continue to carry the scars from some of those things in the early days. So help us understand what that term means, originalism. How could we think about it?
- It’s a very simple concept. It’s basically you’re interpreting the Constitution and the laws of the United States according to the plain and ordinary meaning of the words at the time the document was adopted. It’s just that simple. It’s how you interpret any other document that you deal with on a regular and ordinary basis. And through much of American history, it was understood that that was how you interpreted legal texts. It’s not a tough concept. And the reason that concept is so important is because if you require judges to stick to the meaning of a document according to its words as they were understood at the time of adoption, a judge cannot begin to engage in freelancing, can’t begin to engage in his own policy making. And that’s why originalism is so important, it’s because it preserves the ability of the American people and its elected representatives to chart a course for our country. You know, we’ve had periods in our history where very conservative jurists failed to respect the limits placed upon their power and failed to interpret the Constitution according to its original meeting in its text. You know, the Dred Scott decision of the 19th century, which legitimized the practice of slavery was a decision that was not grounded in our Constitution’s original meaning and text. And there’s a wonderful dissent in that decision written by Benjamin Curtis that explains that if the majority of the court, led by then Chief Justice Taney, if the majority of the court had respected the original meaning of the Constitution and if the court had respected the very basic constitutional restraints on its power, that decision would’ve come out the other way. And of course, subsequent to that decision, we fought a very bloody civil war to right that wrong. And then ultimately adopted the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution as a way of dealing with the scourge of slavery in our country. But the pain of that period in history was in part brought up out by a Supreme Court that did not respect the original meaning of the Constitution.
- Oh, wow.
- In part.
- Yeah, interesting. And you also connect the cost and the suffering that goes along with the lack of respect of the original text as you see it, but there’s others. What would motivate somebody to want to go outside of those boundaries? What would motivated a jurist to want to go outside of those boundaries to, in effect, legislate from the bench? And you’ve talked about that a little bit in the view of it doesn’t matter, right or left, or you’re a conservative or progressive, however you want to make different terms, just the idea of it is bad practice, but what drives somebody to do that?
- It probably varies from judge to judge. I think in certain instances, a judge might see what he or she views as a particular injustice and wants to take it upon himself or herself to right that wrong. And it may well be something that is not just, but it may not be that judge’s job to address that issue. Certain injustices are, right? No question about it. I mean, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution set forth very specific things that are beyond the pale in that a judge can enforce, but there are other things that are open questions. And so often I think a judge, a well meaning individual who’s a judge, just says, “Well, this is wrong. This is unjust, this is not right and I’m gonna find a way to remedy that wrong.” But not every wrong under our Constitution is intended to be remedied by a court.
- And that’s the point you were making earlier. We have a process for remedying or for getting a remedy for things when we get it wrong, it’s a legislative process. We go back and we argue about it in the states or we argue about it in Congress, right? So a judge may feel that way and maybe have a platform to talk about it, but maybe restrain themselves from making a decision and push it back to the other arm of government who’s supposed to make the laws. Am I understanding that correctly?
- Yeah, the Constitution’s text and original meaning doesn’t give the court authority to enforce a certain right or to constrain a certain government actor. Then it’s really up to the political process. And the framers delegated an outsized amount of authority to political institutions to make a lot of difficult policy judgments. Other people who may not like that system. There may be people who think, “Well, I don’t like the political branches, I don’t like politics, I don’t trust politicians, I don’t trust the American people. I don’t want these decisions being made by those political leaders and the voters, I’d rather they be made in the rarefied atmosphere of a court with a small number of men and women who make the decisions.” There may be people who feel that way. Well, then you should go find someplace else to live because that’s not our system of government, okay? Our system of government vested a lot of authority with the people and their elected representatives. And I’ve always felt that people shouldn’t be afraid to have the political process work those things out. Look, I mean you know this, there are a lot of areas in American life right now where if you leave things to the political branches, conservatives may not be happy. I mean, the fact of the matter is that the context of abortion, for example, they’re gonna be a lot of states, okay, that allow abortion well beyond what a majority of the American people might think is advisable. It’d be a number of states. And there are a lot of other decisions that legislatures and Congress will make that may not be welcomed by conservatives and moderates. And there’ll be other areas where progressives and liberals won’t be happy with the political decisions that get made, you know? And that’s part of the thrust and parry and the push and the pull of politics. And there are some periods of time where certain forces hold sway and there are other periods of time where others hold sway, but that’s a process that we’ve had for over 200 years and it’s not perfect, but it’s probably worked better than anything else.
- Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, it’s a little like sport, right? You want the home team to win, but it doesn’t always win, but there’s a next game. You know, you can go back, it goes back and forth. And I was just observing or thinking a little bit, when you talk about this temptation to right an injustice and how easy human behavior can get dragged in there. You’re a parent, I’m a parent, a lot of times, you see a situation, you assess it, you make a decision, and then after talking to your spouse or actually understanding the situation a little bit more, you go, “Huh, maybe I didn’t get that right.” As a business executive, you’re asked to make a decision and I know sometimes when I moved quickly, when I didn’t ask more questions, when I didn’t have more discussions, I usually regretted the decision I may have made, because there’s benefit in having discussion and going through a process. And even if it takes time and even if it’s ugly and even if maybe most of the people have a different idea, you can still have some level of unity. And so when you talk about our founders, understanding the human condition and how sometimes we get away from these limitations on power, it just links right back to the human condition, doesn’t it?
- Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, there’s a practical component to this. Courts, for example, are just not particularly well suited to make really complex policy decisions. And that’s partly because of the way business gets before court. It’s a single case, only two parties, very narrow set of facts, courts don’t have the kind of staffing and resources to do research and to sort of explore things, so they’re constrained by the product that comes before them and they’re constrained by the resources at their disposal to render decisions. Courts are not well suited to be policy makers because of their functional limitations. They’re good at deciding individual cases and just interpreting legal text. And that’s what they’re good at.
- And that’s their lane, right?
- You know, and just like in personal life, when we get out of our lane or we have limited resources to make a decision, there’s a higher likelihood that we could be mistaken or wrong about what we did.
- Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. Just goes back to the wisdom of how things were set up, the structure of the Constitution in the first place. Let me take a different track here and ask you about civic education. Will you talk about the details and the history and the importance of the different aspects of the Constitution, but yet many citizens do not have that level of a full understanding. What’s your perspective of how we can inform our citizens even better about why things were set up the way they are. And even if you don’t like the particular decision that a Congress or a state may have made, that there’s other things you can do to be active and first of which is voting and understanding the candidates. Help me understand your perspective on the role of civic education and how we can share this information with more people and the importance of having citizens with this understanding.
- Well first of all, parents always have the primary responsibility to educate their children. So every parent needs to instill in their children a sense of understanding and appreciation for the country we live in and for the Constitution that we live under. And there’s really no substitute for that. You know, you can blame the schools all you want, but first and foremost, parents have a responsibility to educate their children about civics. And that means just explaining to them what this country stands for, what the Constitution means, how our system works. Now of course, schools play an important part here and educational institutions, beginning at the elementary level, primary level, need to be instilling in their students a sense of understanding and appreciation for our system of government and for our Constitution. Why we’re here in America, how we got here, what the people who came here wanted, why that was so important, how they achieved that through the early years of our Republic or the Constitution, before that, the declaration. Those are important things for people to learn about and to understand in school. And again, it’s not that our system of government is always perfect or always right, there are flaws, we should teach our children about those, ’cause we can learn from them, but again, it’s probably the best system that has existed and there’s nothing better.
- Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and when you look around the world, you see a lot of challenges that people are facing and always nice to come home. I love traveling and different places that I’ve been able to visit and people all over the world, but you see sometimes where they get it right and sometimes when it doesn’t seem like it’s gotten so right. Leonard, as we kind of wrap things up a little bit here, let me go back to kinda the original question and ask for your perspective because you had, and you have had throughout your career, a very important role in identifying or trying to articulate the characteristics of somebody who would be a good judge, who understands the things that you’ve talked about. And so the original question we started with is this a Supreme Court on the right track or is the judicial branch on the right track? Nobody other than you would have a better understanding of that. And again, as you articulate, it’s not a political view, it’s more of an academic or foundational or fundamental or principled view, it would be my opinion. So help us understand or help us get a view from your perspective, are we starting to put some of these boundaries back in place again in the country? Are we starting to articulate and put up the proper barriers between the branches and having our elected officials in our government, I guess, because a lot are not elected, stay in the lanes that were originally intended? Should we be encouraged or do we have a lot of our work to do?
- Well, I think we should be both. I think we should be encouraged that progress has been made in this area. We see on the bench today more jurists who are committed to the limited judicial role that we’ve discussed than there were 15 or 20 years ago. So we should be encouraged in that. But yes, of course, there’s a lot more work to do. The Supreme Court pushed jurisprudence in a lot of misguided way for a lot of misguided ways for gosh, you know, 50 plus years.
- So there’s lots of work to be done. The way to get across the finish line is really simple, you have to have presidents of both parties who appoint jurists who have a couple of very simple, basic qualities and characteristics. One is they have to be drop dead smart. They have to be really, really smart. And that’s because when you’re smart, it’s harder for you to get snuckered into accepting an argument that’s dumb and stupid, okay? And doesn’t make any sense. Secondly, you have to be courageous. You have to be in a position to do it to what’s right even when you know people aren’t gonna like what you’re saying. Absolutely essential. And that courage is what leads to the independence of the judiciary. If you have judges who are gonna cower under their desks and are gonna put their finger in the wind to see what the American people want, you’re not gonna have courage and that means you’re not gonna have an independent judiciary and that means you’re not gonna have that check on the other branch to government. So you need courage. Thirdly, you need people with humility. The fact of the matter is that being a judge is not a particularly glamorous job or it shouldn’t be. Shouldn’t be a celebrity. Judges wear black ropes for a reason, it’s a symbol. It’s a symbol of their anonymity. It’s a symbol of the fact that it’s not about them, it’s about the text of the law. And so you want people who are humble and who understand that they’re not the ones who are making the big decisions, okay? It’s normally the political branches, it’s normally other people, civil society, other branches of government, the states, whoever. So humility is really important too. And so the more you can get jurists who have those personal qualities and characteristics, the more likely you will have a judiciary that continues to move in the direction we’re discussing. One final thing. We don’t want judges who have policy agendas, okay? The media and a lot of forces in our culture right now are in a frenzy over one Supreme Court decision or another because they don’t like the outcome in those cases. You know, I know a lot of people who hated the outcome of Supreme Court decisions for 50, 60 years, okay? It’s not about outcomes. It shouldn’t be about outcomes. It should be about what the Constitution says, what it means, what spheres are reserved for the political branches. And we should not want judges who have policy or political agendas. We shouldn’t be talking about judges who have particular predispositions on one issue or another, that shouldn’t matter. Shouldn’t be thinking about judges who are pro-immigration or anti-immigration, pro-religion, or anti-religion. No, no, a judge should be pro rule of law. He should be pro-Constitution. He or she should be humble. He or she should be courageous and therefore independent. He or she should be smart and therefore capable of discerning the best possible arguments for a position. That’s all we need. And if people think of the judiciary that way, I think we would get past some of this acrimony and partisanship and everybody would focus on the institutions they should be focusing on. Go focus your attention on those state legislators and on those senators and congressmen who have not had the responsibility to do their jobs for the past several decades, who have been able to pass the buck. Render them accountable. You know, get out there and vote, get out there and push those elected representatives to adopt what you want adopted. You know. whatever that might be and let the chips fall where they may. And that will determine the fate of our country. And there’s no question that when you have a democracy or republic like we have, it can turn out to be a great place culturally or it could turn out to be a cess pool. It’s up to the people.
- Right. Right. Well, I, in some sense, would like to try to have a summary of all the wise things that you said, but it was the whole time that we’ve spent together, Leonard, of all the wisdom that you’ve shared with us. And I hope for all of our listeners that as you listen to Leonard talk about these things, he does such a beautiful job and I wanna recognize and thank you, Leonard, of articulating issues in a way that can unify us because we separate the outcomes from the issues of process and what the Constitution was talking about. Outcomes will find their way, but to a place, but Leonard, what you were telling us is how to think about or how to help us think and understand and come to our own belief systems about the role of the court, the Supreme Court, the judiciary. What it’s supposed to do, what it isn’t supposed to do. And when we see protests and when we see anger as we are seeing in our country today, maybe the question comes and you just articulated, okay, how should we think about that? How could we think about that? Smart, courageous, humble, no policy agenda. And how do we think about the actions we could take? Active, vote, pick our issues, and get local, do the things in our township, our city, our state, and all come together in one way around this as Americans. Leonard, thank you for your work
- Thank you.
- that you’ve done for so many years. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. Thank you for the time that you’ve taken with us. And we look forward to just really pondering your wisdom and your thoughts. So thanks so much.
- Thank you very much.
- Okay. All right, take care of yourself. And for all of us, thanks for joining us on Believe!, thanks to Leonard Leo for his wisdom and insights. And we’ll look forward to being with you again very soon.