J.D. Impaired: Law School Impairs Constitutional Understanding

Last week, we got a healthy dose of political theater. I honestly didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the Kavanaugh hearings – other than what I scrolled past in my Facebook feed. On the day of  Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, I predicted how all of this will play out.  Here’s what I said:

“Senators will grandstand. Pundits will bloviate. Kavanaugh either will or won’t get ordained the next politically connected lawyer in a black dress. And next year, the federal government will be bigger, more intrusive, usurping more power, bombing more people and trampling on more of my rights.”

I stand by the prediction.

A lot of conservatives seem convinced a Justice Kavanaugh will help restore Constitution. Here’s why he won’t. Like virtually every other lawyer, he is JD impaired.

J.D. refers to the degree conferred upon law school graduates – the Juris Doctor. And law school impairs constitutional understanding.

Here’s the ugly truth. Most lawyers don’t know squat about the Constitution. They don’t learn about the Constitution in law school. Instead, they learn constitutional law. In other words, they learn what other politically connected federal lawyers have said about the Constitution. They learn precedent and they follow it like a sacred text. But they don’t learn what the supporters of the Constitution said it meant during ratification debates. And that’s where we find it’s actual meaning – the original understanding the ratifiers actually agreed to.

This is why we can’t count on anybody appointed to the Supreme Court to “restore the Constitution.” Even the “conservative” judges don’t actually believe in the original Constitution. Justice Scalia – generally considered the gold standard in conservative jurisprudence – often deferred to unconstitutional precedent.

And Kavanaugh doesn’t even rise to a Scalia level. He’s bad on the Fourth Amendment. He’s bad on executive power. He’s bad on war. So forgive me if I don’t get all caught up in the political theater.

About Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.

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