Justice Gorsuch’s Pure, Simple Explanation of Our Constitution
Dec 17, 2019
RUSH: There’s one other thing, folks, that I saw today that I want to call your attention to. Judge Gorsuch, Neil Gorsuch, has written a book. As a powerful, influential member of the media, I have my copy here. It’s called A Republic, If You Can Keep It. He was on Fox & Friends today, and I couldn’t stop watching this. I don’t know how to characterize it. It’s not simplistic. It was just so real. It was devoid of any of the usual partisanship. There were no talking points. It was just pure, is the best way I can describe it.
It was just pure to listen to Neil Gorsuch describe life as a judge, life as a Supreme Court justice, his interpretation of the Constitution and how he goes about his job. And I’ve read part of the book, A Republic, If You Can Keep It. And it’s just ideal. And he even cites a stat in the interview. Let me see if the sound bite has the particular stat. I’m trying to speed read it and I don’t see it. It’s about the relative high number of Americans who do not know something, like the name of their congressman or senator — this book is ideal for people. It’s not above anybody.
If you’re looking for a book for anybody to understand the Supreme Court or this country as it was founded, this book is for you. And I want you to hear Judge Gorsuch in his own words, ’cause it is rare that Supreme Court justices sit down for extended interviews. They do it for academics. They do it for legal groups and think tanks. But it’s rare to see something like this that happened today.
I’ve got three sound bites. Judge Gorsuch is a special judge. You know, my father, my whole family as you know is lawyers. I’m the only one that’s not. I remember my dad when I was very young talking about the absolute authority of judges in the courtroom. And you don’t argue with ’em beyond a certain point. You have to learn to respect their authority, right or wrong. They are the final authority. And he said the faith in the system that everybody has is rooted in the fact that judges are special people.
And by “special people” he meant that they are and have to be, in an ideal way, exceptionally smart, exceptionally open-minded, exceptionally thorough. And Judge Gorsuch fits every criteria of what my father meant when he talked about judges are special people because they are, in many cases, the final authority on the law, particularly at the Supreme Court level.
And for those of you who have not had the chance to hear Judge Gorsuch speak or read his book, A Republic, If You Can Keep It, I want to play these three sound bites for you just to illustrate how pure this is, how uncomplicated this is, how easy he is to understand as he explains the virtues of his job, of the Constitution, and of the country.
So he was with Ainsley Earhardt. First bite, the question: “You always hear conservatives want original constitutionalists on the court. Can you explain what it means to be an originalist or a constitutionalist and how do you describe your judicial philosophy?”
GORSUCH: The idea of originalism is just simply that judges should follow the original meaning of the words on the page and neither add things that aren’t there nor take away things that are there. And I worry that both of those things happen when we depart from the original meaning of the Constitution. It says we’re not gonna add things, we’re not gonna take things away. The judge’s job is to be faithful to the Constitution at all times. Nothing more, nothing less.
RUSH: That is factually unassailable. But more than that, it is totally unthreatening in the way he presents it. It doesn’t threaten anybody, other than people who disagree with the concept of originalism. And, of course, they’re gonna be threatened by how undisputable his answer is. They’re not gonna know what to do with it. It’s very simple.
And I admire people who are able to take what everybody assumes are these intricate, ornate, complex things and boil them down to their essence. When you have Democrats like Pelosi and Schiff and Nadler throwing the founders — Jamie Raskin’s been doing it, been cherry-picking The Federalist papers. “And Federalist 65 where Madison said” whatever they want Madison to say, they can find Madison saying it, the Democrats.
So Ainsley Earhardt said to Judge Gorsuch, Justice Gorsuch, “What would James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, say about the government today?”
GORSUCH: He wrote the Bill of Rights, but he thought that what would really keep us free is the separation of powers. And if you look around the world today, I think he has a point. Every country in the world has a great bill of rights these days. My personal favorite is North Korea’s. It promises everything we have, the right to free speech, a right to privacy and my personal favorite, especially at this time of the year, the right to relaxation.
But the fact of the matter is that those rights aren’t worth the ink on the page, and they’re not because all power is accumulated in one man’s hands. And what Madison knew is that people are not angels and that we need to separate powers to keep us free.
RUSH: What a great way to explain the lies and the false promises of communism without even using the word. Do you know that North Korea’s have a constitution just like ours except none of that matters. Those people that live there don’t have it because of the people in charge never meant it, never intended it. They’re lying to their own people. And the people of North Korea grew up thinking that they have these rights. They’re propagandized daily.
Kim Jong-un is on television every day, every night telling the people of North Korea what the world is featuring, what’s going on, what to believe. He lies to them like you would not believe. And they believe they have freedom of speech. They believe they have freedom of association. That’s what life in North Korea is to them. They know nothing else. And because there’s no check or balance on Kim Jong-un because he’s a dictator, then none of those rights mean diddly-squat.
So he was focusing on here the importance of the separation of powers, checks and balances to make sure that tyrannical dictatorship doesn’t happen in the United States, despite the best efforts of some and a particular political party to make it happen.
Next question from Ainsley Earhardt: “I know your faith is extremely important to you. The Declaration says we are ‘endowed by our Creator with … rights among [which] are life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.’ What did the framers mean by ‘God-given rights’?”
GORSUCH: They wrote down the rights that they thought were terribly important in the Bill of Rights, and they left it to us — we, the people — to decide when to add to them, when to take them away. They didn’t leave it to nine older — I can say that now — judges in Washington to rule a country, crossing a continent composed 330 million Americans. And to those who say that we can’t rule ourselves — that we, the people can’t do this — I try to remind young people about the story of Greg Watson, who was a college student at the University of Texas in 1992. He’s responsible for the most recent amendment to the Constitution, the 27th amendment. We, the people, we can do this. We can govern ourselves.
RUSH: Now, this interview went on for a half hour, and it was just exceptionalagain, in its utter unthreatening simplicity, factualness and truthfulness — and I wanted to call your attention to that and Justice Gorsuch’s book, because it is written in the same vein. It’s simply one of the best ways to either refresh your own memory or to teach somebody you think needs to know what this country and the Constitution and the republic are really about. Neil Gorsuch and A Republic, If You Can Keep It.
RUSH: By the way, one of the reasons the Democrats are so paranoid of Donald Trump being reelected is that he’s going to appoint more Neil Gorsuches to the Supreme Court. That is something that I think is not mentioned much. I think I mentioned this two or three weeks ago. But the abject fear that a reelection, Donald Trump reelection ultimately will mean a 7-2 conservative Supreme Court has got them scared to their wits’ end, and it is as much a reason why they are doing this as anything else. They literally are trying to prevent the reelection of Donald Trump.
They can’t stop it with any of their candidates. All they can do is try to get those of you that voted for him to abandon him. That’s their sum total effort. That’s what all of this really has always been about. It’s what it continues to be about, the fact that Donald Trump is gonna go out and find more justices like Neil Gorsuch. By the way, put that picture up. Here’s a copy of the cover of Justice Gorsuch’s book: A Republic, If You Can Keep It. It’s been out awhile, and I just wanted to bring it to your attention with his appearance on Fox today.
RUSH: I want you to hear one more sound bite from the Judge Gorsuch interview. This is the one I couldn’t remember. Cookie went out and found it. He here is addressing the lack of knowledge that American citizens have on civics today.
GORSUCH: I worry today when I read that only about a third of Americans can name the three branches of government, and 10% of Americans apparently believe that Judy Sheindlin serves on the United States Supreme Court. Now, you know her as Judge Judy, and I love Judge Judy, but she is not one of my colleagues. And the truth is our rights — including the separation of powers — are only as good as the people who want to keep them there. Daniel Webster said that it took 6,000 years for a self-governing people to arrange our Constitution, and it really was a miracle. And those things aren’t kept by accident, and there’s no guarantee they will endure unless people care about them.
RUSH: That is… You know, it is so true. The Judge Judy stat is interesting, and it’s not new that so few Americans can name their member of Congress or 10% think that Judy Scheindlin is on the Supreme Court or understand civics concepts. The truth here in this sound bite is what a miracle this country is. I often refer to it as that. There have been books written about the Constitutional Convention, calling it the Miracle in Philadelphia, and 6,000 years… Daniel Webster said it took 6,000 years for a self-governing people to arrange our Constitution.
That’s just another way of saying how unique and unprecedented and miraculous the United States is. It’s 6,000 years, and it wasn’t until the United States Constitution that the concept of individual freedom and liberty as a tenet of our creation was enshrined in the founding documents of the country. In every other country in the world, the majority of citizens lived in some kind of tyranny or bondage or poverty — and that was the expectation. However you were born was how you died.
The concept of an improving standard of living or freedom of choice from the state was a foreign concept until our nation declared its independence from the king. The fact that it happened after 6,000 years, the fact that it’s maintained for over 200 is indeed evidence of blessing and a miracle. And it does require a certain level of informed people living in the country to hold onto it. And this is what frightens me, is that the Democrat Party today is constituted to undermine these concepts. The Democrat Party today really…
You know, it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who started talking about (summarized), “We need a new Bill of Rights, one that enshrines the power of government over people.” We’ve had leftist legal thinkers say that the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as a whole is a “collection negative liberties.” Negative liberties! The whole term is offensive. Cass Sunstein, the husband of Samantha Powers, is one of the people who believes that the Constitution, the Bill of Rights is a collection of negative liberties — and by that he means it’s too proscriptive on the government.
It tells the government too much what it can’t do. It doesn’t spell out enough what the government can do — and that’s what they want to change. The Bill of Rights and the whole concept of individual freedom and liberty is a great obstacle for the Democrats and the modern-day left as it seeks to accomplish its political objectives. These are the things that are at stake. So when Donald Trump runs around and talks about Make America Great Again, this is what scares them. Now, the way they oppose Make America Great Again is they say, “That’s code for white supremacy!”
They want people to believe that the whole concept of making America great again means a return to slavery. I am not only not making that up. I’m not exaggerating it. That is what they are trying to make people believe Make America Great Again means, and it couldn’t mean anything further from that. Make America Great Again means return this nation to the principles and concepts of its founding, which surround the concept of individual freedom and individual liberty over the state, not as subjects of the state.
Look, I ask people… This is the way I ask people to put today in context and Make America Great Again in context. We don’t have to go back very far to find the exact opposite of this. The eight years of Barack Obama were popularized by the Democrats attempting to convince as many Americans as possible that America’s best days were behind us, and that those great days may not have been fully justified because of all the racism and the bigotry and sexism and the colonialism and all the resources we have we stole from other parts of a world.
And there was a new era now, a new era of decline! We’d have to lower our economic expectations. America had reached a phase where it was no longer true that children would have better lives than their parents. It was just three, four, five years ago that this was the primary message of United States government to its people — and in the midst of all that, some guy comes along and says, “To hell with that, we want to Make America Great Again,” and look how it resonated and it continues to resonate.
And in the process of running that campaign, getting elected, being president, Donald Trump has thrown the entire Washington establishment on its head. Do you know what has been learned today? It has been learned that it was actually conservative Never Trumpers who hired Fusion GPS. Well, some of this was known, but the efforts to destroy Donald Trump have not exclusively been put into place by Democrats.
They have been put in place by conservative Never Trumpers who are now running ads. They’ve formed a PAC, and they’re running ads against Trump. The first one went up in Times Square.
RUSH: This is Andrew, Modesto, California. Great to have you, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. Pleasure to speak to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I just wanted to… When you spoke earlier about negative and positive rights, I wanted to highlight that our founders were very careful in how they wrote our rights to make sure that they were all negative, meaning that a negative right only requires that others abstain from interfering with those rights. That’s why we have “life, liberty…” And why they wrote “pursuit of happiness” and not “happiness,” is that they if they wrote “happiness,” someone would have to provide you with happiness. And it’s also why they didn’t include property in those rights is because, you know, if you had a right to property and you didn’t have any property, someone would have to provide you with that.
RUSH: Well, no, but the right to own property is front and center, and it’s almost as important as the right to free speech. People have a tough time understanding that, but —
CALLER: Yeah, absolutely. I just… You know, you were talking earlier with North Korea having a “right to recreation,” which is similar to FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights — you know, right to a house, a right to a job. Those are what they call positive rights. But, you know, if you have a right to a house, if you have a right to a job, who’s supposed to provide with you with it?
CALLER: The answer is the taxpayer.
RUSH: It ain’t you.
RUSH: If you have a right to it, it means you don’t have to do it for yourself.
CALLER: Yeah. I just wanted to highlight what you were talking about that. You know, it was the intention of our founders to make sure that they stayed on the negative rights of things.
RUSH: Well, see, you’re using a different term, and I’ve always said, “Words mean things.” Negative rights, that’s one thing. When you start talking about like the left does, negative liberties? Liberty is a positive. How in the world can it be negative? And yet there they are discussing it. Now, a negative versus positive right, a lot of people would be scratching their heads over that.
In many people’s linear thinking, it’s a convoluted way to describe it. “What do you mean, ‘negative rights’? I don’t understand it.” But when you start talking negative liberties — and let me be specific about this, because I find that each time I mention that that it is news to a lot of people, that there aren’t a whole lot of people who understand that the left’s view of the Constitution is punitive to them.
The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, specifically spell out – in fact, the entire Constitution does — what the government cannot do. The government cannot stop you saying what you want to say. The government cannot stop from you worshiping the way you want to worship. The government cannot stop you from associating with whoever you want to associate with. The government cannot stop you from possessing a firearm, and on and on and on.
Now, leftist and now Democrat lawyers and legal beagles think that is horrible. Those are negative liberties. If your world is centered around all power rests in government, then the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are the enemy.
If you believe that all power should reside in government and that all freedoms and all liberties should stem from grants by government, then you’re gonna look at the Constitution as a great threat, a great negative. Only if you think the government should grant rights and the government should grant freedom can the Bill of Rights be negative liberties. But a liberty, a freedom, is inherently a positive, meaning it’s a good thing.
And it’s rare. Constitutional liberty and freedom is rare. We were the first government in 6,000 years, and there had not been one prior, to assemble our nation in that way under those guiding principles. It had never been done before. It is a miracle. It is a blessing. And from the get-go, there were people who didn’t like that, they didn’t think the citizens knew enough, they weren’t responsible enough, they weren’t malleable enough, whatever. There was too much power invested in the citizens. Government should have all the power, and that’s the primary argument that we’ve had since the founding, and it’s the primary argument we’re having today.
If you strip all of the details away, the argument really is over today: Do you have liberty and freedom or not? And the Democrats think the government ought to be in charge of who can do what and who can’t do what, and they want to have total control over that, what kind of car you drive, how cars are made, what you eat, what you can and can’t eat, and I’m not exaggerating. This is the kind of power and authority they seek.
And in pursuing it they create things like climate change. “You’ve gotta grant us this power. You’re destroying the planet with that car you’re driving. You’re destroying the planet, every hamburger you eat. There needs to be some responsible authority telling you you can’t do that.” And they’re telling you you’re doing that to save the planet.
They’re not doing it to save the planet. They’re doing it to enrich and empower themselves over you. It remains the fundamental argument. Make America Great Again is the epitome of the argument. Make America Great Again simply means let’s go back to the principles that founded this country. People that don’t want America to be great again don’t want anything about America’s past. They are into totally transforming it into something it was not founded or intended to be.