Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sen. Orrin Hatch speaks to Federalists & Canisius


Sen. Hatch addressed the Buffalo Chapter of the Federalist Society yesterday afternoon -- and gave the Frank J. Raichle presentation at Canisius (at the wonderfully restored Montante Center). Both events were far better than ABL expected. Hatch is an engaging speaker. It is no wonder he has been in the Senate for 34 years.

The Raichle speech discussed the proper role for federal judges, which is to interpret the Constitution and laws as written, not to interpret them in light of changing social mores or the judge's personal preferences or ideology. He references the umpire analogy used by Chief Justice John Roberts (ABL is ready to clerk for you, have your people call my people) in his confirmation hearing. Judges should be like an umpire at a baseball game, calling balls and strikes as they see them, not as they would like them to have been thrown, and not predicting the outcome of the game based on the pre-game review of the teams' rosters. Sen. Hatch decried judicial activism. Although he admitted that conservative judges can also be activists, it is much more common in liberal judges because it is part of their philosophy to believe that the law is a living breathing thing rather than a written set of rules designed to govern behavior and to constrain government and judges. Sen. Hatch referred to the Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade decisions as examples of what happens when judges decide cases without Constitutional moorings.

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