In theory, originalism gives judges a method for transcending politics by interpreting the Constitution based on its meaning when it was ratified in 1788 or later amended. Since the 1970s, originalism has been both an animating principle and a marketing success for conservative jurisprudence. Fairly or not, conservatives have used it as a cudgel against liberal judges, attacking them for inventing new rights to protect minorities, political dissenters and criminal suspects. Its selling point has been its claim to neutrality.
But Judge Kavanaugh hasn’t earned his originalist badge. It’s being fixed to him to mask the fact that as an appeals court judge, he relentlessly pressed forward a Republican agenda favoring business and religious interests.
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