Amy Coney Barrett

Justice Through a Transpartisan Lens

Transpartisan Note #136

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called new Justice Amy Coney Barrett “un-ashamedly pro-life” (NYTimes 10/14/20). This is history being made, folks. This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology. And she’s going to the court.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined in praising Justice Barrett saying “…the Constitution clearly states the ‘right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,’ and Justice Barrett will interpret those words as written, which is a win for law-abiding Americans, including myself.” (Fox News 10/26/20)

In the debate over expansive versus limited government, the pro-gun, anti-abortion position – usually expressed by “conservatives” – presents the new justice with complex legal terrain.  The Constitution, the combined positions say, requires the Government to ban abortions and permit guns.

The “liberal” position reverses the demand saying the Constitution requires permitting abortions and allows restricting guns including banning some guns. A government that bans guns or abortions is expansive. One that allows guns or abortions is limited.

Justice Barrett laid out her legal strategy – follow the constitution.  As she expresses consistent opinions integrating expansive government needed to ban abortions with limited government necessary to require permitting guns, her originalist Constitutional reading might well lead to new law.

A failure of consistency might well lead to a new appreciation of the law’s limitations in social problem solving and a shakeup of the court. In our view, the Transpartisan Matrix gives clues of what this nation is up against as our society and government navigate their next evolutionary stage.

Surveys suggest that about 20% of Americans support abortion on demand. Eighty percent support some level of limitations. Surveys also suggest that 20% or so support all guns in the hands of law enforcement or the military. Eighty percent support some form of access to guns.

In the Transpartisan Matrix, those supporting free access to guns would be considered on the free right. Those supporting free access to abortions would be considered on the free left. Those seeking gun restriction and abortion restriction are order left and order right respectively.

The matrix assists in finding the precise legal pathway to the integration of limited and expansive government powers and helps remind us that authorities using government power to restrict my adversaries might also use that power to restrict me.

Welcome to the court Justice Barrett. May you help the union of freedom and order live long and prosper.

(Image is an official White House photo and in the public domain.)

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