(The following article first appeared in the Winter 2005 edition of Impact).
During the ratification debates over the U.S. Constitution, the Antifederalist “Brutus” objected to the proposed powers of the Supreme Court, writing, “They are to give the constitution an explanation, and there is no power above them to set aside their judgment. ... They are independent of ... every power under heaven. Men placed in this situation will generally soon feel themselves independent of heaven itself.”
The criticism sometimes seems prescient; Americans often must rely on the self-restraint of federal judges in the courtroom. The Mackinac Center therefore feels a special surge of pride that U.S. District Judge Paul Gadola, Vice Chairman of our Board of Directors, has been honored with The Federalist Society’s prestigious Joseph D. Grano Award.
The Federalist Society, composed of distinguished conservative and libertarian legal scholars, presents the Grano Award annually to a Michiganian who has, among other things, “exhibited in his or her life a great respect for the rule of law, a belief in the separation of powers, (and) a firm conviction that the judiciary should be applying the law, rather than creating it.” Judge Gadola was honored on Nov. 15 at a Society dinner, where U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia appeared as the special guest speaker.
Daniel Grano — son of the eponymous Joseph Grano — presented the award, lauding Judge Gadola for embodying “the principles set forth by our founding fathers” and his desire to “remain faithful to the original purpose of our government.” Grano observed that Judge Gadola “has always taken time to educate others in his belief in integrity in life and law” and promoted his ideals by “living and working in a manner to stress that the law is what the legislature’s original intent is, not what a judge says it should be.”
Judge Gadola’s many contributions to Michigan — lawyer, judge, Mott Community College trustee, Mackinac Center director — have already distinguished him. That a group advocating limited government has recognized him as a man to whom power can be entrusted may be the highest compliment of all.