U.S. Supreme Court Vacancy Should Be Filled With Justice Dedicated to Rule of Law and Constitutionally Protected Freedoms

Mackinac Center legal analyst: “With this new appointment, everything from the past 30 years is on the table”

MIDLAND, Mich. — Mackinac Center for Public Policy Senior Legal Analyst Patrick Wright today called on the president and U.S. Senate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor with a legal scholar committed to the rule of law and to construing constitutional freedoms as written.

"Justice O’Connor was an important jurist," Wright observes. "She joined the majority in a number of key decisions that limited federal regulatory overreach under the Constitution’s ‘commerce clause.’ She was also a pivotal vote on any number of landmark 5-4 decisions through the years — sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. With this new appointment, everything from the past 30 years is on the table."

Wright added: "As Justice O’Connor’s important dissent in the recent Kelo v. New London decision shows, the U.S. Supreme Court is now in need of an individual who recognizes that the court must exercise its power — and fulfill its duty — to enforce protections explicitly provided in the Constitution. In the same way, the new justice should respect the constitutional framework under which legislatures and executives enact laws and public policy, while the court interprets whether these laws are in keeping with the Constitution. The court’s role is not to enter the public policy debate."