Giving Away The Show

>> Thursday, February 18, 2010

The first thing one is likely to notice about the Mount Vernon Statement is that a manifesto supported by many John Yoo-era Republicans asserts that their constitutional conservatism "applies the principle of limited government based on the rule of law to every proposal." Sure. But Jack Balkin notices something even more striking -- the statement is not willing, even on the most abstract level, to commit itself to any form of equality or equal protection of the law. So I think David Frum isn't going far enough when he posits this hypothetical about a voter examining the statement:

  • Do you generally agree with conservatives – but wonder whether there is room in the conservative world for nonwhites, or the disabled, or the secular-minded, or the gay? The statement does not say “no,” but it does not say “yes” either.

I dunno, I'd have to say that the lack of mention of equal protection or any equivalent principle as a major value is a pretty clear "no."


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