In a recent column Will claims that the Court's role is to protect liberty:
"So conservatives should rethink their rhetoric about 'judicial activism.' The proper question is: Will the nominee be actively enough engaged in protecting liberty from depredations perpetrated by popular sovereignty?"Rubin points out that the role of the Supreme Court justices is not to "protect liberty" (an amorphous phrase that can mean anything depending on the circumstances) but to interpret the Constitution.
"Will has it wrong. There is no roving mandate for the Court to protect liberty (or income equality or anything else) from depredations of any sort. The Court — like all courts engaged in textual interpretation — has a single mandate, one consistent with democratic governance and with the structure of the Constitution: to divine the meaning and the intent of the Constitution and the statutes at issue in the cases that come before it."Rubin not only knows the law in the cases Will cites, but understands the difference between rule by philosopher-kings and rule under a written constitution.
George Will has become more aristocratic and anti-democratic in his conservatism as he ages. Fortunately, there are young, knowledgeable conservative pundits like Rubin to correct sloppy thinking by such as Will.