Gorsuch on Separation of Powers: ‘It Keeps Us Free’

On Tuesday’s broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch stressed the importance of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers.

Co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked,  “Let me start with the separation of powers. when there is a conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch, what is the role of the judicial branch?”

Gorsuch said, “Well, one thing I wanted to talk about in the book, and I think writing about it and talking about it for years is the importance of the separation of powers and how it keeps us free, and when it comes to the role of the judiciary, I believe that the role is to be faithful to the original meaning of the constitution.”

When asked about James Madison, Gorsuch said, “Well, I think one thing he might tell us is to pay attention to the separation of powers. Madison originally thought we didn’t need a Bill of Rights. He wrote the Bill of Rights, but he thought what would really keep us free is the separation of powers. And if you look around the world today, I think he has a point. Every country in the world has a great bill of rights these days. My personal favorite is North Korea’s. Yes, North Korea. It promises everything we have, the right to free speech, a right to privacy, and my personal favorite, especially this time of the year, the rights to relaxation. But the fact of the matter is that those rights aren’t worth the ink on the page, and they’re not because all powers accumulated in one mans hands.”

He added, “What Madison knew is that people aren’t angels and that we need to separate powers to keep us free. I worry today when I read that only about a third of Americans can name the three branches of government, and 10% of Americans apparently believe that Judith Sheindlin serves on the United States Supreme Court. You know her as Judge Judy. I love Judge Judy, but she’s not one of my colleagues.”

He concluded, “The truth is that our rights, including the separation of powers, are only as good as the people who want to keep them there. Daniel Webster said that it took 6,000 years for a self-governing people to arrange our Constitution and it really was a miracle. Those things aren’t kept, by accident, and there’s no guarantee they will endure unless people care about them.”

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