Today, millions of Americans gather with family and friends to again commemorate the birth of the greatest nation in the history of the world. But this Fourth of July, the biggest Independence Day party won't be in anyone's backyard or community pool—it was already held at the Supreme Court.
That's the upshot of the welcome decisions handed down in the last few weeks. In a matter of days, the Court affirmed the American people's constitutional rights to representative government, to bear arms, to religious expression, to direct their children's education—and overturned Roe v. Wade's 49-year reign of terror.
These rulings certainly qualify as conservative victories—probably the greatest winning streak in the history of the conservative movement. But they are not partisan victories—right over left, Republican over Democrat. Rather, they are victories of democracy and the rule of law over the political, judicial, and cultural mandarins who long ago anointed themselves above such trifles. For the first time in two generations, the guardians of the Constitution seemed intent on guarding it—no matter whence attacks against it came.
In rulings against the EPA, OSHA, and the CDC, the Court shot down the administrative state's habit of setting law without congressional authority or public accountability.
In several decisions striking down state policies, the Court reintroduced the American people to their Bill of Rights, and governments to the limits on their powers. The Court struck down a New York gun control law because it infringed on citizens' right to carry firearms for self-defense. It upheld a public high school football coach's right to pray at midfield after games, and Maine families' right to use generally available taxpayer-funded vouchers for private religious schools.
And of course, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the Court undid its own inexcusable usurpation of legislative and federal powers in Roe.
In each case, the signal from the justices was the same: The Constitution of "We the People" means what it says. Federal powers are enumerated and few. Only legislatures may make law. Rights explicitly protected in the text of the Constitution may not be encroached upon by any branch or level of government. Everything else is up to the people to decide, state by state, through the democratic process—not by judicial activism, presidential "pen-and-phone"-ism, or bureaucratic rulemaking, which are all just other words for tyranny.
Naturally, the tyrants are apoplectic.
The men and women who run America's elite institutions have grown accustomed to ruling the country at their whim, like...well, like an 18th-century European aristocracy. Which brings us back to 1776.
The haughty celebrities, professors, judges, politicians, and bureaucrats shrieking about the Court's recent decisions sound an awful lot like royals and nobles in the court of King George III, aghast at the Declaration of Independence and the American colonists' temerity.
How dare they?! Don't they know we're the experts! We went to the best schools and have the correct moral sensitivities! Only we know which rules should apply to which people, and when science is good or bad! Only we can divine the emanations and penumbrae of Progress! Do they really expect the people to rule themselves, or—quelle horreur!—to rule us?
To which the Roberts Court—which, let's not kid ourselves, is the Bench that Scalia and Thomas Built—has answered their tantrum with a polite, righteous "Bless your hearts." Anti-American elites were wrong about our nation at her birth, and they are still wrong today, on her 246th birthday. The Founders, on the other hand, were right about elites, which is why they endowed their new nation with permanent protections against aristocrats' hubris, condescension, and oppressions.
Notably, all these Court decisions in no way preclude elites' ability to achieve their policy goals. They simply have to do it the right way, by persuading their fellow citizens rather than dictating to us from on high. That's what they are really furious about—that the U.S. Supreme Court actually believes:
"that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed[.]"
Over the last several weeks, the Supreme Court once again declared Americans' independence from the arbitrary, unaccountable rule of entitled snobs—and invited all Americans to rejoin the roiling, diverse, unpredictable party that is our republic.
Elites have RSVPed with hysterical calls to abolish the Senate filibuster, pack or impeach the Supreme Court, or defy its rulings. The rest of us will do it with hot dogs, cold drinks, Wiffle ball, and fireworks.
This piece originally appeared in Newsweek on 07/04/2022