You may not have heard of Chris Vance. In 2016, he campaigned against Donald Trump in a bid to usurp Patty Murray from her Senate seat.
It didn’t work.
Vance asked us to send him to the US Senate where he could write new laws and approve Supreme Court justices. Vance spent the day today gloating on twitter, cheering for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in stopping Trump’s executive order pausing immigration from dangerous countries. While doing so, he unintentionally exposed how little he knows about the law and the conservative ideology he pretends to champion.
Conservatives all know about Antonin Scalia’s belief in finding the ‘original intent’ of a law. And here we see Chris Vance proclaiming Trump’s EO to be racist based on Trump’s true intention of banning all Muslims:
However, ‘original intent’ doesn’t mean finding the secret prejudices and intentions of a statute’s author. Robert Bork, the father of original intent, explained this error in his 1990 book The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law:
Though I have written of the understanding of the ratifiers of the Constitution, since they enacted it and made it law, that is actually a shorthand formulation, because what the ratifiers understood themselves to be enacting must be taken to be what the public of that time would have understood the words to mean.
Chris, like many pseudo-smart conservatives, has probably heard about ‘original intent’ and ‘what the founding fathers intended’ for his entire political career — and his entire career has been in politics. Bork continues:
[Principle author of the Constitution James Madison] knew that what mattered was public understanding, not subjective intentions. . . . Secret reservations or intentions count for nothing.
Yes, Trump said he wanted to stop all Muslim immigration. He was later told he couldn’t legally do it. So, he didn’t try. Instead, he banned immigration from 7 of the 40+ Muslim countries with provisions for persecuted Christian and Jewish minorities. It isn’t a Muslim ban, and to treat it like one because you think in his heart of hearts that Trump hates Muslims, is a slap in the face of two great, late jurists: Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork.