America Loses a Judicial Giant

America has lost a great public servant, a principled and good jurist. Judge Laurence Hirsch Silberman, who died Sunday at age 86, served nearly four decades on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, considered by many to be the nation’s second-highest court. He served with six future Supreme Court justices, from Antonin Scalia arrive Ketanji Brown Jackson. He wrote critical opinions and discovered potential jurisdictional flaws when trying to model his vision of judicial restraint.

That vision didn’t please everyone — or anyone, all the time. He terrified progressives by rescuing the Second Amendment from obscurity and confusing conservatives by upholding the Affordable Care Act. But disappointing those who view judicial decisions through a political lens is part of the job. In his view, judges are limited to considering the parties’ arguments and the text of statutes and the Constitution, which do not always match anyone’s policy preferences. , including himself. Sometimes his vision of judicial restraint was overwhelming for the Supreme Court, as when he refused to look beyond the parties’ arguments to see if the statute they were contesting was still on the books. book or not. But in other cases, judges have followed his instructions. America Loses a Judicial Giant

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