George Thomas WaPo oped:
As the FBI conducts its investigations into the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, just about everyone has been distracted from questions about his legal philosophy. But let’s not forget, as Justice Neil M. Gorsuch put it in somewhat different circumstances, to talk about the arcane matter of the Constitution. There are unanswered questions here, too.
Kavanaugh insists that one factor “matters above all in constitutional interpretation”: understanding the “precise wording of the constitutional text.” During his confirmation hearings, he frequently turned to his well-thumbed pocket Constitution to highlight this point.
Yet text does not always speak for itself. How we interpret constitutional text depends on our larger understanding of what kind of government the Constitution brought into being, as well as our understanding of more specific concepts such as “the executive power” or “equal protection of the laws.” Here text is helpful, but only suggestive.