Over the last year, we have been hearing that the judges that President Trump has been appointing to the bench have been faithful to the Constitution. But few of us have time to read any of their opinions and determine that for ourselves. So today I want to summarize the first opinion rendered by Judge James Ho (who now serves on the 5thCircuit Court of Appeals).
Here is the opening line of his opinion: “The unfortunate trend in modern constitutional law is not only to create rights that appear nowhere in the Constitution, but also to disfavor rights expressly enumerated by our Founders.” For years, constitutional conservatives have longed to read this kind of sentence from federal judges.
He wrote this dissent on a case that was to determine whether a $350 limit on political contributions was constitutional. He questioned the right of government to limit political participation. “As citizens,” he wrote, “we enjoy the fundamental right to express our opinions on who does or does not belong in elected office.”
He also went beyond the decision at hand to observe that, “if you don’t like big money in politics, then you should oppose big government in our lives.” He reasons that if you are going to ask taxpayers to devote “a substantial percentage of their hard earned income to fund the innumerable activities” of various forms of government, then you should “at the very least allow citizens to spend a fraction of that amount to speak out about how the government should spend their money.”
It is going to be fun to watch the career of Judge James Ho. Who knows? He might even some day become the first Asian American to serve on the Supreme Court.