WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch said the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution is “pretty good but there are better ones” in countries like North Korea but “all power resides” in the hands of “one radical” leader.
Gorsuch explained that the liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are “only as good as the enforcement mechanisms” that make sure they’re felt in Americans’ lives.
“Our Bill of Rights is pretty good but there are better ones and my favorite one is North Korea’s. It’s awesome. It guarantees all the rights of our Bill of Rights and then a whole bunch of free stuff, right? Medical care, education, and my personal favorite, the right to relaxation,” Gorsuch said at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on Saturday evening during the Hon. Robert H. Bork Memorial Lecture.
“Sounds pretty good right about now, but of course it’s not worth the paper it’s written on because of what Jane talked about, because all power resides in one radical individual’s hands, right?”
Gorsuch was joined by his former clerks Jane Nitze and David Feder during the discussion, which was focused on the new book that they co-wrote titled, A Republic, If You Can Keep It.
Gorsuch explained that James Madison “didn’t even think the Bill of Rights was necessary” because the government’s power would be limited with the right “structure” of the U.S. Constitution.
Gorsuch said a Republic is supposed to be a “raucous” place, but it “also depends on the ability of people to talk and listen.”
“We have to learn to be more than just tolerant, we have to learn how to cherish one another,” he said, encouraging people to realize the people we “disagree with over important things love this country as much as we do.”
“We used to teach civics. We used to teach civility in public schools but now civility is like a bad word and civics is banished, so I do worry about that,” he said.
During the event, Gorsuch told the audience that he thinks “judges make rotten politicians.”
He offered advice to young people at the end of the discussion.
“What I say to you young people: Be courageous; aim high. We need you more than ever; be kind to one another along the way — be dogged,” Gorsuch said. “And be not afraid, as Justice Kavanaugh said, be not afraid. Because guess what? They can throw their slings and arrows and I’m still here.”