Events have conspired to prolong the debate over who will be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. And as I urged in my last post, that debate should also be about what kind of person could be the next speaker. More specifically, I argued that the next speaker—or any speaker, for that matter—needn’t be a sitting member of the House of Representatives. This drew responses from Matthew Franck, writing at NRO’s Bench Memos, and Diana Schaub, in this space. As they present quite different reasons for disagreeing I’ll take up each in turn, though it will become clear…
If you haven’t heard, there’s a job opening on Capitol Hill. It pays well but, as the outgoing incumbent might tell you, the management duties are pretty stiff. The job, of course, is the Speaker of the House. John Boehner’s surprise announcement that he would be resigning both as legislative leader of the House of Representatives and his seat representing Ohio’s 8th Congressional District has set off a scramble for his successor. The heir apparent, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the next most senior party leader, at first seemed to have a lock on the job. But McCarthy’s missteps have caused at least two other Republicans throwing their hats into the ring.
In the vast majority of governing charters around the world, you will read the word “dignity”—but you won’t see it in the American Constitution. The traditional lodestars of American rights jurisprudence have been liberty and equality, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection and due process clauses. But of late, dignity has had something of a renaissance. Writing for the Court in United States v. Windsor (2013), Justice Anthony Kennedy concluded,
The history of DOMA’s enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence.