Kennedy the Libertarian


"People say I'm a libertarian," Justice Anthony Kennedy tells The New York Times. "I don't really know what that means." I believe the second part.

Presumably these people (if they really exist) have in mind Kennedy's positions on abortion, sodomy, pornography, and flag burning, where many conservatives would say he twisted the Constitution to overturn government restrictions that libertarians oppose on philosophical grounds (with the possible exception of abortion, which may or may not involve the violation of an individual's rights, depending on the moral status of the fetus). Yet in two particularly egregious recent decisions involving medical marijuana and eminent domain, Kennedy pissed off both strict constructionists and libertarians, abandoning the Constitution to endorse violations of individual rights. It may not have the unifying power of the fight against communism, but surely hating Kennedy is one of the few things that still unites the traditionalist and individualist strains of the conservative movement.