The Volokh Conspiracy

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Sen. Ben Sasse speaking to the Federalist Society about limited government


Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference 2016 at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on March 3. (Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

See the passage starting at about 32:30 [UPDATE: link fixed]:

If we're sincere about what we believe, it needs to be the case that we again remember what we thought two weeks ago. Which was that we need checks and balances. That we need a separation of powers. … That we need everyone, Democrat, Republican or Independent, to know why it's a really, really troubling speech for a president of the United States who has taken an oath of office to say that it doesn't really matter if the legislation passes laws that I want them to pass, I've got a pen and I've got a phone. That was troubling when the guy who said it was a Democrat, and it will be troubling in 2020, and in 2024, and in 2028, and 2032, regardless of the partisan label of the person who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

And again near the end, at about 46:45; the "catechetical opportunity" refers to the opportunity to teach future generations about the meaning of the Constitution (a topic that the senator had discussed throughout the speech):

[A]ll of those of you who will soon have the chance to go back into government … your jobs are not chiefly about the policy outcomes when you serve your new president. Your job is about the administration of justice because the checks and balances that you believed in two weeks ago and that [the Federalist Society] was founded about 35 years ago are not just your new callings when you take the oath, but you have this special new catechetical opportunity.

Because when people stand up against power and they disagreed with that power, no one's surprised. They all expected that. What's glorious is when people believe in limited government and restraint, when we are the ones in power. And we now have the opportunity to model that restraint. Thank you.