Textualism and originalism had great appeal to me, but I’m currently questioning it as a logically sound system, unto itself.
Certainly any powers granted or right enumerated are what they are, and I do take offense when the actual words are ignored or “interpreted” to mean something that is self-contradictory (e.g., “for public use” can be tortured to include outcomes “not for public use”).
But the Federalists, James Madison in particular, were reluctant to include a Bill of Rights at all, since it could somehow imply that the enumerated rights were exhaustive, or carried greater weight. Hence the Ninth.
To this Constitutional dunce, it now seems that textualists ignore their protocols with regard to the Ninth. Isn’t it within the purview of SCOTUS to determine, as difficult as it may be to do so, if there are unenumerated rights that are being infringed?—e.g., reproductive rights, the right to have some level of protection from guns, etc.
Textualism now seems a bit infantile to me if it’s the start and end of the analysis. It’s nice and tidy, but it greatly simplifies very complex issues. “History and tradition” once countenanced slavery. The fact that the Thirteenth remedied this evil doesn’t change the fact that our Founders got this dead wrong and ignored a basic human right. How can that be the only such violation? Doesn’t society advance to recognize rights that were once ignored? “This should be decided by the states” likewise seems way too tidy. What if it’s a right that should not be up to any legislature (except perhaps with the normal guardrails that render any right less than absolute)?
I understand the whole “legislating from the bench” objection, but is that what this is? Is there some middle ground?
Anyway, now that Trump has transformed me into a bleeding heart I no longer seem to be as accepting that the “activist justices” have it wrong. Greatly interested in all thoughts, especially from our constitutional scholars.
tl;dr: Does the Ninth Amendment factor into the textualists’ judicial philosophy to any extent? If not, has anyone run this by James Madison?