Constitutional Cake Micrometers


“Hello, I’m here to measure the speechiness level of your cake.”

One reason George Will was a hero to me when I was younger was his lampooning of judicial nonsense in the service of wicked ends. I remember in particular a column of his from the 1980s, which I read in college in a collection, in which he lambasted the Supreme Court’s micromanagement of Christmas displays. Nativity scenes were banished at first, then they were brought back – provided they were displayed in close proximity to secular junk like Santas and snowmen. But this raised the quesiton of exactly how close together the shepherds and reindeer would have to be for the display to be permissible.

Will mocked the court for determining what is legal by bringing a “constitutional micrometer” to measure every local display.

Today, Will admits that cakes are sometimes speech, and then brings out a constitutional micrometer that he wants the court to use to measure every individual cake – to see whether it’s speechy enough to deserve protection.

Because God forbid we let people just be free to decide for themselves what jobs they will and won’t do.

The underlying problem here is America’s original sin of slavery. We had no choice but to compromise the principles of freedom to set our social order aright in the civil rights era. I still think, in spite of everything, that was the right thing to do. But I am increasingly sympathetic with people like Barry Goldwater, who warned what would happen once we started compromising the principles of freedom. And now even George Will has gone over.

All I can say is this: Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of creeping totalitarianism in the name of “civil rights” may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the police state, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said: “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

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