When Sen. Mike Lee went to the White House to see Amy Coney Barrett nominated to the Supreme Court, he and many other attendees later tested positive for COVID-19. He returned there Monday to see her sworn in and reported that it did something to his heartbeat.
Listening to her “just got my heart pounding a little bit faster and brought a bigger smile to my face,” the happy senator — who had pushed for Barrett’s nomination and helped defend her during confirmation hearings — said during an interview Tuesday on national Fox News.
But Lee figures Barrett’s comments, where she vowed to stick close to the Constitution and not to legislate from the bench, had a different effect on Democrats.
“This is making the heads of Democrats explode everywhere,” Lee said on national TV.
“They don’t want the courts to be limited to judging institutions. They want them to be institutions of social change,” he said. “They want something much bigger, much grander than what the Constitution actually allows. Justice Barrett sees the elegant simplicity of the fact that you want judges to interpret the law based on what it says.”
Lee especially attacked Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., for tweeting Monday that originalism, a type of judicial interpretation that attempts to follow what would have been the original intent of the Constitution, “is racist. Originalism is sexist. Originalism is homophobic. Originalism is just a fancy word for discrimination.”
Progressives often argue the Constitution is an imperfect “living” document written during a different time in American history whose interpretation by the courts can and should evolve with society, guided by the spirit of the law.
Lee said, “Markey has essentially said that our Constitution is racist and an effort to understand it, understand its words at the time they were written, is itself racist and bigoted. I can’t think of a statement that has a greater tendency to undermine the foundation of our constitutional republic. I hope, expect and demand that Sen. Markey retract his statement.”
Lee also cheered that Barrett at her swearing in referred to the country as a republic, which he said “accurately described our form of government” rather than being a democracy.
Lee created national controversy recently by tweeting, “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”
Lee also hailed what he called President Donald Trump’s “SCOTUS trifecta,” by placing three justices on the Supreme Court during his term.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “It was a terrific moment” when Barrett was sworn in.
Lee added that he was excited to travel to Arizona on Tuesday to campaign for Trump in that swing state, including at a Latter-day Saints for Trump event.
“We especially need to make sure that we have in the White House a continued defender of liberty, somebody who is looking out for Americans and not big corporate or overseas interests. That’s who Donald Trump is,” he said.
“I was born in Arizona. I look forward to telling people in the state of my birth all the reasons why we need to reelect him,” the Utah senator said.
Lee was a never Trumper in 2016 who has in recent months fully converted to an ally and supporter of the president.