George Will has an excellent essay
today on the role of the courts in American society. Here's an interesting side note, though. Will writes:
The conservatives' party, the Republican Party, was born in reaction against repeal of the Missouri Compromise -- against, that is, the right, established by Congress in 1854, of Kansans to own slaves if a Kansas majority approved of that. The first Republican president was propelled to greatness by his recoil against allowing popular sovereignty to decide whether slavery should expand into particular territories.
Lincoln's greatness was inseparable from his belief that there are some things that majorities should not be permitted to do -- things that violate natural rights, the protection of which is the Constitution's principal purpose.
I wrote something about this the other day
, when I pointed out that the Republican Party of today is no longer the "Party of Lincoln." It's good that Will recognizes that, writing "the conservatives' party," which basically means it wasn't founded as a conservative party, but it's the party of which conservatives are currently members. A very careful and telling wording.