Appeared in Vol. 4 No. 3

There are two basic positions among orthodox Catholics on the question of the current degeneration of American politics and law into an amoral, positivistic secularism. Some argue that a return to the principles of the Founding Fathers is a potent remedy for what is largely a political problem. Others maintain that the founding principles were already Enlightenment and Protestant degenerations from the principles of Christendom, and are therefore insufficient to cut to the root of the current crisis. Both views can become ludicrous if carried to extremes: the former betraying cultural ignorance, the latter political naivete. At their best, the two analyses overlap in part, and F&R has maintained the intellectual respectability of both. Rev. Edward Melvin belongs perhaps more to the first school of thought than to the second, but in the essay below he makes a point valuable to both sides: that a better understanding of the judiciary is absolutely essential in seeking any long-range political solution to the problem.

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