Say it with me now: Justice Clint Bolick


[Guest Post by Jason Bedrick]

Yes, you read that headline correctly. This morning, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that he was appointing famed school choice litigator and champion of liberty, justice, and the American way, Clint Bolick, to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Clint was one of the lawyers involved in defending Ohio’s school choice law before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case, which the good guys won. His impact on the school choice movement cannot be overstated. He co-founded the Institute for Justice, which continues to defend school choice laws around the country, he was president of the Alliance for School Choice, and he has served for the last eight years as the head of litigation at the Goldwater Institute (where he is known for repeatedly suing the pants off the government), among many other important positions and accomplishments. Just a little over a year ago, he successfully defended Florida’s education savings account law.

You can get a taste of Clint’s style from this NYT profile:

 Clint Bolick looks like any other high-powered lawyer, for the most part. But glance down at his index finger, which sports a scorpion tattoo, for first-hand evidence of his unconventional streak.

Mr. Bolick has fought for the right of Arizonans to have their toes nibbled. After successfully defending a tattoo artist, he celebrated by having himself inked. From his perch here at the Goldwater Institute, a high-powered libertarian think tank, Mr. Bolick has even picked a fight with an entire professional hockey team.

From a conservative point of view, there is no end to the government interference in individual liberties going on around the country. Some emanates from Washington, but much of it, in the opinion of Mr. Bolick, bubbles up from the bottom, whether from a small-town school board or the Arizona Board of Cosmetology, which Mr. Bolick has sued twice. […]

“There are lots of cozy deals in Arizona, just like everywhere else,” Mr. Bolick said. “The last thing you want is for us to find out. It’s like a skunk coming to a picnic. We ruin everything.” […]

Local governments in Arizona now consult experts at Goldwater before embarking on financing schemes. Their goal is to avoid receiving a legal brief in the mail typed out with Mr. Bolick’s fierce right finger.

The only question is this: Is this a great appointment or the greatest appointment?

UPDATE: It’s only been a few hours since the announcement and statists are already wetting their pants.

4 Responses to Say it with me now: Justice Clint Bolick

  1. Tunya Audain says:

    Congratulations Or Condolences ?

    I am very torn by this announcement — Clint Bolick as Justice, Arizona Supreme Court.

    As judges or justices, these people are to render decisions that are fair to the parties before them. From my understanding, these justices should be objective and “disinterested” in the cases involved. That is — no bias or predisposition to the issues at hand.

    From my following of Clint Bolick’s history — with immense awe and respect — I have always seen him as a devoted, hard-hitting and inspired champion of the causes he has endorsed. That is, always committed and “biased” toward liberty, parent rights and duties, etc.

    In particular I am referring to my experiences with his writings about home schooling.

    The Home Schooling Movement, Clint Bolick, March 1987, The Freeeman

    As the home education movement grew Bolick’s pronouncements stood as a beacon for doing what was right amidst the challenges encountered.

    I simply cannot imagine how this appointment — and his own acceptance — of the role of a “dispassionate” Justice will contribute to any advancement in liberty or “justice”.

    Sorry, Clint. This does not change my admiration for past accomplishments. Am I hopelessly misinterpreting your envisioned future contributions ? From activist to bystander awaiting petitioners is a big switch and a loss to the activist voice so needed in our social structures.

  2. Jason Bedrick says:

    Tunya, I agree it’s bittersweet news. Justice Bolick means no more Activist-Lawyer Bolick. That said, there are two reasons I still think this is good news:

    1) Supreme Court justices must be fair and impartial, but their impartiality extends to parties before the court, not to ideas. All of the U.S. Supreme Court justices, for example, have very strong views on issues like the meaning of liberty, what justice demands, and how to interpret various provisions of the Constitution. I want someone on the state supreme court who thinks like Clint (or, better yet, *is* Clint).

    2) He has trained a new generation of lawyers to carry the torch.

    • lesliehiner says:

      Sing it, brother! Clint and I have recently discussed how he is often considered the “glass half full” guy in the room – never the ‘glass half empty’ guy. Clint has an unquenchable thirst for real liberty – for all – and as I’ve observed, he always tries to find solutions that preserve liberty. Find the solution that is good, that does not stand in the way of each of us living our lives as free people, as we choose. Clint may have appeared to be very biased on issues like school choice, yet what drives his bias, in my view, is this commitment to liberty. I think Clint will be an exceptional jurist. Very happy about this appointment!

  3. […] with Jonathan Butcher of the Goldwater Institute and Clint Bolick (then of Goldwater, now an Arizona Supreme Court justice), draws from the experiences of educational choice policies in three states and offers suggestions […]

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