Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Justice Neil Gorsuch was a student of John Finnis, foremost proponent of the “New Natural Law Theory” (NNLT). Is that relevant to understanding the Bostock decision? It might seem not, given that NNLT thinkers like Robbie George (here and here) and Ryan Anderson have strongly criticized Gorsuch’s reasoning.
On the other hand, if you’re wondering: Where might someone learn a style of reasoning so tortuous and sophistical that it can read an implicit reference to sexual orientation and gender identity out of the word “sex” as it was understood in 1964? And contradicting his earlier position, into the bargain?
How about from someone capable of reasoning so tortuous and sophistical that it can read a condemnation of capital punishment as intrinsically evil out of a 2,000-year-old tradition that has consistently affirmed capital punishment as intrinsically just? And despite having earlier defended capital punishment himself?
Prof. Finnis may in this case deplore the results, but he cannot disapprove of his pupil’s method: jurisprudential chutzpah, weaponized in the service of overthrowing tradition.