January 8, 2016 Print

In order for the judicial system to protect individual rights effectively, it takes judges who understand the ideas of liberty and the constitutional limits of government power. That’s why it’s so exciting that Clint Bolick, vice president for litigation with Atlas Network partner the Goldwater Institute, has been appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court by Gov. Doug Ducey. Bolick has embodied a commitment to freedom and limited government for decades.

“The most notable thing about this appointment is Bolick’s extensive background in libertarian public interest litigation and advocacy of greater judicial protection of property rights and economic liberty,” wrote Jonathan H. Adler, Case Western University School of Law professor, in the Washington Post. “Among other things, Bolick co-founded the Institute for Justice, served as president of the Alliance for School Choice, and (most recently) was Vice President for litigation at the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute. Before co-founding IJ, Bolick had worked at the Landmark Legal Foundation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Justice Department.”

Gov. Ducey accompanied the appointment announcement with words of praise for Bolick’s career-spanning legal and intellectual accomplishments as a defender of the ideas of liberty.

“Clint is nationally renowned and respected as a constitutional law scholar and as a champion of liberty,” Gov. Ducey said in a press release. “He brings extensive experience and expertise, an unwavering regard for the rule of law and a firm commitment to the state and citizens of Arizona. I’m confident Clint will serve impartially and honorably in this important role.”

Bolick describes his judicial philosophy as “textualism,” which involves taking the words of the Constitution literally but differs from a standard “original intent” judicial philosophy

“[T]extualists also start with the plain meaning of the text, but if it is ambiguous, they will consult the structure, purpose, and history of the provision,” Bolick wrote in his 2007 Cato Institute book David’s Hammer: The Case for an Activist Judiciary. “Structure relates to the internal relationship among provisions of the Constitution and to its overall framework of government. Purpose is discerned from the intent of the drafters or ratifiers, so that intent still plays a part but is contextual rather than dispositive. History involves the law or practices that preceded involvement, as well as early postenactment interpretations. Among the alternate approaches, textualism seems best suited to produce objectively the original meaning of constitutional provisions.”

Goldwater Institute President Darcy Olsen also offered her appreciation for Bolick’s years of service, both with her organization and with the broader liberty movement.

“As a litigator, Clint Bolick has vindicated the fundamental constitutional rights of all Americans, including winning landmark cases that protected the right to earn an honest living and expanded educational options for children nationwide,” Olsen said in a press release. “Americans can count on Clint to be on the side of all Americans in defending our constitutional freedoms.”

Bolick has participated as a mentor in Atlas Network's mentorship program, part of Atlas Leadership Academy, a suite of online and in-person training opportunities designed to strengthen the reach and leadership capacity of pro-liberty think tank leaders and staff.

"There’s so much local and institutional knowledge in our movement that it would be a huge missed opportunity not to take advantage of it," said Foundation for Economic Education Chief Operations Officer Richard Lorenc, who was paired with Bolick as his mentor during his time in the mentorship program. "This program allows me to do just that — learn from a leader who has experience and insight on the challenges and opportunities I'm wrestling with every day."