NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the most powerful man in the government who’s not in government.
At least that’s how some in the media described Leonard Leo after President Trump said he would nominate any lawyer Leo picked to the federal courts.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: He’s executive vice president at the Federalist Society. He’s worked to promote conservative, originalist judges and justices, including then Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
On this week’s Listening In, host Warren Smith talks to Leo about why he’s so passionate about originalism. Let’s listen now to a bit of their conversation.
WARREN SMITH: You served early in your career, for example, in the international, um, religious liberty commission. You talked about these issues of, of that are being adjudicated in the judiciary on the courts as being important because they speak to human dignity.
They speak to issues like the rule of law and equal protection under the law. This is not just a game for you. These activities that you’re engaged in seem to me to come from a place of first principles for you.
LEONARD LEO: Absolutely. You know, I probably visited about 48 countries when I was on a US commission on international religious freedom and one of the things I noticed was that the countries that had the worst conditions for religious freedom, were the ones that didn’t really have structural constitutional protections, limits on government power. Those were the countries where religious freedom was, was most at risk. And so, you know, I’ve, I’ve seen this and so looking back at the US my, my feeling is look, if you want to protect freedom of religion, you want to have conscience rights, you want to have economic freedom and opportunity, you want to have dignity for all people, people having the ability to choose who they are and what they’re going to do in their lives, you have to enforce those limitations on government power contained in the Constitution. And if you don’t, nothing’s ever going to be really sacred.