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Toxic Political Polarization and the Judiciary

Judge Thomas Griffith Delivers Speech at the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention

On November 11, 2023, Judge Griffith, a Wheatley Constitutional Government Non-Resident Fellow, gave a powerful speech on counteracting political polarization. Watch the full speech or explore quoted excerpts below.

2023 Annual Hon. Robert H. Bork Memorial Lecture

Highlights from Judge Griffith's Speech

"The Constitution calls upon us to develop a temperament that doesn’t come naturally to most of us: humility. We must recognize that we might be wrong about what the common good requires, and that and our fellow citizens might be right... And most important of all, we need to see one another as friends—partners in a shared pursuit of the common good—rather than enemies."

"A healthy deliberative democracy depends to a large degree on accepting the premise that one’s political opponents are not evil. They are fellow citizens who hold their views in good faith and deserve respect, especially when we disagree about matters of fundamental importance."

"The Constitution [the founding fathers] created calls upon us to commit ourselves to the same principle—compromise for the sake of unity—that created the Union in the first place."

"At the very least, we need to approach our deliberations with civility... We must be willing to compromise, even and especially over critical matters, if we are to continue this experiment in representative government."