After a nomination process drawn out by Senate Democrats’ blatant obstructionism and malice, newly seated Judge James Ho of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals isn’t pulling any punches. In his first opinion, Judge Ho bucked prevailing norms by not only publishing a dissent, but also being unflinchingly clear in his perception of the law.

The case, Zimmerman v. City of Austin, involves a limit placed by the City of Austin on the amount of money a private citizen can contribute to mayoral and city council elections. The City of Austin prohibits private citizens from donating more than $350 dollars, a measure designed by the council’s liberal establishment to stifle participation in city elections and hamstring challengers to the status quo.

In February, a three-judge panel on the 5th Circuit upheld the city ordinance, despite such low caps. Zimmerman, a conservative former city councilman, then appealed for the whole court to rehear the case, a petition that was denied 12-2, with Judge Ho dissenting.

In his opinion, Ho decries a trend in modern constitutional law to “disfavor rights expressly enumerated by our Founders.” Austin’s miniscule contribution limits, he claims, are an attack on citizens’ “fundamental right to express our opinions on who does or does not belong in elected office.”

Austin City Council has long been guilty of textbook wealth redistribution, further augmenting the need for concerned citizens to be able to exercise their political speech privately, and without constraint, by donating to candidates who represent their values.

Since Ho’s opinion was published, the left has relentlessly attacked him for expressing a commonly-held view of constitutional rights, claiming that Ho’s sort of opining is “petulantly partisan.” Additionally, they attacked a passage in the opinion where Ho examines the flaws inherent in attempting to keep big money out of ever bigger government, claiming Ho endorses a transactional view of political contribution.

These criticisms are baseless. Reading the constitution as it was written is not partisan, or at least it should not be. There is nothing conservative or liberal about taking the letter of the law and the rights it enshrines, at face value. But liberals insist that the only moral view of the constitution is one where everything inconvenient to their worldview is tossed to the wind, and their partisan persuasions supplant the letter of the law.

Nor is it inappropriate for judges to explain the principles underlying their decisions.

Judge Ho is one of several Texans President Trump has nominated to the federal bench. These appointments will result in a legacy that will long outlive the President and will help ensure sound legal reasoning from the 5th Circuit for decades to come.

Saurabh Sharma

Saurabh Sharma served as a Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard. He was a Biochemistry and Government student at the University of Texas at Austin. He was also the State Chairman of Young Conservatives of Texas. In his free time, you can find him writing with fountain pens, learning graphic design, experimenting with unique nutrition regimens, and studying men’s fashion.