|“Judges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.” —John Adams (1776)
Last week, the left-leaning (to put it kindly) American Bar Association awarded Brett Kavanaugh its highest endorsement, a unanimous “Well-Qualified” rating. According to ABA guidelines, “The rating of ‘Well Qualified’ is reserved for those found to merit the Committee’s strongest affirmative endorsement.”
This endorsement used to be the gold standard for Democrats considering Republican judicial appointments. So what’s the holdup on Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States?
Well, four reasons: 1) the election of Donald Trump; 2) the resulting epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome; 3) pandering and political theater, Democrat Party style; and, finally, 4) a deep sense of remorse by Democrats that they killed the filibuster for judicial nominations in 2013 to clear the way for a slew of Barack Obama’s far-left nominees.
Democrats have set about to make as much trouble for Trump as possible in their relentless effort to delegitimize his election. This hyper-partisan dialogue has devolved into very uncivil discourse even in the once-august Senate chamber, which has lately become a proving ground for leftist ideologues positioning themselves for a 2020 presidential run.
What became of Senate civility? Same four points outlined above.
Let’s briefly review the context for the current Senate SCOTUS deliberations.
As you recall, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) deferred Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to SCOTUS, insisting, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
McConnell deflected protests by declaring, “We’re following the ‘Biden Rule.’ Biden was chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 1992, in a presidential election year. He said the Senate should not act on filling a Supreme Court vacancy if it had occurred [in a presidential election year]. … So, all we’re doing … is following a long-standing tradition of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election year.”
McConnell’s bold action to delay Senate consideration of Obama’s nominee until after the 2016 election was one of the most consequential moves by any Senate leader in decades. McConnell, who has oft been chastised as an “establishment Republican,” deserves full credit for this gambit, which returned enormous dividends in support of a Supreme Court now controlled by a razor-thin 5-4 majority of those who respect our Constitution, rather than those who loathe it.
Justice Scalia was the Supreme Court’s strongest voice for Rule of Law, the “original intent” of our Constitution as opposed to the Left’s so-called living constitution. To that end, he wrote, “As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.”
Thus, after Trump’s stunning defeat of Obama’s leftist successor, Hillary Clinton, his first SCOTUS nomination to fill the Scalia vacancy was Judge Neil Gorsuch, an originalist in the mold of Justice Scalia.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pledged that Democrats would filibuster the Gorsuch nomination, and he laughably insisted, “The irresistible, immutable logic is, if the nominee doesn’t get 60 [votes], you change the nominee, not the rules.” But in 2013, when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) changed the rules for federal bench nominees to avoid filibuster, Schumer proclaimed, “We much prefer the risk of up or down votes and majority rule [on judicial nominees] than the risk of continued total obstruction. That’s the bottom line no matter who’s in power.”
So McConnell did the unthinkable — he played by the same rules that Obama, Reid, and Schumer had in order to bypass a Republican filibuster.
Then came the Demos’ worst judicial nightmare: Their fervent hope that no other SCOTUS seat would open up before they could retake the Senate in the 2018 midterms was dashed when Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in June.
That brings us to this week, as Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh began his four-day interrogation by Senate Demo-gogues.
It’s clear that obstruction is the only option Democrats have. They don’t possess the numeric edge to defeat the Kavanaugh nomination, especially now that Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, is appointing former Sen. John Kyl to fill the seat of the recently deceased John McCain. So they began the hearings yesterday by rudely and childishly protesting and then attempting to adjourn.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had only spoken a few introductory words before being interrupted loudly by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who protested, “We cannot possibly move forward, Mr. Chairman, with this hearing. We have not been given an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing on this nominee.”
Democrats are complaining that they haven’t had enough time to review all of the documents on Kavanaugh’s career. But it was they who demanded all the records — another stalling tactic. The National Archives released more than twice as many records on Kavanaugh as the last five judicial nominees combined. Now Democrats are griping that they haven’t had time to read them all.
And regarding the “opportunity” for review, the average time between nominations and hearings for the last 10 Supreme Court nominees was 41 days. It has been 64 days since President Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) used his time to audition for the 2020 presidential campaign, insisting that Kavanaugh’s decisions favor “the powerful, the privileged, big corporations, [and] special interests,” and that “over and over again, folks that lose are the folks that are why I came to Washington to fight: working folks, consumers, women, immigrants, minorities, the disadvantaged, the poor.”
That was followed with a cluster of rancorous Demo howls calling for adjournment, led by Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and the usual leftist Senate suspects: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).
So rude, contentious, and disgraceful was the behavior of adolescent Democrats and their anti-Kavanaugh cabal of gallery hecklers (70 of whom were arrested), that Judge Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, removed their young daughters Margaret and Liza from the hearing room.
At least Durbin was honest about the pathetic rants: “Why is this happening for the first time in the history of this committee? I think we need to be honest about why it’s happening. … You are the nominee of President Donald John Trump.”
Feigning reason and restraint, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking Demo on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “I really regret this, but I think you have to understand the frustration on this side of the aisle.”
In response, Grassley warned, “We are going to be in session Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, ’til we get done this week.”
Responding to the Demo-toddler temper tantrums, Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Kavanaugh, “I’m sorry that your daughters had to endure the political circus of this morning. … I believe this fight is nothing more and nothing less than an attempt by our Democratic colleagues to relitigate the 2016 election. … The Democratic obstruction today is all about trying to reverse that election.”
And Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) offered a brief civics lesson on why SCOTUS confirmation hearings have become so contentious.
Assuming some degree of civility returns to the Senate, Democrats will likely focus on Kavanaugh’s views on executive privilege, as Demos want to remove Trump from office by any means necessary. “I’ll tell you that will be front and center,” insisted Durbin.
No doubt they’ll also grill Judge Kavanaugh on his opposition to the killing of children before birth and on his position on what’s left of Obama’s so-called “Affordable Care Act.”
As consummate race-baiters, Democrats will certainly try to vilify the nominee for his color blindness on civil rights. “Kavanaugh is extreme even by the right-wing, far-right ideological standards of this administration,” wailed Blumenthal, the main obstructionist of the first day’s proceedings. “I’m willing to wager there’s a smoking gun here.”
And, of course, they’ll grill him on his opinions in support of the Second Amendment to gauge how much of an obstacle he’ll be to their objective of obstructing and repealing “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.”
Leftists have framed the contest for the Supreme Court as “Republican v. Democrat,” but it’s really about judicial authority v. judicial despotism. SCOTUS has moved ever closer to the “despotic branch” that Thomas Jefferson warned of so long ago, in which the Constitution becomes “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
The debate, then, is not about Right v. Left but about Liberty v. tyranny. John Stossel puts that into context in a short video about the Kavanaugh nomination.
All the petty rancor aside, by the end of the week, the country should have Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
As I noted prior to the last presidential election, I supported Trump primarily because of his commitment to nominate constitutional constructionists to the Supreme Court. I also noted repeatedly that the presidential election was “much more than a quadrennial vote — it is a quarter-century vote for the composition of the Supreme Court.”
Clearly, Trump’s 2016 victory was a generational victory for Liberty, much to the Left’s consternation.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776