Full Panic: The Democrats’ Dubious Arguments about the Supreme Court

Written by Bill Thomas on July 11, 2018

In August of 2015, long before Donald Trump had secured the Republican nomination, Frank Weil wrote in the Huffington Post, “Therefore, perhaps for the first time in history, the role of future Supreme Court appointments really might or should become the pivotal issue in this Presidential election.” Candidate Hillary Clinton said during the election, “I feel that at this point in our country’s history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v Wade, that we stand up against Citizens United, we stand up for the rights of people in the workplace.”

Then candidate Donald Trump viewed it a bit differently.

I feel that the justices that I am going to appoint – and I’ve named 20 of them – the justices that I’m going to appoint will be pro-life. They will have a conservative bent. They will be protecting the Second Amendment. They are great scholars in all cases, and they’re people of tremendous respect. They will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted.

The contrast between the two could not be more vivid.

Who won? Well, we know the answer to that, don’t we? The Democrats, in what has become their usual “resist everything” manner, are firing out a wide range of spurious arguments about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Here’s a guide to how their ridiculous arguments can be answered.

President Trump won the election and gets to make the selection. The argument some Democrats like to make is that because President Trump didn’t win the popular vote, he should appoint someone that Democrats would approve. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer privately urged President Trump in a phone conversation to nominate Merrick Garland. Schumer’s contention was that this would “unite the country.” Ezra Klein, in the liberal Vox, lamented how “four out of the Supreme Court’s nine justices — all of whom have lifetime tenure — will have been nominated by presidents who won the White House, at least initially, despite losing the popular vote.”

It seems Democrats have forgotten the words of one of their own heroes. It was President Obama who wryly noted, “Elections have consequences.” Donald Trump won the election, which have been throughout our history decided in the electoral college and gets to make the selection. He doesn’t have to appease the Democrats with his pick.

This is not a presidential election year. The most popular Democrat argument, at least today, is that Senator McConnell should follow his precedent and not vote on a Supreme Court nominee in an election year. That sounds reasonable on the surface, I suppose, if it were true. But it isn’t.

When President Obama nominated Merrick Garland on March 16, 2018 the country was eight months away from a presidential election. Our next presidential election is over two years away. It is an inconvenient fact, but a fact nevertheless. As for the Gorsuch seat being “stolen”, that, too, is a ridiculous supposition. Democrat Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii revealed what happened when he said, “We made a calculation that we were going to win the 2016 presidential election and confirm a nominee. And it didn’t work out.” The Democrats were not too concerned about Merrick Garland during 2016 and were confident that it didn’t matter that he didn’t get confirmed. Their miscalculation doesn’t equate to a “stolen seat”.

The court needs justices who interpret and not make the law. The blasts from the left against Judge Kavanaugh contend that he is out of the mainstream of American thought and is a right-wing ideologue. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts called him, “a right-wing ideologue who will be committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade.” Liberal Democracy for America railed, “Donald Trump’s decision to nominate a reactionary ideologue like Brett Kavanaugh and shift the balance of the U.S. Supreme Court even further right represents a generational assault on justice, freedom, and our country’s core democratic values.”

Sounds like Judge Kavanaugh is a foaming at the mouth, raving lunatic, right? Let’s see. As a judge, he is a committed textualist and originalist, one whose time on the bench has revealed a unique ability to apply these principles to legal facts. He is a family man. He was born in Washington and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. He is still close to his parents. His mother was a high school teacher and then became a judge. His father was an attorney. He met his wife Ashley just before 9/11 and they’ve been married for about fourteen years. They have two daughters, Margaret and Liza. He has mentored underprivileged children, served meals to the homeless and coached his daughters’ Catholic Youth Organization basketball teams.

Does he seem like a fire-breathing, crazy nut case to you? “Even though he has Ivy League credentials and a fancy job, he’s kind of a regular, all-American guy. He likes to play basketball and drink beer. It’s very refreshing in a town like Washington,” said Helgi Walker who worked with Kavanaugh in the White House counsel’s office.

The Democrats will raise as many dubious arguments as they can to sabotage this Supreme Court nomination. Truth will have little to do with their questions in hearings or in their votes. For the Democrats in this situation, they embody the famous line from A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth.”

Image: CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/comic-fear-flee-fright-1296117/

Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas lives in Washington, Missouri and is a professor at St. Louis Christian College. He's also on staff at First Christian Church in Washington, Missouri. He's authored two novellas, From the Ashes and The Sixty-First Minute published by White Feather Press of MI and three Bible studies, Surrounded by Grace, The Critical Questions and More and The Road to Victory published by CSS Publishing of OH.