Most Americans accept that our Founding Fathers’ assigned the Supreme Court only one responsibility: to adjudicate based on the United States Constitution, as amended, and constitutionally-faithful statutes.
More than two centuries ago, America’s founders knew nothing of today’s “left” and “right,” but they did know right from wrong. The founders’ enduring legal framework wasn’t designed to facilitate partisan agendas. The only feature even remotely “conservative” about their extraordinarily-liberal judicial plan was placing sensible boundaries on Supreme Court decisions.
But, disregarding the founders’ intent, the left misuses the courts to impose “progressive” values and to legislate — from the bench — policy objectives liberals cannot realize democratically.
For decades, leftists have rejected the principle that judges must follow the clear words of the Constitution, arguing instead that an activist judiciary should treat the Constitution as a “living,” “organic” thing, that subjective, emotional “emanations“ and “penumbras” divined by liberal judges can – should — override America’s founding document.
“Coequal” branches of government aren’t genuinely coequal, though. The American judiciary has no legislative or executive powers, no authority over spending or foreign policy. The judiciary is directed only to apply its judgment, after which it must rely on executive branch assets to enforce court decisions. Lower court rulings can be overturned by superior courts, any court’s decisions invalidated by legislation or executive non-enforcement.
Nonetheless, judgeships aren’t a casual issue for conservatives and moderates, either. For many, judges are the issue. In 2016, candidate Donald Trump’s published list of Supreme Court candidates — all of whom, including now-Justice Neil Gorsuch, are constitutional originalists — may have put him over the top in swing states.
Still fulfilling campaign promises to appoint originalists to America’s District, Appellate and Supreme Courts, President Trump has nominated another to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. As it always does when it cannot appoint liberals to validate and impose its worldview, the left has panicked over the president’s second Supreme Court nomination.
Even before a selection was named, liberals hyperbolically fretted that “’our most fundamental values are under attack,” that constitutional textualism would result in “a morass of plutocratic rule and evangelical bigotry,” impose “the religious rigidity and social Darwinism of the court’s right wing.” Liberals instructed Democrats “to do whatever it takes,” to “fight a deep, …dangerous crisis in America,” and urged Democrats “to play by street rules,” on “a matter of the Democratic Party’s soul.”
Democrats would be better served if, rather than judicial activism, their party’s “soul” were anchored in persuasive, vote-winning policy proposals. That it clearly isn’t only confirms the party’s inadequacies and the unpopularity of its political ambitions. But introspection isn’t Democrats’ strong suit.
Democrats are incensed that, in addition to winning the presidency, Donald Trump has selected judges who will restore the Court to its constitutional roots. Liberal hysteria will increase; the nominee’s character will be assassinated; senators will be confronted and threatened; the political environment will become even more toxic and, very possibly, dangerous — all because Democrats lost an election.
A little perspective, please…