Friday, October 16, 2020
What We Learn From the Judge Amy Conan Barrett Senate Hearing
Americans saw a brilliant, posed, confident, composed, soft-spoken unflappable woman; strong – not docile. Working mothers saw a model and inspiration. It is possible to have it all. Democrats saw a threat they could not mansplain or slime. Americans saw a rarity in D.C., a person who stands by his or her settled principles. Democrats could not even attack her on her Catholicism. Senator Dianne Feinstein did that in her earlier 2017 confirmation, saying “The dogma lives strongly in you.” Democrats do not want to upset the Catholic vote in a critical election year. President James Buchanan (who?) once referred to the Senate as “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” The rubric has stuck – well past its time. The Brett Kavanaugh hearings disproved any illusion of great deliberation. The Trump impeachment fiasco showed raw partisan politics. Four Democratic incumbents lost reelection after the Kavanaugh hearings. Senators are elected for 6 years versus 2 for Representatives. That provides Senators the ability, if they wish, to avoid “the flavor of the month” and ride out the “mob rule.” The filibuster necessitates the ability to cross party lines to form a conservative. The filibuster on judicial appointments is gone, thanks to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democratic Caucus. President Obama and Senator Reid wanted 3 liberal judges appointed to the D.C. Circuit (“The Little Supreme Court”) to rubber stamp President Obama’s statutes and regulatory edicts. The Democrats turned judicial nominations into a raw, political spectacle. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned the Democrats against that act: “What goes around, comes around.” Then came the end of the Democratic hegemony in D.C. First the Democrats lost the House and Senate in 2020. Then Donald Trump was elected President in 2016. The Republicans held the Senate, gaining a few seats in 2018. The Republicans have the votes. Democrats lack the votes. So much for the world’s greatest deliberate body. Justice Scalia passed away. President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace him. It would not affect the “political” balance on the Court, but the Democrats threatened to filibuster. The Republicans proceeded to axe the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees. Then came Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on the Supreme Court, followed by the failed strategy in the Judge Thomas hearings – a last minute, unsubstantiated evidence lacking, sexual harassment charge going back to the judge’s high school days. The Senate Democrats did not deliberate. They harangued, maligned, defamed, and character assassinated Judge Kavanaugh in a lost cause. The judge was confirmed. Republican Senator Jeff Flake lost his Senate seat. The Senate finished its 30 hour of Hearings with Judge Barrett. 30 hours of questioning? Or 30 hours of pontification? Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island spent his allotted 30 minutes to question the judge by not asking one question. He declaimed soft money (Koch money) entering politics, but ignored the soft money and union money that flows into his campaigns. Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono asked the judge if she’s ever been accused of sexual harassment, to which the answer was of course no. Delaware Senator Chris Coons quizzed the judge on why she singled out Chief Justice Roberts on the affordable care act decision. Her answer was a simple declarative: “He wrote that opinion, Senator.” Senator Amy Klobuchar called the process “a sham.” Senator Kamala Harris says the process is illegitimate. All bloviating! Of course the Democrats would have done the same thing if they had the votes. The Democrats lack the vote so they tried to turn the hearings into a campaign rally. ObamaCare, Roe v. Wade and the confirmation process are their issues. We learn that some academics and Senators assert a distinction exists between mere precedence and super precedence. Super precedents are untouchable but precedence can be overturned. Super precedents are those which the progressive believe in, such as Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, and Brown v. Board of Education, and thus untouchable, whereas mere precedence would include Citizens United v. FEC on campaign contributions and D.C. v. Heller on gun control. Judge Barrett, when confirmed, will be the second Justice from outside the beltway. She is from Indiana and Justice Gorsuch hails from Colorado. Chief Justice Roberts is also a Hoosier, but he left Indiana behind, just as Justice Breyer left San Francisco, to become ensconce into the eastern establishment. Just as significant, we don’t have a justice from Harvard and Yale Law Schools, which have dominated in recent years. Judge Garrett is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School. Justice Ginsberg graduated from Columbia Law, but had transferred from Harvard to be with her husband. Justice Stevens went to Northwestern while Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O’Connor were classmates at Stanford. The Warren Court had the great civil libertarian, and former KKK member, Senator Hugo Black from Alabama, Thurgood Marshall from Howard, and John Marshall Harlan II from New York Law School (not NYU). Chief Justice Earl Warren was a graduate of Berkeley and his Successor Chief Justice Warren Burger graduated from the predecessor of William Mitchell Law School in Minneapolis. Geographic diversity is returning to the Supreme Court, more representative of America. Judge Barrett was very careful to hew to the Ginsberg Rule. Do not answer any questions that might deal with cases that could come before the court. She reaffirmed that she is an “originalist” in the sense that the Constitution says what it means. It is not a living constitution to be judicially amended as 5 out of 9 unelected Supreme Court justices desire. Nor is t to be based on international law. The Constitution with the Bill of Rights is the document that governs the American Republic. The Constitution is the document that protects the people from the government. It protects the minority from the majority and the mob. She clearly stated she would not let her personal views sway her decisions on the Constitution. Nor would she be a clone of Justice Scalia or a pawn. The framers were both educated men of the enlightenment and English citizens who understood the abuses of the Crown. The Constitution was not perfect, but it provided for amendments. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were imperfect with the rights of humans. They did not abolish slavery, but even the founders knew slavery was abhorrent. The Constitution does not include the words “slave,” “runaway slaves,” “slavery” or “slave trade.” The two core documents of the Republic provide the goal to which America could ultimately reach: ending slavery and granting the right to vote to African Americans, women, and Native Americans. Senator Dianne Feinstein approached Senator Lindsay Graham after the hearings, thanking each other for civility in the hearings. The intolerant far left of the Democratic Party demanded she resign.