Trump has announced Brett Kavanaugh as his choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
In announcing it, Trump showed that he, Trump, knew more about what law is than dozens of commentators who are picking and praising his nominee.
He said, “Other than matters of war and peace, this is the most important decision a president can make,”The rule of law is our proud, American heritage.”
“In keeping with President Reagan’s legacy, I do not ask about a nominee’s personal opinions. What matters is not a judge’s political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require,” he continued.
That is it in one sentence. Will the judge do what the law and the Constitution asks him/her to do?
That American Constitution is like a Declaration of the Rights of Man – it is a declaration of free speech, of general liberty to go your own way, to make your own decisions, of the right to arm yourself in the event of politicians trying to take those rights off you.
And the ‘law’ that Trump speaks of as being a twin to the Constitution is the law made by the representatives of the voters.
Here in Australia, by and large, the courts may disagree with a law, it may be out of date, or more suited for time when the fastest thing on the road was a horse. They can see how inappropriate it is, but when they come to decide, they stick with the law as passed by parliament. They give a virtual shrug of the shoulders and say “That’s the law, you want to change it? Get Parliament to do it.”
Not so in the United States. On their Supreme Court there is a constant friction between judges who know what is best for us, and judges who say it is not in their job description.
They are sometimes described as touchy-feely judges as against black letter judges.
And doing the touchy-feely bit they have brought down hair-raising decisions as in Buck v Bell where a young woman alleged to be dim-witted was forcibly sterilised. “Three generations of imbeciles is enough” said the famous Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes.
This decision meant that, for the public good (as they saw it) public servants could restrain liberties. If they could do it for the mentally handicapped they could do it for the physically handicapped, they could do it for long term criminals, they could do it for abortion.
Which is what they did in Roe v Wade. The constitution guarantees life to every person, the court upheld that was the constitution, but they couldn’t be sure that a foetus was a person within the meaning of the law! So the baby was aborted.
Mind you, Roe v Wade was done when the prevailing view was that a baby in the womb was incapable of feeling, and was no more than a bit of protoplasm. The defence had no real expert evidence for the judges to go on and the applicants just made the claim without contradiction.
So what Trump has said is profound. Congress makes the law. Not an un-elected court.
He gets it, and he has appointed now two men who have the same idea. They apply the law as decided by Congress, not their personal whimsy.
It is significant that Kavanaugh, when nominated, said, “The framers [of the Constitution] established that the constitution is designed to secure the blessings of liberty. I revere the Constitution.”
It was Trump’s call. It was his responsibility. He may have made a poor choice, he may have made a great one. But he used the right criteria.
And, personally speaking, he has righted the ship of state.
UPDATE. PR shops were working overtime flacking for and against Trump’s choice.
However, one organization that was not working overtime was the hyper-left-liberal Women’s March.
The demented Trump haters blasted out an email to reporters and supporters slamming Trump’s nominee as part of a “patriarchal” and :white supremacist” agenda. What you would expect.
Only one problem: They hadn’t waited to get the actual name of the nominee. The copy sent to hundreds of journalists just included an “XX” where the name of the justice should be. In the same blast which mentioned all the possibles, ‘Kavanaugh’ is spelled wrong – with a ‘C’ instead of a ‘K.’
The group corrected later in the evening – sending an”UPDATED” version that was identical, with Kavanaugh’s name spelled correctly and in the place of the “XX.”
The move demonstrates how viscerally against the pick many on the political Left would be – it wouldn’t have mattered if Trump had chosen a woman communist, climate-change, compulsory abortion, freak; they would have dissed it.