Republicans, Confirm a Supreme Court Justice Immediately

Republicans, Confirm a Supreme Court Justice Immediately
The Supreme Court of the United States in Washington on May 7, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Josh Hammer

Political hell broke loose when America learned, just as the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah was about to commence, that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—a decades-long liberal lion of the Supreme Court and erstwhile feminist trailblazer—had succumbed to pancreatic cancer. In a presidential election year already marked by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic unleashed upon the world by a geopolitical archfoe, a once-in-a-lifetime pansocietal conversation about race, and unprecedented political rancor fanning the flames of a grieving nation’s cold civil war, the passing of “RBG” has upended anew the battle lines for November.

Within hours of Ginsburg’s passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed that a nominee to replace her would receive an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. President Donald Trump soon came out in accord, notwithstanding Democrats’ hysterical howls alleging hypocrisy based on the purported “precedent” of how McConnell and Senate Republicans snubbed President Barack Obama’s own election year Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016, following the passing of conservative titan Justice Antonin Scalia (never mind that McConnell’s strategy was expressly predicated upon the fact that the presidency and Senate were, at the time, controlled by different parties).

Throughout the Trump presidency, Democrats and their “resistance” allies have claimed the mantle of vaunted defenders of political customs and institutional norms—a would-be collective bulwark standing between the dreaded Orange Man and the collapse of America into an authoritarian banana republic. The Washington Post, Beltway insiders’ favorite liberal paper, went so far as to change its tagline to “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” And one can hardly tune in to CNN or MSNBC without hearing ad nauseam about encroaching fascism from Trump and his purported brownshirts.

In reality, something approximating the opposite is true. In the Trump era, Democrats, leftist activists, and their media mouthpieces have repeatedly vowed to irrevocably alter the very basis, structure, and essence of our American experiment in self-governance. We are told that the Electoral College is a retrograde edifice and a tool of white supremacy. We are informed that the defining structural feature of the U.S. Senate—two seats apiece per state, no matter a state’s size—is a pawn for the tyranny of rural America over urban America, James Madison’s countermajoritarian warning against the insidious threat of “faction,” in “Federalist No. 10” notwithstanding.

More recently, in the aftermath of the McConnell/Trump pledge to fill Ginsburg’s seat, Democrats have taken to issuing the coarsest and most reckless of threats—unleash their Antifa-Black Lives Matter arsonist puppets to set aflame America’s urban corridors, “pack” the Supreme Court by adding numerous (liberal-held) seats, admit Puerto Rico and possibly the District of Columbia as new states (holding aside the brazen unconstitutionality of the latter possibility). Democratic leaders seem to have forgotten one of the principal lessons one ought to learn in kindergarten: Threatening a temper tantrum if one does not get what one wants belies any pretense of emotional maturity or basic civil decency.

But it’s actually even worse than that. Going back decades, it is the Democratic Party and their leftist black-robed allies on the bench that are almost exclusively to blame for the sordid state of our judicial politics and our actual judiciary alike. It was Ted Kennedy and his brother-in-arms, Joe Biden himself, who permanently altered the course of judicial nominations when, in 1987, they ruthlessly savaged and personally destroyed Robert Bork, President Ronald Reagan’s eminently qualified nominee for the high court. They upped the ante in 1991, smearing Clarence Thomas with well-orchestrated, highly dubious workplace sexual harassment allegations so outrageous that the jurist—a black man who grew up in the Jim Crow South—described the outrage as a “high-tech lynching.”

Democrats largely opposed the 2006 confirmation of Samuel Alito, nuked the filibuster for lower-court judicial nominees in 2013, and pulled out every stunt imaginable in the all-out war that was Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle in 2018—a fight so bitter and acrimonious so as to make the Bork and Thomas precedents look timid by comparison. As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently wrote to committee Democrats: “Compare the treatment of Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh to that of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, and it’s clear that there already is one set of rules for a Republican president and one set of rules for a Democrat president.”

Leftist judges on the bench for a half-century have only further hardened conservatives’ perception that the judicial game is rigged, constitutionalizing a myriad of issues on the most legally farcical of grounds and removing from the ambit of our democracy countless issues about which decent people might disagree, and which ought to be left for the voters to decide. With the narrow exception of gun rights, there is not a single hot-button legal or cultural issues where conservatives, dating back to the Warren Court, have been by and large successful. Originalists and legal conservatives usually try to play by the rules; their leftist, outcome-oriented brethren have no such compunctions.

The Democratic Party deserves to have a conservative replacement for Ginsburg jammed down its throat. And leftist activist judges, the left-leaning legal profession and left-dominated legal academia all deserve the same fate. Grow a spine, Republicans; stand with your own voters, and do what needs to be done—as soon as humanly possible.

Josh Hammer, a constitutional attorney by training, is an opinion editor for Newsweek, a podcast contributor with BlazeTV, of counsel at First Liberty Institute, and a syndicated columnist.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Josh Hammer is opinion editor of Newsweek, a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation, counsel and policy advisor for the Internet Accountability Project, a syndicated columnist through Creators, and a contributing editor for Anchoring Truths. A frequent pundit and essayist on political, legal, and cultural issues, Hammer is a constitutional attorney by training. He hosts “The Josh Hammer Show,” a Newsweek podcast, and co-hosts the Edmund Burke Foundation's “NatCon Squad” podcast. Hammer is a college campus speaker through Intercollegiate Studies Institute and Young America's Foundation, as well as a law school campus speaker through the Federalist Society. Prior to Newsweek and The Daily Wire, where he was an editor, Hammer worked at a large law firm and clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Hammer has also served as a John Marshall Fellow with the Claremont Institute and a fellow with the James Wilson Institute. Hammer graduated from Duke University, where he majored in economics, and from the University of Chicago Law School. He lives in Florida, but remains an active member of the State Bar of Texas.