Thomas Gallatin / October 29, 2018

Ginsburg Blames Congress for Polarized Judicial Process

The real culprit for this partisanship is activist judges — a.k.a. judicial despots.

The oldest justice on the Supreme Court has made a habit of publicly airing her political opinions, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is at it again. Alluding to the recent partisan fight in the Senate to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Ginsburg lamented the polarization of the judicial confirmation process, assigning the blame to Congress. “To me,” she said, “the obvious culprit is Congress.” Well, as the saying goes, when you point one finger at others, there are three pointing back at you. Or, as Jesus said, “You hypocrite! First pull the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matt 7:5)

It’s true that the Senate bears much responsibility for the partisan circus that is judicial nominations. But Ginsburg misses two huge points. For one thing, it was Democrats in the 1987 Robert Bork hearings who so outrageously character-assassinated Bork that his last name became a verb to describe such vicious personal attacks. In 1992, Clarence Thomas suffered what he called a “high-tech lynching.” Democrats merely continued that “heritage” with their vile assault on Kavanaugh.

But the primary reason the judicial confirmation process has become such a polarizing issue is because of activist judges on the courts. Activist judges — like Ginsburg — are the very judicial despots Thomas Jefferson warned about. They see their role as a means to further their own political agenda rather than to be informed by and limited in their judgments to the text of Constitution and the law. In other words, Ginsburg assigns blame solely to Congress, which by constitutional design is to be the most partisan branch of government, while ignoring her own outsized role in helping to foster an increasingly politicized Supreme Court.

Even at the advanced age of 85, Ginsburg has yet to learn the wisdom of when to be silent. By expressing her political opinions in both public comments and rulings, she has done more to cause Americans to question the nature of the Supreme Court’s supposedly apolitical standard than the words of President Donald Trump or any member of Congress ever will.

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