The Dogma Days of Summer
Becoming a Supreme Court justice used to be an attorney’s dream. It’s getting there, Brett Kavanaugh will tell you, that’s a nightmare.
Becoming a Supreme Court justice used to be an attorney’s dream. It’s getting there, Brett Kavanaugh will tell you, that’s a nightmare. “I have no illusions that the road ahead of me will be easy,” Amy Coney Barrett acknowledged at her Rose Garden nomination ceremony on Saturday. And she should know — it’s the same road where she collided with Senate Democrats over her Seventh Circuit appointment three years ago. But even then, with the worst the Left had to throw at her, the Scalia protégé proved one thing: moms of seven don’t scare easily.
It’s a hot seat Coney Barrett’s sat in before. Who could forget Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) meme-worthy attack on Amy’s Catholic beliefs in 2017? Her infamous charge about the “dogma” living “loudly” in Barrett was such a horrible misfire that it became an instant rallying cry (and t-shirt line) for Christians. Now, just three short years later, the popular Notre Dame professor is back in the Senate’s viper pit — with a second chance for Democrats to act like adults.
But how much discipline will Senate liberals actually have? In the days leading up to the first Judiciary Committee hearing, Democrats are saying all the right things. “We’re not going down that road again,” one unnamed senator insisted to the Hill newspaper about avoiding what he called a “Kavanaugh 2.0.” “People know what happened to [Senator] Joe Donnelly, they know what happened to [Senator] Claire McCaskill and they know what happened to [Senator] Heidi Heitkamp.” The public crucifixion of Kavanaugh in 2018 cost the Democrats three seats, a painful lesson they don’t want to repeat this time around — especially not when the nominee is a woman, a mother of a special needs child, and an eminently qualified judge.
Unfortunately for Democrats, there are still some on the far-Left like Feinstein and others who think everything is fair game. “[They’ve] created an environment,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told me Monday on “Washington Watch,” “in which their supporters, liberal activists, and Democratic strategists feel free to attack Judge Barrett for adopting two Haitian children.” It’s “vile,” he insisted. “There’s nothing to which Democrats won’t stoop.” Because as far as they’re concerned, there’s nothing more dangerous than a nominee who utters these six words: “I love the United States Constitution.”
This is a party, after all, whose make-believe world rests entirely on the foundation of activist courts — not the Constitution and certainly not natural law. Without an army of black-robed policymakers, liberals wouldn’t have abortion-on-demand, redefined genders, or same-sex marriage. As even Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) admitted, the only way their unpopular agenda succeeds is by packing the bench with wannabe legislators who will impose the radicalism they can’t pass democratically. The last thing they want to hear is that the deciding justice on a divided court loves the document they want to run through the paper shredder.
That’s why the Left opposes her. Not because she’s been nominated in an election year, or because there isn’t enough time to vet her. As Senator Cotton pointed out, she’s already been vetted! “We just confirmed Amy Coney Barrett less than three years ago… so there’s already been a background check. We’ve all done our work…There is more than enough time to have a careful, deliberative process that doesn’t cut corners or skip any steps.” The Senate confirmed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 42 days. Justice Sandra O'Connor in 33. What’s different now? Certainly not the process — it didn’t change. But the power and significance of the court did.
At some point in the last half-century, elected officials decided they wanted to keep their jobs more than they wanted to do their jobs. They’ve avoided the responsibility of debating tough issues, so much so that the courts have become, as Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) calls it, “a substitute political battleground.” “They look to nine justices to be super-legislators, to right the wrongs from other places in the process.” Until Americans can find more judges who will apply the laws — and more leaders with the courage to write them — every confirmation will be a mud-slinging, vitriolic mess.
One way or another, the Left will come after Barrett — whether it’s over her faith, her views on Obamacare and abortion, or just their general contempt for the rule of law she represents. They’ll refuse to meet with her, threaten to slow down the process, and even boycott the hearings. Because they know as well as Senator Cotton does, if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed — and a plurality of voters want her to be — “this will be the best court from a constitutional perspective in modern times, perhaps ever.”
What can you do to guarantee it? Contact your senators and tell them to fill that seat with Amy Coney Barrett!
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.
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