Like a Child Who Doesn’t Get His Way, Liberalism Threatens the Courts
Liberalism understands it is under threat. That’s one reason the Democratic presidential candidates are constantly trying to outdo one another’s extremism.
Nowhere has this been made clearer than a brief five Democratic senators filed this month in a New York gun case. The Second Amendment is under threat. The New York State Rifle case is only the latest example.
But what’s amazing is what Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and his four fellow Senate Democrats say in their brief about the Supreme Court itself.
First, some background. For decades, liberals have used a compliant and left-leaning Supreme Court, as well as the liberal judges in the lower federal courts, to get what they can’t win in federal and state law. Whether abortion or same-sex marriage, health care (remember Obamacare’s “mandate”?) or “affirmative action,” the Supremes have a long history of making law from the bench. And when it’s been liberal law, the left has told the rest of us to be quiet and respect the Court’s decisions.
The Federalist Society’s Ryan Fazio explains how they do it. It started with FDR’s New Deal and his own liberal Supreme Court appointments. Progressive judges got around “the normal constitutional amendment process by reading into the law meanings that were never there to impose desired social policies on the nation, exceed the enumerated powers, and traverse protections of individual rights.”
Now some tables are beginning to turn. The president appointed bona fide conservatives Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the highest bench. He’s filling the lower federal courts with conservative jurists. As of August 5, Trump has “appointed nearly 1 in 4 of the nation’s federal appeals court judges and 1 in 7 of its district court judges.”
Liberals are terrified, and angry. “Their” courts are being populated by (gasp) conservatives. Conservatives who don’t believe the Constitution is a “living, breathing” thing, but a written text with a clear and defined meaning. And who rule that way.
Threatening the Court
Enter Senator Whitehouse and his gang of four (Dick Durbin, Mazie Hirono, Kristin Gillibrand, and Richard Blumenthal). In their filing on New York State Rifle, they threatened and insulted the Supreme Court itself.
What comes to mind is a spoiled child who’s been told he can’t have any more ice cream. He screams, throws his bowl on the floor, and kicks the dog.
But these Senators aren’t kids. Yet they had the arrogance to write, “This Court has employed a number of methods to [get around the] limits in decisions that moved the law. The Supreme Court is not well. … Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics’.”
Breathtaking. Make law as we want or sustain precedent that itself violates the Constitution, or else. Specifically, we’ll add new justices to the Court so we can get the results we demand.
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All 53 Republican Senators have responded to the Whitehouse brief. In a letter to the Supreme Court, they wrote that the five Democrats “did more than raise legal arguments. … They openly threatened this Court with political retribution.” That retribution is, of course, adding new justices to the Court in order to crush any conservative majority.
As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell commented, the Democrats’ “court-packing plans are more than mere pandering. They are a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary and the rights of all Americans.”
The Senate’s Wicked Witches
At the end of the Wizard of Oz, there’s a famous scene in which the Wicked Witch cries out to Dorothy, “Who would have thought that a little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness!”
The left sees its beautiful world of government control, contempt for the states, and limited liberty begin to melt under the warmth of constitutional sanity. A warning. They’ll yell all the louder. They’ll threaten and bully even more than they have. Their allies in the media will join in the ugly chorus.
Get ready. Stand strong. And vote for conservatives who believe the Constitution still matters.
Rob Schwarzwalder is a senior contributor at The Stream and a senior lecturer at Regent University.