The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the simple fact that there is a great divide in the way that liberals and conservatives view the Constitution of the United States. Liberals believe that it is a “Living Constitution” or one that changes with the times. Conservatives believe that it says what it means and means what it says.
These basic differences of view are what lie behind the hysteria of the Democrats in their opposition of Brett Kavanaugh. They oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination for justice on the Supreme Court because they know that he will follow the Constitution. What is more, they would oppose any conservative nomination for the same reason.
David Harsanyi from The Federalist agrees that some of the anger at Kavanaugh’s nomination is simply “partisan bluster meant to placate the activist base” but says that “most Democrats were going to get hysterical about any pick, because any conservative pick was going to take the Constitution far too literally for their liking.” He then explains one reason for their anger.
For those who rely on the administrative state and coercion as a policy tool – forcing people to join political organizations, forcing them to support abortion, forcing them to subsidize socially progressive sacraments, forcing them to create products that undermine their faith, and so on – that’s a big problem.
Harsanyi continues his article by giving several examples of Democrat statements against Kavanaugh as a conservative. However, “almost none of the objections coming from leading Democrats have been even ostensibly about Kavanaugh’s qualifications as a jurist or, for that matter, his interpretation of the Constitution.”
Among all the statements by Democrats – their fears that Kavanaugh’s nomination is a threat to health care, women’s rights, workers’ rights, climate change, and more – there are no suggestions that Kavanaugh is not qualified for the position.
There is absolutely no guiding principle to any of this other than political preference.
It seems to me that with another originalist justice, we inch closer to a time when the majority of the left will simply dismiss the court as an antiquated impediment to progress. We already see this happening – not only from progressives but from supposed moderates….
Normalizing the idea that the Constitution should be subservient to the fleeting will of politics and progressive conceptions of “justice” goes back to President Barack Obama, who promised in 2008 to nominate justices sharing “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”
The left hailed this position as proof of a thoughtful and moral temperament, when in reality it’s an ideological position that allows judges to arbitrarily create law and subordinate their constitutional duty to their personal worldview.
Harsanyi admits that there are “legitimate debates” about how the Constitution can be interpreted. He also admits that “all justices aren’t political on all issues” and not “all conservatives [are] pure.” He says that it is the left that “embraces relativistic arguments about the intent and purpose of the Constitution.”
Appointments to the Supreme Court should be less important and attract less controversy. However, the fact that the court is “one of the only institutions preserving constitutional order” makes appointments to it of greater concerns. The fact that Donald Trump is nominating conservatives who honor the Constitution is what drives the left nuts. This is especially true now that he has nominated a conservative to fill the seat of Justice Kennedy who was a known swing vote. I can only imagine the anger and hysteria that we will see if and when Trump nominates a conservative to fill the seat left open by a liberal!