02 Aug What They Won’t Say About Hillary’s Court
If they’re selling it, don’t buy it.
When a President (or a candidate) drops the names of Judges they want on the Supreme Court, the inference is that stellar legal qualifications are the primary litmus test. Wrong. After all, one rarely gets on the short-list to the High Court with less than high legal marks. No, the real litmus test (aside from the ability to overcome any Senate confirmation obstacles) is whether that person is ripe to rule in a way that advances the President’s agenda. You may hear the counter-argument that the judicial bent of Supreme Court nominees can change after gaining a lifetime seat on the Court. True. But that happens only occasionally, and when it does, recent history tells us that Justices more often break with expectations by hewing to the left, rather than to the right. So, here is what Big Media may not tell you about Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court short-list, currently being vetted, according to a recent issue of inside-Washington political news source, The Hill.
Take, for instance, Judge Sri Srinivasan who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and is reportedly in Hillary’s court thinking. He has an impressive resume, would be the first Indian-American Hindu on the Supreme Court, and has the advantage of having garnered plaudits during his last confirmation go-around from a handful of conservatives and Republicans. Here’s the rest of the story:
- While in the Solicitor General’s office, he argued for a legal position that would have reduced First Amendment religious liberty rights to rubble whenever they conflict with discrimination laws. That Supreme Court case was Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC. His position was so extreme that during oral argument even the most liberal of the Justices were shocked, and a unanimous Court utterly rejected it when they issued their opinion.
- His political leanings were apparent when he volunteered pro-bono to assist Al Gore’s bid to overturn George Bush’s election victory in the Supreme Court case of Bush v. Gore.
- In his testimony during the Senate confirmation hearing on his appointment to the Court of Appeals he was open to the idea that international law should influence how Justices interpret the principles of our Constitution, noting that the laws of other nations or the U.N. can play a “confirming” role. Admittedly, he added that the more important guide to judging should be “Supreme Court decisions,” but he could have been referring to decisions like the highly controversial Lawrence v. Texas, decided by a sharply divided Court and authored by Justice Kennedy, where international law was used to bolster an activist outcome.
Other names reputedly on Hillary Clinton’s list: Merrick Garland, a judge appointed to serve on the Court of Appeals in 1997 by her husband Bill Clinton, and who refused to halt President Obama’s most aggressive “climate change” regulation yet, forcing the Supreme Court to do exactly that before the death of Justice Scalia; and also Paul Watford, appointed by President Obama to the nation’s most liberal and oft-overturned Court of Appeals (the 9th Circuit) and who clerked under the tutelage of ultra-liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In the end, it’s not what politicians say about Supreme Court nominees that counts; rather, what matters is what those jurists will do once they enter that white marble courthouse on 1st Street, NE, in Washington. If we care to read them, there are clear signs how a Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court would treat historically protected rights. In an unusual bit of candor, USA Today has noted the shift of the Court in very recent days toward a “decline” of respect for religious freedom. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/30/supreme-court-religious-liberty-freedom-abortion-contraception/86819172/ The next Justice to the Supreme Court will issue ruling over the course of the next two to three decades that will shape liberty’s future for generations after that. Elections have consequences, but none greater than the threat to fundamental freedoms arising from the arrogance of judge-created law. Recall how Benjamin Franklin responded to that woman who wanted to know whether the brand new Constitution would yield a republic or a monarchy: “A Republic,” Franklin replied, “if you can keep it.”