How partisan?

The harsh reality of our nation’s polarized politics predict that Brett Kavanaugh will survive his confirmation hearings and take a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. But we should not worry. Brett Kavanaugh assures us that he will be impartial, not political. This is what he said yesterday:

“A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law.

“A good judge must be an umpire — a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy.

“As Justice Kennedy explained in Texas versus Johnson, one of his greatest opinions, judges do not make decisions to reach a preferred result. Judges make decisions because ‘the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result.’

“If confirmed to the Supreme Court, I will keep an open mind in every case.

“The Supreme Court must never, ever be viewed as a partisan institution.”

These are the words of Brett Kavanaugh.

Not partisan? For most of my long life I have regarded the Supreme Court as neutral, wise, above politics, a view shared by most Americans. That view held steady until December 12, 2000, when a divided Supreme Court became politically active and handed the presidency to George W. Bush, voting 5-4 along party lines. Ironic, isn’t it, that the political party that criticizes “activist judges” loves them when their decisions favor the party?

Many of us believed then that history would remember the disastrous Bush presidency that followed as the nation’s worst ever, and that was true until Donald Trump, the most unqualified and dishonest candidate we have ever experienced descended the escalator and went on to win the Electoral College vote and become our president.

Politics is the pursuit of power, a wise person once said. That’s true, and this new president lost little time in wielding it, quickly placing one more conservative vote on the Supreme Court and starting to pressure an aging justice to retire so he could stack the deck even further with Brett Kavanaugh.

Justices on the Supreme Court hold their seats until they resign, die, or are removed from office. That’s a long time. How partisan will this new court be?

 

 

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