In my opinion, Amy Coney Barrett should not be the next Supreme Court Justice. I’ll explain why, but first I’m going to address some of the commonly leveled arguments against her.
First, the notion that nomination preferences will be indicated by the next election is logically wrong. That view supposes that the election will be predominately focused around the Supreme Court, as opposed to issues like corruption, negligent handling of a pandemic, felonious activity, and mental infirmity. The Republicans would love nothing so much as to divert attention away from Trump’s potential tax fraud, support of white supremacists, efforts to have Russia influence American elections in his behalf and a constantly rising body count and onto issues like restriction of religious rights, damage claims over microaggressions or late-term abortion.
While Supreme Court positions are a matter of concern to the electorate, they were fifth in overall importance to Democrats in August, and tied for third for Republicans. It’s reasonable to expect that the passing of Ginsburg shifted the focus of many voters toward the courts, but other significant matters have dominated the media cycle over the last few weeks. Obviously Ginsburg’s seat is not the sole impetus driving peoples’ votes.
Republicans were able to make gains across the duration of Obama’s terms primarily by running against social changes which were championed by prominent Democrats. Social issues, framed as a “culture war”, were used during the nomination process of Brett Kavanaugh as a way to pry wavering Republicans and traditionalist independents away from their inclination to punish the Republicans for issues like the theft of children at the border and support of Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. Prior to the nomination fight, Democrats were expected to win in a “blue tsunami”. That tsunami diminished to a wave after a few weeks of public contention. It would be the height of idiocy for the Democrats to hand Trump’s enablers a lifeline in places like South Carolina.
By framing the upcoming vote as a referendum on the nomination, they are inviting disaster.
The same holds for attacking Barrett’s personality. She is being described as conniving, avaricious and duplicitous… maneuvering like a spider toward ensnared prey as she seeks the Supreme Court. There’s one huge problem with this interpretation: she’s merely taking the same course of action that nearly every other judge would. Many lawyers and judges dream of being on the Supreme Court, and most professionals will choose to advance in their careers if given the opportunity. Demeaning someone for normal activity is fairly unsavory. It’s also irrational, in that it requires a person to ignore all of the statements of people who have known and worked with her, often for years, in favor of a theoretical construct from someone who has never met her.
Attacking her judicial philosophy is fair game, but as mentioned above her opinions can easily be presented, accurately or not, as representative of a majority of Americans. Targeting them shortly before an election is unwise.
She will be going before the Senate today. She is likely to be evasive in her answers and refuse to say how she would act in response to potential events. This will be painted as evidence that she is unfit for the position. I make this prediction with confidence because an identical charge has been leveled at every Supreme Court nominee since the successful derailing of Robert Bork, including the recently deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Complaints that she is dishonorable for not waiting for another chance are nothing short of asinine. She will never have another chance at a Supreme Court seat. This is why:
If she refused the nomination from Trump without any public explanation, she would have been viable as a candidate in the future, but due to her judicial philosophy she would be highly unlikely to be nominated by anyone save a Republican or conservative. There will be at least four years of Democrat leadership, and after Trump most political observers recognize that the Republican party has deeply alienated many growth populations: youth, Hispanics, and blacks among them. They have also damaged their support among women, and have found themselves tied to conspiracy theorists. Barring catastrophic events, the Democrats are likely to hold the White House for eight years. Assuming that a Republican then takes over and a vacancy is immediately available, Barrett would be there… but she would be eight years older with a history of being considered by Trump. She would no longer have the degree of youth sought by Presidents who wish to seat Justices for long terms, and she would have an additional strike against her for being on Trump’s short list.
That’s the best scenario. Had she publicly rejected the offer, she would be seen as not being a team player, which is an immediate death knell for a career in the modern political climate.
This is not to say that I believe she made the correct decision. She would have been honorable to refuse the nomination under a pretense. I suggest only that the job was a reasonable temptation as the culmination of a lifelong dream and that the argument that she would have other chances is fatuous.
My problem with Amy Coney Barrett has nothing to do with Amy Coney Barrett. It is the process being hurried through by the malignant Three Stooges of October 2020: Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. While they have every right to speed the nomination through, by doing so they are acting in direct opposition to their statements in 2016. They are again exposing themselves as liars and hypocrites before the country and the world.
Barrett should never have been nominated. She was tempted with a shot at the life’s dream of millions of lawyers, and I’m not inclined to castigate her for the moral failing of accepting that prize. Rather, I’m going to condemn the people who arranged the situation and do what I can to defeat them at the polls, three weeks from now.