During the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation circus in the fall of 2018, Trump and the GOP Clown Show reveled in the political distraction it provided heading into the midterm election in the hope that it might save the party from the Blue Tsunami many, including myself, were predicting. Obviously, their plan failed.
However, during the hearings, Mitch McConnell used the situation as a rallying cry to vote Republican to save the courts. According to Mickey, “putting strict constructionists … on the courts for lifetime appointments is the best way to have a long-term positive impact on America.”
Even though Trump and McConnell claim otherwise, they haven’t saved the courts. Even with the addition of Kavanaugh — and before him, Neil Gorsuch — the Supreme Court is just as dysfunctional and broken as it’s been for years. This is also true for the lower courts.
In May of last year, I documented how Kavanaugh had not only failed the “strict constructionist” test, he had become a solid ally of the leftist wing of the court — confirming my opposition to his nomination in the first place.
When Neil Gorsuch was nominated in 2017, I had grave reservations about him, specifically in the areas of abortion, the LGBT agenda, and the Second Amendment. Gorsuch had no track record on the abortion and LGBT issues, and he was involved in a Second Amendment case where he agreed that New Mexico police could forcefully disarm citizens without cause.
The Supreme Court has recently agreed to hear cases touching on abortion and LGBT issues. Only time will tell how the court will rule, but based on past history there’s very little reason to hope they will be decided constitutionally. However, it’s not only the cases they agree to hear, but also the cases they refuse to hear that demonstrates the brokenness of our judiciary.
Earlier this week, the high court refused to hear a case challenging Trump’s “bump stocks” ban. The justices left in place a lower court decision that allowed Trump to redefine bump stocks as machine guns which are prohibited under U.S. law. Gorsuch agreed with the decision to reject the appeal.
This is the second gun rights case the Supreme Court has refused to consider in the past year. In August 2019, Remington Arms asked the Court to hear its appeal of a ruling that allowed families of victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings to hold gun manufacturers liable for the murders. In November 2019, the justices refused to consider the appeal and allowed the lawsuits against gun manufacturers to proceed.
It’s important to note here that the Supreme Court has the discretion to accept or reject cases based on its own set of rules. Only four justices are necessary to hear a case. Even if you factor out the four “liberal” justices, it means that at least two of the “conservative” justices refused to hear these Second Amendment cases.
When McConnell was working last year on the GOP strategy for the 2020 election, part of his plan included the “vote Republican to save the courts” talking points:
“President Trump has not wasted a single moment nominating pro-Constitution judges to serve our country.
“He has nominated two superb Supreme Court nominees, Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch, and over 100 pro-Constitution judges to serve in lower courts across America. And your Republican Senate Majority has confirmed them at the fastest clip in history.”
Of course, he lied about the “pro-Constitution” part, but it’s what Republicans do when they’re desperate for the money they need and the votes they didn’t earn.
The Founding Fathers never intended for the judiciary to wield the power they have been given. Though designed to be the weakest branch of government, the judiciary has grown into a tyrannical super power with little interest in protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States of America and restoring the balance of power.
Despite Mitch McConnell’s claim to the contrary, Trump and the GOP aren’t doing anything to change that.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative.