During Bill Clinton’s successful run for the White House in 1992 against the hapless President George H.W. Bush, the Clinton “war room” led by James Carville famously posted a banner that focused its core message: It’s the Economy Stupid!
Sadly, the critical issues facing the nation have exploded in number over the ensuing two decades, so any sign today would have to wrap around the building housing the Trump campaign to capture them all.
But there is one critical issue worthy of special attention.
The Supreme Court will provide the next president at least one immediate appointment, and likely at least one more opportunity to appoint a Justice in the first term.
This doesn’t diminish the critical issues of the colossal economic and social mess the country is in after the last twenty years; but these are problems that have solutions given enough time.
But at stake with the Supreme Court is the rule of law; the Constitutional order that undergirds our whole concept of individual liberty and how that functions in our society. The Court is the last guardrail between that which makes our Republic unique, and the world of assorted thugs, socialists, and authoritarians who like to run things their way.
We have already seen in the last eight years what happens when the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI and the IRS are radicalized and politicized into weapons to use against individual American citizens and the various states. (Article; “Corrupt Justice” here.)
There have been two ultra-leftists serving as Attorney General under President Obama, who have directly inserted the DOJ into elections, race relations, housing, policing, immigration and self-determining whether or not federal law will be enforced. They have made every issue and problem they have touched incalculably worse for their politicization.
These two AG’s have disgraced the DOJ, and corrupted the rule of law for the basest for reasons; to accrue political and financial power into the hands of an all-powerful Washington that fits their worldview.
In addition, the FBI Director James Comey has publicly polluted one of the few institutions left in Washington with any credibility, pulling the agency into the muck and mire of partisan “king building,” by his direct supervision over the Hillary Clinton national security scandal, and her obvious “pay to play” profiteering at the Department of State. He has turned a blind eye to actions that would land 100 out of 100 other offenders in jail.
The Supreme Court has already proved in the lawless era of Obama that it is susceptible to the same impulses as the rest of the justice apparatus. The rule of law is situational. The rule of law isn’t what “we the people,” decide though our elected representatives it is, or as the Constitution describes it, but what a gaggle of lawyers say it is. They have given us ample examples of the trend line they are on.
First in the case of Obamacare, Chief Justice John Roberts literally saved the most disastrous legislation passed in a generation twice, by making up his own definitions and rules. In 2012 he took out his metaphoric pen and scratched through the word “individual mandate” actually in the legislation, and simply re-named it a “tax.” In the sticky wicket that defying the rule of law drags one into, the Chief Justice actually had to write in one place in his majority decision that it wasn’t a tax, then only seventeen pages latter to write it was a tax!
In the second 2014 case saving Obamacare yet again (“SCOTUScare” as the late Justice Scalia scathingly called it) Chief Justice Roberts had to redefine the law as written to find that Obamacare health exchanges being “established by the state” actually meant “established by the federal government.”
Another example of the new lawlessness of the justice establishment, the Supreme Court in 2015 – by a single vote of a single man, Justice Kennedy in this case – overturned 5,000 years of recorded human tradition, and 238 years of American precedent, and up-ended traditional marriage by fiat – although marriage is not mentioned at all in the Constitution and was being addressed in the states at the time of the decision.
Regardless of where one might stand on the merits or demerits of same-sex marriage, it is not a Constitutional issue. Nine Justices decided they would decide it. Period. Justice Scalia wrote in his minority opinion: “Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
Now, because of this one vote decision, an army of new, ancillary issues that have nothing to do with same-sex marriage are marching to the battle lines; gender identity and who can use what toilet, child sex relationships, polygamy and bestiality – the list is endless and the justification that Justice Kennedy used no less reasonable.
The tyranny of the sticky wicket.
Who sits on the high court has always been a important, of course. It has been the flash point many times in our history; most memorably in 1936 when President Roosevelt wanted to stack the court with six extra Justices to break the majority on the Court that were overturning portions of his New Deal legislation.
But, 2016 and beyond present Americans with new and profound dangers. The corruption and radicalization of the business of justice – the rule of law – is all that has ever stood between the social order and the worst habits of those with power. The Founders understood this above everything else; the impulse of power is to always want more of it. Without the rule of law, or with a version that is only the rule of law for a few, or the rule of law as long as the Supreme Court say it is – is no law at all.
There are currently four very liberal justices and four center-right justices on the Court. Of the four liberals, several frequently opine in public about the backwardness of the U.S. Constitution and openly believe that U.S. courts should incorporate foreign legal concepts. Two of the four are have radical left political pedigrees.
One more liberal justice will swing the Court, not towards the liberal Court of the pre-Nixon era, but to an radical court that has already signaled that they are ready to constrain freedom of speech, freedom of religion and gun rights. A majority has already proved that it is willing to define their role as they see fit.
There is only one person now that can avert this. There is only one candidate that is on record as supporting, and has provided a list of potential nominees that have been vetted, who would be conservative nominees to the Supreme Court in the mold of Justice Scalia.
There is no more important decision that who sits on this court. This election is about the justices.