Today, I listened to a fair amount of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I found it offensive.
There was a time when I thought that Supreme Court justices could be reasonably objective. But I was young and foolish. Also, neuroscience was not as advanced then. Now we know that people aren’t “objective.” Instead, like the Stephen Colbert character, we decide with our gut and then use our reasoning ability to justify it.
This is one of the reasons I find libertarians so annoying. They are, with almost no exceptions, privileged people who are either rich or assume they are going to be. And then, they cling on to libertarianism and come up with a lot of pseudo-intellectual nonsense to justify it. I’m thinking of you, Penn & Teller!
Brett Kavanaugh Is Above Ideology?!
But this morning was particularly hard to take. Democrats questioned Kavanaugh’s ideology. But one Republican after another claimed that Kavanaugh was not guided by ideology. Indeed, I even heard that he would just call balls and strikes — a reference to John Roberts who has been incredibly ideological. His “balls and strikes” claim is certainly an outright lie (or he is self-deluded).
If we are to believe Ted Cruz and Benjamin Sasse, Kavanaugh isn’t guided by ideology. No! He’s just following the law.
Why Didn’t Republicans Support Merrick Garland?
But if this is the case, why didn’t the Republicans allow Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland?
Certainly, to listen to Republicans now, there was nothing wrong with him. So what was the problem?
Obviously, the issue is that Republicans are completely ideological. They only approve of people for the courts who will reliably act as extreme right-wing ideologues.
Republicans Always Push the Limits of Hypocrisy
That’s their right. But I don’t think the rest of us have to pretend that they are honest when they claim that Brett Kavanaugh is not ideological.
The truth is that the situation could not be more unsymmetric. Look at the three people Obama nominated: Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Merrick Garland. All of them moderates — typical of Obama’s “if I’m a centrist, the Republicans will join me” failed logic.
But Republicans nominate extreme ideologues and then claim that they are above ideology.
If these judges were above ideology — or just not extremely conservative — they would never be nominated.
Will Democrats Wimp Out?
The only question now is whether the Democrats will fight fire with fire. When Washington is back in Democratic hands, it will be time to increase the size of the Supreme Court to 12. The Court needs to be larger anyway. And this is the only way that we will ever get a Supreme Court that isn’t bought and sold to the power elite.
Of course, Democrats will almost certainly not have the guts to do this. And if they did, the Republicans would just increase the seats on the Court to 500 as soon as they got in power.
This is why I think this nation is doomed. But what’s bad for us is doubtless good for the world.