They’re all good judges, but for what it’s worth, I hope President Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett to be the next justice on the Supreme Court.
… The way Senate Democrats treated Barrett last autumn — in particular, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s argument that Barrett was simply too religious and too devoutly Catholic to serve on the bench, declaring, “the dogma lives loudly within you,” revealed an argument this country needs to have: whether the country accepts deeply religious people in positions of legal authority.
… I don’t think you have to look too hard to find progressives who believe, more or less, that devout Catholics — perhaps devout Christians of any stripe — simply can’t be trusted to rule on the law and should be prevented from serving in the judiciary whenever possible. A Catholic judge can insist, loudly and often, that they believe their role as a judge is to rule on the law and the Constitution alone, and that while their faith no doubt shapes their values and their worldview — as much as any religion, philosophy, or atheism shapes the values and worldview of any other judge — and some progressives will insist it’s all a ruse. Some are determined to see any religiously active Christians as theocrats in black robes. (As this 2007 cartoon demonstrates, the arguments are sometimes not that subtle at all; merely an affiliation with a Catholic faith makes you an agent of the Pope.)
You know that if Barrett is the nominee, someone on the Left will make an openly sexist criticism. You know her seven children will be discussed in depth. You know that someone will inevitably make an argument that amounts to, “Look, if we’re going to allow Catholics to be judges, they at least have to be lapsed Catholics.”
Why do some progressives see Catholics and/or Christians as aspiring dictators from the bench, eager to toss away any established rights, established traditions, and impose an oppressive doctrine on the entire country and stifle dissent and differing points of view?
Because that’s how some progressives see the role of the judiciary.
Jim Geraghty (boldface added)
I have already given my reasons why I hope President Trump does not nominate Judge Barrett for this vacancy, and neither Geraghty nor Rod Dreher have persuaded me that “teachable moment” outweighs “vicious bloodbath.”
But the text that I’ve boldfaced alludes to a blind spot that drives me nuts: the idea that there is neutral ground, and that our judges should be picked from there.
There is no neutral ground. That’s not a “this is war, so pick your side” statement. It’s a statement about the formation of educated, balanced and strong adults, from which sizable group we pick things like Supreme Court justices (and, normally, Presidents).
If there are any amnesiacs, who’ve truly lost the conceptual screen through which they sift reality (at least by default, and subject to changes of mind), they will not be chosen by any President who wants to leave a print on the judiciary, which is to say “by any President.”
Some remaining choices are candidates who know they have a screen through which they sift reality but lie about it, and those who have a screen through which they sift reality but don’t realize it.
I think a candidate who’s honest about his deepest personal commitments and plausibly promises to distinguish them from the law is the best choice of the three.
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The waters are out and no human force can turn them back, but I do not see why as we go with the stream we need sing Hallelujah to the river god.
(Sir James Fitzjames Stephen)
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
(Philip K. Dick)