“Sham” was the most favored word the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee deployed against Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett today. Remaining for a moment on the verb “deployed” I’ll note that Rhode Island Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse compared Judge Barrett to a “torpedo” aimed by the Trump Administration at the Affordable Care Act. (Block that Metaphor!!)
The hearing is just beginning but senators on both sides gave us an earful on Monday. All we got to hear — in this hearing — from the nominee herself was her opening statement. She has a high-pitched, girlish voice and looks very much like the suburban mom she is. But her statement, at one point, contained the hard nugget of truth — at least to traditinalists — about the role of judges in every court in the land — again, at least to those, like Barrett, who profess an “originalist” or “textualist” view of the law — a view quite obviously opposed by the liberal Democrats on the Committee who seem to favor a more activist court. Not that that’s exactly a late bulletin.
Barrett said: Courts have a vital responsibility to the rule of law which is critical to a free society. But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgements of government must be made by the political branches, elected by and accountable to the people. The public should not expect courts to do so and the courts should not try.
She’ll likely be confirmed, but what will happen to a court the Democrats plainly hope to “pack” with two new members in order to gain more control over it. Not that they’re owning up to it.
What’s in progress here is an assault on the system itself. This hearing is, in a sense, just a sideshow. The real trouble is down the road.