By now, surely, you’ve heard. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the consummate swing vote in the highest court in the land, is stepping down this summer. With four sitting justices likely to fall on the conservative side of a given issue – Roberts, Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito – and four more likely to interpret a case liberally – Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor – it’s a pivotal appointment that will, pending radical unforeseen upheaval, be the responsibility of President Trump to decide upon.
Naturally, the left’s talking heads have been quick to issue pre-emptive allegations that the nominee will be a right-wing extremist, a religious zealot bent on overturning Roe v. Wade, and/or a by-the-book disciple of Joseph Goebbels.
Do they know who the nominee is? No, that’s impossible. Doesn’t matter, though. Fearmongering is what Trump’s opposition long ago decided upon as the prevailing modus operandi. Facts are simply inconveniences, minor shreds of truth to be blown out of proportion, misrepresented, or completely discarded.
True to form, the likes of Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer have likened the looming nomination as, nominee unseen, an all-out war on gays, sexual reproductive freedoms, and the Western world. So, with this framework in mind, it’s only natural to take a look at a list that the President says he has been compiling since 2016 containing a group of persons from which he will ultimately choose to replace Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
Listed below are some of the most likely nominees, as well as the most likely “interpretation” of those nominees’ pasts and prior decisions that the left will use to rationalize an attempted blocking of their nomination. Trump’s first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was painted as a pro-Tsar originalist representing the capitalist bourgeoisie.
“Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women’s rights, and most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent Justice on the Court," Chuck Schumer said. (ABC News)
There was also more vicious slander lobbed at Gorsuch, with no public disavowing of such lowbrow character assassination.
‘shortly after Gorsuch’s nomination, came the allegation that he had started a “Fascism Forever” club at his preparatory high school. It was retracted after fact-checking sites such as Snopes showed that it was spun from an obvious high-school yearbook joke.’ (The Hill)
So, this is the playbook we’re working from.
Thomas M. Hardiman, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
The Facts: Considered by many to be one of the primary front-runners after serving alongside President Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, Hardiman has one strike against him: he was an appointee of President George W. Bush to the federal court system. But, even worse, ‘Judge Hardiman signed on to a decision declaring that asylum seekers could not ask a Federal District Court to prevent or postpone their deportation while challenging their removal orders,’ according to the New York Times.
The Left’s Case: Well, he’s a Bush appointee, so obviously he’s going to grant the President unlimited powers to wage interminable wars. He practically drools over the thought of dead children. Plus, he doesn’t want to allow illegal immigrants to roam freely or infinitely prolong their removal order trials. Just another conservative right-wing zealot hell-bent on seeing children torn from their mothers’ arms!
The Verdict: Filibuster ‘til you can’t filibuster no more.
William H. Pryor Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
The Facts: ‘He has called Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion, as “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history.” He is close with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and, like Mr. Sessions, is an outspoken conservative who has strongly opposed gay rights.’ (NYT)
The Left’s Spin: Really, no spin necessary here. Doesn’t blindly accept the constitutional basis for Roe v. Wade? Wants to make all abortions, everywhere, illegal forever.
Cordial with Jeff Sessions who has also not been friendly to the gays? Who is this guy, Satan?
No security detail in the world would be sufficient to tamp down the firestorm rained upon Pryor should be become the nominee. We’re talking rainbow-banana-hammock clad mobs breaking out their most furious gyrations in the name of unbridled sexual expression and all-term abortions. You really ready for that, President Trump?
The Verdict: As Maxine would say, “you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on Pryor, and you tell him he’s not welcome anymore, anywhere." Especially not the Supreme Court!
Amul R. Thapar, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
The Facts: ‘The son of Indian-American immigrants, the White House said he was the first federal court judge of South Asian descent. Judge Thapar was among those considered by Mr. Trump for last year’s Supreme Court vacancy. “I’m my own judge and I hope my track record speaks to that,” he told senators last year.’ (NYT)
The Left’s Spin: Admittedly, this one’s a bit more difficult. He’s a brown person, which we typically profess to champion, but we can work with it. You know India has some of the most rigid class and race-based discrimination on the planet, right?
If we spin it hard enough, surely we can paint this guy as a racist of the highest order, right? He’s practically David Duke’s ideological twin!
The Verdict: No Racists, No (Supreme Court) Seat!
Brett M. Kavanaugh, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The Facts: ‘A former prosecutor under the independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, Judge Kavanaugh was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush in 2006 and had a difficult road to confirmation. As a White House adviser, he helped Mr. Bush fill the nation’s courts with conservatives. “Mr. Kavanaugh would probably win first prize as the hard right’s political lawyer,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, said at the time.’ (NYT)
The Left’s Spin: Chuck already said it: dude’s the hard (read: alt) right’s political lawyer. This is a Supreme Court Justice position, not a Supreme Court lawyer position.
The Verdict: Block him. Block him hard.
Joan L. Larsen, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
The Facts: ‘former Michigan state Supreme Court justice, Judge Larsen was confirmed last year to the federal bench. During her confirmation process, she was criticized by civil rights groups for her past rulings and writings on gay rights. Judge Larsen clerked for former Justice Antonin Scalia and has praised his by-the-letter reading of the Constitution and the law.’ (NYT)
The Left’s Spin: Sure, we’re the party of independent women, but not this independent woman. She ain’t no Destiny’s Child! It’s plain as day that she absolutely loathes the LGBTQ+ community. She may even be more of an extremist that Mike Pence!
The Verdict: She shall not pass.
No matter which way you cut it, President Trump’s nominee is going to face severe blockage. Racist, homophobe, right-wing extremist, bigot, fan of family separation, etc. You name the charge, they’ll levy it. Ultimately, they’ll pass, and the left will take an L, again.
P.S. – Remember when Justices Kagan and Sotomayor were railed against as uber-liberal zealots who couldn’t possibly be appointed to the court based on their personal beliefs?
Of course you don’t. It didn’t happen.