Kavanaugh and Barrett: John Roberts Retreads?
All that work for, and faith in, Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett! As with John Roberts before, we are once again the victims of unrequited affection and lost labor. Like other Republicans, I expended lots of hours and effort to do my part in getting all three confirmed. I wrote articles, did radio and TV interviews, gave speeches, called Senators and asked my friends to do so, and spoke to countless people.
I even attended the Senate Hearings for two of them, and in the case of Kavanaugh went face-to-face against a wild group of “feminists” blocking my way to the Senate hearing room, was bad-mouthed by them while in waiting-lines, and harassed in the office taken over by these “non-insurrection” protestors while trying to get my pre-arranged ticket which they had dumped. (Interestingly, when complaining to police how the “progressive” protestors had taken over Senator Grassley’s office, the Capitol Police replied: “This is a public space, open to the people, and we cannot stop them from exercising their right of speech and assembly”).
I have traveled over 800 miles, paid for motels, and over the years took off work so as to help these nominees become confirmed justices. Like so many others on our side, we believed in them. Finally, strong justices, conservative like us. The Court was finally ours… a dream come true.
Well, the dream has died and our hopes for the Great Cause have not been respected by those in whose behalf we so tirelessly worked.
The Pennsylvania case, brought separately and earlier, was the most egregious of all. Pennsylvania’s civil servants and courts brazenly nullified the wishes of the state legislature. State legislatures have been given full and final say-so by the U.S. Constitution over election matters. The Republican legislature was stripped of its constitutional authority by local Democrats, culminating in allowing ballots where addresses and signatures were not verified or postmarked and allowed entry even three days after the election. Yet, the trio and other liberals on the Court said: “Until the actual infraction happens, the case is not actionable.” Yet another excuse allowing the Democrats to cheat as they brazenly did.
To our disbelief, now that the election has happened and the reprehensible consequences have been revealed and implemented in actuality, with grave portent for upcoming elections, Roberts, Kavanaugh and Barrett agreed the case “was moot.” It already happened, they said, and thus it’s too late. In other words, we will never accept these cases, not before the election or after the election and we won’t acknowledge “standing,” either. This is blatantly contradictory, dishonest, a shirking of responsibility and, worse, an indifference to justice and regular voters.
By now, we have seen how Roberts will decide some of the small cases for conservatives, but does whatever legal juggling is necessary to provide the Deep State, Obama, and the Democrats what they want on the big and important cases. Roberts is their clutch hitter. His effusion for Obama and public distaste for Trump is obvious, and his decisions reflect this unprofessional side of him. Old news. Lost cause. While Liberals don’t betray their patrons, has-been conservatives frequently do.
It seems to me that while Kavanaugh and Barrett are “Originalists” in their legal approach to the Constitution, which is but an academic and theoretical discipline, they are not movement conservatives. They are not authentic replacements of Scalia. They are probably not America First types or paleo-conservatives. It is Ivory Tower stuff, not grass roots, rarified thinking, not earthy, gritty conservatism. They are not motivated by an inward, primal urge to do that which allows the people to control their destiny, to undo this injustice to America’s regular voters. They are not, it seems to me, put off by the long reach of the elites or elitism itself.
Perhaps they want to be on the good side of their boss, John Roberts, who assigns plum cases. Perhaps, Barrett and Kavanaugh do not want to be seen or be considered part of the Trump camp, nor be blasted in the headlines of the New York Times and Washington Post. Kavanaugh was thrashed and burned by Democrats during his confirmation hearing and may have learned the lesson they were warning him: Don’t do anything that will thwart us politically or we will again come after you and your family via headlines. A traumatized Stockholm Syndrome victim. Perhaps, Mrs. Barrett wants her children to be accepted in certain Ivy or second-tier influential schools. There is a price to be accepted for that entry: part of your soul.
I suspect that though conservative in approach to constitutional “wording,” Barrett and Kavanaugh are “fair-haired” types, in a way privileged, used to being looked up to and admired, not necessarily fighters, and most likely enamored of certain social “respectability,” getting the nods from the Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Georgetown in-neighborhoods. Perhaps after high school, they never had to claw their way up… certainly not like Scalia or Thomas or Alito. They remind me of those sports figures at school that always had a certain leg-up, ease of acceptance. They got used to it, expected it, and felt entitled to it.
No doubt they are not liberals like Breyer, Kagan, or Sotomayor and will disagree with them regarding the Commerce Clause, some religious liberty issues, etc. After all, conservatives are allowed to support these things without getting totally shunned and ostracized. But they may not be willing to align themselves with the “unsophisticated, deplorable” crowd, something their assent in these cases may have been seen as.
In Yiddish, there is an expression: “der finer menschen.” It means those who are not willing to get their hands too dirty, like a Romney or Toomey. I hope I’m wrong, but I think these two rarified conservative justices may be from that type, a little too antiseptic and self-conscious to fight the earthy fights. They’ll give us a bone, but not raw meat. Next time, I’ll be looking for a John Wayne-type justice before I travel 800 miles to help.
Rabbi Aryeh Spero is president of Caucus for America and author of Push Back: The Battle to Save our American Judeo-Christian Heritage (which can be purchased on the caucusforamerica website)