A Time to Fight

By Matt Purple

Donald Trump, his supporters say, is a man who fights. Yet that supposed fighting can sometimes feel more like Punch and Judy-style slapstick theater. In the Trump era, only the thinnest membrane separates politics from televisual spectacle, which can make it difficult to gauge how effective the president really is. Is he beating back the left? Or is he just calling them names on Twitter while they pound the pavement to replace him?

Whatever the answers to those questions, one thing is now abundantly clear: the vacancy of a Supreme Court seat has given Trump an opportunity to fight, really fight.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a titan of the law, a woman of deep culture and learning whose mind you had to respect even if you were at odds with it. My condolences go out to her family. But her formidable accomplishments make no more claim on her empty Supreme Court seat than Ted Kennedy’s work on health care did on his Senate desk. The people of Massachusetts deserved full congressional representation and the people of America deserve a full Supreme Court. That’s all the more true as we approach what could be a tight and contested election, when judicial deliberation might unfortunately prove necessary. The lawsuits fly…multiple lower courts declare multiple effective winners…for the sake of the republic, the Supreme Court can’t have an even number of justices.

So far, Trump has seemed to relish this fight. He’s pledged to fill Ginsburg’s seat “without delay” and is expected to announce a nominee by week’s end. He’ll likely name Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic who’s expressed some skepticism over Roe v. Wade and who generally takes a Scalia-esque textualist approach to the law. For all the fluff about how Trump was going to nominate Tom Cotton or Jeanine Pirro or the judge from My Cousin Vinny, he appears to be doing exactly as he should. Barrett is careful, unflappable, and deeply professional. She’s a native of New Orleans and a lover of Truman Capote. A former professor and frequent tailgater at Notre Dame Law School, her prior nomination to an appellate court was unanimously supported by her faculty colleagues.

Yet despite all that, she’s probably best known for sending Dianne Feinstein into a fit of ecclesiophobia. After Trump nominated Barrett to serve on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Senator Feinstein grilled her about her Catholic beliefs and whether “the dogma lives loudly within you.” At issue was a law article Barrett had co-authored in 1998 with John Garvey, now the president of my alma mater, the Catholic University of America. The essay is cozily familiar to us Cardinals, an Aristotelian consideration of how Catholic judges should handle capital punishment cases. Barrett and Garvey distinguish between formal and material cooperation with evil. The first is analogous to actually signing an execution order, while the second is more indirect and less clear, akin to sitting on a habeas corpus case that involves the death penalty, for example. They recommend …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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