Do the Supreme Court Nominations really matter during this (or any) Presidential Election?
The US Presidential Election is on just about everyone's mind these days.
Many of us are sick of it. But it's a big deal even if you'd just like the whole thing to go away.
People are talking about policies, sex scandals, lying, corruption, third party voting, and more, but one of the main topics is the Supreme Court.
So — what does this have to do with this blog?
Politics and Health
The Supreme Court has to do with health. A lot.
Over the years the Supreme Court has made decisions based on abortion, healthcare, and I'm sure vaccines will be on the docket at some point. Additional health issues have been proposed to the Supreme Court such as birth control.
And I am not just interested in health issues.
I'm a homeschooling mother who cares a great deal about freedom in general.
Educational freedom, religious freedom, and health freedom, which includes vaccine and healthcare freedom.
All of these issues are, or will likely be dealt with at the Supreme Court level.
Politics and Me
Before we get into the main point, here is a little big of my background. I was never involved in politics at all as a child. I was raised in a Democrat household and was told that the Democrats were for the poor people and the Republicans were for the rich.
Basically I knew nothing else. Well, I maybe knew who the President was at any particular time, but that might be about it.
That all changed in my 20s for a variety of reasons, but I got interested, and got informed, and got involved.
I was even a delegate at one point, and my husband is a political junkie, and even participates in and runs some libertarian seminars year round across the country.
So while we don't know everything, we try to be well informed.
And as you read on, you will see that I am pro life. I am happy to dialogue about that as well, but that is the position from which this article is written. Of course, the same argument could be made from the liberal standpoint — that Supreme Court nominations do matter.
Are the Supreme Court Nominations a One Issue Scam?
I have a friend on Facebook who posted that the focus during this election on the Supreme Court Nominees was simply a “single issue scam”.
I totally disagree.
By its nature, the Supreme Court discusses many issues. Plus the sheer magnitude of the effect that the Supreme Court selection will have on our nation makes it a huge issue no matter what.
Saying that the Supreme Court is a single issue is like saying that voting for a President is a single issue, or voting for your Congressional Representatives is a single issue.
Didn't Conservatives Legalize Abortion?
The main argument that is tossed around regarding not considering the Supreme Court to be an issue of import is the Roe v. Wade argument.
The argument goes like this. “It was a majority Republican-appointed Supreme Court that legalized abortion!” so the argument that a Republican President will do anything positive for the Supreme Court makeup is simply wrong-headed.
Another friend of mine posted this article on Facebook, making that same argument. Here is an excerpt from the article:
The makeup of SCOTUS when Roe v. Wade was decided was as follows:
- Harry A. Blackmun
- William J. Brennan
- Warren Earl Burger
- William Orville Douglas
- Thurgood Marshall
- Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr.
- Potter Stewart
- William H. Rehnquist
- Byron R. White
Only two justices voted against Roe v. Wade: Rehnquist and White. Rehnquist was a conservative appointed by Nixon, and White was appointed by Kennedy. So, what was the makeup of those justices who voted to legalize abortion?
Well, at first glance, it does look pretty bad.
The argument basically is that Nixon and Eisenhower did nothing, and in fact, were part of the problem, so why bother thinking that another Republican would do any different?
Well, there are a number of problems with this argument.
Rebuttal to “a Republican Supreme Court Legalized Abortion”
Abortion was already legal
First of all, abortion was already legal in many states. What this decision did was to legalize it across the country, which therein overrode state laws.
So, in a sense, this was more of a statement about state's rights and overriding them.
Nixon and Eisenhower Were not Conservatives.
They were anything but.
And Nixon had some very troubling views on abortion.
Nixon said on the day after Roe v. Wade was handed down that abortion was necessary for certain situations like interracial marriages. (Source)
Both Nixon and Eisenhower would be considered by most to be moderates.
Public Awareness Has Changed
Contrary to during Nixon and Eisenhower's time, there is much more public awareness now of the need for conservative judges, in particular due to Roe v Wade and the current imbalance of the “balance of powers” that leans too heavily on SCOTUS.
We do not have a balance of powers. In fact, things are heavily imbalanced with too much in total being left to the federal government and too much falling on the Judiciary.
Things Are Different Today
In the year that this post was written, we have information about what kind of justices would likely be appointed by both candidates, today the situation bears no similarity to the previous presidencies.
And due to the changing climate of Presidential elections, one would expect this to continue.
For this year, Trump has made a list of the judges that he would like to appoint. You can see those judges here.
This entire argument is a non sequitur.
The article states that since these moderate Republicans did a terrible job of appointing justices to SCOTUS, therefore someone who has a specific list of conservatives of whom he plans to appoint is going to nominate the same kind of wimpy justices?
It's a guilt by association fallacy and non sequitur fallacy as well.
Consider the Source
This article was written on Patheos by a man who calls himself a scholar. He went to Gordon Conwell and then to Fuller Seminary. If you look the URL of his writings, he calls himself “formerlyfundie” which is, of course a derogatory comment.
Gordon Conwell is a bit left leaning, as is Fuller, depending on your perspective. Patheos is all over the map, but is primarily a left-leaning site. The author calls himself a part of the emergent church, which is not a part of orthodox Christianity.
So, consider the source when reading any argument. We all have biases, but we should be able to be intellectually honest about our statements regardless.
The article by Benjamin Corey is anything but. It's not intellectually honest, and it's not scholarly.
The Supreme Court nominations matter a great deal.
The next President will likely appoint 4 justices to the Supreme Court and those justices will likely be on the bench for up to the next 30 years.
Currently, the court (particularly since the death of Antonin Scalia) is riddled with judges who are mainly on one side of the aisle — for more government control, and even justices who don't respect our Constitution.
If the justices of the Supreme Court of the US don't respect the Constitution, then what can we expect from them?
Our Founding Fathers set things up the way they did in wisdom and to prevent abuses. If we abandon that foundation, it is to our peril.
None of this means that I am not concerned with some of the issues that surround Trump. I am. But I also think that some of these concerns have been blown out of proportion, or flat out lied about by the mainstream media.
The issue of Trump mocking disabled people is one case in point. Long story short, you can see in this link that he in fact didn't. And of course, there is still time left before the election so anything could come up.
Additionally, of course candidates may not do what they promise to do, and justices might not act as we expect them to. But we can still make informed decisions to the best of our abilities.
If you would like to dialogue about those things, feel free to comment below.
The point of this post was to dispel what I consider to be a totally illogical argument stating that the Supreme Court issue is a non-issue.
In fact, the Supreme Court Nominations are big deal and are something that all of us should be paying close attention to.