As I write, one of the most shameful public episodes of my lifetime is slowly grinding to a conclusion, except that whatever the final outcome, when the U. S. Senate finally votes on the Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment during the next few days, it will not represent anything resembling closure for the American body politic because the damage that has been done will reverberate for at least a generation.
This has been a disaster ruthlessly initiated and carried out by the worst instincts of the far reaches of the left wing of the Democratic Party and their fellow travelers in the media and the cultural institutions in the interests of power. And it has been orchestrated without the least regard for the devastating impact on a good man and his family, the time-honored principle of the presumption of innocence, the institutional integrity of the U. S. Senate, and common fairness and decency.
And to what end? It’s all about the fact that the progressive left has no prayer of advancing their agenda without a Supreme Court amenable to a “living Constitution” and they know it cannot abide a Court comprised of a constitutional “originalist” majority from “central casting” at the Federalist Society. So for them this is war, no holds barred, and for the left the holy grail to be protected starts with Roe v. Wade.
I have maintained for many years that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was our generation’s Dred Scot decision of the Court on slavery in 1857, which led directly to the Civil War, in that it removed the abortion issue from the democratic process and deprived the people through their local and state assemblies to have the final word on a moral issue of extreme intensity. And our politics and deliberative processes have not been the same since–Roe v. Wade is lurking just under the surface of almost every issue that involves direct or indirect control of the judicial branch and it has now provided the incentive to poison the advise and consent authority for decades.
The late Justice Antonin Scalia had some interesting thoughts on this in his dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “If the Supreme Court is simply to be a vehicle for choosing among competing values, in a democracy it should be the values of the voters that prevail……..confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question and answer sessions in which the Senators go through a list of their constituents’ most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights”. That’s not what the founders had in mind, as Hamilton expressed in Federalist 78 in describing the judiciary as the “least dangerous” branch, but it might be an improvement over the currently dysfunctional process we have now created.