The next president is likely to appoint as many as half the members of the United States Supreme Court. Besides the vacant Scalia seat, Justice Ruth Ginsburg is 83 and in poor health. Justice Anthony Kennedy is 80. Justice Stephen Breyer is 78. That is four out of nine. Obama’s Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor will still be there to make it six out of nine.
Forget the “Second Amendment.” That will only be a matter of ancient history under a Hillary Clinton Court, which will still be issuing rulings in 2050. Freedom of Religion? Freedom of Speech? Property Rights? What else will be on the chopping block?
Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices sometimes disappoint after they are confirmed. Democrat appointees never do. They are uniformly reliable votes for the “party line.” That is not an accident but a matter of judicial philosophy.
Liberal Democrat judges do not feel compelled to apply the law as written. They seek “justice” by ruling for the sympathetic party, the downtrodden, the poor, working people, unions. Corporations, employers, investors, developers are considered unsympathetic rich, racist, polluters.
Indeed, after 8 years of Obama appointments to the federal bench, the problem goes well beyond the Supreme Court to the whole federal judiciary. After just one term of Hillary appointees, the circuits would all likely be dominated by liberal Democrat appointees.
It has been hard enough to get Obama to obey the law even with federal judges willing to enforce it. Even more so for Hillary. But after Hillary effectively “packs” the federal courts, where would conservatives turn in seeking enforcement of the law?
And imagine such a federal judiciary ruling on cases brought by Democrat allied environmental groups, unions, civil rights organizations. All will be effectively writing their own ticket.
Then consider federal law enforcement under President Hillary. If the Justice Department, the FBI, all federal prosecutors were all answerable to her, who will be minding the store? Would there be any check and balance on a President Hillary Clinton?
Conservatives would have to learn to live with this new lack of federal law enforcement, unable to count on the federal courts for vindication of their constitutional rights. The whole concept of the rule of law is at stake.
Donald Trump has taken the guess-work out of it. He has issued a list of people he would consider for appointment to the Supreme Court and lower federal courts. That list was very favorably received by the Reaganite legal community who vigorously pursue the rule of law, and hope for a new conservative majority on the Supreme Court and the entire federal judiciary.
Conservative judicial philosophy involves enforcing and applying the law as written and originally adopted without favoritism to anyone. During his confirmation hearing, Chief Justice Roberts explained it as serving as the umpire, instead of as one of the players. The Reagan Supreme Court majority has done a good job of adhering to that principle.
The future of American jurisprudence and the course of our Constitution are at stake. This alone is all reason enough to place Donald Trump at the helm of our ship of state in November.
Lew Uhler is Founder and Chairman of the National Tax Limitation Committee and National Tax Limitation Foundation (NTLF), who worked for and with Ronald Reagan when he was Governor of California and President. Peter Ferrara formerly served in President Reagan’s White House Office of Policy Development and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush. He is currently Senior Policy Advisor to NTLF, and a Senior Fellow for Entitlement Reform and the Budget at the Heartland Institute.