Why Democrats are right to worry about potential Kavanaugh appointment

Why Democrats are right to worry about potential Kavanaugh appointment

This time, Trump Derangement Syndrome is getting a bad rap. Paranoids have real enemies and leftists whose heads are exploding over the president’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court have real reasons to be horrified.

And, no, it’s not because of abortion, which is probably the least of their problems right now. It’s all the other tentacles of coercive liberalism that Democrats were able to ram down the throats of ordinary Americans for more than half a century thanks to activist courts.

Their heyday is over — if Kavanaugh is confirmed and becomes the reliable fifth vote to uphold the original intent of the Constitution. In that case, Dems would be out in the cold and America would be witnessing the advent of a new legal era, though it will take years to be fully realized because of the Supremes’ deference to earlier rulings.

Except for brief stretches under Chief Justice William Rehnquist, most people alive today don’t know what it’s like to have a Supreme Court where the majority consistently believes its job is to interpret the laws, not make them. Beginning in 1953, when President Dwight Eisenhower nominated Earl Warren as chief justice, the Supreme Court started to act more like a Supreme Congress and only rarely stopped. Ideas that couldn’t make it through state legislatures or Congress nonetheless became law when as few as five justices imposed them on the nation.

The trickle-down effect meant lower courts read not only the decisions but also the tea leaves, and began to rule accordingly.

The Warren Court, which effectively lasted deep into the Reagan administration despite the fact that Warren himself retired in 1969, was the most activist, liberal court in history. Some of its most famous rulings, such as Brown v. Board of Ed, are rightly hailed as landmarks because they helped deliver the Constitution’s promise of equal rights by breaking down racial barriers.

But the court also stretched to create its desired outcomes in a range of social areas, including expanding the rights of criminal defendants and banning compulsory school prayer. Warren, for example, reportedly searched for a case he could use to find that criminal defendants were entitled to lawyers, at taxpayer expense if necessary.

Because many rulings had no clear basis in the Founding document, the Warren Court earned a reputation for following political and cultural trends and the justices’ personal preferences.

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Brett Kavanaugh

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    In hindsight, Warren’s approach shouldn’t have been a surprise. He was Tom Dewey’s Republican running mate in the 1948 presidential election, and was in his third term as governor of California when Ike tabbed him for the Supreme Court. Warren and fellow Californian Richard Nixon intensely disliked each other, but Nixon, then Ike’s VP, was delighted because it meant Warren was no longer a competitor for the presidency.

    But while Warren was out of the presidential sweepstakes, he wasn’t out of politics. All his initial fellow justices had been appointed by FDR, so, despite factions and disagreements, the Warren Court took a decidedly expansive approach to its job.

    Liberals’ ever-spreading push for new rights and entitlements generally found favor there even when there was no basis in the Constitution or public support. The left realized the Warren Court and successors dominated by the liberal appointees of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama could be a shortcut to realizing its big-government agenda and began relying on it instead of the more difficult and less certain route of public approval.

    The shortcut route remains popular on the left. The American Civil Liberties Union is being celebrated for filing 100 suits against Trump policies, and even New York’s Attorney General’s Office passed that milestone. The nation’s excessive litigation culture is one consequence of Supreme Court activism.

    In recent years, SCOTUS has been more evenly balanced between activists and constitutionalists, with Anthony Kennedy swinging back and forth as the decider. Cases where Kennedy voted with the conservative majority include upholding Trump’s travel ban, which overturned and sharply rebuked several lower-court judges.

    And now, with Kennedy’s retirement and Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh, the stage is set for a more consistent and strict focus on the Constitution.

    In that sense, the furious reaction on the left is understandable. Many of the outraged see the Constitution as a barrier to their political fantasies, and now see that barrier being raised higher. And by a president they hate with all their might.

    Alas, this time, what’s bad for Democrats is good for America.

    The Supreme Court was designed to check the power of the other two branches of government, not assume it.

    Besides, the smearing of Kavanaugh’s character and threats of violence probably will convince even more voters that the left isn’t ready for prime time.

    If Dems want to regain power, they’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way — by winning elections. That is, if they still believe in elections.

    Too bad, fleece is the word

    When future historians want to understand how rotten New York governments were 2018, they can start with Page 2 of Tuesday’s Post.

    The top of the page focuses on Mayor de Blasio’s belated admission that as many as 130,000 Housing Authority apartments might contain toxic lead paint, instead of the 50,000 he cited last November.

    Back then, he said the 50,000 number was “fixed.” But with de Blasio, the truth is never fixed.

    The bottom of the page has a story on federal prosecutors urging a Manhattan jury to convict four defendants of corrupting one of Gov. Cuomo’s development boondoggles.

    The trial involves the Buffalo Billion program and features claims by the defendants that they were duped by yet another corrupt lobbyist close to the governor.

    A third, small story on the page involves the corruption retrial of Dean Skelos, the former GOP head of the state Senate.

    Just another day in New York, where Tammany Hall still rules.

    For 2020, readers are saying: Hill, no!

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    Hillary Clinton

      Is Hillary Clinton secretly planning to run in 2020?

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      My column on Hillary Clinton’s possible 2020 presidential run brought an avalanche of responses. Typical was one from reader Jason Radcliffe, who writes:

      “As a Trump supporter, nothing would please me more than a rematch but it’s not in the cards. Mrs. Clinton needs to be taken gently into the Chappaqua woods where she can vent her anger on squirrels, birds and assorted vermin. Perhaps in the bosom of Mother Nature, she will realize that her presidential ambitions are futile.”

      Moynihan’s wisdom on prez diss & that

      From the grave, Daniel Patrick Moynihan gives a gem of advice to President Trump and all others beleaguered by nasty naysayers.

      James Rosen, the author and former Fox News correspondent, uncovered a memo Moynihan wrote to President Richard Nixon in 1970, six years before being elected US senator from New York.

      Rosen writes in The Washington Examiner that the context was Nixon’s growing resentment over the snubs of left-wing elites.

      Here is Moynihan’s wise counsel: “The president of the United States, for the sake of the dignity of the Republic, must endure the indignities of her politics.”

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