Kavanaugh and the (mostly) useless Supreme Court

If hell is a state of mind, that’s where partisans of both parties are right now. No matter where you look, there are lots and lots of angry, bitter people.

That’s because the Brett Kavanaugh scandal brought forth even greater animosity than usual in the Trump era, as #MeToo was piled on to a Supreme Court fight we’d expect anyway.

I’ve avoided the hostilities. The conflict doesn’t serve me. I don’t want to be in hell.

And do you know what else doesn’t serve me?

The Supreme Court.

Think of what we expect it to do: overturn laws and government practices we think are unjust and unconstitutional.

In other words, we expect the Supreme Court to stop wrongs it didn’t create.

When it does, such as when it struck down a federal gambling law, we applaud.

When it doesn’t, it enables The State. That’s what it normally does.

When federal agents raided a home in which plants are grown for personal consumption, the Supreme Court ruled that’s a valid application of Congress’s Constitutional power to regulate commerce “among the several states.”

When a city government bulldozed a house for the benefit of a private developer, the Supreme Court ruled that fulfilled the Constitutional requirement of taking private property for “public use.”

The default habit of Supreme Court Justices is to enable The State. That’s the culture. Many of them were living off government paychecks most of their adult lives before their appointment.

What President would nominate someone to the bench who would restrain Executive Power? Which Senators would confirm a nominee whom they expect to strike down the laws they pass?

Nevertheless, we often view the Court as the Avengers or Justice League — the last chance to stop a dangerous threat to our liberty. When they do, it seems heroic, and that’s why we pin our hopes on them the next time.

It’s more hit-and-miss than that. Mostly miss.

Kavanaugh isn’t someone I’d want on the Supreme Court, even if he was innocent of attempted rape allegations. I suspect he would validate laws and practices of The Surveillance State. But the issue shouldn’t be about putting the “right people” on the Supreme Court.

For example. In 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress, saying the NSA wasn’t collecting our data. This prompted Edward Snowden to unload his documents proving otherwise.

Clapper was never fired by President Obama. He was never investigated for perjury. He’s employed by CNN.

Snowden’s still in exile.

The Executive Branch pulled one over on Congress. It didn’t even amount to a scandal. It was a complete breakdown of the system of checks and balances. This happened even though the President and Congress were of opposite parties!

What could the Supreme Court do, even if it wanted to? Most of the time, the Supreme Court is powerless.

The problem isn’t judicial, it’s political. More than that, it’s cultural. A culture that respected the property and privacy of each individual wouldn’t tolerate political institutions that violate them.

Before looking at the Supreme Court, look at yourself. Do you want the government to do something to your neighbor, but then look to the Supreme Court when the government does something to you?

That’s not how it works.

So why let a fight over a Supreme Court nominee put you in hell?


James Leroy Wilson writes from Nebraska. You may support his work on Paypal.