Barrett is likely to be confirmed. The future of the Supreme Court, and America, is very much in doubt
The first day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings were bizarre for one particular reason: Almost none of the attacks on Barrett — and, of course, there were many of those — had to do with the job she is trying to get.
The Supreme Court exists only to determine whether the laws that our politicians write are consistent with the Constitution of the United States. That’s why we have a Supreme Court. It’s the only reason we have it. Supreme Court justices do not make laws because they’re not elected by voters. We don’t let them legislate as a result. That’s how democracy works: Only people who are elected get to make laws.
Democrats would like to change that system. They understand that Congress is an inherently small-c conservative body. Congress is never going to change the country overnight in some radical way because voters don’t want radical overnight change. They never do. So if you’re going to have a revolution, if you’re going to remake America, you’re going to have to do it from above. And you’re going to have to impose it on people. And the left would like the Supreme Court as their instrument to do that, a kind of super-Congress with lifetime tenure. Imagine power like that. There’s nothing you couldn’t do.
‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ host argues Democrat plan to pack Supreme Court would undermine the legitimacy of our system
Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson’s opening commentary from the Oct. 12, 2020 edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
So once you understand that perspective, which is very much their perspective, Monday’s hearing made sense. Democrats spent hours talking about the 2009 ObamaCare law. That was baffling at first. If you’re interviewing someone for the Supreme Court, there’s only one relevant question about ObamaCare: Is it constitutional? That’s all they consider. That’s all they’re supposed to consider. Not how they feel about the law, not whether it comports with their personal values, not whether their party supports it. Is it constitutional?
And yet that was one of the few things that Democrats didn’t ask because they’re not interested in whether or not it’s constitutional. What they care about is power and whether Amy Coney Barrett will diminish or enhance theirs.
They understand the Supreme Court purely in political terms. So, not surprisingly, they conducted today’s hearings like a campaign rally.
“Health care for millions of Americans is at stake,” barked one finger-wagging senator from California, another Democrat, pointing to a photo of a middle-aged woman called Laura, who looked very unhappy without ObamaCare. The senator said Laura will be “unable to afford the treatments necessary for her to survive.”
In other words, if Amy Coney Barrett gets this job, it’s curtains for Laura. Democrat after Democrat made that very same point as they so often have recently: Obey us or many will die.
It sounds like ObamaCare is going away if ACB gets on the court, but it’s not, actually, and that’s the amazing thing: Obamacare isn’t really at risk. There is no case currently pending anywhere in this country before any court in America that would eliminate ObamaCare. More importantly, we don’t have any idea how Amy Coney Barrett would rule in a case like that were it to materialize, which again, it hasn’t.
But most bewildering of all, Democrats themselves have spent most of the past two years publicly conceding that ObamaCare is a disaster. Six of the 10 Democrats currently sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee co-sponsored Medicare-for-All legislation. That legislation would have completely abolished ObamaCare, along with all private health insurance. Kamala Harris is one of the people who voted for that. And yet there was Kamala Harris Monday warning us that the country will collapse if Amy Coney Barrett votes on a hypothetical case to destroy ObamaCare, which Harris herself voted to destroy.
It all seems kind of confusing, but it begins to make more sense when you realize the goal is not to preserve ObamaCare. Again, they voted to scrap ObamaCare. The goal is to undermine the legitimacy of our system and, in this case, of the Supreme Court so that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can pack the court full of partisan Democrats who will rubber stamp their program.
Again, it’s about power. So that’s the key to the riddle when confirmation hearings become partisan political exercises. They make the Supreme Court itself seem like a partisan political exercise, and that degrades the public’s trust in the court and their support for our institutions. Democrats know that for the public to go along with court-packing, they have to delegitimize everything about the court and the confirmation process.
And so that’s what they did again and again Monday. Never mind the fact that the Senate is by definition following every constitutional procedure in filling a Supreme Court vacancy. However, Amy Coney Barrett isn’t the outcome that Democrats want. Therefore, our system, they’re telling us, is illegitimate.
The irony, of course, is that it’s Donald Trump who’s undermining our democratic norms. Remember that? They tell you that at every turn. And yet it’s not Trump who tried to pack the Supreme Court. He could have tried when Republicans had control of Congress. He didn’t consider packing the Supreme Court. Now Democrats are planning to, and it’s a familiar path.
Hugo Chavez packed the Supreme Court of Venezuela in 2004. Erdogan did the same in Turkey. How did they do that? How they get their populations to go along with it? By claiming their judicial systems were already illegitimate. Sound familiar?
On Saturday, Joe Biden stumbled through the same rehearsed line you heard from Kamala Harris in the debate last week. Republicans have already packed the court, Joe Biden declared. Yes, we’ve had nine justices for more than 150 years. And yet somehow, without anyone noticing, Trump packs the Supreme Court.
They’re the ones violating the Constitution, says Joe Biden. So when I rewrite the Constitution, it’ll be fine. That’s the predicate. That’s the setup for what’s coming next. Joe Biden knows Republicans aren’t packing the court. He also knows he can repeat that lie with no consequences whatsoever because the media will never hold him to account. They want him to get away with it.
Back in 2013, when it helped Barack Obama, a partisan operation called PolitiFact wrote, “Court packing [sic] has involved one branch of government proposing to change the structure of the courts, either expanding or decreasing the number of justices.”
Now, Republicans are not doing that. It’s pretty simple. They’re not in favor of doing that. If they ever come out in favor of doing it, we will attack them for doing it because we’re not partisan. But of course, you won’t find a PolitiFact fact check of what Joe Biden just said on Saturday. Instead, our media actually rushed to perpetuate his lies.
This weekend, a piece by the Associated Press referred to court packing — not sarcastically — as “depoliticizing the court.” You increase the size of the court to dilute the other side’s power, you pack it full of partisans who do your bidding, and that’s depoliticizing.
Here’s how the AP put it: “Montana Senate candidate Steve Bullock said that if Coney Barrett was confirmed, he would be open to measures to depoliticize the court, including adding judges to the bench, a practice critics have dubbed packing the courts”
No, not critics. Scholars, historians, politicians, Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself. Every person in America referred to court-packing as court-packing up until two weeks ago. It’s hard to believe that line made it into print, but it did. Court-packing is just depoliticizing the court now. You’ll probably see that definition formalized in the AP’s next woke style guide next to their entries on “undocumented shoppers” and “peaceful riots.”
Fundamentally, though, the AP is onto something, inadvertently. Many judges and justices in this country are obviously political. They have a lot of power, too much power, more power than any individual should have. Power in this country should reside with the electorate. People who are elected should have the most power, not people who are appointed. Unelected judges shouldn’t be deciding issues like abortion and immigration policy for the entire country, but they are.
The solution to that is not to embrace more politics in the judicial branch, though, it’s to recognize the proper role of the courts, to deescalate a little bit, to bring us a little closer to sanity.
In a brief moment toward the end of today’s hearing, in her opening statement, Amy Coney Barrett tried to do exactly that.
BARRETT: Courts have a vital responsibility to the rule of law, which is critical to a free society. But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.
These hearings will continue for the next couple of days and barring some really dramatic development, it does seem very likely that she’ll be confirmed in the end. So there’s not a lot of drama, at least as of tonight, surrounding her nomination. What happens to the Supreme Court itself, however, is very much in doubt. And along with it, our country.