Liberals forget Constitution as Supreme Court battle fires up

Liberals forget Constitution as Supreme Court battle fires up
© Greg Nash

In the wake of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, liberal activists are resorting to apocalyptic warnings about what lies ahead for future Supreme Court rulings. The liberal response to the Supreme Court vacancy reveals not only their own deeply flawed understanding of the law, but also their preference for left wing judicial activism.

The social media posts and articles of many liberal activists make clear that, from their perspective, the Constitution matters very little in this upcoming nominee battle. Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE, for one, took to the pages of the New York Times to warn that the basic rights of Americans are on the line. The Democrat goes on to argue that the court has no role to play in weighing in on “settled law.”

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Schumer has, evidently, forgotten that “separate but equal” racial segregation was “settled law” from the time the Supreme Court ruled in the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson until the justices wisely revisited and overturned that decision 58 years later. Liberal hysterics reveal a fundamental misunderstanding about the role of the Supreme Court, and about the distinctions between the judicial and legislative branches of government. While Congress writes the laws, the Supreme Court is tasked with evaluating laws to determine if they are constitutional.

Confused liberals could take a look at the Constitution or at the Federalist Papers for clarification. Or, if they have no time for all that, they could simply take a quick trip down memory lane by rewatching those old Schoolhouse Rock cartoons. The catchy and educational music videos, which aired on Saturday mornings in the 1970s and 1980s, and were later shown in classrooms across America, offer a succinct lesson about how the branches of the federal government are supposed to work in concert.

One Schoolhouse Rock episode compares the federal government to a circus with three rings, explaining that the executive, legislative and judicial branches are separate parts with clearly defined roles, but together create a cohesive whole. In their attempts to achieve their own policy goals, liberals often take the attitude that “the ends justify the means,” irrespective of what the Constitution says.

By extension, liberals hold the view that the role of the judiciary, and of the Supreme Court in particular, is simply to safeguard the liberal agenda. At times, that means the Supreme Court should play the role of the legislative branch by writing laws. At other times, it means the Supreme Court should sit back and rubberstamp unconstitutional laws coming out of Congress. The Schoolhouse Rock explanation of the checks and balances in our government is, apparently, completely lost on the left.

In this Schoolhouse Rock episode, a bill waiting patiently on the steps of the United States Capitol explains the long process by which he hopes to become a law. The cartoon showed citizens back home contacting a congressman to pass a law, so it was introduced in Congress, and now “will remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.”

Liberals would like to add a verse to the well-known song: “If I do not pass in Congress, there is always the courts. Maybe some judges can help me circumvent the separation of powers!” These admittedly very basic concepts from Schoolhouse Rock and yes, the Constitution, are overlooked by liberals who wish to use adherence to the progressive agenda as the litmus test for potential Supreme Court nominees.

Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 78, explained that judges have a duty to “guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals,” and above all, to be impartial. Hamilton also eloquently argued that, in cases where laws and statutes clash with the Constitution, it is the Constitution that must prevail, and it is the duty of the Supreme Court to side with the Constitution in those instances. As both Schoolhouse Rock and Hamilton teach us, the Supreme Court is not to have an “outcomes oriented” agenda. Its sole purpose is to adhere to the Constitution.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE is in tune with the goal of our Founding Fathers to select justices who safeguard the Constitution for the Supreme Court. That goal was on display when he nominated Neil Gorsuch to succeed Antonin Scalia last year. The remaining individuals on his list of potential nominees for the new vacancy fit the same mold. The fight over this Supreme Court vacancy will be a bruising one. While liberals seem determined to make the Constitution a mere afterthought in the nomination and confirmation processes, conservatives can take comfort in President Trump that his selection will be based on faithfulness to the Constitution.

Jenny Beth Martin is president of Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund.