Supreme Court Building

At a June meeting in New York at which Donald Trump and his false prophets tried to win over a number of evangelical leaders, Trump was asked three questions pertaining to issues of religious freedom, and his responses showed that he either did not understand the questions or did not agree with Christians on these issues. Even the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon, in his otherwise fawning account of Trump and the meeting, had to admit, “Trump’s weakness is that he did not clearly state his views in answer to the questions . . . about when religious freedom and the LGBT movement come into conflict.”

The best answer Trump was able to give to such questions was his one great trump card with Christians and other conservatives: the Supreme Court. Trump produced a list of eleven good judges whom we said would typify his judicial nominations. He further claimed he would clear all of his judicial nominations with with the conservative Federalist Society. This would be good, if he would really do it, although even then it wouldn’t truly be the answer to the problem of the Supreme Court.

We are not going to fix the Supreme Court by trying to elect presidents who will nominate good justices and then achieve the approval of those justices by the Senate. That method just isn’t working. Even among Supreme Court justices appointed by Republicans there was not so much as a tenuous pro-life majority until conservative pressure forced George W. Bush to withdraw his nomination of Harriet Miers (whose pro-life bona fides were at best questionable) and replace her with Samuel Alito. And that’s just among the Republican appointees! Justices often prove unfaithful on the Supreme Court, as the absolute power it now boasts tends to corrupt or to draw out the corruption that is inside. The Founders never intended to set up an institution within our government in which men had absolute power and were restrained only by their own virtue. The thought would have appalled them. 

The Supreme Court is currently wielding power far beyond what the Founders intended or the Constitution authorizes. It is functioning not as a constitutional court but rather as a committee of dictators. It must be checked.

The answer to the problem of the Supreme Court is not for conservative voters to keep on holding their noses and voting for mediocre (or downright awful) Republican presidential nominees in hopes that contrary to all former experience those nominees will win the presidency and choose good justices, whom the Senate will then somehow approve, and who, after all, will remain principled in the face of the temptations of absolute power. Rather it’s for conservative voters to elect courageous, principled conservatives to Congress and the Presidency and for those conservatives to use the checks provided by the Constitution for reigning in the power of an out-of-control Supreme Court.

In short, voting for Donald Trump is not the way to fix the Supreme Court.