Who’s Attacking Political Norms Now?

Democrats target the ‘legitimacy’ of the Supreme Court.

Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 28.
Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 28. PHOTO: AARON P. BERNSTEIN/BLOOMBERG NEWS

After the extraordinary tumult of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings ended, three normal things happened that are embedded in this country’s Constitution and traditions.
 
The full Senate voted on the nomination, and Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed. Then Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore in Mr. Kavanaugh as an Associate Justice. Last Tuesday Justice Kavanaugh, sitting as the most junior Justice next to Justice Elena Kagan, participated in oral arguments in two cases involving the Armed Career Criminal Act.
 
For Democrats, this return to normalcy is intolerable. They are doubling down on their war against the new Justice.
 
They have several related goals: Undermine Justice Kavanaugh’s authority on the Court, argue that his presence undermines the legitimacy of the Supreme Court itself, drive Justice Kavanaugh off the Court through impeachment if they win control of the House of Representatives, and, most fantastic of all, consider expanding the size of the Court if they regain control of the government.
 
At his political rallies, President Trump has taken to calling out “the radical Democrats.” Democrats are appalled at the President’s rhetoric. We can’t imagine why. If the party’s post-confirmation campaign against Justice Kavanaugh isn’t a radical departure from the norms of American politics, we can’t imagine what is.
 
Dianne Feinstein, speaking from her Senatorial platform on Twitter , wrote that Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation “undermines the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.” Possibly Twitter’s character limitations prevented Senator Feinstein from explaining exactly how the legitimacy of the Court was being undermined, but the idea has taken hold among Democrats.

 
Eric Holder, Barack Obama’s first Attorney General, took to Twitter to assert: “The legitimacy of the Supreme Court can justifiably be questioned.” Does this mean that Mr. Holder, once the nation’s highest legal officer, will next call for flouting Supreme Court decisions? The last time this happened was the South’s resistance to Brown v. Board of Education and school desegregation.
 
The pretext for these assertions and for the impeachment talk is that Mr. Kavanaugh “lied” to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The list of alleged lies justifying impeachment is extensive, including the controversies during the George W. Bush Presidency over enhanced interrogation and warrantless wiretaps.
 
Six Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit to force the Bush Presidential Library to release all documents in any way associated with Mr. Kavanaugh, who served as President Bush’s staff secretary for nearly three years. “They will come out,” says Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, “adding to the cloud and stain.” Charming, as always.
 
The Presidential Records Act ensures that no such documents would be released before 2021. So we assume one purpose of this deep-sea fishing expedition is to put pressure on Justice Kavanaugh to recuse himself from an array of Bush-era issues that may come before the Court, effectively suppressing one of the five potential conservative votes.
 
Simultaneously, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain documents about the FBI’s supplemental investigation into the assault accusations by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez.
 
Picking up the baton, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who will run the Judiciary Committee if Democrats gain control of the House in November, said the committee “would have to investigate any credible allegations of perjury and other things.” Describing the possibility of “criminal acts,” Senator Cory Booker also has raised the issue of an impeachment proceeding against a sitting Supreme Court Justice.
 
They’re merely getting started. Commentators on the left are urging Democrats to pack the Supreme Court with additional liberal Justices if they gain control of the government in 2021. There have been nine Supreme Court Justices since 1869.
 
After Clarence Thomas joined the Court in 1991, a handful of leftwing journalists hounded him for years. But it is an unprecedented, sad spectacle to see one of America’s two major political parties dedicate itself to undermining the authority of the nation’s highest Court by trying, still, to destroy Brett Kavanaugh.
 
Donald Trump has this one right. Democrats have become a party of political radicals.
 

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