Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 10/20/16
Trump did OK Wednesday night. There were times in the debate – most particularly on the subjects of Syria, ISIS, Russia, et. al. – when he displayed his best grasp so far of policy and issues. He was able to pivot away from the kinds of questions that bogged him down in the first two debates.
But he could have done much better starting with the very first question. Moderator Chris Wallace asked both candidates about their criteria for nominating Supreme Court justices. Wallace phrased the question by asking where the candidates “want to see the Court take the country.”
Hillary went first and offered the usual boilerplate on women’s rights, Citizens United, upholding Roe v. Wade, etc., etc.
Then it was Trump’s turn and he whiffed. The “where you want to see the Court take the country” line was a hanging curve ball. Trump should have crushed it.
It was a real opportunity for Trump to remind us that the Supreme Court is perhaps the number one reason to choose him over Hillary.
He should have said something like;
I don’t want the Supreme Court to take the country anywhere. Why do we want the Supreme Court taking us places? That’s not their job. The Supreme Court’s job is to keep lawmakers and judges and executive order-issuing presidents in bounds.
The people that I appoint – and I’ve already provided a list of candidates – all understand that. My appointees will all defend the Constitution as it is written. They won’t decide on their own that the words can be ignored or that they mean something else. The Constitution means what it meant on the day it was written. My appointees will respect that and they won’t be taking the country anywhere.”
That’s what he should have said.
Most of what the Left has accomplished it has accomplished through the courts. Nowhere did voters – acting through their elected representatives – get legislation passed legalizing same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage worked its way toward legalization through the courts.
Abortion on demand didn’t become legal through the legislative process. It became legal via the now infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
Arguments can be made for and against both of these things. But those arguments belong in the legislative chambers of Congress and the 50 state houses. The people are entitled to representation in those debates.
When an activist court steps in and “takes the country” in one direction or another, the people forfeit that representation. They lose their voice.
Trump should have said this instead of getting bogged down in the second amendment. Trump should have defended Constitutional originalism. Had he done so, he would have helped educate those who don’t know better while reminding reluctant Republicans that they should vote for him anyway.
If President Trump were to fumble on everything else but get his Supreme Court appointments right, it would more than justify having elected him.
That’s because the next president will shape the Court for a generation. As Trump would say, “That’s yuuuuge!”