Is the Supreme Court Nominee Part of the Swamp or Part of an Experienced Pool?

July 17, 2018

Some conservatives are concerned that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is part of the Establishment Swamp. After all, he’s lived in Washington a long time, attended Yale Law School, worked on the team that investigated Bill Clinton, served as a close aid to President George W. Bush, and judged on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for over ten years. But does that make him “swampy”—or experienced?

These days, we’re often immediately suspicious of anyone who has worked in D.C. for a long time. And with good reason. Corrupt career politicians are a serious concern. In fact, one of the main reasons people voted for President Trump is so he would clean out the Establishment Swamp.  However, an NBC article claims that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination reveals that President Trump is not so anti-establishment when it concerns the highest court of the land. Similarly, Fox News legal analysist, Andrew Napolitano, argues that President Trump is no longer being faithful to his campaign promise to drain the swamp.

If President Trump is anti-establishment for every position except the role of judge, does that make him unreasonably inconsistent and unfaithful to his campaign promise? Maybe there’s good reason behind the so-called inconsistency. What if he realizes there’s an important distinction between the judiciary and the other branches of government?

Being a part of the judiciary branch requires deep knowledge of history, law, and the Constitution, while that knowledge might not be as necessary for the other branches. Way back when our Constitution was being drafted and ratified, Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist Paper 78 that Supreme Court justices must know an extremely large bulk of cases and precedents, which demands “long and laborious study to acquire a competent knowledge of them.” That means there are very few people in society who have sufficient skill and knowledge to qualify them for the stations of judges. Plus, skill and knowledge aren’t the only things needed to be a judge. Hamilton declared that integrity must be united with knowledge. But since human nature is often corrupt, it’s hard to find someone with the necessary integrity to be a judge. We are thus left with a very small pool of people capable of being a judge.

And the people capable of being a judge might be those who have gained experience and knowledge by being in D.C., attending an Ivy League school, and serving on other courts for a long time. We don’t necessarily want that from our Representatives and Senators—we want them to live normal lives, with normal businesses, so that they can represent us better. We don’t want them being entangled for long in D.C., making a career out of politics. That’s not the example George Washington set. He set the example of serving for a limited time in politics and then returning to his own “vine and fig tree” to be a normal, private citizen again.

Perhaps for the judiciary branch though, we don’t need normal, everyday citizens on the bench. The judiciary branch does not represent us or popular opinion—they represent the Constitution. Our Supreme Court justices thus need a specialized set of knowledge of law, and since their station is for life, we must be more certain that they’re the right pick. We need to be able to examine their past dealings and rulings, so in a way, they need to be people who have been working in D.C. for a while. They must be people whose integrity has been tested and tried repeatedly, and people who have endured long and laborious study over the years. Justices can’t be “normal.”

What do you think? Is Brett Kavanaugh swimming in a swamp or a clear pool of experience? Has his many years in D.C. trained him to be a competent judge, or a corrupt one?

In Service,

Colorado Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Colorado Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Colorado citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

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