By Clare Cannon
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh told a lie (maybe more if you ask Sen. Dianne Feinstein) during his opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee & the American people: “As a judge and as a citizen, I was deeply impressed by the President’s careful attention to the nomination process and by his thorough consideration of potential nominees.”
“The President’s careful attention” and “thorough consideration”
Let’s get one thing straight: Trump has had very little, if anything, to do with Kavanaugh’s selection and he certainly didn’t show any first-hand “attention” or “consideration” to the nominating process. That’s been outgoing White House counsel Don McGahn and The Federalist Society.
What is The Federalist Society?
After Pres. Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the phrase “vetted and approved by the Federalist Society” or some version of it began popping up on various news outlets and in articles about Kavanaugh, as if the Federalist Society was some all-powerful, independent judge on judges. The name is benign enough – “Federalist”: A reference to the founding fathers and The Federalist Papers (writings by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, & John Jay to promote the ratification of the U.S. Constitution) and “Society”: a voluntary association of individuals for common ends.
But perhaps a better name would be The Catholic Judges Society of America. At its core, the Federalist Society is essentially just a group of like-minded professionals and students in the legal field, and their endorsement of a candidate wouldn’t normally be that big of a deal, IF their agenda were clear and IF that endorsement wasn’t peppered into news articles in a way clearly aimed at giving the person more credibility without fully explaining who they are and what they stand for.
Their website’s About page is also benign enough: “The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to reforming the current legal order.” But when you dig a little deeper, Republicans, through the Federalist Society, are literally filling thousands of judicial posts at all levels of the courts, and the Democrats are either blind to it, or too dumb to realize how important this is and how much they’re screwing it up.
Republicans have been killing the “local level” politics game for years, decades really, while the Dems have been so focused on their celebrity endorsements and celebrity-status candidates that they’ve lost the country. They’ve let the GOP unconstitutionally gerrymander local districts in numerous states because the Republicans understand the importance of influence in local politics, which steadily creeps up the political chain. The courts are finally starting to catch up to this, but in states like North Carolina, where several judges have ruled its congressional map is unconstitutional, they’re still going to use that same unconstitutional map in November, so the trend will continue at least for the time being.
It’s possible the North Carolina case, or others, could end up before the Supreme Court (the NC case was already kicked back down after the judges declined to take it up), but if Kavanaugh is confirmed, do you really think he’d rule against a system that’s keeping his like-minded conservatives in power? Doubtful. The High Court has been hesitant to weigh in on congressional maps so far, but there’s nothing to say that they won’t change their minds.
But back to the Federalist Society… It’s bias would be fine (maybe) if literally every person in the U.S. was Catholic and/or conservative and believed the same thing about certain rights, but this country was founded, in part, on the idea of freedom of religion and freedom from religious authority and rules (for a history lesson, go back to the Crusades). Could you imagine a secretive Jewish or Muslim organization hand picking judges and placing them throughout all levels of the judicial system to ensure that their political agenda was becoming more and more influential and widespread, and no one was the wiser? (Side note: if you have evidence that this is the case, send me the info because I haven’t been able to find it).
To have a religious organization of any stripe, especially one with very socially conservative views (on contraception, marriage, gays rights, & divorce, etc), essentially handpicking judges at all levels, and even the Supreme Court, is not OK. And a shadow organization, a deep state if you will – to borrow a common phrase incorrectly thrown around these days by top-tier officials in our government – orchestrating the entire system like a puppet master is unacceptable and at its very core, unconstitutional.
And the most shocking part of this is that no one seems to care or maybe it’s just too much in the weeds of politics or there is too much else out there pulling attention away from issues like this.
Regarding Kavanaugh’s nomination — On the right, there’s a sense of “as long as it’s a conservative nominee…,” which seems to be a similar feeling Republicans have had concerning just about everything to do with Trump from his securing of the GOP nomination through his presidency. They let him get away with all levels of misbehavior because he’s technically a Republican president on paper, never mind that many of the things he’s said and done are decidedly anti-Republican. And on the left Democrats are so focused on opposing Judge Kavanaugh just because Trump picked him & Republicans are withholding some documents, that they’re missing the bigger picture. There are plenty of other reasons to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, largely based his own record and writings that have nothing to do with Trump.
Kavanaugh is one of the least popular Supreme Court nominees, according to recent polling, while an overwhelming majority of Americans do not support overturning Roe v. Wade, but in the end, it may not matter what the American people want as long as Catholics are getting their way.
Clare Cannon worked at a major cable news network for nearly a decade & prior to that in the field of democracy building & election integrity.