Even though we seem to be on opposite sides of the political spectrum as well as on opposite sides of the Atlantic, Lauren, I always make a point of reading many of your articles as they are normally articulate and salient. However, I do feel the need to disagree with some of what is in this article from the vantage point of being a non-American.
The debate about the Supreme Court in the US is so sensitive and acrimonious because the Court itself has moved far beyond its constitutional purpose from being an interpreter of the Constitution through being a politicised law-making body which occured primarily during the Warren Court era of the 1960s. This was a deliberate policy by the liberal elite to elevate its role and authority to deal with “backward” conservative states with poor civil rights but did so by building the power of the central government at the expense of the State legislatures.
All this centralisation and big government works really well until the “other side” gets hold of this weaponised body you built so effectively. I hope we would agree we are looking to rediscover some sense of true democracy rather than some sort of dictatorship of the Proletariat where the power of the State is used to impose the will of a “majority” on the rest of us. Democracy is really uncomfortable and a terrible system of government, not least because sometimes your opponents win, but as Mr Jefferson said, the alternatives are worse. We in Europe have been on the other side of that democratic fence in socialism and communism, people were happy to tear down the Berlin Wall and for those of us with some German heritage, there is no desire to build another wall through our capital city. As we see all too clearly now after 100s of millions of deaths through the various communist experiments of the 20th century (all initiated with the best intentions of freedom, justice and equality), you deny people a real democratic say in how their communities should be run and impose on them a way of life that someone else has decided is “just”, it breeds anger and extremism, not community cohesion. You see that now on both sides of the political spectrum. Effective government is small and local, where “real” people affect and govern their own communities rather than the messianic State impose the “right” way on everyone.
Malcolm told [them] those kinds of smarts earned the judge [Barrett] praise for her brilliance from every single clerk who was at the Supreme Court at the same time she also clerked there back in 1998 and 1999.
And he added, “One of her biggest supporters has been Noah Feldman, who is a very, very liberal law professor at Harvard, who clerked at the same time that she did. He said, ‘I may disagree with every ruling that she ever comes out with, but she is certainly smart enough and has the integrity to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court.’”
After the vote to proceed, a witness from the American Bar Association explained to the Judiciary Committee why Barrett received the ABA’s highest rating, reading positive comments she received about the judge.
“One said ‘the myth is real: she has a staggering academic mind.’” lead Barrett evaluator Pamela Roberts read.
Ms Barrett’s Roman Catholicism or “conservatism” should not really be the main issue for such a senior Judge. I believe it as a senior, liberal tenured Law Professor at Harvard who has recently stated that even though “he will fight Ms Barrett’s view of law every step of the way, she is nevertheless eminently qualified to sit on the court”. Justice Ginsberg was a fine justice not because of her liberalism but because of her skill as a judge and the utmost respect she engendered and gave to her opponents. Her real legacy to some of us was not her “liberalism” but her modelling of how to deal with opponents with very different views to her own. If only the emphasis of our political discourse was a return to this type of honour and respect of one another, we might be wanting to ensure competent and well-qualified jurors rather than whether they are liberal or conservative as a qualification for the job.