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Trump Went with a Safe, Strong Choice for SCOTUS. But What a Ride It Was

July 10, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

One of the most suspenseful 10-day periods in American legal
history culminated Monday night in Trump naming Judge Brett
Kavanaugh as his pick for the Supreme Court. Of course, justices
have retired before, and presidents nominated their successors. But
for the Supreme Court’s “swing vote” to hang up his robes in a
politically fraught time as this, and then for the White House to
announce that a successor would be named on particular day at a
particular time? That’s gold, Jerry, gold!

We started with the list of 25 eligible jurists that had won
Donald Trump the election, assuring conservative elites and a
crucial slice of the electorate that whatever crazy deviation from
political orthodoxy the man represented, he actually did have the
best people working on judicial nominations. (Read Salena Zito and
Brad Todd’s remarkable “The Great Revolt” if you doubt that Iowa
farmers and Michigan waitresses weren’t paying exceedingly close
attention to the fight for Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.)

In due course, contenders emerged — a short list of
appealing personalities that ranged in background about as much as
federal judges could. There was the son of Indian immigrants who
was born in Toledo and made a name for himself in Kentucky (Amul
Thapar); a brilliant law professor and mother of seven from Indiana
(Amy Coney Barrett); an introverted Michigan judge who preferred
the solitude of his wilderness cabin to the stifling Washington
swamp (Ray Kethledge); a Pittsburgher who was the first in his
family to graduate college and put himself through law school by
driving a taxi (Tom Hardiman); and of course the boyish D.C.
insider with the strong opinions on the separation of powers (Brett
Kavanaugh), the only Ivy Leaguer in the bunch who seemed to have
been preparing for this moment his entire life.

The fact that Judge
Kavanaugh wasn’t a consensus first choice shows what a deep bench
Republicans have.

Clerks and other surrogates (the law’s publicists) advocated for
their champions in a way I’d never seen before-or at least this was
the first time anyone thought they needed to send me their
“publicity materials.” The daily deluge of case summaries, legal
memoranda, and other lobbying efforts became overwhelming and
sometimes annoying. Then came the wave of op-eds praising this or
that judge’s originalism, his or her capacity to be a political
benefit or to see the law exactly like Justice Scalia, or
to be Justice Neil Gorsuch 2.0.

The process finished with a prime-time special that, quite
coincidentally I’m sure, ran right after the latest episode of
ABC’s The Bachelor. The anticipation and Twitter gossip
all day leading up to it — …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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