Almost 250 years after America's founding, our judiciary is politics as usual
On Monday, the Republican-led Senate approved the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The confirmation vote came after one of the fastest, most partisan confirmation processes in the history of Supreme Court nominations. Barrett's nomination and subsequent confirmation are further proof that our judicial system is broken and in need of serious reform.
President Andrew Jackson once said, "all the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous judiciary." Meanwhile, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John Rutledge once said, "so long as we may have an independent judiciary, the great interests of the people will be safe."
When our nation's founders constructed our great nation and wrote the Constitution, they envisioned a judicial system free of the nefarious influences of politics as usual. They envisioned a Supreme Court that wouldn't bow to outside forces, from the left, right, or center. They envisioned justices who would apply the law without the involvement of political persuasions.
It is almost 250 years later, and it is abundantly clear that our judicial system has strayed from our founders' intentions. Recent judicial nominations for lower federal courts and the Supreme Court have produced some of the most partisan attacks in recent memory. But is that really a surprise?
Judicial nominations have become hyper-partisan affairs—political slugfests. Politicians on the left and the right salivate over the power to nominate federal judges. Presidential contenders draw up plans on nominations before they're even in The White House — and why shouldn't they? They have the power to reshape judicial bodies and influence legal outcomes for decades to come. That is extraordinary political power —and it's also the problem.
I have no doubt that our founders legitimately wanted an independent judiciary, free from outside influences. However, that is simply not what we find ourselves with today. Judicial nominations are as political as anything else. Conservative leaders nominate conservative-leaning justices. Liberal leaders nominate liberal-leaning justices.
Conservatives are outraged by liberal judges, and liberals are outraged by conservative judges. It's simple politics. Meanwhile, when politicians fail to enact legislation or overturn legislation in Congress or the Executive Branch, they see the Supreme Court as a potential game-changer that can help them achieve their political goals and objectives.
As long as politics continues to have such a stranglehold on our judiciary system, we the people are going to continue to see our rights marginalized, our values dissected, and our nation pulled part.
The system is broken, and it needs to change.