Justice Barrett: "I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it."

"A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the President, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her."

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On Monday evening around 9:00 p.m., Justice Thomas administered the constitutional oath to Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The video begins at the 10:30 mark.

After her oath, Justice Barrett offered remarks, which I have done my best to transcribe:

Thank you all for being here tonight, and thank you, President Trump, for selecting me to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. It is a privilege to be asked to serve my country in this office, and I stand here tonight truly honored and humbled.

Thanks also to the Senate for giving its consent to my appointment. I am grateful for the confidence you have expressed in me, and I pledge to you and to the American people that I will discharge my duties to the very best of my ability. This was a rigorous confirmation progress, and I thank all of you, especially Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham, for helping me to navigate it.

My heartfelt thanks go to the members of the White House staff and Department of Justice, who worked tirelessly to support me through this process. Your stamina is remarkable, and I have been the beneficiary of it. Jessie and I are also so grateful to the many people who have supported our family over these last several weeks. Through ways both tangible and intangible, you have made this day possible. Jesse and I have been truly awestruck by your generosity.

I have spent a good amount of time over the last month in the Senate, both in meetings with individual senators and in days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The confirmation process has made ever clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate. And perhaps the most acute is the role of policy preferences. It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give in to them.

Federal judges don't stand for elections. Thus, they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people. This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government. A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the President, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her. The judicial oath captures the essence of the judicial duty: the rule of law must always control.

My fellow Americans, even though we judges don't face elections, we still work for you. It is your constitution that establishes the rule of law and the judicial independence is so central to it. The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences. I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it. Thank you.

She continues to impress me in ways that I frankly hadn't expected. There is a sincerity behind every word that really resonates. Four themes jumped out.

First, she repeated an important refrain: "It is a privilege to be asked to serve my country in this office, and I stand here tonight truly honored and humbled." During her hearing, Judge Barrett made this point quite eloquently. She sees her nomination as a duty to the country she deeply loves, and not as some sort of social-climbing, self-aggrandizing brass ring.

Second, you can tell that the confirmation process actually made an impact on her. No, not in the sense of the Thomas and Kavanaugh hearings, where the Justices were forever scarred by the process. Rather, she witnessed first hand how many of the Senators were concerned primarily, if not exclusively with policy outcomes. The overwhelming majority of questions asked ACB about her views different social issues, such as abortion, gay rights, etc. At each juncture, Judge Barrett refused to answer those questions. Critics thought she was evasive. But she truly did not think her own views would be relevant. During her remarks, Justice Barrett used this experience to highlight the dichotomy between senators and judges. Senators are duty-bound to follow their preferences. But "it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give in to them."

Third, she made a simple, but profound point: "Federal judges don't stand for elections. Thus, they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people." I immediately thought of Justice Scalia's Obergefell dissent. He wrote:

Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant. Not surprisingly then, the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. . . .  The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today's social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today's majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.

ACB nailed the Scalia dissent, without the brashness. And, for what its worth we now have a second Justice who "hails from the vast expanse in-between." Oddly enough, both of them are Hoosiers.

Barrett's modesty must be contrasted with Justice Kennedy's arrogance. He truly believed that he could discern what the people wanted, and read those preferences into the Fourteenth Amendment. For example, the joint opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey proclaimed: "Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code." The Court cannot "define the liberty of all" because it cannot possibly know what the "liberty of all" is. And if it tries to "define the liberty of all," it will simply mandate its "own moral code." Justice Barrett thoroughly rejected this model of judging in the span of a few sentences.

Third, Justice Barrett formally declared her independence from the very people she just thanked: President Trump and Leader McConnell. She said, "A judge declares independence not only from congress and the president, but also from the private belief that might otherwise move her." This imagery is important. I described Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh's opinions in Trump v. Vance in similar language: "the two Trump appointees formally declared their independence from him." But not really. They barely ruled against Trump, because they actually agreed with the dissent. But they had to signal their independence.

Fourth, Justice Barrett spoke lovingly of the Constitution. She said "I love the Constitution. Can someone print that on a T-Shirt: "I love the Constitution." We need to update the "dogma" merch.

Her full quote is even more profound. She said, "I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it." Here, she is alluding to Benjamin Franklin's famous quotation that it is a Republic if you can keep it. Justice Barrett will do her role to preserve the Republic.

No matter how many new seat are added to the Court, Justice Barrett will still loom large over the others. Her greatest contribution will be to enrich our constitutional culture.  I mean that sincerely. She has the charisma and presence to elevate legal discourse to the next level. And I think she will inspire generations of conservative women to aspire to greatness, without eschewing their beliefs. With time, she may even be able be able to fill the titanic void left by Justice Scalia.

I can't wait till she gets started.

NEXT: The Timing of DNC v. Wisconsin State Legislature

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    1. Man Progs are like the biggest babies ever aren’t they? I mean all 4 of the liberal Justices are directly or like one step thanks to a Republican. And for the rest the conservatives have pigeonholed themselves into appointing only Constitutionalists rather than those who openly and directly bat for the team like Dems. Its like you get a dream opponent who half the time kicks the ball in his own net. Not to mention Estrada and other times Republicans have tried to offer an olive branch or the Dems have screwed them in the judicial process that are forgotten when the media pretends the controversy started with Trump. Its hard to imagine another situation where one side has bent itself over so much for the other side. Heck with the way Roberts is going we might find ourselves right back with a 5/4 Court despite all the blood and sweat the Republicans have shed. Yet the Left has a cow as if the world is going to end every single time things don’t go exactly as they want.

      1. ” despite all the blood and sweat the Republicans have shed ”

        The sweating and bleeding has barely begun, clingers.

        1. Go suck yourself an egg, troll.

      2. Very cool, but Blackman is still a creep.

    2. “You’re a creep”

      Nah. He’s the future of conservative legal academia.

      A dismal, stale, intolerant, impotent, disaffected future.

  1. Even as a liberal, I have to give it to Trump for nominating Barrett to the Supreme Court.

  2. “A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the President, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her.”

    I’m sure it would then be trivial to point out instances where Barrett has ruled in a way, or written that rulings should go in a way, that would seem contradictory to her faith?

    Or is it just a happy coincidence all her personal beliefs also just happen to the the right legal positions too?

    1. When one sides goal is to destroy the Constitution its pretty easy to vote your personal beliefs and for the Constitution at the same time consistently.

      1. Indeed. But I suspect you’re confused about which side is out to destroy more of the constitution (comparatively, because both liberals and conservatives have their parts they wish to destroy. I do look forward to Barrett defending the 2nd Amendment for example).

    2. Examples?? Or just general bitching?

    3. As opposed to RBG who was pretty blatant about ruling in favor of her policy preferences
      ACA
      Encino Motor
      Goodyear
      etc

    4. I’m sure it would then be trivial to point out instances where Barrett has ruled in a way, or written that rulings should go in a way, that would seem contradictory to her faith?

      Only if…

      A) Catholicism takes a definitive stance on a significant number of the legal issues that have come before her, and

      B) Such stances are likely to be at odds with an originalism-based legal ruling.

      Can you demonstrate that both of those are true?

      1. Barrett, and the ones defending her stance, are the ones claiming that there may be situations where her faith and the correct legal decision are at odds, and in those situations, she will follow the law against her own beliefs. That ought to be defended with a specific example.

        But I do believe you’ve hit upon the answer, just in what I’m sure is a pure coincidence, there are no beliefs she possesses that she could not argue are legally correct as well. It’s a miracle!

        1. You ask for evidence to prove a negative ( show me she isn’t biased by her religious beliefs!) and then beg the question.

          You don’t need us for this. It’s masturbatory. You’re a masturbator, but not a master debater.

        2. The only one who made a claim that requires defending here is you.

          in what I’m sure is

          It’s funny how closely associated that sort of baseless self-assurance is correlated with utter cluelessness and a general propensity for bullshit.

          1. #Confidentlywrong

  3. I strongly supported her instead of Kavanaugh, a Yale indoctrinated lawyer. Trump did not listen to my message. Now, she proved herself to be an easy candidate.

    1. “Trump did not listen to my message.”

      Well, that’s shocking. I heard that he checks out the Volokh Conspiracy comment section right after watching Fox and Friends every day.

  4. That “serving the country” crap continues to annoy me. It annoys me when people thank me for my Navy service; hell, I get paid to have a good time! Service my ass.

    About the only President who I will concede probably did serve his country was George Washington, because everything I’ve read says he did not want to be President, he much preferred his farm, but he did it out of a sense of duty. Maybe it was an inflated sense of duty. Maybe he dreaded who might be elected if not him and wanted to start the political trend in the right way. But all things considered makes me think he did have a sense of duty entirely lacking from everyone following.

    1. Washington’s biography shows him well up among the leaders for burning personal ambition. Ambition so consumed his temperament that he began as a child to study its management and public presentation. The modesty was all performative. One of his presidential virtues was that he so excelled at the performance that he persuaded the nation to love him for the modesty he presented.

      1. And yet he declined to be made king, and responsibly stepped down.

        You know nothing.

        1. Nancy, Donald, and Joe all would have, too!

    2. “That “serving the country” crap continues to annoy me. It annoys me when people thank me for my Navy service; hell, I get paid to have a good time! Service my ass.”

      So, you have a new definition of service that we should know about? I guess we need to rename the service industry, they get paid.

      Obviously though, serving in the Navy was your first mistake. 😉

      1. Some of my best shipmates were jarheads!

    3. That “serving the country” crap continues to annoy me.,?i>

      It annoys the hell out of me, too. Taking a seat on the Supreme Court is not a major sacrifice.

      1. It probably guaranteed her a lifetime of death threats and reliance on the Court’s own version of the SS, that’s somewhat of a sacrifice.

        1. How many death threats does John Roberts get?

          1. How many death threats does John Roberts get?

            I don’t know…but I do know that the left in general was not nearly as unhinged about Bush II as they are about Trump.

          2. They don’t bother sharing in that regard, but they do frequently travel with bodyguards, and I’d assume it’s not for yucks.

            1. And who is the “they” in that sentence?

              1. Wow. You really can be obtuse when you want to be, can’t you? The justices, obviously. Did you recently suffer from a closed head injury?

                1. I’m fine. Thanks for asking.

                  I just wanted to be sure you didn’t think only conservative Justices got threats.

                  Of course, there would be fewer threats all around if Trump would stop inciting them.

                  1. Of course, there would be fewer threats all around if Trump would stop inciting them.

                    Who incites threats against conservative justices?

      2. Yet you leftists declared that Michael Sam, a mediocre football player, was a courageous hero for announcing that he was a faygele.

    4. If the balloon goes up, and a sailor gets killed in the next fracas, we can’t actually thank him when he’s a smear on the deck or sent to Davey Jones’ Locker, so we thank him in advance, just in case.

  5. This speech ended hours ago! That’s a lot of time for hot takes you missed out on! What have you been doing?

    On second thought, don’t answer that.

  6. She’s not gonna do you, man. She’s got a husband and everything.

    1. You apparently have never witnessed the arrival of girls from Catholic schools at fraternity parties during freshman orientation. Neither have the parents who send their daughters to those Parochial schools. The Catholic girls really distinguish themselves.

      But autism still has consequences, even in the pursuit of Catholic girls.

      1. Oh, now I see why you hate religion so much. You were rejected by Catholic schoolgirls that you thought you deserved. You poor incel.

        1. The last time RAK got a piece of *** was when his finger busted through the toilet paper.

      2. Nope, no bigotry from RALK. None here.

        BTW, Trotsky’s Mexican villa is still available. Rent it while you still can.

    2. Gotta love these woke feminist men.

      1. Tips of feminism from the handmaid side of the aisle?

        Which may not be as bad as the ‘speaking in tongues’ part.

        1. “Tips of feminism from the handmaid side of the aisle?”

          “Handmaid” being a woman who disagrees with you, Arthur? Wouldn’t be nice if these women with their ladybrains would just let you do the thinking for them?

          1. Handmaid being a woman who calls herself, and allows others to call her, a handmaid? And pledges submission to her husband . . . and to her real mancrush, Jesus.

            1. Then I guess it’s a good thing that her husband and Jesus told her to be a Supreme Court Justice. Just think, if only your wife had told you to go be a Supreme Court Justice instead of doing the dishes or whatever.

              1. She’s a Supreme Court Justice because she’s a willing, reliable tool of clingers in the service of stale intolerance, sacred ignorance, and general backwardness.

  7. It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give in to them.

    That strikes a blow against my hope that this Justice thinks clearly enough—or maybe writes clearly enough—or maybe has the right temperament. In some world of legal abstraction, her policy preferences may align with what the Constitution requires. How can it help her to do the job right if she actively resists the right decision because she agrees with it?

    That quote makes it sound like judicial temperament is so far from her nature that every decision will be a struggle against prejudice. I hope that is just inaccurate self-description, or maybe a non-judicial-sounding exaggeration. Is she struggling with some personal insecurity that she herself may be misjudged, and trying to play a reassuring part before the crowd? If so, she had best lay that aside before taking her first case.

    It would be better to be skeptical of policy preferences, or not to have them—much better if judicial temperament came naturally—or even as a gift of practice—than to imagine yourself in constant struggle against prejudice. There is too much in that of Manichean struggle against darkness. To see the world that way is to imagine yourself as an exemplar of good, in a struggle against inherently evil opponents.

    Given Barrett’s personal history, I am less than reassured. The quote sounds too much like an involuntary flash of self-revelation.

    1. It says a lot more about you than it does her.

      It’s a simple statement. A judge should not make decisions based on their policy preferences.

      When you meet this hypothetical person who has no policy preferences, please introduce them to the world, they’d be the first.

      1. Guess we can add malignant misogyny to lathrop’s religious bigotry.

      2. And it’s a simple lie to claim that judges actually behave according to that “should”.

        And it’s an absurd lie to claim that Barrett would have been chosen if anyone though she wouldn’t act on her policy preferences.

        1. The morally and ethically bankrupt cannot conceive of a person with integrity. They always assume it’s some kind of con, like a liar who assumes he’s being lied to.

          1. … did you seriously just try to claim that Trump is a “person with integrity”?

    2. I’m very reassured. RBG was a terrible justice. 100% feelz. This is an upgrade. Bigly

      So you have a problem with her ruling based on the constitution as written not imagined (which was the RBG way)

  8. Incel Elegy?

    Or Ballad of the South Texas Incel?

    I can’t decide.

    1. Sniff, sniff…Someone soiled their diaper, Arthur.

      Three (3) SCOTUS justices
      Fifty-four (54) Circuit Court judges
      One Hundred sixty two (162) District Court judges

      Number 163 will be confirmed today (Knepp, OH). Plenty more to come.

      Getting a little testy as we near the election? Can’t imagine why. I mean, the polls all say Quid Pro Joe has the election. 🙂

      1. Oh yeah, before I forget….PS: Joe Biden is corrupt AF.

        1. Hannity and Giuliani say so, anyway. Good enough for XY.

          1. The laptop doesn’t lie, bernard11. The emails are damning. Even more damning are the actual recipients of the emails coming forward publicly, in the light of day, to detail the level of corruption with Quid Pro Joe. No anonymity there.

            1. The laptop may very well lie, since it looks a lot like it came via Russian intel though Rudy’s Ukrainian friends.
              Yelling to foreign countries that you’re willing to trade whatever for help in your election will kinda shoot your credibility when a foreign country appears to come up with the goods.

              Though speaking of the goods….what crime has been revealed? That’s not been made clear in all this sturm and drung.

              1. And the email recipients coming forward publicly….?

                C’mon man. I expect better, Sarcastr0.

            2. The laptop doesn’t lie, bernard11.

              Laptops lie all the time, XY. Especially when Giuliani’s Russian buddies have something to do with them.

              1. Really bernard11?

                The pictures of Hunter passed out with a crackpipe in his mouth, or videos of his cavorting with very young looking oriental girls are all a Russian hoax. Um…Ok. The scarier part is Taiwanese TV is now broadcasting sweet, innocent Hunter getting a footjob from some oriental prostitute as he smokes crack. What the hell else is there? And the emails are some kind of vast, right-wing conspiracy, am I right? And the email recipients coming forward to speak publicly about these matters are what?

                Neither Quid Pro Joe nor his very troubled son have denied the authenticity of the laptop, or the emails.

                1. What does Hunter Biden’s past misconduct have to do with whether Joe Biden is corrupt or not? Plenty of bad behavior in Trump’s past.

                  This is sleazy crap. The emails can easily be a Russian hoax. Giuliani is known to be in cahoots with the Russians. The whole thing reeks. Email recipients coming forward? Who? This Bobulinski character?

                  1. The recipients of the emails have publicly stated that Quid Pro Joe was aware of the business arrangements. And discussed them.
                    Bernard11, neither Quid Pro Joe nor his son have denied the authenticity of the picture, videos, or emails. I mean, I have to ask you which is worse here.

                    One, Quid Pro Joe was completely unaware of what his son and his brother were doing to cash in on the ‘Biden Brand’.

                    Two, Quid Pro Joe was aware of what his son and his brother were doing to cash in on the ‘Biden Brand’, and did nothing to stop it.

                    So bernard11…you tell me. Why would you be ‘Ok’ with either option? One of them is true.

                    1. 1. Companies getting relatives of bigwigs on their board is extremely common. It is not necessarily peddling access – it can as easily just be the optics of looking like you’re an important company important people are interested in. This kind of reputational drafting is not corruption, and is indeed unavoidable in any society with the corporate form.

                      2. This is rich considering Trump’s actual and clear nepotism is going on right now.

                      3. You have proven no crimes, no quid pro quo is proven (unlike what Trump was seeking and got impeach for).

                      The right is pushing this desperately. Maybe it’ll work. But your own comment is so weak on criminality or even wrongdoing and so long on namecalling I do not expect so.

                    2. Totally haul so far from the kompromat laptop :

                      (1) Hunter may have gotten a handshake with the Vice President for a business associate.

                      (2) Hunter may have discussed a cut for his father – by then a private citizen – on some deal that went nowhere. Regardless of whether he did or not (the two other business associates differ on the question) Joe Biden received nothing. Remember : He’s released his tax returns.

                      (3) Joe Biden may have been less than 100% honest when saying he knew nothing about his son’s business affairs.

                      And that’s it. All the right-wing hysteria is built on that pathetic haul. Hell, Trump is more corrupt in an average week than this nothingburger stretching over years….

                    3. As I recall, Joe was aware that Hunter was taking a seat on the Burisma board and told him he didn’t like it.

                      What “recipients?” What “business arrangements? And how did they know?

                      You know, XY, if I had your laptop it would be the easiest thing in the world to send you some emails, and to respond to them, even setting the dates to anything I wanted. It would be even easier if I had a laptop that I could claim was yours.

                      Biden isn’t saying anything because that’s just going down a rabbit hole. Giuliani&Co will just generate another “scandal” and the whole thing will stay in the news a while longer.

                    4. “Totally haul so far from the kompromat laptop :
                      …And that’s it.”

                      Wow. Those Russian intel folks sure are inept, eh?

                    5. TwelveInchPianist : Wow. Those Russian intel folks sure are inept, eh?

                      Well, Rudy says he’s holding child porn in reserve, so maybe they’re counting on that. After all, that sort of thing is a regular feature with dezinformatsiya of this kind. Some points :

                      1. Their cover story with the blind-Trump-fanatic-computer-repairman couldn’t be more inept, particularly after the poor guy started giving interviews. Even the right-types I know have a hard time claiming that’s credible while looking me in the eye.

                      2. And poor Giuliani? He couldn’t be more inept. For his most recent email scandelette, Rudy released a Blackberry screenshot of a iPhone running on the (Russian) MTS network – this for something supposedly coming from a Delaware computer repair shop. The poor dumb s.o.b. didn’t think to crop it out.

                      3. Remember Lev Parnas? He was one of the two low-grade crook henchmen Giuliani used to conduct Trump’s “foreign policy” in Ukraine. A few days ago Lev said Rudy was offered Hunter Biden pictures and emails back in spring of 2019, long before the blind trump frantic computer repairman. You can believe Parnas is lying, but in favor of what? Giuliani’s honesty? Trump’s honesty?

                      Look: the laptop was always a joke. Please start by asking why Hunter goes ’round all his acquaintances & collects the most humiliating pictures they’d taken of him to copy onto his laptop. Someone hacked Hunter Biden or Burisma and the laptop is a delivery device, spiced with embarrassing photos and (maybe) kiddie porn. My assumption is they didn’t want to go with a simple leak after the Russian role in Podesta’s 2016 hacking was so well documented.

                      This one will be documented too eventually. And fake Hunters delivering faux laptops makes it a full foreign intelligence operation to my eye. I wonder if Rudy would go to jail for Trump?

                    6. Sarcastro
                      “Companies getting relatives of bigwigs on their board is extremely common. It is not necessarily peddling access – it can as easily just be the optics of looking like you’re an important company important people are interested in. This kind of reputational drafting is not corruption, and is indeed unavoidable in any society with the corporate form.”

                      It is corruption when the purpose of stopping a corruption investigation – Burisma’

                    7. So is it totally innocuous, or is it Russian propaganda? It would be nice if you could at least pick one.

                    8. TwelveInchPianist : So is it totally innocuous, or is it Russian propaganda?

                      Why not both? After all, one of the Russian interventions for Trump in 2016 was leaked emails hacked from John Podesta that also had no hint of criminality. They were effective nonetheless for chewing up headlines the last days of the campaign – plus their lack of real news value didn’t stop right-wing propagandists from trying to claim overwise – just like here.

                      Mueller’s found the Russians hacked Podesta and sat on their trove of stolen emails almost six months. Wanna know when they released the first batched? Less than one hour after the Access Hollywood scandal was first posted online. Their boy Trump was in trouble and they rushed to help – just like here.

                    9. Joe_dallas : It is corruption when the purpose of stopping a corruption investigation – Burisma’

                      Are you (1) grossly uninformed, (2) committed to lying, or (3) just plain stupid? Those are the only three options with anyone peddling this crap. First, there was no investigation of Burisma, as you’ll find if you venture anywhere near a factchecker. I quote Politifact but they all say the same thing :

                      “However, Vitaliy Kasko, who had been Shokin’s deputy overseeing international cooperation before resigning in February 2016 citing corruption in the office, produced documents to Bloomberg that under Shokin, the investigation into Burisma had been dormant. “There was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against Zlochevsky,” Kasko told Bloomberg. “It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015.”

                      https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2019/may/07/viral-image/fact-checking-joe-biden-hunter-biden-and-ukraine/

                      Now that’s true enough, but it’s almost irrelevant to defending Joe Biden. You see, he did pressure Ukraine to fire Shokin. That was because :

                      01. It was the order of the President – who wasn’t concerned about Hunter.

                      02. Firing Shokin was a publicly-stated United States foreign policy objective. This had nothing to do with Hunter.

                      03. The official State Department position was Shokin had to go. Hunter was irrelevant to this.

                      04. The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine gave a speech in Odessa demanding Shokin be fired. Hunter was nowhere on his radar screen.

                      05. Firing Shokin was a bi-partisan stance of the U.S. Senate. Their group letter demanding this action failed to mention Hunter.

                      06. The European Union insisted Shokin be fired. The EU doesn’t care a bit about Hunter.

                      07. A World Bank official policy goal was Shokin had to go. The World Bank doesn’t stew over Hunter, then or now.

                      08. The IMF insisted on Shokin’s firing. None of its reasons concerned Hunter.

                      09. The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development issued a policy statement demanding Shokin’s ouster. Hunter’s name doesn’t appear in the document.

                      10. There were street demonstration in Ukraine against Shokin alone. Every anti-corruption group in the country insisted he must be fired. When the prosecutor was finally pushed-out, the Kyiv Post described him as one of the most loathed figures in the entire country. I’m betting none of this was based on Hunter.

                      Please explain how pressuring Ukraine re Shokin was about Hunter when it was the President’s order, a established objective of the entire frigg’n U.S. government, and a goal shared with the whole gawdforsaken western world.

                      You really make up bullshit as STUPID as the Right’s faux Shokin scandal if you labored long&hard trying. If that’s the best you’ve got, Joe_dallas. you have NOTHING.

                    10. That Russian cell network was operating in Ukraine during the Biden Crime spree.

                      And you’re also neglecting Biden’s admissions on dealing with China’s spy chief and the messages regarding his sexual intrusions on his underage niece.

            3. “The laptop doesn’t lie, bernard11. The emails are damning.”

              Evidentiary tips from birthers are always a treat.

              The reckoning approaches, clingers.

              1. Yeah Arthur, we’ve heard all this before = reckoning.

                Try something more original, will ya? Your material is a little stale.

                1. You prefer the juicy freshness of ‘lock ’em up,’ ‘the socialists are coming,’ ‘the war on Christmas,’ and ‘my opponent is a criminal’?

                  1. Nah, some of your posts are imaginative and hilarious. Heck, I am a fan of some of your creative writing.

                    Lately, not so much. Kind of stale. Go lighter on the antisemitism.

                    1. Lately he’s been phoning it in. Maybe he needs a hug?

            4. Assuming we treat this like summary judgment and give the laptop the benefit of the doubt on all possible inferences, what’s the theory here? That after he was out of office, Joe Biden wanted a 10% cut on some amorphous deal with China and that the CEO of the company that offered him that deal subsequently became mad that Hunter Biden wanted to use the CEO’s company as a personal piggy bank and stopped him from doing so?

              Sounds like possibly bad business partners, but since Joe Biden had no public role at that point, I’m struggling to understand even the theory for calling him a crook.

          2. Well and the testimony and evidence from emails and messages.

            Don’t forget about those things.

            1. There is no testimony.

              1. What is it called then?

                1. What is it called then?

                  Bullshit.

                  My understanding of “testimony” is that it is given under oath and, usually, subject to cross-examination

  9. Prof. Blackman, you have two “thirds” in your post. Should be five things you liked.

  10. Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant.

    Pardon me while I catch my breath from laughing. What was Scalia smoking when he wrote this? And does Blackman seriously believe it?

    1. “Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant.
      Pardon me while I catch my breath from laughing. What was Scalia smoking when he wrote this? And does Blackman seriously believe it?”

      It’s part lie . . . part gullibility . . . part ignorance . . . part desperation . . . all movement conservative.

      1. All lie, all movement conservative, all desperate that Americans would be gullible and ignorant enough to swallow it, hook line and stinker.

        1. Scalia and other ‘conservative’ justices have voted against the ‘consensus’ conservative position numerous times. So you are full of it.

          RBG, Kagan, Breyer, not so much.

          1. Spare me your indignation.

            Even if you want to believe that conservative judges are uniquely clean of bias and only doing what the law commands, the claim that I’m calling complete and utter bullshit is that “Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant.”

            So it’s not the supposedly impartial judges you should be pointing at as free of policy bias, but the people who appoint them.

        2. I know, right? All those gullible moron Americans who accepted the system of checks and balances and a co-equal judicial branch for 200+ years were so fucking ignorant I can hardly stand it! It’s embarrassing! I say we burn this fucker down, who’s with me?

          1. Well, the South rose once, and it keeps saying it’ll rise again, so why don’t you swing down that way and try your rallying cry? I don’t think this time anyone will miss ’em.

            That said? Yes, anyone that sincerely believes that judicial selection has been free of policy bias for 200+ years is gullible or an idiot: politicians haven’t been coy about appointing judges based on their belief the judges will support the politician’s policy preferences. Pretending that explicitly biased politicians who are deliberately trying to get a court that favors them are magically appointing judges who act with no bias is a fantasy, unconnected from reality.

  11. Mitch McConnell:

    “I think this nominee will be a political asset for our candidates around the country.”

    Selected for her skill as a lawyer. Right.

    1. Fulfilling Trumps pledge to appoint originalists. So, no, not political.

      Political includes all other interpretations of the Constitution.

  12. This post is a joke, right? This new Justice has been groomed to be the another person whose political views will dominate her voting on the Court. Anyone who believes otherwise is a so much of a dupe that they do not warrant being listened to.

  13. To be clear, volunteering to be used as an electoral prop by the president is an example of her modesty, or her love of country and constitution?

    1. The best thing about the Barrett installation — beyond the Democratic response — will be when she starts speaking in tongues during oral argument.

  14. I’m no fan of Barrett, but I do think someone should warn her that there is a potential stalker running around.

    1. LOL…Ok, now that was funny.

  15. Moving on, since Justice Thomas has presumably now caught Covid, have we started our short-lists yet of African-American candidates for SCOTUS? (And no, Kirkland, not Obama. He’s probably too old, and in any event if Biden nominated him the Republicans would set the White House on fire.)

    1. I sense Obama is at least a 50-50 shot for one of those spots. Bryan Stevenson and Ketanji Brown Jackson are among the other names I have been hearing.

      As for age — Trump is younger than Biden, and Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama are younger than Trump. Plus, if you expect to hold the (perhaps enlarged) Senate, age may become an attenuated factor.

    2. Moving on, since Justice Thomas has presumably now caught Covid, have we started our short-lists yet of African-American candidates for SCOTUS?

      Wow, Martin. If you were trying to demonstrate exactly how unbecoming of a human being TDS can make you, job well done.

      1. Don’t be so quick, LoB.

        There was a lot of grave-dancing around here when Ginsburg died.

        1. There was a lot of grave-dancing around here when Ginsburg died.

          Interesting take, and easy enough to measure. The primary thread I’m aware of is here — I see one off-color comment from a non-regular poster against scores of sentiments like “I didn’t like her politics, but may she Rest in Peace” and “I disagreed with many of her opinions. I wish that she had lived until mid-January 2021 (or that she had retired in June 2020).”

          Inconvenient facts aside, hopefully most sentient beings can agree there’s a fundamental difference between (1) appreciating the fact that the Supreme Court had an opportunity to go a different ideological direction following the unexpected death of a justice, and (2) actively wishing death on a living justice.

          Right?

          1. Check out Blackman’s posts.

            And don’t overlook the fact that there had been many comments expressing a wish for her death.

      2. If you read my comment as wishing death or disease on Justice Thomas that probably says more about you than about me. The ability to give someone you disagree with politically the benefit of the doubt is clearly long since gone. As it happens, I rather like Justice Thomas, because he’s the one conservative justice who definitely votes against his policy preferences from time to time. He has the courage of his convictions, and doesn’t confuse law and policy.

        That said, unlike some people I could mention I understand that the mechanisms of how viruses are transmitted and how they affect people are not matters of opinion, but facts that are indifferent to our approval or disapproval. Whether we like someone or not has very little to do with whether they will get Covid, or whether they will die from it. Whether they spend a lot of time in a room full of infected people without masks and whether they are old or young, on the other hand…

        1. Ah, ok. So your original statement that “Justice Thomas has presumably now caught Covid” was grounded not in glee, but ignorant fearmongering. Thanks for clearing that up.

          1. Perhaps it derived from the facts that

            (1) the White House is populated by a bunch of virus-flouting knuckle-draggers,

            (2) the clingers’ belligerent ignorance and reckless conduct have made the White House a viral hot spot,

            (3) Republican yahoos don’t observe simply courtesy and CDC guidelines even after they learn they have been infected,

            and

            (4) Justice Thomas fraternizes with clingers in general and has now visited the White House at least a couple of times for grandstanding superspreader events.

            1. MEEEEELTING!!!1!

              Poor Artie. Only three or four stages to go!

              1. Trump is out of money, out of time, out of favor, and soon to be out of office. The Republicans can’t afford any stages at this point, after being Don-conned into political irrelevance.

                Your only hope is begging for mercy from your betters, clingers. Don’t be ashamed to grovel. It’s your natural condition.

  16. 2016
    Republican Congresspeople: We arbitrarily create a precedent that no nomination for justice will occur in an election year. The people must decide.

    Democratic Congresspeople: But that’s not a precedent, and we have a couple of hundred days bef-

    Republican Congresspeople: “Use my words against me.” Let the next president make the nomination.

    2020
    Republican Congresspeople: We arbitrarily break the precedent we just created in 2016. We, uh, actually only meant it to apply when the presidential party doesn’t control the Senate.

    Democratic Congresspeople: Wait, but you declared this precedent only four years ago, and you didn’t signal any exception then. And now we have only a little more than a month until the election. Why break your own precedent?

    Republican Congresspeople: We’re in power, we make the rules. Also, I’ll dredge up some tu quoque fallacies and suggest that you made us do it.

    Sometime in the future
    Democratic Congresspeople: *do a single thing, any thing, that redresses the precedence-setting-and-breaking of congressional Republicans*

    Republican Congresspeople: *Pikachu face*

    1. Democrats: We arbitrarily ignore that Presidents ALWAYS make nominations to fill empty Supreme court seats, regardless of how close to, or even after an election, they occur.

      We arbitrarily ignore that, if the Senate is of the same party, those nominations are almost always confirmed.

      We arbitrarily ignore that, if the Senate is of the opposing party, those nominations are almost always rejected, and usually by just ignoring them.

      But if you want to argue that Lindsey Graham is an asshole, you’ll get no argument from me.

      1. if the Senate is of the opposing party, those nominations are almost always rejected, and usually by just ignoring them.

        Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence.

        1. Assumes facts gone over in these very pages not so long ago.

          1. In the last 50 years alone, Burger, Blackmun, Powell, Rehnquist, Kennedy, Souter, and Thomas were all confirmed by opposition Senates. Haynesworth, Carswell, and Bork were voted down. Garland was the only one who was ignored. This “norm” doesn’t exist.

            1. …and Stevens too.

            2. You might even have a point if the country was 50 years old, instead of 230. Hope you’re planning on baking a pie with those cherries you’re picking.

              1. You said there was a norm: the Senate doesn’t confirm/ignores nominees from a president of the opposing party. I showed you that the last 50 years shows no evidence of that norm. You’d think, if a norm was in place, someone would have followed it in the last 50 years.

                But fine, let’s go back 150 years. Fortas and Thornberry were filibustered in 1968. Brennan, Whittaker, and Stewart were all confirmed. Rufus Peckham and Edward White were confirmed in the 1890s, and William Hornblower and Wheeler Peckham were voted down. Two nominees were confirmed by opposition Senates in the 1880s, and three more by an evenly divided Senate. Another was confirmed by an opposition Senate in 1880.

                I count two, Fortas and Thornberry, that were not taken up in the last 150 years, 4 that were rejected, and 16 that were confirmed. How do norms work in your world, Brett?

      2. Brett, what long history of nominations are you referring to that allows you to write that nominations from an opposing party are “almost always rejected”? I can find only a few instances of nominations in election years with members of different parties, and none in the 20th century. I’m left with Melville Fuller (1888) and William Burnham Woods (1880) confirmed, and Stanley Matthews (1881), John J. Crittenden (1828), and three Millard Fillmore (1852-3) nominees for a single seat lapsed or postponed. (Adding the odd duck John Tyler would add one seat filled and one seat not filled in an election year, for a total count of 3 seats filled to 4 seats not filled.) Something that rare doesn’t merit an “almost always.” That’s not precedent.

        No, Senate Republicans in 2016 made a deliberate decision to make up a precedent that benefited them at the time. They were very clear about letting the voters decide; again, “Use my words against me.” Meanwhile, they broke that precedent at the next available opportunity. If you want to argue that any Democratic response is also an abuse of power, you’ll get no argument from me, but let’s not be surprised that they’re so tempted to do so in the face of such utterly flimsy pretense.

        1. I can find only a few instances of nominations in election years with members of different parties, and none in the 20th century.

          Keith Whittington has researched/written about this a good deal — one of his more recent posts is here.

          As shown in Table 5 of his 2005 paper linked in the above article (I can’t put two URLs in a single post), in the 19th century there were 7 late-term/lame-duck vacancies caused by death of a justice. In the 20th century, there were none. That’s not terribly surprising — justices don’t die in service very often, and there’s only a 25% chance that a death will fall in an election year.

          But the aggregate statistics, sparse as they are, do indeed demonstrate Brett’s point. Table 6 of the above paper shows that 100% of late-term nominations under a divided government were not confirmed (0 out of 4). You can debate whether that’s a “precedent,” but it’s certainly a pattern.

          (Interestingly enough, only 62% of late term nominations under a unified government were confirmed (8 of 13).)

          1. Link to Whittington’s paper I referenced above.

          2. The original comment was “if the Senate is of the opposing party, those nominations are almost always rejected, and usually by just ignoring them.” [emphasis mine]

            You’ve somewhat shifted the goalposts by going from “ignoring” to “not confirming.” In fact, the article you link to mentions that while there are plenty of examples of lower court nominations being ignored, the Supreme Court had enough public attention that the Senate would not ignore them even if it chose not to confirm them.

            Can you name another supreme court nominee that similarly ignored by the Senate?

            1. You’ve somewhat shifted the goalposts by going from “ignoring” to “not confirming.”

              Sorry, _dude, but as you can see up-thread, the question I was responding to was: “Brett, what long history of nominations are you referring to that allows you to write that nominations from an opposing party are ‘almost always rejected’?”

              In fact, the article you link to mentions that while there are plenty of examples of lower court nominations being ignored, the Supreme Court had enough public attention that the Senate would not ignore them even if it chose not to confirm them.

              It’s interesting you don’t cite any actual language from the paper. I’d suggest you check out Appendix A, which lists all 27 failed Supreme Court nominations and handily lists the Senate’s action (or inaction) for each. By my count, 12 out of the 27 show “no action,” “postponed,” or “tabled.”

              1. I was going by this Wikipedia chart. Only 11 of 30 failed nominations received votes, though some of the others were not completely ignored.

                1. Yup. Some occasional differences from Whittington’s list for whatever reason, but pretty much the same story.

          3. Thank you for the reply. I read the post and consulted the tables you indicate.

            One flaw in using Whittington’s data here is that he defines a late-term appointment as one done within six months of an election (see Table 4), but Merrick Garland’s nomination was over seven months before election day, and my own survey looked at the entire election year since one of the stated justifications for the delay was not considering a nominee during an election year. Taking Whittington’s data, a non-late-term nomination should succeed most of the time (6 to 1 pre-1900, 12 to 3 post-1900), so that doesn’t explain the response to Garland.

            Again, when I looked at the list of SC nominees to find seats filled or unfilled during the entire election year, the odds are a lot better for filling a seat during a Congressional/Presidential split prior to 1900 – 3 out of 7. Melville Fuller was nominated later in the year, but still six months out from election day (4-30-1888); William Burnham Woods was a lame-duck nominee (12-15-1880) but was approved anyhow; Samuel Nelson was nominated (2-4-1845) and confirmed (2-14) the month before Tyler left office. Whittington omits the two latter examples in Table 6, perhaps because he strictly separates *lame duck* and *late-term* appointments; meanwhile he omits the first example because, like Garland, Fuller was not a late-term nominee. Including those gives a more accurate picture of judicial nominations in the last year of a presidency.

            So in short, taking a view of the larger election year, there is not a clear pattern to seats being filled. Certainly, there isn’t a clear enough pattern to say, “Those nominations are almost always rejected,” as Brett did. With the very limited data we have, the only pattern is that the president fills the SC seat in an election year with a split government *sometimes*.

            1. We may quibble about whether the majority is “almost always”, but surely the data dispense with the fiction that it’s unheard of. There’s a reason people making that claim only go back about 50 years in looking at the record, and it’s not that the US government originated 50 years ago.

  17. It appears Prof. Blackman will not conduct a FantasyEotus (election of the United States) this year at the Volokh Conspiracy.

    Perhaps I will offer one on Thursday. Here are the likely points for prediction:

    1. Winner for president?
    2. Winner’s states won?
    3. Winner’s electoral votes?
    4. Control of House?
    5. Control of Senate?
    6. Presidential victory margin >2.0?
    7. Presidential victory margin >4.0?
    8. Winner in Pennsylvania?
    9. Winner in Arizona?
    10. Winner in Florida?
    11. Winner in George?
    12. Winner in Texas?
    13. Winner in Iowa?
    14. Winner in North Carolina?
    15. Winner in Ohio?
    16. CNN calls presidency by 2 a.m.?
    17. ABC, CBS, or NBC calls presidency by 2 a.m.?
    18. Fox calls presidency by noon Nov. 4?
    19. Any state legislature selects Electoral College delegates?
    20. House of Representatives chooses President?
    21. Jorgenson >2%?
    22. Hawkins >.5%?

    I’m thinking of offering an Amazon gift card to the champion. Anyone have a better idea for a prize? (Beer shipment is costly and generates legal issues.) Or a suggestion for another point of prediction?

    1. Anyone have a better idea for a prize?

      Winner gets to punch you in the face? The response would be enormous.

      1. How’s your alleged civility standard going, Prof. Volokh? Do you still try to claim your repetitive censorship is not partisan and viewpoint-driven?

        1. Crying for Papa Eugene to protect you from someone you perceive to be a bully? You are by far the least civil contributor to these comments I have witnessed. You call others clingers and bigots and constantly engage in fallacious argument, and now you are whining that a humorous comment about a consensual contest should be censored?

          Go fuck yourself, Artie. You add nothing to the dialogue.

          1. I am not asking for anything from Prof. Volokh. I am pointing out that he is a low-grade censor and vivid hypocrite whose faux libertarian masquerade includes a ‘principled free expression champion’ costume.

            I do not advocate for any censorship here. Not even with respect to the proprietor’s repeated use of a vile racial slur.

            I am not calling for a civility standard. I am noting that Prof. Volokh’s claim to be relying on a civility standard when censoring or banning viewpoints he dislikes is intensely weak sauce that works solely among his stale, intolerant, right-wing sycophants.

            Any other questions, clingers?

            1. What do you come here for? It certainly is not to educate, as your posts consist of nothing but insults and fallacies. Did it ever occur to you that you get censored because of the ennui your tedious tirades generate in the other commenters?

              1. May the better ideas win.

                Of course, that’s easy for me to say in modern America.

        2. Consider you call everyone a bigot and routinely say “open wide” suggesting people should be forced into your extreme ideology with compliance, it is pretty fresh to call for “civility” here…

    2. Arthur, I think delivery of the prize might be tough.

      I like the beer prize, though. 🙂

      1. “delivery of the prize might be tough”

        An Amazon gift card?

        I haven’t had a problem involving the United States Postal Service in 35 years of unusually heavy use. Electronic delivery might even be possible these days?

        My beer prize is always great, as a few Conspirators can attest. But delivery can be tricky consequent to the Twenty-First Amendment. If someone runs the table, though, perhaps I could figure a way to send a single bottle of aged Mad Elf, securely packaged. Or maybe even one of my few remaining bottles of Samuel Adams Triple Bock 1994 Reserve.

        1. *delivery of the prize may be rough*

          The postal system is going to be catching up with all those “lost” ballots for at least the week after the Election.

        2. Arthur…When I win your contest, I would like to personally collect that beer. And crack one open with you. The Sam Adfams sounds pretty good.

          1. Those Samuel Adams bottles are beautiful but, these days, iffy. I haven’t opened one in several years. They were lousy at first, then became good (after a few years), then became magnificent (after a decade or so), but lately I have heard that they often have turned by now, sometimes with debris and sometimes even becoming chunky.

            Mine have been stored on the side, in the dark, in a relatively constant cool environment, but I nonetheless wouldn’t rely on their quality. No complaints, though . . . they were enjoyable for a long time as they matured and I received one of my two cases as a gift.

            1. Beer rarely ages well. Compared to wine it has more light ketones and aldehydes that undergo condensation reactions.

              1. Home brewer here. (Mead and wine, though.) Beer certainly can age well, if strictly protected from light, and sealed against oxygen. I had a friend who forgot some bottles in his basement for a decade, and was delighted with how they tasted when he found them again.

                I suspect it depends heavily on the starting beer, though.

              2. That makes a splendid 20-year-old Thomas Hardy or Triple Bock even more special.

            2. A relatively constant cool environment … like a cave…where a troll would live?

  18. I think she is lying and will quickly put he personal opinions of policy into law. And we won’t have to wait long to see.

    1. If one believes a lie must be intentional to be a lie rather than just a mistake, then I disagree with you. I don’t think she’s lying. I think she truly believes what she says. But there can be significant differences in opinion around what it means to “preserve” the “republic.” You can even have a “democratic republic” while dramatically narrowing the right to vote.

  19. But she truly did not think her own views would be relevant.

    So, are you an idiot, or are you saying she’s an idiot?

    Because even with just three years as a judge, she established herself as one of the most conservative judges in the circuit. Her views are relevant, and they will continue to be relevant. And this is pretty obvious looking at judges as a whole… if judges were any good at setting their own views aside (and the senate any good at picking such judges) then we wouldn’t have so many obviously policy-driven decisions.

    So again: are you an idiot, or are you saying she’s an idiot?

    1. How would Prof. Blackman know what Justice Barrett ‘truly thinks,’ except as a rush of fantasy?

    2. she established herself as one of the most conservative judges in the circuit

      Adherence to the language of the law and Constitution is, of course, conservative. Belief in a living Constitution that can be bent and tortured to support today’s fashionable views, is poor, activist judging. But you knew that.

      1. Area man passionate defender of what he believes the Constitution says.

      2. Even if you actually believed this drivel, that just reinforces my point: if ACB is where all judges “should” be, then the senate does not have a track record of appointing such justices, as she is on the far-right of the spectrum.

  20. I guess most on this blog are of the heathen variety (which is fine by me), but her belief structure should not be that much of a surprise to anyone who has ever dealt with Christian doctrines. It matches closely to what an un-corrupted church might teach and reflects a more pure protestant understanding of the subject.

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if she ends up being on the more moderate side of the court. Her vote might be to overrule some liberal precedent, but really Roe and its ilk have no grounding in the Constitution. Those were just pure “legislating from the bench”. But on other issues I suspect she is going to fall more like Kennedy.

    1. It also wouldn’t surprise me if she ends up being on the more moderate side of the court.

      So you expect her to make a 180 from her behavior for the last three years? On what basis?

    2. It matches closely to what an un-corrupted church might teach and reflects a more pure protestant understanding of the subject.

      This is your politics leading your faith.

      Dangerous.

      1. As a Catholic, she might be offended to have her beliefs described as “pure protestant.”

  21. I’m really just happy to note her outright rejection of the “singular they.”

  22. It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside.

    Isn’t it the job of a Senator to pursue policy preferences that are in line with those that their constituents favor – even considering the preferences and interests of those who did not vote for them?

    1. It’s the job of a Senator to pursue the policy preferences they ran on pursuing, which ideally are their own preferences, because otherwise they’re not likely to actually do it.

      It’s the job of the constituents to elect a Senator whose policy preferences are in line with their own.

      And, yes, a Senator should at least consider the preferences of those who didn’t vote for them, though not to the point of betraying campaign promises.

      1. I’m pretty sure it’s the job of a Senator to do what’s best for the nation, regardless of whether that aligns with what they ran on, or whether that’s what will get them re-elected.

        Disagreement on what “best for the nation” is, of course, understandable. But no one should expect their senators’ views to be frozen in stone on election day, unchanging by circumstance and new information.

        That so many senators are so very bad at their jobs, putting personal interests ahead of what’s good for the country, putting re-election chances ahead of good policy, and so-on, does not change that if they were doing their job properly, they would be concerned with good governance regardless of promises or re-election.

  23. It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside.

    Isn’t it the job of a Senator to pursue policy preferences that are in line with those that their constituents favor – even considering the preferences and interests of those who did not vote for them?

    1. That was so 4 years ago!

      Now we threaten to withhold Federal aid during raging firestorms displacing thousands of people and a pandemic that has already consumed more than 220K American lives just because a state might have voted for She Who Shall Not Be Named (but was promised to go to jail and hasn’t yet.)

  24. Justice Barrett: “I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it.”
    “A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the President, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her.”
    I watched Barrett’s conformation hearings. I believe her. If the Republicans thought she will be an automatic vote, I think they will be disappointed.

    1. For sure. Heffalumps have their activist instincts, too.

  25. Lawyers should not be judges. The jobs are almost unrelated.

    A separate stream of education and careers should be established. Judges should attend judging school after finishing a mid career in another field that is not lawyering. For example, retired military or plumbers or any other occupation should apply to judge school. Pre-judge school should include a course in Critical Thinking, the Scientific Method, and Formal Ethics. Then attend judge school should take 3 years. The Third Year 3J should consist of judging cases under supervision, in various jurisdictions for 3 months each. The primary message of judge school should be, apply the law, do not make the law.

    Judges should have no immunity whatsoever. They may be subjected to professional standards of due care and police themselves. If they make a damaging mistake, their should have insurance to compensate their victim. Insurance companies may ask a repeatedly tortfeasing judge to step down or lose their coverage.

    Policy goals should be set by the elected legislatures, and judges should be measured against achieving them. For example, lower the crime rate in a jurisdiction. Increase business. Decrease pollution. They should get 5 years to achieve their end.

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