Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

Political grandstanding or standard process?

 

October 15, 2020



It is Monday morning and I’m waiting for U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett to give her opening remarks, but first you have to get through the opening remarks from every Senator on the Judiciary Committee.

OK, to be truthful I just watched I did not actually listen to them.

According to the Supreme Court website, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes described the role of the court “As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution. The Supreme Court is ‘distinctly American in concept and function.’”

The Supreme Court Justice selections should not be based on politics, bias or policy but rather on the Constitution and their interpretation of the Constitution.

Should we care what some Senator says about policy and how Barrett may or may not vote on that policy issue? I don’t believe so, I believe Monday’s speeches were just political grandstanding but had no relevance on Barrett’s actual qualifications.

That is what we should care about — what Barrett’s qualifications are, what her past rulings have been and if they have been based on law and the Constitution or not.

So often people worry about how a justice may rule and later find out they were wrong. Many people thought they knew how Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would rule on certain issues but that has not been the case.

People, liberals and conservatives like to try and guess how a Supreme Court nominee may rule on certain issues such as abortion rights and whether Roe vs. Wade will be overturned or not, whether the Affordable Health Care Act will be overturned or not, gun rights and more.

But here is the issue with that. First, Roe vs. Wade has already been decided. Other abortion laws may come before the court but a nominee cannot say how they would rule without hearing all the facts, hearing from all sides and knowing exactly what the law is that is in question and how the law holds up to the Constitution.

That goes with any of those issues. Without providing exact details of a law, providing arguments from both sides and giving the nominee/justice time to research it they should not give an answer.

One factor that has already come under scrutiny and is sure to be an issue in this week’s hearings is Barrett’s faith and how that may influence her decisions.

As I write this the questions and bulk of the hearing is still to come and Barrett’s views as a conservative, Catholic, wife and mother will come into question by some. One faith issue already under scrutiny by the media is Barrett’s belief that the Bible teaches us that the man should be the head of the household.

They feel that is an attack on women; however, it is not a woman’s issue; it’s a family issue.

It is not a new concept – at least for Bible-believing Christians. In fact, the organizers of CatchAFire in Worland have been trying to instill that in men around the Big Horn Basin since the organization’s existence.

Founding member and Pastor James Scott said this week, “Ms. Barrett’s opinion on why men are to be the head of the household is not just merely her opinion but it is very biblical. Ephesians 5:23 says ‘for the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself, its Savior’ (ESV). When males and females begin to understand our roles, especially in marriage, our lives will begin to align more and more with the Word of God. God didn’t design a mother to be a father and vice verse. He designed us with specific purposes. When we honor God with our actions, and in our specified roles, our marriages will be more honoring to God and ultimately more fulfilling in Him.”

But what about Barrett. It’s not like she recently entered into her faith. She has been a professor and just a few years ago was approved by the Senate to sit on the Seventh Circuit.

In her opening remarks on Monday, Barrett said, “Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society. But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.

“That is the approach I have striven to follow as a judge on the Seventh Circuit. In every case, I have carefully considered the arguments presented by the parties, discussed the issues with my colleagues on the court, and done my utmost to reach the result required by the law, whatever my own preferences might be.”

Many factors come into play on what we believe and what we feel, Supreme Court justices, and, well, all judges, have to learn to put these aside and make decisions based on the law and the Constitution. These are things the Senators need to be determining, not playing the what if game about what may or may not happen in the future.

If all justices actually took the approach that Barrett outlined in her opening speech, and if the Senate actually voted based on qualifications we would not be where we are today with political grandstanding and threats of “stacking the court,” but unfortunately that is not the world we live in today.

 
 

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