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Kavanaugh meets with Pence and GOP leaders

Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell meet with President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying they look forward to the confirmation process.

Posted: Jul 11, 2018 12:10 AM
Updated: Jul 11, 2018 12:17 AM

While liberals lament and conservatives rejoice over Donald Trump's presidential privilege to nominate two Supreme Court justices -- Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh -- in his first two years, Americans should bemoan not only the inevitability of the change in the court's ideological composition, but also that it has become so easy to determine how the justices will decide any given case.

That the Supreme Court's hands have become so patently obvious is a failure of our judicial system. The true tragedy of Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement is not the loss of the court's most prolific swing vote -- it is that every remaining justice is not a potential swing vote.

Each Supreme Court justice has the inherent obligation to objectively consider each case. Yet, each opinion rendered is accompanied (at least in the media) by an ideological breakdown. For years now, four liberal justices voted one way, four conservative justices another and one rogue justice managed to offend his or her tribe. Pearls were clutched, black robes unsnapped in delight or disgust.

This is not the way American jurisprudence is supposed to work. A Supreme Court justice should be entirely unpredictable, not a hardened ideologue.

Certainly, a justice's past rulings will reveal his or her leanings. After all, judicial schizophrenia is hardly a desirable attribute. But to allow one's past rulings to be so predictive of future ruling that a party coming before the court can win by simply tailoring their argument to a particular justice is to transform the judiciary into a mockery. There would be no need for written briefs, oral arguments, contemplation or written opinions if we already knew how each justice will decide. The parties could simply take a political roll call before providing the justices with a signature block and a pen.

The same should be true for a justice's personal, political or religious beliefs. Admittedly, each of those beliefs will inform a person's perspective, but none should instruct it. The spirit and legislative intent of the law, the US Constitution and the facts of a case should supplant one's personal moral compass, not be ignored as a hindrance to a justice's desire to codify his or her personal whims. Overturning precedent (whether favorable or not) should be regarded as removing Excalibur's sword, not as an opportunity to grind a personal ax.

The donning of the black robe is a symbolic act that prioritizes the court over the individual. Yet, when it comes to the Supreme Court, it seems the emperors wear no clothes. Justices' predictable tribalism has left them -- and our nation's belief in judicial objectivity -- completely exposed. For the judicial process not to be an exercise in futility, each justice must realistically be regarded as an unpredictable swing vote, not a disengaged rubber stamp of the party of his or her nominating president.

If a justice allows himself or herself to be reduced to a facilitator of a campaign promise, then let that justice be adorned with marionette strings in lieu of the robe. A campaign lackey who disregards separation of powers and the virtues of judicial autonomy is not deserving of the title "Your Honor."

At his confirmation hearing, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will attempt to convince the Senate that he is neither predictable nor feigning unpredictability. To quote his own words, he will try to convince the Senate that he "reveres the Constitution, ... will keep an open mind in every case," and that his background as White House counsel and staff secretary in the George W. Bush administration is not a precursor to the dissolution of the separation of powers.

With the Republican majority in the Senate and a filibuster not in the cards, he will need only convince a select group of moderates that he will be moderately objective, moderately receptive to liberal views and moderately loyal to precedent. That may satisfy the Senate, but it is the American people who will need to be convinced that it is a good thing for Lady Justice to be only moderately blind.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31715

Reported Deaths: 1984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9189533
Lake3299167
Cass15826
Allen127766
St. Joseph117034
Hendricks112367
Hamilton109992
Johnson1082104
Elkhart100827
Madison58258
Porter48721
Bartholomew48033
Clark45838
LaPorte40821
Tippecanoe3733
Jackson3611
Howard35618
Delaware35434
Hancock31927
Shelby31421
Floyd31338
Boone28235
Morgan26124
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery22717
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2151
Noble18520
Grant18520
Harrison18521
Dubois1822
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe16010
Henry1597
Vigo1477
Lawrence14322
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll922
Kosciusko861
Daviess8216
Steuben792
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Fayette654
Marshall641
LaGrange602
Jasper561
Washington521
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Jay430
Jefferson411
Randolph403
Pulaski390
Clay391
Whitley392
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb291
Perry270
Huntington262
Benton250
Knox240
Crawford230
Wells230
Tipton221
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer161
Gibson142
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32477

Reported Deaths: 1987
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5310237
Cuyahoga3963217
Marion261921
Hamilton2458128
Lucas2126229
Pickaway204335
Mahoning1341169
Summit1236159
Butler80225
Stark68589
Lorain64858
Columbiana60950
Montgomery60515
Trumbull52942
Belmont39012
Miami34830
Warren33619
Tuscarawas3182
Portage31458
Medina30219
Delaware30013
Ashtabula28132
Wood27645
Lake26811
Geauga25729
Wayne25050
Fairfield2403
Clark2236
Licking20710
Allen19131
Mercer1903
Clermont1885
Richland1863
Erie1575
Darke15316
Madison1347
Washington11718
Crawford1043
Morrow1041
Greene935
Ottawa917
Putnam8714
Monroe7111
Sandusky6810
Ross662
Hocking654
Auglaize643
Jefferson622
Huron551
Williams521
Hancock481
Muskingum450
Union450
Clinton430
Hardin410
Shelby412
Logan370
Fayette370
Wyandot362
Fulton360
Defiance322
Guernsey310
Preble301
Carroll282
Lawrence280
Holmes271
Champaign261
Brown251
Coshocton240
Knox231
Vinton191
Seneca192
Ashland180
Highland181
Perry181
Scioto150
Henry150
Athens141
Paulding130
Jackson110
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Pike60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Noble50
Van Wert50
Unassigned00
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