Like shipwrecked mariners clinging to a floating mast, many Republicans rationalize supporting Donald Trump because of “the court.” This two-word incantation means: Because we care so much for the Constitution, it is supremely important to entrust to Trump the making of Supreme Court nominations. Well.
In a Republican candidates debate, Trump complained that Ted Cruz had criticized Trump’s sister, a federal judge. Trump said: “He’s been criticizing my sister for signing a certain bill. You know who else signed that bill? Justice Samuel Alito, a very conservative member of the Supreme Court, with my sister, signed that bill.” Trump, the supposed savior of the Supreme Court, thinks federal judges sign bills.
The mast-clingers say: Well, sure, he knows nothing about U.S. government, including the Constitution, which he vows to defend all the way to “Article XII.” He will, however, choose wise advisers and humbly defer to them.
This does not quite seem like him, but the mast-clingers say: Don’t worry, he already has compiled a list of admirable potential nominees, and, stickler that he is for consistency and predictability, he will stick to this script written by strangers. This, too, does not quite seem like Trump, but the mast-clingers say: Don’t worry, he has said enough to reveal what his “instincts” are. Indeed he has.
Granted, Trump knows nothing about current debates concerning the court’s proper role. We will, however, trust that he will suddenly become deferential to others’ preferences about judges. And we will ignore his promise to continue Obama’s authoritarian uses of the executive branch that will further degrade the legislative branch. We will do this because we care so very much for the Constitution.
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