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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 10, 2018 11:13 PM
Updated: Jul 10, 2018 11:17 PM

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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 327477

Reported Deaths: 3751
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin688981130
Ramsey28948512
Anoka23196232
Dakota23102194
Washington14590120
Stearns14314121
St. Louis9280117
Scott881056
Wright827145
Olmsted702536
Sherburne608243
Clay521359
Carver501315
Kandiyohi432024
Rice427738
Blue Earth426617
Crow Wing376237
Otter Tail332725
Chisago326914
Benton317253
Nobles313731
Winona292031
Douglas278439
Mower270623
Polk266226
Morrison241730
Lyon228712
Beltrami227518
McLeod226517
Becker217619
Goodhue216930
Steele20568
Itasca202223
Isanti199517
Carlton198417
Todd187414
Nicollet169426
Mille Lacs161231
Freeborn15966
Le Sueur153511
Brown151015
Cass149910
Pine14298
Waseca141811
Meeker139011
Roseau12475
Martin121221
Hubbard117728
Wabasha11041
Redwood101720
Chippewa9508
Cottonwood9284
Renville92729
Dodge9110
Watonwan8824
Wadena8537
Sibley8194
Rock8019
Aitkin79530
Houston7694
Fillmore7480
Pipestone74718
Kanabec67714
Yellow Medicine67612
Pennington6758
Swift6149
Murray6064
Faribault5902
Pope5641
Clearwater5389
Stevens5333
Marshall5289
Jackson5181
Lake4437
Wilkin4115
Koochiching4106
Lac qui Parle3984
Unassigned38259
Lincoln3721
Norman3638
Big Stone3332
Mahnomen3164
Grant2956
Kittson2408
Red Lake2283
Traverse1521
Lake of the Woods1021
Cook790

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 234817

Reported Deaths: 2486
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34631341
Linn14655168
Scott1166189
Black Hawk11194139
Woodbury10622133
Johnson979337
Dubuque941594
Story698323
Pottawattamie664871
Dallas657159
Sioux380529
Webster371639
Cerro Gordo367649
Marshall357647
Clinton341444
Buena Vista313114
Des Moines298621
Muscatine298271
Warren291714
Plymouth284444
Wapello263772
Jones235917
Jasper229746
Lee225617
Marion210222
Carroll203624
Bremer200212
Henry19137
Crawford181016
Benton174023
Tama156641
Washington149715
Jackson148814
Delaware147021
Dickinson143811
Boone142412
Mahaska133328
Wright13007
Clay12254
Buchanan122010
Hardin121011
Hamilton117713
Page11664
Kossuth11608
Clayton11399
Cedar112513
Harrison110832
Floyd110219
Calhoun10907
Fayette108712
Mills10858
Lyon10619
Butler10576
Winneshiek102713
Poweshiek102013
Iowa100213
Winnebago94825
Cherokee9474
Chickasaw9084
Hancock9008
Sac8978
Louisa89321
Grundy88911
Allamakee87013
Mitchell8369
Cass83524
Union8166
Appanoose80713
Humboldt8015
Shelby79511
Emmet78626
Guthrie77115
Franklin76021
Jefferson7512
Madison7174
Unassigned7050
Palo Alto6734
Keokuk6477
Pocahontas5984
Howard5809
Osceola5411
Greene5401
Ida53013
Clarke5004
Montgomery49311
Davis4819
Taylor4773
Monona4516
Monroe45113
Adair4489
Worth3820
Van Buren3755
Fremont3743
Lucas3376
Decatur3290
Wayne3077
Audubon3052
Ringgold2382
Adams1792
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