Commentary

Tom Cotton's Simple Statement Right After Being Considered for SCOTUS Should Terrify Libs

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The first rule of being nominated for any federal judicial position is that you don’t talk about Roe v. Wade. You also don’t talk about the inviolable nature of the Second Amendment or the sacrosanct right to worship under the First.

GOP Sen. Tom Cotton has apparently forgotten the rules.

That isn’t a knock on him, or at least it shouldn’t be for conservatives.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump released a list of additions to his slate of possible Supreme Court nominees.

The list included three GOP senators: Cotton, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. All three are unsurprisingly lawyers; Cruz served as Texas’ solicitor general and Hawley as Missouri’s attorney general.

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Those around Trump focused on the fact Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden hasn’t released a list of his own.

“President Trump has a stellar record of appointing more than 200 solid, conservative federal judges, including two strong Supreme Court justices, and will likely get to 300 judges by the end of his first term,” Bill Stepien, the president’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

“Voters deserve transparency and a clear view of what direction candidates for president would take our federal courts,” he said. “We now forcefully demand that Joe Biden do the same.”

Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s lawyers, added, “We must have justices who apply the Constitution and not make their own policies on so many important issues. That’s why it’s so important that President Trump has released this list, because voters deserve the clarity and transparency of exactly where the priorities will be.

Should Tom Cotton be a Supreme Court nominee?

“It is imperative that Joe Biden follow the President’s lead and release his own list and tell Americans where he stands, and what kind of justices he will pick.”

Biden is unlikely to release such a list, particularly because the Democratic base trusts its candidates to nominate judges who will treat the Constitution as a fungible document. Republicans have had to endure too many John Robertses with too few Antonin Scalias to meliorate the experience.

At least as far as Cotton is concerned, he made it clear that he wasn’t going to follow in the same mold.

“I’m honored that President Trump asked me to consider serving on the Supreme Court and I’m grateful for his confidence,” Cotton said in a statement.

“I will always heed the call of service to our nation. The Supreme Court could use some more justices who understand the difference between applying the law and making the law, which the Court does when it invents a right to an abortion, infringes on religious freedom, and erodes the Second Amendment.”

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Cotton made similar statements on Twitter, although a bit more explicitly:

All three of those should be welcome statements for Republicans, particularly as it pertains to abortion.

Most of us aren’t lawyers or judges, and most of those who are won’t be in the running for a federal judgeship. However, we probably know the drill if we were nominated to the court and we hold that there’s no explicit or implicit right to abortion in the Constitution: Yes, we respect established precedent while acknowledging that nobody asked us to overturn Roe v. Wade and we’d have to view each case individually.

In June, we were reminded again just how dangerous this was when Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the liberal majority in June Medical Services v. Russo, a case involving a Louisiana law that required abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Roberts leaned on precedent for the decision, citing the 2016 case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which struck down a similar law in Texas.

Lower courts had said the Louisiana law didn’t place an undue burden on those seeking an abortion like the Texas law did — and Roberts had voted to uphold the Texas law in the first case. Yet, as Andrew McCarthy noted in National Review, Roberts “said the four-year-old abortion precedent had to be preserved — even though there hasn’t been time for societal arrangements to become ingrained, and the question arose precisely because the Court’s abortion jurisprudence is so slipshod.”

As for Cotton, he chastised Roberts in the wake of his decisions this term, calling on the chief justice to resign after he cast the deciding vote in a case that ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program.

“If the Chief Justice believes his political judgment is so exquisite, I invite him to resign, travel to Iowa, and get elected. I suspect voters will find his strange views no more compelling than do the principled justices on the Court,” Cotton said.

Conservatives can’t afford another justice like John Roberts who believes the court can make law and will uphold precedence when it has.

That’s why Cotton’s statement and tweets ought to be seen as a point in his — and the president’s — favor.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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