What the SCOTUS Nomination Fight is Really About

By Benjamin Weingarten (published in Newsweek)

The coming confirmation battle over the successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is about more than future decades of decisions on issues from abortion to the administrative state, or the weeks of litigation that Democrats threaten to bring should the presidential election not go their way.

These are vital matters. But this nomination fight, which on its face involves the Republican Party faithfully exercising the authority the American people vested in it in the face of an increasingly hysterical and violent opponent, is about more than any one nominee.

It concerns the future of our political system itself—whether the GOP will push back against a party increasingly dominated by leftists storming the ramparts in naked pursuit of total power, or be content to serve increasingly as controlled opposition.

Early indications are that Republicans intend to prevail in a quarrel where by all rights—law, precedent and the votes—there should be none.

It is imperative that they are up to the task.

This nomination represents an opportunity for the Republican Party to deliver a decisive blow to a Democratic Party devoted to the complete destruction of its political opponents; to demonstrate that it understands the stakes should it concede an inch of its rightful powers; and to prove it has the resolve to confidently stand up to Democratic tactics.

It is an opportunity to highlight for the American people what is on the line in 2020: our freedom from a Democratic Party that has succumbed at the highest levels to its revolutionary "woke" wing in rhetoric and policy.

By drawing a bold contrast, Republicans will affirm that there is a party that stands for liberty and justice in the face of the mob that cynical Democrats have used as a stalking horse in hopes of seizing control.

They will affirm that threats and coercion will not be allowed to halt the expediting of the people's business.

Though the coming confirmation fight transcends the Trump presidency, it implicates President Trump in a big way.

Nothing has better exposed the Democratic Party's true nature than its efforts, condoned by leadership, to destroy Donald Trump as a warning to anyone who dares threaten its power and privilege. If Republicans were to take one lesson from the president, it should be this: Democrats will stop at nothing to achieve their ambitions. They want to throw you off of the political battlefield. Fighting back with even greater gusto is not just the proper response, it is the only response if you wish to survive.

U.S. president Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Toledo Express Airport in Swanton, Ohio.MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY

Democrats and their administrative state allies have run roughshod over the institutions, norms and values they claim to defend. Before and during Trump's presidency, they weaponized law enforcement and the national security apparatus against him. They hamstrung him using every possible measure, from the Russiagate cloud over his presidency to a "subpoena cannon" and a Potemkin impeachment so illegitimate it has already been memory-holed. The man they screamed was an "authoritarian" in effect had less power than any of his modern predecessors thanks to the myriad onslaughts against him. It is remarkable how much he actually achieved in the face of such resistance. That "Resistance" never permitted the peaceful transfer of power to President Trump, and now entertains fever dreams of a military coup against him should he refuse to permit the next transfer.

The purpose of the anti-Trump resistance was not just to crush him and those in his orbit, but to engage in what Attorney General William Barr described as the "criminalization of politics" to chill opposition to their designs on achieving total political power.

For those establishment Republicans who shared Democrats' distaste for the president, the confirmation battle over Justice Brett Kavanaugh should have removed all doubt that the left-dominated party merely loathed President Trump.

Justice Kavanaugh worked in the George W. Bush White House and had all of the right credentials, yet Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, tried to destroy him.

The message was clear: Surrender or we will make your life a living hell.

Republicans should now know that any individual perceived as a threat to Democratic power will be subjected to the same kind of vitriol. No tactic will be too low.

Republicans, like President Trump and those nominees who have followed his lead and never given up in the face of intense pressure, must not surrender the next Supreme Court nomination. Democrats above all seem to respect—or at least find themselves challenged by—Republican strength.

Republicans must summon the strength to stand up and fight for the American way of life against a political party all too apt to engage in the politics of personal destruction, and to resort to ruthless, extra-constitutional and sometimes outright illegal means in pursuit of its ends.

Democrats will continue to raise heckles about hypocrisy, screaming "But Garland!" over the kind of nomination that their presidential nominee, their last president and other leaders in the recent past approved.

They will say a nominee cannot be pushed through in such a short period, or in an election year—the clear record of such nominations to the contrary notwithstanding.

They will insist, consistent with Justice Ginsburg's reported dying wish, that a Democrat fill the seat with a Democrat, in spite of the fact that no seat is owned by any party, and Justice Ginsburg herself could have assured her seat landed in safe hands by retiring earlier.

They will claim it outrageous or unconstitutional for Republicans to do their job in one breath, and pledge to pack the Supreme Court and set the streets ablaze in the next. All this will demonstrate is that their real concern is not the merits, but raw political power.

The truth is that Democrats wish to deny to their political opposition even rights and responsibilities that pale in comparison to those they would take for themselves. They are livid about the prospect of Republicans taking advantage of an opportunity they would never pass up were they presented with it.

Why should Republicans be held to a different standard, or operate any differently, and relinquish their rightful powers?

They of course should not—and it appears they will not—do so.

A hysterical political party that, when it lost, refused to think through what it ought to do to better appeal to voters next time; unleashed spies on the victors and seeks to sabotage them at every turn; and threatens to burn the country down should it lose again does not deserve the vote of any American.

This is what is at stake in this confirmation battle, a microcosm of what is at stake in the 2020 election itself.