Especially for our progressive leftist friends who are either ignorant of, or conveniently forget, how our system of government is supposed to work, here is a very brief lesson on the government of our United States.
We are a CONSTITUTIONAL Republic. A government is a republic when the citizens elect the head(s) of state and other officials to govern the nation. A constitutional republic is a republic whose head(s) of state and other government officials are bound by a constitution.
Therefore, our government is elected by the people, but those elected officials are bound by the rules of our Constitution.
The first three articles of our Constitution are devoted to defining the three branches of our government:
- Article I defines the duties of the Legislative Branch; Congress makes the laws.
- Article II defines the Executive Branch; the president enforces the laws.
- Article III defines the Judicial Branch; our Supreme Court interprets the laws.
The Supreme Court’s duty is to interpret our laws and determine whether specific legislation or action by one of our officials is constitutional – that is, fits within the rules laid out by our Constitution.
It’s plain to see that the Supreme Court is an extremely powerful branch of government and the only one of the three branches that is not elected by the people. Members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President and are confirmed by a vote of the Senate. They are appointed for life, though they can be impeached by Congress.
That said; the anticipation that Donald Trump could nominate at least one Supreme Court Justice was one of the primary reasons that conservatives voted for him.
Consider for a moment what the court would have been like if Hillary Clinton had been elected and she named the replacement for Justice Scalia. There’s no doubt that she would have named another liberal to the bench. That would have given the liberal perspective a 5-4 majority over conservatives and potentially changed the direction of our United States for decades to come.
Considering the alternative, that was an extremely powerful reason to vote for Donald Trump.
After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the court was essentially split on ideological principles between four conservative justices (Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy) and four liberal justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor). Scalia had been a conservative and President Trump (true to his promise) immediately nominated another conservative, Neil Gorsuch, to the court. He was confirmed in April and brought the court back into what is expected to be a 5-4 lean towards a conservative viewpoint.
Since Justice Gorsuch has yet to vote on a court matter, his viewpoint has yet to be confirmed.
But wait! It now appears possible that President Trump may get to appoint a second Justice.
The two oldest Justices are Justice Ginsburg, who is 84, and currently the oldest justice. She’s had two bouts with cancer as well as some heart problems. The other is Justice Kennedy, who is 80. One (or both) of them would seem to be the most likely candidates to retire during President Trump’s term since both are over 80. Earlier this year, there was some talk of Justice Ginsburg retiring, but in the past week, there’s been a lot more talk that perhaps Justice Kennedy would be the first to go.
There is a world of difference between the ideological perspectives of those two. Ginsburg is an unabashed liberal while Kennedy is generally considered a “mushy conservative” vote since he is solidly conservative on Second Amendment issues but is occasionally disappointing to conservatives on social issues.
In other words, replacing Justice Kennedy with a solidly conservative voice wouldn’t have as much impact as replacing a staunchly liberal justice like Ginsburg with a new conservative justice named by President Trump.
Even though we can’t yet be sure of Justice Gorsuch’s likely votes, we have reason to believe that he will favor a conservative perspective. If Justice Kennedy were replaced by another conservative that would result in a 6-3 conservative majority over the court’s liberals.
And so the Supreme Court, even without handing down a single ruling, is primarily responsible for Donald Trump being elected to the presidency.