The relentless character assassination of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing was a sign of things to come. The Left will seek power by any means necessary.
It notably took place exactly one year after the Dobbs leak, where someone publicly released a draft of the decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Justice Samuel Alito said that the leak made members of the Supreme Court targets of assassination, the more literal kind. Yet, it’s a year later, and the leaker still hasn’t been officially identified.
The Senate hearing comes after a series of sensationalist but shallow stories about alleged ethics violations by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and John Roberts.
So far, they’ve uncovered that Thomas has rich friends and Roberts has a successful wife. The horror.
“It’s important to understand that this isn’t about ethics at all,” wrote The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. “This is another front in the political campaign to delegitimize the Supreme Court, with a goal of tarnishing its rulings and subjecting it to more political control.”
In most cases, the Left has completed its long march through our institutions. But with the Supreme Court, the opposite is true. The Left takes its loss of institutional control very, very seriously and will stop at nothing to get it back.
As Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Thomas Jipping explained, the Left is using three primary tactics to control the Supreme Court. First, by pushing “the idea that the current justices are deciding cases politically, rather than impartially.” Then by attacking the justices who don’t advance liberal interests by painting them as “partisan, corrupt, or unethical.” Finally, by advancing legislation that would force the Supreme Court “to produce a formal ethics code.” (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news and commentary outlet.)
It’s doing this through a coordinated media and legislative blitz to delegitimize Republican nominees, driven by well-funded activist groups.
The modern Left has little concern with the structure of government or its limits, outside of whether it can boost its own power. For a generation, the Supreme Court could be relied upon to sustain and justify the Left’s cultural revolution. When that came to an end, the Left went into attack mode.
The problem it ran into with the Supreme Court was twofold.
First, most Americans still have a devotion to the basic structure of the court with its nine justices and have an aversion to court-packing schemes.
The Left’s sophistic arguments about “unpacking” the Supreme Court of conservative nominees with more of its own nominees weren’t sticking outside of their committed fellow travelers.
This led to the second issue. The Left simply hasn’t had the votes in the Senate to appoint and confirm additional Supreme Court nominees. Republicans would entirely oppose the nomination, and even a few Democrats would likely get squeamish, given the unpopularity of court-packing.
So, to get its way with the court, the Left is targeting specific justices with strategic recusals. If it can get one justice it doesn’t like to refrain from making a decision in a case, or get them to not take up a case at all, the Left gains the benefit of packing the court without having to go through the process of doing so.
This is part of a large-scale, coordinated campaign to gut the Supreme Court and wear it as a skin suit. It involves several dark money and activist nonprofit organizations co-opting the media, which has been happy to oblige.
As the conservative watchdog Judicial Crisis Network noted last February, consulting firm Arabella Advisors and various affiliated and similar activist groups have spent billions of dollars in this effort.
My colleague, Fred Lucas, wrote an excellent breakdown of Arabella Advisors in 2022. It’s a very well funded group to say the least, as Lucas wrote:
In 2020, Arabella’s nonprofit network had total revenues of $1.67 billion and spent $1.26 billion—of which $896 million was in grants to left-leaning political organizations, according to the Capital Research Center. That’s more than double the combined amount of $731 million in revenue in 2019.
Arabella Advisors uses its financial power indirectly to aid left-wing causes.
“As a private company, Arabella Advisors does not fund political activity; instead, the company manages and houses nonprofits that raise the money to do so,” Lucas wrote. “The nonprofits then hire Arabella for consulting.”
Many other groups are involved in the effort. For instance, 51 for 51, Demand Justice, Demos Action, Indivisible, Just Democracy Coalition, People’s Parity Project, Stand Up America, and Take Back the Court announced they’d formed a coalition in 2021 to “unrig the court.”
When they say “unrig” the court, what they really mean is rig it in their favor, of course.
Their four proposed reforms are: expand the Supreme Court, expand the lower federal courts, enact term limits for Supreme Court justices, and “improve ethics and transparency requirements for Supreme Court justices.”
But the Left’s activist tactics extend beyond just “reforming” the Supreme Court.
Groups like ShutDownDC have targeted the home of Kavanaugh, for instance, to protest and badger him into changing his vote in the recent landmark abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
It’s not just street activists, though. Some elected Democrats have fueled the antagonism toward the Supreme Court.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in 2020. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
With coordinated and relentless assaults, the Left intends to bring the Supreme Court to its heel. It makes a travesty of our system of government.
The outside—and inside—attempts to destroy the Supreme Court’s legitimacy are a real threat to its future, regardless if the targeted justices back down to the Left’s demands.
For the Left, it’s a win-win scenario.
Co-opt the institution or destroy it, as long as the Left regains power. That is the mentality.
But that’s a lose-lose for the country and for constitutionally limited government.
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