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John Kass: Democrats should support Scalia-like nominee to Supreme Court

Democrats must support Trump’s nomination of a conservative candidate for the Supreme Court in the mold of the late, great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, writes David Brooks
Democrats must support Trump’s nomination of a conservative candidate for the Supreme Court in the mold of the late, great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, writes David Brooks AP

Is it possible — perhaps even likely — that terrified liberals and Democrats are right about President Donald Trump?

Yes. I want to be fair here. It’s quite possible they are right.

Trump’s politics and policies frighten them, but also his personality, even his facial expressions. And so the smell of burning Democratic hair wafts over America, and through much of the media, as the political theater of the left becomes increasingly noisy.

That odor carries the scent of judgment, a scent of warnings unheeded over years, as Democratic and Republican establishments encouraged the growth of imperial presidential power under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

What truly scares the left — and many establishment Republicans —– is that President Trump is the most powerful man on Earth, and he has told them to go (jump off a cliff).

He holds the awesome power of the federal hammer in his hands. And now he’s exactly the kind of imperial president they never, ever wanted.

Yet there is a solution that may just rid the air of burning hair. If Democrats are serious with all their caterwauling and shrieking about Trump, if they are truly worried about a chief executive running amok, there’s one thing they must do: Support Trump’s nomination of a conservative candidate for the Supreme Court in the mold of the late, great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

If not, then all the Democratic hair-on-fire theatrics, all the hand-wringing about Trump and “alternative facts” when they were silent about Obama administration falsehoods — it all tells Americans a story.

It tells Americans that Democrats aren’t remotely serious and that all the left is really doing is screaming about lost power.

And so, if you’re truly worried about Trump’s overreach, you’ll demand an originalist on the Supreme Court.

What the nation needs now is someone who understands that the Constitution was written not to bow to the impulses of an imperial presidential personality but to hold it in check and protect our liberty.

Yet, for decades the bipartisan establishment didn’t care. Some years Democrats held the presidential hammer and other years, Republicans held it.

One who recognized this longterm danger to the republic was Obama. Campaigning for the presidency in 2008, he rightly chastised Bush.

“I taught constitutional law for 10 years,” candidate Obama said in 2008 on CNN. “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”

He took it seriously all right. Obama seriously grabbed even more power. When the Democrats had control of Congress, he pushed through his Obamacare health plan, now falling of its own weight.

That cost the Democrats control. And they weren’t merely silent as Obama took extra-constitutional steps. They were overjoyed, because he was their guy.

So came Obama’s Libya policy and U.S. missile strikes there without congressional authorization; the targeting of journalists who irked him; the unleashing of the Internal Revenue Service on conservative organizations; and the secret surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency. NSA director James Clapper famously lied to Congress about it.

If you want a valuable examination of presidential overreach, I refer you to Ilya Shapiro in The Federalist. Shapiro characterized Obama’s imperial presidential overreach this way: “It’s as if the goal was to show Donald Trump how it’s done.”

The way to stop this is to hold the Constitution close. And to have Supreme Court justices interpret the Constitution just as it was written, for this very reason: American liberty.

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