July 10, 2018

Secular Groups Oppose Kavanaugh

Judge Brett KavanaughIf the Democratic Party controlled the Senate, I suppose they could block Brett Kavanaugh and every other name on President Trump's list for the U.S. Supreme Court. They could unite around a "Remember Merrick Garland" slogan and try to prevent Trump from nominating anyone. They'd likely alienate so many independents that they'd lose the next presidential election, but their base would love it. But sadly, they don't control much of anything because elections have consequences.

Pretty much all the national secular organizations in the U.S. have issued statements expressing their opposition to Kavanaugh and urging whoever sees them to contact their senators. What isn't at all clear to me is whether they are serious or just using this as an opportunity to rile up their supporters. To figure it out, I'd need to know whether they genuinely believe that Kavanaugh is the worst name on Trump's list and that almost anyone else on the list would be preferable. If so, then I applaud their efforts. But my guess is that they would be doing this no matter which of the names on Trump's list had been put forward. That is to say, I suspect they don't find any of the names acceptable. And if this is the case, then it becomes more difficult for me to get too riled up about their action alerts.


Personally, I would have preferred for President Trump to nominate an extremely liberal justice with a lengthy record of supporting the separation of church and state. I recognize how unrealistic it would have been to expect him to do that though. Trump did what he said he was going to do. This is why the Christian right has been sticking with him in spite of his behavior. That I didn't get my secular liberal justice comes as no surprise.

I suppose we could all contact our senators like the secular organizations are asking and demand that they do whatever they can to block Kavanaugh. In the unlikely event that this was successful, we'd be at it again when Trump selected another name from his list. Does anybody really believe that the Democrats are going to successfully prevent Trump from having someone on his list make it on to the Court? The Democrats?

If you want to go all-out to stop Kavanaugh, go right ahead. Maybe he really is the worst name on Trump's list. And if you want to go all-out in an attempt to stop Trump from putting anyone on the Court, so be it. I don't expect this to succeed, but that should not necessarily deter you. I just wonder if there might be others ways of promoting the separation of church and state that would still be helpful and might have some chance of succeeding. It is okay that we have different priorities; I'm just not sure that fighting losing battles is high among mine. I think we're going to end up with a more conservative justice than most of us would like.

Photo by U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons