Gregg Frazer | Partisans Aren’t Just About the Win

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As one who holds a doctorate in political science, I feel obligated to challenge the editorial board’s claim that “winning truly is the only thing” for the two parties in the current battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for the Supreme Court.

I agree that the two parties are staunchly committed to either confirming or blocking Kavanaugh’s nomination, but they both believe it is for the good of the nation — not the good of the party. Your language in the editorial makes my case. You suggest that the Republicans have done what they have to ensure a “more conservative” nominee and that President Obama nominated Merrick Garland who was described by an NPR analyst as “moderate.” Of course, anyone described as “moderate” by NPR is actually progressive.

You do not describe the Republican or Democratic preferences in party terms, but ideological terms — and rightly so. Republicans want conservative judges — who will adhere to the Constitution as written -— and Democrats want progressive judges who will interpret the Constitution (in their view, a “living Constitution”) in a manner that promotes progressive policy preferences.

Each believes their approach is for the good of the nation. Progressives have employed the courts to enact most of their preferred policies, relying on the courts, executive actions and bureaucrats to make laws they have been unable to pass through legislative majorities. As they see it, their progressive program will be delayed for decades if they lose control of the Supreme Court. That is why they are fighting tooth and nail with the “stall tactics” you describe.

Conservatives, by definition, believe in pursuing policy goals through the proper established legislative channels and they rely on the courts to uphold the laws that are passed as written. As they see it, they are fighting a battle to restrain judicial, executive, and bureaucratic lawmaking and they need the Supreme Court to hold the line against unconstitutional lawmaking outside of the legislative branch. That is why they have supported constitutionalists Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and are fighting hard to get a rule-of-law majority on the Supreme Court.

It is not primarily a party “win” matter — it is a fight for the direction of the country for the next generation or two between two sides who each think they have a better plan. Winning is not the only thing. Both parties want to win, but the good of the country, as partisans see it, is the main thing.

Gregg Frazer

Castaic

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