Lindsey Graham is Mistaken

Senator Lindsey Graham (R, SC) is a supporter of President Joe Biden’s (D) Supreme Court nominee—so long as the selection is South Carolina US District Judge Michelle Childs. It’s typical for a Senator to support nominations for high office when those nominations come from the Senator’s State.

It’s also useful, all other things being equal, for Senators of either Party to support the nominations of a President of either party on the theory that a President should be able to have his own team in place (my argument here, not Graham’s).

Graham’s rationale, though, is badly mistaken, and the mistake of his rationale impacts that “team” concept, as well.

Graham supports Biden’s impending nomination of a black woman for Supreme Court Justice (which, in Biden’s own and often repeated terms, puts actual qualification for the Court deeply secondary, if that’s a consideration at all) centers on this:

Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America.

And, as paraphrased by Just the News:

Graham added that Republicans have made a “real effort” to “recruit women and people of color to make the party look more like America.”

Looking like America, though, is a political matter. Political questions are entirely appropriate for political parties, political questions are entirely appropriate to the political branches of our government, where we American citizens can, and do, choose who will represent us—achieving tautologically a representation reflective of America.

However, it is not the role or purpose of our courts, epitomized by our Supreme Court, to “look like America.” Our courts—most especially our Supreme Court, which is the court of last resort for most cases—must reflect, must act within, must apply as they are written, the clauses of our Constitution, our Constitution as a whole, and the statutes before them in specific cases. Looking like America is irrelevant to that duty.

Nor are our courts—most especially the Supreme Court—part of the President’s team. Our courts consist of judges and Justices possessed of lifetime appointments. That’s by design, explicitly to inure those folks from politics, per se, to separate them from, among other things, this or that political team.

What looks like America, from the independent courts’ perspective, already is embodied in our Constitution and its clauses and in those statutes. It would be wrong for our courts to attempt to adjust that perspective, and it would be wrong for politicians to attempt to alter the courts so as to adjust that perspective.

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