SUPREME COURT JUSTICES MUST BE CALM, CREDIBLE, AND POLITICALLY NEUTRAL

Imagine the President has announced his nomination for Supreme Court justice. Imagine this President is under current investigation for election tampering and corruption.

When the President nominates someone to the Supreme Court, that person must be vetted by Congress in a series of hearings before it can vote to appoint them to the bench. Imagine that during the Senate confirmation hearings, the President’s nominee evaded and refused to answer questions related to the President’s ongoing investigation, including whether he had spoken to the President’s personal lawyers about the investigation. Imagine this nominee directly lied to the Senate during these hearings about documents he had received regarding the President’s investigation. Imagine this nominee has stated multiple times in legal opinions that he does not believe that a sitting President can or should be indicted during their term, and that investigations into a President’s actions are inherently politically biased. “Whether the Constitution allows the indictment of a sitting President is debatable,” he wrote (you imagine).

Imagine that during these confirmation hearings, multiple people who knew this nominee during his high school and university years allege that he (1) is an extreme binge drinker, (2) is an angry and violent drunk, and (3) is a serial sexual assailant. Imagine that one of his alleged victims testifies to the Senate, visibly terrified and close to tears, about the time that he held her down on a bed, covered her mouth, and attempted to rape her while his friend laughed. “Is there any chance that this was a case of mistaken identity,” one of the Senators asks her - “Absolutely not,” she replies (you imagine).

Imagine that this nominee speaks in his own defense. Imagine that he states that the accusations against him are part of a “partisan conspiracy” controlled by the opposing political party. Imagine that during his questioning, he is rude and dismissive to Senators from the opposing political party, refusing to answer questions, interrupting and shouting over Senators, calling the proceedings a “farce,” and accusing the Senators of mocking him. Imagine that he admits to serial binge drinking, stating that he loves beer and that he does not know how many beers is too much - “However many the chart says,” he grumbles dismissively. Imagine that when asked if he has ever been drunk to the point of blacking out - i.e., has he ever been so drunk he cannot remember his own actions - he states that he cannot remember. “Have you ever blacked out?” he asks the Senator sarcastically (you imagine).

Imagine that the American Bar Association calls for an FBI investigation before this nominee should be confirmed. Imagine that the Jesuits - the Society of Jesus, a Catholic organization devoted to education and social justice - revoke their endorsement of this nominee. Imagine that protesters across the country rise up, survivors sharing their stories of sexual assault and vowing to never let another abuser take power again. Imagine that Senators returning from the confirmation hearings are cornered in elevators by weeping protesters who demand to know why they would allow a sexual predator onto the highest bench.

This hypothetical Supreme Court nominee would be unqualified for the job for many reasons,  the simplest being that he has expressed a direct political bias - he has stated that a major political party is conspiring to prevent his ascension to the bench. How can this person be expected to neutrally judge the highest disputes in our land, including disputes between the major political parties? He cannot; he has stated his belief that one party is out to get him. What’s more, this nominee would be likely to be involved in any potential impeachment of the President who nominated him - and yet he has stated that a sitting President cannot be indicted. A President under current investigation has put forth a nominee to the Court that will judge him for his investigation who believes that the President cannot be investigated. And, regardless of whether this person has actually committed rape or attempted rape, he has shown himself to be angry, entitled, and dismissive of the political process. Last, an enormous number of Americans would feel directly betrayed by their Senators if this nominee were elevated - they would feel that the credible testimony of his accusers was ignored, and that, by extension, their own sexual assault was ignored. To have such a large number of Americans hold such extreme antipathy towards a member of the highest bench would demean the trust our culture holds in the Supreme Court and devalue its decisions.

Lucky for us, this is all a hypothetical, right? Right?