Hamilton: Supreme Court, what difference does it make?
December 1, 2016
On December 19, 2016, the Electoral College will vote to make Donald J. Trump the 45th President of the United States of America; however, some claim the outcome of the 2016 presidential election was actually decided much earlier — on September 23, 2016. That was the date when Candidate Donald J.Trump finished publishing his list of 21 conservative jurists he might consider for vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wait. Hold the phone. How could the Judicial Branch play the key role in determining who would be in charge of the Executive Branch?
Answer: Sometime after January 20, 2017, President Trump will fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court created by the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Plus, given the advanced ages of Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg (83), Anthony M. Kennedy (80), and Stephen G. Breyer (78), it is likely that President Trump will, at some point, be picking from his list of 21 conservative justices to fill as many as three more Supreme Court vacancies.
But even the seating of just one new Associate Justice on the Supreme Court bench can have profound implications.
For example, Associate Justice Hugo Lafayette Black served on the Supreme Court for 34 years, twisting and turning in his thinking from hard-core white supremacist to flaming liberal. You see, when nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Alabama U.S. Senator Hugo L. Black, was a long-time member of the KKK, a frequent speaker at KKK rallies, and a writer for racist KKK publications.
Yet, if you carefully read Black's majority opinions and some of his minority dissents, it can be argued that Associate Justice Black, just as much as the flaming-liberal Associate Justice William O. Douglas, is the Justice who legalized contraception, infanticide, pornography, and sodomy. Moreover, Associate Justice Black helped drive most, but not all, religious observances out of our schools and from the public square.
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If your kid is hiding in his room watching gay porn on his laptop and your high-achieving daughter can't thank God in her Valedictorian Address, you can thank or curse Associate Justice Hugo Black. Agree or disagree with the judicial record of Associate Justice Hugo L. Black, but it cannot be denied that the work of just one Supreme Court Justice can do enormous bad or good — depending on one's worldview.
Some pundits say Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election because she represented decades of political corruption by the Washington Establishment and voters yearned for a political outsider. Or, was it in the key Electoral College states that Trump won the presidential election because — even more than Benghazi, even more than Hillary's breaches of national security, and even more than the pay-for-play Clinton Foundation — the Electoral College turned on which candidate, if elected, would be controlling the membership of the U.S. Supreme Court for decades to come? We report. You decide.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Nebraska. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.