VIEW FROM HERE--The de-evolution of integrity and honor in the American Republic continues uninterrupted during the hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
The disintegration of the Republic has been underway for many decades. From its outset, its existence was fragile as Benjamin Franklin noted when asked what sort of government the continental congress had formed. “A republic, if you can keep it,” Franklin replied.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the revolution was already underway and the Declaration’s purpose was to state the theory upon which the colonies had the right to break away from English rule. The purpose of a government is to secure inalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. The first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, provided a central government which was too weak to secure individual inalienable rights to allow the colonies to operate as a unit. Thus, that constitution was replaced with the current US Constitution which established a Republic and not a democracy.
As written previously, the founding framers intentionally did not create a democracy as such governments self-destruct whenever some faction gains enough power to run roughshod over others. Thus, they created a Republic which sought to balance power against power so that no faction (group) could gain enough power to ignore the inalienable rights of others.
Because the consent of the governed was essential, a limited voting process was enacted where about 6% of the population could vote. While the founding fathers created a constitution which envisioned the expansion of inalienable rights to each individual human being including slaves, they recognized that passion and not reason ruled most men’s votes. They knew what we have forgotten: the purpose of the government was to secure inalienable rights, not to guarantee that each person votes. To the contrary, the democratic impulse soon becomes a mobocracy which snuffs out individual inalienable rights. Thus, the democratic aspect, i.e. voting, was balanced against the inherent virtue of a Republic – wise men of integrity and honor who valued protecting the republic above personal gain.
The Indirect Election of the President, of Senators and of Supreme Court Justices Has Been a Mixed Bag
The indirect election of both the President and the Senate took the ultimate decision who would serve in these important positions away from the masses. Electors would meet in the electoral college and decide who was President so that a madman chosen by the crowd would not become President. Senators were to be selected by state legislators on the belief that the elected leaders of each state would make wiser decisions that the masses. The Constitution is not infallible. The 17th Amendment provided for the direct election of Senators as direct election was less corrupt. The Electoral College has failed to stop a madman from becoming President, but it has other features which restrain the passions of a mobocracy from trampling upon the rights of others.
In reality, Supreme Court Justices are indirectly elected. The President does not appoint them; he nominates someone and the Senate then votes whether to place that person on the High Court. Due to the power of the Supreme Court to rule Congressional statutes (and state laws) unconstitutional and hence null and void, it is imperative that the nation as a whole trust the integrity and honor of the justices to secure our individual inalienable rights.
That Brings Us to One of America’s Low Points: The GOP, the Dems and the Nominee Herself Have Betrayed the Republic
US Senators have been entrusted with the most important function on earth - the safeguarding of humanity’s inalienable rights. All the rules cannot be written down in advance. Rather, individual character becomes paramount. The Senate cannot perform its near holy duty to be the shining light on the hill without the individual members having integrity and honor. The Senate was not designed to be a winner-take-all, dog-eat-dog institution where the majority did whatever it wanted. In brief, the founding fathers feared the tyranny of the majority and that fear applied to the Senate as well as any place where majority rule prevailed.
When the GOP Senate refused to hold hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, they made the implicit representation that Supreme Court vacancies close to an election would not be filled prior to a Presidential election. How close? Anything closer than Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Presidential election (7 months March 2016 to November 2016) would be too close. Justice Ginsburg’s death in September 2020 opened up the Court well within the time the GOP’s time frame. Men of integrity and honor recognize that the welfare of the nation and the public’s trust in the High Court transcend getting a court with a particular political composition. The GOP trashed integrity and honor in favor of naked power to do what they want when they want.
The Dems, on the other hand, also lack integrity and honor in their reaction. The GOP is not violating the Constitution as so many Dem spokesmen mislead the nation to believe. The GOP is merely operating as if America were a democracy, where honor is subservient to votes, rather than a Republic where integrity and honor are essential to keeping the consent of the governed. The Dem’s most recent trashing of the Republic was the House’s sabotage of the impeachment process in December 2019 by halting the evidence gathering when the polls showed that the moderate GOP was beginning to turn against Trump. The false Dem claim that the GOP would never turn upon Trump was no more true than that Fox News would never turn on Bill O’Reilly. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi subverted the Republic by stopping Trump’s impeachment in favor of the November 2020 elections where she figured that a mentally deranged President would result in a gigantic Dem win. The Republic has suffered the stabs of many assassins.
Amy Coney Barrett’s Missed Opportunity
Ms. Barrett may have betrayed the Founding Father’s faith in integrity and honor more than the GOP and Dems. She alone was in the unique position to show character. She knows about the crisis of confidence which the GOP has brought upon her nomination. In addition, she knows that if she is confirmed prior to the election, she will be on the High Court in time to hear the case against “Obamacare.” Looking ahead to the decades which she is likely to be a Supreme Court Justice, she could have shown by deed that integrity had honor matter by publicly asking that her hearing be held after the November election. That way she be unable to participate in the current the ObamaCare case.
Rather than take the high road, Ms. Barrett chose to follow the timeline set by a madman. A republic cannot survive without leaders of integrity and honor. The American Republic is dead.
(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.)