A link collection. (Obviously, meant to post much earlier, but life got in the way.)
1. Jennifer Rubin: “Why the Supreme Court isn’t enough”: “The Supreme Court is not irreparably changed with one new justice. If Trump — heaven forbid — were elected and named one justice to the court, his term could prove so ruinous that he ushers in decades of Democratic rule, which would put many more liberal judges on the Supreme Court and lower courts.” Besides, most of the culture war battles that conservatives have lost in the Supreme Court have already been lost. Also: “One could easily imagine Trump ‘trading’ Democratic support for his wall for a less conservative justice on the court. Remember, he says that everything is up for negotiation. … Trump believes in executive power, to put it mildly. Don’t you suppose he would choose justices who would give him ample latitude to rule by executive decree?” (emphasis in original)
2. George Will: “Do Republicans really think Donald Trump will make a good Supreme Court choice?” A taste:
There is every reason to think that Trump understands none of the issues pertinent to the Supreme Court’s role in the American regime, and there is no reason to doubt that he would bring to the selection of justices what he brings to all matters — arrogance leavened by frivolousness.
Trump’s multiplying Republican apologists do not deny the self-evident — that he is as clueless regarding everything as he is about the nuclear triad. These invertebrate Republicans assume that as president he would surround himself with people unlike himself — wise and temperate advisers. So, we should wager everything on the hope that the man who says his “number one” foreign policy adviser is “myself” (because “I have a very good brain”) will succumb to humility and rely on people who actually know things. If Republicans really think that either their front-runner or the Democrats’ would nominate someone superior to Garland, it would be amusing to hear them try to explain why they do.
3. Ramesh Ponnuru: “Trump’s Meaningless Vow on the Supreme Court”:
Trump’s word is meaningless. He stiffs creditors and contractors. He lies about matters small and large: about having told Republicans to hold their convention in Ohio, about letters he supposedly received from the NFL and about having opposed the Iraq war from the start. Trump isn’t even trustworthy on his signature issue of immigration: He flip-flopped twice in one day during the campaign about whether high-skilled immigrants should be kept out as a threat to American jobs or welcomed as a boon to our economy.
Why would he keep his word on the courts? He doesn’t care about the Constitution or the proper role of judges. When he talks about the Constitution, it’s glibly and dismissively. When it’s suggested that the Constitution might pose an obstacle to his plans, he says it “doesn’t give us the right to commit suicide.” He knows almost nothing about the law: He can’t tell the difference between a judicial opinion and a bill.
The few times he has taken an interest in constitutional issues, he has been on the other side from most conservatives. He thinks the government should have broad power to take people’s property and give it to developers; they don’t. He has used courts as a weapon to silence critics, and thinks it should be easier to use them that way. Most conservatives find that record and that idea appalling. If President Trump asks his aides to find him a judge who agrees with him on these issues, they will start by scrapping his list.
4. David Frum: “The Supreme Court Isn’t a Sufficient Reason to Vote for Trump”: “It’s a Trump commitment, and Trump commitments are notoriously worthless. The only thing you can be sure you get with Trump is … Trump himself. Every other offer is subject to cancellation without notice.” And: “Although Donald Trump cares little about constitutional norms, he cares a lot about getting his own way. … If Donald Trump ever gains the power to nominate a justice of the Supreme Court, what he will seek will not be conservatism. It will be pliability on whatever issue is preoccupying Trump at that particular moment.”
5. Damon Root: “Is SCOTUS a Good Reason to Support Trump? Libertarian and Conservative Legal Experts Weigh In.” Pretty good collection of quick takes.