When Ann Coulter speaks, people listen, and for good reason. On last night’s “Hannity,” she and Sean had a broad conversation about the news of the day, from Coulter’s plans to file a human rights complaint of her own for the “anti-hate” hate she recently endured in Canada to the Republican Party’s 2010 electoral prospects (she agrees with me and Matthew Vadum). But it’s her insight into the coming Supreme Court battle that deserves closer attention in this segment:
COULTER: Good luck to the Republicans trying to tone down the nominee to someone who isn’t certifiably mad, but the difference between a moderate Democrat appointee and a radical Democrat appointee is like the difference in being thrown from the thirteenth floor or the roof. They’re all going to be voting to uphold abortion, they are all going to be voting to ban the Ten Commandments displays, they’re all going to be voting in favor of race preferences.
If you doubt this is true, think back to the confirmation hearings of John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Every day, Capitol Hill Democrats ominously warned that a judge not respecting the “settled precedent” of Roe v. Wade would be absolutely unthinkable. With Robert Bork, the late Ted Kennedy established that conservative political philosophy would henceforth be smeared as bigoted, fundamentalist, and totalitarian. Indeed, in nominating Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama clearly signaled his kind of judge—heavy on “inspiring life stories,” light on constitutionalism. (Heck, half the time Republican presidents nominate judges, they turn out bad!)
We’d be crazy to expect otherwise—the Left’s progressive presuppositions see the Constitution as a roadblock to their vision of society, and “living document” doctrine is a thinly-veiled smokescreen to circumvent it. There’s simply no room in their philosophy for fidelity to the Founders’ understanding of the Constitution.
COULTER: one thing that I think is very important, that Republicans seem not to realize, at least elected Republicans, is: a huge court battle is fantastic for Republicans. The reason Democrats need the courts to legislate for them is their ideas are heinous to the American people. They can’t win in democracy, so they do it through the courts […] I mean, look at an issue like gay marriage. Every time it’s put to a vote, it loses in huge majorities—it loses in California, in Oregon! So how do they get it through? They get it through with the courts. So the more you talk about what the courts are doing and what is at stake, it will be good for Republicans overall, it will definitely be good for Republicans this November, because the whole discussion is gonna be this summer.
Thank you, Ann! This is why the voices on the Right who believe that some Court fights aren’t a big deal are dreadfully wrong. In addition to rhetorical cowardice, Republicans often seem to simply put less time and effort into getting their message out that Democrats do, as if they think election season is the only time to bring their case to the American people. But there are always opportunities to articulate to the American people what’s at stake—and few of those opportunities are more important than judicial battles, because that’s where often-ignored issues, or issues that have been wrested from popular approval—such as abortion, eminent domain, states’ rights, and the Left’s warped view of judicial interpretation—can be subjected to the public, open debates the Left really doesn’t want to have. Think about it: how do we expect to advance the case for originalism if we’re simultaneously telling the public that appointing anti-originalist judges is nothing to get worked up about?
Answer: we can’t. That’s why no court fight—even when the opposition has a veto-proof majority—is an exercise in futility. Even if you lose, you still highlight the differences between Left and Right, and force the Democrats to justify themselves before the voters. Ann Coulter gets it—hopefully enough people will listen to her over the moderate elites’ objections for the lesson to sink in.