The Senate will soon begin confirmation hearings for president Trump's nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
We like to think that the Supreme Court is stands far apart from the more corruptive elements of politics.
That's hardly the case.
Conservative activists spent more than $10M to support Trump's first nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Millions more are already openly pledged to “market” Kavanaugh’s appointment.
We know that politicians make over-the-top campaign promises to financial backers to win their support.
But the idea that millions of dollars spent in support of a Supreme Court nomination are “investments” to buy a brand of justice is deeply unsettling.
During the Gorsuch hearings, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) noted that Republican and their allies spent more than $7 million to frustrate president Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland and $10 million to promote Gorsuch.
“I’m trying to figure out what they see in you that makes that $17 million worth their spending," asked Whitehouse.
“You’d have to ask them,” Gorsuch slyly responded. To which Whitehouse replied, “I can’t because I don’t know who they are,” and continued: “It’s just a front group.”
The bottom line is that no matter what lower courts decide, well-financed appellants can keep going at it right up to a more sympathetic Supreme Court now under “construction” by Trump and company.
Financial contributions from any political direction—right, center or left—should not be a part of the Supreme Court approval process, especially since its members represent the supreme legal authority of the land.
But, if money is allowed to be spent to back Supreme Court nominees, contributors should be clearly identified.
Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org