A fundamental principle of the United States Constitution is the separation of powers - three branches of government share power and the powers of each branch are equalized through a system of checks and balances.
To fill a vacancy in the Judicial branch, the Executive branch nominates a candidate for Supreme Court justice and a process within the Legislative branch serves to advise and consent on the nominee. The Legislative branch can either confirm or deny the nominee and if the nominee is denied, the Executive branch can nominate another candidate. Either way, this is a system of checks and balances in play.
That is all Civics 101.
To say the nomination and confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh was a contentious process would be an understatement, but ultimately Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed, and sworn in, as a Supreme Court Justice. And now, since the Constitutional process for selecting a new judge is complete, we can move on to other things, right? Well, not so fast…
On Sunday, the day after Kavanaugh’s confirmation, California Senator Kamala Harris called the Supreme Court hearings a “sham and a disgrace” and said “…they [the Republicans] may have the power right now but we need to take it back,” and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker said Democrats need to “flip one of the houses” to pursue impeachment of Kavanaugh. Meanwhile in Maine, a Crowdpac fund has raised millions of dollars for Republican Senator Susan Collins’ future opponent in the 2020 election since she voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
All of the Democratic rhetoric adds up to one thing: a desire to take control of the Legislative branch for the purposes of also taking control of the Judicial branch. Is that how it’s supposed to work? No – the Judicial branch is separate power whose purpose is to help keep the three branches in balance.
The fact is, with nine justices, the balance of power cannot possibly be exactly equal but with five conservative judges and four liberal judges, it is balanced as much as it can be. That, however, is lost on the Democrats and they will apparently use any means necessary to take control of the Judicial branch even if it means pursuing impeachment if the 2018 midterms go their way.
Sadly, the partisanship is only going to get worse from here.