Emerging standard for Supreme Court nomination — personal views irrelevant

The right wing has figured out a way to place ideologues on the Supreme Court, including members of the Federalist Society and former members of the Concerned Alumni for Princeton. The trick is to coach such persons to maintain an even judicial temperament, including ongoing displays of congeniality with colleagues. Then, when interviewed by the Senate on their personal views and strategies used in deciding controversial cases in the future, the nominees simply say that their personal views are irrelevant and they cannot discuss pending or potential cases that might come before the Court.

As long as congeniality is displayed, the Senators will return the temperament. As long as cases are pending or contemplated on controversial issues, it can be argued that it is ethically inappropriate to reveal any avenue of discussion or argument that might be used to decide such cases, as if the nominee would be forever bound by such discussions no matter what arguments or evidence might appear before them later when sitting on the Court over such issues.

Of course, this strategy can and will undoubtedly be used when the pendulum turns and when public tastes put a Democrat into the office of the president. If personal views or even if judicial writings on pending cases thusly prevented from discussion of the issues during the nomination process, the process of advice and consent of the Senate is nullified and the President need only find candidates who are shrewd enough to remain unflappable during cross-examination, and mild-mannered enough to maintain their composure during the same processes.

One interesting aspect of this situation is to witness the frustration of the Senators who see their questions ignored with obfuscatory answers, not unlike the way that the Senators routinely treat the press and the electorate. Campaigning for roles in the judiciary now demands the same skill-set as used by professional politicians. You best get elected by what you do not say or by what you avoid saying than by speaking your personal truth or beliefs. Judges are politicians now and politicians do not necessarily like it. Welcome to the emerging processes and standards of governance and jurisprudence in twenty-first century America.