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How to preserve the American republic? The Constitution and originalist justices like Amy Coney Barrett

John Kass, Tribune Content Agency on

If Americans can agree on anything in this election between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, it’s this:

We can’t stand the other side. And each tribe loathes the other with absolute passion, as hatred and threats of revenge hang in the air.

This is where newly sworn-in Associate Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett comes in. And also President Trump, who kept his promise to the American people to appoint constitutional originalists to the high court.

Because if there’s anything that can keep the republic together, it’s reverence and respect for the Constitution, and Supreme Court justices who don’t shape and interpret the text to satisfy their political passions.

And if anything will tear us further apart, it would be packing the Supreme Court, stripping it of legitimacy and independence, turning it into an auxiliary of the legislative branch, as Democrats are still threatening to do.

Many Democratic politicos are shrieking about Justice Barrett being put on the Supreme Court by a narrow Republican Senate majority so close to the election. What they don’t mention is how Democrats opened the door to all of this. In 2013, a Senate Democratic majority changed long-standing Senate filibuster rules for judicial nominees in order to serve the politics of then-President Barack Obama.

 

Media cheered Obama and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as geniuses, though some understood that the partisan breaking of precedent would boomerang on them.

And it did. So, if you’re upset about Justice Barrett, thank Obama. Thank Reid.

Over the past eight years or so, you may have lost friends over tribal politics. Or perhaps you just keep your mouth shut, afraid to freely speak your mind as Americans once did, worried about the cancel culture that hovers over all of us like that damned virus.

Whichever side you’re on, you might think of our republic as a living machine, some kind of engine. The tribal anger that fuels politics now makes the engine run too hot, too fast. It’s on the verge of redlining and becoming dangerously unstable.

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