By John Giles
On January 22, 1973, seven white men, sitting on the Supreme Court, created the idea of a penumbra of privacy as a basis to wipe out long-established state laws regarding abortions in America. Injecting political views, political party positions and making law by legislating from the bench has been defined as judicial activism.
Almost fifty years later on June 24, 2022, four white men, one black man and a woman sitting on the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. Almost immediately, the world focused on the three newest members of the court, appointed by Trump. One may recall there was a list of 23 potential nominees published during the 2016 presidential race by Trump. Where did that list come from?
Presidents do come and go, but federal judges are appointed for life. It has been often stated that the real legacy of any president is their appointments to the federal bench. Trump, in an unprecedented manner, published for the world to see his top list of 23 from which he promised to choose if a seat on the nation’s highest court experienced a vacancy. This list was published during the 2016 general election cycle. The Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, would not publicly disclose her list for the high court. The 2016 election exit polling data confirmed that 60% of Trump’s general election support was attributed to the promise of appointing from this list; my wife and I were in that 60%. Trump did keep his promise three times and chose from this list, which was essentially the reason he was elected in 2016.
Trump descending the escalator to announce his candidacy was an iconic moment for the stardom billionaire. He had no issues; he was running on the idea if you elect him, everything will be beautiful. Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and Senator Jeff Sessions helped Trump shape his platform issues to synchronize with the GOP base. Sessions also contributed his immigration reform and trade imbalance ideas to Trump that Sessions had championed in the Senate. In addition, Sessions stressed to Trump his potential legacy as president would be his appointments to the federal bench. Sessions, being a member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, long had a front-row seat to the judicial confirmation process.
Sessions played a key role in the Trump template for vetting Supreme Court nominees. Constitutional conservatives like Sessions understand the role of the federal judiciary should be to employ judicial restraint and limit their actions to addressing constitutional questions. The ideal jurist is one who believes in strict construction and the notion of constitutional originalism. Sessions had the idea to enlist the Federalist Society, among others, to sift through the rulings of sitting district and circuit federal judges who had already been through the confirmation process. Among this collective effort, Trump was handed a list of 23 vetted jurists suitable for consideration. Trump’s three nominees in the last few days have given the American people a reset affirming the 2nd Amendment, overturning Roe v Wade and the important school prayer case that eliminated the “Lemon Test,” used by activist courts to unjustifiably limit religious liberty. Importantly, Sessions, with four other Attorneys General, filed a brief supporting the coach in the prayer case.
This is huge! You never know when you support someone for public office what their potential impact on the United States of America will be.
One man with courage is a majority. The list of 23 got Trump elected and reversed Roe v Wade.
God Bless America. Sometimes we are winning even if it looks like we are losing.
John Giles is the former President of Christian Coalition of Alabama, a former candidate for Governor, and Executive Vice President in the family business Giles Enterprises located in Montgomery. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.