After listening to one hour of the hearing on the new U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, it was obvious that every answer to a substantial question, whether real or hypothetical, set in gear her continual mantra about following the law and considering precedent. But she always added a number of conditional statements that might modify her following precedent or the law.
It consistently resulted in a maze of considerations that might modify her judgment resulting in a conundrum of confusions to the nonlawyer listener. This is typical of recent conservative Supreme Court nominees. They hide their real views on substantive issues when questioned by senators for confirmation. Then they can follow their real conservative beliefs when on the high court bench.
But what really bothers me about conservative judges is the lack of any notion of humanitarianism or real concern for the well-being of the human lives. Barrett rattles off the same mechanical list nondisclosure items on every question on which the public is hungry to be enlightened. But she comes across as cold, hard and emotionless, even with her family present.
The change of attitudes over the past 30 years allowing more acceptance of gay marriage and Black Lives Matter, for example, has been a movement toward more individual freedom, acceptance of diversity and humanitarian concern for mental health and personal well-being. The public is moving to a more loving society while conservatives want to a more regressive and restrictive society.
There is a sense that losing the cultural war with liberals and progressives has made conservatives turn to using political power such as that of the president or the Supreme Court to force their views on Americans. Using this kind of strategy, however, is just an admission that, in the eyes of the public, conservatives have to use illegitimate methods to achieve their goals. Crudely put, if you cannot win the hearts of Americans with valid arguments, stuff it down their throats with raw power.
Conservatives brag about their concern for freedom, but they want to take away the freedom of a woman to choose whether to have a child. They would rather have the iron fist of the government come down on women denying her that freedom. Considering that women make up half the population of the United States, overturning Roe vs. Wade would be a massive loss of freedom for Americans.
Considering that the medicine that President Donald Trump brags about saving his life was developed from the stem cells of an aborted baby, if Roe vs. Wade were not the law of the land, we might have had another dead president, if it were not for some woman’s abortion.
These same considerations apply to the effort of conservatives to overturn the Affordable Care Act passed by President Barack Obama. The system, or rather the nonsystem, of private insurance worked fairly well from the 1950s. But poor people have always either lacked insurance or have been underinsured.
Social programs have always been a slow growth phenomena. It took the Great Depression to care for the elderly and the disabled with Social Security. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 attempted to infuse our country with racial equality. The Affordable Care Act was meant to provide insurance to the poor and disqualified (because of a prior condition) with affordable health insurance.
The common thread for all these social programs has been a dreadful lack in our society to address critical needs that our natural society has failed to fulfill. These have been a lack of money, a lack of social equality, a lack of sufficient health care. When these needs are not being met by our economy or our society, the government has a responsibility to step in and try to meet these needs. This is the correct and simple explanation to justify these social programs.
Conservatives will try to scare the public that these are socialist programs. But socialism has had nothing to do with it. Conservatives love to use fear as a political technique. There are real things to be fearful of, but to make Americans fearful of helping fellow Americans with good social programs is evil and unconscionable.
Gary Leimback is a Salt Lake City resident who sees people radically change their political views once they have to use a social program they previously complained about.