Robert C. Wadman: Lies told by Trump’s Supreme Court nominees do untold damage to judicial system

Police officers are fired for telling lies. Why should judges get away with it?

(Erin Schaff | The New York Times via AP, Pool, File) Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, April 23, 2021. Seated from left are Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left are Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

With the current discussion surrounding the United States Supreme Court and the leak of the draft decision regarding Roe V. Wade, the credibility of the Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices needs to be evaluated.

Serving as a police chief in Orem, Utah; Omaha, Nebraska; Aurora, Illinois; and Wilmington, North Carolina; I terminated police officers for not telling the truth. The integrity of a police officer is critical to the effectiveness and credibility of the police department and to America’s criminal justice system.

Let me give you an example: If a police officer is disciplined for a lie, the credibility of the officer is lost. If a criminal defense lawyer, during a trial, asks a police officer if they have ever been disciplined for telling a lie and the officer answers, Yes. The defense attorney can turn to the jury and ask a simple question, “Are you going to believe my client or are you going to believe this officer who is a confirmed liar?”

Although some falsehoods seem trivial, in America’s criminal justice system, integrity is the gold standard of professionalism.

During the confirmation hearings for the Trump Supreme Court nominees, while under oath, Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett gave answers regarding their opinions in Roe V. Wade. The answers ranged from evasive to blatant lies.

In addition, without access to the private meetings between the Trump nominees and the senators, there appears to be additional false statements from the nominees. Both Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Susan Collins have stated that they were either lied to or misled by the nominees.

The critical problem is the loss of credibility by the United States Supreme Court.

If the lack of credibility is so important in a police officer that a simple lie can ruin a police officer’s career, how much importance should be placed on the evasive falsehoods stated by the Trump justices to the United States Supreme Court.

The damage to America’s judicial system is beyond measurement.

Robert C. Wadman

Robert C. Wadman, Ph.D., is professor emeritus, Criminal Justice Department, Weber State University.