Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Thank you, Senator Feinstein!

In considering Senator Feinstein's revealing TV performance the other day, its openness is the only thing surprising about her open hostility to what a politician who panders to pro-abortionists seems to think of as Professor Amy Coney Barrett's "living dogmatism." The hostility is familiar.

Discerning viewers may have detected an element of unspoken envy as well. ("You have deep convictions. I have to perform for powerful factions. Poor me.") 

It is likely to be several months, though, before we may look back to see that the longest lasting and most powerful effect of Senator Feinstein's revealing phrase was to significantly increase the likelihood that the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States would be Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

President Trump and his advisers are well aware of the power of the "But Gorsuch!" Effect. And Senator Feinstein has inadvertently created a new celebrity federal judge. 

In our forthcoming Supreme Court round-up for First Things ("A Less Corrupt Term"), Marc and I discuss some ways in which the "reality-TV-ification" of our governing institutions has reached the Supreme Court. The "dogma lives loudly within you" merchandise that has already appeared (reminiscent of the "Notorious RBG" merchandise that has popped up in recent years) suggests the emergence of a certain celebrity factor from unexpected quarters. And that factor will be unquestionably attractive for an Executive Producer looking to revive a flagging series through the Introduction of a New Character to the Show. 

A nomination like this might not be enough to get the Executive Producer invited to speak at Notre Dame's graduation, but it would certainly be good for ratings ... and isn't that what matters these days? So while I agree with Rick that Senator Feinstein's comment was "disgraceful," we might instead consider it "deplorable."

How will this one turn out? We'll have to stay tuned all season to see.

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Walsh, Kevin | Permalink