It’s the Supreme Court, Stupid

This week’s Republican debate found the candidates in agreement on most topics, but only one candidate actually mentioned what I think will end up being one of the most important and enduring acts of the next president: appointing justices to the Supreme Court.

Tim Pawlenty twice noted his sterling record of judicial appointments in Minnesota during the debate, both when defending his pro-life stance and in the context of immigration. He hit the nail on the head when he noted that many of these issues will end up in the courts:

And, by the way, this issue of birthright citizenship again brings up the importance of appointing conservative justices. That result is because a U.S. Supreme Court determined that that right exists, notwithstanding language in the Constitution. I’m the only one up here — I believe I’m the only one up here — who’s appointed solidly, reliably conservative appointees to the — to the court.

Not all the nominees have had an opportunity to appoint judges, but they all should take those words to heart. The issues they — and the voters –care most about will not be determined in the White House, but at the Supreme Court. Abortion, immigration, health care, bailouts, government meddling in the economy, you name it — the Supreme Court will have the final word. Just as Wisconsin governor Scott Walker learned, passing and signing a law is only part of the process.  Because of a successful judicial election, the Wisconsin courts have upheld Walker’s labor reform law. With a different judge, it could have easily gone the other way. The Republican presidential hopefuls must realize that, without a commitment to a solid judiciary, their hard-fought accomplishments can be eliminated with the stroke of a judge’s pen.

Carrie Severino — Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

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