The Supreme Court and America’s Moral Leadership

As a Canadian, I have always had the highest admiration for America, this mighty, upbeat and freedom-loving neighbor to my own country. And for the past twenty-two years (and three consecutive Green Cards), it’s been my privilege to live in this great country and to enjoy, even as an alien, a generous measure of its bounty and benefits.

In so many ways America has been and remains a beacon to the world. Through the years, this nation’s positive influence has been extended even more by the example that it has set than by the military power it has flexed. And one of the enviable foundation stones for the American way of life has been the United States Supreme Court. Its lofty front pillars, echoing ancient architectural ideals, serve as reassuring symbols of stability and even-handed judgments.

The Supreme Court is indeed the very pinnacle of the American judiciary. It is serenely accountable only to constitution and law, and thereby stands above the partisanship, corruption and injustice that embroil so many other nations of the world and now encroach upon certain other respected institutions of the United States. The Court’s integrity, and the trust that the public must be able to place in its decisions going forward, are absolutely indispensable to the continuing unity and civility of this amazing democracy.

This is why, of course, we must view the current hearings about the nomination of Judge Kavanagh to the Supreme Court as a decisive moment for America. Emotions and partisanship are running high. The scene is awash in expressions of moral outrage by both sides.

But so much more is actually at stake. Members of both political parties must be willing, therefore, to subsume their personal and party ambitions beneath the needs of the high court itself. Those who sit for life upon this lofty bench must be, and be perceived as being, entirely above the faintest hints of partisanship, suspicion or reproach. Every true patriot knows this. Only a very few judges will ever be able to meet its highest of all standards of temperament, competence, character and credibility. Yet holding to such standards, in the face of the fiercest pressures to compromise, is certainly one of the keys to keeping America strong.

Therefore, if even the faintest odor of doubt attaches to any candidate for this highest of all judicial offices, it is right for patriots to ask him or her honorably to step down for the sake of the Supreme Court’s credibility, and ultimately for the good of the whole country. By this standard even many good people will be disqualified. But there will be others in the land ready and able to step up to take their place. America is still the most richly resourced country on earth, and that includes its unparalleled resources of human leadership capital. Has this supply chain of great leaders been exhausted? Is America no longer able to demand the very best? The final verdict that is about to be given on an appointment to the Supreme Court will help decide the future of the United States of America and its role as a global moral leader.

I, for one, am cheering America on.

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