Last week Americans had a chance to plumb the depths of constitutional ignorance prevalent among America’s left-leaning senators.

Pat Leahy (D., Vt.) asked whether a president must obey a court order. Judge Barrett replied, “The Supreme Court can’t control what the president obeys.”

Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) asked whether Barrett had ever sexually assaulted anyone. Judge Barrett said no.

Mazie (Still from Hawaii, still stupid) scolded the judge for using the term “sexual preference,” apparently unaware that the same term had been used by Ruther Bader Ginsburg, Joe Biden, etc.

Cory Booker (D, N.J.) asked whether Barrett condemned white supremacy. She said yes. He said he wished the president would say that too.

Kamala Harris (D. Cal,) asked Barrett if she believed that “climate change is happening…?” The Judge patiently explained: “You have asked me a series of questions that are completely uncontroversial . . . and then trying to analogize that to elicit an opinion from me that is on a very contentious matter of public debate and I will not do that. I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial.”

Senator Harris, undeterred, insisted that Judge Barrett declare her willingness to interpret the Constitution according to the deep convictions of Californian crackpots. Patient, composed, and civil Judge Barrett explained the law: “If a case comes before me involving environmental regulation I will certainly apply all applicable law, deferring when the law requires me to. And as I’m sure you know, Senator Harris, the Administrative Procedure Act does require courts to defer to agency fact-finding and to agency regulations when they’re supported by substantial evidence.”

Dianne Feinstein, (D-Cal.) asked if the nominee agrees with Justice Antonin Scalia’s view that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to gay marriage. “I’m not going to express a view,” the Judge replied “on whether I agree or disagree with Justice Scalia for the same reasons … Justice Ginsburg with her characteristic pithiness describe how a nominee should comport herself at a hearing: no hints, no previews, no forecasts. That has been the practice of nominees before her, but everybody calls it the ‘Ginsburg Rule’ because she stated it so concisely and it’s been the practice of every nominee since.”

The liberal gadflies did not acknowledge, reject, or dispute the Ginsburg rule. They just went on buzzing as if they had not heard their target’s explanation. Ginsburg, by the way, responded with this rule when asked about issues such as gay marriage and abortion. If my readers thought that would deter the gadflies from pestering their target with the same type of questions, they haven’t noticed that the Democratic senators prime objective in the hearing is to discredit President Trump’s nominee. There has been a lot of commentary among liberal journalists stressing this “guilt by association.” You see, if the woman is the choice of this loathsome president then she must be vile.

Justice Scalia’s theories of “originalism” and “textualism” are central to debates about constitutional interpretation both in the hearing and outside them. Judge Barrett’s brief summary was that it refers to “the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. That meaning doesn’t change over time and it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my policy views into it.”

Most commentary on “originalist” theory begins with the word “original” and dribbles into inane generalities. The Essential Scalia: On the Constitution, the Courts, and the Rule of Law appeared earlier this year. If the senators intended to have a serious debate they would have read this book. Does anyone think that happened?

For me the signature event in this circus took place when Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asked the target to display her note pad. It was as blank as Cory Booker’s brain. Her gadflies had said nothing worth noting or requiring response.

Gadfly synonyms according to Merriam-Webster: annoyance, annoyer, bother, gnawer, nudnik,, nuisance, pain, persecutor, pest, tease, teaser

John Frary of Farmington, the GOP candidate for U.S. Congress in 2008, is a retired history professor, an emeritus Board Member of Maine Taxpayers United, a Maine Citizen’s Coalition Board member, and publisher of He can be reached at [email protected]

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