by Bert Berlin
Yesterday, I was really upset. I saw the march toward justice in the courts, which I observed during my entire legal career, veering in the wrong direction. I realized that I would probably never see a “progressive” judiciary again in my life. I also realized that all the groups begging me for money so they can block Trump’s next nominee to the Court are spinning their wheels. Since Republicans control the Senate, Mr. Trump will get his next justice.
But, I think its important that we analyze how we got to this point (ignoring the seat that was stolen in 2016 by Senate Republicans). For decades, the Right has been working on capturing the Federal judiciary. They have been recruiting young, highly qualified lawyers and grooming them for court seats both in federal and state courts. They have produced a cadre of young conservative legal thinkers ready for a Republican president to appoint. They have never taken their collective eyes off the prize of controlling the courts.
For we Democrats, however, the judiciary always seems like an afterthought. We only pay it attention after the Republicans have taken another judgeship. Then we scream and rant and rave. Our presidents also repeatedly nominate judges and justices that are already in their late fifties or sixties so that they can serve only for a short time. (Contrast that with Mr. Trump, who sees his next justice as serving for forty years). As an institution, the Democratic Party must work on recruiting and grooming futures judges as our opponents have been doing for years.
So what do we do now? We need to channel our anger and worry into what we are capable of doing now. We need to stop waiting for a Savior (Mueller) to fix things for us. We need to work our collective butts off to capture as many House and Senate seats as possible this ear. We need to enter 2019 controlling at least one chamber of the Congress. And immediately after Election Day we must get ready to defeat Trump in 2000.
But, most of all, we need to stop moaning over our losses. Moaning never changes anything; only voting does. And as we Democrats in Virginia learned in the last election, each and every vote counts.