Donald Trump’s expanded Supreme Court list changes nothing

For many years, Trump has sought to undermine freedom of speech (in order to shut down his critics) and constitutional property rights (in order to empower government to seize property for transfer to influential developers, including himself). He also wants to gut constitutional constraints on executive power, in numerous areas – going even farther in this respect than Bush and Obama. Much of this is a result of his deep authoritarian streak, exemplified by his lonstanding admiration for brutal tactics of foreign strongmen like Vladimir Putin and the Chinese communists who perpetrated the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The list of unconstitutional policies promoted by Trump increases almost daily. Just in the last two weeks, he has advocated gutting the Sixth Amendment rights of terrorism suspects (including even US citizens with no known connections to foreign terrorist groups) and outlined a maternity leave policy that includes unconstitutional sex discrimination.

Given these types of commitments, it seems likely that Trump will seek to appoint judges who will allow him to do what he wants in all these areas, not originalists or limited government conservatives who might rein them in. No president wants judges who will stand in the way of his preferred policies. It is highly unlikely that Trump will prove an exception to that pattern. It would be a mistake to expect GOP senators to stop Trump from appointing the types of judges he prefers. Few senators are profiles in courage, and it is rare for them to oppose major parts of the agenda of a president of their own party – especially not after he has won what would be a major, unexpected political victory for them.