Trump wouldn’t be wrong to say that Kavanaugh was bred to be a Supreme Court justice. If such a thing as a fast track to the nation’s highest court exists, Kavanaugh was most certainly on it: from the privileged upbringing in a leafy Maryland suburb to the elite private schooling to the plum professional postings with Ken Starr and George W. Bush.
Yet when Trump says “born,” I think he means it. It’s a telling formulation. It is related to but distinct from his “central casting” preference for men who look like they care about black poverty or like eminent general officers. The idea that someone might be born to be a judge is a peek into Trump’s twisted neo-aristocratic view of social relations.
It pains me to say this, but it’s actually quite Burkean. Indeed, Trump seems to subscribe to Edmund Burke’s notion of the “little platoon,” one of the most often cited but misunderstood concepts attributed to the “father of modern conservatism.” Burke’s “little platoons” aren’t churches, neighborhoods, community groups, or other voluntary associations — they are social classes. Without “subdivisions,” Burke wrote in his seminal 1790 work Reflections on the Revolution in France, society would generally regress toward a lower, undignified mean. Sure, you can “level” all you want, but you will “never equalize.”