In what CNN called a “Supreme Court pick for the ages,” President Trump has nominated DC Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.
Judge Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale Law School and clerked for Anthony Kennedy. He also served as a lawyer for White House Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and as staff secretary for President George W. Bush.
Mr. Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, have two daughters. An active Roman Catholic, he volunteers for the meals program at Catholic Charities and has tutored at the Washington Jesuit Academy. He continues to coach girls basketball teams and has completed the Boston Marathon twice. In accepting the president’s nomination, Judge Kavanaugh stated, “A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law.”
Given his significance to the ideological balance of the Court, the New York Times predicts an “epic confirmation battle” ahead. Opponents are already running ads in the states of key senators and planning procedural delays.
“Now is the time for hardball,” according to one liberal activist.
Rulings that changed the nation
The Supreme Court of the United States produces nothing but words. It doesn’t manufacture products, or build homes, or heal the sick. Its nine justices communicate ideas conveyed in rulings.
But these rulings can change the nation.
The Supreme Court infamously declared that blacks were not and could never become citizens of the US (the Dred Scott case of 1857). Conversely, it abolished segregation in public schools in 1954. It protected an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with military service. It upheld the right of corporations to spend money on political campaigns.
It declared laws prohibiting sodomy to be unconstitutional and legalized same-sex marriage. It legalized abortion in 1973, resulting in the deaths of more than sixty million babies. And it determined that the original Florida voting results in the 2000 presidential election would stand, leading to the election of George W. Bush.
“An idea lives on”
President John F. Kennedy noted, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” Ideas become words and actions, and words and actions change the world.
Marxism was a set of ideas in the mind of Karl Marx before contributing to the Communist ideology that rules 1.5 billion people today. Hitler published Mein Kampf eight years before he began leading Germany to enact its murderous principles.
President Trump and Russian President Putin will meet for their first summit next Monday. The ideas they discuss could affect international issues ranging from nuclear arms to Syria to Eastern Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently announced that he is reinstating mandatory national service in France. His idea will change the life of every French citizen when he or she turns sixteen years old.
The US Supreme Court will eventually be asked by LGBTQ advocates to define sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as protected classes for federal anti-discrimination laws. If the Court issues such a ruling, public employers could be required to hire LGBTQ employees in violation of their moral and religious convictions.
Christian colleges, hospitals, and ministries could face similar pressure. Anyone in a public work environment who advocates for biblical marriage and traditional gender roles could be accused of harassment.
Politics cannot save us from ourselves
We live in perilous times for biblical morality.
That’s why our leaders in the White House, Congress, and the judiciary urgently need our intercession. And it’s why America needs more Christians to run for office and engage in public service.
As enticing as it seems to retreat from secular society into spiritual safe zones, we must not abandon either our Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20) or the communities we are called to serve (Jeremiah 29:7).
But politics cannot save us from ourselves. As Chuck Colson adroitly noted, “Salvation doesn’t come on Air Force One.” Or wearing the robe of a Supreme Court justice.
In a democracy, political leaders reflect those they represent. The ultimate responsibility for the morality of our culture rests with its citizens.
“Light shines in the darkness”
Judge Kavanaugh, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, could help defend religious liberty, biblical morality, and the sanctity of life. But we cannot ask of him what we do not ask of ourselves.
As “the light of the world,” Christians are uniquely called by God to influence our society for good (Matthew 5:14). Across history, followers of Jesus have taken the lead in countering slavery, abortion, sex trafficking, racism, poverty, hunger, disease, sexual immorality, and a host of other threats to the common good.
If we love our Father, you and I must love our neighbor, every day.
Our witness and cultural engagement will save lives and transform our nation to the degree that we reflect the One whose “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
When you turn on a light in a dark room, doesn’t the light always win?