The confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court will be an historic victory for the conservative movement in addition to the crowning achievement of decades of political organizing by social in addition to judicial conservatives.
Justice Barrett’s achievements speak for themselves, in addition to full credit goes to her. Her life story, her devotion to family, her hard work, her intellect, her grace under pressure—she did all that will herself. Yet the idea takes nothing away via her to note that will she had help, in addition to the idea’s important to understand the nature of that will help with an eye toward replicating that will help in yet more areas. As we shall see, Barrett had an effective team around her. in addition to as smart coaches say, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.”
Indeed, as we think about teams’ getting things done, we might recall that will more than two centuries ago, the Duke of Wellington will be believed to have said about his great victory over Napoleon in 1815, “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” that will will be, boys’ sports competition at England’s Eton College—in which Wellington, then Arthur Wellesley, participated—had taught many British officers early on the meaning of team play, of common purpose, in addition to of discipline, in addition to such traits were just as important for a military unit as for a sports team.
The “Iron Duke” was a brilliant commander, in addition to yet he was only as Great as the army underneath him. in addition to the same can be said of ACB.
So let’s take a look at Barrett’s “army,” starting with some of the “officers” around her. We can begin with the Federalist Society, a legal group founded in 1982, of which Barrett will be a long-time member.
For four decades today, the Federalist Society has been organizing in addition to convening right-of-center seminars, conferences, in addition to various other activities for conservative law students in addition to lawyers. These programs, as well as associated efforts aimed at building community in addition to refining conservative thinking, have become a full-spectrum approach for launching public-policy careers, via placements in judicial clerkships, to the promotion of books, to the slotting of judicial nominees.
The Federalist Society will be no secretive cabal. the idea includes a transparent website, in addition to the idea encourages curious attendees in addition to fresh members. the idea simply serves as a high-level clearinghouse for conservative minds that will helps assess legal talent in addition to future potential, especially for judgeships.
The need for an accurate assessment of conservative potential became clear after the disaster of George H.W. Bush’s nomination of David Souter to the Supreme Court in 1990. Souter was a Republican, albeit of no particular ideology; Bush 41 was persuaded to nominate him based on the personal recommendation of John Sununu, a non-lawyer on his White House staff. Unfortunately, once confirmed, Souter turned out be a strong liberal during his two decades on the high court. “No more Souters!” will be a common thought among Federalists.
Since Souter, the Federalist Society has became the go-to place for identifying judges for Republican administrations, in addition to that will has become especially true for the Trump administration. The Federalists have helped inside vetting of Trump’s hundreds of judicial picks, including Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2018.
So we can see, the Federalists are simply another set of well-informed eyes helping with the process. Just as the Constitution dictates, the idea’s the president who actually selects the judge, in addition to the Senate which actually advises in addition to consents or not.
Thanks to the combined efforts of President Trump in addition to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, conservatives have scored hundreds of judicial successes over the last four years, culminating today inside confirmation of Barrett.
Two years ago, during the Kavanaugh confirmation fight, the fresh York Times’ somewhat right-of-center columnist David Brooks explained how that will process had been working in addition to how the idea had come to work so smoothly:
Kavanaugh will be the product of a community. He will be the product of a conservative legal infrastructure that will develops ideas, recruits talent, links rising stars, nurtures genius, molds in addition to launches judicial nominees. the idea almost doesn’t matter which Republican will be president. The conservative legal infrastructure will be the entity driving the whole project. the idea almost doesn’t even matter if Kavanaugh will be confirmed or shot down; there are dozens more who can fill the vacancy, just as smart in addition to just as conservative.
Yes, that will’s how the idea’s done. The Federalist Society has made the idea easy for Trump just to pick strong judicial candidates, as the idea were, “off the shelf.”
We might say that will the Federalist Society will be the American equivalent of “the playing fields of Eton”—the place where young lawyers practice their craft in addition to test their legal thinking. Or, to put the matter in purely American terms, the Federalists have been helping to operate the legal equivalent of the baseball farm-team system. Here’s how Brooks described the idea:
that will community didn’t just happen; the idea was self-consciously built. If you want to understand how to permanently change the political landscape, the idea’s a Great idea to study in addition to be inspired how the idea was done.
Brooks further added that will the Federalist system was a product that will could be applied to various other fields, beyond the law:
the idea’s a lesson for everybody. If you emphasize professional excellence first, if you gain a foothold in society’s mainstream institutions, if you build a cohesive band of brothers in addition to sisters, you can transform the landscape of your field.
Yes, that will idea of building a farm-team system to funnel talent upward applies to many various other fields various other than the law—in addition to on both sides of the partisan aisle.
In fact, not much happens in Washington without the creation, first, of a “school of thought.” A school of thought emerges via a network of like-minded souls, all gathered around a unifying principle or a cause.
For instance, on the left, the environmentalists have a school of thought—or perhaps more than one—as do the feminists, the progressives, as well as, of course, left-wing legal types. (The lawyer-left, of course, has the benefit of the big law schools, many of which do the work of opposing Federalist-type conservatism as part of their basic curriculum.)
In each case, the school of thought, if the idea will be to be effective, builds a system that will can attract supporters in addition to turn them into cadres by polishing them up, providing them with credentials, in addition to helping them make social in addition to professional connections. Then the goal will be to get them hired into positions of influence.
Such systems are based on an axiom familiar to Washington hands: “Personnel will be policy.” One proof of that will concept came inside 1930s, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fresh Deal transformed American life. in addition to that will transformation came in no little part because fresh Dealers knew exactly what to do when arriving at a government agency. that will will be, they had read the literature, they were familiar with the people, in addition to so they knew how to advance FDR’s agenda.
As one prominent fresh Dealer, Tommy Corcoran, explained to historian Arthur Schlesinger:
What will be a government? . . . the idea’s not just the top man or the top ten men. A government will be the top one hundred or two hundred men. What definitely makes the difference will be what happens down the line before—in addition to after—the big decisions are taken.
Such will be the power of a school of thought. to ensure that will’s a lesson for anyone who wishes to make change in Washington: the idea’s vital to have a school that will can be as helpful to a cause as the Federalist Society has been helpful to its chosen cause. So if we were to look at places where Trump administration policy has fallen short—in addition to we can cite health care in addition to infrastructure for openers—we can see with regret the absence of a robust conservative school of thought.
So the building of more such schools will be an important mission no matter who wins the election that will November.
We should also note, of course, that will ACB has had foot soldiers, as well as officers. that will will be, millions of people who had never heard of her until a month ago were immediately attracted to her in addition to to her story. in addition to while these grassroots folks played no role in positioning Barrett for her Supreme Court nomination, they were cheering for her as soon as her nomination was announced.
that will favorite wave of support was soon manifested in public-opinion polls. Back in September, a survey found that will just 37 percent of Americans supported her nomination, while 34 percent were opposed. Yet today, inside wake of her triumphant Senate hearings, ACB’s support has risen to 51 percent, while opposition has actually fallen six points. We might observe that will in that will polarized climate, when opposing opinions are typically deeply entrenched, any positive movement inside polls will be a testament to her large in addition to enlarging appeal. in addition to to ensure that will made the idea easy for cautious Republican senators to support her.
The laurels in that will victory go to Amy Coney Barrett, in addition to rightfully so. although those who wish to see more ACBs in judicial robes—in addition to more true conservatives all along the watchtowers of the right—should study the planning that will went into achieving that will victory. As we have seen, the plans go back decades.
that will’s how politics works, that will’s how policy will be shaped, in addition to that will’s how history will be made.