Hawley Stands His Ground

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill talks with Missouri Attorney General and likely Republican challenger Josh Hawley during the Governor's Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill appears set to be under the same tent as likely Republican opponent Josh Hawley (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill talks with Missouri Attorney General and likely Republican challenger Josh Hawley during the Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill appears set to be under the same tent as likely Republican opponent Josh Hawley (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

As I wrote yesterday, Josh Hawley, Missouri’s junior Senator, is ruffling some feathers with his outspoken questioning of Neomi Rao’s pending appointment to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.  Hawley hasn’t said he’ll oppose her confirmation — but he certainly hasn’t committed to voting yes.  And this reluctance on his part has drawn some sharp criticism.

The Wall Street Journal ran an OpEd on Monday criticizing Hawley’s “bad judgment,” and accusing him of “join(ing) the left in trashing Neomi Rao.” To which Hawley responded:

His colleague, Marco Rubio, came to his defense.

And Hawley elaborated.

Today, Hawley penned a piece at The Federalist, in which he further explained his position on the matter — and signaled he’s not one to be cowed when it comes to matters of constitutional interpretation.

I’ve been a judicial clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court, litigated there and in many other courts, and proudly served as Missouri’s attorney general. I know what a strong constitutional judge should do and say, and I’m not going to let other people, and certainly not the Washington establishment, do my thinking for me.

So I will be asking every appellate court nominee where he or she stands on the Constitution, and especially on the doctrine called “substantive due process.” That strange phrase stands for a dangerous doctrine in constitutional law that has allowed power-hungry judges to invent new “implied rights” out of thin air and usurp the will of We the People. It’s the doctrine used to justify Roe v. Wade and all manner of other judicial adventurism.

….

The people of Missouri sent me here to ask tough questions, challenge conventional wisdom, and fight for what our state believes. We’ve been burned too often. For every Justice Clarence Thomas, there has been a Justice David Souter or Harry Blackmun. And every time, D.C. insiders have said, “Trust us.”

Missouri is called the Show-Me State because we Missourians are famous for wanting the facts. When the D.C. insiders say “trust us,” my response is always going to be: “Show me.” Show me how this nominee will uphold the Constitution. That’s my job, and that’s what I will do.

While most eyes are riveted on Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee is likely to vote on Rao’s confirmation within the next day or two. Like many, I’m quite interested to see how this shakes out.