Despite Donald Trump’s obvious shortcomings as a candidate, his enthusiastic supporters argue that his commitment to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court should persuade all Republicans to unite behind him.
His racially-tinged assault on federal judge Gonazlo Curiel, however, and his repeated promises to use the justice department and the courts to “put Hillary in jail” undermine this argument. Trump demonstrates no respect for an independent, impartial judiciary and explicitly declares his determination to bully the courts to get his way.
Worst of all, the purpose of the openly expressed intimidation involves personal, not political, issues—beating the rap on the fraud charges against Trump University and beating Hillary in a personalized contest for the White House. Whatever his current promises, Trump as president would be more likely to appoint pliant justices he felt he could bend to his will rather than selecting the independent Constitutionalists the country needs on the high court.