December 10, 2018

The case for Donald Trump: Voting for the judiciary

I am disgusted — as a law professor, an attorney, a father of daughters, and as a rabbi — by the abuse of women that marks this election cycle.

Here’s who and what have resurfaced in the past month: Former Arkansas state employee Paula Corbin Jones, who received an $850,000 settlement from a disbarred Bill Clinton; former White House volunteer aide Kathleen Willey, who approached Bill Clinton for work during a family financial crisis (the same day her husband killed himself, unbeknownst to her at the time of the meeting); former nursing home administrator Juanita Broaddrick, a Bill Clinton volunteer who alleges he raped her; the women now emerging who allege Donald Trump groped or kissed them without assent. Monica Lewinsky. The female victims whose reputations and lives were destroyed by Hillary Clinton and her cohort, as they scorched earth defending her husband’s profile after each “bimbo eruption.” Hillary most infamously destroyed the life of 12-year-old Kathy Shelton, raped by a 41-year-old who Hillary was required to defend. Every accused deserves a good defense, but Hillary destroyed the girl and years later regaled an interviewer with laughing anecdotes of that tragedy.

[OPINION: The case for Hillary Clinton]

All of it disgusts me. So I am not going to vote for Clinton or Trump. Instead, I am going to vote for the federal judiciary. En route, I also am going to vote for an authentic economic recovery that repatriates trillions of dollars back home, for a stronger American footprint in the world, for a border that will protect Mexico from free-flowing American weapons that feed their drug cartels and that will protect America from potential terrorists and murderous drugs that now easily permeate our porous borders. I am going to vote for restoring civil harmony and respect for law enforcement even as we begin addressing urgent concerns that rightly have been raised about bigotry. I am going to vote against sanctuary cities and for restoring a military that we unfortunately now need to protect from newly empowered Iranian terror exports and North Korean adventurism.

How sad it is to see men — Hillary’s male enablers such as John Podesta, Robby Mook, Bill Clinton, and others no less cynical on the other side — preying on women’s legitimate values by trying to sway voting blocs based on issues other than the life-and-death concerns on today’s table.

How will we explain to our grandsons, whom we one day will be compelled to send overseas to fight to stop a nuclear-enriched and ransom-infused Iran, that we did not elect the candidate who would have stood stronger now because, well, 11 years earlier, the gruffian was recorded saying the most vile things as he bragged disgustingly on a bus? Fully a decade ago.

We elected John Kennedy. He did more than grope. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Democratic Party elder statesman and moral vicar, frolicked and imbibed unrestrained, reached a nadir with a woman left to drown at Chappaquiddick. Warren G. Harding presided, mistress in tow. Grover Cleveland, believed to have fathered an out-of-wedlock child, was twice elected. To this day, Bill Clinton is the statesman most adulated at Democrat conventions. Trump pales — to our shame — as a lout with a filthy mouth quite akin to some of the most prominent big-firm law partners with whom I have associated and Fortune 500 corporate chief executives whom I have ruefully counseled.

I despise this kakistocracy, but one candidate’s lifetime of public experience is marked by abject failure and brazen deceit. She even lied about her first name. Who lies about their name? Cattle futures. Serbia gunfire.  Rose Law Firm billing records. Whitewater. White House travel office. Lincoln bedroom. White House furniture. Her “reset” with Vladimir Putin sees him now holding Crimea and threatening all of Ukraine, even as he has restored Russia’s Mideast grip. Her Benghazi 9/11 catastrophe, resulting in an ambassador murdered and an abandonment of our bravest heroes, leaves her unable to utter the word “Benghazi” while campaigning. That is what difference it makes.

African-Americans and Latino Americans deserve exactly what I have and gave my kids: economic opportunity, access to a fabulous education that opened doors that food stamps and “entitlements” never could offer our family. The Obamas and Clintons gave that to their kids. We owe those communities the best schools, charter and magnet schools with demanding curricula, where educators serve based on merit and academic results, not coddled by arcane teachers union rules and homogenized academic standards.

Most, I care about the federal judiciary. Beneath the Supreme Court surface, our entire federal judiciary has metamorphosed. Most federal district court trials never are appealed. Most appellate decisions stop there, without Supreme Court review. Federal court rulings regularly define law respectively for several states for a generation. Article III judges all are appointed for life.  

I am saddled with an abhorrent Hobson’s choice. Nor does my vote in California matter, as Hillary Clinton likely will take the state’s 55 electoral votes. But my conscience yearns for a federal judiciary that protects the Constitution and refrains from legislating. The weakness that has emboldened terror and tyranny from Iran to North Korea endangers all who are free. A country must have borders and cities must comply with law. I want to keep the health insurance I like, and I want to staunch the abrupt wave of premature physician retirements depleting my favored caretakers’ ranks. Trump plays the buffoon too often, but the Clintons are cold, calculating perjurers and thieves who amassed wealth without creating value through self-dealing and cynically trading on the misery of others, peddling influence and access, and defying the societal primary directive: that crime does not pay and that cheaters shall not prosper. 

I despise this kakistocracy. I am not voting for Trump, but the ballot I cast says “Trump.”

Rabbi Dov Fischer was chief articles editor of UCLA Law Review, clerked in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, is an adjunct professor of law, and a synagogue rabbi.