- - Thursday, January 28, 2016

As the Republican primaries have become increasingly contentious in recent weeks, various factions have threatened not to support the others should their preferred candidate fail to win the nomination. But if the prospect of Hillary Clinton as president is not frightening enough to unite Republicans behind their eventual nominee, perhaps something Mrs. Clinton said in Iowa this week will be.

Asked at one of her town hall meetings if she would consider appointing Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court after his term as president, Hillary appeared as if she had just heard the best idea of her life.

“Wow, what a great idea!” she gushed. “Nobody has ever SUGGESTED that to me! WOW. I love that! Wow.”

For the full, chilling effect, you will have to watch the video. It must be seen to be believed. It’s uncanny.

If — despite our history with her — we are to take Hillary at her word, it seems there is a chance she would appoint the most anti-constitutional president in American history to the Supreme Court of the United States, where he could remain for decades as the most anti-constitutional Supreme Court justice in American history.

From the point of view of Democrat primary voters (if not from Clinton’s), the idea isn’t insane.

The party openly celebrates President Obama’s illegal actions — from suspending immigration law by executive fiat, to modifying Obamacare (“the law of the land”) at whim, to using the IRS to target conservative opponents, to making “recess appointments” when the Senate was not in recess. Democrats would like to protect as many such overreaches as they can. Undoubtedly, they could trust President Obama to give his illegal innovations — and the many others sure to be committed by a Clinton administration — the stamp of constitutionality.

The idea of appointing a former chief executive to the bench is not without precedent. In 1921, Warren Harding nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice of the Supreme Court. Taft went on to hold the position for more than eight years, and regarded it as the greatest honor of his life.

Somewhat like Taft, President Obama has exactly the “right” background for the job. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where six out of the nine current justices went to school. And before he ran for office, Obama was a Constitutional law professor, which is all the experience that many other justices required to begin pronouncing law from nation’s highest court. (Mr. Obama has certainly had plenty of practice pronouncing it from the presidency.)

If the thought of Justice Obama is not frightening enough by itself, consider that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. served on the court until he was 90 years old. By that measure, President Obama, who is 54 today, could be on the bench until 2052 — or even longer, if the miracles of medicine are able to keep him issuing opinions into his ninth decade.

Imagine the damage he might do from a perch of 30 or 40 years on the Supreme Court. Or consider just a few of the questions that today hang by a 5-4 majority of the conservatives: whether the free speech clause of the First Amendment protects speech about political matters (Citizens United v. FEC), whether the religious liberty protections in the Constitution apply to Americans who own businesses (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby), and whether there are any limits at all to what the federal government can justify under the Commerce Clause (NFIB V. Sebelius).

Whether or not President Hillary would in fact appoint Barack Obama to a retirement job on the Supreme Court, we can be absolutely certain about one thing: she would surely appoint justices who would eagerly overturn all of those 5-4 cases, and sanction almost any abuses of power she could think up.

In other words, no matter whom she nominated, Hillary’s lifetime appointees would decide cases as if they were Justice Barack Obama. That specter alone should be terrifying enough to end any talk within the GOP about not supporting the eventual Republican nominee.

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