On September 4, in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) managed to school the entire Judiciary Committee – as well as everybody else watching the ongoing saga of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing for the U.S. Supreme Court. In less than 12 minutes, Sasse boldly rebuked and then attempted to redirect the entire proceedings.
And I, for one, found it both shocking and refreshing. And it might just have been the most profound 12 minutes of political talk I have ever heard.
Sasse predicted that all future confirmation hearings will follow the pattern of this one, becoming nothing more than “overblown, politicized circuses.” He theorized that our national legislative leadership has basically accepted a new erroneous theory of how our three established branches of government should work, especially with regard to how the judiciary branch should function.
Instead of participating in this shameful, worldwide, live-streaming circus production of a confirmation hearing, Sasse claimed those on the Judiciary Committee should instead use their time to give viewers a civics lesson from Schoolhouse Rock! (ABC’s 1973 animated children’s series).
At this point in Sasse’s remarks, I was on my feet cheering, along with hundreds of other red-blooded, Constitution-loving Americans.
I think we all watched in amazement to realize that it has come to a point in our history where it is necessary for a U.S. Senator to explain our nation’s separation of powers. How did America lose such important core knowledge? How in the world did we produce an entire generation of people, much less elected officials, who do not understand U.S. History 101?
I will be honest. Up until this point, I really did not know much about Sen. Sasse. So, of course, I Googled him. I found out that he procured his Senate seat in 2014 with a landslide win of all 93 counties in Nebraska, the second largest overwhelming majority in his state’s history. He currently sits on not only the Senate Judiciary Committee, but the Armed Services Committee, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
A fifth-generation Nebraskan, Sasse was on the wrestling team at Harvard and then got his Ph.D. in American history at Yale before working in both corporate and not-for-profit organizations, as well as the world of academia. In fact, Sasse became one of the nation’s youngest college presidents at the ripe old age of 37 when he took over leadership of Midland University.
So, it is quite appropriate that Dr. Sasse, the American history scholar, would force us to look inward and examine our collective ignorance by asking, “How did we get here? And how can we fix it?”
Those questions were a perfect segue for Sasse to proceed with his simple but concise civics lesson on the constitutional separation of powers. Here is a summary of his four basic points:
- The legislative branch is supposed to be the center of our representative form of government.
- But Legislators, who love their job security more than working on legislation, have punted the ball to the judicial branch.
- Subsequently, the American people have turned to the judicial branch to solve political problems that should be addressed by Congress – not rogue judges.
- We badly need to restore the proper balance of power as enumerated in the Constitution.
Sen. Sasse then commenced to expound on each of those four points and minced not one single word in his description of how and why the current imbalance of power has come to pass. His passionate, plain words may be the wake-up call our nation needs to restore common sense order and balance to our republic. I certainly pray it is!
That is why I beseech you, beg you, cajole you, double-dog dare you to watch, and more importantly, share the entire 11:50 minutes of this profound moment in history.
Listen, learn, and pass it on!
Also, check out this Schoolhouse Rock! “three-ring circus” video and others that Sen. Sasse references: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHp7sMqPL0g&list=PLPfU5m-w3Shp97HaB2Z9kzOmVSFC3SIhS