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Verdict’s in on judicial ads – they stink

Whether you’re Democrat, Republican or Exhaustipated (too tired of politics to give a s–t), I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: The recent unexpected barrage of political ads was “too soon.”

The one good thing about the election being over was that we wouldn’t have to endure those endless ads, full of distortions and quotes so sketchy they might as well have been attributed to “drunk woman at Waffle House at 6 p.m.”

Yes, the day after the election, there was one cause for celebration unifying all sides: no more annoying political ads clogging the TV, radio, internet and print media.

Then along came Gorsuch. I don’t remember ever seeing a series of ads campaigning for a spot on the Supreme Court. It seemed, well, tacky. I get TV jurist Judge Joe Brown endorsing a malpractice law firm with the familiar faux concern of “Have you, or has someone you know, been injured on the job?” But the sleek political ads beseeching us to call our reps in Congress to ask them to support Neil Gorsuch’s nomination seemed untoward. To treat a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land in much the same manner you might advertise a law firm that will help a meth-addicted person wrench a disability check from Ruby Tuesday’s after falling off some scaffolding, is disappointing at best. Decorum, y'all.

As it turned out, Judge Gorsuch, who clearly has no shucks left to give after an Opie-esque performance at his confirmation hearing, didn’t need anyone to call on his behalf.

There was no need for an ad campaign because, as one of my more faithful detractors reminded me on confirmation day: “Gorsuch will get in because we will just use the nu-cu-lar option.” Yes, only grammar loses when we use the “nucular” option and, really, who cares about that except maiden ladies wearing vanilla extract behind their ears and dreamily awaiting the appearance of a gentleman caller in the parlor.

The Gorsuch campaign ads were sponsored by a number of different groups with skin in the game, so to speak. The NRA predictably paid for air time, as did Trump’s “Make America Regret the Day It Was Ever Born” fundraising arm (What? That’s not the real name?) While there’s nothing illegal about any of that, it’s icky. And haven’t we all had enough icky lately? The only thing that would have made these political ads for the Supreme Court even tackier would’ve been Kylie Jenner handing a Pepsi to Neil Gorsuch while a golden retriever smiled up at the two of them.

While many fret about which Gorsuch will show up on the bench – thoughtful centrist or rightwing crazy pants – I think we have more pressing concerns. To be blunt, we have three middle-to-left leaning judges that are old as baseball. Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer have to stay healthy and hydrated or we could be looking at a Supreme Court as crazy as a soup sandwich. Think about it.

Rivenbark is a long-time weekly columnist for The Sun News and the Tribune News Service.

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