After the third and final debate, it has become clear to me that Hillary Clinton is the more qualified, more professional, and more capable presidential nominee. Where Clinton demonstrated her deep understanding of values, politics, and the law, Trump demonstrated a commitment to conservative values, but no sense or understanding of the political and legal realm in which he is seeking the highest office.
To me, Clinton won the debate in the very first round on the topic of Supreme Court justices. When asked about her view of the Supreme Court and whom she might appoint to the Court, Clinton explained she believes the Court should stand up for Americans and protect their rights. It was clear that Hillary believes in liberal values, but she went into depth on her beliefs of what her values mean. Additionally, she acknowledged the other side when discussing guns: Clinton stated her support in the right to own and keep guns, in addition to her view that certain gun control measures were necessary. To the contrary, Trump boasted his conservative values several times. While he could not articulate what his conservative values included, beyond seemingly unrestricted gun rights and no rights to abortion, he made sure to emphasize his Supreme Court nominees would be strong conservatives too. His emphasis on conservatism in his nominees left me unsettled. At one point, Trump criticized Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg for her commentary on him. Trump is correct that a Supreme Court justice has no place to comment on candidates and express their opinions so publicly. What Trump failed to acknowledge, however, is that Justice Ginsberg was out of place because we believe our judges and justices should be unbiased and impartial. While it was fair for Trump to criticize a clearly partisan opinion from a justice, he contradicted himself when he emphasized his desire for a strongly conservative appointment to Scalia’s vacant seat. At one point he stated “I’m appointing pro-life judges.” Looking beyond his mere hypocrisy, it is clear to me that Trump does not understand how or why he is hypocritical, as he does not understand the values of impartiality in our courts; after all, Trump is the one who believed a judge ruling his case was biased because he of his “Mexican heritage.” In a broader sense, Trump is completely unaware of our legal and justice systems beyond his record of countless lawsuits.
It was also apparent that Trump was in over his head when he and Hillary were discussing gun rights and they brought up the landmark case of DC v. Heller. Hillary initially described the case and the ruling, and then discussed its significance with regard to gun restrictions and the second amendment. It was clear that Clinton understood the case and the broader scope of the issue, while it was equally clear that Trump had no idea what he was discussing. Trump’s language was vague and all he could say about DC v. Heller was it was that “it was a well-crafted decision” and “Hillary was extremely upset, extremely angry” about the ruling. Beyond those observations, Trump had little to discuss about the influential case.
Though Trump is allowed to hold conservative views, he cannot state that every justice he wil appoint will have a “conservative bent,” and will only be “pro-life.” I believe far more criteria must be taken into account when appointing a justice to the highest court in our country, and Trump scares me for his lack of understanding or lack of care for any such standards. Furthermore, I was left completely unimpressed by Trump’s ability to comment on a landmark case, especially one that is so crucial to the Second Amendment, for which he claims to be a champion. Whether or not you agree with Secretary Clinton’s ideology or platform, and whether or not you even trust her, you cannot deny that she is far more experienced and qualified to lead this country, and she has a far greater understanding of politics and law.