Opinion | A Justice Is Worth 1,000 Tweets

Democrats spent the week pelting Judge Amy Coney Barrett with gotcha questions designed to trap her into making their political points. The Supreme Court nominee refused to play their game, and kept her responses focused on what matters: her record, her philosophy, the big picture. It was a home-run performance, even as it was a closing lesson for the Trump campaign.

The previous week was tough for Donald Trump—because it was all about Donald Trump. The president’s coronavirus diagnosis allowed Joe Biden and the media to refocus on its favorite subject: the president’s persona. This week, by contrast, was good for Mr. Trump, because it was about something else—something that can help him win re-election. It wasn’t about his words; it was about his deeds.

On one level, the Barrett hearing was about the nominee. On another, it was a moment for the White House to highlight an overlooked fact: The president has largely fulfilled his campaign pledges, in particular on judicial nominations. Mr. Trump won over any number of uncertain voters in 2016 with a pledge to put qualified originalist judges on the federal courts. More than 200 appointments later—soon to include a third Supreme Court justice—voters this week were reminded that the stakes in this election transcend Mr. Trump’s tweets.

As important, the hearing was a visual riposte to the left’s wild claims. Democrats decried Judge Barrett as an extremist and a Trump crony who would corruptly serve the president’s interests. But roll the tape. Americans for three days watched a talented jurist answering complex questions without notes, expressing her love for her family and country, and promising her fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law.

It’s easy to cast an unknown nominee as a villain in some Trumpian plot; much harder to do so when a nominee speaks for herself, at length, and with conviction. A Politico/Morning Consult poll on the day Mr. Trump nominated Judge Barrett showed 37% of Americans thought she should be confirmed. The same poll this week saw an 11-point rise, with 48% in favor, 31% opposed and 21% with no opinion. Democratic support for Judge Barrett has doubled (from 14% to 27%) and independent support has grown 10 points (from 28% to 38%).