Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Courting Disaster

Let’s hope readers enjoyed Independence Day. It might be the last one to which the name applies.

In the same way that Trump discovered he could ignore the Constitution at will, the Federalist Society’s hand-picked, McConnell-stolen Supreme Court has come to realize they can rule however they wish, precedent and consistency be damned. On parchment anyway, there are restrictions on executive power; but there are practically none on them. Trump et mob ignored the quilled rules and did so with impunity; because there are few that apply to them, the Six Injustices realized that, in practice, they have nothing to ignore.

They’re the dog who caught the car. Except they know exactly what to do with it: chew it up, leaving a smoking (coal smoke) ruin. Why, for example, isn’t same-sex marriage covered under the Fourteenth Amendment? Because Clarence Thomas says so. There are five others.

The Constitution isn’t silent on SCOTUS overreach. Per Article III, Section 2: “[T]he Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” In other words, if it had the will, which it doesn't, Congress could limit what sort of cases the Court can hear; starting, perhaps, with obvious conflicts of interest, like Thomas protecting his insurrectionist wife, Barrett favoring “Americans for Prosperity,” which spent $1 million on her candidacy, Gorsuch siding with Penguin Random House, who’d published his book. The liberal justices aren’t squeaky clean, either. 

It’d be a start. And the rules should be unambiguous, unlike the meaning of separation in the First and militias in the Second Amendment, both of which the current Court seems bent on re-writing. Though impossible in the current climate (was that a pun?), what’s needed is reigning in such destructive decisions as removing EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. Their rationale was made of thin, if polluted, air: Congress, they said, couldn’t possibly have meant to give it the authority it gave. It will apply to other agencies, too. The Justi are there because of money from polluters. Why else would they take the case? 

Equally ominous, because democracy is dying as fast as the planet, is their choice to hear a case, next session, involving state legislatures’ right to make their own rules for voting in national elections, not subject even to state judicial review. Who doubts the outcome? Equal voting access? One person, one vote? Not anymore. Meanwhile, honest election workers are quitting, under ugly threats from Trumpists, replaced with big-lie believers. Death’s door is wide open. 

That our democratic republic is now incapable of effective governance has become undeniable; what comes next, also undeniable, is frightening to contemplate. For the first two-hundred years, most Americans and their chosen representatives maintained some version of good faith, so the founding flaws hadn’t been fatal.

In particular, the minority-power-tilted Senate, where, because of Mitch McConnell and a couple of spineless Democrats, the non-constitutional filibuster has tilted that power even further; the Electoral College, which allows losers of the popular vote to become “president” and then to appoint judges hand-picked for their anti-democratic views. Compromises, the impact of which wasn’t foreseen. Our founders couldn’t have predicted millions of Foxotrumpified voters. Or modern weapons of war doled out to civilians like Mardi Gras beads.

Those now-outdated constructs had the potential, from conception, for abuse by politicians of ill will. Good fortune, if that’s what it was, kept it at bay till the era of Ronald Reagan. His grinning “government is the problem” and the people that followed -- Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, Tom Delay – began the beginning of the end, hastened now by the current congressional crew of conspiratorial con-artists, too numerous to mention. And capo de tutti capo, Mitch McConnell. Trump is merely the final beneficiary of the fall; inevitable at the founding, irreversible since the 1970s.

Whether majority or minority leader after November’s midterms, Mitch McConnell will never allow constraints on the far-right, ideological court; his proudest achievement. To him and his party, the Constitution is an arcane museum piece, whose relevance is purely situational. When it comes to a national ban on abortion, if he’s in charge, the non-constitutional filibuster will evaporate like Donmikerudy’s proof of election fraud. And the Court will approve.

On his censorious, weirdly-named “Truth Social” website, Trump wrote, “We are truly a nation in decline;” the only truth he’s ever told. The reasons are his unending election lies and the unreachable people who continue to believe him, representatives of whom leave (fair warning) vile, obscene, NSFW messages on Republican January 6 committee-member Adam Kinzinger’s office phone, calling from the basket


  1. The pendulum goes this way and that, stoked in both directions.
    How's the saying go (?) "Revenge is a Bitch".
    And in the meantime, the 99% suffer.
    And the 1% just needs to buy a bigger calculator.

  2. I'd like to see Biden step aside. We need to start replacing relics who refuse to fight with fighters who refuse to lay down.


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