Two hundred forty-six years ago today America declared its independence and a few years later with the adoption of the Constitution became a republic (think: representative democracy). That basically means that the majority rules. Today the America I know is in jeopardy because of an out of control Supreme Court that is openly defying the will of the vast majority of the people and is working to take them out of the equation. In recent weeks the outcry against the Court has been large and vocal. I maintain that their most dastardly deed went somewhat unexplored except in very liberal circles. That is the main subject of today’s article and the biggest political story of the week just passed.
Unless you have been in a coma lately you are familiar with many of the outrageous opinions this court has handed down as it wrapped up the current session. I’m not going to rehash them here. I want to focus on one day, last Thursday. Progressives were all abuzz because that afternoon Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in replacing the retiring Stephen Breyer. That was the good news; the bad overshadowed it by lightyears!
That morning the Court handed down its last two opinions. One dealt an irrational blow to the EPA. Basically, it said that the Environmental Protection Agency, which was created by an act of Congress, lacked congressional authorization to police the environment and that any specific action needed to be uniquely and specifically authorized by Congress. If you followed that “logic”, any agency of the federal government couldn’t act within its congressional mandate unless it had specific congressional authorization for each action. Obviously, you can’t run a massive government like ours that way. That is the Fascist Five’s (Alito, Barrett, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Thomas) intention. They want to cripple the federal government and hijack what remains. Remember they are essentially anti-government.
The other opinion announced that day was hailed as a victory for the progressive side and in the short run it will be. Essentially the Court ruled that the President has the right to set immigration policy. Here is the factor to consider, the Fascist Five isn’t planning on being out of control of the White House for much longer. Their “quiet action” made that clear.
The vast majority of cases (around 90%) that are presented to the Court are never even heard. In a largely ignored message, Thursday the Court announced it would be hearing a case out of North Carolina (Moore v Harper) that wants to allow state legislatures to redistrict (read: gerrymander) in any manner they want even if it is outwardly racial and violates that state’s own constitution. By extension, if you give state legislatures total control over elections what is to prevent those gerrymandered and therefore unrepresentative of the vote legislatures from overruling the vote of the people and award the state’s electors in a presidential election to the candidate of their choice not the voters’ choice? Democracies – and we are still one, albeit an endangered one – die from within. What better way to undermine democracy than to render voting moot?
Moore v Harper is the natural extension of the Republican Redmap project which was the brainchild of Republican operative Chris Jankowski and the basis of the 2010 midterm strategy known as the Redistricting Majority Project of taking the “low hanging fruit” of state legislative seats. Most Americans don’t know who their state rep or state senator is. The idea is that if you control the states you can control everything and that state elections are relatively cheap and largely “fly under the radar”.
A textbook fascist move is to either gain control of the courts or neutralize them. The radical right has pretty much achieved that goal. Even if somehow – and it is still possible – we retain our representative democracy, the McConnell-Trump courts (to be fair it started before them) will be there to throw sand in the gears for decades to come.
The best thing I can say about the current Supreme Court is that this session is over. The scariest thing is that they reconvene in October. If this isn’t a case of legislating from the bench I don’t know what is. The Fascist Five cares nothing about the law, including the Constitution, the English language, democracy, America or its people. We have celebrated 246 anniversaries of our independence from tyrannical rule. How many more we have is an open question. Today enjoy it while you can and starting tomorrow do something(s) to defend it.
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