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Friday, October 30, 2020

The Supreme Court Is Packed...

The Supreme Court Is Packed...

...with illegitimate Justices. Six of them, in fact. Let’s review:

Amy Coney Barrett, with no trial experience and only 3 years behind the bench, was confirmed within days of a general election by the same Republican Senate majority which refused to even hold hearings for Merrick Garland, nominated 10 months before the last general election. The excuse then was that it was an election year and the American people should get to decide who gets to pick the next Supreme Court Justice. It was a hollow, unprecedented excuse that everyone knew would be abandoned as soon as it became expedient. Mitch McConnell stuck with his anti-democratic strategy, a Supreme Court seat was left vacant for almost a year so that the popular Democratic President couldn’t fill it, and then that seat was filled/stolen by a Republican President who'd lost the popular vote. This year Senate Republicans pretended that never happened by rushing through that aforementioned last-minute confirmation hearings for Barrett — who was stunningly even less forthcoming in her job interview than the petulant Brett Kavanaugh — in record time,   giving new meaning to the term October Surprise.

Before that we had the sudden retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy which created an opening on the court for Kavanaugh, whose hundreds of thousands of dollars in mysterious debts were paid off by an equally mysterious secret benefactor. A Supreme Court Justice with little experience to speak of and hundreds of thousands of dollars of potential leverage held over him should never have been appointed, let alone given a hearing, let alone confirmed. If a college basketball referee was discovered to be deeply in debt, then just before s/he was about to become an NBA referee was suddenly no longer in debt with no obvious means to have eliminated that debt, s/he would not be considered for the job without disclosing where that money came from. Apparently that common-sense standard is too onerous for a Supreme Court nominee entrusted with protecting the Constitution.

Kavanaugh proceeded to sneer, whimper, dissemble, and yell his way through his job interview exhibiting extreme paranoid, partisan, unhinged behavior daily. He was openly disrespectful of the Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee, accusing them of the very partisanship he was spewing all over the hearings, going so far as to threaten retribution for perceived slights. Political retribution. From a Supreme Court Justice. Who is supposed to be 100% apolitical. He was confirmed by the narrowest margin in the history of the court, 50-48, and just this week released an opinion riddled with errors factual, contextual, and legal, misrepresenting citations, showing that not only is he temperamentally unfit for the job and anything but apolotical, he is also professionally inept.

Before Kavaugh there was Neil Gorsuch who sits in a seat stolen from a highly qualified moderate jurist who never even got a hearing based on the previously discussed subversion of senate rules, a premise that was tossed aside as soon as it had served its 100% partisan purpose, the aforementioned “it’s an election year, the American people should get to decide who chooses the next Justice.” In a leadership reign marked by hypocrisy so rank we kinda need a new word for it, Garland/Barrett will be remembered as the A-side and B-side of Mitch McConnell’s greatest hit of his Senate comity-destroying record.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and heartless right wing nut job Samuel Alito sit on the court only...only...because of one of the most shameful pre-Trump moments in American Supreme Court history: the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, in which the Court changed its mind about continuing to count uncounted ballots. The Court provided no solid reasoning behind this seismic decision and in so doing stole the presidency from the guy who won the popular vote and had just served as the VP of an outgoing president with a 65% approval rating. The guy the Court selected instead nominated Roberts and Alito, making their appointments illegitimate.

Before that we had Clarence Thomas. Setting aside the sexual harassment charges (which should have been disqualifying on their own), Thomas clearly lied about his views repeatedly to the Senate Judiciary Committee, in part by excusing writings with his byline as having been penned by others (as if his signature on the documents had no meaning). Thomas was confirmed by a then-record slim margin of 52-48; I wonder if he congratulated Kavanaugh for breaking his record.

All six conservative justices are tainted and behaving as partisan actors on behalf of the extremist Koch/Heritage Foundation agenda. After years of complaining about liberal activist judges it is clear that those crocodile tears were projection — that’s what the Republicans were planning once they had stacked the deck. The Supreme Court is now an activist arm of the Republican Party, and with the ballot counting decisions handed down this week they have made it clear: no precedent is safe, and they (Kavanaugh in particular) will go so far as to make shit up to undermine stare decisis. To be fair Roberts has bucked this trend on occasion, but the trajectory remains clear: the illegitimate Court majority has embarked on a course to radically remake American jurisprudence for the benefit of the minority party (and secret benefactors)  whose know-nothing vulgarian sociopathic standard bearer with hiring skills proven to be lacking in the extreme appointed 3 of them.

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