|Dead Russian tank|
Being that there is a minor pause in hostilities, this week's outrage centers on SCOTUS. This is a two-part outrage, both of which speak to the dystopian dysfunction of our government. While both should be horrifically shocking, neither is. And that's the scary part.
I watched a good deal of the confirmation hearings for sitting federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Notice the italics there? The nominee is currently a sitting federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2021. In other words, she was confirmed with bipartisan support for that bench, and as such, she is to be treated with the same respect as any other seated judge whether or not you like her. I thought the woman was incredibly unflappable. Her responses were thoughtful and without rancor even when challenged by GOP senators. However, Senator Ted Cruz was an embarrassment to the chamber with his screed that prevented her from answering his questions. If he disagreed with her, great. Fine. But for G-d's sake, let her talk. All that man did was prove to the nation and the world watching that he was an imbecile of the first order. Not that it was news, but his behavior more closely resembled that of a toddler than a person elected to high office in this country. The whole video is disheartening, but you can skip over to about minute 20 to watch the really big fireworks.
Is there any wonder as to why ethically and morally centered people have no wish to enter the realm of public service? The threat of public evisceration alone would be enough to scare off sane people. Our government is no longer about We, the People; it's about LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! I'm pretty sure when they name this epoch, it's going to be the Narcissistic Age.
So if the purpose of the court is to be the last bastion of the separation of powers in our so-called checks'n'balances government, the increasing politicalization of the court doesn't just simply undermine the function of SCOTUS, it puts paid to the notion of impartiality before the law. I'm not implying the sins of the GOP are the only sins to be counted; there is plenty of blame to be spread between both parties. But the impossibility of civil discourse in the hearings does not bode well for We, the People.
We, the People, have long counted on that separation of powers coupled with impartiality. I know some people claim the politicalization of the process began with President Reagan's nomination of Robert Bork, considered by many to be an ideological extremist. Senator Edward Kennedy's condemnation of Bork's record was extreme, but it did the job of keeping him off the court:
Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.
America is a better and freer nation than Robert Bork thinks. Yet in the current delicate balance of the Supreme Court, his rigid ideology will tip the scales of justice against the kind of country America is and ought to be.
The damage that President Reagan will do through this nomination, if it is not rejected by the Senate, could live on far beyond the end of his presidential term. President Reagan is still our President. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate, and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and on the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.
Bork would later go on to say nothing in that speech was accurate, but it was a moot point; his nomination was defeated by a vote of 42 for but 58 against his confirmation.
Things haven't been too smooth since then, but the debacle of Merrick Garland reigns supreme in congressional malfeasance, courtesy of Mitch (Yurtle the Senatorial Turtle) McConnell. And oh, he just continues to live up to his grotesque reputation.
While you're paying no attention to the bull-oney behind the curtains, SCOTUS ain't that sparkly clean. In the last week, it has come to light that Ol' Ginni Thomas, wife of the sex offender justice Clarence Thomas, has been advocating for the overthrow of the government of the United States. Seems Ol' Ginni, herself a lawyer, had a chain of emails with then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging him to work to overturn the election.
Let’s be clear: Ginni Thomas’s texts themselves aren’t the issue. Yes, her argument that “Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History” is deluded. Biden won the 2020 election. But she has a right to her views, same as anyone else.
The problem lies in a late November message to Meadows in which Thomas refers to a reassuring conversation with her “best friend.” It’s hard not to read that as a reference to her husband — who once described their partnership as “equally yoked.”
First, as even Portman admitted, “if a case comes before [Thomas] that’s exactly on point, … that might be an issue where he would think about” recusal. Of course, such a case already has come before the court: In January, Thomas was the lone dissenter when the high court rejected former president Donald Trump’s efforts to block the release of administration records related to Jan. 6. Did Thomas dissent knowing — or suspecting — that his wife’s text messages might be among those records?
|Cute couple, eh?|