Political hacks out to destroy Supreme Court
As was widely reported, on Wednesday, December 1, the Supreme Court held oral arguments on the most direct threat to Roe v. Wade since the case was decided in 1973 by a vote of 7-2. At issue, a Mississippi anti-abortion law which would ban abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
That, by itself, is hugely important. The vast majority of American women have grown up believing that, under the Constitution, they have the right to control their own bodies. For that right to be suddenly ripped away after 48 years is not only morally wrong, it would classify all women as second-class citizens: not eligible for all the rights guaranteed under the Constitution, but only those rights men allow them to have.
But there's another issue at stake, not so widely reported. And that's the future of the Supreme Court itself. At Wednesday's hearing, only Justice Sonia Sotomayor dared raise that issue, by asking a powerful question in her opening statement that got to the heart of the real matter before the court: "Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?"
With all due respect to the good justice, she was too kind. I wish she'd taken the gloves off and said: "Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that members of the Supreme Court are just political hacks?" Because, no doubt about it, that's exactly what she meant and what's going on.
Why did Texas suddenly pass a law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant? Why did Mississippi follow with a law banning abortion after 15 weeks? Why have 12 states already adopted laws automatically making abortion illegal once the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade? And why is the Mississippi law even before the Supreme Court?
All for the same reason. Because, as anti-abortion zealots readily admit, "We're doing this because we have new justices on the Supreme Court." In other words, it's all about politics. As their comments during oral arguments indicate, there are now six justices who agree. They don't care about the Constitution, the law, or the credibility of the court. They're there to carry out the Republican Party agenda.
Clearly, Chief Justice John Roberts, together with holdovers Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, and Trump newcomers Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett care only about the political math. They finally have the numbers necessary to do what the Republican Party's been trying to do for the last 50 years and they're determined to do it, even if it undermines the independence of the nation's highest court.
This is, in fact, the final act in Donald Trump's relentless campaign to destroy our basic democratic institutions. He succeeded in undermining the Justice Department, the Congress, the Defense Department, the State Department, and the federal pardon process. Now his toadies are out to destroy the Supreme Court, ignoring the challenge posed by Justice Sotomayor: "If people believe it's all political, how will we survive? How will the court survive?"
Once again, Brett Kavanaugh proved he's the dumbest of the bunch, grandstanding on grounds that he didn't want to overturn Roe v. Wade, he just wanted to leave it up to states. "Why should the court be involved in this issue?" he asked. Why? Because that's the court's job, to make sure that basic constitutional rights are guaranteed to all citizens, and not subject to a patchwork of states. Without understanding that, Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the court.
If oral arguments are any indication, this court will overturn Roe v. Wade, or at least fatally gut it. And that's when the trouble starts. According to the latest CBS poll, 62 percent of Americans - 60 percent of all men; 65 percent of all women - believe the court should leave Roe v. Wade just the way it is. The last thing Americans want or need right now is a war over abortion. But that's just what Republicans have made inevitable. That's just what they've chosen as their number one issue for the 2022 mid-terms. And, like the dog that catches the car, they will rue the day.
Final note. There's really only one issue in any presidential campaign, yet it's the one least talked about. And that is: Who sits on the Supreme Court. If you ever needed a reminder of that truth, here it is.
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For House Republicans, anything goes - even murder!
Let the record show. On Dec. 2, 2010, Democratic Representative Charles Rangel was censured by the House of Representatives for a range of financial irregularities. The vote was 333-79, with 170 Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voting to condemn their own powerful chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
Let the record also show. On Nov. 17, 2021, the first censure vote since, Republican Representative Paul Gosar was censured by the House for posting an anime video in which he appeared to kill Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attack President Biden. The vote was 223-207, with only two Republicans, notably NOT including GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, voting to condemn one of their own.
The contrast between then and now shows how one political party has become bereft of any ethical or moral core, how consumed the Republican Party has become with total, blind, unbending partisanship, and how, under the feckless Kevin McCarthy, anything goes - even suggestions of murder!
In the history of the House, only 23 other Members have been censured, and Gosar deserved it as much as any other. How can he or anyone else defend posting a video in which he kills another Member of Congress and threatens the president of the United States? As Congresswoman Cheney - one of two Republicans, along with Congressman Adam Kinzinger, to vote for censure - told reporters, "This is not an issue about party. The glorification of the suggestion of the killing of a colleague is completely unacceptable." Republican or Democrat, Congress had no choice but to censure Gosar, Cheney noted: "I think that it's really important for us to be very clear that violence has no place in our political discourse."
The only thing remarkable about Gosar's censure is that it took so long. As CNN's Chris Cillizza reports, this is hardly the first time Gosar's stirred up controversy. He's known for his ties to white nationalist groups like Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and he actually spoke at an America First conference led by Holocaust-deniers in February 2021. After the violent white supremacy rally in Charlottesville in 2017, Gosar suggested the rally was actually organized by the left and funded by George Soros.
Then came January 6, when Gosar defended the terrorists who assaulted the U.S. Capitol as "peaceful protesters." No wonder. As Hunter Walker reported in Rolling Stone, according to several organizers of the insurrection, Gosar told them ahead of time that, after speaking personally to Donald Trump, he could guarantee them a "blanket pardon" for whatever havoc they caused at the Capitol.
In response to an avalanche of criticism, Gosar briefly took down his offending video. But he never apologized for it. And, in fact, in a giant "F-You" to the House of Representatives, re-posted the video immediately following his censure.
Gosar's so far off the rails that in 2018, six of his nine siblings actually appeared in a TV ad endorsing his Democratic opponent. But, no matter how odious his actions are to his own family, Gosar still has the undying love and support of cowardly Kevin McCarthy.
Indeed, the only thing more disgusting than Gosar's violence-laced video is McCarthy's failure to deal with it. McCarthy said he had a "conversation" with Gosar about the video, but refused to condemn it. Which, we now know, is par for the course for McCarthy. He's so determined to become Speaker of the House someday that he'll defend actions of any Republican, no matter how outrageous.
McCarthy still supports Matt Gaetz, even though he encouraged members of America First to shoot Silicon Valley executives over their alleged suppression of conservative votes. He defends Lauren Boebert, despite a string of hate-speech, most recently calling Congresswoman Ilhan Omar a "jihad squad member." He's never condemned Mo Brooks for appearing at the January 6 rally on the Ellipse and encouraging Trumpers "to start taking down names and kicking ass."
And, according to her, McCarthy's promised to give back nutty QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene all her committee assignments, even though she once endorsed violence against Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, insists an airplane never hit the Pentagon on September 11, and alleged that a space laser started the California wildfires to benefit a Jewish bank.
Ironically, the only Republicans who may face disciplinary action are those 13 brave Members who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It's Kevin McCarthy's new rule: You can't vote for new roads and highways to help the people of your district, but you can suggest killing your fellow Members. God help us!
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