Greenport, New York
Environment | Hard news | Politics/Government
19 October 2020 07:59PM
Pat Goldsmith

Cory Booker is right: jamming a radical rightwing Supreme Court justice through a totally partisan nomination process while people are casting votes is NOT normal. It’s as brutal and violent as pulling out mailboxes and junking sorting machines, and serves the same purpose.

The Roberts court without Barrett has been a rightwing revisionist demolition derby—although it is always portrayed as somehow espousing a valid philosophy of law, even while it has: overturned federal campaign finance law settled for 100 years; gutted the 1965 Civil Rights Act; rolled back legislated worker and union rights to pre-New Deal levels; and steadily filed down reproductive rights. The Affordable Care Act is on the chopping block November 14.

With all the real pain caused by these radical reversals, the thing Justice Thomas finds unbearable is the “ruinous” effect marriage equality has had on religious liberty. Change “liberty” to “bigotry” and I’d agree.

Because Roberts surgically disembowels precedents, eliminating a clause here, a formula there, without bombastic philosophizing, he is accepted as neutral, but he is as effectively anti-democratic as the Grim Reaper himself, Mitch McConnell, perhaps more so.

Enter Amy Coney Barrett, who proposes to do Roberts one better by gutting actual constitutional amendments. She questions the legality of essential clauses of the 14th Amendment and its guarantees of birthright citizenship, equal protection under law, and due process—in short, the legal foundation of 150 years of post-slavery civil rights.

How do you swear an oath to uphold a Constitution you think is only partially legal? That’s not religious faith. That’s bad faith.

Barrett would make the third member of the court who worked for George Bush in some capacity on Bush v. Gore, the other two being Kavanaugh and Roberts. Below them, fully one third of the federal appeals courts are staffed with Trump judges. In the last 50 years, Democrats have seated four Supreme Court justices to Republicans’ 19. That isn’t an accident, it’s the result of manipulations, and it is wholly unacceptable. We’re facing the consequences now, with representative government hanging in the balance.

Barrett is a solid vote for whatever Trump and the GOP want. And Trump wants a judicial coup. Trump is calling for 50,000 citizen “poll watchers” to generate the grounds for a Supreme Court case. He intends to litigate a victory even if Joe Biden achieves a landslide win.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know that Trump will do anything to hold on to power.

Right now is a critical time. We need to get set. We need to do three things.

The first is: vote. Vote early and in person in order to avoid an election night red mirage that could be the pretext for a Bush v. Gore-style court intervention. Believe it or not, the illusion that Bush was ahead in Florida was the reason given by SCOTUS for stopping the vote count. We need that immediate landslide, in spite of the ongoing, open cheating.

Second, we need to see the Barrett nomination as the beginning of a Banana Republican attempt at a judicial coup. Our institutions are buckling. Senate Democrats did educate the public about Barrett’s fringe fanaticism, but it’s time to walk out on the full chamber vote—good practice for the type of action that will be necessary if the GOP is able to throw the election to SCOTUS. If Democrats can close down the Senate, so much the better.

Third, we need to commit to seeing any attempt to postpone the election, stop vote counting, or throw the election to the Supreme Court as a coup.

The Rochester AFL-CIO is calling for a general strike if Trump tries to steal the election. I second that motion. Trump is fomenting violence. He wants protesters in the street. What he doesn’t want is for business to shut down. So that’s what we need to do.

Learning from the 2000 selection, we the people must be out in front of the Democratic Party and the Biden campaign, not waiting for their direction. Time will be of the essence. Local leaders should be thinking about ways we can establish mutual aid to make a strike work.

Let’s work for the best outcome, plan for the worst, and organize to help each other through this perilous period.

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