History books — if we are lucky enough to have them — will remember Kennedy as a piece of shit who helped lock in generations of conservative hate and bigotry into our highest offices.
They’ll remember him as a decent man who, after decades of defending people from hate and bigotry, retired at age 81 to spend time with his family, despite scurrilous attacks from people on the left who are not well versed on his legacy or their own civics lessons.
And if we are lucky enough to have history books, they will remember the millions of white Americans who pretended that they voted for Trump for anything other than protecting their own shares in White Supremacy.
Yes, I’m sure a good 3–5% of Trump voters voted for him for that reason.
They will remember how in a week where unions were dismantled, where bans on entire religious groups were reinforced, where gerrymandered districts were upheld….
Let’s chat about that, shall we?
We have a Constitution. In our legal system, the Constitution is the “final word” on what is permissible and what is not, as far as US law and policy is concerned. And the Constitution grants rights and protections to individuals, not groups of individuals (which is why identity politics is a doomed concept in the US, but let’s not digress.). Further, the Constitution outlines certain responsibilities of the Federal Government, and also outlines certain functions which must be left to the states.
First, the Justices did not dismantle unions; what they found was that the rights of the individuals in those unions superseded the needs of the unions. So, they found in favor of freedom; there is no law that places the needs of the unions ahead of the union members.
Secondly, it is clear from the Constitution that the states have the right to determine their own congressional districts. The Voting Rights Act states that there must be equitable minority representation, but does not intervene in the states’ ability to determine those districts. There is no law that permits the courts to intervene in the drawing of districts.
There’s a commonality you’ll notice in the last sentence of those paragraphs. It is THERE IS NO LAW. That’s important; we’ll come back to that.
Goddamnit if you are reading this and think I’m being overdramatic I NEED YOU TO PAY ATTENTION RIGHT FUCKING NOW because the groundwork for the destruction of our entire democracy has already been laid and the work has already started.
Here’s the irony:
What the left is hand-wringing about is the fact that the Courts, in the decisions mentioned, AND in all the things they are worried about regarding Kennedy’s successor, is not the destruction of democracy, but the return of democracy to these issues.
You see, when the SCOTUS “rules”, that’s not democracy, folks. That’s nine people in black robes telling us what we have to do and how to live. Democracy is when the Congress of the United States passes a law stating, by the will of the people, how we are to do things.
So, why was the SCOTUS able to rule against the unions? Because there has never been a law passed to the contrary. Why did they uphold the practice of gerrymandering? Because there has never been a law passed to the contrary. And why is it possible (unlikely, but possible) that Roe v Wade might be overturned? Because in the 45-odd years since Roe, this country has never had a vote on a law that would make abortion legally nationally.
Never. We’ve never had a vote. Let that sink in for a moment, and blame the people who need blaming. All politicians. Who are so damn lazy that they are willing to let the SCOTUS do their work for them.
And we the public are so twisted by now that we think that it’s the SCOTUS, not the Congress, that’s supposed to pass the laws. That’s not how it works, folks. If you feel strongly about something, do the hard effing work of convincing the citizens of the USA to agree with you; let’s stop depending on the SCOTUS to do it for us.
The worst part of most the decisions last week is that there were four justices who are so clueless that they think their jobs are to defend a preferred outcome, not uphold the law.
Our constitutional protections have been undermined, our vote has been diminished, our press marginalized and delegitimized, our checks and balances have been removed.
Just the opposite has occurred. Our constitutional protections have been clarified. The SCOTUS going forward is not going to be a buffer for preferred social outcomes; it’s going to follow the law. And if that prospect scares you, get the law changed.
Megan McArdle nailed this one today:
At some point, we have to realize that what we don’t like in politics is our fault. All of ours. Kids in cages? Our fault. SCOTUS rulings? Our fault. Because we didn’t do the hard work of convincing people to do otherwise.
But boy, were we good at griping about it, or what?