JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP AND HIS SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENT – HE LIKELY WILL GET IT DESPITE ITS FLYING IN THE FACE OF LEGITIMATE CONCERNS ABOUT VERY LATE APPOINTMENTS BEFORE AN ELECTION – IMPLICATIONS FOR HIMSELF, WHICH OF COURSE IN ALL THINGS COME FIRST FOR TRUMP – DESPITE HER INTELLIGENCE AND CHARMING SMILE, JUDGE BARRETT’S PAST STATEMENTS ON IMPORTANT MATTERS AND HER ASSOCIATION WITH A GROUP CALLED PEOPLE OF PRAISE, A SMALL CHARISMATIC AND SOMEWHAT SECRETIVE CATHOLIC GROUP THAT BELIEVES AMONG OTHER THINGS IN “SPEAKING IN TONGUES,” ARE CONCERNING – HER APPOINTMENT, ON TOP OF TWO OTHERS BY TRUMP, WILL FIX THE COURT’S DIRECTION FOR DECADES AND MAY WELL SECURE TRUMP’S RE-ELECTION – A MAN OF THE MOST QUESTIONABLE CHARACTER EVER TO HOLD HIS OFFICE IS GOING TO LEAVE AN INDELIBLE IMPRINT ON AMERICAN SOCIETY – THOUGHTS ON THE NATURE OF THE COURT, WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT SHOULD BE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS

 

“Democrats face limited options to prevent confirmation of Trump’s Supreme Court pick [Amy Coney Barrett]”

 

Trump will likely get his Supreme Court appointment. He actually has an attractive conservative candidate. She has intelligence and a charming smile.

And what that means that is so terrible is that he will likely get a second term as President.

He is doing everything he can think of to discredit and question the election.

Unless Biden receives a strong majority – something which seems unlikely since he arouses little enthusiasm – Trump will tear into the results and get the election tossed into the Supreme Court.

The existing Justices would likely split, four-to-four, as Trump himself has noted.

But with this appointment, Trump provides the tie-breaking vote, a brand-new Justice immensely indebted to him for a lifetime, prestigious office, an office it is known she has long desired.

The Chosen One” indeed.

A man of the most questionable character ever to hold his office – as demonstrated by his name-calling, divisiveness, dishonesty, and violence – is going to leave an indelible imprint on American society.

Three Court appointments and perhaps his own re-election.

It is like something from a bad dream. It’s not his being conservative. It’s his character. It is just littered with hatreds, aggression, and selfishness.

And the appointment comes when the country is rocked by difficulties.

As is the world, thanks in large part to his own destructive work.

 

NOTES

Apart from valid concerns around making a Court appointment just before an election, this nominee brings some concerning views and associations to the Court, views which are the polar opposite to those held by the late and widely-praised Justice Ginsburg.

Yes, Trump has the legal right to appoint a Justice, but legal rights exercised in the face of traditions and political civility are the stuff of division, and the division comes at a time of many painful divisions already in American society. But it is only what we have come to expect from Trump.

Judge Barrett is on record questioning the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare), legislation Trump has never stopped attacking. Obamacare was, as opposed to having created a genuine national healthcare system, perhaps no great achievement, but its destruction will hurt tens of millions of ordinary Americans. The Court previously upheld the Act, but Trump is still working to destroy it, his driving motivation being according to some, obsessive hatred for all things associated with Obama.

Judge Barrett has written about her conviction that life begins at conception. She has never spoken directly against “Roe versus Wade,” the historic Court decision that gave American women the right to chose an abortion, but she has written, negatively, that the decision used “judicial fiat” to create a framework for abortion and that it ignited a national controversy.

Judge Barrett is associated with a somewhat secretive, charismatic Catholic group called People of Praise that believes in “speaking in tongues” and is said to advocate sex only for married, heterosexual people, hardly surprising for devout Catholics. It considers abortion to be morally wrong though It enters into no policy matters on the subject. Members make a lifetime “covenant” to the organization after six years of association, and they pledge five percent of their income to support it. Some refer to the group as a cult.

Judge Barrett’s appointment will create a majority on the Court that will endure for decades.

As I said above, “A man of the most questionable character ever to hold his office – as demonstrated by his name-calling, divisiveness, dishonesty, and violence – is going to leave an indelible imprint on American society. Three Court appointments and perhaps his own re-election.”

 

NOTES ON THE NATURE OF AMERICA’S SUPREME COURT – WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT SHOULD BE

The basic problem with the kind of extremely conservative views often favored for the Supreme Court – what are often described, almost in religious terms, by the phrase, “original intent,”  is that the Court is reduced to a mere interpreter of words written nearly two and a half centuries ago, the words of the Constitution.

It is an almost conservative rabbinical role in offering guidance as to the authors’ intentions in ancient Scripture. That is a pretty thin and uncreative role at the center of a vast and dynamic society.

Yes, some of the words have been updated, but surprisingly few. It would be interesting to see a modern Court trying to deal with the “three-fifths of a person” rule the Founders settled on for setting each state’s representation, slaves being counted each as three-fifths of a person. Of course, the entire institution of slavery, violating every basic right and precept of the Constitution, the Court and its Justices managed pretty much to overlook for the best part of a century.

But America has modern situations which are just as perplexing and doubtful as slavery. As, for example, in the matter of war. All of America’s many modern wars are fought without what the Constitution so clearly calls for, a declaration of war by Congress. Not only that, but they are all wars of aggression, completely out of keeping with the sense of America’s Founding words and ideas. And what do you say of covert war and the kind of covert armies supplied by the CIA? Coups? Blockades? Assassinations?

How to any fair-minded person can any of that be lawful in an intellectual and legal and moral environment supposedly determined by the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence? It cannot, but America’s government has created all kinds of scholastic and arcane gobbledygook to make it seem so.

Secrecy in government is another such matter, as I’m sure many Founders would have understood, but they could not have imagined what would become the reality of America. How can you hold any kind of election when voters do not even know what is going on? You cannot. And America’s government today has enough secret documents to fill a fleet of ocean-going container ships.

It is plain to see that American society as a whole has outgrown the strictures of the Constitution, and a Court which concerns itself only with them is in many ways irrelevant to an advanced society.

Why can the American government play evil games like maintaining dark (torture) sites abroad, a situation violating every right and limit defined in the Constitution? The answer is given that the premises are not on American soil, and the prisoners are not entitled to American rights.

What a poor, threadbare answer that is. The agency and resources of American government are being used, yet somehow the Constitution and the Court have no application? In such matters, we see the basic hypocrisy of so much of American government. And the exalted pretenses of the Supreme Court are just that, pretenses.

Justices should be spokespeople for the Constitution’s best principles, able to overrule such foul disregard, but that is not an idea that anyone with power in America would support.

You will not find the face of modern America by reading the Constitution and other Founding documents. Not at all. So, it is a legitimate question how valuable a contribution is it to be mere interpreters of them?

Even absent the “original intent” philosophy, America’s Supreme Court is an inherently stolid and conservative institution, as demonstrated by a long history of supporting everything from slavery to unjust wars. It never really ventures much outside that identity, except in a very limited number of cases, as notably the Earl Warren Court of much of the 1950s and 1960s, but even there, the rulings that conservatives so hate are around a limited number of domestic social issues.

Even that “liberal” Court did not challenge the many terrible activities of government, and certainly ever since, the Court has even been far more restricted.

The Court is passive and reactive, judging only some of the limited number of matters brought to it. It should be proactive along certain lines, able to step into matters of clear abuse and illegality.

Justice Ginsburg, for all her admirable qualities and scholarship, might also be viewed as conservative in many matters, especially those around the American military and empire.

No one wants courts writing the law, but the Supreme Court is supposed to be a co-equal part in the American government and should have the freedom to exercise a sense of judgment beyond narrow interpretations of parchment. The realities of American politics, as seen in the operations of the Congress and the President, make it so.

But what role did the Supreme Court actually play? In addition to ruling that “corporations are people,” it ruled that “money is free speech.” It assumed the role of enabler, just as it did in the days of slavery. For it is without question the role of money, big money, that has reduced the Congress and Executive to what they are, servants of wealth who do not represent the country’s people.

However, that is not the kind of Supreme Court any of the powerful interests in Washington want to see, ever.

 

A LAST THOUGHT

Given that America’s population is roughly one hundred times the size what it was at the Founding, and given that the complexity of the society is now immeasurably greater, it is a very outmoded concept to have the Court defined as just nine justices in one city, Washington. There should be multiple branches of the Court, perhaps set up along regional or topical lines. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Posted September 29, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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