Political Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Recently, Amy Coney Barrett, the latest justice appointed to the Supreme Court, gave a speech, the goal of which she claimed was “to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.” Thanks to Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, she is facing an uphill battle if she really wants to convince us that this is true.
Trump turned the judicial system political. The idea of our government is that the three branches (legislative, executive and judicial) should be independent to provide a means of checks and balances for each other. This is how the Constitution was written, so if Congress writes a piece of legislation that the president thinks is wrong, the president can veto it. If the legislation is overturned (requiring a supermajority in Congress), then the Judicial branch can invalidate it if the legislation is a violation of the constitution.
Unfortunately, the legislative branch under Mitch McConnell aligned with Trump, rather than overseeing his actions. This side of the checks and balances became warped to become the executive branch and the executive branch cheerleaders. Once the alignment was cemented, Trump turned to get the judicial branch in line.
He fired experienced leaders of the judicial arms and replaced them with inexperienced cronies loyal to him. If these people didn’t say what he wanted, he fired his own appointees in the search of those who would. As for the Supreme Court, thanks to Mitch McConnell, he aligned the justices with his opinion as well.
Mitch McConnell sat on President Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, for months claiming that the upcoming election was too close to allow the president to make a lifelong appointment. The interesting thing is that while Garland leaned left, he was centrist enough that many Republican representatives thought he was a good choice. McConnell, in an action that is arguably a violation of his Constitutional responsibilities, stole this position from President Obama and handed it to Trump who pushed Neil Gorsuch through as his first Supreme Court appointee.
Trump’s second Supreme Court justice is Brett Kavanaugh. It’s impossible to argue this position was stolen as it did happen square in Trump’s term. Brett barely made it through his nomination hearings because of highly questionable actions, including allegations of sexual assault and drunkenly behavior, making the choice questionable even if the right to nominate is not. He was, after all, appointed, but only among highly partisan lines.
Weeks before the election that President Biden won (legitimately despite ongoing allegations by Trump), McConnell showed his hypocritical nature (as did the entire Republican party who participated) by pushing one final nomination through Congress even though the election was much closer than the one he said was the reason he wasn’t allowing President Obama to nominate. Amy Coney Barrett was successfully placed on the court, his third pick, despite concerns that many of her decisions on lower courts were based on her own personal religious convictions rather than law, including her stance against a woman’s right of choice.
Now, Amy is trying to convince us that the Supreme Court is not political. This despite the fact that a third of the court was appointed by Trump himself, and despite the fact that politics stole one of the seats in the first place. There is no doubt that she is under fire because of her publicly disclosed opposition to a woman’s right of choice, and the Supreme Court refusal to hear a case on the new Texas legislation that removes that right in a highly questionable manner by setting up vigilante style enforcement.
The people should be able to trust the government, but we don’t. We never trusted Congress to put law above their personal politics, and we certainly don’t trust the president to act with integrity. We did trust the Judicial branch, at least at the Supreme Court level. That trust is now severely damaged, thanks to justices like Amy. How can we believe that the court is not political, when the justices owe their allegiance to their nominating party? It’s not a coincidence that fully one third of the court was appointed by Trump, including Amy, only to have them give tacit approval to Texas and its war on women. This was fully anticipated, and now more states are planning on following the Texas lead.
I have no solutions to offer. McConnell, despite repeated highly questionable and potentially treasonous acts, continues to be put in office by Kentucky voters. Trump continues to be supported by a majority of Republicans who repeat and amplify his big lie claims. Ultimately, I guess I’m just venting, and weeping for our country.