For 50 years or more, Charles Koch and his affiliated far right friends have been steadily pushing for judges with similarly extreme views to be appointed to federal courts in the US, especially the Supreme Court. They created a thing called the Federalist Society, which is a sly misnomer, as its purpose is to inculcate an anti-federalist mind set in its members.
The Society hand-picks prospective judges who exhibit the correct amount of fealty to right wing ideology in much the same way professional sports team scour the hinterlands looking for young talent. It then assists them to gain acceptance to the right law schools where their conservative credentials can be carefully molded. Later, it makes certain they are offered positions with the right law firms and sprinkled with plum clerkships where they can build their careers.
It puts them on a glide path to success, but always with the understanding that at some point, maybe in the far distant future, they will be expected to reward their supporters with critical votes on important cases that tilt the legal playing field in favor of their benefactors. One can almost imagine a reprise of a scene in The Godfather in which Don Corleone rewards someone, but warns that at some unknown point in the future, that person will be expected to return the favor at the Don’s request.
Throughout their career, obstacles are moved aside for them, appointments come available to them, their financial needs are always met, and they are carefully integrated into the greater Right Wing ethos. They are pampered, praised, coddled, told they are brilliant and, of course, after a lifetime of this, they begin to believe all the praise that is heaped upon them. It’s a little like the comment once made about George W. Bush — “He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”
It should not escape our attention that every one of the sitting conservative justices on the US Supreme Court today are beneficiaries of the special privileges bestowed by the Federalist Society.
I always tell people that the most important consequence of any election is how it affects the makeup of the Supreme Court. Presidents, senators, representatives come and go like the Shakespearean actor who “struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.”
The proof of this was made manifest in 2000 when John Roberts and his henchmen illegally interrupted the counting of ballots in Florida, put Bush in the White House and consigned Al Gore to the dustbin of history. The consequence of that one vote was a botched war in Afghanistan, a million casualties in Iraq, and a devastating global financial crisis that wiped out the savings of millions. Charles Koch must have been licking his lips and pumping his fist in the air with glee to see such wonders while he was still alive to savor them.
The tragedy of Donald Trump is not his ineffectual trade war with China or his border wall that Mexico was going to pay for. The tragedy is that this buffoon, this shithole president, got to appoint not one, not two, but three Federalist Society darlings to the Supreme Court. Newly energized, the Court wasted no time in riding roughshod over 50 years of legal precedent in an attempt to bestow the rewards their benefactors expected of them.
Fired by the virulent Catholic dogma of Sam Alito and bolstered by the newly loquacious Clarence Thomas, the court fairly scintillated with joy as it swept aside Roe Vs. Wade, which of course was what they were tasked with doing when they were appointed. Like communist sleeper cells, they were hiding in plain sight, just waiting for the stars to align so they could honor their masters’ wishes.
Thanks to Alito, a virulent form of Catholicism that has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ is now the mandated religion of America. Sudden Sam, so filled with pride that he finally got his way, seemed incapable of understanding that Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Protestants, or people of any other religious beliefs should have their views respected. He gleefully obliterated the establishment clause of the First Amendment and in so doing declared every uterus in America to be under the exclusive control of the government.
Amy Looney Barrett, herself of product of a religious cult, was proud to add her own uterus to government supervision as part of the deal with the Devil she made to secure her own seat on the Court.
Clarence the Clown gleefully embraced the new dogma and used it to question whether it could be extended to prohibit contraception, a high tech lynching of normal judicial behavior if there ever was one. There seems to be nothing the Court has endorsed in the past 70 years that Thomas agrees with.
Even Brown vs. Board of Education may be up for negotiation in his twisted mind and the idea that he would approve a return to the dark days of “separate but equal” as enunciated in the hugely embarrassing Plessy vs. Ferguson decision of 1896 is not beyond the realm of possibility. One can only wonder if might support the return of anti-miscegenation laws — provided he was exempt, of course.
The Supreme Court & The Red Tidal Wave
Now that the election is over and the dust has settled a bit, Republicans have woken to find the red tidal wave they expected never materialized. In fact, they had the worst showing in an off-year election in modern history. And they can thank the Supreme Court for that.
According to the New York Times, “Concerns over abortion rights helped Democrats win in crucial states.” In Virginia, Minnesota, New Mexico, and elsewhere, abortion rights emerged as a driving force in the midterm elections, helping Democrats win ballot measures, governor’s races, and House seats.
The Times reports that voters in three states — California, Vermont, and highly contested Michigan — protected abortion rights in their state constitutions. In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell’s home state, voters rejected an anti-abortion amendment.
In several states where the future of abortion rights rested on the outcomes of state legislative and governor’s races, voters said the issue was pivotal, according to exit polls conducted by TV networks and Edison Research. In Pennsylvania, abortion overtook the economy as the top issue on voters’ minds. Democrats there won a Senate race, critical to their hopes of maintaining a Senate majority, as well as the governor’s mansion, and they seemed poised to flip control of the State House of Representatives.
In Michigan, where nearly half of voters said abortion was their top issue, Democrats won both chambers of the Legislature and re-elected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, giving the party a trifecta of power for the first time in 40 years.
A big thank you to Charles Koch and the Federalist Society for overplaying their hand. Because of their implacable opposition to Roe Vs Wade and support for government mandated birth, all they hoped to gain was lost in the midterm elections. Which means America’s commitment to renewable energy and addressing the climate emergency in an adult fashion will move forward and not be undone by a fractious opposition led Congress.
In the words of an old adage, “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Were it not for the arrogance of Sam Alito and his determination to shove his religious views down the throats of all Americans, the midterms might have seen that red tidal wave everyone was talking about. Maybe someday on your way to work, Sam, you could look up at the words carved into the granite above the main entrance: “Equal Justice Under Law.” This is a concept you seem to be unacquainted with, which calls into question your fitness for the position you hold.
So thank you, Sam, for being such a venial servant to the heirs of the John Birch Society. Without you, this election season would have been very different. Please continue to overplay your hand. We’re all counting on you to not learn from this debacle or develop a soul. You and your co-conspirators are the best weapon in the Democratic arsenal for the future.
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