Match­ing the supreme pet­ti­ness of old white men

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Don­ald Trump nom­i­nat­ing to the U.S. Supreme Court a judge who col­leagues and le­gal ob­servers char­ac­ter­ize as a stricter con­struc­tion­ist than An­tonin Scalia is the first re­lief I’ve felt since the elec­tion. When the pres­i­dent sum­moned his fi­nal­ists to the White House for a Sashay/Shante cer­e­mony, a part of me was ex­pect­ing Trump, whose lone po­lit­i­cal skill is show­man­ship, to an­nounce that in­stead of ei­ther of the two named can­di­dates, his nom­i­nee for the high court would be Mills Lane, who showed “tremen­dous” poise and ju­rispru­dence ref­er­ee­ing the match in which Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evan­der Holy­field’s ear.

With ev­ery mo­ment of Trump’s first three weeks as pres­i­dent trapped be­tween in­com­pe­tence and in­san­ity, the se­lec­tion of 10th U.S. Cir­cuit Court Judge Neil Gor­such was sur­pris­ingly re­as­sur­ing, even if Gor­such be­lieves cor­po­ra­tions have a more le­git­i­mate claim to per­son­hood than women and free blacks.

Gor­such’s views on LGBT or re­pro­duc­tive rights are ir­rel­e­vant to me, since I doubt he will get a chance to con­sider those is­sues be­fore ar­bi­trat­ing con­sti­tu­tional crises that de­ter­mine the sur­vival of our repub­lic. Though Gor­such may be a con­ven­tional pick, the man who picked him re­mains delu­sional and dan­ger­ous, so per­haps we could do worse than hav­ing a new Supreme Court jus­tice who be­lieves the con­sti­tu­tion is more static than the Bi­ble (the Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports Gor­such at­tends “a no­tably lib­eral church”).

The above might be con­sid­ered the lib­eral case for Gor­such, ex­cept I also know that steal­ing has con­se­quences. No mat­ter how up­stand­ing and qual­i­fied he may be, Gor­such ought to be treated like the most sig­nif­i­cant theft-by-re­ceiv­ing de­fen­dant our ju­di­cial sys­tem has ever tried.

If con­ser­va­tives can pre­tend there’s a rule (or even im­pli­ca­tion) that pres­i­dents can’t name a Supreme Court nom­i­nee in the fi­nal year of their term, Democrats need to pre- tend that pres­i­dents who didn’t win the pop­u­lar vote are pro­hib­ited from mak­ing life­time ap­point­ments. It’s time to be as petty as those who rode petu­lance to con­gres­sional ma­jori­ties and the White House.

Progressives’ pow­er­less­ness in Wash­ing­ton makes stop­ping Gor­such’s as­cen­sion nearly im­pos­si­ble, but the next pres­i­dent of the United States will be the sen­a­tor who de­vises po­lit­i­cal guer­rilla war­fare in de­fense of our con­sti­tu­tion, and to avenge the ir­rev­er­ence defe­cated upon our last pres­i­dent. The GOP hav­ing its first nom­i­nee for the seat con­firmed would be a dis­gust­ing con­tin­u­a­tion of this coun­try’s defin­ing his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive: white men steal­ing with im­mu­nity.

Pet­ti­ness has strate­gic value be­yond re­venge, as the Supreme Court is the with­ered strand that keeps oth­er­wise de­cent con­ser­va­tives at­tached to the Trump train, folks who would be so glut­tonously sat­is­fied hav­ing Gor­such on the Supreme Court that they would con­tinue to ig­nore the omi­nous ex­pres­sions of Trump’s (white) na­tion­al­ism. Th­ese con­ser­va­tives will be irate at the ob­struc­tion­ism it takes to stop Gor­such, but in­stead of hav­ing cover to fo­cus on his more ex­treme schemes, Trump will have more time to prove what an in­com­pe­tent im­per­son­ator of a pres­i­dent he is, and an eight-mem­ber court can hear the first con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis. Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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