The architect of this fresh American madness should take his rightful bows today, deep and from the waist. And it's not Donald Trump, whose grasp of advanced legal concepts is only that he can't be restrained by them.
Senator Mitch McConnell is the man of this stroke-of-midnight hour, in which the Supreme Court is apparently primed to obliterate half a century of reproductive rights, among other things. Perhaps many other things.
This is McConnell's court, conceived and sculpted to his exact specifications by any means necessary, and who better to retrofit the machinery of momentous legal and moral decisions than a comically rich 80-year-old white guy who happens to be the chosen representative of 57 per cent of voters in Kentucky: Addison Mitchell McConnell III?
"Give the people a voice," is McConnell's all-time money quote on Supreme Court nominees, which is what he said when President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to succeed ace righty warhorse Antonin Scalia. Scalia died in February of 2016, nine months before a presidential election. "Give the people a voice."
As then-majority leader of the Senate, McConnell scuttled Garland's nomination without a hearing and without compunction, giving us the uniquely American spectacle of a senator who'd wrung 800,000 votes from our 26th-largest state defying a president elected by 66 million people.
Four years later, liberal lioness Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, 46 days before a presidential election, and Mitch "Give the people a voice" McConnell was suddenly no longer the people's champion.
By people, he'd meant his people, not your people. So he was ready with an arch-conservative pro-life replacement for RBG, totally think tank-vetted and wrapped in a big advise-and-consent bow for the embattled Trump: Amy Coney Barrett.
McConnell had previously blessed Neil Gorsuch, who got the seat Garland should have had, and Brett Kavanaugh, which is how we got to a 6-3 court that will apparently incinerate Roe v Wade this summer, even after the newbies described the constitutional right to abortion as settled law in confirmation hearings McConnell allowed, expedited and facilitated. Hearings McConnell denied Garland so as to "give the people a voice".
"And so here we are," Boston College history professor Heather Cox Richardson found herself writing in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
"A minority, placed in control of the US Supreme Court by a president who received a minority of the popular vote and then, when he lost re-election, tried to overturn our democracy, is explicitly taking away a constitutional right that has been protected for 50 years. Its attack on federal protection of civil rights applies not just to abortion, but to all the protections put in place since World War II: the right to use birth control, marry whomever you wish, live in desegregated spaces, and so on."
This all broke late Monday when Politico published a leaked Supreme Court document indicating the justices had already voted to overturn Roe v Wade, with a formal ruling due in the coming months. A draft of the ruling by Justice Samuel Alito argues there is no constitutional right to abortion and its further adjudication should be handled by the states, which can limit it or ban it outright.
Raped? Too bad.
Incest? Sorry, good luck to ya.
So a lot of people who lost their alleged minds when various government entities told them to wear a COVID-19 mask amid 1 million American deaths are going to see their government force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term and be like: "OK, sounds good!"
Monday was not a terribly good day for the legal system overall. America's been in the throes of massive system failure for a generation now. Failures in the education system, the political system, the electoral system, the health care system, the justice system, et al. But on Monday in Atlanta, the legal system launched potentially its worst sideshow in years when a special grand jury was convened to "consider" whether Trump may have illegally interfered in the 2020 election.
Twenty-three random Georgians were empanelled to "consider" whether a man who called Georgia's secretary of state to say he wanted to "find" exactly 11,780 votes, one more than Joe Biden got in the state, "might" have done something illegal.
Not a tough one.
If you haven't heard it 100 times, listen again to the way Trump says "votes" on that call. He is completely dismissive of this particular bedrock of democracy. He may as well have said, "your little votes". While he was strong-arming Georgia Republicans, Trump was simultaneously luring Twitter followers to Washington ("Gonna be wild!"), where he would - ON TELEVISION - inflame them at a rally on January 6 and set them upon the Capitol for a day of violence that would result in seven deaths and some 140 injuries to law enforcement officers.
The Georgia grand jury can "consider" all this for up to a year, after which it can make some recommendations and issue a report. It can't actually do anything. That would require another grand jury. The chance Trump might even get into trouble approximates the chances of me winning the Kentucky Derby.
That's the system for rich white men.
Meanwhile in Texas, a poor black woman got a five-year sentence for mistakenly voting while ineligible. Never mind she didn't know she was ineligible. Never mind her vote never counted.
Ain't that America? Sure as heck is. Just don't tell the kids about it.
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