The Supreme Court in Washington
I was amused by this post in The Futility Closet website:
The U.S. Supreme Court building is pretty spiffy. It has its own cafeteria, a 450,000-book library and a basketball court on the fifth floor (which staffers call “the highest court in the land”).
It’s so spiffy that when it opened in 1935, some justices were embarrassed. Harlan Fiske Stone called it “almost bombastically pretentious … wholly inappropriate for a quiet group of old boys such as the Supreme Court.” Others called it “the Temple of Karnak” and suggested that justices ought to enter the courtroom riding on elephants.
A New Take on the Ten Commandments
One worrying note: The building’s frieze depicts Moses delivering the Ten Commandments, but his beard obscures some of the Hebrew, so the visible text reads:
But let that pass.
It’s Not Like They Were Gods
One thing I do not understand is the judicial principle of originalism, according to which we have to somehow divine the intent of our Founding Fathers. That strikes me as rather silly. Take Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, for example. While Jefferson was Adams’s Vice President, he did everything possible to subvert him, including hiring a yellow journalist named James Callender to attack Federalist positions. This was at a time when the winner for President was forced to take the loser as his Vice President. And that was written in the Constitution! (It was not until later in life that Adams and Jefferson were reconciled, and they both wound up dying on July 4, 1826, fifty years to the day after the Declaration of Independence.)
If two of our Founding Fathers were such enemies, how is it possible to arrive at any consensus by reading their long-dead minds regarding the problems of the 21st Century. Remember, these same Founding Fathers were forced to accept slavery. Perhaps Trumpf’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia, Neil M. Gorsuch, would be more comfortable if slavery were reinstated.
Will we all have to wear powdered wigs and take snuff? Do we have to give up the automobile in favor of the horse and buggy? Would we have to give up the Internet and our whole telecommunications network just because some judge has this jones about some long dead politicians, as great as they were in the context of their own times.
Antonin Scalia (1936-2016)
The 2016 election has quite suddenly morphed into a struggle for control of the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Republicans refuse to fill Scalia’s seat with a new Obama nominee until the inauguration of a new president next January, then they will be openly guilty of sabotaging the Constitution so that their minority party can control the country. As you may recall, that has been tried before in 2013 when John Boehner and Mitch McConnell staged a shutdown of Congress.
Republicans like to think that most Americans are conservatives. That is true to some extent, especially where fiscal issues are concerned, but untrue when it comes to cultural issues. And that divergence can only be expected to grow as the aging angry white population of the U.S. dies off.
The SCOTUS Retards: Thomas and Scalia
Although I am by no means a Communist, I have a certain belief in dialectics. Somethings happens (THESIS), opposition emerges (ANTITHESIS), and finally some sort of compromise solution emerges (SYNTHESIS). With the McCutcheon vs. FEC case just concluded, the U.S. Supreme Court gives wealthy individuals the right to in effect donate as much money as they want to the party or issue of their choice through SuperPACs which redistribute the funds. Although they still cannot write a megacheck directly to a particular candidate, I’m sure that won’t be long in coming.
What the so-called 1% (actually, a much smaller percent that) don’t realize is the hatred and opposition they are sowing. The superwealthy and the corporate elite have succeeded in infiltrating and gutting a major political party’but not without hard feelings. The more they ride roughshod over the feelings of American voters, the more likely there is to be a reckoning of some sort to redress the balance. There will be no Thousand Year Reich for the likes of Sherman Adelson and the Koch Brothers. They may be at their apogee wight now in terms of influence, but angry crowds are massing in front of the Bastille, and with luck their efforts will be taken apart brick by brick.
I am convinced that many or perhaps even most viewers of the Faux News channel are aware that the fix is in and are just waiting for the right time to cast their vote.
At least, I hope so.