Mitch McConnell has done more to undermine American faith in the judiciary than any single individual in our nation’s history. Yet, yesterday, he slapped Democrats on the wrist for failing to respect the judiciary’s independence, the same judiciary McConnell worked so hard to rid all notions of independence.
Exactly what did McConnell expect? His unique brand of shamelessness directly led to what remains: two stolen seats and lingering questions about the retirement that led to a third. Regardless, McConnell wrote in the WaPo:
[T]he Biden administration had taken another step to erode the independence of our own Supreme Court. It had published a first draft of radical findings from the pseudo-academic commission that the president created to flirt with the radical concept of court-packing.
The president’s decision in April to stand up this commission was no isolated event. Naked attempts to bully judges have become a core priority for today’s Democratic Party.
McConnell had the temerity to use the word “bully” while speaking of the Supreme Court? “Bullies”? Unilaterally holding up a SCOTUS seat from March to the next January based on “the people [in the next election, not the previous one] should decide” and then the ultimate rush job after beloved Ruth Bader-Ginsberg passed, based on the “President and Senate of the same party rule” one that McConnell did not cite during Merrick Garland’s nomination. McConnell calls us bullies?
A few months before that, as The Post reported, sitting Senate Democrats, including the now-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, sent the court an outrageous amicus brief that read like a ransom note from junior-varsity mafiosos. “The Supreme Court is not well,” they threatened, “and the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured. …’”
In other words: Nice independent judiciary you’ve got there. Sure would be a shame if something happened to it.
High school sophomore Mitch McConnell earns an “A” in reading comprehension. Because that is precisely what the Senate intended to convey to the SCOTUS, especially Chief Justice Roberts. The Democrats know that even the Justices know the charade hidden under the veneer of the gorgeous and impressive building, the ornate courtroom, and all those wonderful guiding principles. The Democrats wanted the court to know that, because it’s so politically composed, there is no reason to not balance it. The nine justices share very few qualities, but one thing they all share? None want their vote watered down by adding justices. None want to have limited terms.
Chief Justice Roberts is particularly sensitive to this because his name will forever be attached to that period in history when the public gave up on having an independent judiciary. You will note, it was Roberts that saved what had been the obviously constitutional ACA. When the ACA passed, no one questioned its constitutionality. It was only when desperate Republicans began to realize how tough it might be to dig out of the new program did they bring up “serious constitutional concerns.”
Whenever we see an aberrant “progressive” vote by Roberts, keep in mind that he is the only one history will really remember.
Regardless, the Democrats in the Senate see what has happened with the SCOTUS, the Justices have seen what has happened, the American public certainly understands (which explains the Right’s giddiness), and McConnell, more than anyone, knows more about why the independence doesn’t exist than anyone. He engineered it. For him, to shame anyone on anything in this matter is just, well, shameless.
Which is how we got here in the first place.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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