The Republican argument for immediately nominating and confirming a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now stripped of all pretext. It’s about raw power. In fact, it can be boiled down to three words – “Elections have consequences.” The Republicans won the presidency in 2016, they held the Senate in 2018, and there is nothing unconstitutional or illegal about wielding that power now, even when Americans are already voting in a presidential election that will end in less than seven weeks. The argument has a certain Machiavellian simplicity about it ….
Cheating for justice is like f**king for chastity: an oxymoron perpetrated BY oxymorons. As in “decent Republican” and “patriotic GOP.”**
I would like to direct your attention to the preamble of the Constitution, not much regarded by jurists, but the words OUGHT to carry the same weight as the other words: the mission statement, the statement of purpose.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Cheating is not justice. Cheating is not just. But cheating seems OK with the liars of the GOP if they can get their way … on judges?
What IS cheating? you might ask.
It would seem apparent, but we live in a time and nation in which the notion of “right and wrong” and “fair play” are all but lost in the morass of glib sophistry and Faux-Noozish GOPaganda.
The root word of ‘cheat’ is medieval.
[Middle English cheten, to confiscate, short for acheten, variant of escheten, from eschete, escheat; see escheat.]American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition, 2016.
To “cheat” originally meant to steal. “Confiscate” seems to imply that it was stealing under the guise of “law” or “government,” and is entirely apt here.
(chet)v. cheat·ed, cheat·ing, cheats
v.tr.1. To deceive by trickery; swindle: cheated customers by overcharging them for purchases.2. To deprive by trickery; defraud: cheated them of their land.3. To mislead; fool: illusions that cheat the eye.4. To elude; escape: cheat death.
v.intr.1. To act dishonestly; practice fraud.2. To violate rules deliberately, as in a game: was accused of cheating at cards.3. Informal To be sexually unfaithful: cheat on a spouse.4. Sports To position oneself closer to a certain area than is normal or expected: The shortstop cheated toward second base.
n.1. An act of cheating; a fraud or swindle.2. One who cheats; a swindler.3. A technique that exploits a flaw or hidden feature in a video game or computer program.4. Law Fraudulent acquisition of another’s property…
[ibid. emphasis added]
Fradulent acquisition of a Supreme Court seat falls inescapably into this category.
I don’t need to repeat all the Republican talking points and crocodile tears over denying President Obama a nomination for Antonin Scalia’s (zaftig) seat with nearly a year remaining in his second term. This was “justice” and “letting the American people decide,” according t0 Moscow Mitch McConnell, GOP Senate leader, Treason Turtle, on the floor of the Senate over and over for nine months.
Now, I have just witnessed McConnell lay out a glib and insincere paean to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — much of it saccharine praise of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s friendship with Antonin Scalia, supposedly proving how great bipartisan friendship is, even in the face of utter ideological disagreement, but mostly inducing gorge-buoyancy among anyone with the merest scintilla of knowledge of just how utterly hypocritical that pronouncement was.
… and THEN, with FULL KNOWLEDGE of his mendicity and perfidy Mitch McConnell asked for unanimous consent that what he was about to say “appear in a different” section of the record.
Because he then lays out WHY the Republicans should steal the seat and NOT allow the American public to choose.
The hot air from his phony elegy had not yet dissipated in the Senate chamber before he began justifying grabbing that seat for Republicans (the Federalist Society, that is) in the most sincere and hypocritical manner possible.
Riding as high on his hobby horse as possible, Mitch declaimed the forces of “dirty tricks” who had tried “every conceivable” nasty dodge to stop Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Yes, high holy dudgeon while blatantly claiming that sauce for the goose is sauce for gooses only and besides, ganders are immoral and indecent sleazebags.
It is the same sophistry with which he declares that the Democratic House of Representatives are a “do-nothing” body — after he has personally sat on and stopped hundreds of bills from having so much as the courtesy of a hearing. As majority leader, HE and he alone decides what bills the Senate takes up.
So: as he watches the economy slinking into the mire, and bankruptcy filings skyrocket into a glut of businesses that will NEVER open again* he claims that the House of Representatives doesn’t care about Americans or the economy or jobs or helping fight the pandemic. As satanic a lie as has ever been uttered on the Senate floor.
(* Due to the Senate’s intransigence, the benefits that expired on September 1 were supplemented by the House in MAY, but Moscow Mitch would not and will not even consider the bill, but has offered, instead, an anemic bill of a few hundred billion dollars that WILL NOT alleviate the crisis but WILL relieve all employers of any liability for demanding that their workers return to work, and if they die of COVID-19, or are financially crippled by medical costs, CAN’T sue the negligent employer. Profits over people as the party line snorts. The bill died for a lack of Republican votes.)
The literal stack of House-passed bills that Mitch McConnell
will NOT allow to see the light of day in the Senate, while
claiming that the “Democrats are doing nothing.”
He had full knowledge of how terrible his corpse-humping would look to history, so he moved to have his speech split in half and reported in separate sections of the Congressional Record. There was no innocence or lack of understanding involved.
But Mitch always puffs up like he thinks he’s Moral Moses handing down the ten commandments while breaking at least three:
- Thou shalt not steal
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
- Thou shalt not covet
Because this is straight up injustice to the Justice (who asked, on her death bed, to have the winner of the election appoint her successor).
Indeed, Moscow Mitch** spoke within an hour of the news of Justice Ginsburg’s death, stating that there would be a vote on the Senate floor on her successor before the next Administration.
Meaning that Mitch McConnell is so hot to grab that Supreme Court seat that he couldn’t even wait for the body to grow cold. Or for rigor mortis to set in.
The only other carrion feeders who act so quickly after death are e. c0li bacteria from the gut, which can show up in the brain of the deceased as quickly as eight minutes after death for the meal that they’ve patiently symbioted with us over our digestive lifetime (and which are generally cheated by the embalmer of).
Mitch McConnell was only SLIGHTLY slower than e. coli bacteria in going after the corpse of the Notorious RBG.
I hope that I’m not offending your delicate sensibilities, Dear Reader, by using language and imagery appropriate to the monstrosity we’re witnessing here.
We are talking about BASIC DECENCY here, the bedrock of social norms that ALLOW the Constitution to work.
If the people do not believe in the money, the money does not work. The paper is just paper, as holders of Confederate money found.
If the people do not believe in the law, the Constitution is just paper.
Now, look at that preamble again: TO ESTABLISH JUSTICE.
Justice is NOT merely what is codified in law — which is, alas, too often NOT just at all — but is an emotion that even puppy dogs feel.
If your puppy misbehaves and you punish it, the puppy will be sad, but will “know” why the sad thing happened.
On the other hand, if your puppy does NOT misbehave and you punish it, it will GLARE at you with its sense of injustice. It has been punished for something that it DID NOT DO. Even a puppy has a sense of justice.
On the other hand, if a Republican is told that a Supreme Court nomination is a sacred trust that cannot be filled in an election year — even before a single primary is held — then that nomination MUST be acted on by the next administration. But when their own, voluminous words, are played back to them, without batting an eye, they launch into the ancient story of Nasruddin the Lawyer and the Bull.
Once upon a time, Nasruddin’s neighbor came to him and said “Your bull has pushed through the fence and gored one of my cows! According to the law, I am entitled to just compensation!”
Nasruddin thought for a moment and said, “I do not need to consult the law books here. The bull was acting according to its nature, and cleverly defeated our fence. There is no liability because of negligence, because both of us own the fence. So there is no compensation. It was an act of nature for which no one is legally responsible. “
His neighbor smiled slyly. “I have made a slight mistake,” the neighbor said. “It happened exactly as I described, but it was my bull that gored your cow. I am a little mixed up,” he explained, not having been in the least mixed up. “But the situation is the same. Thank you, Nasruddin.”
As the neighbor began to leave, Nasruddin said, “Wait! It is NOT exactly the same. Let me consult my law books to see what the precedent is.”
From which we get the old saying “It depends on whose ox is being gored.”
But it is cheating, and it undermines the Rule of Law in a manner so deep and profound that even a puppy dog could understand, but that no Republican senator or commentator can.
An eye for an eye for long enough and everybody ends up blind.
You cannot cheat for justice and EXPECT justice. Worse, justice remains a two-edged sword. The same vicious mendacity that allows Mitch McConnell to ignore the will of the “mob” and imperiously dictate whatever his power-base requests creates lynch mobs that string up bad rulers, as Mussolini could tell you, had ne not been strung up by his heels and machine-gunned and left for people to spit on for a long while after. Muhammar Khadafy could tell you that, but he, too, suffered a similar fate.
To ignore the Rule of Law (whether mouthing sanctimonious platitudes as Senator Foghorn Leghorn is wont to do, or not) is to invite the Rule of the Mob.
Law is only a veneer over the endless conventions of politeness and etiquette that allow society — ANY society — to function. As both the Yippees† and Donald Trump have shown us, breaking all conventions makes the administration of law exceedingly difficult.
[† See the trial of the “Chicago Seven”]
Blatant cheating may not be “illegal” (as the ox-gorers have noted sixteen thousand times this weekend) but it is anti-law, and anti-rule of law. Amoral may seem different from immoral but the outcomes are generally the same. No real difference.
Cheating may not be “against the law,” but the outcome is the same and the damage to the very institution that they would dominate is probably the same, in a final bitter irony.
What Purposeth a Turtle, should he gain the Supreme Court and lose the whole rule of law?
~The Book of Trumpesis, chapter 32, verse 666.
Cheating for justice is like drinking for abstinence, or shooting up for a 12-step program.
“to establish justice” MEANS something, and anyone but a Republican Senator or a conservative Justice could see that.
They are ALL complicit.
When Mitch asked for unanimous consent to segregate his saccharine eulogy from his corpse-humping remarks, no one objected.
They ought to have.
Let him be hoist by his own petard.
** “Moscow Mitch” gets his nickname for two morally treasonous acts. First he blocked the government from announcing the Russian interference BEFORE the 2016 election. Secondly, he has blocked and continues to block all legislative attempts to prevent a recurrence of the — admitted to have happened by the report of the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee — Russian interference. This is what happens when party matters more than country.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog, His Vorpal Sword (no spaces) dot com.