Today the United States had at least 82,600 new cases of coronavirus, our highest daily level of cases in a single day since the pandemic started. The outbreak is widespread, meaning it will be harder to move medical personnel around to address the crisis. We have lost close to 224,000 Americans to Covid-19. As it spreads through Republican-governed states, leaders refuse to use government authority to slow its reach. “It’s not a job for government,” North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said.
I agree with everyone that the realities of Barrett being on the SCOTUS for the foreseeable future is horrific--as are, frankly, the current realities of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, both execrable and hypocritical examples of judicial overreach masquerading as "originalism." But in reality the only way to truly protect Americans' freedoms is through legislation fought over, voted on, and enacted. As someone who benefited from Roe v Wade, I can safely say that women's bodily autonomy is NOT safe and never has been, especially in those states that regard women's bodies as the tools for expressions of toxic masculinity. It took legislation to make marital rape illegal. It took legislation to make spousal abuse illegal. It took legislation from the 1880s to the 1980s to provide women with the legal autonomy to make wills, own land, have credit cards, go to medical and law school, and gain divorce (to name only a few) without "permission" from some man. The SCOTUS did none of these.
We have relied on the integrity of the SCOTUS to fix the drive toward repression and autocracy that has been the backlash against all progressive legislation all over the USA. It is now time to get back to real activism: democracy must be preserved from the bottom-up, not the top-down. We need to support and elect local and state-wide political leaders, governors, and members of Congress and Senate. Without a strong foundation the roof will inevitably topple. And here we are, wringing our hands because not enough people cared about what was happening locally to bother to vote and speak out. I'm not talking about all of you: I suspect we are all more activist than the typical American. But this is the only way to change the drive toward white male supremacist autocracy.
I just read that it is predicted that a record-shattering 65% of the voter-eligible public is going to cast ballots this year. That made me very sad. 65% is pitiful, but it is being proclaimed as a game changer--because less than 65% have voted in elections since 1908. For shame.
Mr. McConnell's campaign is running a rather ironic ad against his opponent stating that the Democrats "will pack the courts with liberal justices". I find this to be projection at the highest level, ironic, a bit humorous, and a suspicion that Mitch is feeling a bit desperate. Oh, I don't think he is feeling his seat is in danger but that his majority in the Senate is in danger. Plus his heir apparent in Daniel Cameron is proving to be unpopular in the state. (Please, no comments to me about how Kentucky needs to get rid of Mitch. Once again, I have never voted for the man. And I am the only Kentuckian I can speak for). I also just finished Dr. Richardson's book "Wounded Knee". When reading about the Harrison administration, I could substitute names of the current administration in the place of many players in the 1880's and 1890's. However, I did finish the book with a bit of hope. One, the truth will come out, may be slowly but it will come. Two, when the majority of citizens in the country become aware, change does come. We have to be the change makers.
I understand that HCR has to be more guarded in her words, when she describes the impending court majority as “originalist”. But originalism is meaningless, just a marketing phrase. Here’s what is really going on, “Barrett will allow Trump (McConnell, really) to cement a Republican majority on the Supreme Court“. Republicans like McConnell understand that they’re a minority party, clinging to power through gerrymandering, voter suppression and an anti-democratic electoral college. Ensuring that unpopular Republican (right-wing Christian, white nationalist, white male, capitalist, pro-corporate) ideology rules over American lives for years to come is best done by packing the courts with “originalists”. Originalists are just right-wing Republicans. This is why McConnell has broken tradition and rules to block Obama appointees and cram “originalists” down our throats.
If Barrett is an originalist regarding the Constitution, perhaps she should also consider washing her clothes down at the creek, commuting to work on a horse, wearing homespun, and insisting her physician bleed her next time she has an ailment.
I remember the bumper stickers; "Impeach Earl Warren!"
Warren was supposed to be a reliable conservative justice but it didn't turn out that way.
I think it unlikely that Barret will do the same.
The Republican Party, the party of Lincoln and trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt, wants to take the country back to the plantation and the company town; where almost everyone contributes; doing the work, fighting the wars; while a few own the assets, make the decisions, receive most of the benefits, and whatever government there is is their handmaiden. Science, and history, are subject to religious and political approval. It would be close enough to feudalism, or a theocracy, we could call it either one.
As I see it, this future is up for election on Nov. 3.
The closer we get to 11/3, the less likely I am to read any news other than this letter. Covid is taking hold, and there will be many, many unnecessary deaths over the next year. And I do believe it will be at least a year before we can get hold of this. Then, there's the bad SCOTUS news. That adds to the news blackout for me. ACA, Roe, Obergefell, are at serious risk, and as a gay, married woman who helped friends get back room abortions before Roe, I see my future is sadly going backwards. While they're at it, I wonder how Clarence Thomas and others would feel about reversing the Loving decision allowing for interracial marriage. That's how backwards it's gonna get.
A Native American once said to me "Just wait until the American People find out what living on a Reservation is like." We won't have to wait much longer. Vote as if this is the last time you'll be allowed to vote!
Strangely, I am more gutted by today’s letter than possibly any that have gone before. The realization of the full future implications of ACBs confirmation have left me stunned and nearly speechless. We are living in a decades long chess game and the republicans have finally scored the winning move. It will be so unless the democrats use their tactics against them if Biden and other democratic candidates win in the upcoming election. I fear that this won’t happen because democrats always “play nice” while republicans “play to win”. Joe even recently sidestepped the court packing question by saying he would appoint a commission to study the problem. When I read that the other day my heart sank. The only way to preserve the way of life that the majority of Americans knows and wants appears to be through adding justices to balance what the republicans have done. If he is unwilling to aggressively do that then it doesn’t matter who is in the White House, we still lose the chess game.
The Democratic Party is going to have to learn to play the long game, even if Biden wins, even if we flip the Senate. The funders, the politicians, the governors, the organizers, need to envision what it will take to win back state legislatures and seats in the Senate in proportion to the actual number of Democrats - fighting the gerrymandering that has been so successful. Lawyers will need to form something akin to the Federalist Society for Democrats. The widespread wings of the party are going to have to endure discipline if we are going to survive. Thanks as always, for these cogent lessons of history and explanation of a possible future. It is in our hands to change the present. It may take a long time, but “the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice.”
"Originalism," according to Wikipedia, "is an umbrella term for interpretative methods that hold to the 'fixation thesis," the notion that an utterance's semantic content is fixed at the time it is uttered."
At the time the U.S. Constitution was created in the late 1780s, the founders of that document presided over a country that undoubtedly had some great features.
But the founders also created a country that had the following MAJOR features that most of us living in the U.S. of 2020 would find, and have found, absolutely unacceptable. They include:
3. Utter scorn and deceit toward the indigenous people who had occupied the territory for ten thousand + years.
4. No suffrage for women
5. Ruthless imperial expansion
Are these the principles to which we wish our Supreme Court Justices to adhere over the next 20 years?
I certainly do not!
For superb explication and expansion on the points I have just made, I refer you to the histories of "the Founders" that have been written by the great Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, Joseph Ellis, over the last forty yeas, and, in particular, to the outstanding 2018 volume, AMERICAN DIALOGUE: THE FOUNDERS & US. It contains an extensive section on the late Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Scalia, and the touting by this Justice of the notion of "Originalism." Ellis dismisses Scalia's notion as utterly absurd and despicable!
As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "I'm glad I am olde." Seriously, most of my life I've believed in the concept of the pendulum swinging too far in one direction, only to swing back the opposite way, eventually. I doubt it will swing far enough back to my comfort zone in my lifetime. I hope I'm wrong.
Regardless of that, I worry for my daughter and all the sons and daughters out there who came of age first in the Great Recession, and now, having just gotten where they could see some way forward, getting hit with the pandemic and the resulting economic fall-out.
Remember that $400 almost half of Americans couldn't come up with for an emergency last year? It's now $250. I see them all around me - losing cars, homes, hope. Some can be chaulked up to personal mismanagement, but surely not all. And yet our legislature believes they should somehow have prepared better (?!)
For every caring, helpful person I see about me now, I see at least two who are mean-spirited, hostile and verdictive.
Since today's newsletter has so aptly described the horrors of an Amy Coney Barrett confirmation, I am reposting something I posted on Wednesday. It is probably a "Hail Mary pass", but may be worth trying to get 4 Republicans to vote no. Have you ever used Resistbot? I have and I just created a letter to be sent to Senators. If you text SIGN PFRJNU tp 50409, they will ask you where you live so they can send the letter to your senators. I am also copying the letter here in case you want to use it another way or modify it to make it your own. Here is the letter.
I implore you to vote against bringing Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. You have indicated that you CAN do so, but now look at this particular individual, and choose not to do so. It is clear from her past writings and other information that she will help to take away so many hard fought gains over the years. Even not counting reproductive rights (which is a big one, but may be more controversial for you), voting rights, affordable health care, marriage equality and so many more are in jeopardy. You do not represent a small segment of your state. As senator, you represent the entire state. So many people feel that this nominee is such an extreme choice that you have a duty to represent everyone’s interests. Please do not view this as a Republican gain at the expense of everyone else. Again, you are a senator for ALL your constituents. This country needs to come together and this nominee will only divide us further. Please vote “no” on Amy Coney Barrett.
Morning, Dr. R! Morning, All! Question: If the Supreme Court were to go to term limits, would that affect the sitting justices who already have life appointments?
I cannot help but feel that as this Nation crumbles under the rising death toll of COVID-19, the ramming through of a minority preferred, inexperienced Justice will be the ultimate downfall of Democracy. I am sickened buy the incredible wide brush stroke of destruction this appointee will sow. I don't think it will matter who is in the wheelhouse after this election, this is where the power lays. The reality of trying to dilute Barrett's presence by adding more Judges, may not work or atleast in time to stop what changes they will make.
Although Senator Schumer never says the words, it seems as if he is teeing up either the expansion of the court or a serious revamping of the system – or both - should the Democrats win the Trifecta.
The House has already introduced a bill to end life tenure on the SC. The Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act was introduced on September 29th by Reps. Ro Khanna, Don Beyer and Joe Kennedy III. The bill that would end life tenure at the high court for future justices in favor of an 18-year term.
The most senior justice serving at the time of the appointment of a new justice, would be treated as retired from the SC but could serve on a lower court for as long as they wanted or temporarily fill in at SCOTUS in case of an unexpected vacancy. (https://fixthecourt.com/2020/10/thirty-legal-scholars-endorse-house-dems-scotus-term-limits-bill/).
The bill provides that Presidents will appoint two justices - one during the first year and one during the third year of their term(s) as President.
You can find the full bill here: https://khanna.house.gov/sites/khanna.house.gov/files/KHANNA_070_xml.pdf
I do thank you Heather. This one is a doozie. Never have I ever understood the full value of separation of church and state until Amy Coney Barrett came along and was thrust upon us by Mitch McConnell and the disaster slinking along under the label "Republican Party."