Have you ever read an entire Supreme Court decision?

I did. Once.

It had been written by then-Chief Justice William Renquist. The Times had printed all of it for some reason. I say “some reason” because I don’t remember what it was about.

But whatever it was, it angered me. The decision seemed illogical. So I decided to read how Renquist managed to get to that decision.

I started to read the way I usually read things. Which is fairly fast. After a couple of paragraphs, I had not been able to make sense of anything. It was clear to me Renquist had written goobledegook (borrowing a word John Roberts once used to decry an unpartisan method for redistricting — which was anything but “gobbledegook.”)

Renquist’s “gobbledegook” was legal gobbledgook. This is how you write legal stuff no one is supposed to understand: you write endless sentences, interspersed with phrases tangled up in obscure “legal” terminology, and then you trip on a staircase while holding those pages and they all fall any which way and you’re pressed for time so you pick them up in any order and dash out of the house.*

*Rarely would I credit Woody Allen for anything but right there, above, that scene came from his first screenplay, What’s New, Pussycat?

I was particularly angry at that decision and, consequently, was particularly annoyed that Renquist wrote it in what I considered a deliberately strained effort to be inexplicable to the regular American citizen.

Ergo, I started again at the top and slowed down to a reading crawl. I was determined to understand what he was saying, to get an explication.

And I succeeded. I managed to unknot the mess he’d made out of our language and pin down his logic.

There was no logic.

At the end of this miserable read was his decision. But until the decision, Renquist shamelessly leapt over crevasses — which, had he any integrity, he would’ve fallen into — in order to reach his conclusion.

That’s when I lost my long-held belief that Supreme Court justices were always the intellectual cream at the top of the Rule of Law.

As a justice, Renquist was sleazy. But at least he worked hard in his nearly incomprehensible writing to try to fool us into thinking he had brains and education, while we didn’t. He was, of course, deeply contemptuous of us ordinary citizens, but still he must have worried that we’d figure him out and toss the contempt right back at him. He made that effort, anyway.

What I’ve read of the current SCOTUS decisions by Alito and Thomas are the opposite. Their decisions are not rational, not profound, not obfuscating; they don’t pretend to be.

Never mind the Constitution. Never mind the scam job called “originalism.” You know, that nonsense conservative legal mediocrities invented to overturn our laws and say we must live by the rules set out in a 4900-word document signed over 230 years ago. (The document that glaringly did not have the word “god” in it.)

It’s my guess that the conservative legal mediocrities who came up with “originalism” were getting fussed that rational legal scholars kept pointing out that along with “god,” our original Constitution incorporated slavery and failed to incorporate women.

So they changed that dopey theory into another dopier one: “historicism.”

Now, any law, any human right not specifically mentioned in the original Constitution can’t be accepted if “history and tradition” did not accept it.

Unlike Renquist, I have great respect for your intelligence so won’t bother to note how many, many, many aspects of our contemporary lives did not win historical mention or approval, oh, say, 200 years ago…because they didn’t exist.

Here’s how Alito is lazy. Instead of working at disguising the emptiness of his decision, he just assigned his clerks to dig out every historical disapproval of or punishment for abortion. Their criterion for that search is stated on the first page of the decision:

Next, the Court examines whether the right to obtain an abortion is rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition and whether it is an essential component of “ordered liberty.” The Court finds that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition.

…”the Nation’s history and tradition,” when Blacks and women had no rights because they did not have the vote.

I’m now handing this over to you for evisceration. I’m kind of nauseous and must get something to soothe my tummy.

Posted in Government, Human rights, Judiciary, Law, suits and order, Pro choice, The Facts of Life, The god problem, voting rights, War on women | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If I were emotionally fragile…

…after today, I’d go to bed for a week.

Posted in Fascism, Government, Guns in the U.S. of A., Jan 6, Judiciary, Law, suits and order, political campaigns, Politics, Propaganda, The Facts of Life, Trumpism | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dear fellow ladies, this is our election

There are all sorts of reasons to vote for specific political candidates. Sometime it can be complicated. This guy supports that policy, this woman does not. On the other hand…

But this election is simple. Because the huge issues woven into it tower over everything.

Guns. In merely the past few weeks, we have been faced again and again with the horrible results of this uniquely American insanity.

Whatever legislation comes out of Congress this week or next, it will not be enough. The Democrats — the only party to agonize over gun violence — have made it clear it will not be enough, but will be a beginning. They are prepared to move forward with more stringent legislation.

To do this, they need to hold the House and have at least a 54-46 majority in the Senate. With such a majority, the Democrats can dismantle the filibuster to pass meaningful gun control legislation.

That’s a reason to vote.

Women’s sovereignty. What the Catholic majority on the Supreme Court is about to do regarding our absolute human right to make our own health decisions is irrational, anachronistic, contemptuous and both superficial and profound.

It intends to reduce us again to second class citizenship, denies us our full equal powers. So it is a call to arms. Our arms are not AR-15s; since 1920 and the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, our arms have been our ballots.

There is one authority in this country higher and more powerful than the Supreme Court: our Congress. A Democratic majority in Congress (see above, re gun legislation) can write and enact laws which will enfeeble the Supreme Court Six, and turn them into irrelevancies in historically record time.

Another reason to vote.

The filibuster. If the Democrats have a robust majority, think of everything that can be done without the filibuster and Mitch McConnell. Think of all the good that can come out of Congress, if.

The January 6 Commission hearings. Yesterday, a good friend and I were talking over our stunned reactions to the revelations coming out of the hearings.

Nevertheless, she is pessimistic. She said, “I believe we are heading into a period of fascism. It’ll be limited but still…”

I said, “We already had a period of fascism. I think it’s been over since January 20, 2021.” So another reason to vote is to express our disgust at what we lived through, and firmly reject fascism.

Actually, I don’t think we need any reason to vote. That we can vote in every single election should be the only reason we need.

Still, when I voted today in my state primary, I had Shaye Moss and her eloquent mother, Lady Ruby, in my mind. And I thanked every election worker I saw. Every one.

 

Posted in Fascism, Government, Guns in the U.S. of A., Jan 6, Politics, Pro choice, The Facts of Life, The god problem, Trumpism, voting rights, War on women | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment