Poland’s Supreme Court…and ours

Don’t know if you’ve picked up on the news from Poland.

In brief, Poland’s latest autocrat-in-chief “purged” Poland’s highest court, yanking judges whose views he found objectionable.

But something funny has happened on the way to the “purge:” the Polish people have swarmed the streets in protest and the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice — a woman — has defied the “purge.”

WARSAW — Surrounded by cheering supporters, Poland’s top Supreme Court justice took a defiant stand on the courthouse steps here Wednesday morning, hours after the government purged the tribunal. She vowed to keep fighting to protect the Constitution and the independence of the nation’s courts.

“I’m doing this to defend the rule of law and to testify to the truth about the line between the Constitution and the violation of the Constitution,” the justice, Malgorzata Gersdorf, told the crowd. “I hope that legal order will return to Poland.”

What a contrast to our Supreme Court, isn’t it? Our Supreme Court: a court which is failing to “defend the rule of law and testify to the truth about the line between the Constitution and the violation of the Constitution.”

I’ve never had a taste for revolution. I’m not happy pressed in by crowds, and I’m aware of aftermaths and unsatisfying reaction, especially reactionary reaction.

But lately I’ve begun thinking we may soon be reaching a crisis in which we will be in the streets protesting, as the Poles are doing, but protesting the Supreme Court itself, protesting the bad justices who sit there for life, violating our Constitution with impunity.

Lech Walesa, who led the Solidarity labor movement in the 1980s that helped topple the Communist government and who later served as Poland’s president, joined the demonstrators.

In a radio interview earlier in the day, Mr. Walesa said he would pursue peaceful means to protect the Constitution, but warned of dire consequences if the governing party did not back down.

“What will happen is what I predicted at the very beginning: There will be a civil war, there’s nothing we can do about it,” he said. “This is the path of civil war. I’d like to avoid it.”

So would I, fervently. Because of that crowd thing and my concerns about the afterward.

But if indeed we do have a Second Civil War (it’s a meme on Twitter, #SecondCivilWar), it should begin on the steps of the Supreme Court.

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