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      A lot of mistakes come from assuming rationality means “thinks the same way I do” rather than “reasons from premises I might not share.” Left than 1/1000 economists predicted the financial collapse, because they reasoned from assumptions like “the market is self-correcting” or “housing prices never go down.” (Sometimes both at the same time, which is rarely […]
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The Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court

I have written about this before, of course. And in some sense it well may be too late, at least for many years. But on the other hand, it can’t be said enough, because if something very significant is not finally learned, it will only get worse, if that is possible.

You have heard about Oklahoma and Kentucky passing anti-abortion bills. Actually, the one passed in Kentucky was vetoed by the Democratic governor, but they had enough Republican votes in the state legislature to override and pass it. The voters don’t seem to have any inclination to vote for more than the surprise occasional Democrat in those Red States. The only reason Andy Beshear barely won the governor’s race in Kentucky, was because his opponent was so bad that they couldn’t quite elect him, but they re-elected so many legislators that they can easily override any of Beshear’s vetoes.

These two anti-abortion bills are draconian. Kentucky’s bans all abortions after fifteen weeks, whether due to rape, incest, or anything else. Oklahoma’s has long prison sentences, apparently for anyone who performs one, or perhaps even gets one. Texas’ bill, which sounds like something from the Middle Ages, allows anyone who finds out that someone had an abortion (or maybe just thinks that they did, or maybe just wants to drive them into bankruptcy by suing them), to go after them for up to $10,000. And that could possibly be multiple $10,000’s, by suing the doctor, a nurse, anyone who knowingly drove the woman to the clinic.

This is the bill which Right Wing mouthpieces, including some of the media, called “clever,” because they didn’t specifically violate the Roe decision, they just allowed private citizens to sue. The Supreme Court that we have now, which is contemptible in both its absolute disregard for precedent and human rights, and cowardly, just let the bill stand, saying that it was too complex to rule on it.

There are now about 26 states which have passed, or are ready to pass, their own anti-abortion bills, which will become effective the minute the Supreme Court makes its ruling on the abortion case before it. There is no possibility that the Court will affirm the Roe precedent. Their goal, the goal of the people who put them on the Court, is to dismantle all the Roe protections.

How the Court will write their decision, is a matter only for legal scholars, because for the citizenry, the effect will be obvious and horrible. We will go back to pre-Roe, where there were some states where you could get an abortion, but many where you could not. And it is possible that over time, this Court will decide that no state can pass a law legalizing abortion, or allowing a woman to have one.

The gang of six on the Court are absolutely opposed to a right to abortion. They lied about it, they never would answer any question about abortion rights in nomination hearings, except to mutter something about Roe being the current law. And people either as abysmally stupid or fiendishly evil as Susan Collins, take your pick as to her nature, would get before the microphones and say that she did not believe that this nominee, or the Court, would overturn Roe v. Wade. Maybe that is just the game of playing with words that Republicans are so proud of; the Court is not going to explicitly say they are overruling it, but will just effectively do so.

You know, it is not as if this takeover of the Supreme Court by the Religious and Corporate-Owned Right was something that took place hidden from public view, or in the dead of night, as if some zombies or ghouls had slipped into the houses when people were asleep. No, the goals of the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, and the other groups which want this country to be run as a Christo-Fascist state, were laid out by them. It is something that they have been working on for at least fifty years.

How they have managed to get their way, is the story. And it is mostly a tale of how so many people who call themselves Democrats, or who are simply people who believe in a woman’s right to have an abortion, along with other human rights that America is supposed to afford, either didn’t or wouldn’t see what was happening. Polls show an overwhelming support for not overturning Roe, maybe 75%-25%. But the Religious Right will get it overturned, anyway. That is a result of our very flawed and now dangerous political system, with vast overrepresentation by small, deep Red states; and also the abysmal failure of the majority on many such issues, to understand what their vote or non-vote would ultimately mean.

I could go over how the Democrats in the Senate kept giving Republican nominees like Clarence Thomas fair hearings, no filibuster; while Republican when in control would not even let Garland have a hearing, saying it was only ten months before election, so we should let the people decide; and then when RBG died a month before the next election, rushed through Barrett in two weeks. We could revisit the absolute mockery of fairness which has gone on, a large part due to Democrats not wanting to fight like Republicans do, and most of the media of course always taking the Republican side.

But even with all of that, it was the people, the voters, who let this happen, specifically because far too many of them would not simply vote for Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. It would have taken no particular knowledge or interest in the facts, for voters to understand that if Hillary won, she would get to pick the Swing Justice. She could have gotten the hearing for Garland, or she could have chosen someone else.

If the Republicans kept to their threat that they would never allow her to have a hearing on a Supreme Court nominee, she had options. She could have taken that very matter to the 4-4 Court, to contend that “advise and consent” is an affirmative duty under the Constitution, and it means that the Senate must vote on the nominee. Garland would have gotten through in 2016, that is why McConnell would not let him have a hearing. There were other options, including nominating while the Senate was in recess.

Also, this would have become such a scandal, that I seriously doubt that the Republicans could have kept refusing to approve any Court nominees. And it would have almost certainly have led to the Democrats winning the Senate in 2018; and Hillary would ultimately have filled the Scalia seat, the RBG seat, and the Kennedy seat, unless he stayed on the bench. How it would have actually played out is speculative, but there is no doubt in my mind that had Hillary won in 2016, the liberals would be in the majority on the Court, and Roe v. Wade would be the law of the land, as it was intended to be.

We could certainly contend that Clinton actually won the election in 2016, but that is another matter. She did win the popular vote by 2.8 million, but that is not enough by itself. Even with the massive Russian interference going on, on Facebook, Fox, and other places; even with targeting of voters using data gathered by Russian hacking, Hillary should have beaten Trump by ten million votes or more. She was a vastly experienced Senator and Secretary of State, who had more knowledge about national and international issues than any candidate I have seen since her husband, who won two terms, left office with a rating of 62% favorables among voters, and who completely eliminated the two trillion dollar deficit, leaving the country with a surplus, while handling world matters with skill.

Running against Hillary was an insane megalomaniac who knew nothing about any issue, had contempt for any voter who was not rich; admired dictators, said that NATO was bad; vowed to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe. He said that on national television. And yet somehow the vast majority of people who keep polling, even now, for wanting Roe to remain as law, ostensibly voted for the person who vowed to appoint judges who would overturn it. And he did. Surprised? Didn’t think it would actually happen? Thought that somehow Democrats with a Senate minority would stop it, and then blamed them for not being able to?

I won’t go on at length about the campaign of 2016, from Bernie Sanders, whose campaign manager was a long-time partner of Paul Manafort, not only running, and attacking Hillary non-stop, though he started his campaign vowing to not do that; but then staying in the race long after it was decided, still attacking her, and getting his naive followers to hate her, throw dollar bills at her, go to the convention,and boo her, until the seating arrangements moved them away from the floor. I will always believe that Sanders, an egomaniac of a different type, got Trump elected. He probably did not want him to be elected, but did it, along with a core of his voters.

We can talk about “emails,” and how the media, owners and reporters, favored Trump and somehow hated Hillary. That will always be important to explore. But it is the voters who were the cause of the result. I don’t care if they were “brainwashed,” or credulously believed the lies which were put on Facebook which purported to be news. That is not an excuse. All the Sanders supporters had to do, was to understand that no matter how much they loved Bernie, and were taught to hate Hillary, the results of letting Trump be elected would be ruinous for this country and for them, and that a major part of the ruination would be via the Supreme Court.

How difficult was that to understand? They didn’t want to understand it, they reveled in their anger and contempt; and they were going to teach Hillary a lesson she would never forget! If Bernie couldn’t win, well, they would make sure that Hillary could not! And then they would work for Bernie to be the nominee in 2020, because they knew how popular he was, and that people would elect him! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

Sanders did not become the nominee in 2020, he got about 25% of the primary vote. And the Supreme Court is lost, maybe for forty years. And all those people who would not come out to vote; from the Sanders devotees in Wisconsin, to Black people in Michigan, to union workers in Pennsylvania, were just enough to ostensibly give Trump the electoral wins in those states. 77.000 votes. To mean the end of Roe. To mean the end of any state laws trying to curb pollution, protect drinking water, do something to arrest climate change, create at least some kind of protection from the proliferation of guns.

The gang of six on this Court, three of them appointed by Trump, are determined to get rid of the social legislation of the 1960’s, and likely the entire New Deal. The vision that they and their owners have, is a combination of the frontier 1840’s and the social darwinist Gilded Age of the 1880’s How could this have been a surprise to any even marginally aware voter? The Far Right told them what they were going to do, and they did it. And the Sanders voters, and the Stein and Johnson voters, and the Nader voters before them, simply didn’t want to care, so caught up were they in their sense of self-righteousness and diffuse anger.

I was never a Carter fan, but I voted for him twice. I was not an Obama supporter, vastly preferred Hillary to him in 2008, but I voted for him twice. The stakes were always too high to do otherwise. Both of them were far preferable to their opponents, particularly in terms of their power to shape the Supreme Court.

And this was not the 1950’s, when somehow Warren and Brennan got appointed by a Republican President, who later said that picking Warren was the greatest mistake of his life. This is an era where vast research, computer algorithms, and grooming, as with Kavanaugh, whose debts disappeared, were used to absolutely assure that that Heritage and Federalist groups could not only pick the Court, but could guarantee their votes in every case. As if they had already decided every case that comes before them. As if they are not the judicial branch in anything but name; they are the rubber stamps who guarantee that the repressive state laws passed in the Red states, are upheld; and the laws passed in Blue states to try to ameliorate conditions, are all tossed out.

Barbra Streisand, a celebrity, but one who has always cared about political issues and the well-being of the country, said in either 2000 or 2004, when asked what the election was about for her, “The Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court.” It was obvious to me, and to many other people, too. But not enough, apparently, to stop them for voting for Nader or Stein, or simply refusing to vote because they just didn’t like Gore, or Kerry, or Hillary; they wanted Bradley, or Dean or Bernie.

And so we got here, where the Supreme Court has a 6-3 majority which does not at all represent the views and positions of the American people, as per overwhelming polling data, but represents a distinct minority of very wealthy people, large corporations, and religious extremists.

Do you know who was the last Chief Justice nominee made by a Democrat who was confirmed? Fred C. Vinson, nominated by President Truman in 1946. Since 1970, there has never been a majority of Justices on the Supreme Court appointed by Democratic Presidents. Eighteen Court members since then were appointed by Republicans, nine by Democrats. And yet the Democratic candidate won the popular vote in 1976, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020.

That tells us two things: That the Republicans have managed to completely game the system, so as to obtain vastly more representation than the percentage of their voters. And that far, far, too many people who would think of themselves as Democrats, or who favor their position on abortion rights, minimum wage, the climate, gun safety, and other existentially important issues, somehow manage to either forget about that, or cannot make the completely obvious logical leap from voting for the Democratic candidate for President, and Democrats for Senate, to who gets put on the Supreme Court, to decide all of this.

It is a very sad and upsetting testament to the fact that tens of millions of people apparently were not listening during the required secondary school courses in government, trying to learn how the government works, and why their vote is so enormously important. When will they ever learn? It appears that they even still have not, looking at the polling for the upcoming midterms. At the very least, could Democratic candidates try to get people to understand the consequences of their votes, before they make them?