McConnell’s Rudderless Ship of State

The Ford-Kavanaugh was always just a “she said, he said”- never  anything else. Mitch McConnell, Trump, and the Republicans of the Judiciary committee made sure of that by: 1) limiting the Ford hearing to one day and 2) limiting the FBI investigation to….we don’t know for sure, because 3) they also put a shroud of secrecy on the report.

So now: 1) we have a Supreme Court Justice who may, as many of his college and high school friends claim, have lied his way onto the Cour; 2) an FBI now subject to political control; and 3) appointments to the Supreme Courts clearly based on politics over qualifications.

The idea behind lifetime Supreme Court appointments was to guarantee independence from political winds. It was to be the rudder of the ship of state, so that whenever Congress or the President tried to steer the ship for their own purposes, the Court would bring it back on course.

The Kavanaugh confirmation, by completing the politicization of the Court, has effectively eliminated the rudder. The person responsible is not, as we might assume, President Donald Rudderless Trump. It is Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell, from Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky, is a very smart, long-range thinker, with genteel Southern manners and no-holds barred political combat skills. A Senator since 1982, he has been heavily involved in the ascension of every Republican now on the Supreme Court. For the last 20 years or so, he has been singularly dedicated to turning, not just the Supreme Court, but the entire justice system conservative.

As of August of this year McConnell’s Senate has confirmed 60 conservative judges (91% white and 81% percent male). McConnell’s deputy chief of staff, Don Stewart, told Bloomberg in late August: “In August alone, the Senate confirmed another 15 judges — with eight more locked in for next week. These are judges who will be in place for decades”.

Kavanaugh is McConnell’s proudest moment. Although he doesn’t speak directly to Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s age and fragility, he has said he’d gladly add another conservative to the Court in 2020.

While McConnell has been Senate Leader, the Court has weakened the Civil Rights Act of 1965 by allowing states with a history of voter discrimination to no longer have Federal supervision of their voting laws. It has decimated the notion of “one man one vote with the “Citizen United” ruling, which now floods elections with corporate and Super Pac money. Gerrymandering (drawing voting districts to benefit one party) has spread across the country. Concurrently, conservative southern legislatures have slowly and steadily weakened Roe v. Wade.

And that was pre-Kavanaugh.

While Trump takes bows for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Mitch MCConnell quietly sips a mint julep and predicts the Democrats’ outrage will soon blow over.

Maybe not.

Unlike Dr. Ford, whose entire family had to move out of her house and still can’t go back because of threats, Kavanaugh complained tearfully  about receiving threats, but has not had to move. He’s a whiny choirboy  and people know it.

In sworn testimony Kavanaugh shouted clear bias against Democrats and the “left”.  Democrats will shout that from rooftops. There was no real investigation by the FBI, so the notion that Kavanaugh lied will not blow over. 2400 law professors, one ex Supreme Court Justine, and plenty of Kavanaugh’s fellow students say he is not qualified for the Supreme Court. Even traditionally apolitical country singer Taylor Swift reacted to her own Senator’s conservatism by getting thousands of young people to register for the November election.

But the biggest reason it won’t blow over is what the McConnell Court can now do to the country.

It can allow further weakening of the Civil Rights Act of 1965. It can legitimize gerrymandering. It may not overturn Roe V. Wade overtly (after all, Kavanaugh did say it was “settled law”), but it can hand it to the states to overturn, thereby dividing the country even more. It can allow insurers to eliminate pre-existing condition guarantees in healthcare coverage, and reduce Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other social programs. It can weaken the First Amendment by allowing the banning of refugees based on their religion. It can undermine the rule of law by protecting the President from prosecution while in office (as Kavanaugh has proposed).

All these and more are highly possible with a politically aligned, rudderless, conservative Congress, President, and Supreme Court.

If that scares you, vote in November.

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