Well how about that. Twenty years, almost to the day, after Bush v. Gore handed the Presidency to the dimwit who now ranks as only the second worst President in living memory, the United States Supreme Court, clogged though it is with Trump appointees, was finally fed a camel it couldn’t swallow. By a vote of 7-2 the Justices told Texas and its amicus buddies that they didn’t even have standing to argue their imbecilic case, never mind the merits – telling them, essentially, that we don’t need to hear you out, so all y’all can now turn around, grab your big dumb asses with both hands, and haul those sorry butts back to wherever the hell it is you came from (albeit without the contemptuous snark). Thomas and Alito thought that as a matter of law the Court had to at least hear the case, but also opined that they wouldn’t then have granted Texas et al anything they wanted, making the refusal to overturn a democratic election, effectively, 9-0. This was just as everyone expected – the suit was patently preposterous, and nobody sensible gave it a snowball’s chance of getting anywhere – but gotta say, I’m mightily relieved. So great is my disdain for this right wing cluster of Republican darlings that I wouldn’t have put anything past them. I’m still not sure what they might have done had the election been closer, and the Republican claims just a little less fraudulent.
Relief ain’t the half of it either, because oh joy! Oh wonderful schadenfreude! Fat Donny must be pissed! It’s hard to tell where the grift ends and the derangement begins, but from his statements over the past couple of days he actually seemed to believe he’d get the 6-3 decision that he and Mitch have worked so hard to make a regular thing. That’s the math, right? Three of theirs, six of his, should have been a cake walk. Plus, not only are six of them Republican appointees, three of them owed him personally, remember? He put them there!
Now he’s got to be positively vibrating with rage. He must be bouncing off the West Wing walls. Those bastards! Where’s the gratitude? Where’s the loyalty? Miserable ingrates! They’re supposed to provide a quick pro quote, or however the hell you say it, and what the hell use is it to stack the courts anyway, they don’t decide it your way, huh? Oh, how he must be ranting and raving. You almost have to pity poor Donald, to whom everything is a transaction. He’s probably just as confused as he is crestfallen. It was a mortal lock! He ponied up at his end, now where’s his sugar back? He probably feels just like he bribed everybody on the municipal board, and still they rejected his zoning variance. This never happened to Gotti.
I get all warm and giggly just thinking about it.
Still, I’m a little disappointed. True, the Justices sent them all packing with a terse one page ruling, which, arguably, is as stinging and contemptuous as the pronouncements of the land’s highest court are supposed to get. There’s a certain decorum to be observed, which I understand, as a general proposition, and if this was a judgment rejecting, say, an attempt to invalidate Obamacare, I’d be more than satisfied. This was different, though. This application wasn’t just frivolous, vexatious, and legally absurd. It was an outright attack on American democracy. Nothing less. Texas and nineteen other States, supported by 126 members of Congress, came to the Supreme Court and asked it to turn the world’s oldest constitutional republic into some sort of autocratic oligarchy led by an unelected tyrant on the make. It was, as stated so eloquently in Pennsylvania’s submission, both abusive of the legal system and essentially seditious, and I heartily concurred with that State’s plea that SCOTUS respond with a rebuke so stern and definitive that nobody would ever try anything like it again. What Texas and crew needed, in short, was a right nasty judicial ass-whupping. A curt dismissal just doesn’t cut it.
What, exactly, should they have done then? Well, in the finest tradition of internet discourse I’m arguing from ignorance here – I know nothing of the legal scope of the court’s punitive jurisdiction in such cases – but it would have been nice if the lawyers acting for the applicants were somehow held personally to account. I want them to suffer sanctions. If not hauled away in chains, perhaps they could be fined into poverty? The Justices could at least have promised to send letters to the relevant State bars, recommending severe professional discipline for the whole sorry bunch, couldn’t they? Must this gang of bad faith actors all walk away scot-free? Even Ted Cruz? He never got his chance to make oral argument, but still, he was all ready aye ready cap’n!!, and just for that they could certainly justify taking a shot at him too. Or him alone, whichever.
As to the written ruling, heck, I could have word-smithed something suitably eviscerating – oh boy, could I have. Just off the top of my head here, it could have included boffo turns of phrase like:
This absurd and frankly terrifying application represents nothing less than an attempt to make this Court complicit in a vile scheme to destroy the Republic and replace it with a dictatorship.
The remedy sought by the applicants reveals them not merely to be profoundly unserious and pitifully unintelligent, but unprincipled, unscrupulous, probably unhinged, and certainly unworthy of any further expenditure of this Court’s valuable time.
Stuff like that. Maybe throw in a zinger at the end, something pithy and mean:
Were that it was within this Court’s power to order that all of you be taken from this chamber to a place of execution, there to be hanged by the neck until dead.
I could have had fun with it, for sure. Oh well.
Anyway, the bums were seen off, and given what amounts to a restrained and decorous kick in the pants before being tossed politely down the broad marble steps to the cobblestones below. Fine. Believe it or not that might not put a complete stop to all this quasi-legal tomfoolery, but for all practical purposes it’s over in the courts. Trump’s elite squad of legal commandos went 0 for 57, or something like that. The kraken is dead.
If memory serves there’s still an opportunity for more Republican obstructionism when the results of the Electoral College vote are presented to Congress in January, but nothing that’s likely to amount to anything. In the short term, we appear to be safe (unless Donald utterly loses his shit, grows a pair, and calls upon all those militias and Proud Boys out there to launch a coup for real, South American style). In the long term, however, there’s the problem that America’s two party system now includes only one with a demonstrated commitment to democracy, and that’s not good. More than a third of the State Attorneys General just tried, in a ploy that was almost sacrilegious, to overrule the duly rendered democratic verdict of the people. Two thirds of the House Republican Caucus lent their support. How do you deal with these people now? Is it supposed to be business is usual? No consequences for any of them?
Moreover, are they done? Or was this just the first battle in a war the GOP is prepared to wage through successive administrations, for as long as it takes to reconstitute America as a nation run by white male landowners, and nobody else?