I know it sounds alarmist to say that the Supreme Court pick by Trump could change the world, but this time it could. Giving the right wing a solid majority on the court for the next thirty years could mean the end of reproductive choice, which effects more than just women; LGBTQ rights, including marriage equality; voting rights, workers rights, immigration, and even the various amendments to the Constitution, including the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth.
All of them have been under assault by the right wing since the 1960’s, held in check by an evenly-balanced court that even Ronald Reagan couldn’t tip his way completely. He got very close with Robert Bork, but we stopped it then, and got Anthony Kennedy. Now he’s going, and unless we do something to stop Trump’s pick, we’re going to get someone just as doctrinaire and antediluvian as Bork, but without the charm.
But wait, someone says, how do we know that Trump will pick a far-right jurist? Simple; because he will do whatever he can to piss off people, and he knows that picking a wingnut will outrage the progressives. He doesn’t really care about policy or judicial background; he just likes to watch the fireworks. He doesn’t have a clue that whomever he picks will outlive him and change the fundamental laws of this nation; he just wants to see Rachel Maddow’s head explode. Knowing that, it’s safe to conclude that his choice will be not be because he cares a popcorn fart about the Constitution — we’ve known that all along — but what kind of meltdown he can cause on Twitter.
So it comes to the Senate, where a far more wily foe lies in wait: Mitch McConnell. He’s already stolen the Supreme Court pick from the Democrats the last time there was a vacancy with his daring daylight robbery of Barack Obama and Merrick Garland. Now he’s planning to whoop through Trump’s pick before the mid-terms, knowing that the sentiment is building against the Republican majority in the Senate, and the only thing that’s keeping him in the majority is the health of John McCain, who is the 51st Republican in a 51-49 chamber. It only takes two to win for the Democrats.
As Martin Longman notes, it’s a lot easier to work for change than it is to fight to keep the status quo. This time the change is coming from the left, but the battle is going to be that much more brutal when you have a mercurial and frankly bonkers leader on the other side, held in check only by the fingernails and hawksbill of Mitch McConnell and the ticking clock leading up to November.
This will be a two-front battle. We have to defeat the nomination of Trump’s pick and we need to win back the Senate to guarantee that no matter who else he picks for however long he remains in office won’t get passed through so your grandchild can marry whomever he or she wants or gets to decide who controls her body or if they get to enjoy a safe work place or even vote in the first place.
I know I’ve said that every election and therefor the future of this nation hangs on three little words — The Supreme Court — but this time we really mean it.