Tag Archives: Supreme Court

What Kavanaugh did to the right

I haven’t written much about Pride for uncomplicated reasons, but one of the reasons for which I’m glad, in the era of casual experimentation, that we gays still carve a month out of the year is to anger twerps like Sohrab Ahmari, for whom drag queens reading books to children in Sacramento libraries is analogous to the Fall of Constantinople. At the end of last week the New York Post editorial page editor decided he had had enough with this sewage called contemporary culture; his answer: “[Brett] Kavanaugh snapped something in me.”

Trying to make sense of this pathology, Lawyers, Guns & Money’s Paul Campos theorized that for many on the right, especially those who posture on Twitter, what Kavanaugh allegedly did was no big deal:

OK, it was “technically” sexual assault/attempted rape, but “nothing happened.” Again, this ties in to deep anxieties about Metoo. I mean if that’s sexual assault, who hasn’t committed at least a little light sexual assault, especially if you went to high school in the 1970s or 1980s, with girls and alcohol both present and everything?

I’m obviously speculating here, but I further suspect that these attitudes are closely related to the general paranoia about the loosening of sexual mores throughout the culture, reflected in Ahmari and Co.’s manifesto linked above. All these left wingers are simultaneously trying to turn America into a non-stop polyamorous transgender cuckolding orgy, while at the same time trying to destroy upright conservative white men for engaging in a little hanky panky in the long-ago haze of their inebriated youth (“I like beer.”).

One of the president’s shrewder moves during the Kavanaugh hearings last October was using social media to remind his followers that slatterns and scolds pushed by the left could impugn the reputations of their fathers, sons, and nephews; and, at any rate, 1981 was a long time ago, and how dare Democrats get highhanded when Ted Chappakennedy has only been dead a decade? This explains Lindsey Graham’s epic meltdown at the end of the first day: the thought that this SCOTUS nominee, harvested since the Reagan era in an authoritarian lab, would have to pay for his alleged crimes. As Campos points out, conservatives can’t rejoice when they win because, like Sith lords or tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico, they gather energy from their own motion — from the projections, innuendo, and disgust that Democrats and the left inspire. Then the political press, in its cynicism and stupidity, cries uncle by claiming BOTH SIDES DO IT.

Finally, A comment on the thread had a response to what has changed and what hasn’t since the alleged incident between Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh:

Kavanaugh is about ten years older than I am, and at that time the culture was different. It should not have been but it was. People thought there was such a thing as “playing hard to get” or whatever. If the accusation was that Kavanaugh and Blasey-Ford were making out in the back seat of a Buick, and she told him to stop but he didn’t, he would be not less guilty of rape, but I would at least understand this business of “we can’t punish him for something he did as a kid” and “who doesn’t have an incident like that in their past?” and “Me Too has gone too far!”

But that’s not the accusation. There were two guys. One locked the door while the other turned up the stereo so nobody could hear her scream. You don’t exactly need Third Wave Feminism and date rape awareness training to know that if you are locking the victim in the room and trying to mask the evidence, she’s not into it. The guy’s not just a rapist by the standards of 2019, or by the standards of 1991. He was a rapist by the standards of 1980.

The spectacle Kavanaugh made of himself in his testimony was the abjectness of a man realizing other people whom he hadn’t thought about for almost forty years were not only seeking justice but implicitly destroying his pathetic belief system. Ford kept her composure as she explained why her life was ruined; Kavanaugh lost his when he joined immortality on the Supreme Court,” I wrote at the time. “Every GOP senator apologized to Kavanaugh for what Democrats had done to him; every one of them hid behind a female sex crimes prosecutor and said nothing to Ford.”

‘He had me with the idea that we are made to be free, and then he lost me’

Cue Adam Serwer: the cruelty is the point. In a story that deserves a Netflix series, the estranged daughter of Thomas B. Hofeller sifted through her dead parent’s USBs and external hard drives and found a curious document: a study concluding that a citizenship question on the 2020 census would make gerrymandered districts ever more impregnable. He also wrote the DOJ letter stressing that the question would — get this — enforce the Voting Rights Act. Continue reading

Obamacare in danger again

Last night’s gleeful ruling from Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, according to Ezra Klein, presents Democrats with, to use that most baleful of modern jargon, an opportunity. “But with Obamacare under constant threat, Republicans have refocused Democrats on building what they failed to build in 2010: a universal health care system simple enough and popular enough that it is safe from constant political and legal assault,” Klein writes. “And that means some version of Medicare-for-all.” His conclusion:

Imagine a world where Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld. In that world, a Republican judge cuts tens of millions of people off health insurance mere weeks after Republicans lost a midterm election for merely trying to cut those people off health insurance. The aftermath of that would be a political massacre for the GOP, and a straightforward mandate for Democrats to rebuild the health system along the lines they prefer.

It’s true that states like Virginia that have expanded Medicaid coverage have seen declining enrollment in the ACA. Yet Klein’s arguments are too clever by half. It’s not 2010, Joe Lieberman is gone, therefore Medicare For All isn’t anathema in polite circles. But on what grounds does Klein assume (a) the Joe Manchins in the Senate will embrace Medicare For All (b) the consequences of stripping insurance from millions of people will sober up Republicans because they didn’t want so drastic a decision from the Texas court — a decision, I should note, silly on its face? Congress repealed the individual mandate in 2017; what was left to overrule unless the judge wanted to revel in the “judicial activism” that conservatives have accused liberal judges of?

I gave up accusing the GOP of hypocrisy years ago, and I trust Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer will still live by the time the Supreme Court grants cert to the appeal.

Supreme Court keeps its powder dry

Ian Millhiser’s explanation for why the Supreme Court refused to hear two cases brought by conservatives to defund Planned Parenthood makes sense to me, and so does his theory of why Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett “Bart” Kavanaugh sided with the liberal faction to deny certiori:

It’s very doubtful that this equilibrium will last — Kavanaugh’s been very clear that he intends to kill Roe v. Wade. But the Court’s decision to not hear Andersen and Gee gives credence to the theory that Roberts and Kavanaugh want to give the nation some time to forget about how Kavanaugh got his current job before they declare outright war on reproductive choice.

Monday’s order, moreover, is unlikely to protect Medicaid recipients from the Supreme Court for very long. In the long run, some state is bound to violate the free-choice-of-provider provision in a way that doesn’t implicate a group associated with abortion. When that happens, this very conservative Supreme Court will be free to limit this provision without doing so under the close scrutiny it will face if the case name includes the words “Planned Parenthood.”

But the decision does raise a question: why can’t the Democratic Party, now fully stocked with younger and browner legislators who aren’t men, endorse federal legislation that protects a woman’s right to choose an abortion from the interventions of states? Too long has the party relied on Roe v. Wade as a carapace as subsequent decisions have poked holes in it. I forgot where I read that Roe establishes a floor, not a ceiling. Obviously they would need to control the White House and the Senate too. But campaigning openly and unequivocally for abortion rights is a standard to which voters would rally, especially the city and suburban-dwelling Democrats comprising the core of the Democratic base (I’m aware that many Americans squirm around a right to an unfettered abortion, but campaigns aren’t built around nuance).

Finally, natal care gets too little attention. As abortions have gotten safer in the United States, childbirth has gotten more dangerous. I doubt Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump care.