Musing about law, books, and politics

Where We Are . . . and Where We’re Going.

Max Boot tweeted this:


If the Congressional Republicans performed their constitutional duty and acted as a check on presidential power, he’d be out by now. Instead they shield him while pushing through their agenda.

This will prove to be a miscalculation.

I meant in the sense that it will backfire on the party shielding this president. 

The framers considered the possibility of a president who was incompetent or beholden to foreign powers. That’s why they included a remedy: Congressional oversight.

The GOP see no alternative (even though they can see that this president is beholden to foreign powers) because—as Harvard Prof. Steven Levitsky explained—they know their medium and long-term prospects are poor. Changing demographics are against them. So they’re desperate. 

It won’t end well for them.

The framers also considered the possibility that Congress, too, would be corrupt or beholden to foreign interest. That’s why the Constitution requires that we hold elections every 2 or 6 years.

They can be voted out.

Will it be easy? No. It can’t happen all at once because of gerrymandering, etc.

But the GOP base is aging and shrinking. The Democrats (young and diverse) have excellent medium and long term prospects.

So no gloom and doom. Pick something from my list and get busy.

The argument offered by Jill—common on Twitter, and I assume elsewhere—is that by 2020, the courts will be so conservative that liberalism is doomed.

Time for a quick history of the Supreme Court. 

There have been only two truly liberal courts in all of U.S. history: The Marshall court (1801-1835) and the Warren court (1953-1969). 

Through most of U.S. history, courts have been very far to the right.

How far to the right?

I could go on.

Everything in today’s politics, including Trump, can be seen as a backlash from the liberal Court of the 1950s and 60s . . . the Court that ended segregation, expanded the 4th Amendment protections, and paved the way for the Civil rights and women’s rights movement.

History puts it into perspective. We know how to deal with ultra-conservative courts and the damage they’ve done. Because we’ve done it before.

The reactionaries roll things backwards.

The liberals then have to roll things forward again.

I’ve spent time as a criminal defense lawyer (almost entirely appellate). I know something about this. Lawbreakers almost always think they will win. They almost always act like they will win. 

That doesn’t mean they will.

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