supreme court

Contested Elections and a Constitutional Crisis

Several times in the past few weeks, by several different people, I’ve been asked the following question in one form or another:

“What’s to stop Donald Trump simply refusing to accept the results of an election where he’s voted out?”

Several potential justifications or complex scenarios were presented for my consideration.  In one, Trump would challenge in one or more states (such as California) on the grounds that illegal immigrants make up enough of the electorate to invalidate the results.  Others, less (more…)

On Abortion (as a political issue)

I’m going to begin by making three statements:

  1. Roe v. Wade is, for the moderate future, settled law.  No politician currently running is going to overturn it.
  2. Science gives us no clear, simple, easy-to-understand answer here.
  3. There are a lot of people on every side of the discussion who will never be content with any compromise.

If you can accept each of these statements, there are two conclusions (more…)

Who Do You Stand With?

I’ve been seeing posts and memes:  “I stand with Kavanaugh!”  “I stand with Ford!”

Let me tell you where I stand.

There was a hearing; I watched.  I wish for the sake of those involved that this hadn’t been broadcast live, but it was, and to stay informed I watched, and I listened, and afterward I read summaries and reviews and transcripts. (more…)

Ford’s Accusation And What It Reveals

While on a trip to Maine last week, I was bombarded by soft-money ads against Senator Susan Collins.  Tens of millions of dollars are being spent by the Democratic Party to erode the approval rating of a moderate Republican during a year that she’s not facing re-election.  The premise of these ads is that she’s a horrible person for supporting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, because he’s (according to them) planning to overturn Roe v. Wade.  As I understand it, however, these ads are but the latest in a long series, an organized campaign to assassinate the character of one of the last surviving moderates in the Senate. (more…)

History: You’re Doing It Wrong

Slavery is not why most men fought in the Civil War.

I’m going to explain this in a moment, but stop a moment and observe:  The first reaction of many people to my initial statement is one of instant and violent rejection.  In these emotionally charged times, fully half of my readers will refuse to go on from here; many more will fail to understand their meaning in the light of their preconceptions.  Some will doubtless accuse me of lying or of deliberately being hateful.

And so let me hasten to clarify:  Slavery was one of the great horrors of history, a crime against (more…)

Opposing Neil Gorsuch

I know; I know:  One more story on this guy is too many.

Between him, and Trump stumping for him, and the Senate arguing over whether or not to confirm him, and partisan political action committees spending tons of money on attack ads about him, and everyone with a microphone weighing in on the subject in one direction or another, we’re sick to death of hearing (more…)

I’m Pretty Sure He’s Human

For me, the trouble with writing about politics these days is that it’s too easy to say bad things.

I don’t mean that it’s easy to insult the President and his people.  That’s always easy.  It’s always been easy, truth be told, which is exactly why the media always does it:  They meet their deadlines and win Pulitzers and can still make Happy Hour, and (more…)

Merrick Garland versus Neil Gorsuch

After 283 days, on January 3, 2017, Merrick Garland’s nomination for appointment to the United States Supreme Court expired, as the Senate refused even to consider his candidacy.

Despite persistent claims, this was not entirely unprecedented.  However, it was indeed an undeniable abuse of partisan political power by one of the few individuals in history capable of getting away with it, Senator Mitch McConnell.  That action set an extremely dangerous precedent — or, conversely, revealed a weakness (more…)