The Supreme Court is serving as a stage for its highest ideals and deepest terrorsby Diane Roberts / October 10, 2018 / Leave a comment
The rage is palpable. For the American right, Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the United States Supreme Court is, among other things, overdue vengeance for one of their heroes, Robert Bork, the ultraconservative who failed to win a seat in 1987, and a cementing of “America First” nationalism, installing a Trumpist who’ll wield power long after Trump himself is gone. They hope the court that legalised same sex marriage and protected women’s right to choose will now be empowered to restrict gay rights and overturn the 45-year-old Roe v. Wade decision, as well as, while they’re at it, restrict citizenship, loosen environmental protections and lift prohibitions on religion in public schools. The US now has the most reactionary court since the 1930s.
Trump supporters could not be happier, though happiness for them is often expressed as howling ire. They’re fuming over what they see as Democrats’ defamation of an upstanding, beer-loving Christian, and promise payback come the midterm elections on 6th November. For their part, Democrats are incandescent with fury at Kavanaugh’s rushed confirmation—they still resent the way Republicans refused to allow a hearing for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court nominee. They’re disgusted by Republicans’ dismissive attitude toward Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh assaulted her at a high school party, and appalled at Kavanaugh’s weeping, shouting, paranoid and partisan tantrum, accusing the left of “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” Democrats point to the FBI’s rather thin investigation of the charges against Kavanaugh, a process dictated by the White House. It seems the Bureau was not allowed to question Ford, Kavanaugh, or other important witnesses. Democrats promise to “remember in November.”
There are occasional outbreaks of good behaviour in Supreme Court confirmations: Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice, achieved a favourable vote of 69-11 in 1967, despite race riots all over the country that summer; in 1981, the senate confirmed Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female justice, 99-0. Other justices have ascended to the top court without a lot of shouting. But not lately and probably not in the foreseeable future. The Supreme Court is the arena in which America’s explosive race, gender, class, and religious divisions play out, a stage for our highest ideals and deepest terrors, marked by much drama. In 1969, Richard Nixon named South Carolina segregationist Clement Haynsworth to fill…