Victorious ACB

Last night the Senate confirmed the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, thus filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat.  Conservative constitutionalist Justice Clarence Thomas swore in Barrett, a symbolic gesture of the new justice’s constitutionalist credentials.

It’s doubly significant that Barrett’s confirmation comes just a week before Election Day, which is next Tuesday, 3 November 2020.  Nothing speaks more powerfully to conservatives about the importance of the Trump presidency than the President’s three conservative appointments to the Court.

ACB seems to be the most conservative of Trump’s appointees yet, which is a major victory for the Right.  Replacing the arch-progressive RGB with a conservative Catholic mother of seven should energize even the logiest of Republican squishes to pull the lever for Trump next Tuesday.

Recapturing the Court from progressives has been a conservative fantasy since at least Roe v. Wade, and really even earlier.  It’s taken anywhere from fifty to eighty years for conservatives to hold a decisive majority on the Court—easily a lifetime of patient political campaigning and faithful prayer.

With Democrats threatening to pack the Courts if they win the presidency and Congress, conservatives can’t rest on our laurels just yet.  We’ve got to get Trump reelected next week—and Republicans to take back the House and retain the Senate.

For South Carolinians, we must vote for Lindsey Graham next week, too.  I know he has not always been the most reliable conservative, but the Kavanaugh confirmation process red-pilled him big time.  He’s also the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is responsible for getting Barrett—and dozens upon dozens of federal and appellate judges—out of committee and to a floor vote.  We cannot afford to lose that conservative influence at this critical juncture.

Justice Thomas is getting on in his years; we need a reliable conservative to replace him.  But there are progressive justices also approaching their expiration dates.  Justice Stephen Breyer is 82.  Respectable retirement can’t be far off for him.  Replacing Breyer would truly cement a conservative majority for a lifetime.

For now, congratulations to Justice Amy Coney Barrett.  Do us proud!

The-Surpreme-Court

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Anti-Court Packing

As of right now, it looks like Amy Coney Barrett will get confirmed to the Supreme Court before the election, even if she’ll be seated under the wire.  A plurality of Americans want Barrett seated, according to a Rasmussen poll.  Conservatives shouldn’t take anything for granted; to quote Marcus Cato Censorius, “many things can come between the mouth and a morsel of food.”  But it does seem that ACB will soon be Justice Barrett, and America will be better off for it.

Of course, the Democrats are in high dudgeon, and are already threatening to pack the Court should they win the presidency and gain a senatorial majority this November.  Conservatives have anticipated this potential move for some time, but haven’t done much to stymie it.  Our focus has been, understandably, affixed on merely gaining a solid constitutionalist majority on the Court, but today’s Left will do anything to demolish a conservative Court.

Just as Democrats threatened to impeach Trump [thanks to jonolan for sharing that post with his readers, too —TPP] for making a constitutional appointment, they’re not seeking to dilute the Supreme Court, cheapening its gravity and significance, by adding additional justices.  Their solution is to expand the Court enough enough to make the potentially 6-3 conservative majority irrelevant.

After all, with the Democrats, if the rules favor your opponents, change them.  If the people don’t want your ideology, force it on them via judicial or executive fiat.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The Supreme Court and Power

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The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg eight days ago has opened up another power struggle in D.C.  Democrats have spent decades perverting the function of the courts from that of constitutional referee into that of constitution interpreter, a role that places the Supreme Court above Congress and the presidency.

The result is rule by nine unelected officials who serve for life.  Congress has gleefully passed the difficulty of legislative activity and the push and pull of debate onto the Supreme Court, trusting it to clarify anything Congress may have forgotten to write into law.  Presidents have passively executed Supreme Court verdicts, and even signed legislation they believed to be unconstitutional, on the premise that the Supreme Court would make the ultimate decision.

Thus, the Court has emerged as the dominant force in American politics—and morality.  Not only does the Court tell us what the Constitution really says—even if the Constitution doesn’t say it at all—it also tells us the moral judgments of the Constitution (thanks to Z Man for that insight).  Thus, every cat lady and box wine auntie in America bemoans the death of RBG, their symbolic stand-in, who endorsed free and easy abortions and gay rights.

Now President Trump has the opportunity to shift the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation.  But will it be enough to reverse judicial supremacy and restore constitutional order?

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Imcheapment

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It looks like President Trump will make his Supreme Court nomination pick later this week, and that Senate Republicans will deliver the votes he needs.  Lindsey Graham, who is in a surprisingly tight race here in South Carolina, came out with full-throated support for confirming a nominee, even this close to the November election.

What came as a major surprise was Mitt Romney‘s willingness to vote for a Trump nominee.  He did qualify his support by stating that he intends “to vote based upon [the nominee’s] qualifications,” which still leaves open the possibility of his characteristic perfidy.  Even with Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins demurring, that gives Senate Republicans some cushion in confirming the president’s choice.

Of course, the Left is in a full-scale, apocalyptic meltdown.  They’d turned Ruth Bader Ginsburg into a symbol for their preferred style of judicial activism, and saw her as a crotchety, sleepy champion for their pet causes.  Ginsburg never saw an abuse of judicial power she didn’t like, and was a guaranteed vote for the progressives on any case.

The prospect of replacing her with a constitutional conservative is the Left’s worst nightmare.  RBG’s refusal to step down into a peaceful (and, surely, lucrative) retirement during the Obama administration has not cost the Democrats—potentially—a reliably Leftist seat for probably another forty years.

It’s little wonder, then, that the Democrats are pulling out every trick imaginable to stall or prevent confirmation hearings, and to otherwise scuttle Trump’s eventual nominee.  That includes threats of impeachment.

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Slam into SCOTUS

With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last Friday, the political world was thrown into hysterics.  Democrats are threatening to set the Supreme Court building and the White House ablaze if President Trump attempts to nominate a replacement for the Notorious RBG before the November election.

Even if they were serious about their histrionic, treasonous threat, President Trump should do it, and Senate Republicans should act speedily to confirm his nominee.  For that matter, President Trump should appoint the most stridently right-wing, pro-life, socially conservative, religious justice possible.

If the Kavanaugh hearings taught us anything, the Left will pillory any mildly conservative nominee to the Court.  Kavanaugh is a Beltway Dudley Do-Right, and he was treated as a de facto stand-in for every unpleasant interaction a woman has ever had with a man.  If the Left treated him so shabbily, why not go for broke and get the second coming of Antonin Scalia, or a young Clarence Thomas clone?

When I first heard the news, I remembered President Obama’s Merrick Garland appointment, and how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings.  That was entirely constitutional, both for the president to nominate, and for the Senate to decline to confirm.  McConnell’s rationale was that the Senate should not confirm a nominee during a presidential election year, so as to give the people a chance to vote for new leadership first.

My initial reaction was, “Well, screw it—just slam in a nominee and control SCOTUS for generations.”  The Senate isn’t bound by an unwritten rule or custom, and the Left has broken so many rules (including threatening to impeach Trump for performing his constitutional duty to make an appointment), it’s time for us to do so to win.

But then my younger brother informed me that a confirmation at this time would not be a breach of senatorial custom.  The rule that McConnell invoked in 2016 only applies when the President is one party, and the Senate is controlled by the opposing party.  Presidents who have attempted nominations in those conditions during election years have failed.  Ted Cruz covers it beautifully in a short YouTube video:

Of course, McConnell warned then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2009 when the Senate got rid of its requirement that sixty Senators were necessary to confirm Supreme Court nominees that it would one day come back to haunt the Democrats.  The price of their political expediency could very well be—let us pray!—a conservative-controlled Court.

Sadly, it seems that the Democrats will keep moving the goal posts, as usual.  The cry now is that if Trump gets his nominee before the election, the Democrats will engage in court-packing should they win the presidency and Congress; in other words, they’ll add Supreme Court seats to dilute the conservative majority.

Congress has the authority to alter the number of Supreme Court seats (when the Constitution was first ratified, the Court only had six justices, rather than the present-day nine).  However, the last infamous example of court-packing—Franklin Roosevelt’s ham-fisted attempt to inflate the Court to fifteen justices from nine—was met with severe push-back from even his own party, which saw it for the transparently naked power-grab it was.  Democrats nearly ninety years later are all too eager to engage in that power grab.

Therefore, even if President Trump gets his nominee confirmed before the 3 November election, it could all be undone with a Biden win and a “blue wave” seizing control of the Senate.  That’s why it’s all the more imperative—especially in swing States—to get out and vote for Trump.  The Supreme Court pick will be meaningless if Democrats take control of the levers of power again.

Nevertheless, Senate Republicans need to confirm—speedily—whoever President Trump puts forward as his nominee (hopefully Amy Coney Barrett).  That decisive action could rally millions of conservatives to get out to vote for Trump (and vulnerable Republican Senators) in November.

More importantly, it will—barring progressive court-packing—secure the Court for conservatives for at least a generation, and possibly beyond.  If President Trump is reelected and Republicans maintain the Senate, it may then be advisable—as much as I hate to suggest it—for Justice Thomas to step down, thereby allowing Trump to appoint a younger conservative who can maintain the conservative majority for another thirty or forty years.

Big things are afoot.  The Republicans and Trump may just have one last shot to save the Republic.

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Screwed by SCOTUS

My brother sent me a meme the other day:  a picture of nine Clarence Thomases under the heading “The Ideal Supreme Court“:

Memes are often pithy statements of the Truth, and, boy, this one nails it.  Given the treacherous and boneheaded rulings from the Supreme Court this week—particularly from perennial traitor Chief Justice John Roberts, joined in one ruling with milquetoast toady Neil Gorsuch—we could do for a Court full of Clarence Thomases.  Such a Court would understand the Constitution and the role of the Supreme Court in relation to it better than any Court we’ve had since the 1920s.

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The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War

On Wednesday, 13 May 2020, blogger Audre Myers posted a piece at Nebraska Energy Observer entitled “What Do You Think?”  The piece prompted readers to answer the question “Would we be the America we are if the Civil War had never been fought?”

Below is my response, which you can also view here.  The TL;DR summary of my answer is that, while it was good that the Union was preserved and that slavery was abolished, it came with some heavy fees—the expansion of federal power (and the loss of liberty inverse to federal expansion), the erosion of States’ rights, and—most importantly—the triumph of Yankee progressivism over Southern traditionalism.

The temptation is always to reduce the American Civil War to being ONLY about slavery.  Slavery was, obviously, a huge part of the Southern economy and culture, and motivated a great deal of Southern politics at the national level.  But slavery was not the be-all, end-all of the “Lost Cause.”  There were legitimate constitutional questions at play.  Indeed, an open question—one the American Civil War closed by force of arms—was that, having opted into the Constitution, could States later opt out?  John Randolph of Roanoke, among others, seemed to believe this question was legitimate, and such an exit was allowed—even acknowledged.

Of course, the slavery narrative serves modern progressive ends.  It allows for throwing the baby—States’ rights—out with the bathwater.  Suddenly, States’ rights becomes “code,” in the progressive mind, for justifying slavery or segregation.  Yes, States’ rights was invoked to support wicked things.  Nevertheless, it is fully constitutional—just ask the Tenth Amendment.

Nullification and secession were dangerous doctrines, but the loss of them also meant that the federal government could expand with far fewer limits on its power.  The States lost the nuclear option, so to speak, of bucking unconstitutional acts (although, to be fair, States can challenge such acts more peacefully through lawsuits against the federal government—even if those cases are heard in federal courts).  Seeing as we’re living in times when a peaceful separation between fundamentally opposed ideologies may be the most attractive option for the future of our nation, it’s worth reviewing the history of these ideas.

Well, that’s enough preamble.  After two days of self-indulgent, girly navel-gazing, it’s time for some substance:

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You Can’t Cuck the Tuck III: Liberty in The Age of The Virus

The Washington Post blares under its masthead that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”  That alliterative tag line for The Bezos Post is intended as a not-so-subtle jab at Donald Trump, as “democracy” for The Post and the rest of the Mainstream Media means “letting overcredentialed grad students and aloof experts run everything while ignoring the proles.”  Apparently, a businessman who has slashed federal taxes and regulations and devolved power back to the States is a would-be authoritarian.

For all its dire virtue-signalling and hand-wringing, though, The Post and its ilk are wrong:  just like the unsuspecting coeds in Midsommar, liberty dies in broad daylight.

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Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus

The Age of The Virus is unprecedented.  Well, not entirely—major plagues and pandemics have swept the world before.  What’s unprecedented this time is the wholesale closure of the most commerce, along with rigid governmental and social admonitions to “social distance” and “shelter-in-place.”  Tin-pot municipal tyrants and State governors are engaged in a virtue-signalling race to see who can curtail liberties more rapidly and completely.

Pointing out this reality opens one to social scorn.  It’s amusing—and a bit frightening—to see the earnestness with which some Americans cling to their new mantras, the articles of faith handed down from the CDC and various government apparatchiks.  Even as our knowledge of The Virus seems to change daily, these public health acolytes cling to the every pronouncement from so-called “experts.”

Please don’t misunderstand me.  Yes, we should be vigilant about washing our hands and avoiding the accidental infection of one another, especially the elderly.

What concerns me is how quickly so many of us have been willing to accept greater degrees of control over our lives in the name of combating an invisible threat.  But now it feels like we’re living in the episode of Sliders called “Fever,” in which a totalitarian CDC cracks down on Los Angeles because, in that universe, penicillin was never discovered.

We’re not at Sliders levels—yet—but with that acquiescence has come an expansion of government power at nearly every level. I am not a libertarian, and I fully expect a robust federal response to a difficult international situation (remember, The Virus came from CHI-NA).  But that doesn’t mean local, State, or even federal authorities can simply hand-wave away the Constitution.

The Framers surely knew disease and death in their time.  When the Constitution was drafted in 1787, there was no capability for directing society with relative efficiency; even if there were, though, they would not have wanted to use it to suspend liberties.  The Framers surely knew there would be plagues and sickness in the United States, yet they included no clause such as “in the event of widespread sickness, these Articles contained heretofore in are, and of right to be, suspended until such time as the Congress shall deem suitable for public safety and the common welfare.”

Yet we see officials at the lowest levels of government telling people not just to stay home, but threatening to shut down churches and other assemblies.  Doesn’t that violate the First Amendment protections of freedom of religion and freedom of assembly?  Again, the prudent approach is for churches to accommodate the health of their congregants with remote services or other workarounds, but shouldn’t they be allowed to hold traditional services if they so choose?

The critics and medical scolds by now are howling with rage.  “What do these gossamer rights mean when we’re dead?”  Is that all anyone cares about?  What happened to Patrick Henry’s fiery cry of “Give me liberty, or give me death?”  What’s worse:  death from worshiping the Lord, or life in a soulless, gutless, freedom-less world?

I’m not alone in my assessment here.  Bill Whittle ripped into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this week, arguing that His Dishonor’s promise to shut down churches that continue to congregate would represent a high-handed assault on the First Amendment.  Even Whittle’s colleague Scott Ott thought Whittle’s defense of the Constitution was a bit rich, basically arguing that the Constitution can take a break during this outbreak.

I’m perceiving similarly expedient arguments among others on the Right.  It’s disgusting how many folks on our side are running like slavering dogs to lap up the crumbs of authoritarianism.  Whittle in the video above makes the compelling point that the Constitution functionally means nothing if any government official at any level can simply ignore its protections.  He also correctly points out that these rights are God-given, part of our very human nature.  No government can legitimately deprive us of them.

Another one of the saner voices is RazörFist, who also sees a great deal of big government chicanery in this pandemic (warning, Razör’s videos often contain strong language):

Z Man has also expressed skepticism about The Virus—or, at least, our draconian responses to it—and has received his share of scorn and dismissal.  But in his post Wednesday, “Fermi’s Paradox,” he made an interesting allusion to E.M. Forster’s novella “The Machine Stops,” originally published in 1909.  That short story (which I highly recommend you read—it has the same chilling effect as Kipling’s “The Mother Hive”) details a world in which humanity exists in a state of mindless, perpetual comfort, its every need attended to by The Machine.

In the story, humans have become so accustomed to cloistering in their little cells that they abhor face-to-face interaction, instead communicating via blue discs across great distances.  They are so dependent upon The Machine, they come to worship it (an interesting development, as their society has “advanced” beyond the “superstition” of religious belief—another subtle point from Forster).  They only travel on rare occasions, and avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

Eventually, The Machine deteriorates, with disastrous results; I will likely write about the story in more detail next week.  For our purposes, it sounds eerily like our current society:  shelter-in-place, “Stay at Home” (as digital signs on the Interstate tell me, implicitly scolding me for being on the highway), watch Netflix, #AloneTogether, etc., etc.—we’re told to be comfortable and to crave safety and comfort above all else.  They are the highest goods.

We’re through the looking glass here.  I’ve been pessimistic that we’re even living under the Constitution anymore, especially after the intelligence agencies attempted to overthrow a sitting President.  Vestiges and scraps of it still reign, but they seem to be the exception.  And most Americans don’t seem to care, so long as they can watch TV, the WiFi is working, and there is pizza.

We’re no longer the Roman Republic, but we’re not the Roman Empire in the 5th century, either.  We’re more like the Roman Empire in the 2nd or 3rd centuries:  coasting along on the remnants of a functioning system, with a play-acting Congress shadowing the motions of republicanism.

I hope I’m wrong.  Regardless, wash your hands.