by Moe White –
For decades, alert, enlightened citizens have been pointing out, to little avail, that the Republican Party is not just a hotbed of corruption, vice, graft, and dishonesty, but that they detest America.
They loathe our Constitution, and always have. They deplore the separation of powers that is so clearly enunciated in it. They object vehemently to other branches—the House, Senate, or Courts—exerting their own power against that of the president: a power they see as unlimited. They envision not just a “unitary executive” but an entire apparatus of state controlled completely by one man.
Among the many apologists for this view are two of the three most dangerous men in the United States today: John Roberts, head of the Supreme Court, and William Barr, Attorney General of the United States. (The third is Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.) Both are far smarter and more knowledgeable than Mr. Trump: they know the Constitution, they know the law, they understand our nation’s history of democracy—and they wholeheartedly object to all three.
Barr, in particular, has been the chief proponent of the unlimited executive for nearly 30 years, since serving under Reagan and Bush II. He believes the job of Attorney General of the United States should be—and is, under him—personal lawyer for the president, protecting his interests against all challenges, dismissing the Legislative branch as secondary, free to make all courts subject to the interest of the chief executive.
Under his counsel the Hatch Act has no force; Congressional subpoenas are optional; FBI and other investigations are illegitimate unless sparked by his office against his or the president’s political enemies. He is at heart a tiny Stalin, retorting to judicial rulings he dislikes, “How many divisions does the Roberts Court have?”
In that, he’s fortunate, for Mr. Roberts and his four colleagues Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas, are in complete agreement with Mr. Barr that—as Mr. Nixon once put it—“if the president does it, it can’t be illegal.” Thus his court has supported almost every outrageous claim of executive power that has ever come before it.
Roberts, despite his Boy-Scout demeanor and claims of “impartiality,” has done his best to undermine every law passed by Congress to ensure equality, fairness, and justice in our politics and government.
When the Voting Rights Act of 1995 was renewed (95 to 5 in the Senate) and an angry Texas community sued to overturn it, he pushed successfully to claim that pre-clearance was no longer necessary, because it had been so successful in keeping states and counties from disenfranchising minorities. The very next day the county that had sued began passing laws that deliberately disenfranchised those minorities; it was quickly followed by jurisdictions and states across the country where white supremacy was the unacknowledged, but obvious, goal.
Supreme Court justices appointed by Democratic presidents pointed out at the time that his rationale was apparently that umbrellas stop the rain, and since we’re no longer getting wet, we no longer need an umbrella.
Roberts is also the author of the Citizens United decision that asserted the absurdity that limits on campaign finance spending and fundraising were unfair to the rich, who should be able to give as much as they wanted; and that “transparency” (his word) would ensure that their donations would be exposed to the light of day, so that everyone would know what rich men had bought which Republican candidates.
But there is no law requiring transparency that shows the source of donations. Led by Mitch McConnell, Republican senators who had confirmed him for his seat quickly announced they would not pass any transparency law—ever.
Most recently, it was Roberts who looked at the state of North Carolina, where the cumulative vote for Republican House candidates was 50.9%, that for Democratic ones 49.1%, and said that the mere fact that, by gerrymandering according to political interests, 10 of 13 House seats went to Republicans, his court couldn’t interfere.
He made that claim despite the fact that the leader of the Republican-dominated NC House comittee in charge of redistricting had told a lower court that the only reason they settled for 10 of 13 seats was because they couldn’t find a way to take 11. Roberts’s court couldn’t interfere despite recently uncovered evidence—in the form of electronic documents prepared by the top hired Republican redistricting expert—that his redistricting plan, adopted by the NC GOP legislature, would increase white Republican turnout and depress turnout by “non-white, non-Republican voters.”
Roberts insists that even 99% agreement between racial and partisan voting patterns is mere “coincidence,” and cannot show intent to discriminate—even when specific GOP documents state “This is how we can discriminate” against non-white, non-Republican voters.
John Roberts, who has forfeited the title of “Justice,” and even more that of “Chief Justice,” asserted that it was not within the purview of the Supreme Court of justice of the United States to ensure the foundational principle of our Constitutional democracy—that the people choose their own representatives and determine their own fate.