Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Most recent sense check, Entry #332.
The original entry for this week was a diversion from politics, culture and the potential for a Revenge Revolution sometime after 2020. The topic was ideas about the Big Bang Theory and the formation of the universe. (I’ll publish the Big Bang entry sometime in the next few weeks.)
Maybe discussing the idea of the Big Bang was fortuitous. A big bang seemed to be the thinking of the Supreme Court this past week. The decision regarding legality of extremely partisan gerrymandering — Rucho vs. Common Cause — may go down as one of the most illogical SCOTUS decisions of the last 100-150 years. Use Plessy vs Ferguson as a reference point for being illogical.
The majority opinion, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, claimed SCOTUS was not entitled to second-guess state legislatures’ decisions re gerrymandering, even if the result was extreme disproportionate representation. Really? The majority of SCOTUS’ justices claimed the Constitution did not provide authority for the Supreme Court to address such state issues as gerrymandering, and besides, the framers envisioned that politics would influence the drawing of legislative districts.
Duh, Roberts, put aside the legal mumbo-jumbo and try to figure out what’s right and wrong for the country. The case, which involved extreme gerrymandering in North Carolina, demonstrated clearly that Republican legislators intended to discriminate against certain voters, i.e., Democrats, the Party which happens to include most black and Hispanic voters.
The consultant, hired by the Republican-controlled NC legislature, publicly stated disappointment that he could ensure Republicans only 10, not 11, of 13 the seats in the US Hose of Representative despite the percentage of voters in North Carolina being split about evenly between Democrats and Republicans, and slightly favoring Democrats.
Gee, Roberts, using your logic, it’s OK if Democratic votes in North Carolina count less than 1/2 of what Republicans votes count. (Of the 13 districts, based on the number of Republicans and Democrats, at least six (6) should be represented by Democrats. With the gerrymandered districts, Democrats hold only three (3), or less than 50%.) If the SCOTUS justices keep referencing the Constitution as the basis for the gerrymandering decision, at least have Democratic votes count 3/5 of a Republican vote, which is what the Constitution noted that slaves counted.
When citing laws and legal precedent, ever think about considering the 14th Amendment? What about considering the Voting Rights Act? What about Brown vs. Board of Education? Okay, I understand your logic. None of these decisions had been made when the Constitution was written and, therefore, should not be considered.
But wait. What about the Citizen’s United case? In Citizens United the majority, of which you were a member, claimed that when it came to campaign financing a corporation was really a person and should be treated as such. I’ve looked at my copy of the Constitution and I can’t find where corporations are mentioned, let alone being considered “people.” Your logic must be to reference the Constitution when convenient but to disregard the Constitution when you want a different outcome.
A second Supreme Court ruling this past week was well-publicized, but frankly a bunch of meaningless noise. The second decision prohibited the Bureau of Census from including a question about citizenship during the 2020 census. Roberts, in an apparent Fox-News attempt to be “fair and balanced,” sided with the Democrats on prohibiting the citizenship question.
But Roberts’s position is a ruse. The SCOTUS decision does not prevent future census from including a citizenship question. Moreover, with all the publicity around the case, Roberts and Republicans already have convinced many immigrants, even legals, not to respond to the census. And who can blame them? As long as Trump is in office, immigrants will be targets for deportation, regardless of status, and the Trump administration has demonstrated repeatedly a willingness to ignore restrictions on misusing and/or sharing confidential information.
How should the Supreme Court decisions be interpreted? In the months and years ahead, the US will experience more partisanship, and as hard as it might be to believe, even more extreme positions by politicians. With the gerrymandering decision in place, politicians must now consider all members of the other party as the enemy if a politician is to survive in the primaries in the gerrymandered districts. Compromise and civility will be surefire paths to losing a primary, which has become the defacto general election.
The gerrymandering decision piled on top of the Citizens United case, should be viewed as the Supreme Court putting another arrow in the Revenge Revolution’s quiver. Given the stupid-is-as-stupid does approach of the Supreme Court combined with the abdication by the McConnell-led Senate Republicans to thwart any illicit and illegal actions by Trump, the only solution to steer this country back to the middle where a government can work for all people seems to be a revolution.
Comments, welcome, as always. Any, yes, have a happy 4th of July. Wasn’t there a revolution sometime around then?