Donald Trump has demanded that U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotamayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg recuse themselves from cases involving the President. There are so many things wrong with Trump’s latest attack on the U.S. Constitution that WC will temporarily put his lawyer hat back on and have a look at what’s really going on.
First, it’s almost a given that the Misogynist in Chief would attack two female members of the U.S. Supreme Court. They aren’t the only liberals – or what passes for a liberal these days – serving on the court. They aren’t even the most liberal. But they are women, and Trump is purely incapable of controlling his misogyny.
Second, Trump is unhappy with Justice Sotamayor because she wrote a dissent recently, criticizing the Department of Justice for repeatedly taking emergency petitions to the Supreme Court, instead of following the usual appellate procedures. You see, the Trump Administration is so eager to get its hot-button cases before the SCOTUS that it is asking the court to bypass the circuit courts of appeal. Instead of letting the system work, with appeals first to the U.S. Courts of Appeal and then, if someone is still unhappy, to the Supreme Court, the Trump Administration is bringing “emergency petitions” seeking to bypass the process, to get those hot button issues to the McConnell-packed SCOTUS immediately. Twenty-four times and counting now. In the eight years of the Bush Administration, the Bush DOJ brought just eight emergency petitions. Sotomayor’s dissent castigated her colleagues – not Trump, but her fellow justices – for indulging the Trump Administration’s violation of long-settled court rules. Trump is attacking Sotomayor because she criticized the conservative majority.
Third, it’s far beyond ironic that Donald Trump, who wouldn’t care about a conflict of interest if it bit him on the ass, who has enriched himself and his children at taxpayer expense, has accused anyone, let alone members of the Judicial Branch of government, of having conflicts of interest. Trump needs to spend a lot of time looking in a mirror and seeing his reflection – not what he imagines, but what’s really there – before he criticizes anyone else’s conduct. Apparently it’s just fine with Trump if a conservative Supreme Court Justice’s spouse has assumed the role of witch hunter, ferreting out anyone among White House staff who is disloyal to the President. In TrumpWorld, conflicts of interest only happen to other people.
Fourth, the Judicial Branch of the federal government is all that stands between the American public and an autocracy. It’s sure not the Department of Justice defending the U.S. Constitution; the Attorney General has to buy chapstick in case lots, what with all the presidential ass-kissing. It’s sure not the U.S. Senate, which abdicated its collective moral authority in the Republican-controlled farce of an impeachment trial. Like it or not, the federal courts are all that is left. So Trump attacks, undercuts and attempts to subvert the supreme court. And that is happening at a time when the SCOTUS’s docket is packed with Trump-inspired litigation.
That’s not a coincidence. It’s a strategy. It’s Trump’s strategy, it’s his proven approach to dealing with “enemies.” We need to call it out.