Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC’s The Last Word began his show May 10th saying the world does not understand us, the U.S.
Looking at the SCOTUS bench, other nations do not recognize a democracy; they see an unrepresentative set of people attempting to adjudicate major, life-changing, nation-changing issues of America. Three females out of nine…. not bad compared, but hardly even (5-4 would be more like it, not 3-6), but one Black, one Hispanic does not reflect this country now. One Jew may not seem fair because on 2.2% of Americans are Jewish by heritage (the figure included those who do not identify as Jewish by religion but only by heritage) but I for one believe Jews are represented in so many areas of life that affect everyone that it is a proper representation. Seven are White, so that is an imbalance right there.
The elephant in the room is the religious factor, looming large now because of Roe v Wade: eight of the nine are Catholic, albeit one Catholic is dubbed a “liberal” and is an ethnic minority. Clarence Thomas is an ethnic minority but many Blacks think it wrong that he is considered representative to them.
It is hard to imagine a reasonable person seeing SCOTUS as representative of our population.
But by representative, Lawrence is looking at a chain of events where the majority of the voters elect a president who then nominates members to SCOTUS, thus indirectly representing the “will of the people.”
Further, very much further, one might think that the bench of the highest court or any court would reflect public opinion broadly. This court is way to the right of public opinion on this and other issues, but I quarrel with this. When the Warren court decided Brown v Board of Education, the majority opinion in this country was not so much on the side of the court. Ten years later, after Selma and King’s assassination, that opinion did shift but if the court had taken public opinion into account, I do wonder if they would have decided that Linda Brown should be able to go to school with White children (or vice versa).
Perhaps I misunderstood Lawrence on that last point, but he surely has it right when he points his finger at the Electoral College as the culprit, i.e. as how we get a president who got fewer votes than the other candidate. (My opinion is that we lost the best-prepared person in Hillary Clinton to ever run; so what if she likes pizza topping of small children’s body parts? It’s her personal choice) Lawrence opines that the Electoral College is destroying and will finally destroy unity in America. As I’ve said, we are no longer at an 1858 moment, we are at the 1861 moment.
As an example, he notes that access to abortion will depend on your zip code if Alito’s opinion triumphs. As I wrote in another post here, is this the camel’s nose in the tent of a fractured country? A house divided against itself? Four of the nine justices were appointed by presidents who won with a minority of the votes (I accepted Bush’s forced win as did most Americans), so clearly the will of the people has been ignored.
Arizona, my state, has been on the front line of presidential politics for a long time. Senator John McCain, while running against Obama, encountered a member of his rally who called Obama “an Arab.” McCain corrected her that he was a fine family man who he disagreed with on policy; the Republic crowd laughed at the woman and clapped for McCain (where did those people go?). Lawrence said McCain corrected her for two reasons: he believed what he told her and he wanted the votes of the sane people in that crowd. Such people are now absent from the Republican Party. A current GOP candidate for governor in Georgia, debating Kemp, said Biden is a pedophile; Kemp did not correct her nor did any reporter do so. That is now what we expect out of Republicans.
SCOTUS is now poised to revoke a Constitutional right, the first time in our history.
Why do Republicans do this? Simple. They don’t have the votes. The Electoral College is their only hope, twisting the minds of people in states with rural, undereducated populations. That way they will install Trump election officials and suppress and distort the vote count. They have been building power for years, eventually taking over the party (starting with Pat Manion is the 50s), and now they are poised to take over the country. Tucker Carlson put it plainly: he said Texas will go blue (referring to large numbers of Hispanics) and with California, there will be no point in holding elections. His assumption was that the GOP could never do anything to appeal to Hispanic voters……. and he was right.
Lawrence underscored all this by stating what is so obvious to Republicans: stealing an election is not bad if you are preventing a pedophile from winning the presidency (or a space alien or a lizard person or a Muslim – oops! that one got away from us) or a dirty, smelly foreigner.