If need be, there are plenty more ways to play hardball

President* Trump,

Are you all engaging in some sort of twisted pissing contest to see who can be the most audacious asshole, who can wrack up the most accusations of “hypocritical,” “specious,” “corrupt,” “contemptible,” “despicable,” “detestable,” and the like? Ok, I’ve not actually seen most of these words used multiple times to describe you, Mitch, or Lindsey, but I’m confident it’s only a matter of time before they get serious traction since you all are all of these things and then some. Jennifer Rubin pointed out in her WP editorial today that none of this matters in the least to you all because for you, honor is dead. Honor is for fools and patsies (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/20/justice-ginsburg-is-gone-democracy-must-survive/). Thus, it doesn’t matter at all whether your word is good, whether you are consistent and fair across time and circumstance, whether you behave in ways that are just. Nope, if you have the upper hand you’ll ram through whatever ever you can and if you aren’t solidly in power, you’ll undermine and cheat.

So, like I said yesterday, it’s time to play hardball. Rubin has some good ideas in addition to increasing the number of SCOTUS justices and these include: 1) change the lifetime tenure of Supreme Court justices; 2) eliminate the legislative filibuster, and 3) grant both Washington DC and Puerto Rico statehood (which should happen regardless). All of these things have been seriously considered and advocated, but I was least familiar with the term limit angle so I poke around a bit. It turns out that there’s a strong movement afoot to shift to term limits where the idea is that after 18 years, SC justices could either serve as a federal circuit or district court judge (they are all Article III judges) and/or sub in as SC justices when there’s a vacancy due to death or inability to serve. (See this website for details: https://fixthecourt.com/fix/term-limits/. This group also lays out a plan for a fairer way for presidents to get to make SCOTUS appointments, which I’m sure you would hate.)

It’s way more at the ordinary citizen level, but my mom had the good idea for people to contact their senators to encourage them to honor Justice Ginsberg’s last publicly stated wish, which, as we all know, was to wait for the election to be over before her replacement is selected. I dutifully contacted both Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell last night even though I’m 100% certain they will strenuously oppose you, Mitch, and Lindsey on this. Still, it felt good to go on record with them that I want them to stand up to you all. And who knows, maybe a grassroots effort will be successful in a couple of states where the races are crazy tight – I think at this point we just need one or two more GOP senators to break with you since Collins and Murkowski have read the writing on their respective walls and realized they haven’t snowballs’ chances in hell of re-election if they stay in step with you on this deal.

For now I have just one more question for you – what do you have on Lindsey Graham? Somehow I don’t think he’s bobbing around in your pants pocket because you’re promising him untold riches and power. If we eventually learn that he was terrified of being convincingly outted, I might feel somewhat sorry for him. Actually, I already feel sorry for him because whatever it is, it sure looks like he sold his soul to the devil and that’s sad, even as it’s unforgivable.

May we be safe from politicians who are not honor-bound.
May we be willing to put maximum pressure on them to do right even if it’s only to save themselves.
May we mount a strong yet principled response in the face of treachery.
May we accept that we are in a “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” situation.

Tracy Simpson

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