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A Trumped-Up Supreme Court



I have a piece in Mic about how one of the greatest tragedies of the people’s second choice winning the presidency is that Republicans may be able to impose a constitutional vision on voters that have consistently rejected it for decades:

It would be one thing if Republicans had persuaded the American public about the merits of their neoconfederate constitutional vision. But they haven’t. The Democrats have now won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. Going back to 1964, they have won the popular vote eight times, Republicans six. But Republicans have controlled the Supreme Court since early in the Nixon administration, and will be able to continue this into at least a sixth decade.

Thanks to the Electoral College — that anachronistic and indefensible mechanism the Constitution uses to select the president — putting the popular vote loser in the White House twice in 16 years, along with institutional failures such as the Supreme Court’s lawless resolution of the election in 2000, the FBI putting a thumb on the scale in the last days of the 2016 election and widespread vote suppression in both 2000 and 2016, Republicans have maintained a stranglehold on the Supreme Court while representing an increasingly narrow coalition.

At this stage of American constitutionalism, the most anti-democratic institutional features all have a mutually reinforcing effect. Just hope that the decisions of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to remain on the Court rather than allowing Obama to nominate their replacements don’t make the selection of Trump even more catastrophic.

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