To ‘Bernie or Bust’ Liberals, with Love.
First off, let me say that I get it. I love Bernie. I voted for Bernie.
But do you know who didn’t? 3.8 million voters. That’s how many more voters chose Hillary as the Democratic nominee. That ain’t no chump change fam. We lost.
So now what? Should we tape our mouths and stomp our feet?
But there’s something else we can do. Something that I would argue is the most important issue in this election.
Elect Hillary Clinton to secure a liberal majority in the Supreme Court.
Why is this so important?
To answer that question, we need to look back at the last time the left had a majority in the Supreme Court.
The year is 1962, Justice Frankfurter has just retired and is replaced by a liberal, Justice Goldberg. There is now a 5–4 liberal majority in the Supreme Court. This court, known as the Warren Court after Chief Justice Earl Warren is marked by a solid consensus. The Warren Court becomes an activist court, serving as an instrument for social change and revolutionizing the role of the Supreme Court in America.
They may not look like it, but to me, these guys are fucking rock stars.
Archibald Cox said the following…
“ The responsibility of government for equality among men, the openness of American society to change and reform, and the decency of the administration of criminal justice received both creative and enduring impetus from the work of the Warren Court.”
The Warren Court made landmark decisions regarding desegregation, rights of the accused, enforcement of the Bill of Rights, free speech, the establishment clause, reproductive rights, and the right to privacy.
In 1968, Richard Nixon pushed back against the activism and upheaval of the sixties and ran for president on a “Law and Order” platform. Sound familiar?
Here’s a hint:
Nixon promised a return to conservatism. He won in the general election and in three short years appointed four, yes FOUR Supreme Court Justices. By 1971 the conservatives had the majority, and they have maintained it ever since.
Here’s a bit of what happened in the next court, referred to as the Burger Court:
- San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez: There is no fundamental right to education in the Constitution, therefore, the court ruled, Texas can distribute funds unequally to it’s poor and rich (read: minority and white) school districts.
- Gregg v. Georgia: Capital punishment is not necessarily cruel and unusual punishment.
- Roe v. Wade: If you’re like, oh good, we like that one! Well reconsider. The court legalized abortion based on the reasoning that abortion falls under a woman’s right to privacy, rather than a woman’s right or discrimination on the basis of sex. This gave Conservatives wiggle room to legalize a litany of restrictions on abortions.
- Bowers v. Hardwick: Upheld the Georgia law that consensual homosexual sex is illegal.
Back to 2016.
Here’s where we are today...
With the open seat created by the passing of Justice Scalia, we’re in a four-four tie between conservative-leaning justices and liberal-leaning justices. If the Senate Republicans continue their refusal to move forward with the appointment of Merrick Garland, the next President will break this tie with the candidate of their choice.
Add to this the fact that at the end of the next 2-term presidency, Justice Kennedy will be 88 and Justice Ginsburg will be 91, well past the average retirement age for Supreme Court Justices, and it’s easy to envision a scenario in which our next president will be able to appoint two, three or even more judges to the highest court in the land.
For a moment, imagine the executive orders that a man like Donald Trump would make as President. Imagine that the floodgates for now President Trump’s executive orders is a court made up of 3+ judges he has personally selected.
Imagine a world where the President of the United States of America DOES make gay marriage illegal, makes abortion illegal, creates a Muslim registry, wire-taps Mosques, shuts down parts of the internet, enforces waterboarding, the firing squad and the murder of wives and children of suspected terrorists, and on and on and on...
Does it make you nauseous? Well it should because it’s close to becoming a reality.
Regardless of who wins in the next general election, imagine the cases that the Supreme Court will hear. Immigration, technology, gun control, reproductive rights, transgender rights, healthcare, election reform, freedom of religion, just to name a few.
This. Is. Why.
Bernie is a voice for us, the liberal Democrats and Independents. We’ve made our stance known on these issues. And to you, my Bernie or Bust friends, let me offer a bit of balm for this Bern. Hillary Clinton will last 4, maybe 8 years. That seems long, until you contrast it with the shiny, new Supreme Court justices to be appointed in that time, ready for decades of work.
Looking towards November.
This isn’t about a power grab, it isn’t even about Democrats vs. Republicans. This is about ideologies, it’s about the interpretation of liberal judges that the Constitution is a living, breathing document that should get better as we do.
This is about our marching forward with social progress and our liberal agenda and hell yeah it should be.
The Supreme Court is there when the law needs interpreted, when the system fails, when the politicians overstep their boundaries, when complex questions are raised that need answers. They are the best minds in the country, set apart to fight for the rights of the minority and enforce liberty and equality for all.
We can move this country to the left with a liberal majority in the Supreme Court. Not under another Nixon. Not with another Conservative majority.
Let’s commit to our progressive views. Let’s make the pragmatic vote for a pragmatic candidate. Let’s listen to Pocahontas. Let’s listen to Senator Sanders himself. Let’s vote for Hillary Clinton, even if it hurts a little.
It’ll hurt a lot less in four decades, I promise.