As I mentioned, my phone was unreadable for a good chunk of the day. Sunscreen is greasy and adheres to glass in a film that cannot be wiped off by just a cloth; you need some shpritzy bullshit to get it off, so that plus the sun’s glare made the device unusable. So I just watched a ballgame, went YAY and BOO and the ball went TOCK when hit properly by a young man with bulging forearm muscles. The grass was a parody of green, absurdly green and soft; not the sharp, mean sawgrass that most of civilized Florida is covered with.
(Grass isn’t supposed to grow in Florida. Because it’s a fucking swamp. But, when the white people moved down they demanded grass; the only species hardy enough to take the relentless sun and semi-incompatible soil is called sawgrass, and it is properly named. Walking on it barefoot leaves your feet looking like John MacLean’s at the end of Die Hard. Also, since it is Florida, you will most likely also be wearing a tank top with blood stains on it.)
I was, Enthusiasts, blissfully unaware. (Not as unaware as the fat guy snoring three seats away FOR SIX FUCKING INNINGS, but you get the point.) What president? Russia? No, I don’t smell anything on fire; those are the hot dogs. Then I got home and opened up my laptop: the screen shrieked at me in a language that never existed, and a black, foul emesis spewed out, covering my face. I got a little bit in my mouth, and now I crave human flesh.
The Supreme Court is a big, imposing building where justice lives. Also, a Justice lives there. (Alito moved into his office a few years ago, and hasn’t left.) Congress makes laws, and then these laws are presented to the Court for review. Sometimes, the laws are deemed not lawish enough. Other times, attorneys will argue that a law is not lawish, and the Justices will say, “Take your weak sauce home. That law is lawish as shit, youngblood.” Then, the bailiffs will attack. (Does the Supreme Court have bailiffs? I’m picturing the black guy from Judge Judy standing right under Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and nodding his head when she makes a good point. Maybe bringing her a yogurt bar when her blood sugar drops.)
Anyway, there’s an opening. It is a sweet gig: lifetime appointment, plus heavily-discounted robe cleaning. And there’s only nine slots. There’s 535 seats in Congress, and 360 NBA roster spots, but only nine Justices. If they offer you the job, take it. (Statistically, readers of this site will not be offered a Supreme Court seat. Sorry, but it’s true. Most of you aren’t even lawyers.)
Although, you don’t have to be a lawyer.
You can’t start a paragraph referring to something in a parenthetical from the last one.
YOU’RE NOT MY FATHER.
But I have his voice in your head, don’t I?
I’ve been meaning to speak to you about that.
Just continue demonstrating how little of U.S. Government class you remember.
Thank you. Like I said: you don’t have to be a lawyer. It’s not in the Constitution. (Please remember the phrase “not in the Constitution.”) In reality, every Justice has been a lawyer, or at least studied law. There are eight Justices right now; the Court started out with six, went up to ten, and then settled back down to nine, where it was capped by Congress in 1869. FDR tried to put 15 guys (I am confident all 15 would have been men) on the Court, but everyone saw what he was doing and told him to stop. The fluctuations are caused by the fact that the Constitution does not specify how many Justices there should be.
The first thing everyone learns about the Supreme Court in high school is Marbury v. Madison. Long case short: Adams gave a guy named Marbury a job, but Marbury didn’t get the paperwork before Adams left office; Jefferson (the incoming President) didn’t like Marbury, and told his Secretary of State (James Madison) to lose the forms. Marbury sued Madison, and the Court used the case to assert the power of Judicial Review, the ability to judge a law, order, or treaty legal or not. It could tell the other two branches to go fuck themselves, basically. (The Congress could amend the Constitution to get back at them, but that’s a big process.) The Court used Marbury v. Madison to grant itself this awesome power because–once again–it was not mentioned in the Constitution.
There’s a seat open. It is Antonin Scalia’s old seat; he died. Antonin Scalia was an Originalist, which means he believed that the original intent of the Constitution was the most important–if not the only–consideration when looking at a case. The man worked for an institution whose precise makeup and role was not specified in the document he believed should be read as literal.
I put that sentence in italics so that you’ll remember it the next time someone tells you what a tremendous intellect Antonin Scalia was.
Anyway, his seat’s open. The Republicans tried propping his corpse up in it for a few days, but Justice Thomas could tell something was wrong; he wouldn’t stop baying in grief; the stenographer did not know how to transcribe his keening. The problem, you see, was that this was 2016 and Barack Obama was the president of the United States, but if you squinted, then he wasn’t really the president. He won the popular and electoral votes in ’08, and then got reelected handily, but if you rounded up a whole year, then he wasn’t the president any more. (If you keep squinting at Barack Obama, you might see another reason he wasn’t considered the president by a lot of people.) Obama nominated a respected, bland, centrist white man named Merrick Garland. (Until the bitter end, Obama was trying to compromise with his enemies, and they never gave one shit; they hated him.) No matter that Justices have historically been confirmed or rejected in an average of 71 days: with 11 months to go until the election, the Republican Senate, led Mitch McConnell, decided that they couldn’t even discuss the matter until after the new president was in office.
And whaddya know?
President Trump, after carefully reviewing several candidates legal writings and judicial decisions, met with each prospective Justice and discussed–at both length and depth–their philosophies, walking through several hypothetical cases to suss out the potential nominee’s mind. Oh, no, wait: that’s what Obama did. Someone told Donny Genius that Neil Gorsuch was the pick, and then Gorsuch complimented Trump in the interview, and that was that. Schedule the hearing!
Neil Gorsuch, which is the noise an old man makes after eating a too-hot spoonful of soup, is a respected, bland, centrist white man. He co-owns a cabin in Wyoming with a guy named Philip Anschutz.
Anschutz had multiple other business ventures, including Forest Oil, Pacific Energy Group, Union Pacific Railroad (Anschutz is the company’s largest shareholder, with a 6% stake), the Regal Entertainment Group, which is the largest movie theater chain in the world, with approximately 7,000 screens – Anschutz owns more than half of the company, and multiple newspapers and media groups. Anschutz has invested in, for example, the Clarity Media Group, a Denver-based publishing group that includes newspapers like The Oklahoman, the largest newspaper in Oklahoma, the San Francisco Daily (purchased in 2004, sold in November 2011), the Washington Daily, which was spun off from a number of D.C. area suburban dailies, the Baltimore Daily, which launched in April 2006 and was shut down in early 2009, .com, a hyper-local web portal where citizen journalists write on local topics from news to blog-like stories, the Weekly Standard (purchased in 2009), and The Gazette, the second-largest newspaper in Colorado with a daily circulation of 74,172 (purchased on November 30, 2012) (Anschutz has trademarked the name “Examiner” in more than sixty cities.) Anschutz invested in both the Oil & Gas Asset Clearinghouse, which is an auction company designed for the Oil & Gas Business, and NRC Broadcasting, which owns a string of radio stations in Colorado.
Guess whose side Neil chooses when people sue corporations?
(Gorsuch is also an Originalist just like Scalia. Dipshittery at the highest level.)
So, Gorgon has his hearings; the Democrats are perhaps kinda beginning to start thinnking about discussing the possibility of opening an investigation into the chance that maaaaaaaaaaybe they grow a fucking spine. Note, Enthusiasts, that I did not say spines. I know as well as you that it’s too much to ask the individual Democratic party legislators to grow individual spines; I just want them to grow a singular spine, and share it communally. Let’s start small. And for Christ’s sake, is there anyone in the party with any charisma at all?
I digress: the Dems are now, finally, at long last, bringing up the fact that this a lifetime appointment to the most powerful institution in domestic life, and if we didn’t confirm the last guy because the President who picked him was black, then maybe we shouldn’t confirm this one because the President’s RussianOH RIGHT I DIDN’T TELL YOU because I skipped yesterday, but the head of the FBI confirmed that there’s an investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign during the election.
(Them’s the breaks with the rules of the Recounting: sometimes you miss important stuff. Rules are rules, though.)
President Angry Loaf Of Bread is now threatening Congress, which always turns out well and we all had to see coming; they’re literally the only ones besides Ivanka and Putin he hasn’t threatened yet. He had the Freedom Caucus over for a meeting (the Liberty Chautauqua will be by tomorrow) and flat-out warned them that he would come for them if they didn’t vote for Trynottogetsickcare. These folks represent districts that all went heavily for Trump; they are his base, and–I now go back to italics to stress the awesome incompetence of this act–he is threatening them if they don’t vote for a plan that directly fucks their districts.
The problem is that Mike Pence is a capable executive; he is both loathsome AND understands not to demand people shiv themselves. On the other hand, he’s a creep and would not naturally take Trump’s supporters if Donny Bosco was impeached, or thrown out a window by Putin. (Seriously: Putin’s just straight-up tossing fools out of windows now. That man gives no fuckskis whatsoever.)
We end on something lovely to think about: Gorsuch, in his hearing today, made two statements: Roe v. Wade was established law that he been affirmed a number of times, and that he would have no trouble ruling against Trump. One of The Liar’s campaign promises was appointing a Justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade and we all know how he feels about disloyalty. Wouldn’t it be nice if a Democrat prodded and poked at Gorsuch to get him to talk more shit about Donny? Enough so that he reached for the phone, and fired up his Twitter?
A man can dream.
This has been the 61st day of our national nightmare; may we wake soon.