SCOTUS Lines Up Behind Trump’s Defensive Strategy


There is no doubt the Republicans on SCOTUS (hereinafter R-SCOTUS) are lined up behind Trump in his criminal cases. The timeline in the ridiculous immunity case and the decision in the Colorado ballot case are clear demonstrations of their commitment to his reelection despite his obvious unfitness for office.

The Colorado case

In Trump v. Anderson,  all nine members of SCOTUS agreed that Colorado can not keep Trump off the ballot under the  Insurrection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The per curium opinion offers several weak reasons to support this result.

Barrett and the Democratic appointees expressly dissented from the majority’s holding that only Congress can enforce the Insurrection Clause, and only with the approval of SCOTUS. The majority concludes with this:

These are not the only reasons the States lack power to enforcethis particular constitutional provision with respect to federal offices. But they are important ones, and it is the combination of all the reasons set forth in this opinion—not, as some of our colleagues would have it, just one particular rationale—that resolves this case. In our view, each of these reasons is necessary to provide a complete explanation for the judgment the Court unanimously reaches.

Restrictions on Congressional Enforcement of the Insurrection Clause

That last quote refers to the part of the per curium opinion saying that § 5 of the 14th Amendment

… limits congressional legislation enforcing Section 3, because Section 5 is strictly “remedial.” To comply with that limitation, Congress “must tailor its legislative scheme to remedying or preventing” the specific conduct the relevant provision prohibits. Section 3, unlike other provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, proscribes conduct of individuals. … Any congressional legislation enforcing Section 3 must, like the Enforcement Act of 1870 and §2383, reflect “congruence and proportionality” between preventing or remedying that conduct “and the means adopted to that end.” Citations omitted.

The women on SCOTUS agree that this is unnecessary for the decision. It’s purely a creation of the SCOTUS men. It prescribes no standards, and it arrogates power to SCOTUS at the expense of Congress.

I note that the claim that the 14th Amendment only applies to the actions of individuals is the invention of an earlier SCOTUS, in cases like US v. Cruikshank and The Civil Rights Cases, which I discuss here and here. The Congress that drafted the 14th Amendment thought it had the power to legislate against the KKK and other violent white supremacists acting in their private capacity. For example, in Cruikshank, SCOTUS said principles of federalism mean that the 14th Amendment only applies to state action. Those early  rancid decisions are never questioned even though we now have thousands of federal laws governing individuals.

The kicker is that any restrictions on Congress say nothing about limitations on the States. And any limitations SCOTUS dreams up to control Congress of power can just as easily be applied to the states, and with just as much historical and legal justification.

Manipulating the ridiculous immunity claim

Trump, who already defied the norm of a peaceful transition of power, also defies the principle that no one is above the law. He says that no president can be prosecuted for crimes committed while in office unless they are first impeached. He agrees with Richard Nixon “Well, when the president does it … that means that it is not illegal.”

This is an interlocutory appeal. The decision of the Circuit Court was clearly right. There was no need for SCOTUS to take this case at this state of the proceedings. No one thinks the president is entitled to blanket immunity. After sitting on it for two weeks, SCOTUS set the case for “expedited” review seven weeks later. Who knows when they’ll issue a ruling.

It would be stupid for SCOTUS to take up the claim that Trump is immune from prosecution for any and all crimes committed in his official capacity. So SCOTUS rephrased the question presented:

Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.

This phrasing enables SCOTUS to screw up the trial by all sorts of legal trickery. For example, Trump is charged with “knowingly” participating in conspiracies. SCOTUS could hold that Trump is entitled to a presumption of immunity, and that the prosecution has the burden of proof on whether Trump intended to take actions outside his official duties. That would dramatically increase the burden on the prosecution.

I’m sure R-SCOTUS can come up with better ideas than mine.

Bad judging

I think R-SCOTUS members are bad at judging. They claim to be originalists, but that’s not what they did in the ballot case. The per curium opinion selectively quotes one iota of the history of the 14th Amendment and ignores the rest. It doesn’t address the mountains of information provided in the two amicus briefs filed by historians. It’s solely based on outcomes.

I discussed good judging in my post on Dobbs.  As I see it, good judging at the appellate level is solving hard problems in the way most likely to produce the best possible long-term results. Past cases and history are not absolutely binding, but provide guidance and wisdom (sometimes) from other judges. For this rule, I rely on Judge Richard Posner’s views, and those of Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Dewey’s pragmatism, but I won’t rehash that here.

What R-SCOTUS does is invent a bunch of reasons why their preferred outcome is right. The per curium opinion is jumbled to the point that they feel obligated to justify its lack of coherence.

The dissent relies on principles of federalism, as the majority claims to do. It then looks at the likely outcomes of the Colorado case and explains why those outcomes are bad for the nation. It says that the Constitution doesn’t require that bad outcome. The dissenters give us exactly what Posner expects: their judgment of what is best for the future. They may be right. They certainly are right to refuse to go beyond what’s needed to resolve the present case; that’s a critical guardrail against overreach.

Why though?

The per curium decision all but insures that Trump will not be subject to disqualification under the Insurrection Clause. The timetable for the absurd immunity claim, and the mischief that awaits us from their decision is additional insurance.

I do not understand why R-SCOTUS is in the bag for Trump. They have life tenure, a decent income, and constant security. They have enormous power, to the point that no law or rule is effective without their consent. They have a long to-do list of laws and rules destined for termination. Why waste any of their muscle on Trump?

The easy answer is that they’re corrupt. There’s plenty of evidence of that. Clarence Thomas? His insurrectionist-adjacent wife? And a free RV? Alito, with his giant salmon? Neil Gorsuch’s house? Brett Kavanaugh’s disappearing debts? John Roberts’ wife with her $10 million from BigLaw for legal recruiting? Their total indifference to ethics and the appearance of impropriety?

But that probably isn’t it, unless Trump or someone else holds receipts for this and whatever else there might be, and made it clear those receipts would become public. And I don’t see why that would benefit the filthy rich donors who put these people into power. They set that to-do list and they don’t need Trump to get it done.

Gratitude? At this level there’s precious little of that.

Is it the purely political calculation that any action taken against Trump is too dangerous? Are they worried that his hard-core followers, armed to the teeth by R-SCOTUS cases, will riot or even attack SCOTUS if they rule against Trump? Do they think that normal people will bitch but still comply with their rulings in his favor and accept his potential election peacefully?

Is there something worse that innocents like me can’t even imagine?

142 replies
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  2. Paulka123 says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the SC with the ballot case just kick the can to the fall/winter? Trump was adjudicated an insurrectionist and the SC says only congress can hold him accountable under the 14th. But doesn’t that assume a democratic congress can say refuse to certify any electoral ballots for an insurrectionist? Btw the argument that a single or small group of states should not be able to decide who the president is give the reality of the electoral college is absurd

    • MrBeagles says:

      Whenever I hear ‘electoral college’ my brain hears the slogan ‘college should be universal’

      Yeah, it does give the lie_

  3. Matt Foley says:

    Mike Lindell says he’ll show SCOTUS his proof that Trump won. Would the crackhead on a Jesus bender lie to us yet again?

  4. OldTulsaDude says:

    The only way to expose scoundrels is to isolate them so the spotlights shines only on them. All of the moderate Christians now stand in the same light giving the cover of normalcy to this clearly aberrant minority of Christian Nationalists.

  5. CaptainCondorcet says:

    I’m not convinced they need or even “want” Trump to win, though I don’t think 4-5 of them would mind at all if he did win. I think they just absolutely need him to have a full run. And the reason is protest votes. We all saw the “i couldn’t vote for a woman” MAGA voter clip. Those people are out there, and they’ve gotten a taste of what they’ve always craved. They won’t go back to empty suits. And if Trump is forced to sit out this election, there is strong anecdotal evidence and moderate empirical evidence so will some part of his base. And that could be a wipeout against a very unified very unhappy Democratic camp. The court is aware they’re on thin ice with public opinion, worse than almost literally ever before. They may not even get a chance for the switch in time that saved nine next “problem case”. 4 years of united Dem control, especially if TFG passes during that term and throws 2028 in turmoil for the GOP, could be devastating to the party. And I suspect that the R-SCOTUS as they’re titled here is convinced the only chance of minimizing that damage is a full scale rematch.

    Edit: I’ve had a decent share of comments tossed into auto moderation recently. To the moderators, is there something I should be doing or writing differently to lighten the load of comments to review?

    [Moderator’s note: I can’t see anything in this comment or recent comments which explains why you’re experiencing more auto-moderation. No obvious trigger words, the spam filter approved this comment. I can only ask for your patience since I can’t pinpoint the problem. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • atriana smith says:

      They need a divided or R congress finish all their rollbacks of the Warren court. To do that they need TFG’s base to vote.

  6. Bobby Gladd says:

    240 days to go.

    Had I no choice but to place a substantial bet today, my bet, sadly, would be that this fucker is going to skate.

    I would gladly be wrong.

  7. BobBobCon says:

    I think financial corruption is a factor, but I definitely agree it’s not an explanation.

    Clarence Thomas basically sold his soul to Harlan Crow and his ilk for an RV, a rehab on a home, some school tuition and a few vacations. The value of his vote has to be counted in billions.

    Calculate it out and he’s probably 98% an ideological hack and 2% corrupt.

    Another way to think of it is what price would it have taken to turn his voting record into the same as Sotomayor? It would have been vastly greater, probably 100 times what Crow paid.

    • Franktoo says:

      Congress clearly intended Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to prevent oath-breaking insurrection and those who sympathized with them from serving in federal or state government. Both parties said the judicial record from the Colorado courts gave them ample opportunity to present evidence and arguments supporting and opposing the idea that Trump was disqualified under Section 3. Both sides urged the Supreme Court to decide the case on the merits of the disqualification. Unlike many states, Colorado had provided its officials and courts clear guidance on when and how a disqualified candidate should be removed from the ballot. Why didn’t the court decide this issue on the merits (and find Trump disqualified in my opinion)?

      The answer to that question is obvious: Nine unelected Judges didn’t want to decide this issue! They didn’t spend a single minute discussing the fundamental issue during oral argument. The Supreme Court is our last protection against a tyrannical majority, but every time the Court rules a tyrannical majority is violating the Constitution, they they loose credibility with a simpleminded public that believes everything should be decided by majority rule, especial the election of a president. If I were sitting on the court, I would want to decide the case on any other grounds besides whether Trump’s actions have disqualified him.

      Suppose, however, the Court had the guts to agree with the Colorado courts that Tump is disqualified. What happens next? The SC doesn’t have the power to decide who can and can’t be on the primary and general election ballots in the other 49 states. Running elections is the responsibility of the states, not the Supreme Court and there are 50 states with 50 sets of rules, 50 legislatures that may want to amend their laws to handle this new situation. Some states, perhaps many, will decide the people should decide who is qualified to be president, not some obscure provision in the 14th amendment. They won’t realize that Trump could be back in 2028 arguing that democratic elections are more important that the 22nd amendment. The Supreme Court will lose; Trump will be on the ballot in some states and will receive Electoral Votes from those states. Conceivably, Trump could win in the Electoral College. VP Harris might even try to withhold Trump’s Electoral Votes from Congressional approval because the Supreme Court has ruled Trump isn’t qualified. Chief Justice Roberts might refuse to administer the oath of office to a re-elected Trump, but someone else will do it. If a Supreme Court’s ruling that Trump is disqualified under the 14th Amendment isn’t respected in all 50 states – and it won’t be – the power and credibility of the SC will have been badly damaged. President Jackson – Trump’s role model – infamously said Chief Justice Marshall has made his ruling (on Indian removal). Now let’s see him enforce it. As it turned out, Chief Justice Marshall could not enforce his ruling.

      • Ed Walker says:

        I think these are the actual considerations that ground the decision all members of SCOTUS, and my general rule is that if this is what Ketanji Brown Jackson thinks, then I’m good with it.

        The question I’m raising is why go farther and surrender the possibility of a 9-0 vote? And especially with that poorly drafted language about Congressional power and its limitations.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        Re: “Nine unelected Judges didn’t want to decide this issue!” – I struggle with balancing respect for the Supreme Court with the disrespect R-SCOTUS has earned. I appreciate Ed using the R-SCOTUS notation – that’s the most succinct way I can think of, to refer to the problematic justices.

        I really don’t want to talk about “the justices”, because that smacks of the same “both-siderism” that talking about “congress” enables. But I don’t think that (adapting Ed’s notation) D-SCOTUS deserves, or even wants, a pass, based on the party of the president who appointed them, and I sure don’t want to give them one. But I do understand the temptation to bow to peer pressure as a member of a minority in a small and private group like the Supreme Court.

        Let me ask an honest question. What should I expect from D-SCOTUS, in opposition to R-SCOTUS transgressions?

        Are they supposed to challenge Thomas’s non-recusal during oral arguments? Are they supposed to denounce Alito’s mind-stopping bogus citations from “Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th-century jurist who conceived the notion that husbands can’t be prosecuted for raping their wives, who sentenced women to death as ‘witches,’ and whose misogyny stood out even in his time” as the majority opinion for Dobbs is announced? (*)

        What standard should I be holding D-SCOTUS to?

        (*) I’m quoting this from the introduction to “Draft Overturning Roe v. Wade Quotes Infamous Witch Trial Judge With Long-Discredited Ideas on Rape” by Ken Armstrong on ProPublica, but not providing a URL, to make sure I don’t enable tracking.

        • Ed Walker says:

          This is a good question. D-SCOTUS seem to me to be institutionists, and thus not likely to do anything except hard-hitting dissents.

          I think ancient senators like Durbin typically follow the same path, which is simply infuriating in the Senate and the House, where the Rs long ago abandoned all norms and operate on a purely power basis.

          I don’t think I want D-SCOTUS to do more. SCOTUS isn’t going away, and those norms keep things from deteriorating further. Vicious dissents, the kind that draw blood, as in the Student Loan Case, are fine.

        • Franktoo says:

          I doubt think this decision requires the use of the epithet R-SCOTUS when all nine justices agreed to avoid deciding the case on its merits: Is Trump disqualified? However, since they decided on ballot issues, I can always raise the disqualification issue again the the future (:)). For example, Trump isn’t qualified under the fourteenth amendment, so I’m going to pass a law saying that my state’s Electors can’t cast their Electoral votes for someone who isn’t qualified to be president and then set up a procedure for deciding whether a candidate is qualified. The issue could be right back in the Court’s lap, or would be without the language in the controlling opinion about Congress needing to be involved (via enabling legislation?) Or I can file suit after a re-elected Trump signs his first executive order or legislation, saying these actions aren’t legitimate because Trump isn’t qualified to be president under Section 3. This would be a re-run of Griffin’s caseNo one will ever know if Trump is disqualified unless the SC rules on the merits and contradicts the CO courts who ruled he wasn’t qualified.

  8. IainUlysses says:

    Maybe they see a future without him as one with increased risk of a legislature and executive that decide to defang them some. They’re comfortable as they are. They have power, and respect (from some), and the wealth or trappings of wealth they see as being commensurate with that power.

    • BobBobCon says:

      Another way to think about them is they are too dimwitted to imagine what happens if he wins.

      Trump with a GOP Congress behind him will pack the Supreme Court. He will leave nothing to chance.

      He will tell the current dolts to resign in favor of some handpicked 30 year old – or else. He will expand the court to 21 seats just in case they want to stay, and then have his loyalists change the rules of the Supreme Court to throw them out if they resist.

      They think they can appease him by praising him and signalling their support. But Trump knows he can always find young, dumber, weaker, more subserviant toadies. Once the current crew has done his bidding, why would he possibly think he owes them anything?

      Trump never pays his debts except under duress, and Thomas, Alito and the rest will have no leverage.

      • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

        He’s always used the loyalty of those closest to them as a weapon. He views it as a sign of weakness and exploits that to its fullest. When he feels he no longer needs you, you are discarded. It’s as simple as that.

      • Konny_2022 says:

        That’s a scary prospect, Trump packing the Supreme Court. Haven’t thought of that possibility until now.

        But that fits with another statement Trump made recently, first weekend this March. AP reported about it under the heading “Trump escalates his immigration rhetoric with baseless claim about Biden trying to overthrow the US” (

        Given his usual projection, “Biden and his” could be replaced by “I and my” in this quote, and the horrendous idea how the Supreme Court could look after a second Trump term makes terrible sense:

        “Biden and his accomplices want to collapse the American system, nullify the will of the actual American voters and establish a new base of power that gives them control for generations.” (Bolding is mine.)

        “For generations” — like the aristocracy in Europe before democracy introduced time limits on ruling.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          What do you think Trump did with the Court appointments he’s already made? But he can’t make further appointments without a Republican Senate. He can’t increase its size and pack it without control of both houses.

        • Spencer Dawkins says:

          It’s worth saying that “packing the court” isn’t a well-defined term – the definition is in the eye of the beholder. You recognize correctly that “Trump being Trump when the court has a vacancy in his first term” isn’t universally called “packing the court”, even though I might think the result should qualify.

          But I have to ask. Looking at the justices by age, what are the chances that Trump would have a vacancy to fill between 2025 and 2029? And what are the chances that even a Democratic senate would sit on his nominees, even if McConnell did that, given the same opportunity?

          Justice Thomas, 75
          Justice Alito, 73
          Justice Sotomayor, 69
          Chief Justice Roberts, 69
          Justice Kagan, 63
          Justice Kavanaugh, 58
          Justice Gorsuch, 56
          Justice Jackson, 53
          Justice Barrett, 52

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The odds are good Trump would have two vacancies to fill. Alito and Thomas are already in their seventies. They might both retire in order to assure that a Republican replaced them. Their ages also make illness or death more likely.

          Whether a Democratic Party-controlled Senate would sit on a nominee, McConnell style, would depend on when a vacancy came up and whether and how soon it anticipated a change in control of either the Senate or White House.

          It’s more likely that it would consider and reject a series of nominees until Trump made one remotely acceptable. Either course took take an enormously long time.

          That’s one reason Biden and Schumer need to appoint as many federal judges now as possible. Durbin’s pace and insistence on honoring GOP blue slips – when he knows the GOP would not reciprocate – is getting in the way.

        • ColdFusion says:

          At the very least I’d demand for a full, real, background check for anyone who republicans want to nominate. Get that sunlight deep between the bones of the skeletons in the closet.

    • Kevin O'Malley says:

      They are terrified that a democratic president with legislative majorities in both houses will do the sensible thing and legislate a 13 seat Supreme Court to match the judicial districts and seat apolitical judges.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the SAME USERNAME and EMAIL ADDRESS each time you comment so that community members get to know you. We don’t even require a working/valid email address, only that you use the same one each time. You have attempted to publish comments under four usernames: Kevin, Kevin O’Malley, KOisOK, kevin O’Malley (letter case matters), using (5) different fake email addresses. Pick one name meeting the site’s 8-letter minimum, and one email address, use them going forward. /~Rayne]

  9. John Paul Jones says:

    They’re like the fabulous Oozlum bird, which flies around and around in ever diminishing circles, etc etc. Either that, or the males on the court have fallen for the addictive brew called “owning the Libs,” that is, anything is okay if it achieves that end. The discussions to support the decision are mere frippery to (poorly) disguise that. This is, in essence, a Taney-type court, almost completely out of step with the majority of the country.

    NB: I was always taught to spell it “Oozalem,” but will defer to Wikipedia.

  10. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    And so does Judge Cannon.

    R-SCOTUS, Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society have provided their disciple, Judge Cannon, with all the advice, resources and confidence she needs to hammer Jack Smith and his team into submission next Thursday 14 March in Florida.

    Jack Smith better have a DC Grand Jury indict Trump for Insurrection and stealing top secret docs now before it’s too late. He needs to act now.

    Regardless of SCOTUS’s Insurrection language in their latest ruling, Smith needs to put pressure on SCOTUS to hear the charges of Insurrection during the next two years. Both he and the country cannot wait any longer.

    Of course, if Trump wins the election in eight months, he’ll kill all Federal cases against him, thereby leaving it to the SCOTUS to make the call—their ruling.

    It’s time to flush out this SCOTUS and make them declare in writing what they actually meant in their latest ruling.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sure thing, the target always steps out into the open with its hands up, to make it easier on those hunting it.

      • Sussex Trafalgar says:

        Smith has already lost two high profile cases—Virginia Governor McDonald and Senator John Edwards; consequently, he was an easy target for the Federalist Society R-SCOTUS, Federalist Society Judges and Federalist Society attorneys immediately after his appointment as SC.

        The Federalist Society is first and foremost a political cult. It thrives on politics and cultural issues , hence Smith needs to change gears and start educating the public on what members of the Federalist Society covet politically and culturally and how they use or create law to achieve their goals.

        • Sussex Trafalgar says:

          And this is the response of an incorrigible child in need of a good spanking. You’ve ossified.

        • bmaz says:

          I may be “incorrigible”, though no longer a “child”. Your statement is assified, as opposed to ossified.

          And stick your “spanking” deep where there is no sunshine.

        • Sussex Trafalgar says:

          Boring answer emitted from a now boring contributor. You have ossified. And that’s a pity.

        • bmaz says:

          Your “boring” is even less effective than Musk’s. And every bit as much of a joke. Thanks for playing.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          FFS. Your first paragraph is a long way over its skis. Your second badly misunderestimates what a SC or anyone in the DoJ can or should do about the First Amendment protected FedSoc’s activities. Opposition to it is political; however warranted, it’s precisely not what the DoJ should be doing.

          Your other comments don’t support your arguments; they throw kerosene on the fire.

        • Sussex Trafalgar says:

          My first paragraph is supported by the facts of those two cases. And I never mentioned curtailing the Federalist Society’s (FS’s) First Amendment rights. You did. Of course the SC or DOJ can’t curtail their rights.

          The SC, however, can do a much better job than they are doing of educating the public via talking indictments, or Motions or answers to Motions by highlighting how each R-SCOTUS justices’ words are infected with Federalist Society propaganda and gibberish. Same for Judge Cannon.

          Smith is not a blockhead. He can, without violating FS’s First Amendment rights or turning his SC position into a political hack, educate the public. That’s not a difficult task for someone with Smith’s legal acumen.

          The Federalist Society has gummed up the Judicial Branch; Smith needs to use the solvent of an educated American public to remove the gum.

        • SteveBev says:

          I’m afraid I don’t understand how you imagine that paras 2,3,4 of this post are an adequate response to EoH comment to which it replies.

          Specifically how are speaking indictments or motions supposed to address how SCOTUS words (or Trump briefs for that matter) are “infected with Federalist Society propaganda”?

          Surely at best such commentary is for legal and political analysts to make? and surely the role of the prosecution advocate is concerned with the technicality of legal exegesis – and exposure of fallacies as being ideologically driven, should it occur, is but a by-product of an advocates technical work?

        • Rayne says:

          I need you to move on. You’ve made your argument, weak as it is; it’s also been rebutted and you’ve offered a response. Done, move on.

        • Rayne says:

          Moderator note: Some replies to this comment have been binned because they are off topic and spamming this thread with inter-commenter attacks.

          Stay on topic. If you disagree with a commenter, offer a cogent rebuttal and/or refutation which informs the community.

      • Rwood0808 says:

        If the planets align and trump is facing a verdict, federal or state, before the election what are the chances of a plea deal happening that would keep him out of office? I don’t see any deals being offered should he lose in November, so the timing is critical.

        To truly be rid of the trump problem he needs to lose thrice: Once in federal court, once in state court, and once in the election.

        • iamevets says:

          i don’t understand why Smith would make a plea deal to keep trump out of office. that would be an offering to impact the political arena, not the criminal arena. if smith has shown anything it’s that he is prosecuting a criminal case, not dealing with politics.

          what am i missing?

          besides the fact that trump would never willingly agree to a deal anyway, certainly not one that affects his grift.

        • Rwood0808 says:

          trump’s history in court has a pattern. Delay, delay, delay is obvious, but whenever it’s gotten to the point of actual consequences he’s ready to settle. If he were to find himself in such a situation I have no doubt he’ll explore that option and try for a plea that keeps him out of prison. The number of cases and the charges he is facing make this little more than a thought exercise, but it’s something I’ve heard others consider.

          trump is counting on a jury that includes enough of his cult members to find him not guilty. A long shot but still a possibility. Smith is counting on the evidence to persuade anyone, cult member or not, of trumps guilt. Neither is guaranteed. IF trump doesn’t get the cult members on the jury he needs and IF the trial concludes before November, he may start looking for a deal.

          I’m simply wondering what that deal might look like.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That tactic has only worked with opponents who had little power and few resources, and who, therefore, needed to settle as badly as Trump did.

          None of that’s true for the prosecutions and lawsuits he currently faces. The NY AG and E. Jean Carroll don’t need the money, besides which, Carroll already has appeals bonds in place for both her wins, which would satisfy her judgments, if they survive appeal.

          There’s nothing Trump could offer the Manhattan DA and Jack Smith that would induce either of them to settle. Nor would Trump offer a plea that involved admitting to felonies and accepting prison time.

        • Rayne says:

          How do you think these regular mood dumps you deposit here help the situation? Do you think on-side demoralization is constructive?

          Please offer something more thoughtful and informative than what is really just shit posting better suited to the dead bird app, especially if you’re going to dump more than one such shit post in the same thread within a couple minutes’ time.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          Echoing iamevets and adding my own $0.017.

          Why the heck would a “plea bargain to keep him out of office” serve anybody’s purpose? What would the offender offer to entice the prosecution? Perhaps full return of the purloined documents and a notarized statement that he didn’t sell them to foreign governments, etc.? That and the deed to the Brooklyn Bridge.

          How is the DoJ and the SC supposed to have the power to negotiate such a “deal”? This affects all branches of the government; and, on the other side, a notable liar, tax-evader, “friend-of-the-enemy” and hater of our own defenders of the constitution.

        • Henry_CHANGE-REQD says:

          How would a plea deal that bars Trump from running for office be enforceable?

          [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the SAME USERNAME and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You have (5) previous comments published here as “Henry Ridgeway“; “Henry” is too short and common, does not comply with the site’s naming standard. /~Rayne]

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I think the Court’s radical majority wants to maintain or increase its majority, in order to create and cement the gains of a revolution by institutionalizing them. To do that, it needs a Republican President for the next two or three terms, so that several of them can retire, knowing that a Republican White House and Senate will appoint FedSoc approved replacements, of the right sex, age and religion, with the right priorities and willingness to ignore the law, while pretending to uphold it. Ditto should any of the three women in the minority die or retire.

    That majority’s purpose is to fundamentally remake the constitutional arrangements put in place from FDR until Ronald Reagan, which many have assumed were permanent fixtures of the legal landscape. That means more power to the Court, whose members are appointed for life, rather than the Presidency, which can change incumbents every four years, or Congress, which is broken, unless one party has sufficient control of both houses. God and white wealthy white American men are waiting for them to do their work.

    • BobBobCon says:

      I think it’s fair to suggest that the current majority of the court is thinking in terms of things like expanding their current majority or adding to the power of the court.

      I also think the majority is delusional when they think Trump would go along with that. Trump would immediately go to work crushing them.

      He would simultaneously pressure them in the most extreme ways to resign so he could replace them with even bigger toadies, and he would start work to pack the court with more of his minions.

      Trump’s inner circle will do everything possible to remind him of the times when one of the right wingers defied him during the 2020 election debate, and argue that 98% loyalty isn’t enough. And he’ll agree.

      Trump sent a violent mob against the Capitol on 1/6. He has plans to mobilize hudreds of thousands of National Guardsmen in January 2025. There is no way he will suddenly accommodate the possibility that the Supreme Court will have concerns and want more consideration before they offer a slightly different view on his authority. He will crush them.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think that overstates Trump’s ability to see what the Court might be doing, no matter how much he’s warned about it by his FedSoc staff. Many of them would be behind the Court’s move, as a way to cement their own power.

        Besides, he’s already packing the courts with his own minions, but they’re not really his. He doesn’t find and vet candidates, FedSoc does.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          To reinforce that point, I hope. Trump doesn’t do squat except read the teleprompter and ad-lib word mashes.

          FedSoc may be a major part of the judiciary nominees and appointments but other RW groups are working at other levels throughout the governments (local, state, federal.) They are probably all intertwined and have many common donors and influencers.

          But I’ll bet a lot of the “brains” of these operations are off-shored. Hard to tell which foreign nations want to do us the most harm and that have some very smart people working in cyber/psych/influencing technologies.

          We’re sort of like that old Roman Empire sitting on the hills that everybody wants a piece of. Coming from the left/right from above and below. Coming from inside.

  12. paulka123 says:

    I think this is closest to the truth, but the SC seems to miss one subtlety. Everything Trump touches dies or is, at the very least, corrupted. Trump has successfully converted the Republican party into a party of lackies supplying him with his very own legal slush fund. What makes the SC think they can control Trump? Trump will ignore any ruling that he does not like and as soon as it pleases him will turn Thomas, Alito and the rest into Rinos. I would not put my trust in Trump to see to the wellbeing of conservative values, though their best chance might be Trump is too lazy to care too much about that branch of government.

  13. dopefish says:

    OT, sort of: Peter Wehner has this guest opinion piece at NYT bemoaning the loss of the Republican party that was, and clearly calling out the threat that Trump and maga-cult Republicans now pose to American democracy.

    I don’t know Wehner’s writing, I guess he’s a traditional Republican of the never-Trump school. I wish I could imagine any low-information R voters reading and being swayed by it. But whether or not the voters listen, those with any kind of platform need to keep saying it.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      The sound of the never-Trumpers in the ears of his believers is like the comforting sound of flies that swarm around the heads of the devotees of Beelzebub. Their only comprehension of the sound is something that in their mindscapes resembles: “Shoo us away if you like because it’s fun! But let us also just buzz in your ears and explore your nostrils and mouths as you admire the magnificence of his majestic wonderfulness!”

  14. Lisboeta says:

    Is R-SCOTUS just one piece in the jigsaw? Republicans are a minority in the country, yet they wield disproportionate power through dubious means: gerrymandered districts, voter-list purges, arbitrary voter ID rules, placement of polling stations, and so on. Another piece of the puzzle is the mostly Republican-oriented funding released by Citizens United. Also the master stroke of co-opting Christian nationalists (“we’re furthering divine intent”). All in the cause of retaining power. Meanwhile the rest of us are conned into focussing on one individual piece of the puzzle, rather than the whole picture.

    Trump is wily; he’s not intelligent. Flatter him, show there’s something in it to benefit him, and he’ll do whatever the shadowy handlers ask. They were and are the real threat. Trump is just the mask they don.

      • Thomas_H says:

        while Nixon had asked Powell to accept a nomination to the SCOTUS, the memorandum was commissioned and written before Powell joined the court. I agree that it otherwise is clear about its intent (“internet”).

  15. bmaz says:

    Meh, the Colorado case, at root, was decided exactly as it should have been. The thought that citizen activists in any random county, in any state, on a hodge podge basis, could determine a Presidential election was ludicrous from the start. Did they go one step too far? Yes, ACB was even stronger on that, but it more left things unanswered than set bad new law.

    As to the so called immunity case, I again caution people to remember that the criminal justice system is not the magic balm for your political woes. Of course Trump is trying to delay. Most every criminal defendant with money and without an early favorable plea offer, does that. Trust me, I know about this. It is an important question, and there were enough votes at conference to treat it as such. So be it.

    Maybe people ought think a little more about how DOJ screwed things up by filing the docs case in SDFL instead of DC. That was a ground altering mistake.

    • ernesto1581 says:

      You have mentioned this numerous times. To me, it’s like I steal a clutch of state records in NJ, am arrested in Idaho and subsequently prosecuted in Boise, rather than being extradited to Trenton. Could be more complicated, I suppose, but I don’t get it.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Don’t like to correct typos, but this one is fun. Neigh is the sound a horsey-type character makes (like a stable genius); and Nigh is a pretty archaic word rarely used except in overly formal sentences.

        We’re all going to have our own personal word generators criticized as the AI revolution marches somewhere.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      I think the case would have been tossed on jurisdiction if not filed in Florida. The SC seems to agree. I respect that you have a different viewpoint.

      • bmaz says:

        That is complete bullshit. You ever tried a multi-jurisdiction federal case? No? Then don’t make people here more stupid with your comments.

  16. WilliamOckham says:

    Fear and the human tendency to misjudge the risk of catastrophic events. I think that those of us in flyover country misunderstand how insular the world of “Washington insiders” really is. SC justices are the most insular of all and the most likely to believe that they can control outcomes. They are reliving a pattern we can see played out over and over when authoritarian leaders attack democratic institutions. The conservative and reactionary elements of the existing power structure try to contain the strongman within the system, to “ride the tiger” or, to modernize the analogy, point the leopard at other people’s faces. They fear that opposing the strongman, forcing him outside the political system, is the real danger. They will consistently overestimate the strength of his violent mob and underestimate his ability to institutionalize his policies.

    It’s a weird mixture of personal cowardice, an inherent belief in the effectiveness of systems of control, and a lack of imagination. They fundamentally don’t understand the worldview of the strongman and his followers, For example, I’m convinced that the conservative majority on the court expect that Trump will appreciate their actions. And, man, oh man, are they wrong. They give him what they know he needs. All he will see is that they are weak and not fully committed to him. For Trump, anything less than total sycophancy is betrayal.

    • vegeholic says:

      As this comment and the post author propose, I agree that fear is the most likely motivator for many on the SC to find a solution which does not alienate the magats. Recall the statements made by Andrew Hitt, one of the Wisconsin fake electors, that he was scared of what Trump supporters would do to him or his family if he failed to sign the paperwork. He was honest enough to admit what many probably feel but are too embarrassed to admit. We have all seen what Trump’s supporters will do, it is easier to just keep your head down and hope their anger gets directed at others.

    • MrBeagles says:

      Any thoughts on how this most salient truth you describe makes it into Biden’s campaign rhetoric?

      I can see Biden talking about Trump effectively overthrowing the court in blips and Biden asides/ brief moments of plain speech. But I think D’s that understand the danger are clearly cowed from directly stating the danger, much like the any R who might arouse Trump’s ire

      I think if Biden wants to win he will need to speak plainly about this issue in the final stages of his campaign, the rallying cry to preserve democracy. So my question is how does the Biden campaign clearly bring the issue to the fore? There’s a nexus in the overturning of Roe, but the overturning of the court under Trump 2 is an order of magnitude worse…

  17. boloboffin says:

    Trump: Mr. Supreme Court, how many laws can I break in order to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”?

    Previous SCOTUS: We never made it without preserving the laws. Ask the Roberts Court.

    Trump: Mr. Roberts Court, how many laws can I break in order to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”?

    Roberts Court: Let’s find out. One, two-HOO, three… four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve…

    Trump: That many?

    Roberts Court: Quiet, we’re counting!

    (with apologies to the Tootsie Pop commercial)

  18. newbroom says:

    I watched the confirmation hearing for Clarence. It was a shit show. He lied.
    It must be difficult working with him unless you too are corrupt.

  19. Marinela says:

    At this point, I hope Trump loses, so all the delays are for nothing.
    This is where we need to concentrate our energy.
    If Biden wins in November, we need prepare to protect the transition. Discussing what happens if Trump wins, is self defeating.

    • Myra-bo-byra says:

      Agreed Marinela. If Trump wins his DoJ will drop the cases against him. They will go Also after his political enemies. And the first time Trump loses a case at SCOTUS he will either ignore enforcement or pack the court if he has the Senate. As the map favors the GOP winning back a majority in the Senate, he is very likely to try that. Motives for R-SCOTUS may be a mixture of ego and greed.
      Although Roberts must surely understand the danger a Trump victory poses to the institution, he may not understand the danger that an openly “in the tank for Trump” court poses – both to its reputation and its size.

      • Stephen Calhoun says:

        TFG has already floated being a dictator; declaring a state of insurrection, and suspending the Constitution. How does R-SCOTUS view the stakes? Nobody is saying!

  20. zic_04APR2019_1124h says:

    I think it’s simple: Thomas and Alito are old enough to maybe want to retire over the next four years, and they want a Republican in the Oval Office so that they don’t get replaced with liberals.

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      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That explanation ignores the project in which the Court, FedSoc, and their patrons are engaged in. It’s not just about the retirement of two judges.

  21. OnKilter says:

    I think that SCOTUS is preparing to say that Trump did enjoy immunity for “official acts during his tenure in office”.

    Then the question is, is Jack Smith prosecuting Trump for “official acts during his tenure in office”?

    Does Smith have to prove the acts under the indictments were unofficial?
    Or does Smith have to prove the acts under the indictments did not take place during Trump’s tenure?

    I think that’s where the SCOTUS is going.

    • dopefish says:

      In the classified docs case, every single charge is about conduct that occurred after Trump left office.

      They didn’t charge him with taking the National Defense Information docs out of the White House with him to Mar-a-Lago. They only charged him with possessing them and not returning them, and making several efforts to obstruct their return and the related investigations. Every bit of that conduct occurred after Trump was no longer President.

    • Matt___B says:

      Didn’t listen to this one, but I’ve heard Brad Onishi interviewed elsewhere, and he’s well worth listening to – a former insider’s perspective on the whole Christian nationalism mess.

  22. boatgeek says:

    I’d suggest that R-SCOTUS’ benefactors are very much interested in a return of Trump and in the likely descent into dictatorship that entails. Captains of industry like them tend to do very well under dictatorships and oligarchies, at least until they fall from grace. And nobody ever seems to think that they’ll fall from grace.

    R-SCOTUS may also see themselves as the real power when the dictatorship tipping point happens. It’s going to be their imprimatur that allows the slide. Like the captains of industry, they likely don’t think that they’ll fall from grace either.

  23. FrictionBlistered says:

    Is there any reason not to believe that whether Trump exists or not, the current Supreme Court majority would be determined to dismantle or disable every law that promotes equality (without which there is no justice)? They have fortunes, families, and “friends” to protect.

    I expect them to issue an immunity decision that doesn’t excuse all of Trump’s excesses, but muddies the waters enough to enable him to reduce his legal vulnerabilities while enabling him to quibble endlessly over what remains.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There wouldn’t be a Republican super majority on the Court without Trump, Mitch McConnell, and a Republican-controlled Senate. The problem is bigger than who is president.

  24. Epicurus says:

    I think Trump clouds everyone’s judgement about the evolving raison d’être of the Court.

    SC justices (a loose term) are chosen for their beliefs, as demonstrated through their professional opinions and judgements, with the congruence of those beliefs with the choosing party’s agenda, and with the perception of how closely the potential justice(s) will adhere to/vote for those beliefs as a justice. It is how political parties have come to circumvent the legislative process to institutionalize laws in a polarized society. Essentially it is undemocratic in its core. So we have the Roe and the Roe reversal as examples and consequences.

    The not so hidden, in front of our noses issue is the knowledge each justice has that s/he represents a fatal flaw arising in our Constitution. The Constitution points to a rule of law. The justices each know, I think far more than you or I because they have experienced the actual power and knowledge of application, that s/he is above the law because s/he in the power of the majority determines the law and the follow on direction of the rule of law. That law is adopted by the judicial system we accept and believe in, in effect create its legitimacy. The justices are in effect mini-gods in the ancient Greek sense. They know they can’t be removed. In effect, they are the law. And they act as the gods did in the Greek plays and myths. (My former humanities professor would be invoking “tyranny”, “hubris” and “misos/philios” right about now, but not “democracy”.)

    Until a better political system is devised that limits the power the SC has created for itself or we de-polarize and return to days of compromise in the legislature, we remain with the current modus operandi. And it is strengthening itself everyday.

    • Ed Walker says:

      I think this is mostly right. Over the centuries, SCOTUS developed a series of guardrails to handcuff itself, recognizing two things: it depends on others to carry out its rulings, and it does not represent anyone as the other two branches do.

      Two good examples of the former, Dred Scott and Brown v. Board. In the former the majority seems to have thought that they could prevent war. After Brown, SCOTUS had to acknowledge that only the actions of the Executive could make its rulings stick against the concerted rejection of White people, mostly Sougherners, but also, what happened in Boston.

      As to the latter, SCOTUS has always claimed to be respectful of Congress. But it has also claimed the right to destroy congressional actions. Their decisions on laws are always in favor of the majority against the weak, and the filthy rich against the rest of us.

      R-SCOTUS doesn’t abide by these limitations. They are second-rate lawyers and political hacks. They exercise their power without regard to any limitation prior versions of SCOTUS accepted.

      • Epicurus says:

        Re: your “Their decisions on laws are always in favor of the majority against the weak, and the filthy rich against the rest of us.”, there is a book you would truly enjoy. It is Oligarchy by Jeffrey A. Winters. He discusses, among other things, how property (i.e wealth) protection has been institutionalized and internalized in American law.

        Oligarchs (in the sense of plutocrats) in other societies need(ed) their own armies to protect their wealth (as Putin does in Russia for his and his cronies’s wealth) but that situation has been transformed in the US where the government protects oligarchic/plutocratic wealth through its property laws. As a current example please see the opening paragraph in the attached article.

        Oligarchs can turn their fortunes toward an income defense rather than a wealth defense if the judicial branch is protecting its wealth. The income tax is too high! The SC and the rule of law works as an oligarch’s hand maiden in the US. Even the progressively inclined SC justices are internalized to this view. (Sotomayor book sales as an example). The conservatively inclined SC Justices are just more flagrantly open about it. (See Lord Acton and power’s corruption.)

        • Ed Walker says:

          I read Winter’s book years ago, and you are right, it’s excellent.

          For anyone else interested in the role of oligarchy, there’s a shorter paper by Winters and Page explaining how oligarchy can and does exist inside a democracy. I linked to it in this essay at Naked Capitalism.

          Note that the link is to JSTOR. I signed up for the free service which allow you to download up to 100 articles a month, far more than I need.

  25. Matt Foley says:

    Off topic:
    Jimmy Kimmel destroys Trump at Oscars.
    Watch on Brian Tyler Cohen’s youtube channel.
    You know it must be good because all the MAGA media is keeping it quiet.

  26. doghelpsgod says:

    Great analysis.
    Impossible to decipher the R-Scotus justices’ motivations for helping Trump – likely the individual justices have their own individual reasons and some of their reasons may be wishful thinking as to the result they’re trying to achieve. However, they must also be cognizant of the risks another Trump presidency poses to some of what they care about: risk benefit analysis. My best guess is that the deciding factor is as Ed Walker hypothesized: ” the purely political calculation that any action taken against Trump is too dangerous.”
    Nb. Alina Habba says Kavanaugh owes Trump and will do the right thing.”

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    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It seems dangerous to assume that the Supreme Court majority sees “risks” from Trump the same way we might. They may agree entirely with what he proposes to do. Regardless, he’s the most readily available tool that would allow them to do what they want to do.

  27. SteveBev says:

    Trump has filed a new motion to exclude evidence and for an adjournment in the NY Criminal case

    The basic premise is that some of the evidence the prosecution intends to rely on are statements made by Trump about Micheal Cohen and impacting on the ‘hush money case’ during interviews while he was President, and Trump claims that such evidence is within the purview of Presidential immunity,

    Chances are of course that Merchan will swiftly deny. But the issue then will be to what extent Trump can create delay by appealing such a ruling.

      • SteveBev says:

        If only.

        The other aspect of statements by Trump intended to be used by the prosecution are tweets on the topics mentioned – and of course the defence are arguing that TrumpTwitter was adjudged to be an official channel of Presidential communication. Ho Hum.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump’s alternative version of the facts is wild, but that’s the point. While motions like this are about delay, they are also about keeping facts damaging to Trump out of the public record.

      • SteveBev says:

        A lot of these statements on their face are how Cohen was an attorney for Trump in a private capacity “And definitely nothing to do with the campaign”

        So his present argument is rubbish, and the statements damning as lies and evasion in the face of the rest of the evidence. But Trump keeps rolling the dice.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump’s lawyers engage in the usual rancid use of quotations, taken from sources that often contradict the points Trump tries to use them for.

      • SteveBev says:

        It’s the full MAGA technique — repeat the same lies and the same processes over and over, with slight variation to make it suit the context, but essentially repeating the same shameless bad faith tactics in the hope that one or more gets traction somewhere along the line

        It is intended to be wearing.

        • Stephen Calhoun says:

          Yup. Gaslighting as legal tactic. It is a mostly hopeless approach except as a tool within a dilatory strategy.

  28. dogshelpgod says:

    One potato, two potato, three potato four,
    Four paws, eight paws, a difference you abhor,
    Silly me I thought the difference was something to ignore.

    I will endeavor to toe the line. So help me dog. Mea pulpa.

    [AND YET YOU MADE A *DIFFERENT* TYPO IN THE EMAIL ADDRESS ON THIS COMMENT. WHAT THE ACTUAL. If you don’t get this right in the next comment I’m banning you. /~Rayne]

    • dogshelpgod says:

      Rayne: is this correct? I’m confused. Elderly person with bad eyesight and limited dexterity here. Shall I just use a completely different name? Show some rachmones.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Of course, if Biden wins a second term, despite the probably thousands of lawsuits that various groups supporting Trump will file to delay or overturn it, the SCt’s conservatives will hang on for dear life. None will retire before a Republican president appoints their replacement, probably not even if Republicans control the Senate.

  30. Yankee in TX says:

    I think that for several justices it’s more personal. If the Dems win Congress, then there will be a robust investigation into the lifestyles of the famous, black robed and powerful. While the justices themselves might avoid testifying before Congress, those who financed their lavish lifestyle will not be so lucky. Having Bannon and Navarro now as examples, these corrupters of the judiciary will be compelled to detail how easy it is to bribe a judge or justice. If they refuse, Congress can find them in contempt, but it takes the Executive Branch to pursue these charges. This is why a Biden win is so important. I doubt that Congress or a Biden DOJ will be deterred by the laughable defense that such an investigation of the black robed lifestyles is barred by the separation of powers doctrine. This also might result in a real, enforceable conflict of interest, disclosure and recusal law that applies to all Federal judges and the USSC.

  31. Mister_Sterling says:

    Now Trump is asking that the comparatively minor Manhattan criminal case be delayed until the SCOTUS case on Immunity is decided. It’s another novel argument from Trump’s team. Basically he’s arguing that he’s had criminal immunity since he declared his candidacy for president in 2015. Why not argue he’s had immunity since birth? That must be next.

    • SteveBev says:

      The focus of the argument are tweets and other statements made in 2018 while President, which the prosecution allege are germane to Trump’s state of mind regarding the hush money payment concealment scheme – ie going to his knowledge of the scheme and intent to disguise the true purpose of the payments to Cohen.

      Trump argues that these statements made while President implicate presidential immunity.

  32. harpie says:

    Steve Vladeck has a post about this, too, today [All italics and bold original]:

    The Shoddy Politics of Trump v. Anderson The Section 3 disqualification case provided the Supreme Court with a chance to engage in true constitutional statesmanship. The five justices in the majority … didn’t.
    Steve Vladeck 3/11/24

    But what the heck was the point of going past the ground on which the justices were united (and, thus, sacrificing the Court’s ability to speak in one voice) if it wasn’t to be clear about what is and is not permissible going forward? […]

    Third, and going back to last week’s discussion of the Court’s inconsistent role morality [link below], the lack of both unanimity and clarity as to the precise forward-looking enforceability of Section 3 comes across as especially galling from this Court. […]

    At least for me (if not for you), Trump v. Anderson was an easy opportunity for the Court to score some points for high statesmanship. For reasons that are not yet apparent, and may never be, it failed.

    But, Vladeck alludes to a couple possible reasons in the previous [linked] post:

    The Perils of Inconsistent Judicial Role Morality A common theme cutting across seemingly unrelated headlines is how the Supreme Court’s own recent behavior has left it with little room to maneuver around a slew of political and legal landmines Steve Vladeck 3/4/24

    […] If this is a fair critique, then the question is why won’t the Court publicly grapple, more holistically, with what it’s supposed to be doing? I see two possibilities: Either the Court doesn’t have a unifying theory that explains when and how it should intervene in cases implicating its relationship to the other institutions of American public life (perhaps because no five justices hold similar-enough views), or the view shared by a majority of the current justices isn’t one that they can say out loud. […]

      • bmaz says:

        Mastodon is still total shit. And I remember when this blog had competent trash talk, as opposed to stupid “3 Things” garbage. Seems like so long ago, but would have come in handy on a huge free agency day like today. Oh well.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Rayne – why do I feel that this is just another way of cooking eggs – omelettes, scrambled, frittatas, etc.

        They mix up their funds (and their fundies), repackage in some patriotic-sounding organization, stuff a bunch of resources in, and serve piping hot to the masses.

        The president of the rightwing Claremont Institute and another senior Claremont official are both closely involved with the shadowy Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR), an exclusive, men-only fraternal order which aims to replace the US government with an authoritarian “aligned regime”, and which experts say is rooted in extreme Christian nationalism and religious autocracy.

        The backers apparently can’t let themselves be seen in plain daylight.

        • Jacquie_NJ says:

          Jennifer Cohn had a piece along these lines last week in the Bucks County Beacon.

          “Approximately 100 right-wing organizations have signed onto Project 2025, an expansive plan for controlling (and in some cases dismantling) federal agencies in the event that Trump or another Republican wins the presidential election this year. Many of these organizations are led by Christian fundamentalist political operatives, suggesting that they may use the plan to force all Americans to submit to their extreme religious beliefs.”

          A draft document purportedly being circulated online entitled “The Statement on Christian Nationalism & the Gospel” is screenshot and linked in the article.

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        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Per Jennifer’s Cohn’s article, SACR’s notion of “Christian Nationalism” – “a Scripture-based system of government whereby Christ-ordained “civil magistrates” exercise authority over the American public” – is in inherently unconstitutional. As of now. Undoing that may be one of the objectives of the Supreme Court’s Republican majority.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, it’s the right-wing shell game, just as it has been since the late 1990s. Like Heritage Foundation/Townhall/Media Research Center/Parents Television Council, so many different iterations of John Birch Society, ALEC/State Policy Network/Heartland Institute, endless rathole of right-wing corporate-funded crap.

          Only need to go through the Council for National Policy‘s membership roll to see how they’re all connected.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The Claremont Institute is not affiliated with the Claremont Colleges. The Institute is a radical right think tank established c. 1979. It was among the first wave of hard right associations established in the immediate post-Watergate era, which was preceded by the Powell Memorandum in 1971.

          The Claremont Colleges, in Southern California east of LA, are a group of seven highly selective undergraduate and graduate colleges. One of them, Pomona College, competes yearly for the title of best liberal arts college in America. Their association dates back to c. 1925.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          You were clear about that. But if they know the name Claremont at all, most people probably associate it with the colleges, something the Institute probably intended when it incorporated the town/college group’s name into their own.

  33. MrBeagles says:

    Um, to answer the final question of ‘Why?’, it’s because 1) they’re kinda maybe sorta idk just a little bit in cahoots, and 2) the ‘Why?’ that is at issue, is that if this court didn’t please Trump and Trump still got elected, Trump overthrows the court.

    Like this- he thinks targets the conservative(s) on the court for replacement. Expands the court and boom he controls the court. Eat Old Crow, McConnell

    Donnie DARVO Strikes Back


  34. Dustbowl Observer says:

    In answer to Marcy’s question:
    In the end R-SOTUS justices are human beings and subject to social conformity. They consort exclusively with wealthy right-wing extremists. The financial corruption is merely a small part of the conformity issue. They are in an exclusive club where they do each other favors, form “friendships”, and meet regularly. I am sure they have their own right-wing exclusive party circuit. Everyone in their social circle loves Trump because of the tax cuts and the social war issues. Everyone they know hates unions, antitrust, environmental regulations, OSHA, trial lawyers, and civil rights. They are under tremendous pressure to save Trump.

  35. CovariantTensor says:

    I have pondered the question myself. I don’t think they particularly like Trump, or the three appointees feel indebted. Trump isn’t conservative in the traditional sense of the word. He’s more of a situational conservative. Having realized how toxic the anti-abortion movement is to his reelection, he is backing away from it.

    I think the real explanation is to solidify the conservative majority. There is more than a small chance Biden would get a chance to make an appointment in the next 4 years. Though if Trump wins, who knows? He has recently dissed the Federalist Society because his appointments from that pool have turned out to be not sufficiently loyal.

  36. ExhumeHume says:

    The explanation for SCOTUS acquiescence to the will of Trump is the threatening prospect of his giant army of brownshirts, who threaten harm or death to any person (and their family members) who opposes him. The same explanation applies to most of the cases involving the caving of governmental officials to his will.

    On a related note: We’re all going to be in a lot of trouble if we don’t face and solve the brownshirts problem well before November.

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