This isn’t exactly a friendly warning.
A “friend of the court” brief filed with the Supreme Court by Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and four Democratic colleagues contains a not-so-veiled threat that if the justices don’t vote the Democrats’ way on a pending Second Amendment case, Democrats just might decide to remake the court itself.
It’s not litigation; it’s intimidation.
Joining Whitehouse in the brief were Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. All of them are well to the left of most Americans and one — Gillibrand — is actually running to be the president who could appoint Supreme Court justices.
The case they are discussing in particular involves gun owners challenging New York City restrictions on their right to carry firearms.
But the senators’ language goes far beyond the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. In language ranging from pedantic to hectoring to outright threatening, the Democrats argue that the high court has been virtually hijacked by conservatives.
“With bare partisan majorities, the court has influence sensitive areas like voting rights, partisan gerrymandering, dark money, union power, regulation of pollution, corporate liability and access to federal court, particularly regarding civil rights and discrimination in the workplace. Every single time, the corporate and Republican political interests prevailed,” the brief states.
Well, a logical conclusion from that would be that “every single time,” the so-called corporate and Republican political interests had the right side on the question as a matter of constitutional law.
But for Whitehouse and his party comrades, that possibility isn’t worth considering.
In an odd appeal to authority for United States senators addressing the Supreme Court, they write that as “scholars, journalists and commentators have observed, the court has employed a number of methods to circumvent justicability in decisions that moved the law.”
Now, obviously citing legal scholars is one thing, but when senators are relying on “journalists and commentators” to make their case, literally, in the Supreme Court, it’s a pretty good bet they have an argument that depends more on public relations than legal strength.
To underscore the point, the senators cite public opinion polls:
“Today, fifty-five percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court is ‘mainly motivated by politics’…; fifty-nine percent believe the court is ‘too influenced by politics’; and a majority now believes the ‘Supreme Court should be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics,’” the brief states.
And then comes the rub:
“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”
Of course, it’s a sham.
“Restructured to reduce the influence of politics” is how the Democrats are describing their half-baked proposal to expand the court and pack it with justices who will vote liberal ways – actually increasing the influence of politics over an institution that was expressly designed to be as independent of politics as a government agency can be in a democratic republic.
It’s also thuggery. Whitehouse and the Gang of Five are basically threatening the United States Court to vote the way it demands on a gun control case, or face the prospects of a Democratically controlled government in the future vastly overhauling the court itself and how it does business.
It might be how banana republics are run, but for five senators in the world’s oldest, most respected and successful democracy, it’s beyond disgrace.
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