So Amy Coney Barrett is the nominee, as everyone expected. I’m not even reading most of the analyses about her. The only one I did read was by Barbara McQuade, who says that Barrett is even more extreme that Antonin Scalia. That’s all I need to know.
Democrats are considering whether they should or should not even take part in the hearings, since her confirmation is already a done deal. I’ve heard arguments either way. The only question in my mind is if Democrats, assuming they win a Senate majority and the White House, will have the balls to add at least four more justices to the Court to keep it sane. I’m looking at you, Chuck Schumer.
Here’s what should worry us (Anita Kumar, Pollitico):
A year before President Donald Trump alarmed Americans with talk of disputing elections last week, his team started building a massive legal network to do just that.
Dozens of lawyers from three major law firms have been hired. Thousands of volunteer attorneys and poll watchers across the country have been recruited. Republicans are preparing pre-written legal pleadings that can be hurried to the courthouse the day after the election, as wrangling begins over close results and a crush of mail-in ballots. Attorneys from non-battleground states, including California, New York and Illinois, are being dispatched to more competitive areas and trained on local election laws.
A 20-person team of lawyers oversees the strategy, which is mainly focused on the election process in the 17 key states the Trump campaign is targeting, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
In total, it means the Republican Party will have thousands of people on hand to shape every element of voting — both on Election Day and in the days after.
I say again, whatever votes aren’t counted on election night might never be counted. There is going to be a huge fight in several states over every ballot. Trump’s lawyers will force the election into the courts, where Trump’s appointed judges are waiting to stop the count.
Republicans are likely to dispute election results in two main areas — the authenticity of mail-in ballots and the deadlines for mail-in ballots to be received and counted. Election officials worry those actions could penalize voters for human error, and that ballots could get thrown out because of a sometimes slow United States Postal Service.
I am not looking forward to any of this. This is the election year from hell. See also Recipe for chaos: 2020 election threatens to snap a US already pushed to the limit by David Smith at The Guardian.
And I agree with Frank Rich that the actions of right-wing judges are likely to be enforced by Trump’s troops.
By troops I don’t mean the American military, which is unlikely to bear arms to support any Trump effort to cling to the White House in defeat, but Trump’s own troops, who have formed a rogue military of their own. His language has already given them the signal to do whatever the hell they want.
Those troops are exemplified by Michigan United for Liberty, the right-wing extremist cell that posted violent threats against state officials on highly trafficked private Facebook pages in response to pandemic health measures and then turned up with assault weapons in the Senate balcony in Lansing
as legislators (some donning bulletproof vests) gathered below. They include the likes of right-wing militia wannabes like Kyle Rittenhouse, whose killing of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was condoned by Trump. They include the armed cohort who showed up to “provide security” in Louisville after the grand jury rendered its verdict on the Breonna Taylor murder.
The violent actors on the left that Trump rails about also exist, but in relatively tiny numbers. A June report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies on “The Escalating Terrorism Problem in the United States” finds that “right-wing extremists perpetrated two-thirds of the attacks and plots in the United States in 2019 and over 90 percent between January 1 and May 8, 2020.” They are locked and loaded to mount a violent response to a Trump defeat whether the president explicitly invites them to or not.
The Vichy Republicans in Washington, meanwhile, will be hiding under the desks. While some of them have come out in favor of a peaceful transfer of power in the wake of Trump’s threats, none of them had the guts to criticize him by name. They are all very concerned in the patented manner of Susan Collins. It was rather remarkable to watch Lindsey Graham tell the audience at Fox & Friends that he “can assure” a peaceful denouement to the election during the same week when the worthlessness of his word on late-term Supreme Court nominees was on constant display in campaign ads across the land.
Rich thinks the Dems should let the Republicans ram the Barrett nomination through the Senate before the election, because polls indicate this is likely to push some Senate contests toward the Democrats. Big wins in our upcoming election are our only hope.