OPINION: Trump-leaning Supreme Court has democracy in a ‘no-win’ situation, leaving America ‘no way out’

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For the past year or so, there have been repeated revelations of corruption on the part of several members of the Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices. Justices Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas, in particular, have engaged in activities that for individuals in other branches of government and at other levels of the judiciary would be punishable conflicts of interest. Furthermore, they seem like “sold-out” Trumpers. 

The condition becomes more critical each day because Donald Trump, who has been indicted for serious crimes in several jurisdictions – taking and concealing governments in Florida, conspiring to overturn the 2020 election in D.C., election interference in Georgia, and business fraud in New York – is inching closer to becoming president due to the rulings and delays coming from the courts, including the Supreme Court.

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court could have (1) left him off the presidential primary ballot as had been ruled by the courts in Colorado and Illinois, based upon the 14th Amendment, (2) already ruled that he is not exempt from prosecution for alleged criminal actions carried out as president, and (3) shown itself committed to the idea of speedy federal trials rather than enabling the delays that will push the trials past the November election. Instead of doing those things, in Trump’s and other major cases, they have appeared to be in the camp of Trump.

No matter the issue, in the last four years the court has sided with Trump virtually every time it has considered cases – abortion and reproductive medicine, gun possession, gerrymandering, immigration, religious freedom, student loan forgiveness, voting rights, police and criminal justice reform, campaign financing, and others. In addition, revelations continue to be made that link wealthy donors, Trump, and Supreme Court justices in lock-step together. It has gotten to the point that legal experts and political observers have become almost uncanny in their ability to predict how the court will rule on matters that they are considering.

We realize that this point has taken some time and effort to reach. Nevertheless, here it is. We are concerned that in his actions and in his rhetoric, Donald Trump has indicated that he intends to transform America into an authoritarian government with himself at the head, and that is based upon what can roughly be termed white Christian nationalism. Meanwhile, he has, with the help of Mitch McConnell and Republican senators, stacked the courts in such a way that whatever he wants he can get through its rulings. 

At the same time, these justices have corrupted and exposed themselves in such a manner that they have lost almost all credibility with the majority of the citizens. The question thus becomes, “what can and should people do when it is clear that the court is not about the business protecting such legal and constitutional provisions as the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, the Voting Rights Act, and due process?” The question becomes, “what can and should citizens do when it is clear that the court is enabling Trump to avoid having to face the juries before the November presidential election, and thereby being in a position to get elected as president and having the court proceedings stopped?”

The longer these “legal issues” remain unresolved, the greater risk the country faces come November. The Make America Great Again (MAGA) mob has on more than one occasion demonstrated that if and when Trump loses in November, they are willing to stage an insurrection. Just as dangerously, the Republican majority on the Supreme Court has demonstrated that it is willing to bend the rules in such a way that may allow Trump to take office no matter what the votes turn out to be. With Trump being committed to authoritarianism and both the court and the MAGA mob being bound to get him in office, supporters of democracy and the idea itself are in a no-win situation. 

With five months left, those who are concerned about the nature of the country’s government in the immediate and long-term future have a Herculean task before them. Although it is critical for all who believe in democracy, it is especially so for Black Americans, given the history of racism in this country and the stated commitments of Trump and the MAGA crowd. 

NEXT WEEK: We will look at the options for dealing with the court and the MAGA mob, if Trump loses and if he wins. 

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OPINION: Trump-leaning Supreme Court has democracy in a ‘no-win’ situation, leaving America ‘no way out’

By Dr. Ivory Phillips
June 3, 2024