Paul Waldman has suddenly figured out that the conservative justices lied in their confirmation hearings. And now, just now, it’s time to admit it.
Yes, I’m talking about the conservative justices on the Supreme Court, and the abortion rights those justices have now made clear they will eviscerate.
They weren’t just evasive, or vague, or deceptive. They lied. They lied to Congress and to the country, claiming they either had no opinions at all about abortion, or that their beliefs were simply irrelevant to how they would rule. They would be wise and pure, unsullied by crass policy preferences, offering impeccably objective readings of the Constitution.
It. Was. A. Lie.
We went through the same routine in the confirmation hearings of every one of those justices. When Democrats tried to get them to state plainly their views on Roe v. Wade, they took two approaches. Some tried to convince everyone that they would leave it untouched. Others, those already on record proclaiming opposition to abortion rights, suggested they had undergone a kind of intellectual factory reset enabling them to assess the question anew with an unspoiled mind, one concerned only with the law.
It is astonishing that the media took this long to realize what was obvious to everyone. The Trumpkins knew it, and were giggling behind their palms about getting away with it. Everyone else knew it, too, but felt trapped by an unwarranted respect for norms and knowing that the media was in the bag and would ridicule the simple words, “they’re lying”. It was a real emperor’s new clothes kind of situation and everyone went along with it.
What’s also appalling is that those fuckers knew that had to lie. That opposing the established law of Roe v. Wade would instantly scuttle their nomination, that the electorate would rise up and make it impossible for many politicians to support their nomination. So they lied. They misled everyone until they could hide behind their Supreme Court tenure. Now they get to wreck civil rights in this country, their aim all along.
They were ashamed of their position. They knew it could only be whispered in the darkness until they got power, and then once they’d brought down that veil of darkness on the land, then and only then could they shout it out loud.
You know what else burns?
But sometimes the right puts its purposes in the open. There was a particularly striking exchange between Laura Ingraham and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) on Fox News, where Ingraham grew inexplicably enraged over the mere possibility that Roe might not be overturned.
“If we have six Republican appointees on this court,” she said, “after all the money that’s been raised, the Federalist Society, all these big fat-cat dinners — I’m sorry, I’m pissed about this — if this court with six justices cannot do the right thing here,” then Republicans should “blow it up” and pass some kind of law limiting the court’s authority.
“I would do that in a heartbeat,” Cruz responded.
In other words: We bought this court, and we’d better get what we paid for.
Yep, we’re a third-rate banana republic where the law is for sale to the highest bidder.
“Endorsed by the Federalist Society” ought to be a huge black mark against any judicial nominee. Will our representatives see it that way? Don’t count on it.
It was all a lie, a scam, a con: the assurances that they were blank slates committed to “originalism” and “textualism,” that they wouldn’t “legislate from the bench,” that they have no agenda but merely a “judicial philosophy.”
Somehow that philosophy nearly always produces results conservatives want: undermining voting rights, enhancing corporate power, constraining the rights of workers, enabling the proliferation of guns, and now most vividly, allowing state governments to force women to carry pregnancies to term against their will.
From this day forward, no one should be naive enough to believe a word any conservative says on this subject, except for those few who forthrightly proclaim that the Supreme Court must read right-wing policy preferences into the Constitution. There was never any mystery about who these justices are and what they would do. There were only liars saying otherwise, and fools who chose to believe them.
Fools run the media in America, then.