Elections have consequences. And boy, have we seen these consequences in action over the last six years.
A minority of the voting population with a majority of the electoral votes elected a president in 2016. This president, of course, was Donald Trump, undoubtedly the most corrupt and incompetent president in American history.
This voting minority had already established Republicans as the majority in the Senate, and Republicans controlled the House of Representatives.
The first important legislation the Republicans enacted was the bill cutting taxes for the wealthy. Of course, my friends on the corner would respond to this by saying, “Isn’t that what it is all about—the money?”And I would have to agree that one of the objectives of national Republicans has been—for decades—cutting taxes for the rich and benefitting them otherwise.
However, I would hasten to add that Republicans and the Right-Wing have had another set of priorities—halting the progress of this liberal democracy, and they made no secret of their intent to use the U.S. Supreme Court to effect the changes they wanted.
To his credit, Donald Trump, first as candidate and later as president, promised to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
And the three justices Trump nominated lied in their confirmation hearings about Roe v. Wade. Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett referred to Roe v. Wade as “established law.” Yet each signed on to an opinion that declared Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.
Before these last three justices, the Supreme Court had started turning back the clock by gutting the Voting Rights Act, enabling the current widespread voter suppression efforts. But since they added these three right-wing members, the Court has gone berserk.
Just this past week, the Court expanded gun rights, putting gun rights above human life. This happened when a majority of Americans would like more restrictions on gun rights. Please note that until the Court’s Heller decision 14 years ago, there had never been any legal recognition that the Second Amendment provides individual gun rights.
In a 6-to-3 ruling, the Court struck down a century-old New York law with strict limits on handguns. The New York Times reported that that decision would affect similar New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, and California laws. Many of these states have the lowest rates of gun deaths in the country. Moreover, research supports the link between strict regulation of guns and fewer gun deaths. But such facts do not deter the right-wing, even right-wing Supreme Court Justices.
This wild west ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court comes when law enforcement pushes for gun control. Concerned about combating gun violence, the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police have actively supported gun control legislation. In addition, an Amicus Brief was filed in this case, representing big cities like Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, arguing in support of New York’s law.
In another blow to civil rights, the Supreme Court limited the ability to enforce Miranda rights. Since the Supreme Court’s 1966 decision in the Miranda case, police officers have been required to read a suspect his “Miranda rights.”
Miranda rewrote the rulebook. Criminal suspects have had to be informed of their right to remain silent and that anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law. But no more, last week, the Court ruled those police officers cannot be sued for failing to administer the famous warning.
And this out-of-control Supreme Court is not through. Clarence Thomas, undoubtedly the most “conservative” justice, said in his concurring opinion in the decision overturning Roe v. Wade that it was time to reconsider other precedent decisions, including those on the right to contraception, LGBTQ rights, and same-sex marriage.