What a headline to this CNN story, and accurate too. The Republican Party is now anti-democratic, not just anti-Democratic.
There’s real suspense tonight in Washington about the Texas lawsuit that the president is calling “the big one.” Will SCOTUS wipe its ass with the complaint and dispense with it straightaway, or will it feel obliged to hear the case as a matter of original jurisdiction and then wipe its ass with the complaint?
I hope Trump is already drafting his tweets about what traitors Barrett, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh are. There’s no reason to wait. From CNN:
Trump’s request came in a filing with the court asking to intervene in a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to invalidate millions of votes cast in four states that went for Biden: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The President is being represented by a new attorney, John Eastman, who is known for recently pushing a racist conspiracy theory that claimed Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was not eligible for the role because her parents were immigrants.
I think it’s great that he’s joining the suit, even though it … complicates the Court’s original jurisdiction over the matter. (That’s supposed to be limited to state-versus-state disputes.) The more Republicans pile onto this effort, the more total the Court’s rebuke will be to this disgusting project the party is engaged in. All sorts of dubious characters are coming out of the woodwork to participate. Roy Moore has joined an amicus brief on Texas’s side. Ted Cruz has agreed to argue the case if SCOTUS takes it. And as noted above, birther John Eastman is representing Trump and offering legal arguments like this:
This is among the dumbest arguments I’ve ever seen in SCOTUS brief, and that’s saying something.
It hits the bonkers superfecta: illogical, ahistorical, factually incorrect, and irrelevant.
I can’t wait to assign it to undergrads as a “spot the 10 problems with this” quiz. pic.twitter.com/m3xBxqKGNM
— Matt Glassman (@MattGlassman312) December 9, 2020
Nixon won Florida and Ohio in 1960 and lost the election to Kennedy. Eastman can’t even get the most basic easily verifiable facts right. But beyond that, his argument in this passage boils down to “These election results were unprecedented in some ways, therefore they must be suspicious.” Hillary Clinton could have made the same claim against Trump in 2016, noting that never before had a “winning” candidate lost the popular vote by so much and only seldom before had the winning candidate lost the popular vote at all. Eastman’s “logic” would apply just as well in any election where there’s been a demographic realignment towards one party or another. For instance, Biden made meaningful gains among suburbanites this year which helped him win Arizona and Georgia. And he benefited from the highest turnout in American history thanks to a large anti-Trump bloc among the population. Eastman looks at all of that and thinks, “It can only be fraud.”
This is even more pathetic:
The president’s latest argument: I can’t prove fraud, which proves that there was fraud.https://t.co/hi1F721HwX pic.twitter.com/hykCSxO0qr
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 9, 2020
We don’t know that there was fraud but we should presume that it was rampant and throw out the election because voting was easy this year. Do I have that right? “People are reading this as a legal motion, but I see more as meta-commentary on whether there is such a thing as ‘law,’” sniffs law prof Orin Kerr, only half-joking. Eastman’s “logic” is at least true to the spirit of the conspiracy theories that have defined the last month, which aren’t designed to prove anything to skeptics — like nine Supreme Court justices — but rather to affirm the suspicions of people who already believe there was fraud and simply won’t be convinced otherwise. It’s a press release for Newsmax, essentially.
And it’s another reminder of just how stupid the daily parade of “fraud” nonsense have been. Writing about this demagoguery day after day is challenging technically because eventually one runs out of synonyms for “disgraceful,” but the feeble arguments and even the sloppiness of some of the pleadings makes it seem as though some of the major players are deliberately sabotaging themselves, consciously or not. It feels like a confession: Deep down we know this is bullsh*t and we’re going to make it apparent. We’re watching not just the moral collapse of the GOP but its intellectual collapse.
Gabe Malor is right about this, meanwhile. We don’t need another one-sentence back-of-the-hand order from SCOTUS on this case. We need a lengthy repudiation.
The Texas original action should be dismissed of hand.
But at this point, for the good of the nation, the justices should explain why the lawsuit is inappropriate as a matter of procedure, meritless as to substance, and offensive to democratic norms. https://t.co/lB4LlPnekU
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) December 9, 2020
We have robust election standards in this country at the local, state, and federal levels. And all of that is backstopped by the courts.
All of that process is saying that Biden won. But that’s not good enough for these elected morons, so now SCOTUS needs to slap it down hard.
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) December 9, 2020
Make Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett earn their paychecks on this one. It’ll be good for the country long-term.
The key point to remember in all of this is that everyone involved in this lawsuit except Trump knows that it’s doomed. Cruz, the AGs, the amici — from top to bottom, *everyone* grasps how pernicious and frivolous it is. I hope that Brad Heath is right about this, although I’m not sure he is:
I could be wrong, but I suspect a lot of these Republican states would’ve been been a lot more reluctant to sign on to these kinds of legal arguments — which would expose them to tons of litigation over their own laws — if they thought it had any chance of success.
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) December 9, 2020
That’s a reassuring thought, that some of the people who’ve signed on to this lost cause would back away if they believed it stood any chance of success. Is it true, though?
Even if it is, in what sort of esteem should we hold these creatures who are willing to scam MAGA fans with a pantomime of a legal challenge that’s destined to lose badly and to embitter millions of Americans in the process? Everyone participating in this is working to undermine faith in the Court (on the right, at least) and in the country’s electoral process for no better reason than that pursuing a bad-faith lawsuit will give them a little extra “but he fights!” cred with the sort of person who’s foolishly invested in this suit. Like the man says, they’re enemies of democracy. Proudly so, even. In a healthy country none of them would ever hold office again.
As I’m writing this post, a court in Arizona has ruled on Sidney Powell’s “Kraken” suit there. Guess how.
A judge tossed the Arizona “Kraken” suit.
“Allegations that find favor in the public sphere of gossip and innuendo cannot be a substitute for earnest pleadings and procedure in federal court. They most certainly cannot be the basis for upending Arizona’s 2020 General Election.” pic.twitter.com/ztbLgeh7lX
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) December 10, 2020
The one useful thing Republicans will get out of this charade is political momentum in red states to scale back mail-in voting going forward, which is already happening in Georgia. There’s no proof of fraud there, as every Republican election official in the state has reiterated ad nauseam, but even so the party’s going to use Trump’s hysteria as a pretext to make voting harder because it’s afraid it can’t win elections when voting is easy. I suppose discouraging people from voting in future election is marginally better than trying to outright nullify votes cast in previous ones. To which the GOP says, “Why not both?”