Oh, brother. Is there any more proof needed about the impact of presidential elections than the decision today handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court?
The high court ruled 5-4 today to uphold Donald J. Trump’s travel ban involving countries from a handful of mostly Muslim countries.
The conservative majority voted with the president; the liberal minority voted against him.
There you have it. Trump’s travel ban will stand. He will crow about it. He’ll proclaim that the court is a body comprising men of wisdom; bear in mind that the three women who sit on the court today voted against the travel ban. Had the decision gone the other way, he would declare the court to be “too political,” he would chastise the justices’ knowledge of the U.S. Constitution (if you can believe it).
The court decision today has reaffirmed the president’s decision to discriminate against people based on their religious faith. Nice.
The partisan vote on the court today also has brought a smile to another leading politician: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose obstructionism in the final year of the Barack Obama presidency denied Trump’s predecessor the right to fill a seat created by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The Constitution gives the president the right to nominate judges; it also grants the Senate the right to “advise and consent” on those nominations. The Senate majority leader decided to obstruct the president’s ability to do his job.
President Obama nominated a solid moderate, Merrick Garland, to succeed Scalia. McConnell put the kibosh on it, declaring almost immediately after Scalia’s death that the president would not be able to fill the seat. McConnell would block it. And he did.
A new president was elected and it turned out to be Donald Trump, who then nominated Neil Gorsuch, who was approved narrowly by the Senate. Gorsuch proved to be the deciding vote in today’s ruling that upholds the Trump travel ban.
Do elections have consequences? You bet they do.
Frightening, yes? In my humble view — given the stakes involved at the Supreme Court — most assuredly.