USA 2020 Elections: Thread
grarpamp at gmail.com
Wed May 11 01:03:35 PDT 2022
>From Court-Packing To Leaking To Doxxing: White House Yields To
National Rage Addiction
Below is my column in the Hill on the leak and the refusal of
President Joe Biden to denounce such conduct. It is a defining moment
for his presidency that, even in the face of such a disgraceful and
unethical act, the President cannot muster the courage to condemn it.
He then magnified that failure by refusing to condemn the doxing and
targeting of justices and their families at their homes.
Here is the column:
Nearly 70 years ago, a little-known lawyer named Joseph Welch famously
confronted Sen. Joseph McCarthy (D-Wis.) in defense of a young man
hounded over alleged un-American views.
Welch told McCarthy that “I think I have never really gauged … your
recklessness” before asking: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At
long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
It was a defining moment in American politics as Welch called out a
politician who had abandoned any semblance of principle in the pursuit
of political advantage. This week, the same scene played out in the
White House with one striking difference: This was no Joseph Welch to
After someone in the Supreme Court leaked a draft opinion in the case
of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a virtual flash-mob
formed around the court and its members demanding retributive justice.
This included renewed calls for court “packing,” as well as the
potential targeting of individual justices at their homes. Like the
leaking of the opinion itself, the doxing of justices and their
families is being treated as fair game in our age of rage.
There is more than a license to this rage; there is an addiction to
it. That was evident in March 2020 when Senate Majority Leader Chuck
Schumer (D-N.Y.) stood in front of the Supreme Court to threaten
Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh by name: “I want to tell
you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the
whirlwind and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if
you go forward with these awful decisions.” Schumer’s reckless
rhetoric was celebrated, not condemned, by many on the left, even
after he attempted to walk it back by stating that “I should not have
used the words I used … they did not come out the way I intended to.”
What occurred at the White House this week is even more troubling.
When asked for a response to the leaking of a justice’s draft opinion,
White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to condemn the leaker
and said the real issue was the opinion itself. Then she was asked
about the potential targeting of justices and their families at their
homes, and whether that might be considered extreme. It should have
been another easy question; few Americans would approve of such
doxing, particularly since some of the justices have young children at
home. Yet Psaki declared that “I don’t have an official U.S.
government position on where people protest,” adding that “peaceful
protest is not extreme.”
In reality, not having an official position on doxing and harassing
Supreme Court justices and their families is a policy.
Whether protests are judged to be extreme seems often to depend upon
their underlying viewpoints. When Westboro Baptist Church activists
protested at the funeral of Beau Biden, it was peaceful — but many
critics rightly condemned the demonstration as extreme; some even
approved of Westboro activists being physically assaulted. When the
church brought its case before the Supreme Court, some of us supported
its claims despite our vehement disagreement with their views, but 42
senators filed an amicus brief asking the court to deny free-speech
protections for such protests. The court ultimately ruled 8-1 in favor
of the church.
In this case, the Biden administration and the Justice Department have
condemned the court’s leaked draft — but not the threatened protests
at justices’ homes, even though those arguably could be treated as a
crime. Under 18 U.S.C. 1507, it is a federal crime to protest near a
residence occupied by a judge or jury with the intent to influence
their decisions in pending cases, and this case remains pending.
(Ironically, prosecution could be difficult if the protesters said
they had no intent other than to vent anger.)
Even if protests at justices’ homes are constitutionally protected,
that does not make them right, any more than the lawful Army-McCarthy
hearings of 1954 were right.
In 1954, the left was targeted for its political views; today, it is
the left which is calling for censorship, blacklisting and doxing. In
such moments of reckless rage, presidents often have become calming
voices, tempering extremist passions in their own parties. When they
have failed to do so, history has judged them harshly, as in the case
of President Eisenhower’s belated condemnation of Sen. McCarthy,
something he reportedly regretted for the rest of his life.
President Biden has repeatedly shown that polls, not principles, guide
his presidency. He showed integrity as a senator by denouncing court
packing as a “bonehead … terrible, terrible” idea. However, he has
stayed silent as today’s Democrats have pushed to pack the court with
an instant liberal majority, a demand that increased this week. Biden
long supported the Senate’s filibuster rule and said efforts to
eliminate it would be “disastrous” — but when today’s mob formed, he
flipped and denounced the filibuster as a “relic” of the Jim Crow era.
Even on abortion, Biden has shifted with the polls. He once opposed
Roe v. Wade and supported an amendment that would negate the decision.
At the time, he declared that “I don’t think that a woman has the sole
right to say what should happen to her body.” Now President Biden has
switched his position without really switching his logic. He recently
declared that he supported Roe because “I’m just a child of God; I
exist” and thus can decide what happens to his body. Accordingly, he
denounced the Supreme Court’s draft opinion as “radical” and affirmed
the right of a woman “to abort a child.“
Whether it is court leaking, packing, doxing or other tactics, many
Democratic politicians and pundits continue to follow the mob rather
than risk its ire.
Our national addiction to rage is captured in three indelible images.
In June 2020, there was the White House surrounded by security fencing
after nights of arson and rioting; in January 2021, Congress was
surrounded by the same fencing after rioting that momentarily halted
the certification of the presidential election. Now the set is
complete with photos of the Supreme Court encased in the same fencing.
All three branches, having to be protected from enraged citizens on
the left or the right.
Schumer’s 2020 pledge that justices would “pay the price” has been
realized as they and their families are now bunkered in their homes.
Despite the shocking image of a court system under attack, President
Biden has not mustered the courage to dissuade these protesters. He
appears to be following the lead of French revolutionary Abbe Sieyes,
who watched as his 1789-99 revolution spun out of control; asked what
he had done during “the Terror,” he replied: “I survived.”
President Biden is now in survival mode, too. It seems he does not
lack decency, just the courage to defend it.
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