Today, the Supreme Court voted to uphold Donald Trump's Muslim ban by a vote of 5-4,. Although Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg argued that the ban was motivated not by law but by racism, the conservative wing of the court won. Earlier this week they won another 5-4 ruling over Texas's gerrymandering laws, stating that voting rights advocates did not provide sufficient evidence that Texas counties were racially discriminating against voters of color. Earlier this month, they ruled that states could purge voters from the records if they hadn't voted in a while - also 5-4.
How did we end up here? Simple: Mitch McConnell stole a Supreme Court seat from the Democrats, refusing to allow Barack Obama to even hold hearings for Merrick Garland, his choice to replace the deceased Antonin Scalia. After years of Republican filibusters against Obama's circuit court nominees, McConnell and his party decided to turn the Supreme Court into a pawn in their long game, using it to ensure a conservative majority for an institution that has, up until recently, prided itself on being non-partisan.
Neil Gorsuch, a justice appointed by an illegitimate President, has sided with the conservatives on all these rulings, providing little hope that he will evolve into an Anthony Kennedy or an Elana Kagan and go between sides. Even if Trump is removed from office, Gorsuch will remain on the court to remind Americans of this fraught political moment. And it's all because Mitch McConnell delivered a procedural middle finger to Barack Obama.
Say what you will about the Republican Party, but at least throughout much of their history, they have had a consistent ideology and fought for what they believed were conservative values. Take libertarianism as an example. You may not like or agree with it, but at least it's a definable ideology that can be engaged with. In that sense, the media is right to call House Speaker Paul Ryan "principled" because he takes his positions from an ideology he genuinely believes in (if you want to read a great takedown of libertarianism, read Justin Rosario's wonderful piece on it from last month).
The fact that Ryan has a set of principles to argue from distinguishes him from McConnell, who doesn't.
The sad part is, Mitch McConnell wasn't always this way. When he first entered politics, Mitch McConnell was, like many Republicans, a political moderate, hard though that is to believe. He was pro-civil rights, even showing up to civil rights rallies in Washington as a young man. He was pro-union. When he was county executive in Louisville, Kentucky, his first job, he repeatedly nixed anti-abortion bills. But when he won his Senate seat in 1984, amidst the Reagan landslide, he realized that to gain power, he had to go where the voters were and join his conservative colleagues who were sliding ever rightward.
In doing so, McConnell has shed ideology and a set of consistent principles for one rule and one rule only controlling all his decisions: be a giant d*ck. Uncivil though that may sound, is there any other way to justify his views? Quick, tell me why he's against healthcare for all Americans? Answer: Because he's a giant d*ck. Why does he oppose gun control? Because he's a giant d*ck. Why doesn't he let Americans and other Congressmen read the bills he wants to pass? Because he's a giant d*ck. Why wouldn't he allow Barack Obama to appoint a third Supreme Court Justice and allow at least ten years of liberal rulings? You guessed it - because he's a giant d*ck.
McConnell may be one of the most powerful politicians in the United States, but to get there, he had to sacrifice ideology for dickery. Other Republicans who have joined the Senate have followed their leader, becoming spineless toadies who never break line with him lest they should lose their power. Now we not only have a divided country with a ruthless, racist President, but a partisan Supreme Court that will hand down years of rulings which disgrace the Bill of Rights.
The outrage over all these rulings may make you forget that today, the court also nixed a California law requiring anti-abortion centers to be upfront about what agenda they're pushing - another 5-4 decision. And it's all thanks to Mitch McConnell, the All American D*ck.