Despite the public’s focus on the massive $1.5 trillion giveaway to the ultra-rich being paid for by raising taxes on the rest of the country, that’s not actually the most dangerous part of the GOP’s agenda:
Conservatives have a new court-packing plan, and in the spirit of the holiday, it’s a turducken of a scheme: a regulatory rollback hidden inside a civil rights reversal stuffed into a Trumpification of the courts. If conservatives get their way, President Trump will add twice as many lifetime members to the federal judiciary in the next 12 months (650) as Barack Obama named in eight years (325). American law will never be the same.
How will Republicans achieve this feat when there aren’t that many open seats? Simple.
Republicans are going to literally gerrymander the Judicial Branch of the United States government:
Enter the next element of the court-packing turducken: a new plan written by the crafty co-founder of the Federalist Society, Steven Calabresi. In a paper that deserves credit for its transparency (it features a section titled “Undoing President Barack Obama’s Judicial Legacy”), Calabresi proposes to pack the federal courts with a “minimum” of 260 — and possibly as many as 447 — newly created judicial positions. Under this plan, the 228-year-old federal judiciary would increase — in a single year — by 30 to 50 percent.
Unpopular tax cuts are worth taking some lumps for but taking complete control of the Judicial Branch for the next 30-40 years no matter how many elections Republicans lose after this is worth any price. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about here: Strategically restructuring the court system so only Trump appointed judges will hear the big corporate, environmental, and Wall Street cases. The courts that are too “liberal” (i.e. not right wing extremists) will be turfed out of sensitive areas and relegated to the less important cases where they can’t do any real harm to the GOP’s agenda.
Over the last year, we’ve watched the courts act as a brake on Trump and the Republican’s extremist agenda, exactly as they were designed to do. That’s the entire purpose of the Constitution’s system of checks and balances. Naturally, the party that purports to worship the Founding Fathers the most has been livid they haven’t been able to rule like kings. Now, after eroding the pillars and traditions of our democracy, they’re preparing one of several fatal blows to its heart in their mad dash to cling to power in the face of electoral extinction. With a hyperpartisan Judicial Branch, it won’t be long before poll taxes, literacy tests, and “poll watchers” wearing Swastikas are the norm and Republicans start winning elections with 90%+ of the vote. Let freedom ring!
But that will take time to implement and we have a very narrow window of opportunity to put a stop to this literal tyranny before it becomes cemented.
Barring a dramatic shift in the political landscape, Republicans are going to lose control of the House and Senate in 2018. This is why they want to ram these illegitimate changes through now and confirm all of the new extremists to the bench before the end of 2018. By 2020, Trump will be gone and a Democratic will be in what’s left of the White House after Trump tries to burn it down in a temper tantrum.
Depending on how crazed Trump gets between now and then (He’s going to physically attack a reporter at some point, guaranteed), the blue tidal wave of 2018 could be followed by a matching one two years later, giving rise to the slim chance of another Democratic supermajority. But even without it, the next Democratic president and the next Democratic Congress had better be willing to get their hands dirty in ways they never thought possible before. Every single one of these new judicial positions must be eliminated and the court system restored to its normal functioning no matter how loudly Republicans kick and scream about it. The Democrats have to be willing to violate norms and traditions just as violently in order to restore order to the country.
Republicans are done with democracy and if we want a system of government that still respects the people, we have to be willing to do whatever it takes to reverse the gross and cynical power grab that’s coming. Barring that, maybe it’s time this bloodless coup got a little bloody. Republicans like to talk about Second Amendment remedies to tyranny. What happens when they’re the tyrants and even their followers finally figure that out?
There are 339 days left to the 2018 elections.
– This article kills fascists
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I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.