Newspaper article The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT)

Guest Opinion: The Supreme Court of the Republican Party

Newspaper article The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT)

Guest Opinion: The Supreme Court of the Republican Party

Article excerpt

DAVID DARBY

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that Bret Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court — regardless of whether he assaulted a girl as a teenager or lied to Congress. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley also has shown he has no interest in any ideas Democrats have about committee procedure. Republicans have no apparent concern that Americans oppose the appointment of Kavanaugh 40-31 per cent — the worst public rating of a nominee in US history.

But the implications of a Kavanaugh confirmation go deeper. Paul Krugman wrote recently in The New York Times - in a column entitled “Why It Can Happen Here” — about the slide from democracy to single party autocracy in Hungary and Poland. He explained how the things that make democracies work — including a free press, an open and honest electoral process, an independent judiciary, a constitutional court to arbitrate the most serious issues, and the right of dissent - have been undermined by Fidesz Prime Minister Victor Orban in Hungary, and Law and Justice Party leader Jaroslav Kaczynski in Poland. The judiciary and constitutional courts in these countries have become extensions of the two political parties instead of independent entities which deliver checks and balances.

In the US, President Trump and Republicans have, in similar fashion, done much to weaken the foundations of American democracy. Trump continually undermines the rule of law, attacks a free press, shows disdain for our system of government, has no tolerance for dissent, and has politicized the U.S. civil service in unprecedented ways. Congressional Republicans enable this.

The U.S. Supreme Court holds a special place in the foundation of our democracy. Whether it leans liberal or conservative, it is meant to be an independent body - representing all Americans, not the arm of a political party. …

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