Will the Most Corrupt Supreme Court in History Assist the Trump Coup?

By Thom Hartmann | 29 February 2024
Daily Kos

(Image: Thom Hartmann / Daily Kos)

At least four members of the most corrupt Supreme Court in American history have decided to help Trump delay his trial for trying to overthrow the government of the United States.

Just like in 2000, when five Republicans on the Court ignored Al Gore’s probable (later found to be definite) win in Florida to put Bush in the White House, today’s Court is doing as much as they can to help Trump win this November.

In a hail-Mary attempt to push his trials beyond the election, hoping he’d win with Putin’s help and could then pardon himself and gut the DOJ, Trump’s attorneys filed a claim that his efforts to overturn the 2020 election were “official acts” and that all presidents have “absolute immunity” while in office and for the rest of their lives thereafter.

Nobody took it seriously. Even the appeals court his bid first went to pointed out how absurd it was.

“Could a president who ordered SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival,” Judge Florence Pan, one of the appeals court judges, asked Trump’s lawyers, “[and not] be subject to criminal prosecution?”

The answer from Trump’s attorney D. John Sauer was that Trump can’t be prosecuted unless he’s first impeached, which, as noted, is absurd on its face. Under this logic, President Biden could today order Trump assassinated and dare Congress to impeach him for it.

But absurd is nothing new to the six bought-off Republicans on the Supreme Court.

As I laid out in detail in The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America, Republicans on the Court have, for almost a century, taken the side of autocracy over democracy, billionaires over workers, and corporations over consumers and the environment.

— They tell us that corporations are “persons” with rights under the Bill of Rights.
— They tell us when morbidly rich people or massive corporations bribe politicians that that’s merely their “First Amendment free speech” right.
— They ruled that American women and girls must live under rules established by a 17th century witch-burning judge.
— They repeatedly knocked down the rights of people living in Red states to vote.
— They make it harder for unions to function.
— They gutted Obamacare.
— They ruled that it’s okay to discriminate against gay people.
— They flooded our nation with guns.
— They encourage monopoly.
— They put shackles on the EPA, ruling that it can’t regulate carbon dioxide.

And now they’re doing everything they can to get Donald Trump back into office so Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito, both well into their seventies, can retire confident in the knowledge they’ll be replaced by rightwing judges chosen by the Federalist Society.

Keep in mind, the reason Sandra Day O’Connor became the tie-breaking vote to block the Florida Supreme Court’s order for a recount in 2000 was because she didn’t want Al Gore to choose her successor (she was retiring because of her husband’s Alzheimer’s). Self-interest much?

Back in 1974, at least Chief Justice Rehnquist had the good sense to recuse himself in the US v Nixon case because of his close ties to the Nixon administration. Here, Clarence Thomas’ wife was deeply involved in January 6th and he won’t even consider a recusal.

The Court was given this case weeks ago, with a detailed unanimous decision by the DC appeals court that they could have simply let stand. Alternatively, they could have scheduled a hearing for the day after they got the case. They could have heard arguments and even rendered a decision by now.

But, no. The Republicans on the Court want more Republicans on the Court. And they don’t want Joe Biden expanding the Court, which they know he’s considering for a second term.

So they introduced what will be at least a 130-day delay in Trump’s trial. They won’t even hear arguments until April 22. Democracy be damned.

As former assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Richard Signorelli, noted:

“[SCOTUS] will prematurely hear a completely frivolous claim that if sustained, would allow any POTUS to commit crimes with almost unbridled immunity. This will delay his federal 1/6 trial indefinitely. A political and traitorous decision from a totally discredited SCOTUS.”

Jack Smith laid out the stakes in his appeal to the Court:

“The charged crimes strike at the heart of our democracy … the public interest in a prompt trial is at its zenith where, as here, a former President is charged with trying to subvert the electoral process so that he could remain in office.

“The nation has a compelling interest in the prompt resolution of this case. In all criminal cases, delay can be ‘fatal’ to achieving just outcomes.​

“Delay in the resolution of these charges threatens to frustrate the public interest in a speedy and fair verdict — a compelling interest in every criminal case; and one that has unique national importance here.”

But the Republicans on the Court don’t care. This is one of the most naked partisan power grabs in the Court’s history, particularly given that the future makeup of the Court itself hangs on this election. ​

And the stakes are huge. After all, Trump didn’t just rape E. Jean Carroll, damaging her life and mental health. He raped America as well.

— He packed his cabinet with such corrupt billionaires that five of them were referred by their own staffs to the Justice Department for prosecution (which an equally corrupt Bill Barr ignored).
— When, in April of 2020, he learned that most of the people dying of Covid were Black people in Blue states, he ended America’s lockdown and began pushing to get people back to work. As a result, America had more deaths from Covid as a percentage of our population than any other developed country on Earth.
— He stirred up religious and racial hatred and encouraged Nazis and racist militias.
— He devastated the EPA, pushing out over half their scientists.
— He cut taxes on his morbidly rich peers, producing an $8 trillion addition to our national debt, more than any president in history.
— He put three radicals on the Supreme Court and several hundred crackpot, unqualified judges on the federal bench.
— He sucked up to Putin and trash-talked our democratic allies.
— He tried to destroy NATO, and promises to finish the job if he’s back in office next year.
— He empowered religious fanatics who are now on a campaign to outlaw abortion and birth control, working to destroy our entire public school system, and stirring up hatred against the queer community.

And now the six corrupt Republicans on the Supreme Court are going out of their way to give him the delays he wants so he can stay out of jail and continue his campaign to end our American way of life.

Even if/when they rule against Trump, he will have won because he got the “fatal to justice” delay he asked them for that will now turbocharge his campaign while giving a patina of credibility to his claims of “selective prosecution” and “election interference.”

If Democrats make it through this election intact, expanding the size of the Court, imposing 18-year term limits on the justices, and imposing a code of ethics on them must be the first order of business in 2025.

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling, four-times Project Censored Award-winning author, and host of The Thom Hartmann Program, which has been broadcasting live nationwide for 20 years on AM and FM radio, SiriusXM satellite, and as video on Free Speech TV, YouTube, and Twitter/X.

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