Editorial: One other name for the judges to talk to the nation
Posted Wed Jan 6th 2021 10:15 pm by Tom Goldstein
Soon the Supreme Court is likely to reject several certification requests tabled by the President and his allies contesting the election. There is no legally serious challenge to state certified results. President-elect Joe Biden’s victory does not depend on the voters of a single state being challenged. The petitions are functionally controversial either after the voters have been confirmed by Congress or after the inauguration.
The court can reject the petitions without comment. That is his usual practice. But every day it has become clearer that the judges should produce a unanimous opinion confirming the validity of the election results – in the interests of our democracy.
Donald Trump and his allies have misled tens of millions of people into believing that Biden is not the validly elected president. Much of the Republican Party believes there is a massive conspiracy – now supposedly including the judges themselves – to overthrow democracy and steal the presidency.
That’s no joke. Donald Trump’s supporters successfully stormed the Capitol – read that again – to block the constitutionally required counting of states’ votes. A woman was shot; She is dead. The same anarchy could have broken out in the court’s own chamber.
The physical order in this one building has been restored for the time being. But the constitutional order didn’t. And without the intervention of a truly trustworthy national institution, this will not be the case. Our elected officials have proven that they cannot overcome Donald Trump’s narcissistic sociopathy.
This is not a plea for the court to “do something”. In order to truly respect his role, the limits of his power must be recognized and respected, both in terms of resolving actual cases and controversies and in applying the law faithfully. However, the opposite is no less the case. Here the court has several matters before it that it will actually dispose of on the basis that Joe Biden was duly elected President. If this fact has been so thoroughly viewed as fiction in the pursuit of wholly undemocratic ends, the power and responsibility of the court easily extends to delivering an opinion that contains a clear description of the reality.
It is not too much for the court to issue an opinion clarifying that the challenges to the election results – after every single court decision and independent review – are based on lies and fabrications. It is a fact. Saying less is far too little.
The constitution contains various checks and balances. But the branches of government don’t have to compete with each other. You can support each other. At the beginning of his trial, the Marshal of the Court called for God to “save the United States” first, not just “this honorable judgment”. This is a time for the judgment to look to the good of the nation. Numerous lower court judges have done just that, pointing out how frivolous and lying Donald Trump’s challenges really are.
The Supreme Court should join them. Together the judges represent all ideologies. Some are celebrated heroes of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. No other governmental or non-governmental entity is remotely so respected. Obviously speaking unanimously now will not fix everything. But there is a part of the country that longs for someone they trust to explain that our democracy is working as it should, so that the results can be trusted and respected. Help them.
Tom Goldstein, Editorial: Another call to the judges to speak to the country,
SCOTUSblog (January 6, 2021, 10.15 p.m.), https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/01/editorial-another-call-for-the-justices-to-speak-to-the-country/