Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The Kavanaugh (R) story fallout: voters see a suspect SCOTUS choice

Dalia Lithwick/Prospect (UK):

America’s compromised Supreme Court

With Kavanaugh on the bench, the court will struggle to retain its authority

Some say it’s long past time that Americans gave up on the illusion that the court is an apolitical institution. Others claim the court’s liberal wing, relieved of the need to try to secure an ephemeral fifth vote, can reclaim its voice as a strong dissenting minority. Yet others argue that Roberts himself may tack towards the centre in the coming years.

It is too early to tell. But the court will not have so long to recover its standing as a neutral oracle: cases testing the boundaries of Trump’s executive authority, his treatment of immigrants and refugees, and possibly, someday even the legitimacy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling will soon pile up on its doorstep. There cannot, for long, be any hiding from the front pages, or from making highly-charged calls.

Attention spans can be short. After the Kavanaugh debacle, however, the Court could find more citizens than ever suspect its practice is directed by partisan convenience, not by law.

Jacob T Levy/Niskanen Center:


Not for the first time, and probably not for the last, the Trump administration is trying to persuade its audience of a deeply pernicious version of “might makes right:” that a political victory counts as moral vindication. The case at hand is the idea that now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation by the Senate somehow disproves the allegations of sexual assault against him. Trump was unusually explicit about this on Monday, but expect to hear variations of it from him, other members of his administration, and the talking-points-reciting apologists in Congress and elsewhere for a long time to come.

No one actually, consciously believes that a political victory can prove the victor innocent of charges that were under dispute at the time. ..

The boundaries to draw here are matters of judgment, not of bright-line rules. There is a genuine danger of procedural victors engaging in prosecutorial overreach to punish those who have only lost,and to create a veneer of criminal prosecutability to cover for it. But still, procedure is not substance, politics is not law or morality, and victory is not vindication. When the winners treat winning as res judicata, when the powerful proclaim that their gained-by-the-flip-of-a-coin power constitutes judgment from the heavens of their innocence, when they treat their might as making right, then we know we’re being lied to.

Jill Lawrence/USA Today:

Trump and Republicans have put America in crisis. ‘Mob’ and ‘socialism’ won’t erase that.

As for liberal mobs and mob rule, please. For Republicans, “mob” is apparently a synonym for people not on their side who are exercising their constitutional rights to assemble, dissent, call for investigations, and perhaps vote them out of office, while wearing pink hats.



Politics as the New Religion for Progressive Democrats

Religiously unaffiliated voters, who may or may not be associated with other civic institutions, seem most excited about supporting or donating to causes, going to rallies, and expressing opinions online, among other activitists

This is the sketch that emerges from a new poll by The Atlantic and the Public Religion Research Institute, which looks at Americans’ civic engagement in the lead-up to November’s midterms. With Democrats fired up in opposition to Trump and the Republican majority in both houses of Congress, it’s no shock that liberal voters are leading the way with political activism. “Whoever is in the losing party tends to be more energized,” said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. “They have something to win back.”

It’s the segment that’s surprising: Religiously unaffiliated voters, who may or may not be associated with other civic institutions, seem most excited about supporting or donating to causes, going to rallies, and expressing opinions online, among other activities. Political engagement may be providing these Americans with a new form of identity. And in turn, they may be helping to solidify the new identity of the Democratic Party.


Jane Coaston/Atlantic:

Max Boot, Jackie Robinson, and the racism problem in the Republican Party

Max Boot could have had an awakening decades ago — if he’d listened to black conservative

The American writer and self-described “lifelong conservative” Max Boot has experienced a radical change of heart about the Republican Party — half a century after many others were forced to do the same.

In his new book, The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right, an excerpt of which ran in the Washington Post on Tuesday, Boot argues that American conservatism and the Republican Party under Donald Trump have been irreparably degraded. And the overwhelming strength of Trumpism has made Boot reconsider conservatism itself; now he argues that the GOP must suffer “repeated and devastating defeats.”…

Since the early 1960s, black Republicans and black conservatives have seen the whitening of the Republican Party and the increasing racial extremism of the conservative movement. They protested outside the 1964 Republican National Convention and lobbied Republican leaders; eventually, many decided to stop voting for the GOP altogether, stating unequivocally that they were doing so because they felt they were no longer welcome in the Grand Old Party. One man wrote in a letter to the New York Amsterdam News, “Any Negro who helps the cause of Goldwater, should be declared anything but a Negro, because they will be a traitor to the Negro people.”

It’s just that no one else listened then, or now — including Boot, who admits in the book that he had never actually read Goldwater’s writings.


Trump administration weighs new family-separation effort at border

The White House is actively considering plans that could again separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to reverse soaring numbers of families attempting to cross illegally into the United States, according to several administration officials with direct knowledge of the effort.

One option under consideration is for the government to detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days, then give parents a choice — stay in family detention with their child for months or years as their immigration case proceeds, or allow children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians can seek custody.

That option — called “binary choice” — is one of several under consideration amid the president’s frustration over border security. Trump has been unable to fulfill key promises to build a border wall and end what he calls “catch and release,” a process that began under past administrations in which most detained families are quickly freed to await immigration hearings. The number of migrant family members arrested and charged with illegally crossing the border jumped 38 percent in August and is now at a record level, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

They are still trying to institute baby jails and kidnapping children. Remember there are still white supremacists like Stephen Miller and John Kelly in the White House (all while Trump praises Robert E Lee), and apparatchiks like Kirstjen Nielsen ready to do their bidding. Never, ever allow that to be normalized.

Meanwhile Florida needs help while Trump tries to stay on tv talking about anything but.

Continue reading...