While most observers would agree, at least in theory, that the country would benefit from a lowering of the political temperature, New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie is arguing for its elevation. To create an environment toxic enough to rival Sue Sylvester’s, Bouie says Democrats should make Republicans “pay a price” for confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
An outraged Bouie laments the insidious efforts of Senate Republicans to appoint jurists to “lifetime positions”(!) from which they can “write conservative ideology into the Constitution under the cover of an ‘originalism’ that conveniently and consistently aligns with Republican Party political preferences.” To prevent the GOP from getting “away with nearly wrecking constitutional democracy,” he writes that Democrats “need to expand the Supreme Court.” Setting aside Bouie’s amateurish legal analysis, which comes unburdened with evidence — he seemingly can’t recall Bostock v. Clayton County or June Medical v. Russo, much less NFIB v. Sebelius — it’s worth applauding him for not only letting the mask slip, but ripping it off and casting it into the fire.
Legitimacy, for Bouie, is determined not by whether power is exercised in a constitutionally permissible way backed by precedent, but by which team is exercising it. Hence why he characterizes Republican appointees to the federal bench as “ill-gotten” without further explanation. Similarly he calls the Gorsuch and would-be Barrett seats “stolen” without providing a standard for what makes them “political loot” and not the natural results of a Republican Senate majority that voters have endorsed in three consecutive election cycles. Bouie ends by remarking that “if Democrats make Republicans pay a political price in November for their rank and ruinous opportunism, then in January they should use their power to restore to the people what was taken from them.” Who exactly “the people” are, and what a court-packing effort would be, other than “rank and ruinous opportunism,” are left to the imagination. But I think Bouie’s vindictive and bitter worldview should enable readers to surmise the answers to those questions.