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The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Team Trump’s effort to dispute the outcome of the election in Pennsylvania with a single dry sentence: “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the court is denied.” In doing so, the high court didn’t just crush whatever delusional hopes might have remained among the president’s fan base. The court — or, more specifically, the three new conservative justices President Trump nominated — was also unrolling its collective middle finger at those pundits and politicians who have shamed themselves over the past few years with their expressions of contempt about the honesty and integrity of the institution.
Consider the kinds of implicit slurs that were casually hurled at the jurists recently elevated to the high court — the idea that either their feelings of personal gratitude at the honor Trump had bestowed on them would outweigh their obligation to their oath to uphold the Constitution or they had accepted a nomination as a quid pro quo.
On Oct. 29, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware declared that newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett simply had to recuse herself in all election-related matters because Trump had pushed Barrett’s nomination through in record time “so she could help him with the election.”
A day earlier, the court had heard arguments relating to the conduct of the election in Wisconsin. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s 2018 nominee, had relied on Supreme Court precedent — in the case that ended the 2000 election — in his judgment about the time table on which absentee ballots could be collected and counted.
For Democrats, wrote Greg Stohr of Bloomberg, “an opinion by Trump-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh bordered on catastrophic.” Stohr went on to say that “Trump could need the support of all three of his appointed justices to overturn election results that seem to favor Biden,” and that Kavanaugh’s opinion suggested he might be ready to do so.
Trump’s first pick, Neil Gorsuch, was also the subject of panting hysteria on the part of Ian Millhiser of Vox. Gorsuch’s crime was in stating that the word “legislature” in the Constitution refers to, you know, a state legislature — rather than to “whatever the valid lawmaking process is within that state.”
Apparently, Gorsuch was doing so in order to set the stage for overturning the election results: “Based on Gorsuch’s reasoning . . . it’s clear that both he and Kavanaugh believe the Supreme Court of the United States may overrule a state supreme court, at least when the federal justices disagree with the state supreme court’s approach to election law.”
These attacks on the three Trump-appointed justices were echoed over and over again, and in each case, the appointments themselves were characterized from the get-go as a way for Trump to protect himself in case of future political or legal trouble.
The fact that their lifetime appointments were designed specifically to shield them from transactional politics meant absolutely nothing to the critics in question, who — in the fashion of all negative partisanship in our disheartening time — believe that anyone who disagrees with them substantively is nothing more than a corrupt, careerist monster.
So now that the Supremes have effectively put an end to Trump’s bizarre post-election Hail Mary play to retain his office, will the three justices get an apology?
Yeah, right. Check out Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, saying they would have been up for anything if Trump had just done better in the election: “Four Justices (prior to Barrett being confirmed, now likely five) showed they were willing to concoct new legal theories and even routinely overrule state courts in their interpretation of their own laws to promote restrictive voting measures and specifically to assist Donald Trump and Republican candidates. The simple truth is that Donald Trump didn’t do his part. It wasn’t close.”
The simple truth is that they did what the law demanded. They found exactly what the liberal justices found when some baseless litigation was tossed before them in a sputtering and comically incompetent challenge to a Pennsylvania election in which Joe Biden prevailed by 81,000 votes.
They acted in accord with the noble oaths they took to uphold the Constitution. Sorry, hysterics and haters.