Reid Attacks Supreme Court For Making Congress Do Its Job

For people who spend most of their time warning of the dangers to “our democracy,” media pundits seem to know very little about how the American government is supposed to function. Take MSNBC’s Joy Reid, for example, as she spent the first five minutes of Thursday night’s ReidOut bewailing the numerous monumental cases decided by the Supreme Court this term.

Reid began by expressing thanks that this Supreme Court session was finally over, “Today was the last day that we heard from them this term, and actually thank God, because in the past month the conservative majority has successfully weakened Miranda Rights, kneecapped state gun safety laws, betrayed indigenous sovereignty, begun to dismantle the separation of church and state, and curtailed women’s rights to privacy and liberty.”

 

 

Singling out the Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA, Reid lamented, “Yep, at a time when the climate catastrophe is giving us a collective beatdown, with the U.N. recently warning that we need to do something not now but right now, the Court struck down this regulation that the EPA drafted under authority granted by the Clean Air Act, claiming that it amounts to an ‘extraordinary’ overreach by the EPA.”

Reid then accused the conservative Justices of politicizing the Court, “Now make no mistake, these Justices — who swore under oath that they had no political opinions — have proven that they very much do have a political agenda.”

If anyone swore under oath that they had no political opinions, they would be guilty of perjury. And if progressives like Reid are worried that many of their pet projects can’t be accomplished by unaccountable bureaucratic agencies and judicial fiat, then maybe — just maybe — they should focus on accomplishing their goals through the legislative branch as required by Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution.

After trying to discredit the conservative Justices because they worked for Republicans during the Florida recount of the 2000 election (does this focus on re-litigating 2000 make Reid an insurrectionist?), Reid voiced her philosophical disagreements with the Court, decrying Originalism:

Gone is the concept of judicial restraint, and in its place is the made-up conservative philosophy of “Originalism.” According to The Washington Post, taken together as a whole, “the decisions mark, for now, the triumph of Originalism, a radically conservative judicial philosophy that maintains that the only legitimate way to decide constitutional disputes is to ask how they would have been resolved when the constitution was drafted.” You know, at a time when no one except landowning white males had any rights at all and when women weren’t even mentioned in the Constitution. 

The definition Reid takes from the totally-not-biased Washington Post completely misses the point. Originalism asserts that, since the meanings of words often change over time, the words of the Constitution and legal implications thereof must be placed in their proper historical context.

 

This extends to Constitutional amendments as well, which blows Reid’s snarky comment about the lack of electoral representation in early America out of the water. For example, if a Court’s decision depends on an interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment — as it did in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson — then the Court’s opinion would be influenced by the meaning of the amendment in its original context.

These recent Supreme Court decisions were not focused on overturning fundamental rights, but on returning the power to establish those rights, regulations, and privileges to where they belong, to Congress. And the progressive media cannot stand that.

This showcase of Constitutional illiteracy was made possible by Trivago and Sleep Number. Their contact information is linked.

Click “Expand” to see the relevant transcript.

MSNBC’s The ReidOut
06/30/22
7:01:30 PM ET

JOY REID: We begin tonight with a look back at what has been one of the most consequential and life-changing Supreme Court terms since the courts that overturned segregation and expanded women’s rights. Only this Court has done it all in reverse. 

Today was the last day that we heard from them this term, and actually thank God, because in the past month the conservative majority has successfully weakened Miranda Rights, kneecapped state gun safety laws, betrayed indigenous sovereignty, begun to dismantle the separation of church and state, and curtailed women’s rights to privacy and liberty. 

And that was all before today, when in one of the Court’s final rulings this term the 6-3 conservative majority effectively gutted the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that contribute to global warming. 

Yep, at a time when the climate catastrophe is giving us a collective beatdown, with the U.N. recently warning that we need to do something not now but right now, the Court struck down this regulation that the EPA drafted under authority granted by the Clean Air Act, claiming that it amounts to an “extraordinary” overreach by the EPA. 

The decision will not only have major implications for the survivability of this planet, but it will also affect how the federal government more broadly can implement any regulations going forward. Emboldened by the ruling the chief plaintiff, the Republican attorney general in West Virginia — Joe Manchin country — warned that they were just getting started. Coal in everyone’s stocking this Christmas. 

This year’s ruling should really not come as a surprise. They are the culmination of roughly a half-century’s worth of work by conservative politicians looking to remake the federal judiciary system, after a period of what they viewed as radical progressivism. 

Now make no mistake, these Justices — who swore under oath that they had no political opinions — have proven that they very much do have a political agenda, and it all began back in 1991 with the contentious confirmation hearing of Justice Clarence Thomas. 

After surviving credible claims of sexual harassment and a bruising confirmation hearing, Justice Thomas made clear that he had an agenda and was ready for retribution. Back in 1993, The New York Times reported that Justice Thomas told two law clerks that he wanted to remain on the Court until 2034. When they asked why he reportedly said, “the liberals made my life miserable for 43 years, and I’m going to make their lives miserable for 43 years.” 

And if you had any doubt that he had an axe to grind, his wife — you know, the active insurrectionist, told People magazine that “he doesn’t owe any of the groups who opposed him anything.” 

In the year 2000, Thomas was part of the 5-4 majority that took the extraordinary step of putting a stop to a Florida recount effectively ending former Vice President Al Gore’s presidential aspirations and putting the Republican majority on the Court’s preferred candidate in the White House. 

Thomas is now the senior member of a group of conservative justices who now join his once extreme views, and who always played — and who also played a role in that Florida case. Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett and Chief Justice John Roberts were all part of a team that was working for the Republicans during the recount battles in Florida, which culminated in the historic Supreme Court decision that the Court majority was so embarrassed about they wrote down that it should never be used as a precedent. 

Well, the embarrassment is gone. This summer, the conservative majority delivered yet another set of victories for the Republican Party and its ruling evangelical wing. During his confirmation hearing Chief — um, Chief Justice Roberts famously said that his job was to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat. Well, it is clear that five of his colleagues do not ascribe to that policy, because they are very much knocking balls out of the park for one team. 

Gone is the concept of judicial restraint, and in its place is the made-up conservative philosophy of “Originalism.” According to The Washington Post, taken together as a whole, “the decisions mark, for now, the triumph of originalism, a radically conservative judicial philosophy that maintains that the only legitimate way to decide constitutional disputes is to ask how they would have been resolved when the constitution was drafted.” You know, at a time when no one except landowning white males had any rights at all and when women weren’t even mentioned in the Constitution. 

And unfortunately, you — you should probably brace yourselves for more, because they are not done. This morning the Court agreed to hear a case on whether state legislatures should be immune from judicial oversight in state court when it comes to setting election rules. Republicans in North Carolina want the Court to grant state legislatures immutable authority to gerrymander electoral maps, and to pass voter suppression laws, or to make voting rules without their State Supreme Courts being able to intervene or weigh in. 

In other words, the right to do exactly what Donald Trump wanted swing states to do as part of his January 6 coup attempt, just in time for 2024. And no, do not expect Clarence, husband of insurrectionist Ginni, to recuse.

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