Comic Dave Smith reveals a great truth: Integrity is the irreplaceable ingredient of trust. Somehow the Democrats and progressives have completely abandoned integrity for opportunism and expediency.
1. See? The Washington Post still has it’s uses! Virtually every article about yesterday’s leak of the Alito draft of a potential SCOTUS ruling reversing Roe v, Wade (including mine last night) states that no previous Supreme Court decision had leaked to the press before it was released. Experts who the public has good reason to trust also have made the same claim: Neal Katyal, for example, the former acting solicitor general, tweeted that this was “the first major leak from the Supreme Court ever.” He called it the equivalent of the Pentagon Papers. It turns out that a previous SCOTUS landmark decision was leaked. Interestingly, as the Washington Post revealed, it was…Roe v. Wade!
The Supreme Court clerk who leaked the story, Larry Hammond… clerked for Justice Lewis Powell. …Hammond confided in an acquaintance he knew from the University of Texas School of Law that the Roe ruling was forthcoming. The acquaintance, a Time staff reporter named David Beckwith, was given the information “on background” and was supposed to write about it only once the opinion came down from the court. A slight delay in the ruling, however, resulted in an article that appeared in the issue of the magazine that hit newsstands a few hours before the opinion was read on Jan. 22, 1973…
Chief Justice Warren Burger was livid….There are obvious and profound consequences if litigants and the public are tipped off to the result in a case before it has been formally announced and adopted. Burger sent a frantic “eyes only” letter to all the justices demanding that the leaker be identified and punished. Burger even threatened to subject law clerks to lie-detector tests if no one was forthcoming. Hammond [told Powell]…what happened and offer[ed] his resignation. Powell would not hear of it and called Burger to tell him that Hammond had been double-crossed.
…Burger showed mercy to Hammond and gracefully accepted his apology… Hammond survived as Powell’s clerk and even served an additional term for the justice before leaving the court to join the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. The story of Hammond’s close call became legend to other clerks on the court at the time and has been passed down as a cautionary tale over time.
Amazing! Admittedly there’s a big distinction from a clerk’s indiscretion resulting in a decision being made public a few hours early and a deliberate leak a month before the the final opinion will be announced, but still, that was a leak, and the leaker wasn’t even punished!
2. The law school rot connection. Several commentators have made an alert if frightening observation that there is a connection between the almost unprecedented leak and the unlawyerly conduct of law students, law faculty and administrators at such institutions ar Harvard Law, Yale Law and Georgetown Law Center. Bari Weiss, the New York Times self-exile who writes at substack notes in “The Shocking Supreme Court Leak”:
How did we go from that ethos to a world in which—leaving the possibility of some kind of Russian or Chinese hack, or a more banal security breach, or someone pulling the draft from the garbage—one or more clerks are undermining the institution itself?…[I]t captures, in a single act, what I believe is the most important story of our moment: the story of how American institutions became a casualty in the culture war. The story of how no institution is immune. Not our universities, not our medical schools, not legacy media, not technology behemoths, not the federal bureaucracy. Not even the highest court in the land.
…I called up one of the smartest professors I know at one of the top law schools in the country… Here’s how he put it: “To me, the leak is not surprising because many of the people we’ve been graduating from schools like Yale are the kind of people who would do such a thing….They think that everything is violence. And so everything is permitted.”
He went on: “I’m sure this person sees themselves as a whistleblower. What they don’t understand is that, by leaking this, they violate the trust that is necessary to maintain the institution.”
3. This is why I pay to get Glenn Greenwald’s substack essays. In “The Irrational, Misguided Discourse Surrounding Supreme Court Controversies Such as Roe v. Wade,” the investigative reporter neatly explains why Supreme Court criticism is so, well, ignorant. He writes in part,
Every time there is a controversy regarding a Supreme Court ruling, the same set of radical fallacies emerges regarding the role of the Court, the Constitution and how the American republic is designed to function. Each time the Court invalidates a democratically elected law on the ground that it violates a constitutional guarantee — as happened in Roe — those who favor the invalidated law proclaim that something “undemocratic” has transpired, that it is a form of “judicial tyranny” for “five unelected judges” to overturn the will of the majority. Conversely, when the Court refuses to invalidate a democratically elected law, those who regard that law as pernicious, as an attack on fundamental rights, accuse the Court of failing to protect vulnerable individuals.
This by-now-reflexive discourse about the Supreme Court ignores its core function. Like the U.S. Constitution itself, the Court is designed to be an anti-majoritarian check against the excesses of majoritarian sentiment. The Founders wanted to establish a democracy that empowered majorities of citizens to choose their leaders, but also feared that majorities would be inclined to coalesce around unjust laws that would deprive basic rights, and thus sought to impose limits on the power of majorities as well….
Thus, the purpose of the Bill of Rights is fundamentally anti-democratic and anti-majoritarian. It bars majorities from enacting laws that infringe on the fundamental rights of minorities. Thus, in the U.S., it does not matter if 80% or 90% of Americans support a law to restrict free speech, or ban the free exercise of a particular religion, or imprison someone without due process, or subject a particularly despised criminal to cruel and unusual punishment. Such laws can never be validly enacted. The Constitution deprives the majority of the power to engage in such acts regardless of how popular they might be. — the Supreme Court itself is intended to uphold similarly anti-majoritarian and anti-democratic values.
4. Greenwald also nicely roasts the typical misinformation used by the news media to make the public dumber:
It was bizarre to watch liberals accuse the Court of acting “undemocratically” as they denounced the ability of “five unelected aristocrats” — in the words of Vox‘s Ian Millhiser — to decide the question of abortion rights. Who do they think decided Roe in the first place? Indeed, Millhiser’s argument here — unelected Supreme Court Justices have no business mucking around in abortion rights — is supremely ironic given that it was unelected judges who issued Roe back in 1973, in the process striking down numerous democratically elected laws. Worse, this rhetoric perfectly echoes the arguments which opponents of Roe have made for decades: namely, it is the democratic process, not unelected judges, which should determine what, if any, limits will be placed on the legal ability to provide or obtain an abortion. Indeed, Roe was the classic expression of the above-described anti-majoritarian and anti-democratic values: seven unelected men (for those who believe such demographic attributes matter) struck down laws that had been supported by majorities and enacted by many states which heavily restricted or outright banned abortion procedures. The sole purpose of Roe was to deny citizens the right to enact the anti-abortion laws, no matter how much popular support they commanded.
5. Media hack freakout watch…Consider these hysterical rants by progressive shills from the law, punditry and academia:
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who lowers the civic literacy of anyone listening to him, exclaimed, “Minority government! Minority-ruled government, and the Supreme Court is the most incredible exemplar of that. You have these judges, appointed to the Supreme Court by two presidents who did not win the most votes in that presidential election!”
They were, however, elected by the formula that has served the nation well for 230 years.
- Historian Jon Meacham actually said, on MSNBC, naturally, where the hysterics and demagogues roam, “Everything is at risk! That the Constitution is a fragile thing. Well, if you ever thought that was hyperbolic or a cliché or some sort of casual thing, read this draft opinion. Elections matter. The Court matters. The composition of the Senate matters. The presidency matters. Because in a republic, all—all– rights are supposed to be eternal, right? They are supposed to be grounded in the, both in reason and in—and in– theocentric view, they’re supposed to be eternal, but in practice, they’re temporal and what we’re seeing today in vivid terms, right where you’re seeing, is that the rights that many people have taken for granted for 50 years and more are fragile and at risk.”
That’s disinformation.. The “right” to abortion on demand has never been taken for granted, and Roe was recognized as vulnerable to a challenge from the moment it came down precisely because it concocted a right out of thin air.
- Maybe Jeffrey Toobin had to promise to spew total nonsense to keep his CNN legal analyst job after, well, you know. Toobin made a fool of himself insisting that Justice Alito’s draft opinion striking down Roe would affect “the right to privacy, which is implicit”and that “same right” is “recognized in saying states can’t ban married couples from buying birth control” and “can’t ban consensual sodomy between people of the same sex, or different sexes.” [It won’t and it’s not, because Roe mistakenly relied on a privacy holding that wasn’t relevant] Then he really freaked out:
That there are certain regions of people’s lives that the legislatures may not legislate in. This is a constitutional right. What Justice Alito’s opinion — draft opinion says is that there is no such thing as a right to privacy. So, abortion is not protected. Private sexual matters are not protected. Purchase of birth control is not protected by the Constitution. So, that opinion is an invitation, not just for states to ban abortion, but for states to regulate in entire new areas that previously had been off-limits.
Legislatures can’t protect the lives of viable fetuses? Killing an unborn child is a “private sexual matter”? This hack is a lawyer?
But he’s better than Jennifer Rodgers, another CNN legal analyst, who insisted gay marriage is in danger, saying, “[T]his notion that the difference between all these privacy rights is that one involves an unborn being, whether you call it a child, a fetus, whatever, that’s nowhere either, so this is just semantics.”
Hey, man, it’s nowhere! That “notion” is known in law school as a material distinction, but to be fair, abortion advocates never acknowledged that the human life lost in an abortion was anything to pay attention to.