Crap, you guys, in all of the horror of the last few days, I totally forgot, has anyone checked on Ruth Bader Ginsburg to make sure she’s OK? Does she need a glass of water, or, like, a pillow? I don’t know whether she had any plans to step down anytime soon, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we need you healthy and well enough to keep serving the highest court in the land.
While we’re at it, can someone go and make sure that Stephen Breyer has everything he needs, too? True, he might be a youthful 78 to Ginsburg’s 83, but we all know that men have lower life expectancies than women do, and you know what, Steve? We need you, too.
Actually, this is as good a time as any to ask that anyone who’s around Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagan make sure they’re wearing seat belts whenever they get into a car. Is it too much to ask them to wear Kevlar and helmets? You’re right, that’s probably too much. Right?
To be fair, we still don’t know much about what kind of nominee president-elect Donald Trump might appoint to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia, but he’s said he wants someone “in the mold” of Scalia. In May, Trump released a list of potential people he would nominate to replace Scalia. Among them was William Pryor of Alabama, who called Roe v. Wade "the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law." As the New York Times noted in its review of judicial nominees Trump has floated, "Many have judicial track records hostile to federal power, abortion rights and same-sex marriage."
And on that note, we might need to make sure nothing happens to Anthony Kennedy, either.
We do know that, pending some sort of real panic by Senate Republicans (and why would they panic? They’re chuckling at controlling the White House and Congress) President Obama’s nomination to replace Scalia, the eminently capable Merrick Garland, will wither on the vine when the Senate disbands at the end of its term in mid-December.
In my eyes, from there, the future of the Supreme Court is murky at best, dire at worst. Sure, the Democrats could try and play four years of hard-ball with the Senate Republicans — the last, limp bit of power the 2016 election has left the Dems is their ability to filibuster — but that is a long, dirty game. Moreover, the Republicans could take a page from former Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s book and push his nuclear option even farther, eliminating the filibuster altogether.
So, all I’m saying is let’s just come together and agree that our four liberal justices that are on the court need to be kept in good health. Does Breyer need some gummy vitamins? Can we send Ginsburg some herbal teas? Maybe Sotomayor and Kagan could use a spa day?
Because until we can figure out whether President Trump is anything like candidate Trump, those four justices might be the most precious commodity the American left has.