Rule Breaking Worked

A number of things have happened over the course of the last year that make me fairly confident that Russian intervention in the 2016 election provided the winning margin for Donald Trump. This doesn’t mean there weren’t numerous other factors or that it was the largest factor. It is mainly because the margin was so tight that it almost goes without saying that without it the outcome likely would have been a Clinton victory. I note this premise as a preface to this point. There is now a 5 Justice hard right majority on the Supreme Court, the oldest member of which, Clarence Thomas, is 70 years old and in apparently robust health. We should now be looking at a very different 6 to 3 progressive majority in which Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are absent and Merrick Garland and another Justice are present.

In little more than two years, the theft of the Garland seat and the tainted 2016 election have together forced a massive redirection of the jurisprudential course of the country. Mitch McConnell shows up again and again in the process, first as the key driver of the theft of the Garland seat and second as a significant player blocking a bipartisan response to Russian intervention in the election. His fingerprints cover both events.

It is certainly possible that Anthony Kennedy would not have retired under a President Clinton, deciding rather to hold on for another Republican president. No counter-factual is full proof. I point this out merely to illustrate the dramatic and far-reaching consequences of rule-breaking, over a very short period of time, that will ramify out decades into the future.

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