As a lawyer, I have a lot of respect for the basic integrity of the courts. Yes, ideology colors judges' decisions. But that's different from unprincipled partisanship. I tend to assume that *flagrant bad-faith nonsense* from either side would be rejected 9-0 by any SCOTUS.

But.
I've often pushed back against fellow liberals who believe conservative judges/justices can be expected to rubber-stamp basically anything Republicans want badly enough (re: the election, for example). I mostly stand by that pushback. But...there are things that give me pause.
Listening to @sarahchurchwell on @TPpodcast_, it strikes me that I shouldn't *take for granted* the eternal & universal accuracy of my experience-based assumptions about courts (even ones I don't like) acting in a basically principled, good-faith way. That's not *guaranteed*.
After all, I once similarly took for granted that if a President, of either party, did many of the illegal & grotesque things Trump has done in office, he'd of course be removed from office by the Senate. First principles would, at *some* extreme point, prevail over party.

Welp.
Now, among judges there's a far greater culture of emphasizing first principles than among politicians. (Duh.) Which is my usual premise re: courts.

But...like...as @sarahchurchwell notes, the decline and collapse of an independent judiciary *is* usually the LAST domino to fall.
And if & when that were to happen, it (like the GOP's moral collapse) would surely take me by surprise, and force me to revisit some prior (present?) assumptions. Maybe I'd feel I was (am?) tricked into applying a sheen of "principled disagreement" that masks bad-faith bullshit.
In other words: will Future Me look back at Present Me and think, "God, that guy was so naive to be confident that right-wing courts, even when wrong, were still acting in a *basically principled* fashion, vs. being the final clincher of one-party rule"?

I don't think so, but...
...that's basically what Present Me thinks about Past Me's pre-2016 attitude toward certain legislative & executive right-wingers. And Past Me would've dismissed the idea that a future him (i.e., me) would someday deem him naive for believing there are 2 principled parties. So.
I don't *think* I'm wrong to believe that even a conservative judiciary would act in an essentially principled fashion (vs. masking bad-faith bullshit with McConnellist psuedo-principles) if the Republic is on the line.

But, learning from my mistakes, I can't rule it out. And...
...I should be wary for warning signs. Signs hinting that things could be morphing into something more akin to unprecincipled partisanship, not just ideological disagreement. Like the signs that I missed, pre-2016, of the moral erosion of executive and legislative conservatism.
Maybe those signs are already everywhere, and I'm just not seeing them. Certainly I have some concerns about pandemic-related judicial decisions in certain states (nyti.ms/2SWO6Zx), whose outcomes shocked me, though I've been reluctant to say much w/o reading the cases.
And I see the occasional tweet or headline saying this or that election-related decision is an indefensible outrage. But my long-honed gut instinct is to reject such takes as alarmist hyperventilating nonsense from nonlawyers who miscontrue court decisions as political decisions.
But....what if they're not? What if, as with the political branches pre-2016, I'm the one doing the miscontruing? I don't think I am, but again, I can't rule it out.

Anyway. That's all. I just wanted to ponder that out loud. @sarahchurchwell with great food for thought again!

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More from @MileHighBrendan

15 Oct
This is also, IMHO, partly what happened in the 2016 election, causing the sine-wave pattern in polls of Clinton vs. Trump. When Trump was way behind, some people relaxed & thought "I don't need need to vote" or "I can vote third-party," and he surged. Alas, we ended on a surge.
Side note... that thread with @mpusatera on September 29, 2016... my God. I hadn't read that in a long time.

Perhaps my ultimate Cassanda Moment.
I'm aware, which is why I said I think it's "partly" what happened. Not the entire picture. But I still believe, as I did at the time, that it's an important piece of the puzzle, partially dictating *which* news events moved people votes & which didn't.

Read 7 tweets
15 Oct
I fear you're right. But *THIS* is the sort of thing @CDCgov & state public-health agencies (cc: @CDPHE, @DHSWI) need to be talking about, IMHO. Hell, even a 5-day or 7-day quarantine, while not good enough, would probably be better than nothing. We need to think harm reduction!
If we had ANY chance of a sane, functional federal gov't in Nov/Dec, I'd say Congress should pass some sort of 2-week wage-replacement law to help people do this ahead of the holidays. To appeal to GOPers, call it the "Win the War on Christmas Act of 2020"
Don't call it "wage replacement," though. That sounds too socialist-y. Call it, like, a "Freedom Fund" or something.

"Fellow patriots! The China Virus is waging a WAR ON CHRISTMAS. We can't let this microscopic terrorist win! Save Christmas; vote for the Freedom Fund. 'MURICA."
Read 4 tweets
15 Oct
We need to spend less time worrying about low-risk crap (transmission via surfaces, brief outdoor encounters ... probably most trick-or-treating, tbh) and more time on how/if people can safely celebrate holidays w/ family. I’m worried Thanksgiving is going to be an epic disaster.
If trick-or-treat-shaming drives families with younger kids to gather indoors with “a few” of their kids’ friends’ families, as a substitute Halloween activity — and tweens/teens hang out & party more — that will be MUCH WORSE than just doing normal trick-or-treating.
Am I crazy to think we might be at 400,000 deaths by the time Biden is inaugurated? It feels like the trends are very bad, both epidemiologically & re: people just being unwilling to curtail things anymore. If upper Midwest hospital horror stories are *already* happening *now*...
Read 4 tweets
13 Oct
Weird analogy alert: you know how Political Twitter tends to overly focus on the new shiny thing in politics, and sometimes misses the really big, important, boring stuff that moves large masses of normies?

I think maybe we do something similar with COVID spread events & trends.
Like, on Twitter we're all like

"OMG the protests will cause massive spread!"
"OMG the Tulsa rally will cause massive spread!" (I did this.)
"OMG [some rule change] will cause massive spread!"

And to some extent, they do. But what really *changes the course* of the epidemic...
...at least in Colorado, and I think to some extent elsewhere, are things like:

• Memorial Day
• The 4th of July
• Labor Day

Big shiny dramatic events may birth a thousand hot takes, but more important are totally ordinary events that *huge masses of normies* participate in.
Read 8 tweets
18 Aug
I find it sort of remarkable that so many people can’t see the value, which seems obvious to me, of having someone with whom we profoundly disagree on policy come on & say “even though I profoundly disagree with Dems on policy, I support Biden because that’s how awful Trump is”
The fact that we fundamentally disagree on policy IS THE POINT!! It’s a feature, not a bug! If we agreed with Kasich on policy, his speech would be pointless! The disagreements are WHY he can credibly make the “character matters more than policy” pitch to center-right voters.
I’d understand being mad at the @DemConvention if Kasich was, like, the keynote speaker or something. But he wasn’t. They framed his speech very specifically as the culmination of a conversion-porn segment: “Look! Even these *Republicans* hate Trump!” Having that segment is smart
Read 4 tweets
15 Aug
My God, have you ever thought about how many passive-aggressive synonyms for "tactic" the English language has? Image
I can't find the tweet now, but I'm pretty sure I've made a similar point before about the extremely high number of English words that connote various finely tuned degrees of shade-throwing while describing something as being maybe true, maybe not.
English doesn't have a non-gendered personal pronoun, but it lets you describe something that may or may not be true as "possibly," "apparently," "seemingly," "evidently," "reputedly," "professedly," "putatively," "allegedly," "ostensibly," "supposedly" or "purportedly" true.
Read 5 tweets

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