Democrat Charles Schumer, speaking to “protestors” outside the Supreme Court: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
This statement was clearly a threat, but what kind of threat? Perhaps a direct physical threat, but more likely, I think, a threat to subject the two justices to the kind of orchestrated slander campaign that was already unleashed against Justice Kavanaugh; a slander campaign the would result in great emotional pain to the Justices and their families and great disruption to the operations of the Court.
The crowd to which Schumer was speaking is typically referred to as “protestors” in news reports, but what are they protesting? No decision has been made in this case. Evidently they are protesting the willingness of the Court to even consider the arguments made by the two sides in this case.
I’d call them a mob. Judge Andrew Napolitano, who does not believe Schumer’s statement violated any laws, nevertheless called the statement an “effort to politicize the court, to make them look like they can be intimidated by a mob outside of the courthouse.”
The present-day Democratic Party together with its media/academic/activist archipelago has become quite friendly toward mob action and mob intimidation. One especially appalling event was the attempt to shut down law professor Josh Blackman’s talk at the City University of New York law school. When Blackman said the way to deal with a law you don’t like is to change the law…
A student shouted out “[expletive] the law.” This comment stunned me. I replied, “[expletive] the law? That’s a very odd thing. You are all in law school. And it is a bizarre thing to say [expletive] the law when you are in law school.” They all started to yell and shout over me.
There has been an awful lot of this sort of thing, and it seems to have been increasing exponentially over the last several years.
In 2016, Scott Adams wrote:
I’ve been trying to figure out what common trait binds Clinton supporters together. As far as I can tell, the most unifying characteristic is a willingness to bully in all its forms.
If you have a Trump sign in your lawn, they will steal it.
If you have a Trump bumper sticker, they will deface your car.
if you speak of Trump at work you could get fired.
On social media, almost every message I get from a Clinton supporter is a bullying type of message. They insult. They try to shame. They label. And obviously they threaten my livelihood.
But this behavior was by no means limited to Hillary Clinton supporters, and it today pervades the “progressive” Left. A political movement that engages in widespread bullying attracts new members who are bullies: for a certain kind of person, there is great pleasure in exercising rage and cruelty toward other people while operating under the protection of a political or religious banner that yields feelings of virtue.
I don’t think most Progs are necessarily cruel people, but I do think that an increasing number of cruel people are being attracted to their cause; also, some of the non-cruel progs are being drawn into acts of cruelty. See John dos Passos on Conformity, Cruelty, and Political Activism. See also Goethe’s Gretchen (in Faust), repenting having been drawn into the mocking and humiliation of unmarried pregnant girls:
How readily I used to blame
Some poor young soul that came to shame!
Never found sharp enough words like pins
To stick into other people’s sins
Black as it seemed, I tarred it to boot
And never black enough to suit
Would cross myself, exclaim and preen–
Now I myself am bared to sin!
There’s a lot of this “sharp enough words like pins to stick in other people’s sins,” combined with the pleasure of preening, going on today. And many if not most practitioners thereof will, unlike Gretchen, never repent. Cruelty under cover of virtuous feelings is a huge factor in today’s politics.
I am also reminded of something said by Sebastian Haffner, in his memoir of life in Germany between the wars. When Hitler became Chancellor in early 1933, Haffner working as a junior lawyer (refendar) in the Prussian High Court, the Kammergericht. He was comforted by the continuity of the legal process:
The newspapers might report that the constitution was in ruins. Here every paragraph of the Civil Code was still valid and was mulled over and analyzed as carefully as ever…. The Chancellor could daily utter the vilest abuse against the Jews; there was nonetheless still a Jewish Kammergerichtsrat (high court judge) and member of our senate who continued to give his astute and careful judgments, and these judgments had the full weight of the law and could set the entire apparatus of the state in motion for their enforcement–even if the highest office-holder of that state daily called their author a ‘parasite’, a ‘subhuman’ or a ‘plague’.
But things soon changed: the Nazis came to the Kammergericht and enforced their new way of doing things:
It was strange to sit in the Kammergericht again, the same courtroom, the same seats, acting as if nothing had happened. The same ushers stood at the doors and ensured, as ever, that the dignity of the court was not disturbed. Even the judges were for the most part the same people. Of course, the Jewish judge was no longer there. He had not even been dismissed. He was an old gentleman and had served under the Kaiser, so he had been moved to an administrative position at some Amtsgericht (lower court). His position on the senate was taken by an open-faced, blond young Amtsgerichtsrat, with glowing cheeks, who did not seem to belong among the grave Kammergerichtsrats…It was whispered that in private the newcomer was something high up in the SS.
The new judge didn’t seem to know much about law, but asserted his points in a “fresh, confident voice.”
We Refendars, who had just passed our exams, exchanged looks while he expounded. At last the president of the senate remarked with perfect politeness, ‘Colleague, could it be that you have overlooked paragraph 816 of the Civil Code?’ At which the new high court judge looked embarrassed…leafed through his copy of the code and then admitted lightly, ‘Oh, yes. Well, then it’s just the other way around.’ Those were the triumphs of the older law.
There were, however, other cases–cases in which the newcomer did not back down…stating that here the paragraph of the law must yield precedence; he would instruct his co-judges that the meaning was more important than the letter of the law…Then, with the gesture of a romantic stage hero, he would insist on some untenable decision. It was piteous to observe the faces of the older Kammergerichtsrats as this went on. They looked at their notes with an expression of indescribable dejection, while their fingers nervously twisted a paper-clip or a piece of blotting paper. They were used to failing candidates for the Assessor examination for spouting the kind of nonsense that was now being presented as the pinnacle of wisdom; but now this nonsense was backed by the full power of the state, by the threat of dismissal for lack of national reliability, loss of livelihood, the concentration camp…They begged for a little understanding for the Civil Code and tried to save what they could.
I’m afraid kind of court is what is desired by much of the “progressive” movement and much of the mainstream Democratic Party. They are not interested in the kind of “astute and careful” judgments that had been made by the senior judge of whom Haffner wrote; much more are they in tune with the new judge’s assertion that “the paragraph of the law must yield precedence … that the meaning was more important than the letter of the law.” Sometimes, the Democrats/”Progressives” even make such assertions with the gesture of a romantic stage hero.
The extreme danger to America that would result from any increase in the political power of the Democrats and their archipelago becomes more clear every day.
(also posted at Ricochet)