A slew of recent Supreme Court rulings showcase the massive return Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received from his decision to ensure President Barack Obama could not fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s empty seat in 2016.
In stealing Obama’s pick, McConnell paved the way for Justice Neil Gorsuch to swing the court’s votes on key issues affecting various minorities and members of the working class – furthering the conservative agenda from the bench with some of that “judicial activism” Republicans routinely complain about when rulings don’t go their way.
Up first was President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which lower courts ruled unconstitutional but the highest court essentially gave its stamp of approval.
The court’s conservative majority broke from two previous lower court rulings to find that the travel ban is indeed constitutional, that the president possesses the authority to ban immigration from certain countries, and that Trump’s past statements calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” do not undermine that authority.
The second case involved so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” and laws requiring them to offer women information about ending their pregnancies:
In National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, the high court ruled that anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” (which are both pro-life and pro-lie, often trafficking in false advertising and misinformation) should not be required to provide women with medical information about their alternate option to terminate their pregnancies, as was California law. “Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. “This law imperils those liberties.” Never mind, as has been widely pointed out, that the same freedom does not apply to some abortion providers, as the court in 1992 upheld a Pennsylvania law mandating that abortion clinics share adoption information with patients.
As for the issue of racial gerrymandering?
Further, today’s decisions came on the heels of Monday’s 5-4 ruling upholding all but one of Texas’s allegedly gerrymandered congressional and state legislative districts, despite evidence mounted to prove they’d been drawn with racial lines in mind, so as to dilute the power of black and Latino votes.
This decision was made possible by McConnell’s stonewalling of Obama’s Supreme Court pick as well – the case originally landed a 4 to 4 vote as Scalia’s seat remained vacant.
This week’s SCOTUS decisions make for quite the conflation of messages: In one case, Gorsuch and company boosted the pro-life cause—while at the same time cementing that the lives of women, Muslims, immigrants, and underrepresented voters don’t necessarily apply. (Sure, “all lives matter”—as long as white male lives matter most.) They found that the free speech rights of crisis pregnancy center operators are sacred; but the voting rights of Hispanics in Texas were negotiable. And above all, they proved that McConnell’s obstruction of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland “worked.” But who did it work for?