OPINION: Tough lesson about elections

PAI Staff Writer

Elections have consequences. All you have to do is utter three words: “The Supreme Court.”

The three Trump-named Republican justices – Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 26, 2020, Brett Kavanaugh on Oct. 6, 2018 and Neil Gorsuch on April 7, 2017 – swung the High Court into obliterating womens’ constitutional rights to abortion and to control their own bodies.

All were confirmed on virtual party-line votes: 52-48 for Barrett, 54-46 for Gorsuch and 50-48 for Kavanaugh, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), voting “present” and Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), not voting.

Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the decision, won 58-42 in 2015, also almost along party lines. So did Clarence Thomas, now the court’s senior justice. He wrote the tribunal’s gun ruling the day before the abortion decision. You know, the one that lets loose everyone to carry and shoot guns – from pistols on up through AK-47s and AR-15s – anywhere, any time.

Thomas won his seat 31 years ago, 52-48, after a lot of controversy over his sexual harassment of Anita Hill on the job. Three senators who voted on the Thomas nomination still hold office, including one, Iowa Republican Charles Grassley, who seeks re-election this year.

Republican presidents named all five justices. Republican Senate majorities confirmed them. The Republicans have waged a decades-long war – sometimes literally – against the right to abortion in particular and against womens’ rights and workers’ rights, among others, in general. This decision is the worst result. It’s not the only one.

After all, let us not forget that Roe v Wade is not the first long-standing precedent Alito got his colleagues to overturn, but it is the one that rips away a constitutional right.

The other Alito ruling we’re thinking of – what else? – was ratifying the radical right’s crusade to destroy workers and unions by taking away money – The Janus decision. That 5-4 party-line vote made every state and local government worker a potential “free rider,” able to use union services and protections without paying one red cent for them.

“Defund the left,” a right-wing leader chortled. Grassley voted for Barrett, Kavanaugh, Alito and Gorsuch, too. Pro-Thomas Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who is retiring, also voted for all five Republican justices. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who opposed all five justices, is also retiring.

Most Republicans who went three-for-three on the Trumpite Supreme Court nominees and who must face the voters this fall are running again. Here they are:

John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Charles Grassley (Iowa), John Hoeven (N.D.), Tim Johnson (Wis.), John E. Kennedy (La.), James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Rand Paul (Ky.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.), John Thune (S.D.) and Todd Young (Ind.). Voters, take note and take their names.

Murkowski voted “present” on Kavanaugh’s nomination but backed Barrett, Gorsuch and Alito. Kavanaugh drew 49 Republicans and one Democrat. Guess who?

Without West Virginian Joe Manchin’s pro-Kavanaugh vote, Republican Vice President Mike Pence would have had to break a 49-49 tie.

Remember these Republicans when you vote this fall … because if they can take away a constitutional right from mothers, sisters, woman friends, partners, nieces and aunts, what’s to stop these senators, if re-elected, from taking away rights from you?

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