Letters to the Editor: The courts still play an essential role

The courts still play an essential role

In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court stopped the hand counting of ballots in Florida and effectively declared George W. Bush President of the United States. There’s no evidence that a single Republican in this country of 300+ million people were bellyaching over that decision. After all, the Supreme Court was supreme.

Fast-forward 23 years and all you hear from Republicans is that neither the Supreme Court of Colorado nor the Supreme Court of the United States has any business being involved in presidential election issues. It should be, they argue, up to the voters. The hypocrisy of this position is palpable. 

If a majority of Americans were shocked by the jury finding in the O.J. Simpson murder case, would it have been appropriate to have a vote to overturn the decision because it was unpopular? Or how about any other court decision, whether handed down by a jury or a judge? Are we going to get a vote on an outcome we don’t like?

The lower court in Colorado, after days of evidentiary hearings, found as a factual matter that Donald Trump engaged in an insurrection to overthrow the government of the United States. That decision went up on appeal and the Colorado Supreme Court didn’t disagree with the finding of fact that Trump was an insurrectionist; it disagreed with the trial court’s ruling that Clause 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution did not apply to presidents – in other words, that the presidency is a get-out-of-jail-free card and like Richard Nixon once said, “When the president does it [commits a crime], it’s not a crime” (referring to the Watergate break in).

If, as the other Republican candidates now insist, it’s not up to the courts to be involved in determining what the Constitution means, then what’s the purpose for having any judicial system? We can just make every legal issue a matter of voters’ choice.

That can’t be the law. So now, the Supreme Court, with three Trump appointments sitting on it, will have to decide whether, when a president is found by a court to have committed an insurrection, he can be held accountable under the provision of the U.S. Constitution that clearly says any officer who has taken an oath to support the Constitution is disqualified from holding office again. It’s pretty straightforward, but leave it to the Republicans to try and twist the Constitution into a legal pretzel. 

Michael Levy

Ignorance is not bliss

Nikki Haley was the governor of South Carolina. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union in 1861. It was the first state to join the Confederacy in 1861 and was the site of the first battle of the Civil War at Fort Sumter in 1861. And she does not know slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War? She lacks “deep structure” [Noam Chomsky, 1959] when it comes to her American history knowledge. Scratch the surface of some/many of these politicians and what to you get? Ignorance and naivete.

Edward Marlatt