Submitted by Eli Wallace
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead.
These are the words that we all have been waiting to hear for years, and with good reason. The writers have been hinting at it for at least the past 3 seasons, but everytime it seemed to finally, maybe, be starting to happen she always somehow comes back.
After so many false alarms most people seemed to have written it off. Waiting for Ginsburg to die while Trump was in office became the equivalent of preparing for ‘the big one’ to finally throw San Francisco off into the Pacfic ocean or ‘the justice of the volcano’ to burst through the earth’s crust in Yellowstone and reign hellfire on the sinners below: a theoretical, even inevitable, possibility but one that still seemed unimaginable.
Yet it happened, and happened at the worst (or best) possible time. Under “normal” circumstances, during a “normal” election, with a “normal” Republican president in office, the cuck button would almost certainly have been pushed: a conservative candidate would have been named, but confirmation wouldn’t take place until after the election. The old school political logic of this is simple: conservative voters won’t want to buy the cow if you give the milk away for free.
However with Trump and McConnell both in power, real leftist violence in the street, and immense pressure to deliver red meat for the base the old playbook is likely to go out the window (assuming, of course, that Trump has any real desire to win re-election).
But this was never supposed to happen, on several levels. First of all, Hillary was supposed to win in a landslide and fulfill the ultimate dream of every wine mom in America: the first female president would choose the replacement of the greatest feminist in America’s judicial history.
The fact that this seems laughably delusional now underscores how significant of a loss 2016 really was for liberals of all stripes. Trump’s win has radically undermined their plans both at home and abroad in ways that likely won’t be fully evident for years. And even if Biden manages to pull off a win in November ( a distinct possibility) the damage is already done. Trump will almost certainly have appointed three justices to the court by the time January arrives, likely changing the court for a generation, re-election or no.
But Ginsburg’s death might kill more than just the political wet dreams of America’s bloated wine moms and their representatives at the DNC: a genuine crackup of the United States is now very much on the table.
While parallels between the current cold civil war between red and blue America and the first American civil war have been done to death– and any real hot conflict that develops, as Aris Roussinos pointed out atUnherd, is much more likely to resemble ‘The Troubles’ than Gettysburg–the parallels between the actual causes of America’s first civil war and its current crisis are remarkably similar.
In short: the similarity is that in both instances a situation occurred which disrupted a former equilibrium between two factions which had previously enabled both sides to skirt the depth of their actual differences.
While I can already hear the insufferable high pitched moans of Civil War nerds as they screech “ACKCHYUALLY” as I type this, and yes, I realize it was “more complicated” than this, but fundamentally that’s what happened. And it’s what is currently happening today.
Slavery had been an issue for as long as the United States had existed, but the Missiouri Compromise among other things, allowed a new equilibrium to be formed: while the more populus free states usually controlled the House, Slave states still could counter them in the Senate: preventing either side from dominating the other.
This kept things relatively stable for quite some time (the Missouri Compromise happened in 1820!) and allowed the US “to work” as a union of both slave and free states. But everything “works” until it doesn’t. And by 1850 things began to stop working. This was almost entirely due to the young nation beginning to spread its legs westward toward America’s massive new frontier, which necessitated the creation of new states. And each new state would get two senators regardless of their population, thus altering the former equilibrium. The Compromise of 1850, essentially undid the former Missouri compromise and even though it was supposed to bring stability it ended up doing the opposite. Both sides were now terrified of losing control of the senate via the addition of new states which would allow their political enemies to essentially legislate as they pleased. The rest, as they say, is history.
It’s hard to not see precisely the same dynamic playing out today, with the Supreme Court now playing the role the Senate did in the 1850’s. Of course, it’s important to remember that the Court, as many have pointed out, was never designed to be a vehicle for politics. For the first hundred years or so, the appointment of a justice was an event met with little fanfare as they were viewed as neutral jurists not political activists.
This all changed however, especially with the Warren court enacting a radical agenda in the 60’s, making the court a new political player, and giving the party that controlled it the power to essentially legislate from the bench. Thus began the quest by both parties to stack the court with their appointees.
But in spite of this, for the past several decades at least, a kind of compromise emerged in which an attempt was made to ensure the court was ‘balanced’ never really shifting to have more than a 5-4 composition either way. The tie breaking vote usually being held by a kind of ‘moderate’ judge like Anthony Kennedy (a position which now seems to have been filled by John Roberts).
This was by design of course, with both Presidents and Justices realizing the danger in the court shifting radically one way or the other.
But with the death of Ginsburg this balance is now out the window, 6-3 is not 5-4. 6-3 is a supra-majority: theoretically allowing the conservatives to do whatever they want. A possibility never intended by the constitution’s framers but one that is now a very real one.
Of course it was never supposed to happen like this. The liberals were the ones supposed to have the supra-majority and then use it to dictate their norms and way of life on the rest of the country! Not the other way around! I WANT TO TALK TO THE MANAGER!
Such is the irony of history however.
Nevertheless it’s now happening, and the very prospect of it is driving liberals up the wall. If you thought they were radicalized before, just wait for when the confirmation begins: the prospect of Roe vs. Wade being undone is a genuine casus belli for them, anything is on the table in response. Anything.
And regardless of who wins in November the outcome for America may still turn out to be more similar to the early 1860s than it is different.
If Trump somehow prevails and gets to potentially take the court from 6-3 to 7-2 (an insurmountable lead), liberals will radicalize even further: big progessive states like California and New York might seriously make moves to secede while the activist base of the party will grow dissatisfied with mere riots and begin to take an even more militant turn. After all, Supreme Court Justices, physically frail and lightly guarded as they are, will just be too tempting of a target for a militant and fanatical left to pass up.
If Biden wins, the same situation will probably play out, just in reverse. On Saturday Chuck Schumer stated that if the GOP moves ahead with confirmation this year ‘nothing is off the table’ come 2021. And he’s not kidding.
This means among other things: court packing, DC and Puerto Rican statehood, and expanding the Supreme court if need be. All actions that would blatantly tip the balance in favor of the Democrats for good. Actions that would inevitably force red staters to either completely submit to the whims of an insane left or choose open rebellion.
Of course, this future isn’t certain, as no future ever really is. But with Ginsburg’s timely death, the odds of an honest to God American crackup looks more likely than it ever has before.