The Mindless Rote Recitation of SCOTUS Commentary

With Elena Kagan’s nomination to SCOTUS, a phenomenon is taking place: AUTO EXPERT. Auto Expert is an almost Pavlovian reflex that involves average citizens, well-intended and good-hearted, with nary a clue as to the processes involved in a Supreme Court nomination but they swear they’re experts on the subject.

The country is divided into two factions. The first is the group that has no earthly idea or concern about the Court or how it works. It’s enormous in size and embodies the prototypical American, clueless and devoid of the slightest interest in anything other than the obvious. They think SCOTUS is pudendal. The latter group is that of the delusional know-it-all. The boorish and ham-fisted expert wallowing in nescience. They watch either Fox or MSNBC exclusively and have succumbed to the belief that they’re in touch. They fancy themselves as “news junkies” and are quick to slap a label on any topic or subject of political discussion. And God bless them. They’re the mainstay of 24/7 cable news shows. Much like the prison doc is the mainstay of weekend MSNBC programming.

Now, here’s what you need to know. First, a SCOTUS Justice can affect your life and livelihood like no other. They’ve a lifetime appointment and are not easily impeached and removed. Next, nobody knows what a Justice will do when seated. Our history is replete with folks who took the bench and went seemingly schizoid. And, most importantly, the key point to remember is that these folks can do anything they want so long as they use a legalistic reference point or precedent to give credence to their obvious bias.

If you’re a betting person, vote on Kagan’s sailing through the process. There will be some bumps along the road. Some folks are hinting that Kagan may be a lesbian and the issue revolves around whether it’s relevant. I say it is. Not disqualifying, but relevant. So what if she’s a lesbian. If she is, I would hope she’d announce it proudly and empower a bunch of timorous and closeted folks. If not, say so. They had their doubts about Souter. Some still do. He may just have been weird. The Boo Radley of the juridical set.

It’s so sad that a process as important and critical as this is allowed to be obfuscated and diluted by rank and hack partisan commentary. I dream of the day when a 24/7 news commentatrix or blogger admits that she is not a SCOTUS historian and frankly is without any clue as to the process. But their contract involves prompter recitation with a concomitant certitude. That day will never come, of course. Not with so many experts on the payroll.

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