BY MIKE MAGEE
If there is a silver lining to the Trump assault on decency and civility, it is our majority response to this “stress test” of our Democracy, and the sturdiness (thus far) of our Founders’ vision.
It was, after all, a long shot when Alexander Hamilton, under the pen name Publius, published Federalist No. 1 on October 27, 1787, writing: “It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.”
Two weeks before the Iowa caucus in 2016, Trump himself sided with “force” and signaled a rocky road ahead when he stated in Sioux City, Iowa, that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.”
In so doing, he was taking on medieval jurist, Henry de Bracton, who wrote in On the Laws and Customs of England in 1260 that “The king should be under no man, but under God and the law.”
Of course, Trump, while representing our Executive branch, was not acting alone. He was supported by members of our Legislative branch as they successfully stacked the Judicial branch with religious conservatives. The net impact was this past year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, and a Christian Evangelical legislative windfall (and subsequent political backlash) in multiple Red States across the union.
BY MIKE MAGEE
As we enter a new and potentially historic week, with a former President doing his best to reignite a Civil War in our nation, we do well to take a breath and reread James Madison’s words from Federalist No. 51. But first, a few words of history.
When it came to checks and balances in this new national experiment in self governance, the Founders, while establishing three co-equal branches, left one of those branches the task of defining by practice its own power and influence.
The new Constitution in 1787 awarded one branch, the elected Congress, the daunting power to impeach, convict and remove representatives or appointed federal officials for due cause up to the President himself. But it also empowered a second branch, the Executive, through its President, veto power to check legislative excesses and the privilege of initiating appointments to the federal judiciary. Only the third branch of the government, the Judiciary, was left deliberately “elastic,” destined to grow into “the triangle of power.”
Thirteen years later, on February 17, 1801, Congress was forced to break a tie in the Electoral College vote, resolving a Constitutional crisis and declaring a victor in one of “the most acrimonious presidential campaigns” in U.S. history. Thomas Jefferson was awarded the victory, and John Adams acquiesced and was sent packing a month later. But two days before he departed, Adams unloaded multiple appointments of circuit justices and justices of the peace which the U.S. Senate quickly confirmed on March 3rd. In the rush, Adam’s Secretary of State, John Marshall (soon to become Chief Justice Marshall of the Supreme Court under President Jefferson) didn’t have time to complete a final necessary step, delivering the commissions, to some of the appointees.
BY MIKE MAGEE
On November 8, 2022, five days after the 2022 Midterm elections, the AMA raised its voice in opposition to Republican efforts to promote second class citizenship for women by exerting public control over them and their doctors intensely private reproductive decisions. At the same time they sprinkled candidates on both sides of the aisle with AMA PAC money, raising questions whether their love of women includes active engagement or just passive advocacy.
Trump and his now MAGAGA (“Make America Great and Glorious Again”) movement has now returned to center stage. With the help of Senate Majority leader McConnell, Christian Conservatives had packed the Supreme Court with Justices committed to over-turning Roe v. Wade. And they did just that.
On June 24, 2022, a Supreme Court, dominated by five conservative Catholic-born Justices, in what experts declared “a historic and far-reaching decision,” Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, scuttled the half-century old right to abortion law, Roe v. Wade, writing that it had been “egregiously wrong,” “exceptionally weak” and “an abuse of judicial authority.”