Liberal Democrats and media, and middle-class left groups seeking to bring down the administration of President Donald Trump are on a hysterical campaign to prevent his nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, from being confirmed in Senate hearings that opened Sept. 4.
Acting like antifa thugs seeking to shut down speakers they disagree with, Democratic senators interrupted speakers, screaming and yelling, trying to break up the meeting. Through such actions they perpetuate the illusion that changing who sits on the high court can positively alter the relationship of forces between the working class and those who exploit us.
The liberals’ campaign poses serious challenges to political rights crucial for the working class and its struggles.
Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both Democratic senators jockeying for presidential runs in 2020, and prominent members of the anti-Trump “resistance,” took turns interrupting the hearing’s chair, while their allies in the audience tried to shout down Republican speakers before being removed by cops. Democrats disrupted the hearing 44 times during the first hour in an unsuccessful effort to shut it down.
Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s leading Democrat, claimed the investigation of Trump by special counsel and former FBI boss Robert Mueller creates “very unique circumstances” that justify efforts to halt the hearing. The administration should be prevented from ruling while the anti-Trump investigation is underway, she claimed.
This is a far cry from the stance of the Democrats when President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives in 1998. They insisted he would continue to rule until he was thrown out of office.
In addition to their claim that Trump is not the legitimate president, so he shouldn’t be permitted to appoint members of the Supreme Court, the liberals allege Kavanaugh’s appointment would lead to unprecedented attacks on abortion and other rights. They say it would undercut their efforts to impose restrictions on access to guns and block the adoption of campaign finance laws they champion that place obstacles in front of independent working-class political action. Regardless of what you think of the Democratic candidates in 2018, they say, you have to vote for them to keep Trump from packing the Supreme Court.
Citing a 2009 law review article where Kavanaugh argued that investigations of a sitting president may be unconstitutional, the editors of the Washington Post say his confirmation would provide Trump with protection from Mueller’s special counsel. They fervently hope the former top spy, who in well over a year of trying has failed to present any evidence of Trump’s “collusion” with Moscow, can come up with something they can use to overturn the 2016 election.
Mueller goes after the small fry, digging for dirt, then dangling a plea bargain deal. He and his backers hope some of the dirt can be hurled at the White House. That’s what they hoped for with the prosecution of Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, and the charges against long-dismissed Trump campaign operative Paul Manafort. Cohen copped a plea, taking a maximum of five years and three months in jail over a trial that could lead to 65 years in prison.
Workers rightly hate plea-bargaining, a mainstay of the capitalist “justice” system. It’s a death knell to the presumption of innocence and the right to a jury of your peers. The vast majority of those convicted and languishing in jails — overwhelmingly workers and disproportionately Black — never get to defend themselves in a trial.
Liberal meritocrats falsely say workers are becoming more racist, anti-immigrant and reactionary. This, they say, is why they voted for Trump. They must be controlled, or fascism is inevitable.
So they have called for infringement of political rights. Some claim workers are too ignorant to have the unrestricted right to vote. Others act to curtail free speech of opponents. And they defend the rulers’ political police and spy agencies — the FBI and CIA — as arms of the liberal crusade against Trump.
But workers keenly need our political rights, won in bloody class battles over centuries, and will need them even more with sharper working-class struggles to come.
As for the Supreme Court, the working class has no interest in who wears the long black robes. Liberals’ arguments obscure how rights we need can be defended — by workers relying on our own class and its allies. Changes to the court’s composition will not create better or worse conditions for our struggles. The Supreme Court was set up after the American Revolution to enforce the Constitution and is used by the propertied owners as an arbiter of conflicts among them. Unable to win majorities in Congress, liberals have sought to change the court’s role, to use it to legislate “progressive” changes they promote but have been unable to adopt.
Liberals boost war party
Constant media coverage of the three-day military ceremony at the funeral of John McCain — a Republican opponent of Trump — was aimed at lauding McCain as a “war hero,” denouncing the president and bolstering those who advocate more robust U.S. military intervention abroad.
McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, used her eulogy at the ceremony to deride Trump as unpatriotic, alluding to his draft deferment exempting him from fighting in the Vietnam War.
That 15-year imperialist slaughter aimed at thwarting the Vietnamese peoples right to self-determination, cost the lives of 2 million Indochinese people and nearly 60,000 U.S. workers in uniform. It ended only when Washington’s forces were driven out of the country. McCain, a Navy lieutenant commander, remained a staunch supporter of the U.S. rulers’ war in Southeast Asia, a war that growing numbers of GIs came to oppose and speak out against. Veterans of that war, and thousands of others returning from Washington’s military interventions since, continue to face criminal neglect from the Veterans Administration — a part of the carnage Trump talked about during his 2016 campaign.
Both McCain, a former presidential candidate, and Trump sought office to act on behalf of the U.S. propertied owners and to use Washington’s massive military might when they thought it was needed. Today Trump is seeking to end some of the ongoing wars the rulers have been unable to win, like in the Mideast and Afghanistan. McCain was a fervent member of the capitalist war party, like Hillary Clinton and growing numbers of Democrats today who criticize Trump’s efforts to tamp down conflicts in Korea and elsewhere.
Though it certainly isn’t Trump’s intention, these foreign policy moves are good for the working class, opening political space for working people to discuss, debate and act in our own class interests.