PerryScope- Is America’s democracy dying?

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By Perry Diaz

On September 23, 2020, President Donald Trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election to Joe Biden?  His response was “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”  What he said next was like a bombshell that created an uproar, “We’ll want to have — get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”  With those words, Trump just declared that he’d block the mail-in ballots and disregard the outcome of the election and will not relinquish power regardless of the outcome!

Earlier that day, Trump said he wanted to have the next Supreme Court justice confirmed prior to November 3 so the high court could rule on the contest.

With the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there are three liberals and five conservatives on the high court.  However, Chief Justice John Roberts has oftentimes sided with the liberals, thus a ruling could end up on a 4-4 vote.

Trump surely needs a fifth vote to guarantee a majority vote in his favor with the addition of a new conservative justice.  And whoever of the three prospective nominees will be named by Trump, it would guarantee a fifth vote for him.

Although a few Republican senators don’t agree with Trump’s plan to disregard the election results, Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s staunchest defenders, said, “People wonder about the peaceful transfer of power. I can assure you it will be peaceful. Now we may have litigation about who won the election, but the court will decide, and if Republicans lose, we’ll accept that result. But we need a full court.”  There you go.  So that’s the game plan.  If the election results are close in Biden’s favor, Trump could challenge the outcome in the Supreme Court, which – with 6-3 vote conservative majority – could win the election.

It’s no wonder then that the Democrats don’t want the next Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed prior to the election.  But by sheer majority, the Republicans have the number to confirm a Trump nominee.

Reputedly a hard-line conservative, Barrett would be pivotal in invalidating the Affordable Care Act (ACA) better known as Obamacare, which is set to be heard on November 10.

Trump has been trying to throw out Obamacare since he became president.  The Republican Party has been trying to get rid of it since its inception in 2012.  But twice the Supreme Court has upheld the law.  With the death of Justice Ginsburg and the nomination of Barrett as her replacement, Trump may have found an opening to renew his assault on Obamacare.

Another law that is in peril is the Roe v. Wade, otherwise known as the Pro-Abortion Law, which has been a law since 1973.  It affirmed that access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right.  But Roe v. Wade is at risk like never before.  One of Trump’s campaign promises is to overturn Roe v. Wade, which makes one wonder where he’s coming from?  While he was pro-choice when he was a Democrat before changing his registration to Republican in 2015, he adopted a pro-life stance when he ran for president because according to his mentor Steve Bannon, for him to win the presidency under the Republican Party, he has to be pro-life or anti-abortion.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade.  With the nomination of Barrett to the high court and in addition to two he nominated since 2016, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, Trump has now three justices who presumably would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.  And with hard-line conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito for sure to vote with the three Trump justices, that gives a total of five votes against Roe v. Wade.  Chief Justice John Roberts remains the unpredictable swing justice on abortion.  Last June, the Supreme Court unexpectedly struck down a 2014 Louisiana law that severely restricted access to abortions.  The vote was 5-4 with Roberts siding the four liberals.

With the addition of Barrett to the conservative bloc, they now have a solid five justices who would decide on the side of Trump.  Roberts would remain the swing vote but without much of an effect since the Democrats will only have three votes.

With Trump’s threat to block the mail-in ballots, the election, for all practical purposes, becomes a sham.  How can 65% — which is the estimated mail-in ballots — of the total ballots be invalidated and still have a valid and legitimate election?   And this is where the problem is.  Trump’s game plan is to force the Supreme Court to step in and decide the election results just like in 2000 during the Bush vs. Gore contest.  Would the six conservative justices vote to uphold the election of Trump in an obviously questionable and void election?

If Trump prevails, he will be the next president come January 20, 2021.  It would also be the death of America’s democracy.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

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