A Capstone to Trump’s Long Campaign to Degrade the Law and the Constitution

Dahlia Lithwick sees Trump’s preposterous “Apprentice”-style rollout of his Supreme Court nominee last night as the “capstone to a yearlong campaign to degrade the law and the Constitution.” She writes that it was part and parcel of “Trump’s contemptuous dismissal of the law, the judicial branch, and the Constitution.”

The atrocity you witnessed Tuesday night—the president of the United States setting it up to appear as though he was summoning in two esteemed jurists for a Bachelor-style rose ceremony in prime time—isn’t just another shiny object meant to distract you from Steve Bannon, or from the Muslim high-schooler who has been detained for three days, or from the repeated instructions from Sean Spicer that anyone who doesn’t show perfect loyalty to the president should get out of government. The grotesque power move of embarrassing two judges with a showy prime-time bake-off (“I’m not here to make friends”) isn’t just a distraction from President Trump’s contemptuous dismissal of the law, the judicial branch, and the Constitution. It’s a capstone to a yearlong campaign to show dominance over them.
. . .
[I]nstead of seeing Tuesday’s spectacle as some new atrocity, understand that it represents more of the same: Donald Trump’s complete misapprehension of judges and what they do; the subordination of a judicial branch that is not in a position to fight back; self-referential shows of dominance over the courts and the law, institutions that—as we are quickly discovering—have laughably few weapons to protect themselves beyond the esteem of the public.

Read her full piece here.

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