Supreme Court
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If you care about certain things deeply and they are things that will be decided by the Supreme Court rather than by the U.S. Congress, then I can see how it’s possible to look at the presidential contest less as a choice about who will be president and conduct foreign policy and more about who will appoint justices to the Supreme Court. There hasn’t really been a liberal majority on the Supreme Court since 1971, and that’s about to change. In fact, it already would be changed if the Republicans had behaved normally and given Merrick Garland a hearing and a confirmation vote.

So, when Speaker Paul Ryan got on a conference call with House members this morning and informed them that he was giving up on Trump and focusing on preserving his Republican majority, it’s understandable that some members flipped their wigs. For example, there’s Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona:

Representative Trent Franks of Arizona, using graphic language to describe abortion, made an ardent case for staying with Mr. Trump because his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, would support a policy of destroying fetuses “limb from limb.”

It’s easy to forget that the anti-choice movement was on the cusp of seeing their dream of overturning Roe v. Wade come true. They had four votes for it (Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and the recently departed Scalia) and if one of the other five had died instead of Scalia and they won this presidential election they would have had the five votes they needed.

It must be tough to get so close only to see the Court tip back to a liberal majority not seen since before Roe was decided in 1973.

Trent Franks sounds unhinged to me. His life’s work is slipping out of his grasp and he’s saying deranged things in response.

I don’t know how pro-choice folks would feel if the shoe was on the other foot and the Democratic nominee were, say, Charlie Sheen. The idea that this country would soon adopt abortion policies more akin to El Salvador or Saudi Arabia than a First World country? That would be so intolerable that it’d be tempting to rationalize a President Sheen.

But, you know, at a certain point you have to realize that however much you care about any particular issue, you can’t just let anyone become president of the United States. Trump has passed that point and lapped it several times.

The Speaker understands this, to his credit.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at