CSotD: Caesar’s wife and Ginni’s husband

Kevin Necessary’s cartoon must surely seem an exaggeration to anyone who hasn’t been following the real-world case, but this argument is not simply being advanced in earnest but appears to have some traction with a substantial portion of the Supreme Court.

And about that court: As Ann Telnaes points out, even having his wife active in soliciting support for Trump’s attempt to overturn the election has not caused Justice Thomas to recuse himself from a case evaluating that effort.

And, as that link details, it’s not just that she mentioned her opinion to him over breakfast. She actively solicited help for Trump’s cause at the highest levels of government.

Whatever the demands of the Court’s new, vague ethical standards, other justices have recused themselves for lesser cause, and, in this situation, common sense alone would dictate he step aside.

The operative phrase is that “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion,” taken from Caesar having divorced his wife because she was — perhaps innocently, perhaps not — involved in a case he had to judge.

Nobody is demanding that Thomas divorce his wife, but having him sit on a case in which she figures so clearly is not only ethically dubious but, as Caesar realized, undermines the credibility of the Court.

Thomas has frequently been attacked since his appointment, which was widely seen as cynical given that he was nominated to succeed the Court’s first Black justice, a tireless battler for civil rights with whom Thomas shared nothing but skin color.

As for the appearance created in the current case, it has already inspired this cartoon by Ivan Ehlers, and if this is an unfair reading of the situation, it is one that Thomas created himself by not stepping aside in the first place.

And if it’s not an unfair reading, that’s even more reason for recusal.

The impression of favoritism, for better or for worse, is certainly out there, with David Rowe outfitting the Court in a MAGA hat and gold high tops. Again, it’s an issue of appearances, of creating suspicion in a situation already so polarized that the last thing anyone needs is a sense of unfairness.

And if Thomas hasn’t the sense to step aside for the sake of appearances, there’s no reason anyone should expect cartoonists and other commentators to refrain from pointing out the way things appear.

Nor does it help, Ann Telnaes points out, to have Trump’s overt attempts to overturn the legal results of the election not only argued as “official” presidential acts by his lawyers but calmly discussed as such by the Justices themselves.

In a rational world, the suggestion that targeted assassination of political rivals might be covered by presidential immunity would get a rap on the head with a gavel. It would not spark serious speculation over the context.

In a less compromised crisis, when Nixon told the Court he thought his White House tapes were covered under executive privilege, the Court surprised the nation not so much in denying his position, though the decision had engendered suspense, but in doing so unanimously, an emphatic slapdown that shocked both sides.

How terribly odd to be nostalgic for those days.

It’s not just the Ginni/Clarence thing. Matt Wuerker tweaks the Court’s stated policy of applying the law as the Framers envisioned it.

It’s been a while since I read the Federalist Papers, but I don’t recall this conversation, though I seem to remember that John Adams was accused of seeing his position as president more grandly than Washington before him or Jefferson after.

Washington was so eager to get out of office and back to Mount Vernon that it inspired the association of Revolutionary War veterans to call themselves the Cincinnatus, after the Roman general who had done the same.

But even Adams, though so furious to have become a one-term president that he skipped Jefferson’s inauguration, did not call on the people to rise up against his rivals, and Steve Cousineau pares Trump’s arguments down to the basics.

What seems a strong accusation can be traced back to Trump’s own words about perhaps ignoring the portions of the Constitution that defy his ambitions.

There are aspects of the ongoing trial that seem farcical, and Bill Bramhall is hardly the only cartoonist to get a laugh out of Dear Leader’s inability to stay awake.

The real farce, of course, being that Trump’s backers continue to insist that Biden is too old to be president while protesting that their nominee should not be expected to put in a seven-hour day at his age.

But if after a decade of this you still expect logic and consistency to have a place in the conversation, you either haven’t been paying attention or have sipped too much grape Flavor-Aid.

An interesting factor at the moment being that Nikki Haley captured nearly 17% of the Republican vote in the Pennsylvania Primary, and she’s not even running anymore.

There may be some desertions from the cult of personality.

Combining Haley’s continuing appeal to Republicans and the growing divide between Moscow Marge and the rest of the House GOP provides some basis for Mike Luckovich‘s commentary, though the other side shouldn’t get too comfortable: A wounded animal is often more dangerous than a healthy one.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Lisa Benson — Counterpoint

David Horsey

There is still an election to be won, and it’s clear that logic and consistency have only a limited role in that.

Benson is hardly the only rightwinger harping on a failing economy which, oddly enough, she suggests isn’t Biden’s fault after all, but which, Horsey points out, also isn’t failing and, in fact, is doing quite well.

But, as he notes, numbers and graphs and facts have only a limited power to counteract a repeated drumbeat of dubious news, not just from the MAGAts themselves but from major media who spend more ink reporting on polls than on actual economic figures.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Matt Davies

Bill Bramhall

Davies draws a picture of the catch-and-kill conspiracy between Trump and the National Enquirer, which is fact, while Bramhall suggests a similar brand of protection being hinted by the questions posed by SCOTUS Justices.

The latter may not be a fact, but could emerge as one.

And God save the nation if SCOTUS won’t.

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Caesar’s wife and Ginni’s husband

  1. Telnaes has really knocked it out of the park with her portrayal of Ginni Thomas as the biggest Karen ever. I see that face and get flashbacks of every terrible retail job I’ve ever had.

    1. Speaking from decades of experience (fortunately in the past), “terrible retail job” is a redundancy.

  2. Mike, thanks again. Ginni Thomas should be an ‘indicted co-conspirator’. And, if Clarence won’t recuse himself, well, there is always duct tape. The GOP and tRUMP cult boosters are indeed clowns. But, they are clowns with molotov cocktails.

    Richard and Mimi Farina, so long ago and yet to timely. You inspired me to play some of their other songs along with Ian and Sylvia and of course Tom Paxton’s many war protest ballads.

  3. I’m not a cheerleader. But, Biden saying, “I’m a grown man running against a 6 year old” was as great line. Just be careful, that 6 year old has violent, armed goons to protect him.
    O.K. my memory is straining to remember, wasn’t it Thurgood Marshall?

  4. It was. I’m not sure of the movie, which I haven’t seen, but his history speaks for itself

  5. I think I have read this before. Defense of Charles I “I am king therefore by definition everything I do is lawful.” Not advocating Trump lose his head, but the argument lost, and we adopted English Law unless otherwise changed by statute. Or did I miss that part in law school.

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