CJ Roberts and the Courage of Roger Scruton
We conservatives are pretty pissed off at John Roberts, Chief Justice. We remember the cartoon of a week or so ago when the United States Supreme Court was represented as three donkeys, four chickens, and, on the end of the row, two Americans: Justice Alito and Justice Thomas.
But now our Democratic friends want to have a trial of Citizen Trump in the Senate. So I looked up the text of the Constitution online. It says
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Ahem. Do you see the problem here, you strict constructionists, you living constitutionalists, and you, Sen. Chuck E. Schumer (D-NY)? When the proposed trial begins on February 8, Roberts, CJ, can say -- should say -- to the assembled duly sworn multitude: “Sorry chaps. The President of the United States is not on trial. Citizen Trump is on trial. So it would be against the Constitution as written for the Chief Justice to preside. And it would be a grievous blow to the dignity of the Supreme Court and the plain meaning of the Constitution if the Chief Justice were to preside in flagrant violation of the plain words of the Constitution.”
This should not be that hard for the Chief Justice. Back in the day, did he not say, with plain words, in his decision on Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District:
[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300-301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
You can’t get any plainer than that, although that was in the happy days before the blight of systemic racism and the stinking cloud of the colonized curriculum had descended upon this once happy land.
Yes. I know what you wokies are saying. What about the penumbras and the emanations? Do they count for nothing, you systemic racist? It is straight up systemic racism and insurrection for the Chief Justice to fail to preside over a Senate trial of an insurrectional man who incited QAnon LARPers to humiliate our woke communities with selfies in that Holy of Holies, also honored as a constitutional penumbra and emanation, Nancy Pelosi’s Capitol building office. It says so, right there, in the Addendum: Penumbras and Emanations of Article I Section 3: The Senate.
Know what I think about that? Go pound sand, wokies.
What this moment is asking of you, Chief Justice Roberts, is to finally step out of the chicken suit you have been wearing at least since you choked on ObamaCare, and step into history.
(Oh good. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says that Roberts won’t preside. So far.)
What is merely a small step for Roberts, CJ, is going to be a big step for the rest of those who propose to lead the great mass of American Commoners After Trump. Because we are going to need heroes and martyrs in the years ahead, and millions of Bartlebys who will tell their liberal bosses they “would prefer not to”?
You headline politicians that propose to represent ordinary Americans in the future are going to have to sacrifice your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor. Are you going to fight for us, and die for us, or are you going to cower in fear of the ruling class and its Ministry of Truth?
Let us take the late conservative Roger Scruton for a model. Son of a teacher, he had his intellectual awakening in 1968 in Paris watching an “unruly mob of self-indulgent middle-class hooligans” LARPing revolution. Then he was the only conservative teaching at Birkbeck College in London. Then his academic career was wrecked when he began The Salisbury Review in the 1980s. Then he marched into the belly of the beast of Communist Eastern Europe to teach freedom to “an underground education network started by the Czech dissident Julius Tomin, smuggling in books, organizing lectures” and even awarding degrees. Then in 2019 the New Stateman’s George Easton had the “right-wing racist and homophobe” canceled. In early 2020, Scruton died of cancer.
Scruton was said to be a “gentle soul.” No doubt: but a gentle soul with a never-failing courage that we all, from Roberts CJ to sauntering politicians to ordinary Commoners, might hope to emulate.
Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.
Image: Pete Helme