Overthrowing courts is cheap politics

Back when Congress was taken seriously, threats to disrupt government policy or punish states and federal agencies for doing their jobs would have been big news.

Now, furious warnings of partisan retaliation for the conviction of former President Donald Trump on 34 crimes are rightly seen as a predictable election year by Republicans eager to outdo each other in showing puppy-like devotion to their party’s upcoming elections . be nominated for the White House. Fortunately for the country, all Trump and his Republican sycophants can do is threaten political reprisals — at least for now.

After Inauguration Day in January, they might be able to implement some of those plans for a draw.

For now, it is politically expedient for Trump allies to thunder from the pulpits of the press chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate about a “rigged” system. But it is not good for a judiciary that needs public confidence that everyone is equal before the law.

Shortly after a jury in New York handed down its verdict on Trump, more than a dozen U.S. senators — Republicans, of course — vowed political revenge. They said they will effectively block Congress’ action on, well, just about everything important. Not that Congress had accomplished much yet.

“The White House has ridiculed the rule of law and fundamentally changed our politics in an un-American way. As a Republican Senate Conference, we are unwilling to aid and assist this White House in its project to tear this country apart,” eight senators wrote to the White House. Within a few days, a few more people joined the protest.

“To this end, we will 1) not authorize any increase in non-security funding for this administration, or an appropriations bill that funds partisan political litigation; 2) vote to confirm this administration’s political and judicial appointments; and 3) enable expedited consideration and passage of democratic legislation or authorities that are irrelevant to the security of the American people,” the missive continued.

Florida Republican Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio were among those who endorsed the threat.

Across the Capitol, U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., called Trump’s conviction an emergency and said the U.S. Supreme Court should intervene with some delay. That would certainly be a new approach to appellate law – why wait for Trump’s petition to get through the lower courts when the justices could just take up this petition because this man is special.

And never mind the inscription ‘Equal Justice Under the Law’ above the portico of the Supreme Court.

A Florida lawmaker proposed banning state employees from traveling to the Big Apple on official business — an economic boycott to show those Yankees they can’t treat Palm Beach County’s most famous resident that way. At least there would be a misleading precedent for that. A few years ago, California ordered its state workers to stay out of Florida due to some laws Governor Ron DeSantis signed.

Even a Democrat, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, got involved. He called New York Governor Kathy Hochul to shut the whole thing down and pardon Trump. Phillips, who briefly challenged President Joe Biden during this year’s primaries because he thought the president would lose to Trump, had a good, non-legal reason for his idea: If Trump looks like a martyr, it helps him win .

Hey, maybe both parties should get a preemptive pardon. New York could let Trump go and the FBI would drop Hunter Biden’s charges. The two trials share some similarities, as neither man would appear in court except for his famous name, and no one is ever brought to trial for the types of things they did. (A federal jury convicted Hunter Biden on gun charges last week.)

Taking the Republican senators’ letter seriously is like tying your shoe while walking. It’s probably possible if you’re willing to take a ridiculous position and achieve next to nothing.

Scot sees himself as the next leader of the Republican Senate and Rubio could be on Trump’s vice presidential ticket, and both have law degrees. But they might actually think that in Trump’s case, the White House has “made a mockery of the rule of law.” Yet there is no evidence of Joe Biden’s involvement – ​​other than Trump saying so.

As for blocking judicial appointments or major legislation, Congress’s summer recess and political conventions are not far away. So not many important things will be done before the elections.

Of course, the trials against Trump are political. That included Hunter Biden’s trial, and that of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who face several charges. These are political people, and politics colors everything they do, everything that is done to them.

Bill Cotterell is a retired Capitol reporter for United Press International and the Tallahassee Democrat. He writes a weekly column for The News Service of Florida and City & State Florida. He can be reached at [email protected].


Send letters to the editor (200 words maximum) or your feature columns (approximately 500 words) to [email protected]. Please include your address for verification purposes only, and if you are sending a Your Turn, please also include a photo and a one- to two-line bio of yourself. You can also submit anonymous Zing!’s at Entries will be published on a space available basis. All submissions may be edited for content, clarity and length, and may also be published by any part of the USA TODAY NETWORK.