165 Comments

One might reasonably argue that the pardon and then resurrection of Richard Nixon as an elder statesman was the beginning of the end of the GOP. And even 'the rule of law' in the USA.

With Trump, it is not simply a 'mending fences and move on' argument. It's a duck and cover exercise as Republicans go ballistic. Charlottesville grew into Jan 6. But ever since Obama was elected, Republicans have been threatening civil war - not as a metaphor or Proud Boys cosplay, but as all out armed conflict.

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A well written essay on the pith of the constitutional matter. My worry here is that, like the poorly written 2nd amendment in terms of legal clarity, the 14th leaves vague how the determination of participation in insurrection is concluded (the "self-executing", "you know when you see it" aspect is obvious, but legally ambiguous). I fear these will be the weasel words that we'll get from 5 or 6 of the justices - "he hasn't been convicted." This assumes running for office is some right without guardrails. Combined with a slow-walking of the federal case, the matter seems set to go "pitchfork," right around election time. To torture the metaphor, 2024 may be a barnburner of a year.

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What is at stake for America and democracy . . . the Supreme Court’s make or break decision: The rule of law vs. the rule of fear and intimidation. The authority of the Constitution vs. authoritarianism.

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Excellent writing, Prof. Snyder, with clear reasoning. To me, checks and balances and following the rule of law of the Constitution without fear or intimidation is the only path to continued democracy. Standing firm, together ...

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Roger Stone, the intermediary between Trump and the now convicted 1/6 plotters, has not been indicted. Why?

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Twentieth-century fascism showed that when democratic institutions capitulate to the pitchforks, the violence only gets worse--and itself becomes institutionalized. One thing we know for sure about the maga movement is that its hatreds and grievances are unappeasable. A Supreme Court ruling for trump in Anderson v. Griswold would not stop the maga violence, verbal or physical. It would teach the maga terrorists what they can do, giving the cowards much more to fear.

One additional thought: If the Court rules in favor of trump, do the justices voting with the majority themselves become subject to disqualification from their office under the Fourteenth Amendment, section 3, for aiding and abetting? Especially if trump is later convicted in Jack Smith's J6 case?

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Thank you for your clear writing & understandable language.

A Happy Healthy New Year to you, your family & staff. Be well. 🎉🥂🎶🇺🇲

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Thank you for laying this all out so clearly and forcefully, Prof. Snyder. Might I suggest that you offer it to the NYT or Wapo, or another more or less widely read outlet. It needs as wide an audience as possible. Those taking the tack you argue against include some very thoughtful and articulate --and persuasive-- thinkers, and there needs to be push-back of equivalent force.

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thank you for this, Prof. Snyder, in its admirable clarity.

I find it so unnerving to hear people—some of them lawyers—discuss the matter as if it is optional to uphold the Constitution and paramount to appease the threateners (which is batting 1000 historically, having never worked). here is the legal foundation of America, weighed by people who have studied it and supposedly revere it, being hefted against the threat of violence from people who want the Constitution burned, as if the options can only be analyzed by their short-term impacts.

have any of them considered that recommending the SC find the 14th doesn't matter or Trump squeaks through somehow is as you say the end of the Constitution itself, and thus the court's own authority—any and all courts' authority?

their threats re secession and civil war will continue as long as they're allowed to fester in their fetid online lairs, roiling each other's fear and rage, as long as the threats work and go unchallenged.

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Excellent laying out and clarification of the Supreme Court’s responsibility for upholding the rule of law in the face of our American democracy’s existential crisis.

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Unfortunately, several of the Justices have been appointed not because they will be expected to uphold the rule of law, but because the will be expected to facilitate a political outcome. Now, the decision comes down to this...will they betray the powers that elevated them to the bench or will they betray the American people and the US Constitution. With respect to upholding esctablished precedence or even ruling by a consistent contitutional interpretation, it would appear that some of the Justices have already demonstrated their willingness to do the latter.

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A more familiar phrase for this, at least in terms of the law, is the "heckler's veto."

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founding

"The counsel of cowardice -- to fear Americans, and to issue judgements on the basis of fear -- is bad not just for the idea of constitutional order, but for the institutions that make it possible, and for the Supreme Court in particular." Truth at any time. The counsel of cowardice brought about by the promotion of fear is surrendering to hell.

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A wider audience than Dr. Snyder's subscribers needs to read this. New York Times? Washington Post?

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founding

Some of the conservative USSC justices claim to be “originalists”, so we shall see if this holds. We have to hope, too, that the majority will uphold the rule of law and will not decide rulings on fear or for political reasons.

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Yes, the law cannot hold if those in office are cowards. Sadly, the people who have come up through bureaucracy or large traditional organizations (the law and the Army, for example) have been allowed to rise because they don't rock the boat, so they are mostly personally deeply cowardly. Mueller was an absolute coward. Of course he was in the hottest seat but that's when an individual needs to realize they must be personally courageous in the face of threats. Alex Vindman was such a person and he forfeited his job as a result. but he did the right thing, saw the moral imperative and stood up to do what was right for the USA and its citizens.

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