Trump Aims to Replace Supreme Court Justice Kennedy with a Rock-Solid Fascist

Yes, the Future IS on the Line, and Everyone Who Sees That Needs to ACT On It

July 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


The announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy is going to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door wide to a decisive leap in the consolidation of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and to a nightmarish vista in which The Handmaid’s Tale is less and less an intriguing dystopian fantasy, and more and more the road map to a future that is barreling down the highway towards us at nerve-shattering speed.

As we wrote last week: “This should not be seen as a mere wake-up call, but an air-raid siren screaming as night falls and the planes draw near.”

What Is on the Line with This Appointment?

Kennedy voted with the fascist court majority in a recent string of reactionary rulings. He upheld Trump’s Muslim Ban; approved the “right” of a Christian baker in Colorado to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding; upheld gerrymandering in North Carolina and purges of the voter rolls in Ohio, both aimed at suppressing Black and Latino votes; protected the deceitful practices of California “crisis pregnancy centers” that masquerade as “clinics” in order to convince women not to get abortions; undercut unions in Illinois; and much more. As we wrote last week, he “could only be called ‘moderate’ in the context of the Dark Ages fascists that now make up the solid core of the Court.” In fact, Kennedy had been moving more closely into alignment with the fascist forces that now rule the U.S.

Nevertheless, whoever Trump nominates to replace Kennedy will come from a list produced by the right-wing Federalist Society and vetted for people who support Trump’s “promise” to overturn Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion. And this will be a tipping point, consolidating the Supreme Court as a reliably compliant, and indeed aggressive, defender of the fascist regime.

There are two major components. First, Kennedy was not fully in line with the Christian fascist agenda for tearing up women’s abortion and reproductive rights and persecuting LGBTQ people. He was the deciding vote in three decisions that infuriated the Christian fascists: striking down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, upholding the legality of gay marriage, and blocking some laws aimed at shutting down women’s clinics that provide abortion.

Right now, dozens of state legislatures have passed bills essentially banning abortion (for instance, making it illegal after six weeks of gestation—before most women even know they are pregnant) and legalizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination if it is based on “sincerely held” religious belief. Many of these laws will end up before the Supreme Court, and with Kennedy gone many or most of these extreme laws will be affirmed by the Court. Mainstream legal expert Jeffrey Toobin predicts that “abortion will be illegal in 20 states in 18 months,” and this is likely an underestimation of how rapid and sweeping the assault on women’s rights will be. The stripping away of the right of women to decide when and whether to bear children is at the core of whether women are considered fully human, and cripples their ability to enter freely and fully into all realms of society. This will signal a leap backwards in the patriarchal subjugation of women. This re-subjugation (after a period of reforms) has been, and is, a cornerstone of every fascist regime, and this one is not only no different but aims to outdo them all.

But the firming up of a consistently fascist majority on the Court has profound implications even beyond the fact that it clears the way for Christian theocratic remaking of society.

A key part of the consolidation of fascist rule is the elevation of the power of the executive branch decisively above that of the other branches (legislative and judicial). And within the executive, elevating “the leader” as really the sole center of authority is key.

Vast executive power is now concentrated in Trump’s hands, surrounded by a tiny core of fascist enablers who worship, follow, and obey him. The Republican Party, now entirely “Trumpified,” controls Congress and wields it as an instrument to protect Trump and attack his enemies, ripping up the existing rules and norms to do so.

But the courts have been more of a problem—major moves by the regime have repeatedly been struck down by district federal courts. Yes, the regime has found “end runs” around these decisions and has been rapidly implementing its fascist agenda, but these decisions have been a problem. They undercut Trump’s legitimacy, form a rallying point especially for his opponents within the ruling class, and have at least the potential to cause a constitutional crisis, in which different branches of government clash over major issues, and lines of authority, including military authority, become unclear.

Trump has been working on the courts, appointing fascists to district and appeals court benches at an unprecedentedly rapid clip. But solidifying control of the Supreme Court creates a whole new situation. Not only can the Supreme Court strike down any particular lower court decision that gets in the way of the regime, but it also sets the terms for the whole judicial system. One aspect of this is that lower courts are much less likely to issue rulings against the regime if they know that their decisions will ultimately be overruled by the Supreme Court.

So the addition of a single solid fascist to the Supreme Court will play a huge role in suppressing all opposition to Trump coming from within the ruling class and its governing institutions.

Recent developments—particularly the government’s “disappearing” of thousands of refugee children—have unleashed a powerful wave of opposition, including major street protests, mass civil disobedience, and public shaming of regime officials. And many people, including prominent people, have passionately expressed that the U.S. is right now at a point of extreme crisis in which fascism is about to entrench itself, and called on people to be ready to make great sacrifices to stop this.

In the face of this, ruling class liberals are arguing more strenuously than ever to vote as an answer to this. Even taken on its own terms, this logic does not work—voting in November will do nothing to stop the consolidation of the Court into a direct instrument of fascism, given that Trump will this week begin pushing through his nominee. Yet there are more fundamental reasons why this is a trap laid out in the clip and quotes from Bob Avakian at right and below.

What is very directly needed right now to deal with the import of the Kennedy resignation is massive action around the demand that the regime go—the first, critically important step is set for Saturday, July 7, when Refuse Fascism has called for people to take to the streets in cities and towns nationwide. As the call for the July 7 demonstrations states:

We—the masses of people—must act to stop this whole fascist program and demand that this illegitimate, immoral, regime be removed from power.

This cannot wait until November. The Trump/Pence regime will not be bound by the normal political process—they are shattering norms, remaking the courts, radically altering the whole political and global landscape. The Democratic Party will not stop this. For them, empire and order is more important than justice, even if that means the order of fascism.

On July 7: Join Refuse Fascism, mobilize your organization or your friends and neighbors and take to the streets across the country to raise the demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

These right-wing politicians (generally grouped within the Republican Party) can, will, and do actively mobilize this essentially fascist social base...yet, on the other side, the sections of the ruling class that are more generally represented by the Democratic Party are very reluctant to, and in fact resistant to, mobilizing...the base of people whose votes and support in the bourgeois political arena the Democrats seek to gain. This (Democratic Party) side of the ruling class generally is not desirous of—and in fact recoils at the idea of—calling that base into the streets, mobilizing them either to take on the opposing forces in the ruling class and their social base or in general to struggle for the programs that the Democratic Party itself claims to represent and actually in some measure does seek to implement....

As an amplification of the basic point here, it is important to recognize this: Within the framework of the capitalist-imperialist system, and with the underlying dynamics of this system, which fundamentally set the terms, and the confines, of “official” and “acceptable” politics, fascism—that is, the imposition of a form of dictatorship which openly relies on violence and terror to maintain the rule and the imperatives of the capitalist-imperialist system—is one possible resolution of the contradictions that this system is facing—a resolution that could, at a certain point, more or less correspond to the compelling needs of this system and its ruling class—while revolution and real socialism, aiming toward the final goal of communism, throughout the world, is also a possible resolution of these contradictions, but one that would most definitely not be acceptable to the capitalist-imperialist ruling class nor compatible with the imperatives of this system!

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:11

Constitution, Law, and Rights – in capitalist society and in the future socialist society

This compilation brings a truly unique perspective to a subject that is of critical importance for all those concerned with social justice: Constitution, law, and rights.

Read more about this compilation here

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Watch this Clip: "Why is it the Democrats can only try to resolve this on the terms of the system?"

We can’t be simple-minded if we’re going to actually do what needs to be done, especially if we are going to make the kind of revolution we need to make. You have to look at what’s been building in this society for quite a while now.

It’s helpful to look at it kind of like a pyramid....And if you look at this kind of pyramid thing, on the top of this pyramid is the ruling class and its different political representatives, which (even though it may be a bit oversimplified) we can look at as the Democrats on one side and the Republicans on the other. And for decades now these people who are grouped around Bush and the kind of people that they represent have been working and preparing a whole thing in society—a whole infrastructure you might call it—a whole structure within the society itself that could move this society in a whole different way towards a fascistic kind of thing when things come to that.

Look at this whole religious fundamentalist thing they’ve got. This is an effort to deliberately build up a base of people, millions and millions and millions of people, who are frightened by the idea of thinking—I’m serious—people who cannot deal with all the “complicatedness,” all the complexity of modern society, who want simple absolute answers to the complexities of this society....

On the other hand, here are the Democrats at the top of this pyramid (on the so-called “left”). Who are the people that they try to appeal to—not that the Democrats represent their interests, but who are the people that the Democrats try to appeal to at the base, on the other side of this pyramid, so to speak? All the people who stand for progressive kinds of things, all the people who are oppressed in this society. For the Democrats, a big part of their role is to keep all those people confined within the bourgeois, the mainstream, electoral process...and to get them back into it when they have drifted away from—or broken out of—that framework....

This is significant in itself but it also demonstrates a positive potential in terms of revolution. I’m not saying that we are on the threshold of revolution right now, but just looking down the road, and looking at the potential, one of the things that leads to a revolutionary situation is that millions and millions of people feel that something is intolerable. They want certain leaders at the top of society to lead them in doing something about it, but those leaders are not in the position to and don’t want to lead them in doing it—so whom do they turn to? The people who are willing and determined to lead them to do it and to take it somewhere. So this is a situation that’s full of great danger; but the same situation—or the other side of the contradiction—is that it holds much positive potential for struggle now and for revolution as things unfold.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:10

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