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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Monday, March 18, 2024

March 18, 2024 - Conseqences, Meaness, and All About Joe


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Consequences Count

Supreme Court decisions can look in one of two directions, ‘Originalism’ or ‘Consequentialism.’  The first means sticking to the letter of the law as it appears in the Constitution, the words that were written at the nation’s birth, in its Amendments, or in prior SCOTUS decisions (stare decisis), or combinations of these sources.   ‘Consequentialism’ means looking beyond these ‘Originalist’ bases of decisions and anticipating what their results, or consequences, would be. 

Our present SCOTUS leans in the Originalist direction in its decisions regarding abortion by saying that because the Founding Fathers didn’t put it into the Constitution, not mentioning it meant it was the States’ and not the Federal government’s concern.  As to decisions regarding weapons possession, SCOTUS decisions are solidly based on the final fourteen words of the Second Amendment, also leaving guns as a concern of individual States.

If our SCOTUS were to move away from this Originalist orientation, it would need a basis for doing so, and its Consequentialist decision telling Colorado that it couldn’t knock Donald John Trump off of the presidential primary ballot in that State, regardless of the precise language in Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment saying that it could, did exactly that! 

Jusice Alito's departure from Originalism

Jill Lepore in the New Yorker (March 18 Issue), reporting on the SCOTUS’ unanimously telling Colorado it couldn’t remove Trump from the Colorado ballot, described that decision’s reliance on arguments about potential consequences including ‘conflicting State outcomes.’ The Court’s decision pointed out that ‘an evolving electoral map, for instance, could dramatically change the behavior of voters, parties, and States across the country, in different ways and at different times’ and that ‘nothing in the Constitution requires that we endure such chaos.’  All of a sudden the Originalist SCOTUS became the Consequentialist SCOTUS! And this from the pen of Justice Alito, no less.

The point of this switcheroo is that it means that the SCOTUS is now open to recognizing the consequences of their decisions, something that in recent years, they have not been doing. They never looked at the consequences of their decisions regarding the Second Amendment or abortion rights, but with their flip flop in regard to Colorado’s dependance on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, consequences suddenly became important. 

While many were dismayed by the SCOTUS’ telling Colorado that they could not remove Trump from their ballot, despite what the Constitution specifically said, because of what would be the consequences of such a decision, the way is now open for the Justices to now consider the consequences of their decisions in their approach to abortion and guns.

Out of the darkness of the Supreme Court has come a glimmer of light upon which future decisions can be based.


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What Would Lincoln Do?

A recent letter writer to the local newspaper, in pointing out G.O.P. opposition in Congress to an environmentally favorable piece of legislation, wrote ‘Is there anything positive and good that Republicans stand behind?  To sum it up in a way any young child could understand, they are just plain mean.’ 

It might seem that with the occasional exception of a few syndicated columnists (like Cal Thomas), many newspapers, generally reflect, especially in their opinion and letters pages, a liberal, progressive, standpoint, very close to that of the Democratic Party.

Conservatives and Republicans who object to this fail to recognize that positions based on lies and misrepresentation are difficult or even dishonest to present, and that’s why they don’t appear frequently in most newspapers and media, except for right-wing mouthpieces like the New York Post, FoxNews, Newsmax, and OAN   Thus they accuse mainstream media (MSM) of being biased.

Sooner or later their dishonesty will make the Republican Party into a mere footnote to history, and little more.  They will only be remembered as chronic obstructionists and wouldn’t even warrant that were it not for  Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt both of whom had their own ideas, despite their Republican label.  Neither of them would cast a vote for any Republican today.



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Take the Time to Read About Joe Biden

The March 11 issue of the New Yorker magazine included an excellent article on President Biden and the challenges he faces in the upcoming election.  Unfortunately, the article ran fifteen pages of small print and the magazine is overly optimistic if they believe most its readers will read the entire article.  I scanned through a good portion of it.

After fully describing Biden’s background and political career, the article made the point that the country was in really bad shape when Biden took office.  Still recovering from the Covid epidemic, and the damage it did to the economy, he instituted programs such as the American Rescue Act, and took other steps, including deficit reduction, to get the country back on the right track.  Although all of his goals have not been reached, the nation is well along the path to fully repairing the damage it suffered due to Covid and the defeated former president’s half-baked, backward-looking domestic programs, ridiculed by all but the most reactionary economists and libertarians.

The article pointed out that this message, describing Biden’s very significant accomplishments, has not broken through to the American public.  When the President says something, it is reported in the media, and that’s usually the end of the story except for a few columnists’ remarks.  When the defeated former president speaks, however, it is not only reported in the media, but echoed and re-echoed repeatedly via the conservative internet sites and radical news sources that make no bones about being loyal to him and his aversion to the truth.

These sources have a historic way of dealing with the losses that the Republicans have suffered in most elections over the past four years, and that is patching over a loss with a lie!  When the South lost the Civil War, they ignored the fact that it was fought over the issue of slavery, and promulgated the lie that it was fought to ‘defend States’ rights.’  This led to a corrupted ‘Reconstruction.’

(Some historians still believe that and are among those running around today opposing Critical Race Theory, an academic discipline that recognizes the influence of historic facts concerning race on our politics and government.)

Similarly, when President Biden’s predecessor in office lost the 2020 election, he concocted the lie that he really won that election, leading to the January 21, 2021 Capitol rioting and the glue holding together the fractious Republican majority in the House.  Their modus operandi became the act of challenging the truth with lies, hoping enough voters will believe them.  

The article dwelt on the challenge this poses to President Biden’s 2024 campaign.  If you have the time, read it at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/03/11/joe-biden-profile or by  CLICKING HERE.


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 Housekeeping on Jackspotpourri


I don’t know why but I still am getting a large number of ‘hits’ on Jackspotpourri from Singapore.  They might represent individual internet users, or possibly a government, business, academic, or private entity.  I just don’t know.  If any Singaporean has an explanation, please let me know by Email (jacklippman18@gmail.com).  And if you don’t want to send me such an Email, I will understand.

Email Alerts:  If you are NOT receiving emails from me alerting you each time there is a new posting on Jackspotpourri, just send me your email address and we’ll see that you do.  And if you are forwarding a posting to someone, you might suggest that they do the same, so they will be similarly alerted. You can pass those email addresses to me by email at jacklippman18@gmail.com.

Forwarding Postings: Please forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it. Friends, relatives, enemies, etc.

If you want to send someone the blog, you can just tell them to check it out by visiting https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com or you can provide a link to that address in your email to them. 

 There’s another, perhaps easier, method of forwarding it though!   Google Blogspot, the platform on which Jackspotpourri is prepared, makes that possible.  If you click on the tiny envelope with the arrow at the bottom of every posting, you will have the opportunity to list up to ten email addresses to which that blog posting will be forwarded, along with a brief comment from you.  Each will receive a link to click on that will directly connect them to the blog.

 Either way will work, sending them the link to https://jackspotpourri.blogspot.com, or clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this posting.

 Again, I urge you to forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it, particularly if they are a registered voter.  This is an election year.  Spread the word.



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