The “Cancel Culture” rhetoric is an exclusively right-wing phenomenon intended to provide conservatives with a platform for whining about their imaginary victimhood. It is a thoroughly manufactured variant of what they used to call political correctness. Never mind that Republicans, Fox News – and especially the Undisputed King of Cancel Culture, Donald Trump – are more often the perpetrators of the alleged “canceling.”
Now Fox News is upping the ante with their cancellation fixation. While they frequently aimed their animus at targets like children’s toys, or sports figures, or even their own GOP confederates who they deem insufficiently obedient, they have now put the Supreme Court in their sights.
On Wednesday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a case from Mississippi that seeks to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Virtually every media analysis of the proceedings came away with the impression the six conservative justices were strongly leaning toward upholding the Mississippi law that effectively bans abortion. But for some reason, that lockstep concurrence with anti-choice dogma wasn’t enough for Fox News host Laura Ingraham and her ideological twin, Sen. Ted Cruz. They were both incensed about something that was unclear. Perhaps it was the Court’s failure to issue an immediate edict sending all women who have considered abortion to Gitmo for reeducation. You decide…
Ingraham: If we have six Republican appointees on this court, after all the money that has been raised, the Federalist Society, all these big fat cat dinners – I’m sorry, I’m pissed about this – If this court with six justices cannot do the right thing here, the constitutional thing, then I think it’s time to do what Robert Bork said we should do. Which is to circumscribe the jurisdiction of this court and if they wanna blow it up, then that’s the way to change things finally. Because this can’t stand. This is insane.
Cruz: I would do that in a heartbeat. As you know the Constitution gives Congress the authority to restrict the jurisdiction of the court. I think we should do that.
Ingraham is really mad at the possibility that the Supreme Court won’t rule a certain way after “all the money that has been raised” pic.twitter.com/jaHo1uIdfX
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 2, 2021
Wow! Ingraham is actually suggesting that the Supreme Court vote a particular way because of the financial contributions to that position. She believes that if enough money is thrown at a case, the court is obligated to rule in favor of the “fat cats.” Likewise, she thinks that the justices have obligations to the political party of the president that appointed them. She is articulating her vision of a Supreme Brothel that is comprised not of justices, but of obedient political prostitutes.
What’s more, both Ingraham and Cruz are threatening to impose legislative constraints on the Court to limit what kinds of cases it is allowed to hear. There does appear to be a constitutional provision that could permit Congress to impose such constraints. Article III, Section 2 says that…
“In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be a Party, the Supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under “such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”
The phrase granting “such Regulations as the Congress shall make,” is the part that could be interpreted as providing the limiting powers of Congress. But the phrase referencing that “a State shall be a Party,” to the “original Jurisdiction” might mean that any litigation wherein a state is a litigant is exempt from the limiting powers that are only available in matters of “appellate Jurisdiction.” (Constitutional lawyers, feel free to comment).
However, if Congress were to pass legislation dictating what the Court can consider, it would be opening up a Pandora’s Box of controversy. It would mean that the ever changing partisan majorities of Congress could exploit this legal loophole to impact matters as diverse as abortion, guns, civil rights, immigration, religion, voting, etc.
Ingraham and Cruz are clearly eager to risk that future of see-saw constitutionality for what they believe is in their near-term, partisan interest. They could come to regret that. But their support for treating the Court as beholden to money and party politics is unambiguously grotesque and un-America. Which also makes it unmistakably consistent with the Trumpian Republican brand.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.