There is a moment in the third book (or movie) of the Lord of the Rings when Frodo and Sam fall into the hands of the only surviving son and heir to the Steward of Gondor. He realizes they have the magic ring and has to decide what to do with them. He says it is “A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality!” meaning should he take the ring by force or help them on their way.
The story is kinder to Faramir in the book than in the movie but in both cases, he does the right thing and lets them go.
Last night (Nov. 5th), Donald Trump said he had won the election and would litigate the result if Biden prevails in the final count. Trump said he would not be surprised if the case or cases “ended up in the highest court in the land” meaning the Supreme Court where the Republican Senate had just approved his nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to the court in record time.
In Tolkien’s words, this is a chance for the members of the court to “show their quality”.
Much of the discussion of Judge Barrett’s confirmation revolved around her views on Roe Vs. Wade, the landmark ruling making abortion legal in the United States. The Trump administration first nominated Ms. Barret, a law professor, to the United States Court of Appeals in South Bend Indiana in 2017. I understand that her candidacy to the Supreme Court has been supported by Vice President Mike Pence and other evangelical Christians who support President Trump in part for his campaign promise to reverse Roe v.s. Wade.
If Trump is right and this election ends up in the court, then we will see where she and her fellow justices stand on a completely different subject. My guess is that Trump believes he can count on the full support of Judge Barret and the other two justices he has nominated, Bret Kavanaugh and Neil M. Gorsuch. While I am not a legal scholar, I do not think such an interpretation is necessarily correct.
Justice Kavanaugh has made a reference about absentee ballots potentially flipping the result of election day which may indicate that he has sympathy for Trump’s arguments but I am not so sure of Justice Barret and Justice Gorsuch. My guess is they will focus more on their reading of the law and the constitution than some idea of loyalty to President Trump.
Looking at the other members of the court, I find it unlikely that Justice Kagan, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Breyer would support Trump unless there were clear violations of the U.S constitution. Kagan and Sotomayor were nominated by Barak Obama and Justice Breyer by Bill Clinton.
The last three members of the court, Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts were nominated by Republican Presidents but not by Donald Trump. Justices Alito and Robert were nominated by Geoge W. Busch and Justice Thomas by George H. Busch. My guess is that these justices will be more concerned about the rule of law and their own legacy than helping Donald Trump subvert the American election.
In summary, I do not think Trump will find a majority of support in the court even after Justice Barrett’s confirmation.
During his remarks, all of the major television networks except for Fox News cut off the President’s speech and took the time to tell viewers that what he had said was not true and they had not found any evidence of his charges of fraud and conspiracy.
After 17 minutes, Trump left the stage while the handful of reporters who had attended the session shouted questions. As an aide closed the door CNN’s Jim Acosta asked “Mr. President, are you being a sore loser?”
As I write this blog in Barcelona, new count totals from Georgia and Pennsylvania put Biden ahead in those states. If these leads hold then Joe Biden will have won the election and will be the 46th President of the United States next January 20th, regardless of what Donald Trump has to say.