Democracy in Descent
Events and decisions inhospitable to democratic standards continued this week.
First, authoritarian leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan won another five-year term as Turkey’s President in the first election under a new constitution that weakened Parliament and removed the post of prime minister. Erdogan could serve until 2028 if he seeks a second term. His Islamist-rooted AK Party and its nationalist allies also secured a parliamentary majority.
UNDERMINING THE FREE PRESS
Second, in a S. Carolina rally Trump continued to inoculate his followers from facts and the press by spreading lies and demeaning journalist. Even before the event began, Trump supporters chanted “Go home, Jim!” at CNN’s Jim Acosta. During his remarks, Trump pointed to the press pen at the back of the room, calling them “The enemy of the people.” Trump undermines the free press so that his base believes false claims like the recent comment that, “(People) came into see me last week they said we’d like to hire 5,000 more (immigration) judges.”
Finally, while justice may be blind, it needn’t be ignorant. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court sees otherwise. In two pivotal, five to four decisions handed down this week, the majority eschewed real-world facts. Disregarding any ill-intent behind the respective laws’ enactment and enforcement, the Court instead essentially confined their review to the written law. The first case overturned a challenge to Republican drawn, gerrymandered Congressional Districts in Texas while the second overturned Trump’s travel ban. Basically, these decisions indicate that this court would find discrimination only upon finding discriminatory language within the redistricting legislation or immigration order. Otherwise, the court defers to the institutional power. However, the judiciary’s role as set forth in the U.S. Constitution goes far beyond the mere “proof reading” of laws.