SCOTUS’s Green Light to Gerrymander and Yellow Light on the Census
We begin with the victory handed down to Republicans today by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, who ruled that the federal courts had no role in reigning in partisan gerrymandering, a decision that will favor the GOP’s stranglehold on democracy for decades to come since Democrats already have to win 8% more of the vote just to break even with the Republicans. While some are breathing a sigh of relief that the Trump administration’s push to add a citizenship question to the census was struck down (for now but it could be reversed), we assess the rightward turn of the court since Kavanaugh replaced Kennedy. And although some hold out hope that Chief Justice John Roberts is an institutionalist who does not want the Supreme Court to be blatantly partisan, his major rulings like Citizen’s United and today’s greenlight for the Republicans to gerrymander, clearly benefit Republicans. But his ruling on the census does show that as a textualist he is following the text of the Constitution which calls for all persons in the United States to be counted, thus exposing the hypocrisy of his right wing colleagues in dissent in terms of their claim they strictly interpret the Constitution as written. Ian Millhiser, the author of Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, joins us to discuss his latest article at Think Progress, “It was a terrible day for democracy in the Supreme Court. Don’t let the census case fool you.”
An Assessment of Last Night’s Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Debate
Then we get an assessment of Wednesday night’s first round of Democratic presidential primary debates, in which half of the crowded field of candidates vied for precious airtime to differentiate themselves by staging moments of friction. Elizabeth Warren was the frontrunner among the candidates going into the debate and she was front and center and the winner according to most pundits. We look into whether the warning to reign in the increasingly left-wing rhetoric and policy positions by the more centrist Democrats, so as to not alienate the party’s more conservative voters, was heeded. Matt Angle, a Democratic strategist who directs the Texas Democratic Trust and the Lone Star Project, joins us to assess how much the Democratic candidates’ strategy of not giving Trump any oxygen by mentioning his name, was misplaced since most Democratic voters feel strongly that Trump is a disaster for the country and must be voted out of office as soon and as overwhelmingly as possible.
The Lead Negotiator of the Iran Nuclear Deal
The finally we speak with the lead negotiator of the JCPOA, the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal, Ambassador Wendy Sherman, about the sharp downward turn in US-Iran relations since Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal apparently because it had Obama’s name on it. With Iran under an economic stranglehold and backed into a corner, will they adopt the “Samson” strategy of pulling the whole region down rather than cry uncle to Trump? And with two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Pence and Pompeo believers in the “rapture”, is a religious war on the horizon?