You know that quintessential '80s villain archetype who sidles up to a lady and thrusts his body against her and coos, "hey baby, you know you want it" like he's God's gift to women? That's basically what Donald Trump just did in Iowa.
"If you really like Donald Trump, that's great, but if you don't, you have to vote for me anyway," he bellowed at the crowd. (It's around the 1:20:00 mark in the video below, though I don't recommend watching it while eating.) "Have no choice, sorry, sorry. Sorry," he added, laughing. "You have no choice."
His explanation for that: "Supreme Court judges." Let's set aside the minor technicality that there ARE no Supreme Court judges — they're justices, which are different — because he is as correct as any broken clock. Yes, the next president will get to shape the Supreme Court. It's a big deal. So what's Trump's plan?
As luck would have it, Donald released a Supreme Court wishlist a couple of months ago, and naturally all of the names on it are horrifying or weird or both. They are also all white. There's Don Willett, a Texas Supreme Court justice, who is an activist for government displays of Christian slogans. And Raymon Gruender, a judge who upheld a law that required doctors to tell women that abortions kill human beings. And William Pryor, a former Alabama attorney general who said that Roe v. Wade manufactured "a constitutional right to murder an unborn child."
What a fun group of guys.
It's a little weird that Donald released a list at all — generally politicians don't do that — but he also provided a clue as to its source: the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, both conservative organizations. Since Trump himself has demonstrated no interest in the actual day-to-day of governance, it's likely that those groups are pulling the strings on nominations.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is still burdened with an empty chair, and poor Merrick Garland has broken the record for the longest nomination period without a hearing. A new survey shows that voters are pretty unhappy about that, so if there's any silver lining, it's that obstructionist Republicans might actually lose their seats over holding him up.
Aggravatingly, his clerks are making it to the Supreme Court before Garland is. At least four of his clerks have been hired by the Supreme Court since he was nominated — one by Justice Roberts, one by Breyer, and two by Kagan.
That open seat, and the probably-looming departure of several more justices (sorry, guys, but the reaper comes for us all) has everyone fairly tense. It's still way too early to know all of the cases that the court will hear in 2016-2017, but we do know that we'll hear cases on sentencing, redistricting, disability accommodations, detained immigrants, the death penalty, the separation of church and state, and patents and copyright.
It's anyone's guess who Trump would actually nominate to the court, as is the case with Hillary. (Personally, I'd like to see her nominate Barack and Michelle, both of whom were licensed to practice law before giving it up for other careers.)
But this "you have no choice" business is just flat-out nauseating and awful and unfortunately completely accurate. If you're conservative, you really don't have any other choice but Trump. If you're progressive, you have no choice but Hillary. That's just the way our system works. I hate it when Donald's right about something.