Keeping up with news and current affairs is honestly not high up on my list of priorities these days. In fact, it’s not on my list at all. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I honestly didn’t learn about George Floyd’s death until weeks after it had happened. And the shenanigans in both Seattle and Portland also only hit my radar weeks after the events had already concluded.
But, despite my best efforts to stay ignorant, the news of Amy Coney Barrett winding her way this week through Senate Confirmation Hearings to become a SCOTUS justice, which is of course a lifetime appointment, is honestly so fascinating that I’m going to dedicate today’s entry to the subject.
This story is so rich and interesting on so many levels. Good lord, where to start.
Merrick Garland being stonewalled for a year… RBG dying with less than two months left to go… Ginsburg, for all of her many accomplishments, really messed this one up. I know it’s bad form to speak ill of the dead (RIP RBG), but IMHO, she really screwed this one up royally. I understand the allure of wanting to be replaced by the country’s first female president. I really do. But I really don’t think Ginsburg calculated the worst-case-scenario on this one. Barrett’s going to undo Roe vs Wade and RBG’s entire legacy and life work. Ginsburg had a chance to let Obama pick her successor. But she wanted glory and to make history. And now here we are.
One important takeaway from this whole sad fiasco is that we need to be cognizant of not being swept away our own imaginary narratives that we’re constantly playing through our heads. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you’re imagining your own life story as a Ron Howard movie, some Oscar-winning masterpiece for the ages. And so you want to hit the predictable plot beats to provide the non-fiction events that’ll be fodder for that sweet, sweet Academy Award bait. I know it; you know it; we all play this fantasy reel in our minds.
But don’t get caught in the trap.
Your narrative is entirely imaginary in your own head. And as they say: “If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.”
RBG got caught in the trap; in the fiction of her own imaginary self-created narrative. Giving the baton next to Hillary to let the first female president in American history anoint her successor. And, well, then things didn’t break the way she thought they would. So now we have consequences of that gross, grotesque miscalculation.
Don’t make the mistake RBG did. Get out of your own head. Pay attention to what’s actually going on around you. And always account for the worst possible scenario.
Because if you don’t; it may just happen.
PS. As a silver lining I’m actually a fan of Barrett ascending to the highest bench in the land. Up until now, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia (and especially Harvard and Yale) have had a near monopoly on SCOTUS justices. Sure, they’re good schools. Nothing wrong with going to Harvard, Yale, or Columbia; I won’t hold it against you. But they’re not exactly, uh, representative of the United States of America, right? Our fair country of ~330 million; most of whom, to state the obvious, did not attend one of these three schools. (To give a little context, there are 237 law schools in the country.) HYC are among the most selective schools not just in the US but on the face of planet earth. Barrett is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School which has appointed a whopping ZERO number of SCOTUS justices. It’s just my humble opinion but I generally think this is good. Between HYC, those three schools account for something like A THIRD of all SCOTUS justices who have ever sat on the court in the ~244 years that America has existed.
SCOTUS needs to represent all of us, all American citizens. And c’mon, Real Talk for a moment: Notre Dame is an elite school too. (President Bartlet, the best president in American history (with apologies to FDR and Lincoln; you guys are a close second and third, respectively), graduated from Notre Dame! Go Fighting Irish!) So for this reason, I like Barrett getting the nod.