I invite my fellow progressives / leftists to please feel free to vote me off the Island for saying the following, but ... in the interest of fairness, it should be said that acting AG Matthew Whitaker is right in a certain sense about Marbury v. Madison. To be sure, Matthew Whitaker is indeed a crackpot, and his own utterances, both written and spoken, amply justify that description. But let's be fair to broken clocks: even they are right twice a day. (The full text of Marbury can be found here; a very literate, enlightening, and even-handed summary, here.) The Constitution’s Article III is rather ambiguous, not about the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, but about how “hard-coded” that original jurisdiction is in the Constitution. There are two questions at issue.
It doesn't happen very often that a mere chance utterance ends up subverting the secrecy surrounding what one would have thought were the most clandestine matters pertaining to the security of the Nation. For example, there was the dropped cigar case, containing Gen. Robert E. Lee's detailed plans for the approaching Battle of Antietam, the sheerly accidental finding of which by a lowly Union Army private fundamentally altered the outcome of the battle, contributing to the Federal victory and thereby convincing President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Now we have Kellyanne Conway's ill-advised oh-by-the-way reference to "microwaves" as the medium former President Barack Obama used to spy on the goings-on in Trump Tower during the run-up to the 2016 Election. Since the
Fidelity to the US Constitution, as originally written and as originally understood, is in politics like the virtue of chastity in a bawdy house: more honored in the breach than in the observance. In pragmatic fact, and as a matter of lived experience, one of the requisite skills for being a successful politician, at least at the Federal level, is the ability to speak at a rarefied degree of abstraction and in tones worthy of Cicero, Daniel Webster, Stephen Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln about loyalty to the Constitution … and then, in the next breath, advocate actions and policies indicative of a degree of esteem for the Document only a couple of steps above discount-store toilet paper. There is even a technical term for this cognitive dissonance. It is called “politics”. In the ongoing