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.
I originally intended to publish a column on the 1803 Supreme Court decision Marbury v. Madison last week, 22 November. In fact, I had the column finished, edited, and scheduled when Diane read what I had written and suggested that, instead of publishing the Marbury column then, that perhaps I should preface the Marbury column with a much more autobiographical “Skeptic’s Collection” column (1) narrating how I had become interested in that landmark case in order to (2) give some context for the Marbury column itself, and then (3) subsequently publish the Marbury column the Thursday after – as it turns out, 6 December. Diane’s suggestion was very astute. So the following is a kind of intellectual autobiography of my very-much-ongoing love affair with Marbury v. Madison. Quixotic as it n
I hated saying it the first time, and I hate even more saying it again. The only reason I said it the first time, and the only reason I’m saying it again, is because I think that, for reasons of mental hygiene if nothing else, we progressives / leftists / liberals, i.e., those of us still possessed of a functioning prefrontal cortex, must remain firmly tethered to reality. Besides, in addition to personal hygiene, for the sake of the Nation we dare not follow the fascist-adjacent right, lemming-like, over the cliff of “alternative facts.”
So I will swallow the bitter pill and say it yet again:
(1) There will be no "blue wave" in November
We will more than likely see the usual scenario repeated whereby ... yes, to be sure ... the party holding the White House loses some sea