That email server seems a little less important now, doesn’t it? Now that the Supreme Court — loaded with three Trump-appointed justices who pledged to respect precedent, and then didn’t — has overturned decades of settled law and, throwing out constitutional rights left and right, all the brouhaha over Hillary’s emails, the server, Benghazi or other excuses kinda pale by comparison, right? Let’s recap.
After all, it’s kind of unfathomable, if not impossible to imagine, that a President Hillary Clinton would have nominated three justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade; end affirmative action as a way to fight discrimination and advance opportunity; prohibit a president from forgiving student loans, or allow businesses to refuse service to same sex couples. (Didn’t we settle that one at Woolworth lunch counters in the 60s?)
Make no mistake, this Supreme Court, with no respect for precedent, is coming next for whatever other rights they can possibly take away or reverse, no matter how important or hard fought to achieve. They’re not done.
The Trump presidency will affect the lives of millions of people for generations to come because of three judicial appointments.
I bring up Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton for anyone who has ever refrained from voting because they have concluded their vote doesn’t matter. Hillary lost the presidency in 2016 by losing Pennsylvania by all of 44,000 votes; that’s 26 votes per Division here in Philadelphia. Twenty-six votes/Division in Philadelphia, and she wins PA!!
Elections have consequences
That would have meant the difference in Pennsylvania. A different outcome in that Presidential election, and today, women would still be in control of their reproductive health. Universities would still be free to value diversity in their admission decisions. The U.S. President would be able to forgive student loans as a policy response to inequality. Your one vote does matter, in all local, state and federal elections.
Elections have consequences, and those consequences can affect your life in various ways. Presidents nominate people to the Supreme Court for lifetime terms. The Trump presidency will affect the lives of millions of people for generations to come because of three judicial appointments.
After the decision overturning his student debt forgiveness program, President Biden said “I still have great faith in the American people.” He’s right. I do, too. When I was mayor, every time a tough decision came across my desk, I had to live with the consequences of making those decisions and think about the impact of those decisions on a variety of people and constituencies. Sometimes I got it right, and sometimes I got it wrong. And then you get up the next day and try to do better. Citizens have to live with the consequences of deciding to vote or not to vote.
Citizens have to live with the consequences of deciding to vote or not to vote.
But our faith in the wisdom of our citizens means nothing if that citizen is too disinterested to make their voices heard. Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. Sixty percent of Americans support Roe v. Wade. Nearly 60 percent support affirmative action. Seventy percent support equal rights for members of LBGTQ+ community. And yet the Supreme Court has rescinded all those rights, based on ideology, not precedent, or even where the American public has moved as a society on issues of rights.
We were all rightly outraged on January 6, 2021, when we witnessed an attempted coup in progress. But we are a country of laws, rules and a living Constitution that was made long ago and must evolve in its interpretation to the times. What do we call it when majority opinion no longer matters? Voting is the currency of your rights and freedoms — freedom ain’t free. Our ancestors and others paid for it with blood, sweat, tears, even death — and voting. Still think your vote doesn’t count?
Michael A. Nutter was the 98th mayor of the City of Philadelphia, serving from 2008-2016.