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Caseythoughts Seems like a lot of small but significant things are bouncing around my brain like an old-fashioned pinball game, so my best bet is to keep to short shots across the bow. Or is that across the brow?

I must make a comment on the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the political firestorm created by her prospective replacement on the court. I may not have agreed with every pronouncement Ginsburg was associated with on the court, but that woman will be honored for a very long time in American history as the epitome of guts and persistence. Finishing first in her law school class and aiding a sick husband, she found that law firms didn’t wish to hire a woman, a real-world taste of discrimination on the basis of sex that helped launch one of the greatest career stories of modern America. The woman who will sit in her seat on the court will have an enormous task of equaling her vision, her brilliance, and her firm belief in justice for all. RIP RBG.

I would like to point out that there are a few historical parallels to this controversial appointment. One goes back to 1800, when John Adams lost a bid for a second term to Thomas Jefferson, although the electoral vote was initially a tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. This was a constitutional crisis in its own time. After the vote was decided in the House of Representatives, Adams did what was called a series of ‘midnight appointments’ to the federal courts on the last day of his term. This angered Jefferson and his supporters, since it was believed the appointments were Jefferson’s right as the newly elected president.

Not quite a parallel situation to our present controversy, but Jefferson’s quote was one that perhaps was apropos. He wrote: “It seemed but common justice to leave a successor free to act by instruments of his own choice.” Thus, the original controversy over court nominations between administrations began. It took a year, and fast legislative footwork, but Jefferson got his way, as the Federalist party shadow waned, then disappeared into history.

Now, one more story linking a recent local event with the Supreme Court. This is a tenuous connection, but one you might find interesting.

The defacement of the American flag at IPD last week was, in my humble opinion, a shameful act, which even the mayor stated, “was clearly meant to provoke” and “outside the bounds”.

I will first state that those who are angry have a right to be, since that opinion is as protected as the act of burning the flag. Yes it is, and I don’t really want to hear anyone say ‘people died for that flag’. I have to tell you that if I personally went to war for anything, it was for the freedom that flag represents, not the flag itself. As a fellow Vietnam vet once cynically told me after his first firefight, he “realized I wasn’t fighting for no flag, but just to stay alive”, and he’s right about that.

Burning the flag is a constitutional right, affirmed by a 1989 Supreme Court decision. I have an anecdote about that decision that looks back to the tenuous connection I spoke of. Amy Coney Barrett was one of Antonin Scalia’s favorite law clerks. Scalia wrote the dissent in that 1989 flag burning case, arguing against the majority that flag desecration was not a First Amendment right, in his opinion. The story goes that the morning after that decision became public, he came down to his kitchen to find his wife loudly humming “It’s a grand old flag, it’s a high flyin’ flag”, just to irk him.

Trump may have a perfect constitutional right to nominate a replacement prior to the most controversial election in our modern history, but it is indicative of his character that he would ignore the dictum ‘do the right thing’. Apparently, the current motto in the White House has been stolen from the Zuckerberg crown jewels: “move fast and break things”. Surely this is another reason to find a replacement for the chief executive. Maybe then prosecutors can, in the whispered words of Deep Throat, “Follow the money.”

Please make sure you’re registered to vote. Take care of each other. Thanks for listening.

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