The Question that Justice Sonia Sotomayor Should Have Asked About Absolute Immunity for Presidents

Last week's Supreme Court hearing in Trump v. United States (as accurate a case name as I've seen), aka "The One About Immunity from Prosecution," was, to put it mildly, a shitshow at the monkeyfuck factory. In a case that should never have been taken, at least 5 of the justices, all the men, seemed to actually believe that Donald Trump and, presumably (but who knows), every president should have some immunity from being charged and tried as a criminal from acts done while president. In this case, it's to try to get Trump out of any responsibility for the January 6 insurrection, which Special Counsel Jack Smith is trying to get to trial. Frankly, the hearing was a disgrace, a disgusting display of a deviant ideology that was disposed of in the goddamned Declaration of Independence. These right-wing dickholes actually tried to come up with ways that laws don't apply to a president. 

Indeed, it wouldn't have been surprising if the ghost of Benjamin Franklin had appeared and sodomized the corrupt asses of Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch and others with a rolled up copy of the founding document, all while yowling that "We didn't risk getting hanged and having everything we love taken from us for you dismal cunts to go back to having a fucking king; now take the whole Declaration, bitches," as the drunken ghosts of Jefferson, Adams, and Robert Livingston cheered him on. 

Early in the arguments, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked Trump's attorney, D. John Sauer, the question on everyone's mind: "If the president decides that his rival is a corrupt person and he orders the military or orders someone to assassinate him, is that within his official acts for which he can get immunity?" And Sauer gave the answer that everyone expected: "It would depend on the hypothetical.  We can see that could well be an official act." In other words, "Yes." In otherer words, the president can render the death penalty without any due process at all. In otherest words, there really is no difference between a president and a king and fuck the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the entire history of the country. 

Later in the hearing, Alito tried to throw aside Sotomayor's speculation about assassinations like he tosses civil rights into the garbage. "I think one could say it's not plausible that that is legal, that that action would be legal," Alito stammered to Sauer, trying to unfuck the fucked up implications of what he plainly believes. "And --and I'm sure you've thought --I've thought of lots of hypotheticals, I'm sure you've thought of lots of hypotheticals, where a president could say, I'm using an official power, and yet the president uses it in an absolutely outrageous manner." 

See, what Sotomayor should have asked at that moment of panicky bullshit from Alito was "Could President Biden decide Justice Alito is corrupt and order that he be assassinated? Is that an official act for which he could get immunity?" Because then Sauer would have had to repeat his answer that it "could well be an official act" and then that puts things in fucking stark territory: A vote to uphold this insanity is a vote for your own murder. 

That's the thing that annoys the shit out of me about the Supreme Court. Only rarely do the justices allow that their decisions might have an impact on themselves, or, you know, real people in general. I know that they're supposed to put that out of their heads, that they're supposed to concentrate on dry issues of the law (which is how, earlier in the week, a case about allowing abortions to save women's lives became a discussion of the fucking spending clause in the Constitution, even as the women on the court tried to assert the bloody reality of the situation). But this would have have been the perfect moment to remind some conservative motherfuckers that their own asses are on the line here. 

Hell, Sotomayor could have gone scorched earth and asked, "Could President Biden decide that Justice Alito and his whole family need to be murdered for the good of the country as part of his duty to protect the nation and still be immune from prosecution? Could he order the killing of Justice Alito's grandchildren in order to end the Alito bloodline? Could he have Justice Thomas's wife, Ginni, a true enemy of democracy, eliminated?" What's the fucking limit? That's a legitimate question if you're going to entertain the completely irrational idea that a president is above the law. 

See, all this shit has consequences. It's fucking time that the Supreme Court justices are asked how they would like the consequences of their decisions enacted on them. The rest of us sure as fuck will have to deal with them.

(Note: I know that Trump's lawyers said that the only way that said murderer/president might face some sanction is if they're impeached and convicted and thrown out of office. But they also argued in 2021 that Trump shouldn't be convicted in his second impeachment trial because he could face criminal charges after he's out of office. So, really, none of the process shit matters, and it's time we stop pretending that it does.)


GOP Ignores Trump's Crimes and Makes Up Shit About a Crime Wave

There's a charming-ass Facebook group that Zuckerberg's algorithm regularly feeds to my, well, feed. It's a little ray of sunshine since the posts are all by people from other countries talking about their trips to New York City. And while some things will make any local cringe, like they really seem to love pedicab rides or they call the World Trade Center Memorial just "9/11" (as in "we went to 911"), the authors, from New Zealand or Indonesia or Argentina or Austria, mostly unabashedly really fucking love NYC. They share tips on places to go or stay or eat. They post their itineraries and ask for comment on if it's doable. Like I said, just charming as hell.

One topic a bunch of them write about is something that comes as a surprise to them: they say how safe they felt all the time. They felt safe in Times Square or Greenwich Village or Central Park. They felt safe walking at night and in the subways. They heard that crime was out of control or there was a plague of unhoused people or just that New York City was a hellscape, an unending gauntlet of murder, robbery, rape, and assault. Then they get here and...it's just not any of that. They let the group, which includes tons of people planning trips, know that they always felt perfectly fine. 

Right now, in the cities of the United States, especially in the biggest cities in blue states, while there is still crime and there will always be crime, no shit, we are living through a golden age of safety and security. Hell, up here in the evil, sinful Northeast, we don't even own many guns. Less than 20% of people in New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are gun owners. On a per capita basis, it's like 5-10 guns per 1000 people. So "lots of fucking guns" is not the reason for crime to be going down. 

I mean, shit's just getting better and better after a hiccup of a crime surge during the pandemic (no sports and no work makes for a clusterfuck of factors). The murder rates in a huge number of cities is "plummeting." In Philadelphia, the murder rate in 2024 is down 34% from the same time in 2023; in Boston, it's down 82%. Even in notoriously murdery places, it's down: 39% in New Orleans and 30% in Baltimore. Chicago is down only 7%, but that's still lower. In 2023, we had one of the biggest drops in the murder rate and in the overall violent crime rate ever. This year is looking to be even better. 

Yet if you listen to Donald Trump and Republicans and the empty douches in right-wing media, you'd think that we're just one carjacking away from the complete collapse of cities into complete fucktastrophes. For instance, down on Fox "news," snarling shit badger Laura Ingraham snarled, "We all know communities don't feel safer...there's no meaningful change in the policies that are making America more dangerous." See, though, there's a big fucking difference between "feeling" safer and actually being fucking safer. Anecdotes and feelings are not facts. And who the hell is making communities feel unsafe? Shit badgers like Ingraham and actual goddamn criminals, like the extravagantly felonious Trump, whose real crimes Republicans eagerly and desperately ignore. 

They do the same goddamn thing all the time. In 2022, the GOP tried to run on a fake "crime wave" engulfing the nation and it failed. Now, they are doing it again except this time they've merged the fearmongering over migrants at the southern border and crime, and now you've got what Trump dumbly says is "Biden migrant crime" occurring around the United States. "There has never been a border so bad. People coming in at levels nobody has ever seen with the people. Where are they coming from? Criminals like never before pouring into our country," Trump slurred at one of his clown carnivals of the damned. All over the right, you'd think the Hottentots were at our door, ready to scalp us and rape us and rob us, not necessarily in that order. 

Except, of course, they aren't. There is no migrant crime wave, and the reason why is pretty fucking obvious. What idiot, after traveling for a thousand miles or more, through awful conditions and with the assistance of criminals, would want to call attention to themselves by committing crimes? That's a good way to get kicked the fuck out. It makes no sense at all. But that doesn't stop Trump from sayin, no shit, "Crime is down in Venezuela by 67% because they're taking their gangs and their criminals and depositing them very nicely into the United States." Except, of course, it's not down 67%. It's down, just not as much, because of a number of factors, none of which are that they're sending all "their gangs and their criminals" here.

But Republicans and dickhead podcasters, reporters, and commentators are just gonna keep flogging that myth, that lie about crime. Facts can go fuck themselves to death. Sure, of course, people are still gonna get killed and beaten and robbed in New York City. Over 8 million people live up here, and add another couple million for the metro area. But to pretend that an unabashed good - the low crime rate - is a lie made up to actively do harm, not just to Democratic politicians. 

It's an attack on the poverty-stricken people from south of the border who are seeking a safer place to live because of the crime in their countries. And it's an attack on the psyche of Americans, making them paranoid and angry and voting for assholes who would undo the progress that's been made so far.


We Can't Rely on People to Just Vote Against Trump; They Have to Vote For Biden

All this Trump shit can get exhausting, can't it? Watching this hemorrhoid in human form day in and day out as he blusters about perceived attacks by migrants and judges, ranting his brain-fucked comparisons between himself and Nelson Mandela or Jesus or Al Capone? And then we check the news on one of his four trials, whether it's the one where he paid off the porn star he fucked to keep her quiet, or the one where he tried to get the Georgia Secretary of State to change the vote, or the one where he stole classified documents and refused to give them back, or the one where he tried to get people to violently overthrow the government for him, and we see them moving at a speed that would make glaciers say, "Jesus, pick it up already." But we get signs and omens, reading every filing, every decision, with voices echoing on social media that this time he's fucked up and it'll all come crashing down or this time Judge Cannon has gone too far and will be booted from the case or this time he's violated a gag order and will have to be jailed, all the tweets and threads and memes and toks that tik ready to soothe and satisfy that raging hard-on for Trump to finally be undone, for this to be over, when, really, truly, we know in our heart of hearts, that it will never be over, that we are damned to the mental Sisyphean task of rolling that boulder of hope up the hill of justice, only to see it tumble back down once again, and we know, as much as we try to resist, that we're gonna roll that fucker up one more time. 

The exhaustion is of a piece. It's much like he's trying to exhaust the court with his lawyers filing endless motions in an effort to delay his trials (or, more precisely, the verdicts) until after the election when enough dumb voters doom the country to four more years of Trumpian fuckery and lawlessness. I've read a bunch of Trump's motions, and even though I'm not a lawyer, they come across as ludicrous and desperate, like a starving methhead firing his AR into the woods, hoping it hits something that he can eat later. And our attention to all that plays into the exhaustion. 

Worse, this attempt to put order into the chaos Trump continues to force us to experience has made the public not see that, by most measures, the presidency of Joe Biden has been something of a miracle. If the zone wasn't flooded with MAGA bullshit, we'd understand that we're living through an incredible time in the United States.

Look at this shit:

The surging labor market has been defying expectations for so long that experts now say we're in a "sweet spot" for employment. Job openings are "historically high," and layoffs have been "near a historic low" for the last two years. Support for unions has grown tremendously, and now we need to move that into growth in membership. Sure, wages aren't where they need to be, which has been true for decades, and the refusal of corporations to lower prices in the wake of inflation subsiding is aggravating as hell. But I'll bet your 401k is doing pretty damn well.

Despite what the bloodbath-mongers on the right say, violent crime in the United States has been declining for the last two years after rising during peak Covid (the combination of lockdowns, no sports, and lots of guns is dangerous, it seems). It's all falling: murder, rape, assault, robbery. And even though Republicans keep humping the story that New York City is an unlivable hellhole like it's a Mom for Liberty they're not married to, it's so goddamned safe up here that I tell friends when they're going to New Orleans or Memphis that they need to be careful because it's way more dangerous there. 

Where else do you wanna go? Prescription drugs? Infrastructure investment? The continuing success of the Affordable Care Act and its huge popularity? All incredible successes. And when shit doesn't work out, like canceling most student loan debt, it's the fault of courts with right-wing judges. You want Trump to appoint more of those?

In a sane country, Biden should have already all but won the 2024 election, his age and verbal gaffes be damned. He's been a historically successful president, and that's not me saying that. That's historians. In a survey of them, they already have Biden as the 14th-best president after just one term, ahead of Reagan, ahead of Wilson, tied with John fuckin' Adams himself. You already know who's last.

I get the idea that more attention needs to be paid to Trump's obviously declining mental faculties, and, sure, we always need to be reminded of just how fucking bugfuck insane and just downright fuckin' weird Trump is. Seriously, he's a creepy weirdo. But we're not gonna convince the MAGA cretins to jump ship now. They've mortgaged their souls to get that dumb orange motherfucker back into office. Trump could impregnate a 10 year-old girl during one of his wannabe Nuremberg rallies and laugh because she can't get an abortion, and his idiot hordes would cheer his virility. They're gone. Forget about them for now. So it's about making sure that anyone opposed to Trump gets out and votes for Biden.

Look, I'm not fucking blind or a slavering fanboy high on hopium. I also get that Biden has done shit that drives the left mad, that drives me mad. His pride in the amount of gas and oil being produced in this country is bizarre, considering how much his administration has done to actually help on climate change. His inability to stick to one path on immigration is frustrating as fuck; no, immigration is not wrecking this country. In fact, its effect is quite the opposite. Democrats have a very American story to tell about migrants, and they just don't tell it. 

And then there's Gaza.

When people on the left say they won't vote for Biden because of how the US has helped enable the horror in Gaza, it's understandable. Absolutely. Don't discount that rage because it's justified. My one bit of hope is that Biden's finally getting it. In case you're new to how American politicians react to conflict between Israel and Palestine, you should know that for decades it was poisonous for an elected official in DC to be supportive of the Palestinians. You had to have knee-jerk support for Israel, even when Likudnik maniacs were in charge, even when a savage and corrupt cockscab like Netanyahu is the leader. And voters punished politicians who veered away from that unquestioning support (for the most part). But things have finally shifted and I believe that Biden, Chuck Schumer, and others are catching up that they don't have to let Israel get away with genocide. Or ethnic cleansing. Or mass murder. Whichever one of those you're comfortable with. I just hope that shift happens faster and with greater clarity and before the number of deaths goes to six figures and before the mindset of voters gets locked in.

So the response to those voters for whom Gaza is a main issue can't just be "Well, would you rather have Trump, who is a fucking nightmare and wouldn't give a fuck about getting humanitarian aid in because a massacre would let Jared Kushner develop the beaches?" No, it's gotta also be about what Biden has done besides that. It's gotta be enough to overcome that.

What I would say is that Biden actually gives a shit about the future. I would say he hasn't gotten everything right, but he wants us to have a future, he wants us to evolve as a nation, and, unlike so many in his generation on the Republican side, he is working to build something he won't even be around to see come to fruition. That's genuine and hopeful. Meanwhile, Trump would gleefully drag us back to a repressive past of limited opportunities and greater threats all around us if it got him one more day as the focal point of the American psyche so he can sleep knowing that he pissed off his haters one more time. I'm not gonna vote for the guy who wants to deport millions of people and shoot shoplifters. I'll go with the guy who doesn't fucking exhaust me every time I hear his simpering, whiny, nasal, incoherent garble of bullshit, narcissism, and hate. I'll go with the guy who actually seems to give a fuck.

(I'll talk more about this kind of thing as we get closer to the election because I have long believed that, except for those of us damned to keep writing about this shit, most Americans won't pay attention to the election until after Labor Day because who the hell has the time? But narratives about polls, about perceived weaknesses have a way of cementing in the zeitgeist, and I'd rather wash it away than need to use a jackhammer.)