Trump Muddies the Swamp: Shine, Wheeler, Pruitt, and the New Justice

Trump Muddies the Swamp: Shine, Wheeler, Pruitt, and the New Justice

Trump just hired Bill Shine as head of White House Communications. Shine is the former defender of Fox News head Roger Ailes from sexual harassment charges. Shine was fired from Fox News for that. Do you think Trump knows that in the future, as in the past, Trump will most need for his image a defender against sexual harassment charges? This adds a gator leader to the White House swamp. This appointment is looked at as providing great promotional leadership, especially to Trump’s Fox News watching core. Not so much for the rest of America.

After fifteen charges of corruption against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, he suddenly decided to quit. Of course, everyone will think that Trump fired him politely. Some of the charges were his close links and meetings with lobbyists. So obviously, the thing for Trump to do was to replace him with an actual lobbyist. A coal lobbyist at that, Andrew Wheeler. So this really replaces an easily identified gator in the swamp with a slick, stealth gator.

Pruitt’s case is one of finding a crook and raising him to pursue anti-environmental, climate change denial, and pro-fossil fuel pollution policies. Then, when let out on his own, you discover that your crook is really a psychopath, unconstrained by right or wrong in any circumstances. Even when this becomes obvious, Trump still defended him. Will Trump pardon him?

Monday, Trump will nominate another Supreme Court Justice, who might serve for 40 years. That is 10 times longer than Trump was elected for. It’s roughly 25 times longer than Trump has served and learned about the Constitution. And Trump is far less comfortable with the constitution or precedents or the FBI or the DOJ than other Presidents have been. But, in contrast to the 30 or 40 government people whom Trump has fired and replaced, this one cannot be replaced, or commanded, or influenced.

Trump has only considered judges who are really conservative and who clerked with conservative Justices. Most were in the list chosen by the conservative Federalist Society. That means that the one more central Republican Judge, Chief Justice Roberts, will have the responsibility of being the possible swing vote in decisions that test the humanity of the Justices, and the reputation of the Supreme Court.  That is why he voted to save Obamacare.  He might also save Roe v. Wade.

Justice Kennedy voted largely conservatively, and only deviated when humanity was at stake.  So there are only a few issues at stake in his conservative replacement. But these have a serious import, including health care, abortion, and gay marriage. In Trump’s time left, replacing a liberal justice would really change the direction of future courts, and is a high motivation for a Democratic turnout, as Democrats should have done in the last election.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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