A new MSNBC opinion column written by Zeeshan Aleem all but praised the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion signaling the potential end of Roe v Wade, arguing that it allows us to see into an institution that the right uses to “cloak its agenda.”
Aleem also smeared the Court as group of political “ideologues” and accused the right of turning them into “high priests” for the sake of advancing its cloaked agenda.
The piece began by dismissing the “hysteria” that has been ginned up in response to someone leaking a draft opinion from the court. Aleem couched this focus on the leak itself as a cynical strategy from Republicans.
“National outrage should only be directed at whoever tarnished the high court’s sacred reputation by releasing the draft, they bluster,” he wrote.
“Nobody should be fooled,” he continued. “The reason right-wingers are suddenly fans of propriety again is because so much of their political agenda requires using the Supreme Court to advance policy far too unpopular for the democratic process.”
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MSNBC was banned from the Kyle Rittenhouse trial by Judge Bruce Schroeder. (Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)
Though Aleem did acknowledge the unprecedented nature of the leak, calling it “[a] remarkable breach of protocol in an institution defined by extreme privacy,” he mocked the horror over it.
“Still, many on the right have converged on the idea that, even in the absence of evidence that the leaker was a pro-abortion-rights individual, the leak was a horrific act. In fact, the horrific act,” he said.
He said conservative commentators and politicians had a “fixation” on the leak and claimed that a portion of their commentary came from “hysteria.”
The columnist didn’t share this fixation and seemed to express that this leak is what Republicans deserve for their history of norm-breaking. “Why are they so worried about norms all of a sudden?” Aleem asked before going into his litany of supposed Republican judicial bad behavior.
“After all, norms didn’t matter when Republicans in 2016 blocked President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Norms didn’t matter when Republicans went ‘nuclear’ and altered the filibuster to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court the next year,” he wrote.
People gather at an anti-abortion rally outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, as activists begin to arrive ahead of arguments on abortion at the court in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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He also claimed Republicans “used the filibuster during the Obama presidency more than it had ever been used in history,” and then rounded it out by saying that norms were “systematically obliterated” during President Donald Trump’s time in office.
Left unmentioned was Democrats breaking norms since the 1980s with vicious attacks against nominees starting with Robert Bork and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., going nuclear first by changing filibuster rules in 2013 against the warnings of Sen. McConnell that turnabout was fair play.
Aleem then gave his explanation as to why Republicans are mad at the leaker. “The reason that the idea of a sacred Supreme Court matters so much to the GOP is because it is central to its theory of change: Republicans desperately rely on institutions that operate outside of or counter to the principle of majority rule.”
Aleem provided an example of this, stating, “The GOP has survived multiple recent presidential contests thanks to the fact that the Electoral College system isn’t based on the popular vote — and George W. Bush’s victory in 2000 was ensured by a politically sympathetic Supreme Court.”
Demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington. The traditionally insular Supreme Court is about to face the full force of public pressure and abortion politics. Justices are deciding whether to throw out the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. A leaked draft opinion suggests the conservative justices are prepared to overturn the 1973 opinion that gives women legal access to the procedure. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
“The Supreme Court is a premier part of this antidemocratic toolkit,” he claimed, saying it’s a “branch of government that Republicans, through a combination of sheer luck and procedural power plays, have arranged in their favor.”
Aleem demonstrated this by asserting that “much of the right-wing agenda is widely unpopular… and using courts allows conservatives to circumvent the obstacles and consequences of realizing its goals.” This is how Roe v Wade could be overturned even though, as Aleem wrote, “overturning Roe v. Wade remains deeply unpopular.”
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Aleem then cited Balls and Strikes Editor-in-Chief Jay Willis, who claimed that the GOP is hoping to use “the myth of an apolitical judiciary” to justify the court’s unpopular rulings. “The Supreme Court is the last branch of government where the right can cloak its agenda in the idea of rights and technocracy that transcend vulgar everyday politics,” Aleem explained.
“Protecting the Supreme Court’s reputation as made up of high priests rather than ideologues is a useful long-term strategy for the right,” he added. But he hopes the leak will “help puncture that myth.”
Gabriel Hays is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @gabrieljhays.