This embarrassing crankish spectacle from Monday’s electoral college session in Texas is making the rounds on social media today, with more than 6,000 retweets and 650,000 views as I write this. Naturally there’s no evidence to support it, just innuendo, which is par for the course since the election.
This smear helped convince Texas’s electors to pass a resolution condemning the Supreme Court for refusing to hear Texas’s lawsuit. The same resolution called on the state legislatures of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia to execute a coup on the president’s behalf by invalidating their election results and awarding their electors to Trump. It’s worth repeating: For a state that doesn’t like to be “messed with,” Texas has done a lot of messing with other states over the past few weeks.
Or tried to, anyway.
This guy, en route to humiliating himself and his state, wanted the resolution to accuse the Court of “moral cowardice.” That language ultimately wasn’t included, presumably because … there’s no evidence to support what he’s saying. Watch, then read on.
TEXAS ELECTORAL COLLEGE:
"The Justices went into a closed room…When Texas case was brought up he said he heard screaming through the walls as Justice Roberts and the other liberal Justices were insisting…afraid of what would happen if they did right thing…Moral cowardice" pic.twitter.com/JhnPN59wkP
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) December 14, 2020
As a million lawyers have pointed out today, the story is an obvious lie for the simple reason that the justices haven’t met in person in months. To believe that some conveniently unnamed staffer heard John Roberts chewing out Alito and Thomas through the walls of the Court building, you have to believe that someone in an adjoining room was dialed into a conference call or Zoom chat among the justices (and why would they be?) and had the audio on their device turned waaaaaaaaay up.
But it’s stupid for other reasons. Laying aside the fact that John Roberts, temperamentally, seems highly unlikely to go aggro alpha male on his colleagues by demanding they rule a certain way, he simply has no leverage to make them do so. The entire point of adding Amy Coney Barrett to the Court was to create a conservative bloc unbeholden to Roberts. He became the sixth Republican vote, not the fifth, when she was sworn in. The conservatives no longer had to cater to him.
So if Barrett and Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and Alito and Thomas wanted to hand the election to Trump on a silver platter, they could have done so and extended a collective middle finger to the chief.
The reason the clip above has gained traction is because Trumpists are grasping for ways to avoid blaming his defeat on his three SCOTUS appointees and the Court’s two other rock-ribbed conservatives. The entire Trump post-election legal effort has been a search for scapegoats for his election loss and the scapegoat in the Texas case was obviously destined to be Roberts. He’s the disappointing squish who’s voted with the liberals on huge issues like ObamaCare. He’s the one who politely scolded Trump a few years ago for denigrating some judges as “Obama judges.” He’s a walking, talking symbol of Bush-era Republicanism, the sort of polite “respectable” establishmentarian whom populists loathe. (Again, this makes it doubly funny to imagine Roberts getting in Thomas’s or Alito’s face.) Of course he was going to be demagogued for the Texas ruling even though there’s nothing he could have done to stop the five conservatives from handing the election to Trump.
Contain your surprise upon learning that the video above is circulating on the same day that Lin Wood made some wild new accusations about an anti-Trump election conspiracy, this time featuring — ta da — John Roberts.
It’s all there. Far-fetched conversations involving the chief calling people MFers, tantalizing proof of chicanery that the public can’t see yet for some reason, even an Epstein connection. Oh, speaking of which:
This is entirely false, and easily researched. "John Roberts, a common name, appears in the Epstein flight logs on 3/22/10 and 2/10/11. SCOTUS was in session on both dates: Arguments heard on 3/22/10, published decisions on 2/10/11. Real lawyers research before tweeting! https://t.co/V9JwrFsj6B
— An Open Secret (@AnOpenSecret) December 17, 2020
What are the odds that two different guys might be named “John Roberts”?
Needless to say at this point, I hope, the reason SCOTUS shot down the Texas lawsuit isn’t because Roberts was afraid of riots or thinks Trump is a dirtbag. It’s because the suit was legal toilet paper, as every respectable lawyer in the country, right and left, tried to warn people before the Court ruled. The justices weren’t about to overturn a presidential election and disenfranchise 20 million people because Texas had a problem with how Pennsylvania ran its election. Texas should have minded its own business, which is what the Court effectively told the state when it concluded that it had no standing.
It’ll be amazing to me if Wood faces no disciplinary action for his tweets about the chief justice of the United States, although it’s already amazing to me that the president hasn’t accepted his invitation to join the demagoguery of Roberts by retweeting him. Here’s what happens when you land in Trump’s and Wood’s crosshairs:
Gov. Brian Kemp is fed up with the unrelenting attacks from conspiracy theorists calling on him to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. But he’s even more enraged that some of those peddlers of false claims are targeting his wife and three daughters.
“It has gotten ridiculous — from death threats, bribes from China, the social media posts that my children are getting,” he said. “We have the ‘no crying in politics rule’ in the Kemp house. But this is stuff that, if I said it, I would be taken to the woodshed and would never see the light of day.”
The Republican singled out the invective targeting his daughter Lucy, who has received hate-filled messages about inane false conspiracies about the death of her long-time boyfriend, Harrison Deal, who was killed in a traffic accident this month in Savannah.
I assume all nine justices have been threatened with death since the Texas ruling, as the effort to undo the election is fundamentally a mob action and that’s how mobs behave. But I’d bet Roberts is getting it worst of all, partly because he’s the chief and partly because of his status as the Court’s most treacherous RINO. Now that Wood’s come after him, it’s destined to get worse. Roberts and the Georgia bar have disciplinary tools at their disposal. Presumably they’ll use them.