One of the myth’s associated with the constitution and the American fairytale is the myth that the states can be laboratories of experimentation for solutions to America’s problems. History has shown that far too often the states have used their ability to experiment on the best ways to deny people of color rights, disinfranchise non affluent white people, establish racist policing, deny poor people basic dignity, and many more.
In recent years, though, Republican experimentation has taken a new, more ambitious scope. Sadly, they are doing away with the myth of noble experimentation and trying to figure out how to subvert the myth of a free America and construct the America imagined by the elitist, racist, sexist founding fathers.
Wisconsin voters elected Democrat Tony Evers governor about 3.5 years ago. Anyone who knows even a bit about the mechanisms of American government knows the governor of a state, like the president of the United States, has the right to pick those who will serve on boards, commissions, and lead agencies. But in Wisconsin, everything you may have thought you knew about the power of the executive has been thrown out the window.
Shortly after Evers took office, some Republican members of boards and commissions whose terms had expired simply refused to give up their positions. When Evers, as the state’s constitution allows, nominated their replacements, Republicans (who control the State Senate) refused to hold nomination hearings.
Earlier this week, the four conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the Senate did not need to consider the governor’s nominations.
All of this now means that the Wisconsin Supreme Court by a 4-3 vote has effectively rewritten the state’s constitution and given the State Senate control over who serves in the governor’s administration.
If the United States Supreme Court endorses this approach, the United States Senate would be able to ignore the president’s choices to run cabinet agencies and leave the cabinet officials from the previous administration in charge.
While anyone with a bit of decency would never support this kind of unethical, anti democratic scheme, there is no reason to believe the US Supreme Court won’t. If anything like this is to happen federally, presidential elections will have very little meaning. The local elections, fraught with discrimination, will determine much of how the country runs. Sure, America has always been oppressive, but if anything like this becomes a national reality, the inequity and inequality will be much worse than it is today.
Every day we are getting closer to returning to the 1770s, a time period where only few Americans had rights. Even worse, the Democratic Party seems more interested in returning government and society to the 1770s than it seems interested in allowing society to become more equitable and inclusive.