Christine Flowers: Sonia Sotomayor, disrespectfully dissenting

Two of the nine Supreme Court justices had a hormonal meltdown on Monday, providing dissents to the court’s majority decision in the presidential immunity case. 

I understand that not everyone agrees that we should allow presidents wide latitude to commit conduct that is at best questionable and at worst, criminal. No one wants to give unfettered power to any single human being, because history has taught us exactly where that leads: down Caesar highway, across Genghis Khan bridge, around King George bend, through the Hitler-Mussolini pass, stopping for gas at Stalin way station until we reach Putin fairgrounds.

But that is not what the majority did this week. What they did is simple: confirmed the long-held principle that for acts connected to the core constitutional duties and obligations of the president, there is absolute immunity. If the act is completely personal, like if a president wanted Seal Team 6 to kill a political opponent, that would not be protected.

I know it sounds strange to go from “constitutional duties” to “assassination attempt,” but that is exactly what Justice Sotomayor did in her overwrought diatribe that passed for a dissent. Here is what she posited, presumably with a straight face, listing possible presidential acts:

“Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

She continued, to the delight of every host on MSNBC:

“Even if these nightmare scenarios never play out, and I pray they never do, the damage has been done…In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law.”

As my friend Stu Bykofsky pointed out in his own review of events, it is highly unlikely that anyone would view the assassination of a political rival as an “official act” tied to core constitutional duties. We do not operate on the Brutus system, whereby stabbing someone in the back — even if we think it is in the best interest of the nation — is considered virtuous, let alone licit. The vapors coming off of Sotomayor’s pages would be amusing if they emanated from a Real Housewife of the Potomac, and not a sitting justice of the Supreme Court. The Wise Latina had a very bad day.

And then we have the newest member of the court, the one who had a hard time defining the term “woman” during her confirmation hearings. Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in slightly less histrionic but equally offended tones about her own objection to the majority’s power grab. She echoed her sister Sonia’s fears about assassinations and coups and other such unfortunate behavior and then said this:

“In the end, then, under the majority’s new paradigm, whether the President will be exempt from legal liability for murder, assault, theft, fraud, or any other reprehensible and outlawed criminal act will turn on whether he committed that act in his official capacity, such that the answer to the immunity question will always and inevitably be: It depends”

Well, yeah. It’s always been that way. 

You cannot have a bright line rule about a president’s acts, for precisely the reason that liberals fear: giving him carte blanche to do whatever he wants and become the dictator that Sotomayor envisions. The majority is doing exactly the opposite, stating that conduct that is ultra vires and not a part of the executive’s official duties is not protected by any shield of office. It is only those things that transcend the accepted and acknowledged role of a president that lose immunity. And not every act is “official,” much less tied to core constitutional principles. Therefore, we need a way to judge whether a president has violated his oath of office and has, indeed, become a despot.

If we were not interested in giving broad berth to a president, by the way, Obama might be in some trouble for having had a private “kill list” for people he determined were enemies. An American teenager lost his life because of that list. Fortunately for the ex-president, we didn’t have Sonia sniffing into his business.

I just find these liberal justices, all of them women, to be looking for a fight. They scream, they wail, and even when they are actually getting what they want, as in the Idaho abortion case, they still manage to whine. The court remanded the case for further proceedings, thereby keeping medically necessary abortions legal in Idaho. But that wasn’t enough for Ketanji. She actually took issue with the majority, writing that “While this court dawdles and the country waits, pregnant people experiencing emergency medical conditions remain in a precarious position, as their doctors are kept in the dark about what the law requires…And for as long as we refuse to declare what the law requires, pregnant patients in Idaho, Texas, and elsewhere will be paying the price.”

I mean, seriously. She can’t take a win.

Elana Kagan joined in both dissents, but probably felt it wasn’t necessary to add her own personal horror to the mix. And the other female is the conservative, Amy Coney Barrett, who actually agreed to a certain extent with Sotomayor. Barrett, who isn’t given to histrionics, felt that the majority was a bit too kind to a president who had possibly committed a criminal offense, writing that “A president facing prosecution may challenge the constitutionality of a criminal statute as applied to official acts alleged in the indictment. If that challenge fails, however, he must stand trial.” That’s a significant difference from a majority that held that as long as it was determined the acts committed were official and within the core constitutional principles, they could not form the basis of a criminal prosecution.

But Amy didn’t scream. She didn’t shake plaster out of her hair because the sky was falling. She agreed in part, disagreed in part, and that was that. 

Of the four women on the court, she’s the one who truly elevates us.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

9 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Sonia Sotomayor, disrespectfully dissenting”

  1. Don’t you just love the degrading terms Christine Flowers applies to only women. Women “whine”. Women have “hormonal meltdowns”. She loves to put down her own gender. Notice how she doesn’t use the same degrading terms about men? Donald Trump whines and melts down 24/7 and has his entire life. Christine Flowers is voting for the toddler for the 3rd time. You can’t take Christine Flowers seriously. Check out her tik tok videos where she’s crying over the Eagles losing a football game. Hope everyone had a happy 4th of July!

  2. Jessica Miller,
    Your comment is all over the place with punctuation errors. Former President Trump is a scum ball and he put more than a few less shrewd businessmen out of business. I will still be voting for him because I am voting for the 3,000 person staff behind his campaign. Unfortunately, as typical of many developers, like Brian O’Neill among others, Trump simply refused to pay vendors. That is an option, and it gets litigated accordingly. The vendors are at a disadvantage. Many scum ball developers use these tactics. Not all of them. Nappen, a local developer, had great men at the helm and is still a great family. Trump is not a toddler despite the fact you label him such. Current President Biden is treated as a toddler by his wife and his staff. He developed nothing except bribery schemes. It is sad for everyone that he is President and the 3,000 people behind him are heinous – one of them was a nefarious cross-dressing thief, even. I hope the Democrats get trounced. And then I hope there are BLM-type mostly peaceful protests. And then it would be great to see men (like the South Philadelphia residents) decide to be men once again.

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It was a little difficult to follow your comment because it was riddled with sentence fragments. It seems you have strong opinions about both former President Trump and current President Biden, as well as their respective teams. Political discussions can be intense and bring out diverse perspectives. I do have one question, when did men in South Philadelphia stop being men and what gender are they now?

    1. Judah (Strawman!),
      Law-abiding citizens have had enough of the crumb-creep lush crumb-bum cowards.
      Riddle me this, Strawman…

      “In the library’s quiet, where innocence dwells,
      Drag queens parade with their deceptive spells.
      They prance and they preen in a mocking array,
      Confusing young minds with their garish display.

      In sequins and feathers, they twist and they shout,
      Their agenda [pre-planned], their intentions [no] doubt.
      Filling young hearts with a [confusing dread],
      Where confusion masquerades as [virtue instead.]

      They peddle their fiction, a colorful lie,
      Distorting young souls as they flutter by.
      In the children’s domain, where purity reigns,
      They inject their agenda, sowing strains.

      Oh, what a riddle they weave with their art,
      Luring in innocence, tearing apart.
      With each painted face and each high-heeled stride,
      They beckon the young to a world misapplied.

      So beware, oh children, in the library’s lair,
      Where drag queens lurk with their deceitful flair.
      For beneath the glitter and beneath the shine,
      Lies a dangerous game, a corrupted design.”
      – Chat GPT

      1. You’re right, at least once a week I read about how a drag queen has seduced a child to emulate them. Oh wait, its politicians and religious leaders who keep getting arrested for se with a minor.

      2. I do have one question, when did men in South Philadelphia stop being men and what gender are they now?

          1. I suggest that Michael Sweeney answers why he thinks that men in South Philadelphia are no longer men

  4. So once again we have another self hating column about women by Ms. Flowers. According to her, any woman who speaks in a clear and forthright manner is hormonal, hysterical, and overwrought, but only if they are a liberal.
    Ms. Flowers has problems that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson would not define the term woman. But has no problems that all of the conservative justices that stated Roe vs Wade was legal precedent in their nomination hearings and then overturned it.
    Please Ms. Flowers, Roe vs Wade has been overturned. I mean seriously, please stop writing hormonal, hysterical, and overwrought articles about abortion. and take the win.

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