Then there’s the one from the 1979 Al Pacino movie, “… And Justice for All,” where the judge who recently tossed defense lawyer Arthur Kirkland (Pacino) in the hoosegow for contempt, is himself suddenly on trial for rape. And guess who the judge wants for his defense attorney?
The tweet-o-sphere is not unexpectedly awash with connoisseur-like savorings of delicious ironies like that. Obama nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, the man Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans refused to vote on or even hold a hearing for, is in line to oversee Trump’s appeal to block the House Democrats’ subpoena for Trump’s financial records. Garland is the highest ranking judge on the appeals court, and while he may or may not be randomly selected for the initial three judge ruling, he would be the seniormost judge if an en banc hearing follows.
That Garland is available for so auspicious a review is exclusively due to the fact that the Republicans made sure he remained on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, instead of becoming a SCOTUS justice, as would have been a destiny to which he would have been eminently suited. Which in turn brings to mind a saying from that other Pacino move, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Nevertheless, the irony the tweeting crowd ought to be savoring, however, isn’t so much this newly minted apparent application of karma, but the relative virtues between Garland and Neil Gorsuch, the unscrupulous Republican lapdog that Mitch and company managed to ram onto the Supreme Court, nolens volens, after Trump stole the election. Unlike Gorsuch, Judge Garland has a well-deserved reputation for the impartial application of carefully considered jurisprudence. Garland is very likely going to try the appeal on its merits and nothing else if he’s on the panel. Imagine that, someone in Washington who actually makes decisions beyond the partisan gravitational field.
Such unexpected fairness would not be possible were the shoe on the other foot, and I am reminded once again by this and other signs that I am truly on the side of the Good Guys. Petty politics and underhanded means are their tools, not ours, and I don’t know about you but I am damned proud of that.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.