Voters, Judges, and Nikki Haley

Observations on American Life


The folks responsible for voting in my area are reportedly having some trouble recruiting volunteers to work the polling places this year. People are afraid of the risk of conflict and even of physical danger. That is sad, to say the least. It’s also unacceptable, so I have up my usual spot out front of polling places in election season, passing out literature, to be a poll worker inside. The preparation process was illuminating.

First, there are still quite a few willing to show up for the 14 hour day required. Second, I found among my cohorts a really interesting age mix. Still quite a few retirees – we have the time and are in the pay it forward stage of life. But we also have quite a few teenagers, most getting ready to vote for the first time themselves. Their interest in doing all this is most encouraging and inspiring.

The third observation is important. Every place across the country has its differences in processes and procedures, but my experience is that most follow what my county is doing (and we have a truly excellent board of elections). The bottom line is that all those nonsense statements about stolen votes really is pure hogwash. The steps, technologies, and standards they set to ensure votes are accurate are really impressive. The chance of anyone stealing or altering votes is about as close to zero as one can get.

The few exceptions we hear of in recent years are trivial in number and people doing it get caught. I have to chuckle at Trumpsters crying out about the subject, since every case I have heard of in the last 4 years have been Republicans either gathering up absentee votes to modify or voting twice themselves. Next time you get a new car license plate, think about who made it – might be such a duplicitous voter who made that fine license plate for you. Heck, could be Trump some day.

Bottom line: The systems are secure, the people are doing the right things, for the right reasons. Go out and vote and worry not.


The recent decision by the Alabama Supreme Court declaring frozen embryos to be children has, as is always the case with such decisions, thrown the state into a mess and screwed up the lives of many, many people. Even the state legislature, not exactly a bastion of individual freedom, is striving to put a legislative fence around this decision.

All of which highlights a particular problem, and I am darned if I know how best to address it. It deserves some national reflection.

Recent public comments by the SC Supreme Court Chief Justice illuminate the problem perfectly. The man is clearly a Christian Nationalist and has chosen to let his personal religious beliefs shape his judicial decisions directly. When people do something like this, their beliefs and prejudices override science, medical standards, and common sense.

It is one thing to have personal values; it is quite another to use the courts to force those values on everyone else. This has always been a problem; of late it seems aimed especially at women, seeking to make them vassals for views that would feel right at home in the 1700s.

No doubt there are some that would say that the Warren Court did the same sort of thing in its day. I do not find the comparison valid. Still, it all is a conundrum. How do we have truly independent courts, a safeguard for society, yet limit the power of any given judge to make extreme decisions.

Are appeals the only way out? Appointing first class judges is an essential step, but some are elected, and some are appointed by people who share extreme views or don’t pay attention to the record of a potential appointee. Would like to see a way to balance all this. The solution is not obvious to me.

Nikki Haley

Halley hangs in there. She does not appear remotely likely to beat Trump, but her margins are large enough to prove that a lot of Republicans do not want Trump and a lot of non-Republicans might give her a serious look, given the opportunity. Her TV commercials of late have been among the best on air and her fund raising is doing very well. Who knows what happens if the Orange One goes to prison?

Make no mistake; Haley is not a moderate. She has a history of not good statements and positions, not the least of which are on the origins of the Civil War, women’s right to control their own bodies, and favoring pardoning Donald Trump. There is a gordian knot her candidacy represents.

I am reasonably confident that in an election of Biden vs Trump, Biden wins, by a healthy margin. But not all that long ago, I thought it almost a joke that Republicans would nominate Trump and felt sure once he was nominated, he would lose. He did lose the popular vote in 2016 but squeaked in via the Electoral College. It could happen again. Haley strikes me as a much more serious challenge to Biden, if for no other reason than she is not Trump. So far, Biden is not getting the credit he should nationally for an exceptional first term. That carries political risk, up and down the ticket.

Does one wish to avoid the Halley risk, with Trump being the weaker candidate, or take a chance that Trump would fail again (the third time he will have lost the popular vote) as the Republican candidate?

Tough calls on this one. In the end, the courts (see, there they are again) and juries may make that decision for us all. It is also quite possible that Trump will finally begin to lose support widely (numbers are starting to move in that direction) or he may be taken out medically. Listen to his speeches of late – truly a flood of incoherent and error-laden words – surely more people will notice over time.

We live In Interesting Times, Don’t We?

By the time you read this, the circus that is the House of Representatives will be coming back to work (well, sort of back to work). Ukrainians are dying for lack of ammunition and our own government is about to default on its debt and budget, yet again. About a dozen nut jobs are running the agenda – again.

See you next week.

Bill Clontz

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1 reply to Voters, Judges, and Nikki Haley

  1. All really well stated. Thank you for your continuing articles.

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