By Eleanor Levie
Soon, at Passover, we will relive the bitterness of slavery and the joy of freedom. The Passover story, told generation after generation, continues to inspire and define the Jews as a people that cherishes freedom for ourselves and for all humankind.
Today in America, our personal freedoms have never been more at risk.
As Jews, we know what it means to have rights and liberties stripped away. As Jews, we know that we cannot afford to be silent about this attack on our Constitutional values by a president who sees himself as a demigod, like the pharaohs of old. Who gets his info from Fox & Friends. Who is under investigation for treason. And who outsources his decision-making for job posts, including the highest in the land, from arch conservative, paternalistic, white males who want to roll back our rights. It feels like the Koch brothers, the Federalist Society, Breitbart, and Fox are running the country. Oh, and his family. None of these folks have been vetted, investigated, approved, or elected. No questions asked … or even tolerated.
Like that Pharaoh of the Passover story, our president seeks outsized power and riches for himself and for his cronies at the very tippy top of the pyramid of our society.
This is a pharaoh of a president who rules by tossing out anti-constitutional executive actions. He surrounds himself with ego-strokers, henchmen and yes-men. He’s got rubber stamps in the majority of the Senate and the House. This is a pharaoh of a president who expects to have a yes-man in the court, too, the Supreme Court. Neil Gorsuch to be his surrogate at the top of the third branch of government. Hand-picked by the far-right and to the right of Scalia in his legal views, Gorsuch is a sure bet to roll back religious freedom, reproductive justice, worker’s rights, environmental protections, and more.
It bears repeating: a seat on the highest Court in the land is an immensely powerful position. As with pharaohs, there’s virtually no accountability, and it’s a lifetime rule.
Such an important job should be filled by someone who can win the approval of Senators in both parties. To prevent the party in power from steamrolling the advise and consent process of Court picks, we have the filibuster. To explode the filibuster with a Nuclear Option would show arrogant disdain for our American democracy such that only a pharaoh could justify.
We have to rise up and demand fairness and justice: No nuclear option. No changing the centuries-old rules for the sake of a president whose legitimacy of rule is so suspect. We cannot be silent. We must make calls to our Senators and urge them to reject the Nuclear Option, and thereby reject this nominee. Otherwise, we just might be seeing justice, our liberties, and our hard-won constitutional rights “passover” us, our children, and our grandchildren.
Eleanor Levie is a life member and longtime persistent advocate, serving as the BenchMark point person for NCJW—PA, a former SPA and National member, working gratefully in coalition with Alliance for Justice and Why Courts Matter-PA.