- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2018

Veteran broadcaster Dan Rather issued a somber statement Wednesday on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the Supreme Court, saying it’s up to liberals and “moderates of all stripes” to rally to the polls in November if they care about preserving the “future of democracy.”

The former CBS News anchor argued on Facebook that the nation’s highest court had essentially become “a coup” led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and that President Trump’s appointees — Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Kennedy’s successor — would “likely further push back the tides of a progressive worldview in America.”

“For years Republican voters rallied around the court as a voting issue,” he wrote. “And now this co-equal branch of government has largely become a rubber stamp for a far-right conservative government. Its rulings on unions and voting rights actively undermine the Democratic party, and democracy more generally. And should Democrats take back the White House and Congress, these men in black (for they are currently all men on the conservative/reactionary side) will likely be attack dogs on a progressive governing strategy.

“These are statements of fact and they must be greatly disheartening to progressives or even moderates of all stripes,” he added.

Justice Kennedy, a crucial swing vote on the high court, announced in a letter to President Trump Wednesday that he would be stepping down on July 31. The president said he would pick a successor from a previously released list of 25 candidates, and Mr. McConnell said a vote would be made this fall.​ Democrats have called on Senate Republicans to follow the rule they set in 2016 with Obama nominee Merrick Garland, and wait to consider a successor for Justice Kennedy until after the midterm elections in November.

Mr. Rather compared the impending fight over the Supreme Court seat to the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements.

“And now, as a fight for a replacement for Kennedy looms, the voices of the people have to be heard,” he wrote. “If you are deeply disturbed by what has happened, absorb the shock. But respond with even more determination. If you see this as a fight for the future of democracy, let those in power know that the will of the majority can still hold sway.

“I remember many grave moments in our nation’s history when hope seemed to be a largely extinguished sliver of light on a distant horizon,” Mr. Rather wrote. “But those who responded to those odds with a determination to march forward time and time again helped grow that light into a bright new sunrise for a better day.”

In a subsequent statement, Mr. Rather lamented that Republicans have been able to have it “all ways” for decades.

“Promise a radical reactionary rethink of American democracy to its rabid base, and hide behind a court that protected them from what would be a very unpopular set of policies with the general public. Well no longer,” he wrote.

Mr. Rather ended his post by again encouraging followers to mobilize against the conservative movement, writing, “Take a deep breath and feel the cool air of hope and justice in your lungs, and then march forward.”

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