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The Constitution seems to be holding its own, but...

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By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

I have been reading some mid-century political history. My focus has been Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, who served from 1947 until his death, May 2, 1957.  

Old Joe got on a kick of rooting all the communists – real and imagined – out of the federal government. When he had worn out that topic, he started going after homosexuals – real and imagined. Due to several statesmen standing up to him, he was defanged by the end of 1954, when he was censured by the Senate on Dec. 2 of that year.  

Using process and reason, the Senate put an end to this very destructive time. The Constitution at work.

Now comes the state of Colorado, wishing to deny former President Trump a place on the ballot. On Feb. 8, the Supreme Court heard arguments for and against this idea. As of this writing, the Supreme Court seems to be well united in questioning Colorado’s wishes.   

Justice Elana Kagan, certainly no fan of President Trump, asked the petitioners, “Why should a single state get to decide who gets to be president of the United States?”  

Other justices weighing in on the side of skepticism as to Colorado’s wishes include Alito, Kavanaugh, Barrett, Jackson, Gorsuch and Thomas. 

The important point here is that Kagan and Jackson seemed to have weighed in with the same concerns as the others. If the decision ultimately comes down this way, the Court has found an issue where a supermajority can agree. We should all say hooray.

There have been other times when our Constitution and our political processes have saved the country from disaster. However, we live in a special time.

The question in my mind is this: In this age of disrespect, will Colorado respect the decision of the Supreme Court?

There are plenty of other times when Supreme Court decisions have been ignored. Andrew Jackson ignored it in the case of removing the Cherokee Indians from Georgia to Oklahoma Territory. Abraham Lincoln ignored it regarding habeas corpus when he locked up Confederate leaders and did not bring them to trial.  

President Biden is trying to work around their decision on student loan forgiveness. The justices’ personal homes have been picketed since their abortion decision and the administration refuses to provide security for their homes.  

Most recently, Governor Abbott of Texas has ignored their decision regarding the state of Texas’s private border wall.

Again, will Colorado abide by the Supreme Court decision if it comes down against them?

Respect for people, property and institutions has been deteriorating in this country for decades. One only has to be stopped at a railroad crossing and observe the trains passing by to see the graffiti which represents defiling private property as well as trespassing. There are actually published papers and books that celebrate this graffiti, which is nothing but a blatant widespread lack of respect.

There are many other examples of disrespect for authority and institutions.  

I have written in this column in the past that the day is coming when drivers will ignore traffic signals. We will have completely lost our civilization at that time.

But back to the Supreme Court. In effect, its authority comes from respect. It has no army, no police force or any other method of enforcing its decisions. Will Colorado respect its decision if it goes against them? 

We live in perilous times and do so for a reason most are missing.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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