Abrams: Veiled threats damage faith in rule of law

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — I have to say, I’m stunned by something MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said Wednesday about the Supreme Court. Earlier this week, I called out those suggesting the high court was becoming illegitimate.

I said that no matter what you think about the direction the court has been going, we need to retain our faith in the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, and all of our courts, for that matter. We need referees, even if we disagree with them. Otherwise, we become lawless.

Wednesday night, Maddow began by sharing recent polls that are depressing about the diminished perception of the court.

“A recent Gallup poll shows that the American people say their trust in the court has dropped 20 points, just since 2020, just in the past two years. Another, similar poll from Marquette Law School shows it has dropped 26 points in the past two years,” Maddow said.

Fair enough. But she then almost seemed to take a page out of the Donald Trump playbook, suggesting, hinting, warning that American citizens might stop abiding by the court’s decisions or obeying the law at all.

“If the perception of the court keeps dropping like that, you might think the court would start to get worried that Americans soon just won’t respect the court enough to follow its rulings anymore, which of course would be a disaster for the country. That would literally be the end of the rule of law in a very fundamental way,” Maddow said.

Yes, it’s true that the Supreme Court has moved to the right, quite significantly. And yes, faith in the court has gone down significantly as well. But suggesting that people will no longer follow the rulings sounds like a veiled threat. And similar to the sort of “who knows what will happen” warnings often provided by Trump, like in this interview with Hugh Hewitt, who asked about a potential indictment:

“I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it. And as you know, if a thing like that happened, I would have no prohibition against running. I think if it happened, I think you’d have problems in this country, the likes of which, perhaps, we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it,” Trump said.

Is this apples-to-apples to what Maddow said? Absolutely not. But the broad messaging conveyed is similar: Beware, if my side doesn’t get what it wants, then the public may rise up, ignore all rules of law and say they’ve had enough.

Maddow is the single most influential figure in the liberal media. She has regularly denounced Trump for his apocalyptic warnings about the future, and in many cases, she’s right about it. But it’s a disturbing trend from both sides that was recently addressed by Chief Justice John Roberts.

“I don’t understand the connection between opinions that people disagree with and the legitimacy of the court. Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court,” Roberts said.

He’s right. We simply can’t have both sides or either side threatening an end to adhering to laws because they disagree with rulings or indictments or verdicts. It’s a dangerous threat that shouldn’t be hanging over our heads.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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