A note to Scott Adams about Supreme Court judges assigned to federal circuits


By Robert Willmann

The creator and writer of the Dilbert comic strip, Scott Adams, has also studied about persuasion, and previously worked for a large company, Pacific Bell telephone.  He recognized the sales techniques that Donald Trump was using in the 2016 presidential election, and predicted that Trump would win.  Adams has also done writing and videos on his Internet website about current and political events. He saw or heard something about the new assignment of individual Supreme Court judges to the different federal appellate court circuits.  Yesterday (21 November), he said, at 12 minutes, 27 seconds into the audio [1]–

"The news is that the circuit courts have been reassigned.  Now, I don't know all the ends and outs of the court system, so I might not have a full understanding of this topic, but I'll try to bluff my way through it.  Uhm, and we're all learning a lot about our government in this process.   So effective immediately, there are four Supreme Court justices assigned to each of four states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia — to be in charge of the election fraud claims for those states.  This is my understanding of what's happening.  Now, the four justices chosen is the story, right? So here are the Supreme Court justices who might be the deciding people, or at least, you know, the most influential people on whether these four states go to Trump or stay with Biden.  Are you ready?  Here are the names of the four justices:  Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas.  Do you notice anything that they have in common? ….

"[Starting at 17 min., 12 sec.] Now, if you were the Supreme Court, and that was your greatest interest, to keep the system intact, to keep the credibility of the system intact, and you're asked to judge something that, whichever way it goes, it's gonna be ugly, right?  What do you do?  Well, I'll tell you what I'd do.  I would assign the four most conservative justices, if — and here's the big part — if, I believed that Trump would ultimately lose.  That's why I would put four conservative judges on it.  To make sure that if Trump loses, the conservative part of the country says, 'F***, but I trust it'.  See where I'm going?  The Supreme Court needs the conservatives to back down.  The only way it is going to happen is if four super-conservative Supreme Court justices say, 'Look at this people. It's time. It's time.  It's time to to back down. It's time to put Biden in office and deal with it in 2024'.  I think the Supreme Court has just sent the country a big f***ing signal that Trump's not going to get a second term.  And it has nothing to do with the claims, has nothing to do with the lawsuits, has nothing to do with whether the election was or was not fraudulent.  It has everything to do with keeping the country together.  If they were thinking that way, and of course we have to speculate, right?  We can't read anybody's minds …."

Last Sunday, 15 November, we discussed here on SST the status of the documents filed in the Supreme Court about ballots received after election day in Pennsylvania, and why it was that Judge Sam Alito is the one who issued a stay order about some ballots [2]–

"The application for an injunction was submitted to Judge Alito.  He is the designated judge for the Third and Fifth Circuits to whom certain types of requests can be presented.  For federal courts of appeals, the U.S. is divided into 'circuits', and those geographical areas include smaller areas called federal 'districts', for the federal district courts (the trial courts).  A Supreme Court judge is assigned to each circuit".

Two days ago, on 20 November, new assignments were made because Judge Ginsburg passed away and was replaced by Judge Amy Coney Barrett [3].  The states that may be in play in the election, the federal circuits they are in, and the judges assigned to each circuit are: Pennsylvania, Third Circuit, Alito; Michigan, Sixth Circuit, Kavanaugh; Wisconsin, Seventh Circuit, Barrett; Georgia, Eleventh Circuit, Thomas; and Arizona, Ninth Circuit, Kagan.

Scott Adams thought that the assignment of Supreme Court judges to certain circuits may have some effect on the court cases about the election, and he realized that he had only limited information about the process.  However, the single judge assigned to a circuit cannot decide an issue or the merits of anything.  Only a majority of the members of the court can. The single judge can issue a stay order or other authorized order about actions of a lower court or of a state, and in some situations, the actions of the federal government.  This is why Adams' interpretion of what the circuit assignments mean is mistaken, since he assumes that a particular judge assigned to a particular circuit can decide a critical lawsuit about the election.

Because of the time periods established in the federal constitution for the presidential selection process, the election court challenges are a race against the clock.  In that context, the Supreme Court judge assigned to a circuit could issue a stay order minutes before a midnight deadline.  Theoretically, the single judge could deny a stay order right before a deadline, so that the whole court could not rule on it in time, but that would almost certainly not happen.  The one judge would likely issue a stay order so that all of the judges could decide the next day whether to keep it in place until they made a ruling by majority vote on the matter in question.

A quorum for the Supreme Court is six judges.  When there were only eight after Judge Antonin Scalia passed away — and then later, Judge Ruth Ginsburg — the court could continue to operate. And even if three judges are missing, decisions can still be made [4]. 

As the election challenges continue, the television and media driven mantra that the sky will fall if Joe Biden is not elected president is fatuous and false, along with its sibling that the country will be "torn apart" if courts intervene to change the psychological operation underway that Biden is the "president-elect", although he has not yet been constitutionally elected or selected.  And, that the "credibility of the system" will not remain intact if election contests are sustained by court or legislative action, and Trump remains president.  Those phrases are commonly used to try to weaken resolve and cause others, especially those in decision-making positions, to not push forward, and to manipulate their sense of guilt that they will contribute to great damage and destruction unless they throw in the towel and submit to what perpetrators might desire. 

The cognitive psychology displayed since election day to impede and delegitimize investigations of the election is quite sophisticated. If Trump prevails, the probable street protests, violence, and media propaganda that will follow will not cause "the system" to fall apart, because the active perpetrators will be badly outnumbered by "us", and people with jobs in the system will want to continue on with their lives.

[1]  Scott Adams Says, epsiode 1194, part 2.


[2]  https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/11/the-us-supreme-court-has-not-yet-agreed-to-accept-the-pennsylvania-voting-case-or-to-maintain-the-alito-order.html

[3]  Effective on 20 November 2020, these are the Supreme Court judges assigned
to the federal circuits and a map of the circuits. You have to scroll
down the webpage version a little to see the information on it.



[4]  28 United States Code, section 1. Number of justices; quorum.




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10 Responses to A note to Scott Adams about Supreme Court judges assigned to federal circuits

  1. blue peacock says:

    Mr. Willmann,
    The courts are gonna be under the spot-light, especially SCOTUS. Wouldn’t they need incontrovertible evidence from plaintiffs that fraud of a scale that would overturn the election results took place, before they even take the case, let alone issue a stay on the night of December 13th?

  2. Plaking says:

    Just No.
    After Roberts Gymnastic convolutions.
    We are not going to say F**k and just accept this Blatant CCP insertion.
    Not happening.
    Wake UP!

  3. Deap says:

    blue peacock, why do you assume there will not be “incontrovertible evidence” at the lower court level and how to you weigh incontrovertible evidence? Appeals courts don’t try facts, they try issues of law. SCOTUS hears US constitutional level issues.
    Is there an urgent US constitutional level issue at stake – fair and honest elections is such an issue. The election process is the most fundamental cornerstone of our entire system of governance. Urgency comes from the timeline for election set out in the US Constitution. Therefore, was their sufficient evidence election fraud took place; not “incontrovertible evidence”.
    One illegal ballot proves one other person was stripped of their own legal right to vote. Or that one recipient of that illegal vote was fraudulently benefited.
    Reminds me of the early covid lockdown justification – “if locking down the entire US economy, closing every school and taking away all civil liberties save just one line, it is worth it. Just one life.
    Transfer that same thinking to protecting and preserving the full constitutional value of just one vote, from illegal vote tampering in any form – electronic, dead persons, vote-harvesting fraud, unregistered voters, un-authenticated voters …..
    One life is worth saving at the expense of the entire nation – seems like the nation went along with this thinking over covid. One Percent Doctrine – Death of a Person
    Saving the Republic over just one illegal vote being controverted – same thing to me. One Percent Doctrine Death of the Republiic

  4. scott s. says:

    The Circuit Courts of Appeal weren’t created until 1891. Prior to that individual Supreme Court justices “rode the circuit” and the circuit courts had both original and appellate jurisdiction depending on the character of the case.

  5. Fred says:

    “before they even take the case”
    You mean prove it before an investigation? If only they had made Mueller do that.
    ” fraud of a scale that would overturn the election results”
    They only need prove that the results can’t be trusted because the process was tainted. Giving in person voters until 8pm Nov 3 but giving others extra time is giving one class “separate but equal rights in voting”, which is unconstitutional. One only need read the PA law and the Constitution to prove that.
    The PA courts can’t re-write laws, as much as they would like to. The SC needs to uphold to Constitution, not tear it up. The legal remedy is in the Constitution: Turn selecting the electors in the effected state over to the legislature, as spelled out in the Constitution.

  6. Seward says:

    Very good analysis by Scott Adams. But gentlemen do not ever use F***-letter words in public.

  7. blue peacock says:


    Giving in person voters until 8pm Nov 3 but giving others extra time is giving one class “separate but equal rights in voting”, which is unconstitutional.

    Does the Trump campaign have such a lawsuit filed in PA? I believe even mail-in ballots had to have been sent by that time. The PA supreme court gave the ballots a few more days to arrive.
    BTW, what is the Trump administration DOJ doing? They appointed the Mueller special counsel. Trump nominee Rod Rosenstein wrote the appointment & scope memos. The current AG is Trump’s second nominee for the position!
    It doesn’t matter what you think. What matters is what the courts think. The burden of proof is on the Trump campaign to convince a court.

  8. Diana L Croissant says:

    Just a quick note:
    I decided to call and talk with my county’s Clerk and Recorder this morning to ask about the specifics of the vote-counting procedure. I specifically asked if they do a hand count of if they use machines.
    I was told they used a machine, though the ballots are opened and examined by hand first to check for problems of any sort. I was also told that they had done a sample run before the actual ballots had started arriving. They had officials from both parties there to observe. They had already counted the sample ballots by hand and knew what results should be reported by the machine. They assured me that their machine was counting accurately during the test and that no one had messed with it afterwards and that officials from both parties were present also for the actual counting.
    It’s nice to live in a less densely populated part of the country, a place no one else seems to care about. At least I do not have any suspicion that my local officials are acting against the public’s will. Most probably know that they better act righteously since we do have a high rate of gun ownership in this farming and ranching county.

  9. Fred says:

    “The PA supreme court gave the ballots a few more days to arrive.”
    They lack the authority as stated in the Constitution to change election law related to federal elections.
    There are multiple lawsuits in PA. Trump may of may not be a party to one of them. As to Rosenstein, well, the deep state is deeper and darker than many thought.

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