Anita Hill

A Joe Biden-Beto O’Rourke Ticket Might Be The Trick For The Democrats

One of the scenarios that is being discussed, regarding the Democratic Party and the Presidential Election of 2020, is that former Vice President Joe Biden and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke might be the ticket to victory.

Biden remains in the lead in many public opinion polls, and has long been admired and loved by many Americans, including this blogger. Of course, in a career of 44 years in government, some of his initiatives, including a tough crime bill, making it more difficult to declare bankruptcy, and his conduct of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Supreme Court hearings, undermine his appeal to many. Also, his tendency to talk too much, and in an embarrassing manner, also is not appealing to many.

On the other hand, his 36 years in the Senate, including chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee has made highly respected by many legal authorities and foreign policy specialists, as well as the leadership of many foreign nations.

Beto O’Rourke ran a very close race in Texas against Senator Ted Cruz, and has a very appealing personality, and has the added edge of looking as if he is related to the former Attorney General and US Senator Robert F. Kennedy, with whom he shares the same first and middle name. Even though he is not a Kennedy, he reminds many of the former Presidential contender who was assassinated in 1968.

However, O’Rourke has some youthful arrests that could dog him, and is seen by many as too moderate a Democrat, although one must realize he is from El Paso, Texas, not exactly a site of overly progressive heritage. Many might say he is a “Blue Dog” Democrat in his six years career in the House of Representatives, now ended.

So for Progressives who like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke seem too moderate and centrist, and it all comes down to whether a Sanders or a Warren could actually carry the nation, and make up for the shortcomings of Hillary Clinton in the Midwest and among white working class voters.

Biden being 78 at the time of the next inauguration is definitely a problem, but O’Rourke would be 48. It all comes down to selection of a running mate who Joe Biden would be compatible with, which in Joe’s case is not a big problem, because he gets along well with most people he has associated with, and has a record of “crossing the aisle” and working with Republicans, many of whom admire and praise him, even if they disagree on the issues.

Supreme Court Longevity An Issue, As Recent Justices Have Stayed Much Longer Than Average, Including Contested Nominee Clarence Thomas

In the midst of the controversy over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is the reality of how long he might serve.

There has been a trend whereby recent Supreme Court Justices serve much longer than historically traditional.

Right now, contested Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed in 1991 despite strong testimony of Anita Hill, has served 27 years on the Court, and is already number 24 in longevity of service out of 113 members of the Court in American history. He will be number 17 in two years and number 13 in four years. In May 2028, he would break the all time record of 36 years and nearly 7 months of Justice William O. Douglas, and Thomas would be just about a month short of age 80, and can be seen as likely, if he stays healthy, to accomplish this goal.

If one just looks at the top fourth of all Supreme Court Justices in longevity, a total of 31 out of 113, all 24 years or more of service, we find the following recent Justices, all appointed since the 1950s, are on the list:

John Paul Stevens
William Brennan
William Rehnquist
Byron White
Anthony Kennedy
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sandra Day O’Connor
Harry Blackmun
Stephen Breyer
Thurgood Marshall

In the earlier history of the Supreme Court, the average length of service was about 15 years by comparison.

That is why the idea, proposed by this author two days ago, that a future Supreme Court Justice be limited to an 18 year term, allows for turnover, and prevents dominance by an ideological minority for decades, as now is threatened by Brett Kavanaugh, or another extreme right wing appointment by Donald Trump.

24 Years Of Justice Thurgood Marshall; 24 Years Of Justice Clarence Thomas: The Contrast!

Hard to believe, but it has been 24 years since Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush, with Thomas being chosen to replace the first African American on the Court, Thurgood Marshall, who had been selected 24 years earlier (1967), by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Marshall had made it clear that he wanted to stay on the Court until a Democrat was elected President, but despite his desires, his poor health forced him to resign. Marshall stands out as having been a quality member of the Court, one of the top 15 Supreme Court Justices of the 20th century.

Thomas, the second African American in Court history, would face severe attacks on his competency and on charges by Anita Hill that he had sexually harassed her when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the 1980s.

The Thomas nomination became a major controversy, and led to the passage of sexual harassment laws affecting all employees in America, both in government and out of government.

It also led to a bitter and close nomination battle, with Thomas winning his seat on the Court by the closest margin in modern history, 52-48.

It caused Thomas to become embittered, and he has expressed this bitterness toward liberals ever since, and he has pledged he will not leave the Court until he is 86 years of age in 2034, doubling his age of 43 when he came to the Court.

Thomas has made his mission on the Court to oppose civil rights and civil liberties wherever he can, despite the fact that he benefited personally from Affirmative Action, and his race helped him to gain his job, even though his accomplishments were far less than Thurgood Marshall. Many well qualified African Americans were passed over for Thomas, because he was an outlier, a conservative, who did not care about what had happened to people of his race.

So Thomas has been an extreme right winger on the Supreme Court, along with Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, but in many ways more hard right than even them, without the intellectual brilliance of Scalia for much of the time he has been on the Court.

Thomas has almost never asked questions in oral arguments, and his history on the Court is just about the least impressive of all nine Justices.

But at the same time, he has had conflicts of interest that should disqualify his Court membership, and his wife has been a big power player with Right Wing groups that present many conflicts of interest, but no concern or explanation or apology from Justice Thomas, who has no concern as to how he is perceived or reported in the news media.

Thomas has come across as arrogant, but also dense about discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, women, gays and lesbians, organized labor, and the environment.

Thomas is seen as certain to work against Affirmative Action, as in several cases in the past, despite the advantages he has had in his own life.

When one compares him to Justice Thurgood Marshall, it is clear that the appointment of Thomas was just about the worst decision President George H. W. Bush made in his term of office.

And if in the afterlife, someone can look down on the world, it would be clear that Justice Marshall, who was known for being blunt, would be furious that Thomas replaced him as the African American member on the Court, with no likelihood of his early departure anytime soon!

Two Supreme Court Justices Prove To Be Disasters And Embarrassments: Clarence Thomas And Samuel Alito!

It is now clear that the second Supreme Court nominee choices of George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, have turned out to be disasters and embarrassments to the Court they serve on!

Clarence Thomas was appointed by the elder Bush, and went through a tumultuous Supreme Court nomination battle, centered on sexual harassment charges by Anita Hill, and his confirmation was the closest vote of a successful nominee in decades!

He has proceeded to be an embarrassment, showing bitterness and the desire for revenge, and sullying the memory of the first African American Justice, Thurgood Marshall, who he replaced on the Court in 1991.

And a beneficiary of affirmative action, he has now, just today, compared affirmative action to slavery and segregation, an absolutely crazy comparison!

This man is inappropriate in his behavior in so many ways, including NEVER asking a question during oral arguments, the only Justice in memory to have that unfortunate distinction!

And then there is Samuel Alito, the appointment of George W. Bush in 2005, who mouthed open opposition to Barack Obama’s criticism of the Citizens United Case in his State of the Union Address in 2010, embarrassing himself and the Court!

And Alito, today, mocked fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg with gestures, including rolling his eyes, shaking his head, and looking at the ceiling. And Alito apparently has a problem with the other women Justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, showing disrespect for them in open Court. As Dana Milbank of the Washington Post said today, Alito displays “Middle School antics”.

And imagine, Alito could have been the Chief Justice if John Roberts had already begun testimony to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, but before he could, Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, and President Bush decided to switch Roberts to the Chief Justice position, and so Alito replaced O’Connor as an Associate Justice on the Court! Imagine Chief Justice Alito, the sour puss and nasty personality!

So the Bushes made major mistakes in selection of Thomas and Alito, and the Court is stuck with them for many years, beyond the retirement of another conservative, Antonin Scalia, who is more intelligent, and more charming, even if often obnoxious as well!

Confessions Of Dirty Deeds By Those On The Right Politically, But Cowardice By Many Republican Leaders!

In the midst of obscene racism and misogyny and bashing of labor and gays by right wing extremists in the media and the Republican Party, every now and then, we get some who feel guilt and confess to their horrific work and ask to be forgiven.

Examples include Lee Atwater, who mastered the concept of the political smear for the campaign of George H. W. Bush in 1988 against Michael Dukakis, and later confessed and asked for forgiveness on his death bed, dying from cancer.

Another such case was David Brock who smeared Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas controversy in 1991, and did other dirty deeds for right wing hate mongers including smearing Bill Clinton, but later confessed and works to expose Fox News Channel and others who distort and smear, through his leadership of Media Matters For America.

And a third is Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the George W. Bush re-election committee in 2004, who helped to promote an anti gay agenda that year, and yet is himself gay, and has now apologized for what he did eight years ago.

This kind of conservative dirty tactics, as practiced by Atwater, Brock, and Mehlman still is very widespread, so we find Republican leaders unwilling to condemn Rush Limbaugh, for his description of a college student, who testified for the right of women to have contraceptive coverage on health care plans sponsored by employers, as being a slut and prostitute, who should produce sex tapes for Rush and others to watch! Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have no ethics that allows them to openly condemn such outrages by Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other propagandists.

At the same time, there are conservative commentators who are decent and principled enough to condemn these kinds of statements and actions, including David Frum, Kathleen Parker, and Chris Buckley.

What a disgrace, that there is no standard of decency past or present on the right, in the mad rush to condemn, besmirch, and smear those they oppose, rather than criticize based on issues and viewpoints alone!

A Generation Of Justice Clarence Thomas: Its Negative Impact!

Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has now been on the Court for a generation, and his impact is clear.

This is a man who was enmeshed in controversy when he was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to replace Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall as the second African American in the history of the Supreme Court. He was clearly the “anti Marshall”, and has remained in controversy ever since 1991.

Thomas was accused by African American law professor Anita Hill of sexual harassment, and accused liberals of a “lynching”, and only was approved by a vote of 52-48 in the Senate, the closest of the 20th century. He has, in a memoir in 2007 and before and since, continued to have bitterness and resentment toward liberals and his other critics, and said when he was confirmed that he would confound the “damn liberals” by staying on the Court for 43 years, the age he was when appointed, which would surpass Justice William O. Douglas’s 36 years on the Court, the longest in Supreme Court history. His wife strangely contacted Anita Hill last year to ask for an “apology”, which was not forthcoming, but continues to simmer in his wife’s mind after a generation.

Thomas’s wife has been involved in ethical problems as the head of a conservative organization working against the Obama Health Care law, and in other ways, working with the Tea Party Movement, while her husband is involved in decisions where his wife’s activities create ethical problems for him, although he is unwilling to react to any criticism by recusing himself from cases, as creating a conflict of interest. He does not care what his critics say!

On the Court, he is seen in many ways as the MOST conservative member, even more than Antonin Scalia in some ways. He is well liked by his colleagues, but almost never asks any questions in oral arguments before the Court. He gives lectures around the country, but avoids the news media. He comes across as bitter and odd in many ways, but also arrogant and hard to fathom.

Thomas has shown willingness to strike down case law going back decades, and sometimes even a century. He is the only one to argue for consistent return to the “original” meaning of the Constitution when it was adopted in 1789, even more than Antonin Scalia. He sees the Court as having gone the wrong way in many areas of the law, and wanting reversal of past rulings.

Thomas alone believes that states should be able to establish an official religion; believes teenagers have no free speech rights at all; believes business should not be regulated and their commercial speech and campaign activities should not be regulated; wants to strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act; and backs the President’s ability to hold an American citizen in prison indefinitely without charges or review by the courts.

Thomas refuses to see prisoner rights as legitimate and is against affirmative action to the extreme, even though he benefited from it himself! He spends his time only with people who agree with his hard line views, which many think is a shame, as it indicates he has a closed mind.

So Clarence Thomas continues to have a long range, in many ways deleterious effect on the Supreme Court, and probably will for close to another generation, as he predicted!

Virginia Thomas: The Clarence Thomas Supreme Court Controversy Revived By A “Loose Cannon”! :(

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas has been on the Court for 19 years, charting a consistently conservative course, and showing very little ability to grow beyond his narrow views, expressed by his statement when he was confirmed that he would stay on the Court longer than any Supreme Court Justice in history to “confound the damn liberals” who he felt had tried to derail his nomination!

Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, to replace retiring liberal Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American on the Court, became enmeshed in a controversy over charges of Anita Hill, an African American woman who worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that he had sexually harassed her during her employment at that agency.

The accusations led to testimony by both Thomas and Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it set up a very embarrassing situation, in which senators and the public took sides, with many believing Thomas’s denials, and others believing Hill’s accusations.

Thomas was confirmed 52-48, the closest vote for a Supreme Court Justice in the 20th century, but he continued to feel bitterness and anger about the situation, and in his memoir written in 2007, he vented about it.

Now his wife has revived the matter, by leaving a phone message at the office of Hill, a law professor at Brandeis University, asking her to consider an apology to her husband, and to explain why she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, and nearly derailed his Court nomination. Hill handed over the information to campus police and they notified the FBI, because of concern that it might be a prank.

Virginia Thomas is obviously a “loose cannon”, and has become controversial as the head of a right wing lobbying group, Liberty Central, connected to the Tea Party Movement. Some have wondered if what she engages in is a conflict of interest, considering her husband’s position on the Supreme Court!

She does not seem to care about her image, and her contacting Anita Hill, is proof of it, and one has to wonder if she consulted her husband before making the phone call to Anita Hill.

Of course, Anita Hill made it clear no apology is forthcoming, because what she claimed happened back in the 1980s REALLY happened, a view the author has always held since the beginning!

It is perfectly clear that Virginia Thomas has a grudge, and rather than consider that her husband may have covered up the truth, as many believe, she instead revives the controversy, which frankly is better forgotten, with Thomas imposing his reactionary views on the Supreme Court for a generation, and unfortunately, probably for an equivalent period in the future, and in the process, holding back progress and undermining constitutional law! πŸ™