Brett Kavanaugh

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Following Tradition Of His Father, Seriously Considering Challenge To Donald Trump Within Republican Party

It now looks more likely that President Donald Trump may have a second, and potentially, more viable Republican opponent for the Presidential nomination in 2020.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld held office from 1991-1997, and was the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee in the Presidential Election of 2016. He will be 75 years of age in 2020, nearly a year older than Trump. He is a legitimate candidate, but having been out of office for nearly a quarter century, it weakens his ability to draw support.

But now, Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan is exploring the idea of announcing, and this should be encouraged.

Hogan has been Governor of a very “Blue” state since 2015, and won his second term in 2018, He has managed to be bipartisan in a state in which the legislature is heavily Democratic. He will be 64 years of age at the time of the election, a full decade younger than Trump.

His father of the same name was a renowned Maryland Republican Congressman from 1969-1975, and served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted three articles of impeachment in 1974 against President Richard Nixon, and the only Republican on the committee to vote for all three impeachment articles. His speech announcing his vote for all three articles of impeachment was truly a “profile in courage” at the time.

Hogan is a rare “moderate” Republican, a centrist and pragmatist, much respected by Democrats. In a June 2018 poll, Hogan had 60 percent support from Democrats. He has a record of environmental reform; immigration reform; support of gay rights and gay marriage; gun control legislation; free community college tuition for middle class and lower class students in the state; supports abortion and reproductive rights for women; and opposed the nomination of Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The question is whether Hogan or Weld, seen as similar “moderate” Republicans on most issues, have a real chance to stop Donald Trump’s renomination. The argument is that if they could make Trump weakened at all as a result of their challenge, history tells us that an incumbent President with a challenger in his own party, wins the nomination but loses the Presidency, as happened to William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush in the 20th century.

The Political Year 2018 Reviewed, And Hopes For A Political Renaissance

The year 2018 saw the drastic blunders and mean spirited nature of the 45th President come to full fruition.

It was the year of diplomatic, economic, environmental, and social steps backward, wiping out a lot of the good that has been done by Presidents and Congresses of both parties in the past 70 plus years since World War II.

It was the year of the passing of political leaders who always had the motivation to do good, even when they sometimes went the wrong direction on specific issues—John McCain and George H. W. Bush.

It was a year when the Federal Judiciary stood up to Donald Trump most of the time, but also a year when extreme right wing judges were approved, and a Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, similar to Clarence Thomas in his mistreatment of women, was confirmed despite that reality.

It was also the year of more gun related deaths and opioid deaths than have died in war since the end of World War II.

It was the year when schools and religious institutions and public gathering places were subjected to mass death by people who desperately needed mental health intervention.

It was the year when racism, nativism, misogyny all had massive revival, assisted by the behavior of the Chief Executive in the Oval Office.

It was the year when the Republican Party lost all credibility as it refused to stand up and condemn the unstable behavior of Donald Trump, and allowed him to hijack the historical reputation of the party.

But in the midst of all this gloom, it was also the year of the rise of women, racial and religious minorities, gays and lesbians, and young people to more political power and influence than has ever been seen in American politics and society.

The Democratic Party became the bastion of future hopes of reform and change, and they have the backing of millions of Americans who desperately want a different direction for American politics and society.

2019 needs to be the year of movement against Donald Trump, and hold him accountable for his crimes and sins, and the likelihood of the Trump Presidency coming to an end by criminal indictments against family members, leading to the resignation of Trump, as occurred with Richard Nixon, seems likely.

The future of American democracy and constitutional government is at stake as we enter 2019, but the massive “Blue Wave” evokes hope and optimism.

Let us all hope for a better, more productive 2019 politically and socially.

The Attack On Birthright Citizenship And The 14th Amendment By Donald Trump, Mike Pence, And Lindsey Graham

Donald Trump has opened up a new area of attack on constitutional law, claiming that he can, by executive order, end birthright citizenship for infants born of undocumented immigrants, bypassing the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship for all born in the United States in 1868, exactly 150 years ago.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, for once, is correct when he says that is not possible legally, as executive orders cannot end what is in the Constitution or its amendments.

It is also a fact, despite some, like Vice President Mike Pence, and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who claim otherwise, that legislation by Congress also cannot end what is in the Constitution or the amendments.

The only way to change what is in the Constitution or its 27 amendments is by another constitutional amendment, as occurred when the 18th Amendment banning liquor (Prohibition) was passed in 1919 and fourteen years later, with much discontent, the amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment, the only way Prohibition would ever have ended.

If it was that easy to change what is in the Constitution or its amendments, then there would be a move to end the Electoral College, but that will never happen legally unless an amendment is passed by two thirds of each of the two houses of Congress, and three fourths of the states’ legislatures (38 out of 50).

The idea that Lindsey Graham is suddenly a great friend of Donald Trump, after the way that Trump trashed his good friend, the late Arizona Senator John McCain, is infuriating. One can be certain that McCain would fight this idea that Trump has suggested that he has the authority, all on his own, to destroy the language of the 14th Amendment. It is certain that McCain would be angry at Graham for his changed behavior, and it makes one wonder what is going on in Graham’s disturbed mind that he does not know the basic reality of constitutional law.

Of course, those on the Right would say the Supreme Court could justify what Trump wishes to do, and in theory, a lawless Court, which has already made decisions clearly and purely political in the last ten years, could by a 5-4 vote, including compromised Justice Brett Kavanaugh, do such. But it is hard to imagine that Chief Justice John Roberts would wish to be part of a majority that would undermine his reputation and that of his Court in the long run of history.

If such a disgrace were to happen, the Supreme Court would lose its credibility for all time, and would be helping Donald Trump to destroy our democracy, and impose an authoritarian dictatorship on our nation.

There is absolutely no moral or ethical way that this could happen, and be allowed to stand!

And also, the thought that an infant would not have the opportunity for a good life in America, simply because his or her parents were not documented at the time of his or her birth, is to deny the whole point of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and the reality that tens of millions of immigrants, and not all legal, with many “slipping in” through our borders and not realized what they had done, contributed to our nation’s greatness.

Think of the refugees from Cuba and Vietnam who came to a nation welcoming them from their personal tragedies in the past half century, and think of the refugees who came from all over the world over two centuries to a nation that gave them a chance to succeed and prosper, and benefit all of the American people!

Midterm Election History In First Presidential Midterms Since 1946, And Likelihood Of Results Of Midterm Elections In 2018

With the Midterm Elections of 2018 upon us in less than two weeks, it is time to analyze midterm election results in the first such elections after a new President has come to office, starting with Harry Truman in 1946 and all the way through to Barack Obama in 2010.

We are discussing 12 Presidents and how they were factors in the midterm elections which followed their entering the Presidency.

Six of the 12 Presidents entered that first midterm election with their popularity in public opinion polls under 50 percent—with the order of lack of popularity being lowest to highest the following—Truman, Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, Obama, Clinton, and Carter. Notice this list is all Democrats except for Reagan.

The other six Presidents were above 50 percent popularity at the time of the first midterm elections–from the highest to the lowest being George W. Bush, Kennedy, Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, Nixon, Ford. Notice this list is all Republicans except for Kennedy.

The record shows that only George W. Bush and Kennedy saw the best results, with Bush seeing a gain of 8 House seats and 1 Senate seat, in the year after September 11, and Kennedy losing 4 House seats but gaining 2 Senate seats in the weeks after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

And George H. W. Bush, Nixon, and Eisenhower midterms showed respectively 8 House seats and 1 Senate seat lost; 12 House Seats lost and 1 Senate seat gained; and 18 House seats and 1 Senate seat lost.

Only Ford, three months after taking over the Presidency, and with still a high public opinion rating of 54 percent, but the Nixon Watergate Scandal still reverberating with Ford’s pardon of Nixon, do we see a major loss of 48 House seats and 4 Senate seats lost.

Meanwhile, those six Presidents with a lower than 50 percent public opinion poll rating at the first midterm of their Presidency saw a much greater loss, with Carter having the smallest loss, 15 House seats and 3 Senate seats lost with a 49 percent rating.

Reagan, with a 42 percent rating, lowest except for Truman, saw a loss of 26 House seats but one Senate seat gained.

The other four Presidents—Johnson, Clinton, Truman, Obama—suffered far worse losses—with Johnson losing 48 House seats and losing 4 Senate seats, the same as Ford, who had ten points higher public opinion rating of 54 percent to LBJ’s 44 percent.

Clinton, Truman, and Obama, all Democrats,lost massively in seats in both houses of Congress—Clinton losing 54 House seats and losing 8 Senate seats; Truman losing 55 House seats and losing 12 Senate seats; and Obama losing 63 House seats and losing 6 Senate seats.

What all this leads to is the strong belief that Donald Trump, with 47 percent approval rating most recently, will see a major loss of House seats for sure, and the guess at this time, after much reflection, is that it will be between 40-45 seats. In the Senate, with the great Republican advantage in only having 9 seats open for election, and the Senate having a 51-49 Republican margin, the odds of the Democrats holding on to their seats and gaining two or more of the nine contested Republican seats would seem to lead likely to a 50-50 tie, meaning a one seat Democratic gain, but still a Republican controlled Senate at 50-50, whereby Vice President Mike Pence will still organize the Senate for the next two years. This so unless there is a move by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted against Brett Kavanaugh, and has been attacked by her state’s Republican party leadership, to switch to Independent or Democratic support, and giving the Senate to the Democrats.

The Governorships generally follow Congressional results, and are extremely important for reapportionment of state legislative districts and US House districts after the Census 2020 population figures are tabulated, so having more Governors of one party over the other are crucial. At this point, it would seem likely that the Democrats will gain from 16 present Governorships by 10-11, and have 26-27 Chief Executives of states.

So overall, a Democratic gain to a majority of House seats to about 235-240 and 26-27 Governorships, but likely a tied 50-50 Senate, putting the results worse for Trump than for Reagan in the House and Senate, but not as bad as for Ford among Republican Presidents.

Unwise For Republicans To Denounce Lisa Murkowski, And Democrats To Denounce Joe Manchin: They Could Switch Parties After Midterm Elections

Now that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has been accomplished, by the smallest margin since 1881, there is discussion in both political parties about retribution to be paid for the one Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and the one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who broke ranks in their parties and voted against the party line.

This is very unwise, and could reverberate after the midterm elections are completed.

What if the US Senate ends up with a 50-50 split, which would give Vice President Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

If Lisa Murkowski is angry in November, she could decide to switch parties, becoming a Democrat, as long as the party promised, with her 16 years of Senate experience, to give her a committee chairmanship. That would make the Senate 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans, backfiring on the Republicans.

Or what if the Senate became 51-49 Democratic, and Joe Manchin decided to switch to the Republican Party, making a 50-50 tie, giving Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

What it comes down to is that no political party should punish its members because they are not always in lockstep with their party.

There is no reason why all Democrats have to be to the left of center, and all Republicans have to be to the right of center.

In the past, there were a lot of people who “crossed the aisle” on a regular basis, and accomplished great goals, as for instance Lyndon B. Johnson gaining support of many Republicans for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 due to his ability to work with Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.

Another instance was a deal on Social Security reform in 1983 between Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.

The only way to move ahead is to overcome the confrontational, no holds barred rhetoric, that now has made Congress such an inept institution, and promote willingness of both parties to negotiate and compromise for the good of the nation and its future.

The Long Term Crisis Of Supreme Court Legitimacy Could Tear This Nation Apart Over Next Few Decades

The US Supreme Court is entering a period which could tear this nation apart over the next few decades.

Here we are in the 21st century, and yet, the Supreme Court could be taking us back to the late 19th century Gilded Age in its constitutional decisions. Now there is a solid five member conservative majority, with the confirmation and swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh, the most contentious nominee with the closest vote in the Senate since Stanley Matthews’ appointment by President James A. Garfield in 1881.

Matthews served nearly eight years on the Supreme Court, having been nominated by President Rutherford B. Hayes, but seen at the time as too much of a “crony” of the President, so his nomination was withdrawn, but resubmitted by President James A. Garfield in 1881, and confirmed by the closest margin in history, 24-23, but with Kavanaugh the second lowest ever vote 50-48. This was the only Supreme Court appointment of Garfield, who had only served four months, when he was shot and mortally wounded by an assassin, and died in September 1881.

The concern about fairness on the part of Brett Kavanaugh however was not the same as Stanley Matthews, who was the majority opinion author in a case involving discrimination against Chinese laundries and their owners in San Francisco, with the case being Yick Wo V. Hopkins, enforcing the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This was a step forward at a difficult time, in the year 1886, although the government had passed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

We could only hope for the kind of open mindedness on the part of Brett Kavanaugh, as occurred with Stanley Matthews’ authorship of this case, which gives him stature in Supreme Court history.

We have had Republican appointments in the past, who turned out to be surprises, including:

Earl Warren and William Brennan, appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower

Harry Blackmun, appointed by Richard Nixon

John Paul Stevens, appointed by Gerald Ford

Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Ronald Reagan

David Souter, appointed by George H. W. Bush

It would be a miracle at this point if Brett Kavanaugh were to travel the same road.

In a nation becoming more minority over the next decades, and with young people and women and college educated people veering to the left, while the Supreme Court veers dramatically to the Far Right, the question is whether civil disorder is not in the making, creating a crisis atmosphere in the future decades, exactly what America’s enemies are hoping for.

Profiles In Courage: Heidi Heitkamp Of North Dakota And Lisa Murkowski Of Alaska

Tow US Senators, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the first a Red State Democrat, and the second a Republican, shine today as true “Profiles in Courage”, for voting NO on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Heitkamp is in danger of losing her seat, but let her conscience rule her decision.

Murkowski was the only Republican to break the solidarity of the party and do the right thing.

Both saw Kavanaugh as besmirching the image of the Supreme Court as more significant than the future of this one individual nominee.

The rest of the Republicans, including Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Susan Collins of Maine, and also Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia did what seemed more to defend their seats and position, than do what is right.

Susan Collins will now face the wrath of Maine voters in 2020, as will Ben Sasse in Nebraska, and both are likely to see their political influence wane as a result of their actions.

The Moment Has Come For Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse: Put Up Or Shut Up, And Be Never Believed Again!

There are four Republican Senators who are drawing all the attention on the issue of Brett Kavanaugh:

Jeff Flake of Arizona

Susan Collins of Maine

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Ben Sasse of Nebraska

It is these four who will decide if Kavanaugh ends up on the Supreme Court, and besmirches the reputation of the Court.

Kavanaugh on the Court will never be accepted as legitimate by half the nation, particularly after he lost his temper and became partisan, worrying Court watchers that he would not recuse himself on cases involving left wing issues and Democrats, including anyone or anything that might show up in the Court regarding Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Kavanaugh lacks the judicial temperament, and self destructed in that rampage a week ago, and it is like an egg that has been broken, and it cannot be put back together again, even if he were to apologize.

It would paralyze the Court, or cause great controversy on many Supreme Court cases that will be divisive enough without his outburst.

So it is up to these four Senators to do what is right, even if it affects the long term career of Collins, Murkowski, and Sasse, with Flake retiring from the Senate.

The first and the third face election in 2020, and Murkowski in 2022.

Sasse may also plan to run for President, and it would be good if he demonstrated independence from Trump.

The two women want abortion to survive, but to believe Kavanaugh will not work to destroy Roe V. Wade, is to be naive.

So it is now that true “Profiles in Courage” are needed, as written about by John F. Kennedy in 1956.

A Way To Promote End Of Political Polarization: Nominate Merrick Garland A Justice Of The Supreme Court

Assuming that the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court fails to gain a majority of the US Senate, the future of the Court and its reputation remains at stake.

One way to resolve it is for both Republicans and Democrats to work toward the end of polarization, and call upon President Donald Trump to nominate Merrick Garland to the empty seat on the Supreme Court, three years after he was summarily dismissed and ignored by the Republicans, when President Barack Obama nominated him to replace Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

Merrick Garland was seen by Obama as a compromise choice, whom the Republicans would accept, as he is seen as a moderate, and has a distinguished background as the Chief Judge of the US Court Of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the highest court next to the Supreme Court.

Garland is technically the “boss” of Brett Kavanaugh, and also was of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and both of them have always been very positive in their views of Garland.

Being in his mid 60s. Garland would serve far less than the theoretical 30 years that Gorsuch might serve, and that Kananaugh might serve if he was confirmed.

Garland is perfectly qualified to keep the Court balanced, and would likely replace Anthony Kennedy as the “swing vote” on the Court, and would prevent the kind of polarization represented by an extreme right wing choice for the Supreme Court, keeping it as four liberals, four conservatives, and Garland as the crucial vote, sometimes siding with one or the other side, as Anthony Kennedy did, and earlier, Sandra Day O’Connor did.

Why could not the two parties agree to a truce, to work toward cooperation, and return the US Senate to what it was under Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan, when Senator Everett Dirksen worked with LBJ, and Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill did with Reagan, working across the aisle on many matters?

It is proper that Merrick Garland be put on the Court, as a distinguished, and accomplished man, who deserves, belatedly, three years late, to give his service to our nation’s highest Court.

Christine Blasey Ford Spoke For All Women, And Men, Who Have Been Sexually Abused, And Brett Kavanaugh Proved He Is Unfit For Supreme Court

The testimony of Christine Blasey Ford was gripping and convincing, and she proved to be so genuine that even Republicans avoided attacking her, and Donald Trump stated words of praise for her performance.

At the same time, Republicans and Donald Trump called for moving forward on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, until two courageous women confronted Arizona Senator Jeff Flake in a Capitol Hill elevator, and convinced him to call for time out, and an FBI investigation to be conducted, which now is moving forward.

Christine Blasey Ford was articulate, and her education and career as a college professor of psychology gave her the ability to overcome her nervousness at speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She knows how to speak, how to deliver ideas and points, but even this professor, the author and blogger, as much as he can speak before hundreds of people, wonders if he could do as fine a performance if he had to face a Senate committee.

Imagine if Christine Blasey Ford was NOT a professor, but rather one of millions of ordinary women, not educated, not professional, not having the kind of family and moral support that she had.

Imagine if it had been a poor, minority woman, someone not good at expressing herself, or had been a man of similar lack of education and speaking ability and economic station, who had been abused as boys and men also are, and terrified to speak out, even including those who are gay or lesbian, and suffer sexual abuse every day, and yet remain silent.

Those people, men and women, who dispute CHristine Blasey Ford for waiting so many years, look at the case of Bill Cosby, or look at the cases of the men abused by the Catholic Church over decades, or look at the women abused by their mother’s boyfriends or their stepfathers, which happens so often after failed marriages.

Those men and women who have no heart, no concern, and always back white male privilege, and powerful male privilege, reveal themselves for what they are: despicable, disgraceful human beings who have no compassion, no empathy, no concern for anyone unless they are wealthy, white males, and whose wives who go along with them, reveal they have no minds of their own, and are “Stepford Wives”, who do not realize they are being manipulated by their dominant husbands who most likely are cheating on them. There is so much domestic abuse that never is reported, or is overlooked historically by legal authorities, when it is reported by courageous victims.

Brett Kavanaugh proved in his tirade against Democrats and Senators on the Judiciary Committee, that he is unfit for a lifetime position on the Supreme Court, and that he is too partisan and too supportive of Donald Trump, to be an objective, open minded member of the high Court, His drinking problem is a severe one, and he is too cocky, and self serving, much like Donald Trump, to have so much power and authority over Constitutional law for the next thirty to forty years. His performance was a disgrace, that should open the eyes of the eight members of the Court for lack of dignity and decency, and the American Bar Association and other groups which had endorsed him, have withdrawn their support.

It is time for decent Republicans, including Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Bob Corker, and Ben Sasse to show they have guts and principle, and reject this nomination!