Clarence Thomas

Confirmation Of Justice Amy Coney Barrett Creates The Most Extreme Supreme Court Since 1930s!

The confirmation last evening of new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett creates the most extreme Supreme Court since the time of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s Great Depression, just as we are entering into the Second Great Depression.

The right wing narrow minded view of Justice Barrett is perceived as more so than even her mentor, former Justice Antonin Scalia.

The fifth woman to serve on the Court, she is the anti Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a great woman who we could only wish had been able to live two to three more weeks, preventing an appointment before the election.

And had she lived until December, even a lame duck President could not have replaced her before January and a new President.

This only accelerates the dire need for everyone to vote, and for the Republicans to be resoundingly defeated next week for the White House and the US Senate, and add seats in the House of Representatives.

With a 6-3 extremist Court, the following areas of law are greatly endangered:

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in general
Women’s Rights
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Labor Rights
Voting Rights
Environmental Reforms
Consumer Reforms
Business Regulations
Separation of Church and State
Firearms Regulation

The answer must be to expand the Supreme Court to 11 members, adding two progressives or liberal voices to the Court, making for a slight 6-5 conservative majority, but promoting the concept that Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch will, at times, side with the liberals.

It does not guarantee progressive and liberal ideas, but that has been that way for a generation, but once either Clarence Thomas (age 72) or Samuel Alito (age 70) leaves the Court, likely in the next four years, a moderate Court will be achieved. And if Stephen Breyer or Sonia Sotomayor were to leave, it would insure a Democratic President choosing their successors.

Voting for Joe Biden and a Democratic Senate insures that the right wing tilt of the Court will be short lived!

The Corruption Of The Supreme Court, With Five Appointees By Presidents Who Lost The Popular Vote!

With the likelihood that Amy Coney Barrett will be successfully confirmed to be the replacement of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court, we are about to have a Court with five appointees by Presidents who lost the national popular vote, but still won the Electoral College.

George W. Bush lost the national popular vote to Vice President Al Gore in 2000 by a 540,000 margin, but was able to select Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito in 2005 and 2006.

And now Donald Trump, who lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016, by a 2.85 million margin, has been able to select Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch in 2017, Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, and now Amy Comey Barrett in 2020.

And even more infuriating is that three of these five appointees helped the George W. Bush campaign in the Bush V Gore Supreme Court case, assisting him winning the case in a majority Republican selected Court in December 2000–specifically, John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Comey Barrett!

And the right wing Federalist Society, which has been on a 40 year campaign to make the federal court system move to the extreme right on such issues as health care, abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, so called freedom of religion, deregulation of the economy and the environment, suppression of voting rights and labor rights, has fully succeeded in its campaign to undermine American democracy and a sense of humanity!

So when one complains from the right side of the political spectrum at the “horror” of Democrats “packing the Court” if they were to add seats to the Supreme Court, one has to say the level of hypocrisy is enormous, when that has been the commitment for four decades of the Right in American politics.

And who can say that if the Republicans were to win control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, that they would not be willing to promote “packing of the Court’, so that they could add two to four more seats to the Supreme Court, and make the Court not just the 6-3 margin it will now be, but possibly 8-3 or 10-3, if two to four seats were to be added!

And one more point: Two of the six member Republican majority have had sexual misconduct hanging over their heads, although it has not affected their tenure on the Court, speaking specifically of Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. So the ethical and moral standing of the Court has been damaged irrevocably!

But do the conservatives and the Federalist Society care about this? Not one iota!

We Are On The Way To The Most Reactionary Right Wing Supreme Court Since The 1930s

In the 1930’s, Franklin D. Roosevelt had the most reactionary right wing Supreme Court, working to undermine the New Deal.

This led him to promote the so called “Court Packing Plan” in 1937, to add six new Justices for each one over 70, but the Congress, controlled by his own party, but having a strong Southern conservative contingent, promoted its defeat.

Now, eight decades later, America is on the brink of having the most reactionary right wing Court since then, with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett by President Donald Trump.

Already, the Supreme Court has four Justices appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote, and now they will have a majority, if Barrett is approved, which is likely.

And Barrett does not believe in the doctrine of “Stare Decisis”, the legal principle of determining points in litigation based upon earlier precedents.

Instead, she has very strong personally held beliefs, tied to her strong Catholic faith, and her involvement in a religious charismatic Christian group called “People of Praise”, which preaches that the man is the leader of the family over the wife.

This is very concerning, because she seems likely to wish to overturn many precedents and laws that have been upheld, in unison with others on the Court who have right wing views, including Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh.

The reliability of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch is uncertain, as both, and particularly, Roberts have surprised on some decisions.

So a potential 6-3 Court on many cases could end up 5-4 in favor of the right wing, or possibly 5-4 with the three liberal appointments on the Court, but it seems more likely that the possible so called “best” outcome is at least 5-4 conservative.

So that means the Affordable Care Act, coming up for review in November after the election, could be gutted.

Also in danger are cases involving women’s rights, abortion rights, gay rights, labor rights, religious issues favored by conservatives, voting rights, Presidential authority, environmental laws, consumer laws, and the overall regulatory state promoted since the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as agencies formed under Richard Nixon and later Presidents through Barack Obama.

So we are involved in a crisis constitutionally which could destroy much of what the federal government has done in the past century of American history, and all brought about by Justices appointed under questionable circumstances by Republicans who do not follow rules except when it favors them, and by Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who failed to win the national popular vote, and by Justices who, in the case of Thomas and Kavanaugh had major issues with private behavior with women.

And with Justice Stephen Breyer being 82, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor having issues with her health (diabetes), two of the three liberals on the Court could be replaced if Donald Trump or a future Republican President gains the opportunity!

The Supreme Court Might See Massive Change In Next Presidential Term

It seems likely that the Supreme Court might see massive change in the next Presidential term.

The automatic thought is that of course, the odds of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer leaving by one method or another, either death or retirement, seems likely as they are now 87 and 82 respectively.

If this happens with Joe Biden as President, the seats will remain in the liberal camp, so the news of Ginsburg again in the hospital, but supposedly recovering well, makes one’s heart skip a beat.

The thought of another Donald Trump appointment before the election is a horrible thought, but likely would happen if she were to leave the Supreme Court in the months before the election.

But beyond Ginsburg and Breyer, there are four other potential changes that could occur.

Both Clarence Thomas (age 72) and Samuel Alito (age 70) have been rumored to be thinking of leaving the Court, but no sign they would leave right now. But if they did in 2021 or after, with Joe Biden in office, these two most reliably conservative members would be likely replaced by nominees more to the left in their constitutional views.

Additionally, it is well known that Sonia Sotomayor (age 66) has a strong case of diabetes, and there is some speculation she might leave for health reasons at some point.

Finally, Chief Justice John Roberts (age 65) has had seizure issues, and could have died when he collapsed in 2007 on a deck while fishing, but fortunately did not fall into the water with no one nearby, and was instead found after the event. But he now has had a concussion, and one can wonder if it is related to his seizure issues, for which he takes medication. So it is possible to imagine him leaving the Court at some point.

So with the uncertainties of life, the six longest serving members of the Court could end up leaving the Court sometime between now and 2025. This would affect the balance of the Court on many cases that will come up in the future.

Can Joe Biden Overcome The Obstacle Course Awaiting Him In 2020?

Former Vice President Joe Biden finally announced his campaign on Thursday, starting off as a front runner in polls.

But can he overcome the obstacle course awaiting him in 2020?

In his long career of 44 years in national office, 36 in the US Senate and eight years as Vice President, the longest public service record of any Presidential candidate in modern history, Biden came across as genuine, sincere, decent, and compassionate, and gained millions of fans, including this blogger and author.

But he also made judgments that are problematical, including being against school busing in Delaware; supporting the credit card industry in his state, and in so doing, undermining the ability of debtors to protect themselves by bankruptcy; his lack of protection of Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, for which he continues to apologize but in an unsatisfactory manner; his support of an interventionist foreign policy in Iraq; his many gaffes, many of them harmless but still giving him a reputation for loose and thoughtless language; and his habit of being too touchy feely with women and girls, although never accused of sexual improprieties.

Biden also promoted tough crime and drug laws in the 1990s, which are now looked at as blunders that put too many African Americans in prison unjustifiably, and his leadership at different times of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been criticized. His ability to “cross the aisle” and work with many Republicans is seen by some as a weakness, while others see it as a strength.

Biden is a centrist Democrat in 2019 at a time when many progressives are much further to the left than him, and one wonders if he could gain the support of those to his left if he wins the nomination, as he is perceived as too close to the traditional power centers of the party.

Joe Biden has many positive attributes, but his negative side and shortcomings, as seen by many critics, could doom him in a race against Donald Trump, when the most important thing possible is to insure that Donald Trump does not gain a second term, as that would be destructive of every progressive goal in the short run and long run.

This blogger and author has always looked at Joe Biden as a hero of his, as much as earlier, Hubert Humphrey was his model of what a political leader should be like. But Humphrey had the same problem 50 years ago of being admired and praised, but seen by many as not the best choice to oppose Richard Nixon in 1968, against Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.

So the same quandary of 1968 awaits us in 2020, to find the best person to be successful against the greatest menace, Donald Trump, that we have had in a half century of American political history, far more damaging than Richard Nixon.

And while Hubert Humphrey was 57 at the time he ran for President in 1968, Joe Biden will be 78 shortly after the election, and as in 1960, 1976, 1992, and 2008, Democrats were able to elect a “new generation” leadership of John F. Kennedy (age 43); Jimmy Carter (age 52); Bill Clinton (age 46); and Barack Obama (age 47).

Should that be the direction for 2020 is the ultimate challenge for the Democrats.

And will Joe Biden be able to win the white working class of the Midwest and Pennsylvania? Will he be able to keep the African American community around him? Will he be able to draw moderate independents and alienated Republicans, who do not wish to vote for Donald Trump? Will he be able to win suburban whites, who veered toward Democrats in 2018? Will many seniors who supported Trump come back to the Democrats they once supported? And will enough young voters who have supported Bernie Sanders, who is 14 months older than Joe Biden, extend their allegiance to Biden if he stops the Sanders juggernaut?

These are the questions that will dominate the upcoming Presidential campaign of 2020.

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.

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 Negative Side Of The Presidency Of George H. W. Bush

As George H. W. Bush lies in state before his funeral on Wednesday and his burial on Thursday, praise and plaudits have been visited on the 41st President.

But as with all Presidents and all government leaders worldwide and historically, there is a negative side.

Among the shortcomings of the 41st President are the following in no particular order:

Bush ignored the AIDS Epidemic crisis, much like his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, allowing the Religious Right Wing to set the agenda on a hate campaign against gays and lesbians.

Bush switched his pro choice views on abortion by picking up the Reagan viewpoint on women, and sacrificing his beliefs, while his own wife Barbara quietly continued to support abortion rights.

Bush ran a nasty, dirty, and despicable campaign for President in 1988 against the Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, allowing falsehoods and distortions to be promoted, without any consideration of the damage his campaign manager Lee Atwater was engaged in.

Bush pursued a Mideast policy that led to long term disaster, and placing troops on a permanent basis in the Middle East led to September 11 and the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.

Bush as CIA head backed dictatorships in Latin America, particularly in Chile and Argentina.

Bush promoted a tough war on drugs, as Ronald Reagan had done, and it victimized people of color much more than whites, and caused prison terms that are now seen as a failed policy, that did not really get to the issue of how to treat those addicted to drugs.

Bush was involved in the Iran Contra Scandal under President Reagan, never fully explored, and ended up giving pardons to many who were part of that scandal, right before he left office in 1993.

Bush made a horrible appointment to the Supreme Court when he nominated Clarence Thomas in 1991, and the nation has been burdened with his influence for the past 27 years, including many potential future Supreme Court nominees who worked for Thomas, and are now being put on the Circuit Courts under President Donald Trump, setting up a future Court with even greater Thomas impact than just himself.

Bush also gave us the most ill qualified, incompetent Vice President in modern history, Dan Quayle, and when Bush had medical issues in office, it made the nation worry at the thought of a President Quayle.

These nine points mentioned above make an assessment of the ultimate historical significance of George H. W. Bush much more complicated than the fulsome praise now being promoted at the time of his passing.

The Death Of The 41st President, George H. W. Bush, At Age 94

This blogger woke up this morning to the news that the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, had died last night (November 30) at age 94, and five and a half months.

He had the longest life span of any President, although former President Jimmy Carter will surpass him in age on March 22, 2019.

Bush was one of the most experienced Presidents, with a tremendous resume particularly on national security and foreign policy issues. This included being a Houston, Texas, Congressman; United Nations Ambassador; Republican National Committee Chairman; Second Chief of the Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China; Central Intelligence Agency Director; Vice President of the United States for two terms under President Ronald Reagan; and President of the United States for one term from 1989-1993.

Bush was an honorable, decent man, who knew his own shortcomings and admitted to it, but although he was the first Vice President to succeed his President by election since Martin Van Buren in 1836 after Andrew Jackson, he was unable to win a second term, losing to future President Bill Clinton, in an election which included businessman Ross Perot, who managed as an independent candidate to win 19 percent of the vote. This led to Bush having the second worst defeat for a sitting President, with 37 percent, only ahead of President William Howard Taft in 1912, gaining only 23 percent of the vote in a three way race with Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

Bush will be best remembered for his leadership in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein; his helping to end the Cold War with Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev and usher in the unification of Germany; the promotion of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada; the concept of a “Thousand Points of Light” to encourage local activism to solve problems; the signing into law of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal opportunity for those Americans with disabilities; and the appointment of two Supreme Court Justices, David Souter and Clarence Thomas.

His decision to support tax increases caused a challenge by conservatives, led by Pat Buchanan, in the primaries of 1992, which he overcame, but that plus the recession America was suffering at the time of the election, along with the challenge of not just Bill Clinton, but Ross Perot, making the campaign a three way race, led to his defeat.

Bush lived to see his son George W. Bush become President, only the second such situation, after John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and he had nearly 26 years of retirement, and the longest Presidential marriage, until his beloved wife Barbara died in April, after 73 plus years of a devoted couple, who brought up five children.

Bush is ranked near the middle of all Presidents, generally between 17 and 20, depending on the poll of 44 Presidents, with his failure to win a second term a factor in why he has not risen higher.

His impact on America, however, has been massive, and it is likely his ranking among Presidents will rise in the coming years.

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.