Elena Kagan

Time For Supreme Court To Intervene, And Overturn Trump Executive Order On Travel Ban

A federal District Court judge has stopped the Trump executive order travel ban for the time being, but it is being appealed by the Trump Administration, meanwhile causing chaos, as the future of the order is uncertain.

It is time for the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups to appeal to the Supreme Court, and find at least one Justice willing to put his or her neck out to use their influence to stop the travel ban permanently, and have the entire Supreme Court consider the ban immediately.

I would propose that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the true hero of progressivism, do so, and force the issue.

We know that Trump hates Ginsburg, and has tried to bully her into retirement, but she is a tough lady, who will not be intimidated.

But it would be perfect for the 84 year old Justice, who is less than 5 feet tall, to challenge BULLY Trump, and give his executive order a “Punch in the Mouth”!

Of course, no one can be sure what the eight member Court would do, but it seems highly likely that besides Ginsburg, we would have Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan join her, making for at least a tie vote.

And somehow, it seems also likely that the “swing vote” on the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, would also join these four Justices, making for a 5-3 vote.

So bring it on, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, intervene and make for a confrontation with Donald Trump!

The Positive Contributions Of The Barack Obama Presidency

So here we are on the last full day of the Barack Obama Presidency, which I have been writing about since August 2008, and just about daily since 2010.

Barack Obama has been an historic President, and will end up in the top ten of our 44 Presidents over time, if not immediately.

Barack Obama was the most pilloried President since Richard Nixon, but for no good reason, and a lot of it was based on pure racism, sorry to say, but the truth.

But Obama brought us a dignified, classy persona to the White House, as did his wife Michelle.

He gave us the biggest expansion of our health care system, and much of it will survive the Donald Trump and Republican onslaught in the end.

He gave us the concept of limited military involvement, after decades of too many interventions overseas, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and cut back dramatically on the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

He gave us the possibility of ending the threat of Iran as a nuclear power, and opened up a new relationship with Cuba, after 55 years of ignoring reality.

He accomplished through the use of technology and drones the elimination of thousands of terrorists worldwide, and took the gamble to bring justice to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He started moving the focus of American foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific, and kept good relations with America’s NATO allies, and kept Russia’s Vladimir Putin on edge. about how America would react toward his aggressive stands.

He made climate change worldwide a crucial focus, and participated in international agreements, and accepted science over conspiracy theories, and made us realize global warming was a danger to American national security.

He took an economy that was the worst since the Great Depression, what is called the Great Recession, and turned it around, with the greatest job growth over eight years in American history, the greatest stock market growth, and the greatest drop in the unemployment rate that has occurred in any administration.

He accomplished in health care what Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush had been unable to do.

He brought about the revival of the American auto industry, and advanced the rights of workers to overtime pay and increased minimum wage, and the rights of consumers through the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He advanced women’s rights, including to equal pay, and gave DREAM kids a reprieve from possible deportation, and promoted the idea of universal pre school and community college education, and worked to try to deal with the student loan crisis.

He advocated fair treatment of Muslims in America, and became the champion of gay equality in the military, gay rights in society, and gay marriage and transgender rights.

He became a great advocate of the environment, adding to our national parks and national forests and endangered sites, and continued the tradition of earlier exceptional environmental Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton before him.

He utilized executive orders to expand the rights of the American people, and worked for legal and judicial reform, and appointed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

He cared about the weak, the powerless, and the forgotten groups in American society, and set a good moral basis in his own life and that of his family, becoming a model for young people as to how a President should conduct himself.

He avoided lashing out at those who promoted bigotry, and also showed emotion after his failed attempts at immigration reform and gun safety legislation. He had real tears, emotions, and sincerity in the Oval Office, which has hardly ever seen that, and hard to think of any earlier President quite like Obama.

He also faced the greatest number of threats of any President since Abraham Lincoln, as delineated in my Assassinations book, and demonstrated great courage and equanimity in waking up every day, knowing he was a target for hate mongers who wished him and his family ill will.

And finally, he had two terms of office without any hint of a personal, or otherwise, major scandal!

So Barack Obama was a FINE MAN, a different spelling of this author’s and blogger’s last name, and he will rise in the Presidential rankings to the top ten, and likely higher in the middle of the top ten at some point in the future, as he was truly a transformational President!

Goodbye, President and Mrs Obama, we will miss you, and wish you many decades of good health, prosperity, and happiness, as you continue to contribute to American betterment! God bless you both!

Chuck Schumer, The Great Jewish Hope: The Highest Ranking Elected Jew Ever In American Government!

The new Senate Minority Leader is New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who has been in the Senate since 1999, and defeated a tough opponent, Republican three term Senator Alfonse D’Amato.

Schumer began his political career at the age 23, and entered the House of Representatives at age 29 from Brooklyn, New York.

He had to compete first with fellow, soon to be retired Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and then his newly elected replacement, Hillary Clinton, who would seek the Presidency despite being the Junior Senator from New York.

Schumer worked his way up the leadership, being a loyal subordinate for ten years to Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and built up the Democratic majority in 2006 and 2008, before the bottom fell out, and the Democrats lost seats, from a high of 60 down to 46 and now up to 48 in 2017.

Schumer is a man who is very accessible and warm, and will do a lot of good for the Democrats, and he happens to have the distinction of being the highest ranking elected Jews ever in American government.

Yes, we have had other distinguished Jewish US Senators, but none in a leadership position in the Senate.

Yes, we had House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, second ranking in the House of Representatives, and hoping to become Speaker of the House someday, before he was defeated for nomination to his seat in 2014 by a more extremist right wing Republican, David Brat.

Yes, we have had Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who was Vice Presidential nominee with Al Gore in 2000, when they won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Yes, we have had Jewish cabinet officers, including Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Henry Kissinger, Abraham Ribicoff, and Arthur Goldberg among others, who have had impact on government.

And yes, we have had Jewish Supreme Court Justices by appointment, including Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan among others.

But Schumer has the potential to have a greater impact politically than most party leaders, so we must wish him the best fortune as the Democrats battle against the Trump Presidency.

Yesterday, Schumer gave a fighting, defiant speech to the Senate on his first day as Minority Leader, making it clear his party would contest Trump on the Cabinet and on every policy that undermines the middle class and promotes the elite wealthy against the average American.

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions: A Horrible Successor To The Position Of Attorney General

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions may be very cordial and pleasant to his Senate colleagues, but he is clearly a horrible successor to the position of Attorney General of the Unites States.

The only Senator given a cabinet post, Sessions is, unfortunately, the totally wrong choice to enforce civil liberties and civil rights. He is rated one of the most conservative, hard right members of the US Senate.

He was rejected for a Circuit Court Judgeship thirty years ago by a Republican controlled Senate due to his insensitive statements on race, and has no record of tolerance on immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, gays and lesbians, and women.

Sessions would present a very different image of the Justice Department, to favor the powerful and elite over the powerless and middle class and poor in legal and constitutional matters.

He voted against use of medicinal marijuana, and is opposed to stem cell research. He also was highly critical and voted against Barack Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Sessions is like bringing back the “Old South” image of George Wallace, Jesse Helms, and Strom Thurmond, with lack of concern about the growing number of cases of police behavior in controversial cases where people of minority status are often the victim of trigger happy cops, and end up deceased.

Will the Senate again reject one of its own, of the majority party as thirty years ago? That is the question that will be focused on next month when Sessions faces Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

Historic Moment To Revel In! First Female Presidential Candidate Of A Major American Political Party, And Of Course, A Democrat!

It has finally happened!

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Presidential nominee, the first woman to gain that opportunity on a major party line!

But remember that it is the Democratic Party which gave us the first Catholic President, John F. Kennedy, and the first African American President, Barack Obama!

Also, it was the Democratic Party that gave us the first woman Vice Presidential nominee, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of New York and the first Jewish Vice Presidential nominee, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, along with the first Catholic Vice President, Joe Biden.

It was a Democratic President, Woodrow Wilson, who gave us the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis.

The Democratic Party is the party of equal opportunity, including three Jews presently on the Court (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan); three women presently on the Court (Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor) ; and the first Latina Supreme Court Justice (Sotomayor).

And it was great today to see the first African American President, Barack Obama, wholeheartedly endorsing the first woman Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton!

Inauguration Day Plus Seven Years: Imagine The Alternative Of President John McCain And Vice President Sarah Palin!

Seven years ago, Barack Obama became the 44th President, and history was transformed in a positive manner!

Not everything has worked out, and not everything he promised has occurred, but when one thinks about the alternative of President John McCain and Vice President Sarah Palin, one must thank God that he gave us Barack Obama!

McCain, even though he is less extreme than most Republicans, would most certainly have taken us into war more than we were under George W. Bush.

We would have massive involvement still in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and would have engaged in a major war against Iran.

Much of the social change that has occurred would not have had Presidential backing, including gay rights and gay marriage; climate change; criminal justice reform; attention to civil rights controversies; and a national health care system for more Americans.  We also would not have Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court!

We would have had Sarah Palin as Vice President, and have to be constantly thankful that John McCain is still alive and healthy.

 

“Third Choice” Supreme Court Justices And Path Breaking Decisions On Abortion And Gay Marriage!

As the Supreme Court hears arguments today in the case of Obergefell V. Hodges, the gay marriage case, we are on the brink of a massive constitutional decision by the last day of June on this matter.

It now seems clear that the right to gay marriage in all of the states will be declared constitutional by a 5-4 or 6-3 vote, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and possibly, Chief Justice John Roberts, joining Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

The likely author of the upcoming decision should be Justice Kennedy, who has created a majority on three earlier gay rights cases decided by the Supreme Court, but even if not so, Kennedy is the person insuring that gay marriage will become the law of the land!

And this reality brings up an interesting situation: Justice Kennedy was the THIRD CHOICE for the Supreme Court of President Ronald Reagan, after the rejection of Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg, and if either had been confirmed by the US Senate, gay rights now would likely not be occurring as rapidly as it has been!

And it also fact that Associate Justice Harry Blackmun, selected by President Richard Nixon, after the rejection of Clement Haynesworth and C. Harold Carswell, the THIRD CHOICE, was the author of the momentous Roe V. Wade decision of 1973, legalizing abortion!

So it turns out that “third choice” Supreme Court nominees Harry Blackmun and Anthony Kennedy have had historic effects on two controversial issues that have divided the nation, but also move the nation forward on women’s rights and gay rights!

Barack Obama After Six Years In The Presidency: On Way To Top Ten Of Our 43 Presidents!

As 2014 ends, Barack Obama is finishing his sixth year in the Presidency, and will officially mark that milestone on January 20, when he delivers the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress, controlled by the Republican Party, which has stood in his way, has been a constant barrier to anything Obama proposes, and hates the ground he walks on. Conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel, and conservative think tanks, would not be happy no matter what Barack Obama does or says. And there is a strong level of venal hate, very dangerous, that puts the President in the cross hairs of a potential threat to his life on a daily basis.

But despite all that, President Barack Obama has a record in office to be proud of, not perfect in any sense, but still outstanding enough to have a chance to end up in the top ten of our Presidents, if not immediately after leaving the White House, over a generation or more as time passes, and passions calm down, and particularly after Obama has passed away, an opportune time to reconsider the legacy of any President, particularly one so much maligned in his time!

The list of Obama accomplishments is endless, but key points include:

The adoption of ObamaCare, which will be seen as transformative over time, as much as Social Security and Medicare.

The successful tracking down and elimination of Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrator of September 11, 2001.

The ending of US military engagement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars that were unwise to conduct in the first place.

The revival of the American economy, with 11 million jobs created; the unemployment rate below six percent; the greatest economic expansion since the Bill Clinton Presidency; the smallest increase in the deficit for the past decade; the 150 percent increase in the stock market; the lowest gas prices in five years; and the revival of the domestic auto industry.

The appointment of two Supreme Court Justices–Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and some exceptional cabinet appointments, plus the best Vice President in American history, Joe Biden.

The promotion of gay rights and gay marriage, insuring the end of discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

The advancement of environmental concerns, including dealing with global warming and climate change.

The promotion of a tolerant attitude toward immigration reform.

The establishment of a new relationship with Cuba after 50 years of a failed policy.

The promotion of labor rights in a time when labor has been under attack.

The protection of women’s rights against right wing attempts to undermine the advancement of women in all spheres of American life.

The avoidance of engagement in new wars, which the right wing is always itching for.

The courage of Obama to go after terrorists in a way that limits US military involvement, but effectively has killed more terrorists than George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama was the the right person for his time, and will be seen as that in history. He has met racist attacks by refusing to show anger, but instead class and dignity! He has admitted failure, but also has confidence in the morality of his cause. Considering the extreme opposition he has faced, what he has accomplished is miraculous beyond belief.

Despite having presided over the rapid decline of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress by vicious attacks and massive spending by right wing billionaires, he has made it clear that he will use executive orders to do what he feels must be done in the last two years of his Presidency. The right wing Supreme Court, with its Citizens United Case in 2010, and the lackadaisical attitude on voting of many Democratic constituent groups, has contributed to this decline in Democratic Party strength, but Obama has reacted by making clear that it will not deter his plans to make the nation a place better for the middle class and the poor.

President Barack Obama will NOT allow the prevention of further improvement of the New Deal and Great Society, and he is much to be admired, as a credit to the office he holds!

Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito MUST Go!

Three members of the Supreme Court live in their own parallel world of the Founding Fathers and the Gilded Age and the 1920s, and refuse to consider modernization as a factor in their judicial judgments!

Antonin Scalia, appointed in 1986 by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas, appointed in 1991 by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito, appointed in 2006 by George W. Bush are a team of three, which has worked against gender equality,racial equality, fair treatment to immigrants, and gay rights, among other modern controversies.

Often, Chief Justice John Roberts joins them, and sometimes, but less often than Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy also joins to make a right wing five on the Court.

But Roberts and Kennedy have also taken stands with the four liberal justices on the Court lately–Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

It is time to demand that Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito adjust to modern times, or else leave the Court, and there is a dire need to have a constitutional amendment to limit the terms of all federal judges at all levels, to promote open mindedness and diversity, and allow for change after, at most 18-20 years!

The Supreme Court Of 2014 Most Right Wing Since Early 1930s!

The Supreme Court has been controversial at different times in its history, but the present Court of 2014 is considered the most right wing Court majority since the early 1930s!

Since the Warren Court, which began in the 1950s, we have never had such conservative Justices as we have now.

Three of the present Justices are among the most conservative ever to sit on the Court, including Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito.

If one adds former Chief Justice William Rehnquist and former Associate Justice Lewis Powell, we have the five most conservative Justice since 1953, a period of 60 years.

Not much behind is Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, both capable of surprises in their votes and rulings, but still most of the time joining Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

These seven named Justices were all picked by Republican Presidents–two by Richard Nixon; two by Ronald Reagan, plus his promotion of Rehnquist to the Chief Justiceship; one by George H. W. Bush; and two by George W. Bush.

But also, Republican Presidents have selected Justices who turned out to be quite moderate, and even sometimes liberal, including Chief Justice Earl Warren and Associate Justice William Brennan by Dwight D. Eisenhower; Chief Justice Warren Burger and Associate Justice Harry Blackmun by Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford; Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan; and David Souter by George H. W. Bush.

Since 1953, Republicans have controlled the White House for 36 years, while Democrats have had control for 25 plus years, and that has caused the right wing tilt of the Court, which could have been even more so, if not for the surprises presented by the seven “less” conservative, and some “quite liberal” Justices listed in the above paragraph!

So the Republicans have chosen 17 of the past 25 Justices since 1953, with John F. Kennedy picking two, but one (Byron White) turning out to be conservative, and Arthur Goldberg leaving the Court after only three years, due to the urging of Lyndon Johnson that he become United Nations Ambassador. Johnson selected Abe Fortas to replace Goldberg, but he stayed on the Court for only four years, and left the Court under the cloud of scandal. The first African American Justice, Thurgood Marshall, would go on to serve as a champion liberal for 24 years from 1967 to 1991.

Jimmy Carter would have no appointments to the Court in his four years in the White House, the only such situation in the 20th century, and one of only four Presidents to have had no appointments, but the only one to have a full term in the Presidency. The other three Presidents were William Henry Harrison (one month); Zachary Taylor (16 months); and Andrew Johnson (almost a complete term, but so unpopular that the Senate would not confirm any Court appointments in his time in office).

Bill Clinton selected Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; and Barack Obama has chosen Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as his appointments, so far, on the Supreme Court. So note that out of the eight appointments by Democrats in the Presidency, three have been women; five have been Jewish; one has been African American; and one has been Puerto Rican, with only Byron White being a typical white Anglo Saxon Protestant.

The question has now arisen whether Ginsberg, and maybe even Breyer, should retire, and guarantee that Obama could replace them, with the concern that the Senate might go Republican in November, making any Court appointment nearly impossible due to gridlock and stalemate. There is also fear that were the Republicans to win the White House in 2016, which is highly unlikely, that then the Court would be ever more right wing reactionary than it already is.

It is a calculated gamble for Ginsburg and Breyer to remain on the Court for now, but it is not uncommon for Justices to retire at very advanced ages–such as Blackmun at 85 and Stevens at 90!

So do not expect that either will retire, but with a good chance of Democrats retaining the Senate majority in 2014, or regaining it on the back of the Democratic Presidential nominee’s expected major victory in 2016!