Franklin D. Roosevelt

On Constitution Day, Reflection On Danger To Our Constitutional Order From Nearly Two Years Of Donald Trump

Today, September 17, is the 231st anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia by 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

Every public school and public university is required, and rightfully, by federal law, to commemorate this path breaking event, and educate the future generation, and indirectly, all of the American people on the significance of what was done by the Founding Father generation.

This year, more than ever, being educated and aware of the the details and meaning of the Constitution is urgent, as America faces a lawless, corrupt President, with the most corrupt group of Cabinet officers we have ever seen in American history.

We are witnessing a wrecking crew, out to destroy the stability of American foreign policy, and to damage the great domestic reforms in so many areas, brought us by many Presidents and Congresses. This is particularly so with those accomplishments internally of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Barack Obama, the four Presidents who had the most impact of all of our Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt onward, but with other Presidents also being important in their contributions.

The crisis now faced is greater than any since the Civil War, and more of a threat than even Richard Nixon was four and a half decades ago.

It will be through the utilization of the principles of the Constitution that Donald Trump will be removed from office.

Barack Obama Finally Gets Back On The Campaign Trail

It was wonderful to see Barack Obama get back on the campaign trail these last few days.

Obama had been reluctant to criticize his successor, Donald Trump, as George W. Bush had scrupulously avoided criticizing Obama, although former Vice President Dick Cheney had had no such qualms.

But the abuses and outrages that have occurred in the past 19 plus months forced Obama to decide to campaign, and Trump has waged war on everything Barack Obama represents, and has worked to destroy all of his accomplishments.

So many wondered why it took this long for Obama to go on the offensive.

His first two speeches in Illinois and California were brilliant, and many scholars and observers realize Obama is, in many respects, a master orator, on the level of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump made fun of Obama, saying that he fell asleep listening to Obama’s speech, a statement never used before by any President against any former President.

What it comes down to is that Trump cannot match Obama in any sense in oratory or speech making, and instead just bad mouths him, as he has all along, as well as everyone else in public life.

It also demonstrates how lacking in intellect and knowledge and depth Donald Trump is, in many ways the least informed President in American history.

Hopefully, Obama’s intervention in the midterm elections of 2018 will have the needed impact to make the Democrats the big winners in November.

Supreme Court Justice Predictability Not So: Nine Cases From Felix Frankfurter To David Souter

As the hearings continue on the nomination of Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the question has arisen over whether Supreme Court Justices are predictable in their evolution on the Court.

The argument is that most Supreme Court Justices are “pegged” when they are considered for the Court, and do not disappoint the President and the party which nominated them for the Court.

But history actually tells us that there are quite a few exceptions to this perceived thought.

Felix Frankfurter (1939-1962), appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, migrated from an earlier liberal, almost radical view, to a clearly conservative view, disappointing many Democrats in the process.

Earl Warren (1953-1969), appointed Chief Justice by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, and thought to be a conservative oriented person, turned out in the mind of many Republicans “a flaming liberal”, totally surprising Eisenhower and many pleased Democrats and liberals.

William Brennan (1956-1990), appointed by Eisenhower, and a rare Catholic on the Court, and thought to be a conservative, turned out to be even more liberal in his jurisprudence, and lasted twice as long as Warren on the Supreme Court, stunning many conservatives and Republicans.

Byron White (1962-1993), appointed by John F. Kennedy, was thought to be a liberal, but was a consistent conservative in his years on the Court.

Harry Blackmun (1970-1994), appointed by Richard Nixon, started off as a conservative, along with his so called “Minnesota Twin” and colleague, Chief Justice Warren Burger, but veered sharply left more and more, diverging dramatically from Burger as the years went by, and honored by liberals as a great Supreme Court Justice.

John Paul Stevens (1975-2010), appointed by Gerald Ford, was thought to be a moderate conservative, but dramatically moved left in his jurisprudence, and remained on the Court for 35 years, third longest of any Justice in history, retiring at age 90, but still active at age 98 (the longest lived Justice ever), and still promoting liberal viewpoints.

Sandra Day O’Connor (1981-2006), appointed by Ronald Reagan as first woman on the Court, turned out to be far less conservative, veering toward the center, and seen as a balance on the Court, unpredictable during her tenure on the Court.

Anthony Kennedy (1988-2018), appointed by Reagan, and just retired, thought to be a hard line conservative, turned out to be the second “swing” vote with O’Connor, and then the true “swing” vote on the Court, joining the liberal side one third of the time.

David Souter (1990-2009), appointed by George H. W. Bush, was thought of as moving the Court to the Right, after William Brennan retired, but many Republicans and conservatives were severely disappointed in his unpredictability, and often his siding with the liberal view on many issues, more than one would have expected.

Notice, however, that seven of these nine cases, all but Frankfurter and White, were of Republican appointments that turned out to be much more “liberal” than one might have imagined, with only Frankfurter and White turning out to be more “conservative” than perceived at the time of their nominations to the Supreme Court.

Presidential Pets From George Washington To Donald Trump, With Only Four, Including Donald Trump, Having No Pets

Forty of the 43 American Presidents from George Washington through Barack Obama, with the exception of Martin Van Buren, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, have owned and had pets while they served as President, as well in almost all cases, before and after the Presidential years.

Donald Trump is the first and only President since Andrew Johnson NOT to have pets.

But not only that, but also Donald Trump has utilized the term “dog” and the term “animal” as a pejorative against individuals, such as Omarosa Manigault Newman, and groups, such as Mexican immigrants.

Trump has also declared war on endangered species, and protection of wildlife, including advocacy of hunting and bringing home to America endangered animals from other nations in Africa and around the world as sport. So he disdains any respect for nature, a despicable trait.

Even the pardoning of turkeys before Thanksgiving has led to a hostile reaction by such turkeys and by the President himself, who seems uncomfortable with the holiday tradition.

Most of the Presidents have had dogs, with the exceptions of the following ten:

James Madison
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Andrew Johnson
Chester Alan Arthur
William McKinley

Every 20th century President and early 21st century have had dogs as pets, until Donald Trump.

Earlier Presidents mentioned above who did not have dogs still had other pets, including horses, birds, cows, and rabbits, with the exceptions again of Van Buren, Polk, and Andrew Johnson.

Cats are rare pets for Presidents, with only Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley owning cats before the 20th century, and Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush having cats as pets since 1900, so a total of 12 Presidents out of 44.

The eleven Presidents with the most pets were in chronological order:

George Washington (7)
Abraham Lincoln (8)
Rutherford B. Hayes (10)
Theodore Roosevelt (24)
Woodrow Wilson (7)
Calvin Coolidge (25)
Herbert Hoover (10)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (7)
John F. Kennedy (19)
Lyndon B. Johnson (8)
Ronald Reagan (11)

So Calvin Coolidge, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Herbert Hoover, and Rutherford B. Hayes had pets in double digits, while the other five listed had 8 pets (Lincoln and LBJ) and 7 pets (Washington, Wilson, and FDR).

Among the most famous pets in chronological order:

Warren G. Harding (Laddie Boy)
Calvin Coolidge (Rob Roy)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (Fala)
John F. Kennedy (Macaroni, a pony)
Lyndon B. Johnson (Him) and (Her)
Richard Nixon (Checkers, before the White House years) and (King Timahoe)
Gerald Ford (Liberty)
Ronald Reagan (Rex) and (Lucky)
George H. W. Bush (Millie)
Bill Clinton (Socks, a cat) and (Buddy)
George W. Bush (Barney) and (Miss Beasley)
Barack Obama (Bo) and (Sunny)

Barack Obama Reaches 57 Years Of Age: His Legacy, Despite Donald Trump’s Temporary Destruction, Is Insured, And Will Be Restored Over Time

Barack Obama reached the age of 57 two days ago, and many would think that his legacy is destroyed, by the words and actions of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Temporarily, yes, much harm and damage has been done, but the long term legacy of Barack Obama will survive the temporary setbacks, and his accomplishments will be restored over time.

The same desire to destroy the legacy of a successful Presidency was attempted by the Republican Party and the conservative movement after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in 1945.

The same motivation, to destroy both the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson was attempted in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan.

Both times, the Republican Party was unable to destroy the good programs that had been accomplished, although funding was often cut.

Now, under Donald Trump and the worst group of Republicans, far more disgraceful and despicable than after World War II or in the 1980s, the desire is not just to destroy everything Barack Obama did, but also to strike at the heart of progressive and liberal America, which brought about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Civil Rights, and environmental and consumer reforms.

But the American people, or at least the majority of them, have seen the virtues of what FDR, LBJ and Barack Obama have done for the nation, as they are the three Presidents who accomplished the most of any Presidents in the past 85 years, although Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton made smaller contributions, and even Republican Richard Nixon, despite all of the reprehensible policies he pursued, actually did improve on the New Deal and Great Society.

The hate and viciousness of Donald Trump will never erase the decency, dignity, warmth, sincerity, empathy, compassion, ethics, morality, and accomplishments of the 44th President of the United States.

The record of the 45th President will be marked as the absolute bottom of the Presidency, while Barack Obama, already rated number 12 by the C Span 2017 Presidential Historians Survey, and number 8 by the 2018 American Political Science Association Executive Leadership Survey Presidential poll, will soar higher as time passes, and further reflection makes Americans realize just how great a President he was. Of course, he had his faults as all Presidents and human beings have, but he will rank in the top tier throughout the long run of American history.

Impeachment Investigations Of Government Officials In American History Mostly Without Basis, More For Political Purposes

The impeachment of Donald Trump seems possible in 2019 IF the Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives, which seems highly likely, based upon polls 100 days out, and with the reminder that the party out of the White House always gains seats in the midterm elections, with the exceptions of 1934 under Franklin D. Roosevelt and 2002 under George W. Bush.

Having said that, it is reality that impeachment does not lead to convictions and removals from office, with the exception of seven federal district court judges over the long span of American history.

Richard Nixon would have been an exception if he had not resigned, but Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton both were found not guilty in their impeachment trials.

Other Presidents have been threatened with impeachment, but it was more just a threat or simply could not gain enough support in the House of Representatives to lead to impeachment.

That list of threatened impeachments include: John Tyler in 1842 and 1843; James Buchanan in 1860; Ulysses S. Grant in 1876; Herbert Hoover in 1933; Harry Truman in 1951; Ronald Reagan in 1987; George H. W. Bush in 1991; George W. Bush in 2008; Barack Obama in 2013: and Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018. Notice most of these were not serious, and in many cases occurred in the last year of the President’s term or near the end of his last term in office.

Vice Presidents who have faced impeachment threats are: Schuyler Colfax in 1873, as he was leaving the Grant Administration; Spiro Agnew in 1973 as he neared resignation due to scandal under the Nixon Administration; George H. W. Bush in 1987 as the Iran Contra scandal emerged; and Dick Cheney in 2007 as the second Bush Administration dealt with the Iraq War continuation. None of them gained any traction.

Impeachment motions against Cabinet officers and other federal officials have been mostly just a gesture, a threat, as with, for example, Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013; Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez in 2007; and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2004. Most recently threatened with impeachment is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the past few days, but unlikely to gain any traction, more used as a political ploy.

The Destruction Of The “Special” Friendship, Relationship, And Alliance Between The US And Great Britain For A Century

Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, the United States and Great Britain have had a “special” relationship and friendship, and became allies in 1917 when the US went into World War I.

Theodore Roosevelt was very close to Great Britain in the first decade of the 20th century, and Woodrow Wilson was a known “Anglophile” in his writings and scholarship during his years as a professor and university president before he ran for public office.

While the alliance during World War I did not survive in the 1920s and 1930s isolationist period, we were still friendly toward our former mother country.

Then in World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill became great allies and friends, as both nations fought against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.

After World War II, the United States became the leader of the free world democracies, and allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the British fought in the Korean War, the Gulf War, and in the War on Terror after September 11 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the British did not send troops into the Vietnam War, they have always been perceived as our closest friends in the world, alongside Canada.

But now, Donald Trump has openly criticized the British government and its leader Theresa May, and Trump is the most unpopular American President ever in modern times by every measure.

This is a very sad situation, and it is clear that we have just witnessed the destruction of this special friendship, relationship, and alliance between the US and Great Britain.

Chief Justice John Roberts To Become The New Balance On The Future Supreme Court?

Chief Justice John Roberts has been on the Court for 13 years now, and he is generally perceived as a conservative.

But he has surprised some conservatives, as when he kept ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) alive in 2012.

Also, Roberts has often stated by the doctrine of “Stare Decisis”–to stand by things decided”–although he has not been consistent on this over the years.

The odds of Roberts siding with the liberals on the Court for the image of the Court named after him as Chief Justice, is a thin measure of what kind of balance he might present on the future Supreme Court.

It seems likely that on balance, he will be “number 5”, in the middle, but that middle will be much farther to the Right than Anthony Kennedy or Sandra Day O’Connor represented.

But then again, Justices have surprised their Republican Presidents who appointed them, as with Earl Warren and William Brennan under Dwight D. Eisenhower; Harry Blackmun under Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens under Gerald Ford; O’Connor and Kennedy under Ronald Reagan; and David Souter under George H. W. Bush.

The best estimate is that no one should count on John Roberts avoiding “his” Court from being regarded as the most right wing, conservative Court since the time of Warren G. Harding. Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover nine decades ago, before the Great Depression and New Deal began the transformation of constitutional law.

Supreme Court Membership Could Be Increased In Future By Democratic Party Senate Majority, Perfectly Legal

Progressives have developed the idea that in the future, when Democrats gain the majority of the US Senate, they may move toward increasing the membership of the Supreme Court, playing hardball as much as the Republicans have under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell refused to allow hearings for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to replace the dead Antonin Scalia, saying it was an election year, and improper to allow an outgoing President to make an appointment.

This was preposterous, as John Adams named John Marshall Chief Justice in 1801, after losing reelection to Thomas Jefferson; Andrew Jackson chose Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney in 1836, his last year in office; and Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and William Howard Taft chose Justices in their last year in office; and Herbert Hoover chose Benjamin Cardozo in 1932, his last year in office; and Dwight D. Eisenhower chose William Brennan in the year of his reelection campaign; and Ronald Reagan chose Anthony Kennedy in his last year in office in 1988.

We have had differing numbers of justices. up to ten, and there is no constitutional barring of adding more Justices, as Franklin D. Roosevelt wished to do in 1937.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander, as the saying goes, and this might be a way to wield power on the part of the Democrats to create a balanced Court, as otherwise, we will have the most extremist Court since the 1920s!

What If Utah Senator Mike Lee Is Nominated For Supreme Court?

Early speculation on who Donald Trump might select to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court centers on Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, an original Tea Party member, having served in the Senate, and promoting libertarian ideas since 2011.

Not always a supporter of Trump, and not backing him in 2016 due to the Access Hollywood tape, Lee would still be a prime choice for Trump.

Lee is only 47 and could be expected to serve on the Court until 2050 and beyond.

He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has to consider the Supreme Court nomination, and there are 11 Republicans to 10 Democrats on that committee.

To believe that any of his GOP colleagues on the committee, or even in the Senate, would vote against their party member, is hard to conceive.

And if all 50 Republicans stay united (minus John McCain, who is not likely to return to Washington DC anytime soon), at the worst, Vice President Mike Pence can vote if need be, but a 50-49 vote is a majority, and likely, a few Democrats, in red states facing election, would cross the aisle and vote for Lee, as they did for Neil Gorsuch a year ago.

Having a Senator on the Supreme Court is not unheard of, as it has happened 15 times in American history.

Most famously, there was Alabama Democratic Senator Hugo Black, who served on the Court for 34 years from 1937 to 1971, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. And President Harry Truman appointed two Senators—Sherman Minton of Indiana, who served from 1949-1956; and Harold Burton of Ohio who served from 1945-1958.

Also, there have been 17 Congressmen who served on the Supreme Court, including Warren G. Harding appointee George Sutherland of Utah who served from 1922-1938; and Chief Justice Fred Vinson of Kentucky, who served from 1946-1953, appointed by President Truman.

Finally, 6 Governors have been appointed to the Supreme Court, the last and most famous being California Governor Earl Warren, appointed Chief Justice by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and serving to 1969; along with significant appointments by President Abraham Lincoln of Ohio Governor Salmon P Chase to be Chief Justice, serving from 1864-1873; former New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes, first appointed to the Court by William Howard Taft from 1910 to 1916, and then returning to the Court as Chief Justice by appointment of President Herbert Hoover from 1930-1941; and Michigan Governor Frank Murphy, appointed by FDR and serving from 1940-1949.