Franklin D. Roosevelt

The 10 Worst, Most Disastrous Supreme Court Justices Since 1900

The Supreme Court has had 58 of its 112 members since 1900, with 9 of them being Chief Justices, and 4 of those also having earlier served as Associate Justices.

It is more fun to discuss the greatest Supreme Court Justices since 1900, as done in an earlier blog post, but here are the 10 worst, most disastrous Supreme Court Justices, listed chronologically,

Willis Van Devanter
James Clark McReynolds
George Sutherland
Pierce Butler
Fred M. Vinson
Tom C. Clark
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas
Samuel Alito

The first four are known as the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, united against the New Deal, and causing Franklin D. Roosevelt to become engaged in the controversial Court Packing Plan of 1937. Van Devanter was appointed by William Howard Taft; McReynolds by Woodrow Wilson; and Sutherland and Butler by Warren G. Harding.

Vinson and Clark were appointed by Harry Truman, with judicial appointments one area that Truman was rated as poor in selection, despite other areas of strength in his Presidency.

Powell was selected by Richard Nixon; Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Alito by George W. Bush.

Powell wrote a memorandum that had a long range influence, promoting the development of right wing think tanks, and forecasting the eventual Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, granting corporations and wealthy individuals the right to engage in politics without any financial limitations. He saw those who wished to regulate business as dangers to unregulated capitalism, and argued for aggressive actions against any regulatory power by governments at all levels. This memorandum was sent before Powell was appointed to the Supreme Court, and was not generally known about until recent years, after his death.

So 3 of the 10 worst Justices were selected by Democrats, and the other 7 by Republicans, a total of 8 Presidents involved in these terrible selections.

The 15 Greatest Supreme Court Justices Since 1900

The Supreme Court has become more controversial than ever in recent years, and the decisions of the John Roberts Court in 2015 only added fuel to the fire, regarding who the greatest and worst Supreme Court Justices have been in American history.

We have had 112 Supreme Court Justices, and 17 Chief Justices, including 5 who served as Associate Justice as well.

58 Justices have served since 1900, with a few selected before that date but serving into the 20th century. This includes 9 Chief Justices, including four who had served as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

If one had to select the top 15 Supreme Court Justices since 1900, without ranking them specifically, but instead creating a list chronologically, they would be listed as follows:

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Charles Evans Hughes
Louis Brandeis
Harlan Fiske Stone
Benjamin Cardozo
Hugo Black
Felix Frankfurter
William O. Douglas
Earl Warren
William J. Brennan, Jr.
Thurgood Marshall
Harry Blackmun
John Paul Stevens
Sandra Day O’Connor
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Note that 9 of these 15 Supreme Court Justices were appointed by Republicans—Holmes by Theodore Roosevelt; Hughes by William Howard Taft and then elevated to Chief Justice by Herbert Hoover; Stone by Calvin Coolidge; Cardozo by Herbert Hoover; Warren and Brennan by Dwight D. Eisenhower; Blackmun by Richard Nixon; Stevens by Gerald Ford; and O’Connor by Ronald Reagan.

Democratic Presidents chose the following: Brandeis by Woodrow Wilson; Black, Frankfurter and Douglas by Franklin D. Roosevelt; Stone elevated to Chief Justice by FDR; Marshall by Lyndon B. Johnson; and Ginsburg by Bill Clinton.

That Was The Week That Was: June 19-26, 2015 Most Significant Single Week In Many Years For Positive Change!

Who would ever have imagined that in one week’s time, we would witness three events that would transform American society as the week from June 19 to June 26, 2015?

Two days before that transformational week, nine African American Bible Class men and women in a church were slaughtered by a young man who had so much hate and racism in his body and mind that human life meant nothing to him, a tremendous tragedy for Charleston, South Carolina; for the nation at large; and for the nine families who lost their loved ones.

Nothing much more negative could have been imagined to occur regarding race relations in America, which have been in crisis with recent killings by police of African American men in many different locations around the nation.

But the the miracle week began!

The relatives of the nine murdered Bible Class men and women confronted the mass murderer who had done the dirty deed, and they all expressed to him that they forgave him for his sin, unimaginable behavior witnessed on television, amazing the whole nation.

The fact that this young mass murderer had used the Confederate flag as a symbol of his hatred and racism spurred the call for removal of the Confederate flag from the monument at the Columbia, South Carolina state capital, as well as elsewhere in the South.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, called for the legislature to consider removal, and State Senator Paul Thurmond, the son of racist former Senator, Governor and 1948 States Rights Party Presidential nominee Strom Thurmond, said the flag must come down. While it did not come down in time for the funerals of the nine victims, the movement was on to remove it, and we saw other Southern states remove the symbol, including Alabama, an unbelievable thought a few days earlier. It looked likely that the Confederate flag had met its doom on public property everywhere, although citizens would still have the freedom to wear and display the Confederate symbol openly.

Then, as the week went on, the Supreme Court, controlled by a conservative majority, which had moved to the right politically by recent decisions during the Obama years, including the Citizens United decision in 2010 and the Voting Rights limitation case of 2013, suddenly took a noticeable turn to the left, with Reagan appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy supporting ObamaCare and same sex marriage, and Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, siding for the second time on ObamaCare.

Suddenly, ObamaCare was finally established in a manner that would make it impossible to repeal, and it insured that Barack Obama’s signature achievement would last in the manner that Social Security came to be under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Medicare came to be under Lyndon B. Johnson.

And suddenly, after a long, hard fought battle over gay rights and gay marriage, the civil and human right to marry became guaranteed for gays and lesbians, as much as interracial marriage was insured by Supreme Court decision 48 years ago in 1967 in Loving V Virginia.

And with all this, Barack Obama also had victory on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite a major split with liberals in his own Democratic Party.

And then, even more inspiring was Barack Obama’s amazing eulogy of the pastor/state legislator killed by the young mass murderer. It reminded us of his great oratorical abilities, and the eulogy coursed through our beings and gave all decent people a chill up the spine, symbolically!

No President has had a week of such massive victories and achievements in many decades, and to have the Confederate flag being brought down was the icing on the cake!

So that was the week that was, which will be written about by scholars in future generations, as a miraculous week hard to match or surpass!

Barack Obama Now Insured Of Stature As Historic Domestic Reform Leader With Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, And Lyndon B. Johnson!

The victory yesterday of ObamaCare at the Supreme Court, by a margin of 6-3, insures that Barack Obama will be listed historically in the company of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson in their massive accomplishments in domestic reforms!

Woodrow Wilson accomplished the passage of the Federal Reserve Act; the Federal Trade Commission Act; the Clayton Anti Trust Act; and the enactment of the first federal labor laws and assistance to farmers. His programs were both the “New Freedom” and elements of Theodore Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt accomplished the massive list of reforms known as the “New Deal”, in the areas of banking, the stock market, government intervention in business, labor, agriculture, housing, and most significantly, in Social Security and other aid to the poor, as well as major public works programs. He also took us out of the worst of the Great Depression.

Lyndon B. Johnson accomplished the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, along with immigration reform, civil rights legislation, greatly expanded aid to education, and the “war on poverty”, all part of the “Great Society.” Johnson also enacted consumer and environmental legislation and two new Cabinet agencies. He brought about the greatest amount of domestic reform since FDR, who he idolized.

Barack Obama has now accomplished health care reform to cover all Americans, a massive step first proposed by Theodore Roosevelt in his “New Nationalism” campaign as a third party campaign for President in 1912. Additionally, he has promoted environmental legislation by executive order; advancements in civil rights enforcement; a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Wall Street reform; immigration reform through executive order; and many lesser reforms that all add up to the best domestic record of achievement since the 1960s! He also took us out of the Great Recession, the greatest economic downturn since FDR and the Great Depression! He is the greatest reform President since Lyndon B. Johnson!

Women On Currency: Replace Andrew Jackson Or Alexander Hamilton? Jackson, Definitely!

Six weeks ago, this blogger wrote of the move to have a woman on American currency, with the move being to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. In an online competition, abolitionist and runaway slave Harriet Tubman won out over Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks.

All well and good, but now the Treasury Department is proposing to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, rather than Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

Such an action would be totally wrong, as Hamilton is the founder of our national banking system, the most important economic figure in American history, and also the founder of a viewpoint in government—a belief in a strong national government, and a broad interpretation of the Constitution—-which in his time was considered to be “conservatism”, but in the past century since Franklin D. Roosevelt, has been seen as the view of government of the modern Democratic Party, namely “liberalism.”

Liberalism, and the alternative word “progressivism” has been the backbone of all of the major political, social and economic reforms of the past century, and Hamilton’s philosophy is something that needs to continue to be honored.

On the other hand, Andrew Jackson, while regarded as one of the more significant Presidents, destroyed the Second National Bank of the United States, a major mistake; promoted slavery and condemned abolitionists; and promoted the death of thousands of native Americans in the despicable action, known as the “Trail of Tears”, the forced removal of five Indian tribes to Oklahoma, later taken away from native Americans, when oil was discovered in Tulsa in 1889.

Ben Bernanke, the former head of the Federal Reserve, has called for just what this blogger is proposing: leave Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, and replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill!

The Clown Bus Group Of Republican Presidential Contenders: Part II: Those Without Government Experience

A few days ago, we discussed five Republican Governors or former Governors, who are contending for the Republican Presidential nomination, and why they are horrible choices for the Presidency, and would demean the office.

Today, we will examine three Republican Presidential contenders, who have never held elected office or been a cabinet member or in the military:

Dr. Benjamin Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon and African American, who has come across as totally loony in his statements and views, including saying ObamaCare is slavery, that Obama is like Adolf Hitler, and that Creationism is a scientific theory and Climate Change is not occurring. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and Carson is proving how ridiculous his candidacy is, and how he is simply running to gain attention for his tremendous ego, as he has zero chance of being the nominee of his party.

Former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard Carly Fiorina, the only Republican woman running for President, thinks she is more qualified than Hillary Clinton, but she was fired from HP, and lost a race for the Senate seat of Barbara Boxer in California in 2010 by a massive landslide. She is basing her campaign on attacking Hillary, but has no credentials to make her qualified for President, and has a reputation of being a nasty, privileged lady in her dealings with others. Her chances of being the GOP nominee are zero!

The inimitable egotist and braggart of all time, Donald Trump, is a disaster waiting to happen, having had four bankruptcies, three wives, and promoted controversial views on “Birtherism” of Barack Obama, and is a nativist, racist, misogynist, and homophobe. He is pure poison for the GOP, and has no chance of being the nominee, but wants attention all of the time.

Only two non government figures have ever run for President–Wendell Willkie, Republican nominee in 1940 against Franklin D. Roosevelt. Despite losing, he had more brains and talents than all three of these characters discussed above combined. Also, Ross Perot, ran as an Independent in 1992 and 1996, and helped elect Bill Clinton. He managed to win 19 percent of the popular vote, second best ever for a third party candidate, in 1992, and 8 percent in 1996.

Forget about any of these three being the GOP nominee, as it is NOT going to happen, and they just simply add to the Clown Bus of Republican Presidential contenders!

Hillary Clinton Comes Out Fighting, Evoking Franklin D. Roosevelt On Roosevelt Island

Hillary Clinton began her Presidential campaign officially on April 12, the day that Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945.

She began her aggressive, active campaign today, June 13, on Roosevelt Island in New York, evoking the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and came out fighting to make America a better place than it has been under Republican leadership in Congress, and the disastrous Republican field of Presidential candidates.

Just as Hillary inspired people when she spoke in Texas recently about enforcing the right to vote, which has been worked against in Republican controlled state governments, when Hillary gets out on the stump, she gives people new hope that she can be an outstanding Presidential candidate; defeat whichever GOP candidate survives the upcoming campaign; and emerge triumphant and successful as the 45th President!

Hillary has faults and shortcomings, as she herself admits; and she said she knew she would make mistakes as any candidate, any human being would, but that she would always be fighting for the middle class, and for those left behind, meaning the poor and disadvantaged, as well.

That is the message we want to hear from Hillary Clinton, and while Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee offer more “liberal” alternatives to Hillary in the Democratic Presidential race, and are all decent and inspirational in nature, the odds are still that Hillary will win and carry the mantle of the Democratic Party into November 2016.

And ultimately, the issue is not whether Hillary is “liberal enough”, but the future of the federal courts, and particularly, the Supreme Court, as that will be the most lasting impact of the next President of the United States.

We cannot allow a reactionary, right wing Republican gain control of the future of the Supreme Court, as that would condemn much of what Democratic Presidents have achieved in the past century since FDR!

President William Howard Taft’s Massive Impact On Supreme Court History!

President William Howard Taft, our 27th President, never gets a fair shake in history, due to the misfortune of being in office between two charismatic Presidents,Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and facing both in the Presidential Election of 1912, and ending up third, the only time a major party Presidential candidate ended up other than first or second in an election.

Taft may have had the worst re-election defeat in American history, winning only two states and 8 electoral votes in 1912, but despite that, Taft goes down in history as, in many ways, the most influential President on the matter of the Supreme Court, other than Franklin D. Roosevelt.

How is that, one might ask?

Well, Taft set a record of making the most appointments in one term ever in American history, as SIX vacancies opened up on the Court, including Chief Justice Edward Douglass White and Associate Justice Charles Evans Hughes having the most impact. Also, strong conservative Willis Van Devanter served 26 years on the Court, working against FDR’s New Deal in the 1930s.

Only George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt surpassed him in appointments, and Andrew Jackson matched him.

Since Taft served as Chief Justice by appointment of President Warren G. Harding after 1921 until 1930, he both picked his predecessor, and was followed as Chief Justice by Hughes, who was appointed by President Herbert Hoover as his replacement, with Hughes having resigned from the Court to run against Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

Additionally, Taft was the Chief Justice who did the lobbying that led to plans for a separate Supreme Court Building, although he died in 1930, never seeing the Court building completed and opened in 1935.

So William Howard Taft had a vast impact on the history of the Supreme Court!

Mike Huckabee, The Supreme Court, And The “Supreme Being”!

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a candidate for the Presidency, and a former preacher as well, is going off the deep end in his vehement opposition to gay marriage.

Apparently, Mike Huckabee believes that the American people do not need to obey judges and the federal courts, and the Supreme Court, if they do not like or agree with their decisions.

If Barack Obama were to say this, he would be pushed toward impeachment, but Mike Huckabee is promoting disobedience of the judiciary, and shows total ignorance of our legal history!

What he is advocating, taken to its extreme, would mean that the Citizens United case would be ignored, and that billionaires would not be able to distort our election process, something any sensible person would advocate, but the only way to overcome this is by constitutional amendment!

So if gay marriage is made legal in all of America at the end of June, the only way to overcome it is to bring about a similar constitutional amendment.

The same goes for those who are upset about interracial marriage, civil rights laws, the lax enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, racial integration, and a whole host of other “objectionable” decisions made by the courts and the Supreme Court over 226 years of our history!

Mike Huckabee demonstrates his ignorance of our history, and of the significance of Chief Justice John Marshall, and of “judicial review” and the famous Supreme Court case, Marbury V. Madison in 1803.

Presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and really ALL Presidents; and many other government figures over the years; and citizens of America throughout its history, have denounced Supreme Court decisions!

BUT the only alternative is a constitutional amendment, ladies and gentlemen, and for any Presidential candidate or President to call for defiance of the Supreme Court is grounds for impeachment and removal from office.

In America, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter, good or bad, and really, it is both, depending on the issue and how people perceive it!

We are NOT a theocracy, and the “Supreme Being”, that Mike Huckabee advocates, is NOT the final arbiter of constitutional cases, and never has been! Thank goodness for that, as it would take away the democracy that America has evolved into over more than two centuries of American history!

Another New York Governor Seeks The Presidency, But Demonstrates Decline Of New York Influence!

A “real” long shot nominee for the Republican Presidential nomination is former New York Governor George Pataki (1994-2006), who defeated Governor Mario Cuomo in a surprise upset, and then presided over the state at the time of the September 11 attacks, but took a back seat to NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani in its aftermath.

Pataki is a moderate Republican in a time when moderates are not in vogue, and he is NOT dynamic or charismatic. No one expects that this newly announced GOP candidate for the Presidency has any chance to be the Presidential nominee in 2016. He promoted environmental reforms; gay rights legislation; and believes in a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, all of which will disqualify him. He has not been in office since 2006, and would be halfway past 70 if he took the oath of office. No one gets excited at the thought of his candidacy. And being from New York, but being ignored, demonstrates how New York has declined in influence, particularly in the Republican Party.

New York was the state of other Republican Governors who were nominated for President, including Theodore Roosevelt, who won in 1898; Charles Evans Hughes, who won in 1906; Thomas E. Dewey, who lost in 1944 and 1948; and the failed candidacy of Nelson Rockefeller for the candidacy in 1960, 1964, and 1968.

It is also the state that elected Democrat Governor Martin Van Buren in 1828; Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884; Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932; and failed Democratic nominees Horatio Seymour in 1868, Samuel Tilden in 1876, and Alfred E. Smith in 1928. Also, Democrat Governnor Averill Harriman tried for the nomination in 1956, and Governor Mario Cuomo flirted with the idea in 1988 and 1992, but chose not to run.

On the other hand, Democratic Senator Robert Kennedy was seeking the Presidency, when he was assassinated in 1968; and Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, who sought and lost the Presidential nomination in 2008, and is now the front runner in the Democratic Party in 2016.