John Roberts

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

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

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

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

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banning liquor (Prohibition) was passed in 1919 and fourteen years later, with much discontent, the amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment, the only way Prohibition would ever have ended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Muslim Ban Decision Of The Supreme Court (Trump V Hawaii) Will Go Down As One Of Worst Decisions In 229 Years Of Our National History!

The Supreme Court has just made one of the worst decisions in its 229 year history, and has besmirched its own reputation in the process.

It will match such decisions as the Dred Scott Case of 1857; Plessy V Ferguson 1896; and Korematsu V US 1944—all racist decisions justifying slavery, racial segregation, and the internment of Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.

All have been roundly condemned, as violations of basic human rights and civil liberties, and now, once again, the Supreme Court has proved how it has allowed itself to promote discrimination and racial prejudice, all in the name of “national security”.

Instead of labeling African Americans or Japanese Americans, now the whole Islamic religion has been judged as a threat to national security, based on the hysteria and racism of Donald Trump.

We have, therefore, allowed an authoritarian who threatens our whole system of government to win a case based purely on bias and religious hatred.

This is a slippery slope that can lead to victimization in the future of people from other nations and other religions.

Jews who were refused entrance in the late 1930s, and now people from Central America who want to escape similar violence and bloodshed and are being held in detention away from their children, are just further examples of how religious prejudice and racism are winning out.

The John Roberts Court has undermined its own reputation in the process, and will be condemned in history.

And the fact that Merrick Garland, appointed by President Obama, was denied a hearing for the Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, led to Neil Gorsuch, who predictably now and in the future will advocate an extreme right wing agenda, harming our constitutional liberties for the next thirty years.

The fact that three members of the Court would not be there if the popular vote had won out in 2000 and 2016 just adds to the tragedy, as George W. Bush would not have been able to appoint John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and Donald Trump would not have been able to appoint Neil Gorsuch.

Sonia Sotomayor registered her vehement dissent, along with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the opposition of Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. But it was all for naught!

America’s reputation has been permanently damaged, and we are no safer against those Muslims who are extremists, who are now emboldened to do harm more than ever, and at the same time, those Muslims in America who have served in our armed forces honorably, and those who have done good work in other fields, have been slapped in the face.

Our most ugly side as a nation has been displayed for all to see, and anyone who believes in justice and fair play is weeping today, and will for the long term of our history as a nation, as tolerance and open mindedness have been denied!

The End Of The Supreme Court Term: Any Retirements Coming?

This is the last week of the present Supreme Court session, and Court watchers are wondering if we are about to see a sharp swing to the Right, with the potential retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan nearly 30 years ago, and a crucial swing vote ever since on the Court.

Kennedy has been on the conservative side about two thirds of the time, and on the liberal side one third of the time, and without him, for instance, there would have been no advancements on gay rights and gay marriage, as he was the crucial fifth vote.

His vote this week may decide whether the Muslim ban of Donald Trump is upheld, or prevented, as it has been by several circuit courts around the nation.

Kennedy has been the unpredictable vote all by himself in the past decade, since Sandra Day O’Connor left the court at the end of 2005.

For a decade before 2005, it was said the Court was the “O’Connor-Kennedy Court”, and now for the past 12 years, it has been the “Kennedy” Court, more than the Roberts Court, as traditionally, the Court is described by the name of its Chief Justice.

Since Kennedy will be turning 81 in one month, and is the second oldest member of the Court, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 84, but has made clear she is going nowhere, and hopes to stay on the Court until 2021, so that hopefully a future Democratic President in 2021 can choose her successor.

So if Kennedy does retire this week, it will mark a sharp move to the Right, which will undermine constitutional law for the next generation!

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!

“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!

The Shame Of Alabama, The Republican Party And the Supreme Court On The 50th Anniversary Of The Selma To Montgomery March!

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965.

On this significant anniversary, three things are clear.

Alabama has NOT shed its image of bigotry!

The Republican Party, many of whose members supported the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is not sending anyone to commemorate this event. Late news reports indicate that former President George W. Bush and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are to show up, but few other Republicans, and none other than McCarthy in the leadership of the GOP.

And the Supreme Court has contributed to the withering away of the Voting Rights Act by its 2013 decision permitting new voting rights restrictions!

Not only is racial discrimination still very obvious in Alabama and much of the South, but now Alabama is the center of a so called states rights struggle over gay marriage, with the state Supreme Court, headed by George Wallace like Chief Justice Roy Moore ordering that gay marriage be stopped, after a federal judge ordered it go forward, and with the Supreme Court poised to consider the case, which will be decided by June.

So prejudice, discrimination, and the false argument of states rights still reigns in the original home of the Confederate government!

And for the GOP to bypass major representation at this premier civil rights anniversary is to the shame of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

And for the Supreme Court and African American Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Chief Justice John Roberts to promote a weakening of the Voting Rights Act two years ago, and see what it has wrought on voter suppression, is to the shame of the top Court of the land, which has not done its job to uphold the Constitution of the United States!

Supreme Court Accepts Same Sex Marriage Case: The Final Push For Marriage Equality Has Arrived!

The Supreme Court has finally accepted a same sex marriage case, to be argued in April, and decided by the end of June!

This will be a blockbuster case, coming at a time when 36 states already allow gay marriage, and the final push for marriage equality has finally arrived!

While there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of same sex marriage, it is hard to conceive of the Court rejecting it at a time when all but 14 states have accepted it, as the momentum is clearly in favor of acceptance.

Beyond that, the odds are good that at least five members of the present Court would support it, enough to bring it about, but it would be desirable if the vote was greater than that thin margin.

Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, all Democratic appointments of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, are seen as assured votes.

Ronald Reagan appointee Anthony Kennedy is the typical “swing” vote, and has supported gay rights in the past, and most particularly, in the case of Lawrence V. Texas in 2003, so it is expected he will go the same direction again.

But there is a chance that Chief Justice John Roberts could join the majority, and some observers imagine that Samuel Alito could join, also.

And even some think that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, seeing the handwriting on the wall, might join and make it unanimous, which would be the most fantastic situation imaginable!

Imagine the extremist Christian Right bigots, and conservatives and Republicans, and how they will, figuratively, commit suicide if the Court rules in favor of same sex marriage!

It will transform the Presidential Election of 2016, as how could any Republican nominee come out and condemn the Court, and run on some crazy idea that he would lead a movement to overcome the Supreme Court decision?

Just the thought that many Republicans, including those running for President, will be squirming in public, is a source of delight, as human rights wins out once again!

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!

Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, And First Term Nominations: All But Monroe, FDR, George W. Bush!

This blogger heard the statement of Ralph Nader, a guest on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” HBO show recently, that if only the Democrats had won the 2004 Presidential Election, the Supreme Court would have been dramatically different than it is today!

Present Secretary of State John Kerry lost to George W. Bush, who became only the third President to have to wait until his second term of office to nominate and confirm a Supreme Court Justice! Bush proceeded to select Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, who have together had a dramatic effect on Court decisions in a very right wing manner!

Only James Monroe and Franklin D. Roosevelt failed to have a Supreme Court nominee in their first term, and only William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and Jimmy Carter were unable to make any appointments to the high Court, due to lack of vacancies. Even President James A. Garfield, shot after four months in office, had an appointee to the Supreme Court after two months in office! And FDR may not have had appointments in his first term, but he ended up having a total of nine appointments between 1937 and 1943 over six and a half years!

This is something to keep in mind, the power of the President to affect the Supreme Court’s future, and with the certainty that there will be vacancies on the high Court in the next Presidential term, making the election of a Democrat to the White House, and a Democratic Senate after 2016, ever more urgent!