liberals

Neil Gorsuch On Supreme Court A Fateful Turn To The Right, Unless He Surprises, As Other Republican Appointments In Past Have Done

Seven Republican appointments to the Supreme Court since 1953 turned out to be less conservative than expected, so the question that arises, as Neil Gorsuch, appointed by Donald Trump, becomes the 113th Supreme Court Justice in American history is, will Gorsuch follow that lead?

At this point, it seems highly unlikely, but there is no way to know how a person on the Court, who potentially could be there for 35 years, until 2052, will react as cases come before him. If he has an open mind, he could surprise us, as history records for appointees of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush prove.

Chief Justice Earl Warren and Associate Justice William Brennan, appointments of Eisenhower, thought to be conservatives, turned out to be path breaking liberals on the Court.

Associate Justice Harry Blackmun, appointed by Nixon, proved to be the same, as did John Paul Stevens, appointed by Ford.

Associate Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, chosen by Reagan, proved to be the swing vote,often siding with the liberal side of the Court, despite their generally conservative bent.

And David Souter, appointed by the first Bush, also proved to be a surprise on his vote much of the time.

So we will see over the next few years if Neil Gorsuch surprises.

Donald Trump’s Deleterious Effect On Americans’ Physical Health, Mental State, And Sense Of Security

Donald Trump has been President for eight weeks, and it has been more than four months since he was elected the 45th President.

In those 56 days since he was inaugurated, Trump has created more tumult and disarray than any President in American history.

In so doing, he has had a deleterious effect on the physical health, mental state, and sense of security of tens of millions of Americans.

Cardiologists have reported that more of their patients have come in with heart palpitations and worse.

High blood pressure has become more common, and mental depression has worsened dramatically.

And the sense of security has deteriorated for African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, liberals, and the news media, as white supremacy, racism, antisemitism, and nativism have been encouraged by Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, and others on the Trump staff.

Foreign nations have become unnerved about Trump’s weird and unstable behavior, and therefore, nations which are our closest allies–Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Canada, Japan–and other nations as well, have become concerned about the future foreign relations with Trump, as he is a revolutionary ready to destroy the international system.

War seems more likely, particularly with North Korea and Iran, as if we need another war to enrich corporations and the defense industry, and we see Trump promoting attacks on the environment, the safety net, and even the organization of the federal executive branch.

Joe Biden Presidential Bid In 2020?

Hard to believe, but Vice President Joe Biden is actually considering the possibility of running again for President in 2020, when he would be 78 years of age.

Biden is leaving public life on January 20, after 44 years of service, close to an all time record, with 36 years as Delaware Senator and 8 years as a very active, involved, and engaged Vice President, who had a major impact on the office.

Everyone loves Joe Biden, even Republicans, who saluted him in a Senate honoring of him this week, as Biden was able, even under President Obama, to cross the aisle and gain some support, even when Republicans were reluctant to work with the President.

Since the election, the feeling has developed that Biden, the “poorest US Senator” in his past, and with working class roots, and knowing how to appeal to the white working class, would have been able to bridge the difference in votes in Pennsylvania (the state he grew up in), Michigan and Wisconsin, and pulled out victory had he been the Democratic Presidential nominee.

If Biden’s son, Beau Biden, had not died in May 2015, it is believed that Joe would have run against Hillary Clinton, and might have been able to defeat her, and even Bernie Sanders, for the nomination, something, however, we will never be sure of, but a thought that will linger.

Of course, many liberals and Democrats will argue that Joe Biden is too old to run again, and that his record in the Senate was not as liberal as Bernie Sanders, and more in line with the record of Hillary Clinton, and that he cannot please millennials and the strong Left in the Democratic Party, which wants new and more progressive leadership in the future.

It is clear that if Biden ran, his warts and shortcomings would be emphasized, including originally supporting the Iraq War, as Hillary Clinton did, and the struggle for the nomination would not be easy, and one wonders if he could actually defeat Donald Trump if Trump ran for reelection.

What is clear now is that there is no way to know the future, after seeing Presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump overcome many hurdles that few thought they could to win the Presidency, so who can say that a well loved, working class guy like Joe Biden at the age of 78, could not win the White House?

This is what makes following American politics so exciting, and also, get this, a Senate seat looks ready to open, as Democratic Senator Thomas Carper, finishing his third term in 2018, is rumored to be planning to retire, so in theory, and by some rumors, Joe Biden could run to return to the Senate and add to his six terms and 36 years in the Senate, and therefore be in elective office, at the time of a Presidential campaign in 2020!

Censorship Beginning In Trump Era: Promotion Of Mistrust Of News Media, College Professors, Entertainment Industry As The New McCarthyism!

It is becoming clear that Donald Trump intends to declare war on the news media, calling them dishonest and out to promote propaganda, while it is precisely Trump and his “Alt Right” White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor Stephen Bannon, formerly of Breitbart News, which is working to establish mistrust among the American people toward their own media that dares to challenge and investigate the many shortcomings of Donald Trump and his cabinet appointees, and his future policies in domestic and foreign affairs.

Additionally, a plan to list college professors who are felt to promote a leftist agenda, a reminder of McCarthyism in the 1950s, has been started by a group termed “Turning Point USA” under the name “Professor Watch List”, to intimidate professors from having freedom of speech in their classrooms. So academic “witch hunts” are back, in order to advocate a right wing educational system.

And the usual attack on liberals in Hollywood and the broad field of entertainment, is also clearly beginning, as censorship and attacks on civil liberties and civil rights groups are being encouraged, to attempt a total crackdown on dissent.

The ultimate goal is to sow distrust and doubt in the fields of journalism, education including universities and colleges, and the entertainment industry, including criticism of the humor of “Saturday Night Live” and other programs on cable, television, and radio, as well as film.

All this is advocated as part of the “fake news” which helped to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign for President in 2016.

With an authoritarian oriented President coming to office, many elements of our basic freedoms of speech and press, and even assembly, are clearly under attack.

Many Presidents Have Made Court Appointments In Last Year Of Term Or Presidency

The Republican Party is making the preposterous argument that a President, in his last year in office, should not be able to make an appointment to the Supreme Court, when history tells us otherwise.

Just because a President is finishing his time in office does not mean that he has no authority to do his job, which includes appointing judges and Justices!

And what about Presidents running for reelection, with the possibility that he might not be reelected?  Does that mean every President in the last year of any Presidential term should lose his powers to make appointments to the federal judiciary?

History tells us otherwise as witness the following:

George Washington 1796 –two appointments

Thomas Jefferson 1804–one appointment

Andrew Jackson 1836–two appointments, including Chief Justice Roger Taney, who remained on the Court for 28 years

Grover Cleveland 1888–two appointments, including Chief Justice Melville Fuller, who remained on the Court for 22 years

Benjamin Harrison 1892–one appointment

William Howard Taft 1912–one appointment

Woodrow Wilson 1916—two appointments, including the controversial, longest battle, to put Louis Brandeis on the Supreme Court

Herbert Hoover 1932–one appointment (Benjamin Cardozo)

Franklin D. Roosevelt 1940–one appointment  (Frank Murphy)

Ronald Reagan 1988–one appointment (Anthony Kennedy)

Additionally, Presidents have made appointments to the federal district and circuit courts when in the last year in office (Reagan 26 and 7; Clinton 37 and 9; Bush II 26 and 6; Obama 4 and 4).

And from 1947 to 2014, 416 District Court and 79 Circuit Court appointments have been made in Presidential election years.

So the Republican Party has no case for why Barack Obama should not be able to make an appointment, other than that they do not want a liberal replacing a conservative, and bringing the end of the 44 year conservative and Republican dominance on the Court.

But the answer to that is to stop being a crybaby and accept that your reign of dominance is coming to an end, and not too soon.

It is time to move into the 21st century of constitutional law, rather than dwell in the 19th century Gilded Age mentality of the conservatives on the Supreme Court!

 

 

Barack Obama’s Supreme Court Choices

Barack Obama has every right, and the responsibility, to select a replacement for the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

We have never had more than 125 days from an appointment to confirmation, and never more than 114 days from an appointment to rejection by the US Senate.

The Supreme Court cannot do its proper job with eight members for more than a year, so Obama must push for his nominee, and if the GOP refuses, they will suffer in the Fall campaign in Congress and for the Presidency.

The Republicans have prevented action in the legislative branch, and tried to bottle up the executive branch, but cannot get away with blocking the judicial branch.

As far as who Barack Obama should select for the Court appointment, there are many names mentioned, but it would be good to have a Supreme Court Justice who has NOT been a federal judge, as this trend did not always exist in the past.

We need a wider variety of experiences, and one can think of Earl Warren, Governor of California, and Hugo Black, Senator from Alabama, as two exceptional Justices who never served as judges. We have had 14 Senators and 17 Congressman on the Court, with Warren an outlier, but Governor of a major state that was on its way to being number one in population.

So one can think of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick;  Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; and Attorney General Loretta Lynch as excellent possibilities, with hints that Lynch might be the choice!  Some mention of Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has arisen, as well.

We would have our first African American woman on the Court with an appointment of Lynch, and she is used to long waits for confirmation, as with six months to become Attorney General.

IF Obama took action this week, during the recess of Congress for Presidents Day, the nominee would take his or her seat immediately, and the GOP could do nothing about it, so why not take action when one can?

But at worst, if the Court had to live with eight members, Lynch could stand by, stay as Attorney General to the end of the term, and then be chosen by Democrat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, assuming one of them become the 45th President of the United States.

But really, the Court NEEDS a new Justice NOW, and tough luck that the Republicans lose their control of the Court majority after 44 years!  Such is life, and it is time for the liberal-progressive agenda to be the majority of the Supreme Court’s future, as elections, as that of Barack Obama in 2012, DO have consequences!

“We Must Take Our Government Back!”—To What, May We Ask?

Carly Fiorina said it last night in the GOP debate; Donald Trump has said it; so has a multitude of others in the Republican Party debates so far—“We must take our government back!”

Back to what, is the question!

Back to a time when women were “dutiful” housewives who stayed home, avoided education and employment, and were totally dependent upon their husbands?

Back to a time when “Negroes” were segregated by law and custom and “knew” their place not to complain?

Back to a time when “Negroes” were lynched at will and no one seemed to notice?

Back to a time when gays and lesbians were openly discriminated against in all areas of life without any protection or support of their rights?

Back to a time when child labor existed as young as six years old, and they and poor women who worked were paid far less than men?

Back to a time when there was no Social Security system for the elderly and disabled?

Back to a time when immigrants were barred from coming to America if they were Jewish or Catholic or Asian in origin?

Back to a time when labor unions did not exist, and work places were totally unsafe, and there was no workers compensation for injuries at work?

Back to a time when corporations “raped” and pillaged the environment for their own selfish purposes?

The list could go on and on, and who would “love” if all this was to return, from the 1950s, 1920s, and the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th century?

Conservatives who have fought against and resisted all of these changes and reforms brought about by progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt; Progressive Era reformers at all levels;  Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition; Harry Truman; John F, Kennedy; Lyndon B. Johnson; 1960s reformers at all levels; Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton; Barack Obama; and the constant battle of modern progressives and liberals to protect and expand all of the great political, social and economic reforms of the 20th century, hard fought, and the battle goes on in 2015!

 

July 30, 1965 To July 30, 2015: 50 Years Of Medicare!

Today is the 50the Anniversary of Medicare, finally brought about by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.

An idea originally proposed by Theodore Roosevelt in his Progressive (Bull Moose) Party campaign of 1912; further conceptualized by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid 1930s, but thought to be moving too rapidly for Congress, when there was the fight over Social Security in 1935; and promoted by Harry Truman in his promotion of his Fair Deal, it was signed into law with former President Truman sitting next to Johnson at the Truman Museum and Library in Independence, Missouri.

Johnson accomplished what John F. Kennedy wanted to fulfill in his New Frontier agenda, but was unable to do because of the opposition of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, but Johnson convinced Mills to move ahead, as part of LBJ’s great “wheeler dealer” abilities to promote his Great Society.

Medicare was a “God send” to millions of senior citizens, who no longer had to go into poverty as a result of medical and health issues, and it made the last years of the elderly a lot less stressful and worrisome.

Of course, the issue of cost overruns and corruption has arisen, and with people living longer, there is a long term problem in Medicare, but careful administration and some tax increases will manage to keep Medicare afloat for the long run, although present House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2012), wants to phase it out over time.

Many Republicans want this, but Democrats will fight tooth and nail to insure the continuation and financial stability of the greatest social program since Social Security, an essential part of the “safety net”, and part of the social justice agenda of liberals and progressives since the time of Theodore Roosevelt!

24 Years Of Justice Thurgood Marshall; 24 Years Of Justice Clarence Thomas: The Contrast!

Hard to believe, but it has been 24 years since Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush, with Thomas being chosen to replace the first African American on the Court, Thurgood Marshall, who had been selected 24 years earlier (1967), by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Marshall had made it clear that he wanted to stay on the Court until a Democrat was elected President, but despite his desires, his poor health forced him to resign. Marshall stands out as having been a quality member of the Court, one of the top 15 Supreme Court Justices of the 20th century.

Thomas, the second African American in Court history, would face severe attacks on his competency and on charges by Anita Hill that he had sexually harassed her when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the 1980s.

The Thomas nomination became a major controversy, and led to the passage of sexual harassment laws affecting all employees in America, both in government and out of government.

It also led to a bitter and close nomination battle, with Thomas winning his seat on the Court by the closest margin in modern history, 52-48.

It caused Thomas to become embittered, and he has expressed this bitterness toward liberals ever since, and he has pledged he will not leave the Court until he is 86 years of age in 2034, doubling his age of 43 when he came to the Court.

Thomas has made his mission on the Court to oppose civil rights and civil liberties wherever he can, despite the fact that he benefited personally from Affirmative Action, and his race helped him to gain his job, even though his accomplishments were far less than Thurgood Marshall. Many well qualified African Americans were passed over for Thomas, because he was an outlier, a conservative, who did not care about what had happened to people of his race.

So Thomas has been an extreme right winger on the Supreme Court, along with Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, but in many ways more hard right than even them, without the intellectual brilliance of Scalia for much of the time he has been on the Court.

Thomas has almost never asked questions in oral arguments, and his history on the Court is just about the least impressive of all nine Justices.

But at the same time, he has had conflicts of interest that should disqualify his Court membership, and his wife has been a big power player with Right Wing groups that present many conflicts of interest, but no concern or explanation or apology from Justice Thomas, who has no concern as to how he is perceived or reported in the news media.

Thomas has come across as arrogant, but also dense about discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, women, gays and lesbians, organized labor, and the environment.

Thomas is seen as certain to work against Affirmative Action, as in several cases in the past, despite the advantages he has had in his own life.

When one compares him to Justice Thurgood Marshall, it is clear that the appointment of Thomas was just about the worst decision President George H. W. Bush made in his term of office.

And if in the afterlife, someone can look down on the world, it would be clear that Justice Marshall, who was known for being blunt, would be furious that Thomas replaced him as the African American member on the Court, with no likelihood of his early departure anytime soon!

A Massive Loss Of Quality Journalism In Just Two Days: Brian Williams, Jon Stewart, Bob Simon!

American journalism has suffered a tremendous loss in just two days—the six month suspension of Brian Williams from NBC News; the announcement that Jon Stewart, the brilliant anchor of the Daily Show on Comedy Channel is leaving later this year; and the tragic death of Bob Simon of CBS News and Sixty Minutes in an automobile accident.

In a time when quality journalism is hard to find, and we have so many ignorant, stupid, biased so called “journalists” on Fox News Channel who lie on a regular basis, it is tragic that Brian Williams, a good guy, well liked by many, has been dealt a six month suspension without pay, and yet based on so far only one confirmed blunder.

It is also sad that Jon Stewart, the best comedian in the business, is leaving his path breaking show that was the major way most young people received their news of the day, and Stewart was brilliant in exposing the hypocrisy of politicians on an everyday basis for 16 plus years.

And worst of all is the tragic death of Bob Simon, a true professional, who worked for CBS for nearly 50 years, and was always highly admired for his vast experiences in news gathering. He survived captivity in the Gulf War, the fall of Saigon, and Middle East conflict, to end up dying in an accident on the West Side Highway in New York City.

All three will, of course, be trashed by the right wing, because all three were liberals, who really cared about people and would not be afraid to expose the truth about what was going on in the nation and overseas.

But no attacks by anyone at Fox News Channel in particular, and conservative talk radio as well, will take away from the reality that these are a few of the very small number of quality journalists still working, at a time when propaganda, hate, and deception are the norm much too often!