liberals

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.

John McCain In Death Unifies Many People Of Different Persuasions

Senator John McCain may have died, but his death and upcoming funeral unites people of many different persuasions, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives.

Actor Warren Beatty, a liberal Democrat, will be one of the pallbearers at the funeral this coming Saturday, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Senators Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Gary Hart of Colorado, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.

Tributes will be offered by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, former Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and members of McCain’s family.

McCain’s body will be interred at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class, but still led a distinctive career despite his partying and lack of seriousness while there.

One has to wonder who would be at Donald Trump’s funeral, since he has so alienated so many people and groups.

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.

Republicans Plan “Scorched Earth” Midterm Election Campaign, As Nasty And Degrading As Donald Trump Pursued In 2016!

Hard to believe, but indications are clear that the Republicans are planning a “scorched earth” midterm election campaign, as nasty and degrading as Donald Trump pursued in 2016.

Insults, smearing, and the dirtiest tactics imaginable beyond comprehension are planned, with the argument that Trump understands the American people, and therefore, the campaigns for office will be as vile and mean spirited as his, to meet the new low level of public discourse brought about by Trump.

No apologies, no limits, no second thoughts, about saying and promoting further division and hatred of people who are not the opponents, but the “enemies”.

One can be sure there will be massive doses of misogyny, racism, nativism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and foul language utilized, since it appeals to the lowest common denominator among Americans.

Instead of bringing the level of dialogue to a higher level, we will see yet more disgusting and reprehensible behavior by candidates.

Character assassination will be common, and likely, it will turn off many voters who might decide to avoid voting, out of fear, or disgust, or resignation that the era of Trump is here to stay.

That is why Democrats and liberals and progressives must fight hard to resist this, and to convince voters change IS possible!

While not easy for Democrats, liberals, and progressives, we must fight tooth and nail, and now allow ourselves to be intimidated, as the common decency and future of the American people is at stake!

The Plot To Privatize The Department Of Veterans Affairs, And The Firing Of Secretary David Shulkin, Just A Beginning To Privatize Much Of Federal Government

It is clear that Donald Trump, and his right wing friends, billionaires Charles and David Koch, and other right wing extremists, are out to destroy the Federal government involvement in just about every government agency other than the original cabinet agencies created in 1789–State, Treasury, (War)Defense, and Justice.

So the firing of Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is clearly a move to make Veterans Affairs privatized, which is a horrible idea, as taking care of our veterans should not be based on the profit motive. There is also a plan to privatize Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education, the Post Office, and other government agencies.

Those who care about a responsive national government being protected must understand that “war” has been declared by the extremists on the right, who do not give a damn about the lives of 325 million Americans, only downgrading federal government as it has operated since the beginning of the 20th century and President Theodore Roosevelt.

Regulation and intervention has advanced America, but the big corporations and the elite wealthy want to reverse, and destroy, all progress for average Americans to make our nation more humane and responsive.

This is the time for liberals, progressives, and Democrats to work to deny the success of this plot, so every caring American must work to get rid of the Republican majority in Congress, so that the fight against the evil of the Trump Presidency can move forward.

2018 Presidents And Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey Of 170 Political Scientists: First Experts Assessment Of Donald Trump

The American Political Science Association conducted a survey from late December 2017 to mid January 2018 of social science experts in presidential politics, the first such survey to assess all of the 44 men who have held the office of the Presidency, including Donald Trump after one year in office.

Last year, C Span had its third survey of Presidential experts, mostly historians but some political scientists and journalists, rating the Presidents, as Barack Obama left office.

So this is a significant moment, as now Donald Trump is part of the equation. The score rating is, theoretically from 100 high to a Zero low.

Abraham Lincoln had 95.03 rating of this group of scholars, and Donald Trump ended up number 44 out of 44, with a score of 12.34, nearly three points lower than James Buchanan with 15.09 score, with the pre Civil War President finally getting out of the basement as the lowest ranked President.

Even William Henry Harrison, the one month President in 1841, who accomplished nothing but his inaugural address and selection of his cabinet, ended up 42nd with a score of 19.02, demonstrating just how disastrous this group of political scientists sees Donald Trump after one year.

Democrats and Liberals and Moderates rated him 44th, the bottom, while Independents ranked Trump 43rd, ahead of only Buchanan. But even Republicans and Conservatives only rated him 40th out of 44, only ahead of Buchanan, Harrison, Pierce, and Andrew Johnson for Republicans, and only ahead of Buchanan, Harrison, Andrew Johnson and Pierce for Conservatives.

In percentage, Democrats gave Trump a 7.60 rating; Liberals a 7.92 rating; Moderates a 13.43 rating; Independents a 16.49 rating; Republicans a 24.53 rating; and Conservatives a 25.19 rating.

Trump topped the list as the most polarizing President, mentioned 138 times. The closest to him was Andrew Jackson, mentioned 81 times; George W. Bush with 74 mentions; and Barack Obama 72 times. Richard Nixon was fifth, with 55 mentions and tied with Abraham Lincoln, followed by Andrew Johnson with 37 mentions, Ronald Reagan with 33 mentions, Bill Clinton with 30 mentions, and Franklin D. Roosevelt with 29 mentions, to round out the top ten.

Five questions were asked about Trump: his Presidency overall; Legislative Accomplishments; Foreign Policy Leadership; Embodying Institutional Norms; and Communicating with the Public.

Trump earned three Fs and 2 Ds, with his best score on Communicating with the Public and lowest on Embodying Institutional Norms.

The only area in any group where Trump gained a C was in Foreign Policy Leadership, and also in Communicating with the Public, both from Republicans.

So Donald Trump, in the view of scholars and experts on the Presidency, is a true disaster, and to think he will get out of the basement and pass the four Presidents above him, is truly delusional!

Millennials Surpass Baby Boomers In Numbers, And Are Solidly Anti Trump In Various Polls

Millennials (those born from around 1978 to the early 2000s) have become the largest number of people in the population, surpassing Baby Boomers (those born from 1946 to 1964) in numbers, and indications are clear that they are solidly anti Trump in various polls.

The Baby Boomers were considered liberals and anti Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s, and yet now, many of them are among the most conservative in the nation, particularly in rural areas, where they tend to be heavily non college educated and alienated from racial and ethnic minorities.

But even the college educated Baby Boomers tend to be, as a group, much more oriented toward preservation of their Social Security and Medicare benefits, and less concerned about what happens to the younger generations, other their own families and friends.

This is a disconcerting situation, but adds to the general statement that when young, one tends to be more liberal and progressive, and when older, one becomes more conservative and right wing, and “territorial” in their views.

In the urban areas, Baby Boomers, much more diverse in religion, race, and ethnicity, are more likely to remain liberal and progressive.

It is time for the Millennials to speak up and get involved in the political system, as they will inherit the tragic circumstances of Donald Trump, and it will be up to them to return America to the social commitments and values of the younger Baby Boomers of the 1960s and 1970s.

How The Republican Majority Supreme Court Has Promoted Corporate Control And Voter Suppression, And Undermined American Democracy

Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission (2010) and Shelby County V. Holder (2013) are the two decisions of the majority Supreme Court in the last decade which have destroyed the concept of fair and free elections in America.

Those cases, and Bush V Gore (2000) have done everything possible to undermine the majority of the people in Presidential elections, as well as other elections in states, which should have favored the Democratic Party.

And now, with a new right wing Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, possibly more extremist than Clarence Thomas or Samuel Alito on the Court since April, the future is very gloomy for progressive values and beliefs.

Realize that the Democrats have won the popular vote in Presidential elections six of the last seven times, from 1992 to 2016, only losing to George W. Bush in 2004.

But the Supreme Court Republican majority has allowed corporations to be seen as people, and this has led to extreme abuse by many wealthy corporate special interests, and individual millionaires and billionaires, to put excessive amounts of funding into negative campaigns against liberals and Democrats, and to fund right wing extremist campaigns for legislation they want, and for conservative candidates they desire.

And loosening the enforcement of voting rights by states has allowed many states to place new voter restrictions on poor people, minorities, young people, and the elderly, making voting an onerous process, and in effect, working for voter suppression, which apparently had an effect in the 2016 Presidential election in some states, and for sure, in Wisconsin, one of the crucial states that gave Donald Trump the victory by a very small margin of votes.

The undermining of American democracy is in full swing, and the fear is that we have just seen the tip of the iceberg in regards to Republican and conservative repression of much of the law and legislation, and the election process itself, in the future, with the ability of Donald Trump and the Republican Party to “fix” the future, one of moving backwards by a century or more in so many respects.

Sunbelt States (Texas, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina) Will Make Rust Belt Mid West (Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio) No Longer Factor In Future Presidential Elections By Mid 2020s And After

In the midst of constant rehashing of the 2016 Presidential Election results, one point is being lost by political observers.

The nation is changing demographically very rapidly.

What happened in Virginia on Election Day this year is a sign of the future. Suburbanites, women, minorities, white collar educated, those under 45, and Independents swung over massively to the Democratic Party.

Those trends are not temporary, but permanent, as the older generation, which tends to be more conservative, dies off over the next decade, and the percentage of more educated people grows, and as the percentages of Latinos and Asian Americans start to change Sun Belt states.

So the near future is clearly that the states of Texas, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina will turn Blue, while the Rust Belt Mid West, not as populated with the groups that helped to make Virginia as Blue a state as it is (Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio) may go back and forth from Red to Blue, but in the Electoral College, the Rust Belt Mid West will matter much less than it did in 2016, assisting the victory of Donald Trump.

So one can say with a great amount of assurance that by 2024 or 2028, the Democrats will have the electoral advantage in the Electoral College, and are unlikely to lose it, as the Republican Party continues to alienate even their base of less educated and rural voters, and as the Sun Belt turns Democratic long term.

Of course, as part of this transition, the Democratic Party needs to move to the Left, be more progressive and liberal,and not come across as a moderate alternative to the Democratic Party, as that is the future of the party, to act more like it is the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt or Lyndon B. Johnson. This is what the groups which helped the Virginia victory desire for the future.

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.