Louis Brandeis

Chuck Schumer, The Great Jewish Hope: The Highest Ranking Elected Jew Ever In American Government!

The new Senate Minority Leader is New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who has been in the Senate since 1999, and defeated a tough opponent, Republican three term Senator Alfonse D’Amato.

Schumer began his political career at the age 23, and entered the House of Representatives at age 29 from Brooklyn, New York.

He had to compete first with fellow, soon to be retired Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and then his newly elected replacement, Hillary Clinton, who would seek the Presidency despite being the Junior Senator from New York.

Schumer worked his way up the leadership, being a loyal subordinate for ten years to Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and built up the Democratic majority in 2006 and 2008, before the bottom fell out, and the Democrats lost seats, from a high of 60 down to 46 and now up to 48 in 2017.

Schumer is a man who is very accessible and warm, and will do a lot of good for the Democrats, and he happens to have the distinction of being the highest ranking elected Jews ever in American government.

Yes, we have had other distinguished Jewish US Senators, but none in a leadership position in the Senate.

Yes, we had House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, second ranking in the House of Representatives, and hoping to become Speaker of the House someday, before he was defeated for nomination to his seat in 2014 by a more extremist right wing Republican, David Brat.

Yes, we have had Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who was Vice Presidential nominee with Al Gore in 2000, when they won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Yes, we have had Jewish cabinet officers, including Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Henry Kissinger, Abraham Ribicoff, and Arthur Goldberg among others, who have had impact on government.

And yes, we have had Jewish Supreme Court Justices by appointment, including Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan among others.

But Schumer has the potential to have a greater impact politically than most party leaders, so we must wish him the best fortune as the Democrats battle against the Trump Presidency.

Yesterday, Schumer gave a fighting, defiant speech to the Senate on his first day as Minority Leader, making it clear his party would contest Trump on the Cabinet and on every policy that undermines the middle class and promotes the elite wealthy against the average American.

Democratic Party Historical Accomplishments

The Democratic Party has been criticized for the fact that in its 188 year history, it was the party that promoted slavery, segregation, and lynching, being dominated for a long time by its ugly Southern membership.

This cannot be denied, but it is the Democratic Party which has also, in the last century of history, had many historical accomplishments.

Among these are:

First Catholic nominee for President–Alfred E. Smith 1928
First Catholic President elected–John F. Kennedy 1960
First Catholic Vice President elected–Joe Biden 2008
First Jewish nominee for Vice President–Joseph Lieberman 2000
First Jewish Presidential candidate as serious contender–Bernie Sanders 2016
First African American President–Barack Obama 2008
First Woman nominated for Vice President–Geraldine Ferraro 1984
First African American Presidential Contender–Shirley Chisholm 1972
First Woman nominee for President–Hillary Clinton 2016
First woman Secretary of State—Madeleine Albright under Bill Clinton
First Southerner elected President since 1848–Jimmy Carter 1976
Youngest elected President–John F. Kennedy 1960
President who gave us Social Security–Franklin D. Roosevelt 1935
President who gave us Medicare and Medicaid–Lyndon B. Johnson 1965-1966
One Term President who advanced Environmental Causes the most in history–Jimmy Carter 1977-1981
President who gave us ObamaCare–Barack Obama 2010
President who advanced Civil Rights—John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson 1960s
President to appoint first Jewish Supreme Court Justice—Woodrow Wilson 1916 (Louis Brandeis)
President to appoint first woman Jewish Supreme Court Justice—Bill Clinton 1993 (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
President to appoint first African American Supreme Court Justice–Lyndon B. Johnson 1967 (Thurgood Marshall)
President to appoint first Hispanic-Latino Supreme Court Justice—Barack Obama 2009 (Sonia Sotomayor)
President who promoted Containment Foreign Policy with the Soviet Union—Harry Truman
President who promoted concept of international cooperation—Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt
First Woman Speaker Of The House of Representatives–Nancy Pelosi 2007
Most accomplished Congresses, Democratic controlled—-63rd and 64th (1913-1917) under Woodrow Wilson; 73rd and 74th (1933-1937) under Franklin D. Roosevelt; 89th Congress (1965-1967) under Lyndon B. Johnson; 111th Congress (2009-2011) under Barack Obama
Great Supreme Court Justices appointed by Democratic Presidents—Louis Brandeis 1916 by Woodrow Wilson; Hugo Black 1937 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; Felix Frankfurter 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; William O. Douglas 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; Thurgood Marshall 1967 by Lyndon B. Johnson; Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1993 by Bill Clinton; Stephen Breyer 1994 by Bill Clinton

Historic Moment To Revel In! First Female Presidential Candidate Of A Major American Political Party, And Of Course, A Democrat!

It has finally happened!

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Presidential nominee, the first woman to gain that opportunity on a major party line!

But remember that it is the Democratic Party which gave us the first Catholic President, John F. Kennedy, and the first African American President, Barack Obama!

Also, it was the Democratic Party that gave us the first woman Vice Presidential nominee, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of New York and the first Jewish Vice Presidential nominee, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, along with the first Catholic Vice President, Joe Biden.

It was a Democratic President, Woodrow Wilson, who gave us the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis.

The Democratic Party is the party of equal opportunity, including three Jews presently on the Court (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan); three women presently on the Court (Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor) ; and the first Latina Supreme Court Justice (Sotomayor).

And it was great today to see the first African American President, Barack Obama, wholeheartedly endorsing the first woman Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton!

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?Β  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 appointmentΒ  (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!

 

 

44 Years Of Republican Supreme Court Majority Comes To An End With Death Of Justice Antonin Scalia!

The death of the most right wing Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, in modern American history, offers Barack Obama and the Democrats a real opportunity to transform the majority of the Supreme Court, which has been with a Republican appointed majority for the last 44 years!

With the appointment and confirmation of Justices William Rehnquist and Lewis F. Powell, Jr. by Richard Nixon in January 1972, the beginning of the fourth year of his Presidency, we have had a Republican appointed majority, and the Democrats have only had a total of four appointments to the Court, as compared to the nine that the Republicans have had.

With nearly a full year until the next Presidential inauguration, there is no excuse for the Republicans to filibuster or to dismiss an appointment without just cause, and the Republicans are playing a very dangerous game in so threatening, within hours after Scalia’s death.Β  Public opinion is likely to reverberate against them if they follow through and create the longest delay in a Court appointment being confirmed.

The all time record is the 125 days between when Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish member of the Court, until his confirmation in 1916.Β  The second longest delay was when Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork in 1987, and his rejection by the Senate after 114 days.

So to say it will take more than the 342 days when the next President is inaugurated to gain a ninth Supreme Court Justice is totally preposterous, and delays so many decisions, and basically cripples the ability of the Court to do its job, its constitutional duty.

Already, the Republicans have shown they do not believe in doing the government’s business in the House of Representatives and the Senate, so are they now going to do the same with the Supreme Court?

Is this the way for them to convince the nation to give them responsibility for control of both houses and the Presidency, and also the Court for the long term future?

Obviously, the answer is NO, so the chance for a Supreme Court of nine members might very well be resolved with Barack Obama appointing a perceived moderate to the Court, which will be hard for the Republicans to refuse to confirm!

Barack Obama is our President for another eleven months, and constitutionally, he has the right and the responsibility to choose a new Supreme Court Justice, no matter how the Republican Party feels about it!

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.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Louis Brandeis, And The Future Of The Supreme Court!

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has resisted suggestions that after 21 years on the Supreme Court she should retire, giving President Barack Obama an opportunity to make another appointment to the Court before he leaves office.

Ginsburg is 81 plus, and has survived colon and pancreatic cancer in a miraculous way, and has also lost her husband, but she resists leaving.

Now there seems to be “light at the end of the tunnel”, as Ginsburg has hinted that she wants to match former Associate Justice Louis Brandeis, one of the all time great Justices, who served almost 23 years from 1916 to 1939 and retired at age 82, and that will be accomplished over the next year on age and in early 2016 on service. So it seems as if she might retire in June of 2015 or June of 2016.

This is the explanation for the statement of President Obama, that he expects to make some new Court appointments, and it makes the urgency of the continuation of a Democratic Senate even more a priority for the upcoming midterm Senate elections.

It is now a fact that were Ginsburg to resign tomorrow, it would be impossible to replace her before November, due to the politics of the upcoming elections in two and a half months, so the best we can hope for is that Obama will get to replace the aging Ginsburg in 2015 or 2016, with Democrats still in control.

If not, there is the possibility of a Court with only seven or eight members, if any other Justice dies or retires, from the rapidly aging Court.

Tea Party People And Conservatives Take Note: The Constitution Established A Strong National Government, And The Amendments Have Made For A More Liberal, Nationalist Nation!

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is spending taxpayer money to read the Constitution out loud, as a supposed lesson to the nation as to what the Constitution contains.

This is occurring due to the impact of the Tea Party Movement, but if that group and other conservatives really listen to and think about the words of the Constitution, they would realize what the Constitution is all about.

The Constitution was created to REPLACE the Articles of Confederation, a document that gave the states authority that led to chaos, anarchy and bankruptcy, and forced the hand of liberal nationalist Founding Fathers who realized that the country would not survive without a STRONGER NATIONAL GOVERNMENT.

The Constitution gave the US Congress tremendous and specific powers in Article 1, Section 8, the ELASTIC CLAUSE–necessary and proper for the common defense and the general welfare–, creating vague language that could be interpreted broadly, and has been by the Supreme Court over 200 years since the time of Chief Justice John Marshall.

Liberal nationalists brought about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights!

Liberal nationalists brought about the Civil Rights Amendments (13, 14, 15) in the years after the Civil War.

Liberal nationalists brought about the “Progressive” amendments on the federal income tax (16), direct election of the US Senate taken away from the state legislatures (17), and woman suffrage (19) in the second decade of the 20th century.

Liberal nationalists brought about the right of DC residents to vote for President (23), the end of the poll tax in all elections (24), and the 18 year old vote (26) in the decade of the mid to late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Constitution has been made the great document it is by the actions of the Founding Fathers and later generations of liberal nationalists, whether Federalist, Republican, or Democratic, and by Supreme Courts led by great Justices, including John Marshall, Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, William O. Douglas, Earl Warren, William Brennan, Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens and many others!

No matter what conservatives, Republicans, and Tea Party activists might say or believe, it is LIBERAL and PROGRESSIVE activism that has led to the Constitution and its amendment improvements over two centuries!

Liberals and progressives stand together in pride as to their enactment and expansion of the document which inspires people all over the world, the greatest constitutional document ever created by the will of mankind!

Elena Kagan Confirmed As Associate Justice Of Supreme Court!

Solicitor General and former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan was confirmed today by a vote of 63-37 to be the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court!

Kagan became the fourth woman in the Court’s history, and the second appointment of President Obama! She also became the first non judicial experience member of the Court since William Rehnquist!

She received the support of all Democrats, except Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson! She also received the backing of only five Republicans–Olympia Snow, Susan Collins, Judd Gregg, Lindsey Graham, and Richard Lugar, as compared to the nine Republicans who backed Sonia Sotomayor last year (who won her seat by a margin of 68-32)!

Kagan can be seen as a worthy successor to John Paul Stevens, who served the fourth longest time on the Supreme Court, and she inherits a seat not only occupied by Stevens, but earlier by William O. Douglas (longest serving Justice in history) and Louis Brandeis (often considered the number one or two Supreme Court Justice in history)!

Elena Kagan’s Inheritance: Louis Brandeis, William O. Douglas, And John Paul Stevens!

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan went through two full days of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, and most observers would say she fared well in her performance!

The members of the committee, and the American people, wanted to know how she thought about constitutional issues, and of course, were disappointed that she refused to tip her hand, just the same as other Supreme Court nominees who did not wish to be tied down to any specific commitments on future issues and cases!

But her background gives hope that she will follow in the tradition of the Justices who held the seat she will gain after confirmation: Louis Brandeis (1916-1939), William O. Douglas (1939-1975), and John Paul Stevens (1975-2010)!

What a distinguished group of Justices these three men were, enough to humble anyone! πŸ™‚ All three are among the very best who have ever served on the Supreme Court. The first two would rank among the top ten of all time, and Stevens would rank in the 25 of all time!

No seat has only had three Justices in the past almost one hundred years, with Douglas being the longest serving Justice in history, and Stevens being third longest serving, only three days fewer than Justice Stephen Field, who served from 1863-1897!

So Kagan has a responsibility to keep this history in mind, as she inherits the seat of these great men, and carries on the progressive tradition they represented, into the future of constitutional law!