Richard Nixon

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.

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!

Long Out Of Office Republican Presidential Contenders, Or Never In Office: A Record Number In History!

It is not totally uncommon for politicians who have left office to run for President years later.

Abraham Lincoln had not been in public office for 12 years, after serving one term in the House of Representatives, when he ran for and won the Presidency in 1860.

Richard Nixon had not been in public office for 8 years, although he ran for California Governor two years after leaving the Vice Presidency in 1960, and won the Presidency in 1968.

Ronald Reagan had not been in public office for 6 years, although he ran unsuccessfully for the Presidential nomination of his party two years after leaving the Governorship, and won the Presidency in 1980.

But now, in 2015, we have a whole slew of candidates out of public office for a long time.

Jeb Bush left the Florida Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office.

Rick Santorum lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2012.

Mike Huckabee left the Arkansas Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2008.

George Pataki left the New York Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office.

Jim Gilmore left the Virginia Governorship in 2001, so it will be 15 years since he held office, although he ran briefly for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2008, and lost an attempt at a Senate race in 2008, as well.

Bob Ehrlich left the Maryland Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for reelection in 2006 and lost, and tried again for the Governorship in 2010 and lost both times to Martin O’Malley.

This is a record number of candidates who have been out of office for so long, 10-15 years in duration.

Also, three candidates have NEVER held public office–Carly Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Donald Trump.

So NINE potential candidates out of what are now a potential 18-19 in total have long ago left office, or never held office!

45 and 40 Years Ago: Times Of Shame!

PBS last night had three hours of documentary coverage of two tragic events, occurring 45 and 40 years ago at the end of April.

In 1970, Richard Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia, an escalation of the war in Vietnam, causing massive anti war demonstrations, and the massacre of students at Kent State University in Ohio by the Ohio National Guard, a total of four killed and ten wounded; and Jackson State College in Mississippi, the killing of two students by state troopers and local police. This tragic event was covered in “The Day the Sixties Ended”, an hour presentation.

Then, five years later, on April 30, the final evacuation from Vietnam, two years after the Paris Peace Accords supposedly guaranteed two separate Vietnams, after 12 years of war, and 58,000 Americans had been killed, took place. About 130,000 South Vietnamese were evacuated, but hundreds of thousands were left behind, and ended up in re-education camps of the Communist Vietnamese government, or were “Boat People”, many of whom died in the South China Sea. A few hundred thousand ended up in the US, and others, in the Philippines and several other nations, but it was a tremendous human tragedy. These tragic events were covered in “The Last Days in Vietnam”, an award winning documentary put together by Rory Kennedy, the youngest child of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, born months after his assassination in 1968.

The sad part about these events in 1970 and 1975 is that most Americans have no awareness of these events, and we continue to make similar mistakes, as in the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan, but causing the loss of American lives and treasure, and the massive loss of life among the people of those nations.

Both 1970 and 1975 are times of shame, but most Americans, being clueless, makes it ever more a shame!

“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!

Fifty Years Of Environmentalism—Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama— All To Be Applauded!

Today, April 22, is Earth Day, first declared by Richard Nixon and his Interior Secretary Walter Hickel in 1970, but the environmental movement was begun, actually, by Lyndon B. Johnson and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall in 1965 with the promotion of the first water and air pollution laws as part of the Great Society.

Jimmy Carter proceeded to promote the most advanced environmental record of any one term President, and with the great assistance of Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus.

Then, Bill Clinton, under the prodding of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Vice President Al Gore, contributed greatly to advancement of the environment.

And Barack Obama, under the support of Interior Secretaries Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell has also contributed greatly on the issue of the environment.

Additionally, Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, and John F. Kennedy, with Interior Secretary Udall (who served for eight years under both JFK and LBJ), also did a great deal on the environment.

Sadly, with Theodore Roosevelt being the true promoter of the environment in the early part of the 20th century, and assisted by Interior Secretary James R. Garfield and close TR friend Gifford Pinchot, one would have thought that the Republican Party would have continued to be the leader on the issue, but except for Richard Nixon, that has not been the case, and now Republicans are doing everything possible to help advance industry over the environment!

This includes attempting to prevent any future national parks; allowing industrial exploitation of the Grand Canyon and other parks for mining; and wishing to undermine or destroy the Environmental Protection Agency begun during the Nixon Presidency!

So the battle to promote conservation of natural resources and add to public lands is a never ending battle between the political parties, when it should be part of the national agenda that all political leaders believe in and advocate!

Periods Of Lack Of Diplomatic Relations In American History: Never Productive!

One tactic that has been used in modern American history to “punish” nations who are seen as a threat, as a danger, as an “outlaw” nation, is to suspend diplomatic relations with that nation, thinking that taking that action forces that country to change its policies, but it has never worked, and is a lost cause. It is more done to soothe the sensitivities of certain groups, and is a purely political act, with no real purpose and accomplishing nothing, except to isolate the people of those nations, who if anything, are harmed by American action, while the “outlaw” government goes on violating the human rights of their citizens.

Famous examples of nations we have refused to have relations with over a long period of years include:

Soviet Union, 1917-1933—16 years, ended by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

People’s Republic of China, 1949-1979—30 years, ended by Jimmy Carter, but beginning of ties and interaction under Richard Nixon in 1972 (23 years).

Cuba, 1961-Present—54 years, in the process of being ended by Barack Obama.

Iran, 1980-Present–35 years, possibly ending now under Barack Obama, with the potential nuclear agreement.

Diplomatic relations should NOT be about morals and ethics, as that does not work in international relations, but rather on practical reality, as nations we oppose are not going to collapse and disappear because we condemn their behavior. It is better to have some input into what goes on in those nations, unless, of course, the other nation involved chooses on its own to break off diplomatic relations.

The Problem And Burden Of Family Members For Presidential Candidates

Many Presidential candidates have had the problem and burden of family members who make their candidacy and, if they win, their Presidency, more difficult, because of their behavior or utterances.

So we have, for instance, the problem of Lyndon Johnson’s brother, Richard Nixon’s brothers, Jimmy Carter’s brother, George H.W. Bush’s sons, Bill Clinton’s step brother, and George W. Bush’s daughter causing grief.

And now, we have candidates for the Presidency who face the same problem, specifically:

Jeb Bush–his brother, former President George W. Bush
Hillary Clinton—her husband, former President Bill Clinton
Rand Paul—his father, Ron Paul
Ted Cruz–his father, Rafael Cruz

Any and all of these four candidates could be harmed greatly by the controversies over their brother, husband, and fathers, and yet none of them can or would repudiate their family connections, but they could all discover the negative impact of family on their Presidential campaigns!

Vast Age Differences Of Presidential Opponents In Modern American History

It has become a reality that in many Presidential elections, the age difference between the two competing Presidential contenders is vast.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was 20 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election Of 1944.

Harry Truman was 18 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election of 1948.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was 10 years older than Adlai Stevenson in the Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956.

Richard Nixon was 9 and a half years older than George McGovern in the Presidential Election of 1972.

Gerald Ford was 11 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1976.

Ronald Reagan was 13 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1980.

Ronald Reagan was 17 years older than Walter Mondale in the Presidential Election of 1984.

George H. W. Bush was 8 years older than Michael Dukakis in the Presidential Election of 1988.

George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1992.

Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1996.

John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2008.

Mitt Romney was 14 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2012.

Now in 2016, we are very likely to have a vast difference in age between the two major party nominees, assuming Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Jim Webb is the Democratic nominee. But 11 of the 13 elections mentioned, the Republican nominee was the much older candidate, but that is likely to be different this time.

If Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie or Scott Walker is the Republican nominee, the difference will be vast, as much as 24 or more years in some of these cases. All of these six were born later than Barack Obama, and a few others, including Rick Santorum. Mike Pence or Jon Huntsman, all born before Obama but still have a double digit age difference from the various Democrats mentioned above.

So far, eight times, the older nominee for President won, and five times, the younger nominee for President won. So the question is what will happen in 2016!

Eleven Foreign Policy Presidential Elections In American History, And Now 2016!

America has had foreign policy affect eleven Presidential elections, overshadowing domestic policy issues. This has usually been centered about military intervention and wars. The list of foreign policy dominated Presidential elections follows:

1812—With the War of 1812 having begun, it became the major issue under President James Madison

1844—With the issue of Texas annexation a major issue, and with James K. Polk running on expansionism and “Manifest Destiny”, the issue of relations with Mexico became a major issue under John Tyler and Polk.

1848—With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican War under James K. Polk granting so much new territory to the United States, the issue of what to do with these territories became the major issue of the campaign.

1900—With the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish American War under William McKinley granting new territories to the United States, the issue of what do to with those territories reigned during the campaign, and the Filipino Insurrection was a hot issue as well.

1916–The issue of keeping America out of World War I dominated, with Woodrow Wilson campaigning on the fact that he had kept us out of the war.

1940—The issue of isolationism and World War II in Europe and Asia, and Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigning on keeping us out of war, but offering some assistance to Great Britain, dominated the campaign.

1944—The fact that we were still in World War II, and what to do about the postwar world and the Soviet Union, were key issues of the campaign.

1952—The debate over what to do about the limited nature of the Korean War under Harry Truman was a major factor in this campaign which elected Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1968—The debate over the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson, and the resulting split in the Democratic Party, and Richard Nixon declaring he had a secret plan to end the war, dominated the discussion in the campaign.

2004—The Iraq War and Afghanistan War under George W. Bush dominated the discussion in this campaign, as September 11 transformed the issue of national security.

2008—The continued intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan became a major issue, along with the Great Recession emerging during the campaign, and benefited Barack Obama, who promised to end the war in Iraq and downgrade the war in Afghanistan.

Now 2016 seems likely to be centered much more than many people want over foreign policy, particularly the threat of Iran in the Middle East, along with the danger of ISIL (ISIS) Terrorism, and the growing menace of the Russian Federation under Vladamir Putin, overall adding to the image of growing threats to national security.

And in these circumstances, one needs a steady hand at the helm, and only Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have the experience and the judgment needed, along with Jon Huntsman, who, although listed by many as a long shot nominee for the Republicans, has indicated he is not a candidate. In any case, the Republicans are not smart enough to realize that the true treasure in their midst is Jon Huntsman!