Samuel Alito

The Corruption Of The Supreme Court, With Five Appointees By Presidents Who Lost The Popular Vote!

With the likelihood that Amy Coney Barrett will be successfully confirmed to be the replacement of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court, we are about to have a Court with five appointees by Presidents who lost the national popular vote, but still won the Electoral College.

George W. Bush lost the national popular vote to Vice President Al Gore in 2000 by a 540,000 margin, but was able to select Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito in 2005 and 2006.

And now Donald Trump, who lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016, by a 2.85 million margin, has been able to select Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch in 2017, Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, and now Amy Comey Barrett in 2020.

And even more infuriating is that three of these five appointees helped the George W. Bush campaign in the Bush V Gore Supreme Court case, assisting him winning the case in a majority Republican selected Court in December 2000–specifically, John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Comey Barrett!

And the right wing Federalist Society, which has been on a 40 year campaign to make the federal court system move to the extreme right on such issues as health care, abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, so called freedom of religion, deregulation of the economy and the environment, suppression of voting rights and labor rights, has fully succeeded in its campaign to undermine American democracy and a sense of humanity!

So when one complains from the right side of the political spectrum at the “horror” of Democrats “packing the Court” if they were to add seats to the Supreme Court, one has to say the level of hypocrisy is enormous, when that has been the commitment for four decades of the Right in American politics.

And who can say that if the Republicans were to win control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, that they would not be willing to promote “packing of the Court’, so that they could add two to four more seats to the Supreme Court, and make the Court not just the 6-3 margin it will now be, but possibly 8-3 or 10-3, if two to four seats were to be added!

And one more point: Two of the six member Republican majority have had sexual misconduct hanging over their heads, although it has not affected their tenure on the Court, speaking specifically of Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. So the ethical and moral standing of the Court has been damaged irrevocably!

But do the conservatives and the Federalist Society care about this? Not one iota!

We Are On The Way To The Most Reactionary Right Wing Supreme Court Since The 1930s

In the 1930’s, Franklin D. Roosevelt had the most reactionary right wing Supreme Court, working to undermine the New Deal.

This led him to promote the so called “Court Packing Plan” in 1937, to add six new Justices for each one over 70, but the Congress, controlled by his own party, but having a strong Southern conservative contingent, promoted its defeat.

Now, eight decades later, America is on the brink of having the most reactionary right wing Court since then, with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett by President Donald Trump.

Already, the Supreme Court has four Justices appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote, and now they will have a majority, if Barrett is approved, which is likely.

And Barrett does not believe in the doctrine of “Stare Decisis”, the legal principle of determining points in litigation based upon earlier precedents.

Instead, she has very strong personally held beliefs, tied to her strong Catholic faith, and her involvement in a religious charismatic Christian group called “People of Praise”, which preaches that the man is the leader of the family over the wife.

This is very concerning, because she seems likely to wish to overturn many precedents and laws that have been upheld, in unison with others on the Court who have right wing views, including Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh.

The reliability of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch is uncertain, as both, and particularly, Roberts have surprised on some decisions.

So a potential 6-3 Court on many cases could end up 5-4 in favor of the right wing, or possibly 5-4 with the three liberal appointments on the Court, but it seems more likely that the possible so called “best” outcome is at least 5-4 conservative.

So that means the Affordable Care Act, coming up for review in November after the election, could be gutted.

Also in danger are cases involving women’s rights, abortion rights, gay rights, labor rights, religious issues favored by conservatives, voting rights, Presidential authority, environmental laws, consumer laws, and the overall regulatory state promoted since the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as agencies formed under Richard Nixon and later Presidents through Barack Obama.

So we are involved in a crisis constitutionally which could destroy much of what the federal government has done in the past century of American history, and all brought about by Justices appointed under questionable circumstances by Republicans who do not follow rules except when it favors them, and by Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who failed to win the national popular vote, and by Justices who, in the case of Thomas and Kavanaugh had major issues with private behavior with women.

And with Justice Stephen Breyer being 82, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor having issues with her health (diabetes), two of the three liberals on the Court could be replaced if Donald Trump or a future Republican President gains the opportunity!

The Supreme Court Might See Massive Change In Next Presidential Term

It seems likely that the Supreme Court might see massive change in the next Presidential term.

The automatic thought is that of course, the odds of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer leaving by one method or another, either death or retirement, seems likely as they are now 87 and 82 respectively.

If this happens with Joe Biden as President, the seats will remain in the liberal camp, so the news of Ginsburg again in the hospital, but supposedly recovering well, makes one’s heart skip a beat.

The thought of another Donald Trump appointment before the election is a horrible thought, but likely would happen if she were to leave the Supreme Court in the months before the election.

But beyond Ginsburg and Breyer, there are four other potential changes that could occur.

Both Clarence Thomas (age 72) and Samuel Alito (age 70) have been rumored to be thinking of leaving the Court, but no sign they would leave right now. But if they did in 2021 or after, with Joe Biden in office, these two most reliably conservative members would be likely replaced by nominees more to the left in their constitutional views.

Additionally, it is well known that Sonia Sotomayor (age 66) has a strong case of diabetes, and there is some speculation she might leave for health reasons at some point.

Finally, Chief Justice John Roberts (age 65) has had seizure issues, and could have died when he collapsed in 2007 on a deck while fishing, but fortunately did not fall into the water with no one nearby, and was instead found after the event. But he now has had a concussion, and one can wonder if it is related to his seizure issues, for which he takes medication. So it is possible to imagine him leaving the Court at some point.

So with the uncertainties of life, the six longest serving members of the Court could end up leaving the Court sometime between now and 2025. This would affect the balance of the Court on many cases that will come up in the future.

An Inspiring Victory For Gay And Transgender Employment Rights, As John Roberts And Neil Gorsuch Come Through!

In a year which has been so depressing in so many ways, a great and inspiring event occurred today, when the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to protect gay and transgender employment rights.

Chief Justice John Roberts (appointed by George W. Bush in 2005) and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (appointed by Donald Trump in 2017) voted with the four Democratic appointed Justices to bring about this victory.

A major rebuttal was issued to the decision by two of the three other Justices, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by George W. Bush and Donald Trump, respectively.

The decision shows once again how unpredictable judges and Justices can be, as to have the two Justices appointed by both Bush and Trump split on this case.

This decision is a repudiation of the anti gay stand of Donald Trump, and one wonders whether other decisions in the next two weeks will also go against Trump.

Thank goodness that, while the Supreme Court is at times disappointing in its decisions, it also can be very surprising and advanced.

A lot of it has to do with Roberts, who clearly wants to have “his” Court have a good reputation in history, and has been helpful on some cases, including upholding the Affordable Care Act in 2013, and he likely will continue to uphold that law soon, in another challenge.

And the idea that Neil Gorsuch, who gained the position that Barack Obama appointed Merrick Garland to, and was not even given the chance for a hearing and a vote on the appointment, was also in the majority on this case, is a welcome sign of a pyrrhic victory for Donald Trump, in getting Gorsuch on the Court!

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 Never Ending Nightmare Of Donald Trump, Who Has Disgraced, Undermined, Tarnished, Stained, And Harmed The Reputation Of The Presidency!

As we see the end of the first year of the Donald Trump Presidency, it is clear that it is a never ending nightmare visited on the American people.

Donald Trump has disgraced the office of the Presidency.

Donald Trump has undermined trust and faith in the law, the Constitution, and American democracy, and demonstrated lack of respect for freedom of the press.

Donald Trump has tarnished the reputation of America as the leader of the world.

Donald Trump has stained the concept of decency, dignity, and concern of the leader of the nation for those less fortunate, or facing historic discrimination.

Donald Trump has harmed the reputation of the Presidency as an office which promotes basic moral and ethical values.

Donald Trump has affected the relationships between men and women, boys and girls, in a deleterious manner, which will harm the nation long term.

Donald Trump has manufactured and promoted more lies than any American politician in American history, and undermines the ability of Americans to respect the office and the person who holds that position.

Donald Trump has damaged America long term in just one year, as with the long term effects of his lower court appointments, and his selection of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, who seems short term to be further to the right politically than Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, and maybe even the man he replaced, Justice Antonin Scalia.

Donald Trump has left a legacy of environmental damage that will not be easily reversed, and of harm to labor and consumers that will set back the dwindling middle class and the working class for decades.

Donald Trump has also given us the worst set of cabinet members ever, far worse already than Richard Nixon, Warren G. Harding, or Ulysses S. Grant.

Donald Trump has left already an indelible mark on America, and is on the way to the worst four year term in history, bar none, and with the danger of two wars being started, if he lasts into the end of the second year–against North Korea and Iran.

We should all hope that Donald Trump is forced out of office soon, although the prospect of President Mike Pence is a ghastly thought at this point.

What the Russians did has succeeded, destroying our presidential election, and giving us horrifying alternatives in Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, when clearly, Hillary Clinton won an election that was stolen from her!

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.

Trump Drops To 35 Percent In Gallup Poll, With 59 Percent Negative Toward His Presidency

Donald Trump is falling fast in the polls, hitting an all time low for a new President after 70 days, of only 35 percent in the latest Gallup poll.

Trump is striking out at the House Freedom Caucus, threatening primary challengers to the extreme right wing group, not realizing that in their gerrymandered districts, they are likely to beat any primary opponents in 2018.

Trump talks about cooperating with Democrats, but why would they, since he wishes to destroy Obama Care, and has forced an extreme right wing judge, Neil Gorsuch, on them, with the potential for this man who seems to be to the right of Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, to be on the Court for the next 30 or more years, as he is only 49.

59 percent in the latest Gallup poll have a negative attitude toward Trump, and his second Muslim Ban has again been held up in the courts.

His Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, has admitted that building a Mexico Wall will be a major challenge due to topography, including the Rio Grande River in Texas.

And the Russian connection is being ratcheted up by the Senate Intelligence Committee headed by Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Mark Warner.

Finally, there are reports that former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, is ready to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution so it now seems likely that Donald Trump will NOT finish his term, and that Mike Pence will become President during this term.

The 10 Worst, Most Disastrous Supreme Court Justices Since 1900

The Supreme Court has had 58 of its 112 members since 1900, with 9 of them being Chief Justices, and 4 of those also having earlier served as Associate Justices.

It is more fun to discuss the greatest Supreme Court Justices since 1900, as done in an earlier blog post, but here are the 10 worst, most disastrous Supreme Court Justices, listed chronologically,

Willis Van Devanter
James Clark McReynolds
George Sutherland
Pierce Butler
Fred M. Vinson
Tom C. Clark
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas
Samuel Alito

The first four are known as the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, united against the New Deal, and causing Franklin D. Roosevelt to become engaged in the controversial Court Packing Plan of 1937. Van Devanter was appointed by William Howard Taft; McReynolds by Woodrow Wilson; and Sutherland and Butler by Warren G. Harding.

Vinson and Clark were appointed by Harry Truman, with judicial appointments one area that Truman was rated as poor in selection, despite other areas of strength in his Presidency.

Powell was selected by Richard Nixon; Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Alito by George W. Bush.

Powell wrote a memorandum that had a long range influence, promoting the development of right wing think tanks, and forecasting the eventual Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, granting corporations and wealthy individuals the right to engage in politics without any financial limitations. He saw those who wished to regulate business as dangers to unregulated capitalism, and argued for aggressive actions against any regulatory power by governments at all levels. This memorandum was sent before Powell was appointed to the Supreme Court, and was not generally known about until recent years, after his death.

So 3 of the 10 worst Justices were selected by Democrats, and the other 7 by Republicans, a total of 8 Presidents involved in these terrible selections.

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!