Stare Decisis

Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh A Very Political Choice, Reminding Us Of Past Political Wars

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh comes across as a very nice man on the surface, with a nice family, and a long history and record as a Judge on the Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

He is smart enough and well spoken enough, but that is not enough for the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh is a political “animal”, involved in the Ken Starr Impeachment investigation of Bill Clinton two decades ago, and also engaged in the fight to help George W. Bush stop the vote count in the state of Florida in the Presidential election of 2000.

He also has a clear record of opposition to abortion rights as a devout Catholic who wishes to impose his personal views on the nation, instead of promoting “Stare Decisis”.

He also has a record of opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

So both of these important issues are now in danger as a result of his nomination.

Kavanaugh also has stated that a President should not face indictment and prosecution in office, which makes him a likely ally of Donald Trump in any future possibility of pursuing the President for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, violation of the Emoluments clause, and Russian collusion.

It will be extremely difficult to stop Kavanaugh’s nomination, but the Democrats, if they stay united, and if Republicans Susan Collins and or Lisa Murkowski can be convinced to oppose, it can be stopped.

These are very difficult times for progressives, but it is not time to give up, not yet at least!

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.

The Evolving Supreme Court: The Dynamics Of Nine Human Beings Working Together!

The Supreme Court has undergone a lot of change in the past five years, with four appointments to the Court.

George W. Bush appointed John Roberts as Chief Justice and Samuel Alito as an Associate Justice, while Barack Obama chose Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as Associate Justices.

Roberts has certainly made his impact as Chief Justice, and has become controversial because of his activism, which contradicts his testimony that he believed in “stare decisis”, the role of precedent in deciding whether to accept past Court decisions. Instead, Roberts has become a confrontational Chief Justice, including criticizing President Obama for attacking the revolutionary Citizens United Case of January, 2010.

Alito seemed to be quieter, but this year, he openly objected to Obama’s criticism of the Citizens United Case, and is now regarded as an outspoken conservative firebrand in the same vein as Roberts, meaning that the four conservatives on the Court are very aggressive in their advocacy. No one would ever accuse Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas as being “wallflowers” in their activist views, even though Scalia claims to be an advocate of “originalism”, interpreting the Constitution based on the actions of the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

But the liberal side of the Court has also been much more outspoken. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, now the oldest member of the Court, is certainly willing to express her views, and Justice Stephen Breyer is seen as the intellectual leader of the liberal wing of the Court.

But even the newest Justices are making clear their liberal tendencies. Justice Sotomayor is seen by the New York Times as “guiding” the liberal wing. Sotomayor spoke up for prisoner rights, with a challenge by Justice Alito.

And Justice Elena Kagan has joined Sotomayor in what is described as a subtle shift of the Court, with Sotomayor more passionate and Kagan as a “bridge builder”, but yet seen as strengthening the liberal wing. Kagan is seen as having the ability to draw Anthony Kennedy, the truly independent member of the Court, to consider her side of the issue, much like John Paul Stevens used to be able to do that in his latter years on the Court.

What this all means is that the Supreme Court is in constant readjustment of nine human beings, with evolution of the dynamics fascinating to watch and to evaluate on a regular basis! πŸ™‚

Senator Arlen Specter’s Farewell Speech: Condemnation Of Chief Justice John Roberts And Associate Justice Samuel Alito On Judicial Activism, And Of Right Wing Republicans! :(

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is retiring after a distinguished 30 year career, plus having served in local government, and on the staff of the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy almost a half century ago.

Specter, often seen as a difficult man to work with, and possessing a large ego, lost his Senate nomination race to Joe Sestak after switching back to the Democratic Party that he had long ago been a member of, until he converted for a long time to the Republican Party.

Specter was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the hearings for the nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and today he denounced both Justices for violating their testimony during the hearings, which indicated they believed in precedent (stare decisis), but then proceeding to use judicial activism and violating the separation of powers doctrine, particularly in the Citizens United Case in January of this year, allowing unlimited spending by corporations after nearly a century of strict regulation by Congress of such actions.

So Specter joined the criticism of President Obama, enunciated by the President in his State of the Union Address, which annoyed both Roberts and Alito, with Roberts making a clearcut statement of dissent, amid hints that neither Justice might attend future State of the Union Addresses, which if actually done, would be highly inappropriate.

Specter also condemned right wing Republicans such as Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who worked against moderate Republicans in a number of states, causing the loss of seats for the party.

One thing about Specter–he does not worry what others think of him, and his leaving Congress will make it a less interesting and principled place for sure!