Stephen Breyer

The Supreme Court Majority Is Becoming Very Outspoken, Controversial In Actions And Statements!

The Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to be a nonpolitical body, that balances the law and the Constitution.

Of course, there are, and always have been, so called “liberals” and “conservatives” on the Court throughout its history, but the present Supreme Court with six conservatives and three liberals is badly unbalanced, and it is clear that the Court is the most extreme one sided to the conservative side that it has been since the 1930s, nearly a century ago!

There are three appointments to the Court by Donald Trump (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett); two appointments by George W. Bush (John Roberts, Samuel Alito); and one appointment by George H. W. Bush (Clarence Thomas).

There are already ethical and moral problems with Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas, regarding their behavior and treatment of women in their past; and Amy Coney Barrett was rushed through to confirmation more rapidly than normal after the sudden death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so that Donald Trump had one more appointment close to the Presidential election, which should have been left to the winner of the election, which turned out to be Joe Biden.

Also, a majority of the Court was chosen by Presidents who lost the popular vote in 2000 and 2016, although the two Bush II appointees actually came in the second term when Bush II did win the popular vote.

And now, since the horrendous decision to allow the Texas antiabortion law to go into effect without a full hearing, taking away a constitutional right of women to control their own bodies, in effect since Roe V. Wade in 1973, the criticism of the Court’s action has led to Thomas, Barrett, and now Alito to issue political criticisms which are not appropriate for Supreme Court Justices. They should NOT be making public statements, no matter what they are thinking, but they clearly are on the defensive and have politicized the Court by their utterances, as well as their actions.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the reputation and public opinion rating of the Supreme Court has declined radically in the last few years, and particularly in the present year of 2021!

The Supreme Court is moving far to the Right as the nation is clearly moving to the Left, in a nation in which the white majority is rapidly declining, and will be the minority (under 50 percent) by 2045 at the latest.

So a constitutional crisis is at hand, and there is the danger of a future 7-2 conservative Court, with Stephen Breyer refusing to consider retiring at age 83, claiming he does not plan to die on the Court. This is a preposterous statement, and could end up denying Joe Biden any Supreme Court selection if a Democratic Senator dies or is incapacitated, or if the Senate goes Republican in the midterm Congressional Elections of 2022!

The Age Issue In American Politics Endangering Change—Dianne Feinstein, Stephen Breyer!

A growing crisis in American government is the rapidly aging political class, with a larger number of members of Congress being past 80 years of age, and Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer reaching the age of 83 today, August 15.

This is particularly notable with California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is past 88 years of age, and is clearly demonstrating signs of dementia in many public situations.

Age discrimination is illegal, but once someone reaches past the age of 80, the danger of dementia and other medical issues multiplies, and the issue of Feinstein and of Breyer is alarming, even though so far Breyer shows no signs of decline.

But no government position with such responsibilities should be in the hands of an egotist who never knows when it is time to “pass the baton”, and clearly, Feinstein needs to resign, and Breyer needs to move in that direction before the midterm elections of 2022.

If Feinstein died in office, with the California gubernatorial recall election coming up in September, there is the danger that an extremist Republican hanger-on could end up becoming Governor, and then being able to pick a Republican to replace Feinstein, and making the US Senate switch to the Republican party.

And if Breyer died after an unfortunate majority of the Senate possibly returning to the Republican Party, no replacement would be likely, similar to the Merrick Garland situation and Barack Obama in 2016!

This is intolerable, and there needs to be an understanding that past age 80 or early 80s, it is time for public office holders to leave and allow someone else to replace them, as no one is indispensable, despite their egos!

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Should Retire, For Secure Survival Of Liberal Wing Of Court

It was very disappointing news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has announced he has no plans to retire, as he reaches age 83 on August 15.

Breyer has served long and well on the Supreme Court since being appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994.

Already he is one of the longest serving Justices in American history, 25th longest of a total of 115 Justices who have served.

His arguments for remaining on the Court are that he likes being the Senior Justice of the liberal wing, and that his health will determine how long he stays.

But he fails to recognize that health can change rapidly, and when one is in his or her 80s, he or she needs to consider the impact of a sudden death, as with Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s sudden passing, which led to a rapid appointment of a Justice (Amy Coney Barrett) who was rammed through in record time, instead of leaving the appointment to the winner of the Presidential Election of 2020.

With a Court now more conservative and right wing than it has been since the 1930s, it is alarming to think that Breyer is gambling the effect on the liberal wing of the Court by refusing to retire.

Joe Biden should be given the opportunity to replace him, but if even one Democratic Senator dies before 2023, then the Republicans will take control of the US Senate, and prevent any Biden nominee.

And if the Republicans win the Senate in 2022, then Joe Biden will be denied any appointment, even if a vacancy, as Mitch McConnell denied Barack Obama the opportunity to replace Antonin Scalia with Merrick Garland in 2016!

A 50-50 Democratic Controlled Senate Could Any Time Switch To Control By Republicans!

With the reality in 2021 of a 50-50 US Senate, the ability of the Democratic majority to get the Joe Biden agenda adopted becomes a constant headache, and the inability to adjust the filibuster to allow votes on some issues without a 60 member majority support is infuriating.

And behind the scenes, there are concerns over the distinct possibility that were a Democratic Senator to die or become incapacitated and be unable to vote, such event would literally switch control of the Senate back to the Republicans, and Mitch McConnell.

The Senate has 5 members over 80, and 25 members in their 70s, an all time high such number, and the average age of all Senators is 63, also the highest in the history of the Senate.

18 of these 30 members over 70 and into their 80s are Democrats, so in many respects, the clock is ticking, and it is essential for quick action on a multitude of issues before a possible tragedy occurs.

Also, history tells us that the party NOT in the White House tends to gain seats in the midterm elections that follow, and that portends a disaster for the Democrats, with an evenly divided Senate and only a 6 vote margin in the House of Representatives.

Of course, the tumult around Donald Trump and the “Big Lie” might help the Democrats to gain seats, and history is not a guarantee for the party out of power in both houses of Congress.

But this is certainly a time of concern, including the possible future retirement, although clearly not imminent, of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer!

The Unpredictability Of Supreme Court Justices Continues!

The Supreme Court has proved once again that, despite which President chooses them, and their political ideology, that being on the Court has an effect, and causes surprises.

All three of Donald Trump’s appointments (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett) have surprised on some cases, so while all are conservative in nature, one sees unusual alliances on some decisions, including being on the same side at times with Democratic appointments (Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) to the Court.

So no President can ever be certain that his appointments will vote the way he might wish, as Trump has seen that his nominees have not sided with him, including on the claim that the Presidential Election of 2020 was “stolen”!

So it is really a case of unpredictability on the future of the present Court, although clearly, it is still the most conservative Court since the 1930s! Even Chief Justice John Roberts, however, is sometimes surprising in his views on cases!

One point is perfectly clear, however, that Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are the most right wing members of the Court!

Celebrating The Real Meaning Of July 4–Promotion Of Freedom, Equality, And Democracy!

Independence Day–July 4–is a holiday to celebrate the promotion of Freedom, Equality, and Democracy!

The 245th Independence Day is a sobering day, as the Republican Party is trying mightily to cover up the Fascist authoritarian attempt of Donald Trump and his treasonous and seditionist supporters to destroy the Constitution and rule of law, as they did on January 6, 2021, with the US Capitol Insurrection.

The Republican Party is also trying to destroy the ability of people of color to vote, something enshrined in the Constitution by the 15th Amendment in 1870, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The right wing Supreme Court, with five of the six conservatives appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote, and the sixth one (Clarence Thomas) accused of sexual abuse, along with Brett Kavanaugh, has also worked to destroy the Voting Rights Act.

And the danger exists that if one Democratic Senator is unable to vote on any legislative action or were to pass away, the possibility of the Democrats losing control of the Senate to Mitch McConnell is a horrifying reality.

And were Stephen Breyer to continue to ignore the need for his retirement from the Supreme Court, to insure that Joe Biden can select his replacement before the midterm elections, the threat exists that the Republicans then, if not sooner, would gain control of the Senate, and we could face a 7-2 Court, instead of a 6-3 Court!

On this 158th Anniversary of the third and last day of that turning point of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, the tremendous sacrifices of the three day battle which insured the eventual victory of freedom over slavery, let us NOT forget that the battle to preserve freedom, equality and democracy goes on!

Confirmation Of Justice Amy Coney Barrett Creates The Most Extreme Supreme Court Since 1930s!

The confirmation last evening of new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett creates the most extreme Supreme Court since the time of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s Great Depression, just as we are entering into the Second Great Depression.

The right wing narrow minded view of Justice Barrett is perceived as more so than even her mentor, former Justice Antonin Scalia.

The fifth woman to serve on the Court, she is the anti Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a great woman who we could only wish had been able to live two to three more weeks, preventing an appointment before the election.

And had she lived until December, even a lame duck President could not have replaced her before January and a new President.

This only accelerates the dire need for everyone to vote, and for the Republicans to be resoundingly defeated next week for the White House and the US Senate, and add seats in the House of Representatives.

With a 6-3 extremist Court, the following areas of law are greatly endangered:

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in general
Women’s Rights
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Labor Rights
Voting Rights
Environmental Reforms
Consumer Reforms
Business Regulations
Separation of Church and State
Firearms Regulation

The answer must be to expand the Supreme Court to 11 members, adding two progressives or liberal voices to the Court, making for a slight 6-5 conservative majority, but promoting the concept that Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch will, at times, side with the liberals.

It does not guarantee progressive and liberal ideas, but that has been that way for a generation, but once either Clarence Thomas (age 72) or Samuel Alito (age 70) leaves the Court, likely in the next four years, a moderate Court will be achieved. And if Stephen Breyer or Sonia Sotomayor were to leave, it would insure a Democratic President choosing their successors.

Voting for Joe Biden and a Democratic Senate insures that the right wing tilt of the Court will be short lived!

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.

The Urgent Need To Switch The US Senate To Democratic Control In 2020 And Beyond

The Presidential race is heating up, but one must never forget that the battle for control of the US Senate by the Democrats is urgent.

The Senate has become the place that proposed legislation dies much too often, as now when 395 House passed bills are lying dormant, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to call them up for consideration and a vote.

If any progress is to be made in the next four years on urgent domestic issues, the Senate MUST go over to Democratic control in 2020.

And certainly, the future of the Supreme Court and lower courts is doomed if the Republicans keep control of the Senate and the White House.

At the most basic level, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is reaching 87 this year, and Stephen Breyer is reaching 82, and they cannot go on forever in service.

If they are replaced by right wing Justices, the Constitution and rule of law is in as much danger as a second term of Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

So emphasis on Senate control going to the Democrats is a top priority, and over the next months, this blog will examine the Senate races which will determine the future of American government after 2020!