Stephen Breyer

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!

Reflecting On The Age Issue Over Next Decade

America is faced with many crises, but one not much paid attention to is the Age issue.

We are seeing more people in government who are reaching their 70s and 80s, and that is a worrisome trend.

Certainly, people in their 70s and 80s can be active, engaged, constructive, as this author, in his mid 70s is, as an adjunct college professor, lecturer, author, blogger, contributor of articles on history and politics, and participant on radio shows about history and politics.

But this author is NOT making government policy, and is not facing the daunting challenges of dealing with a multitude of challenges in domestic and foreign policy, that affects and will continue to affect hundreds of millions of Americans, and seven billion people worldwide.

We see Donald Trump in his mid 70s, showing signs of craziness and dementia. We see Joe Biden, who this author loves, not quite as swift and alert as he seeks the Presidency. We see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both seemingly very alert and energetic, but reaching 79 and 71 by January 20, 2021, both older than Trump when he was elected, and with Biden reaching 78 by Inauguration Day 2021.

We see the top three Democrats in leadership in the House of Representatives all nearing 80 in the next couple of years, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the same with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. There are about four Senators over 80 already, and Dianne Feinstein was elected at 85 in 2018, to serve another six year term to age 91. And at least two Senators will be added to that list over 80 in the next few years.

We have two Supreme Court Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, who are 86 and 81, and their refusal to leave years ago has created the possibility of an extreme right wing Court if Donald Trump wins reelection.

There has to be recognition of the need for younger generations to inherit power, and for older generations to accept that their time has passed.

The Most Evil Man In The US Senate: Mitch McConnell Of Kentucky, Setting Out To Destroy The Legal System And Legal Precedents!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky clearly is the most evil man in the Senate, setting out to destroy the legal system and legal precedents that have been accomplished over many decades and administrations.

He is striving, successfully, to set up a judicial system which will set America back legally for the next thirty years, as his legacy. His refusal to allow a hearing for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia in 2016, and the rushed confirmation of many unqualified and despicable district court and circuit nominees for life terms in office is insuring a gloomy future for civil rights and civil liberties. And now, he has said he will push the confirmation of a Supreme Court judge if either Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen Breyer were to leave the Court in 2020.

His corruption is out of control, and his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, has clearly been involved in corrupt financial actions while working for Donald Trump. This power couple should not be able to have such power and influence, with the obvious conflict of interest that promotes their support of Donald Trump, and unwillingness on the part of McConnell to challenge the President on his abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Hopefully, again they will pay the price in legal charges brought against Elaine Chao, and the defeat of Mitch McConnell for reelection in 2020. Mitch McConnell has violated his oath of office and subverted the democratic process. And Elaine Chao has proved she is yet another of the corrupt cabinet officers under Donald Trump!

Supreme Court Longevity An Issue, As Recent Justices Have Stayed Much Longer Than Average, Including Contested Nominee Clarence Thomas

In the midst of the controversy over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is the reality of how long he might serve.

There has been a trend whereby recent Supreme Court Justices serve much longer than historically traditional.

Right now, contested Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed in 1991 despite strong testimony of Anita Hill, has served 27 years on the Court, and is already number 24 in longevity of service out of 113 members of the Court in American history. He will be number 17 in two years and number 13 in four years. In May 2028, he would break the all time record of 36 years and nearly 7 months of Justice William O. Douglas, and Thomas would be just about a month short of age 80, and can be seen as likely, if he stays healthy, to accomplish this goal.

If one just looks at the top fourth of all Supreme Court Justices in longevity, a total of 31 out of 113, all 24 years or more of service, we find the following recent Justices, all appointed since the 1950s, are on the list:

John Paul Stevens
William Brennan
William Rehnquist
Byron White
Anthony Kennedy
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sandra Day O’Connor
Harry Blackmun
Stephen Breyer
Thurgood Marshall

In the earlier history of the Supreme Court, the average length of service was about 15 years by comparison.

That is why the idea, proposed by this author two days ago, that a future Supreme Court Justice be limited to an 18 year term, allows for turnover, and prevents dominance by an ideological minority for decades, as now is threatened by Brett Kavanaugh, or another extreme right wing appointment by Donald Trump.

The Trump Juggernaut Overrunning Moderate Democrats: Between A Rock And A Hard Place!

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads, and moderate Senate Democrats are “between a rock and a hard place”, with the Trump juggernaut about to run them down!

There are 10 Democratic moderates who are running for reelection in states won by Donald Trump.

If they all remained loyal to their party, and IF Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski joined them, a Supreme Court pick could be stopped, but that is asking for too much to be assured.

And if they do not support the Trump nominee, it could kill their chances of reelection.

But of course, if they vote for the Trump nominee, many Democrats and moderates might decide it is not worth voting, and they will lose their elections anyway.

So what to do?

Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota voted for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, last year.

All three are in great danger of losing their seats, with or without the Supreme Court nominee controversy they now face.

Then we have Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana, also in great danger of losing their seats.

The other five “Red State” Democrats are probably safer, and unlikely to lose their seats—Bob Casey Jr of Pennsylvania (who however is anti abortion in his background); Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Debbie Stebanow of Michigan; Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; and Bill Nelson of Florida (but his seat will be the most expensive race ever, with opponent Rick Scott spending tens of millions to defeat Nelson).

So if one is to promote the left wing Democratic view, we would say to hell with these Senators, whose voting record is far from ideal, but the alternative to staying united no matter what these ten Senators decide to do on the Supreme Court nominee of Trump, is to see the Republicans gain more seats and lock up the Senate for the long haul.

That is why it seems to this blogger that to promote or expect a left wing Democrat as the Presidential nominee, while ideal in theory, is likely to kill off any chance of the Democrats winning the Presidency in 2020, after what could be a Democratic debacle in the Senate races this year.

What seems likely to happen is that the three Democrats who voted for Gorsuch will vote for the Trump Supreme Court choice and will survive, and the other seven Democrats—particularly the three women—McCaskill, Stabenow and Baldwin—will vote against and yet survive as well. Casey will be conflicted but probably vote NO and survive, as well as Brown. And Tester should still be able to win another term as well.

The toughest seat to keep will be Bill Nelson in Florida, but it seems likely he will vote NO on the nominee.

So at the end, the likely vote will be 53-46, all 50 GOP Senators, including Collins and Murkowski, with the exception of the absent John McCain, and Manchin, Donnelly, and Heitkamp, with anger and disgust by Democrats, but the only likely road to those seats being saved.

So IF all seats are saved, except possibly Florida, and then IF Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and maybe Texas are gained, the Democrats MIGHT have a 51-49 or 52-48 Democratic Senate, and the battle against Trump will have another day and more to fight, the best possible under present circumstances.

Of course, all progressives have to pray for the good health and continued life of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, to serve until 2021, a tall order, as if that does not happen, the Supreme Court is lost with a certainty until close to 2045-2050, past the lifetime of this blogger and probably all of my readers.

This is a gloomy reality, but we have to do whatever we can do to promote a Democratic majority in both houses, and accept that not all Democrats will be progressives, but will at least be of the party persuasion!

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!

Time For Supreme Court To Intervene, And Overturn Trump Executive Order On Travel Ban

A federal District Court judge has stopped the Trump executive order travel ban for the time being, but it is being appealed by the Trump Administration, meanwhile causing chaos, as the future of the order is uncertain.

It is time for the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups to appeal to the Supreme Court, and find at least one Justice willing to put his or her neck out to use their influence to stop the travel ban permanently, and have the entire Supreme Court consider the ban immediately.

I would propose that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the true hero of progressivism, do so, and force the issue.

We know that Trump hates Ginsburg, and has tried to bully her into retirement, but she is a tough lady, who will not be intimidated.

But it would be perfect for the 84 year old Justice, who is less than 5 feet tall, to challenge BULLY Trump, and give his executive order a “Punch in the Mouth”!

Of course, no one can be sure what the eight member Court would do, but it seems highly likely that besides Ginsburg, we would have Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan join her, making for at least a tie vote.

And somehow, it seems also likely that the “swing vote” on the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, would also join these four Justices, making for a 5-3 vote.

So bring it on, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, intervene and make for a confrontation with Donald Trump!

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.

Donald Trump Is Not A “Miracle Man”: Disillusionment Among Followers Will Erupt Soon, Before End of 2017!

Donald Trump is guaranteed to alienate many of his followers, once they realize he is NOT a “Miracle Man”, that we are going to end up with many events that no one bargained for, including:

The most corrupt Presidency since Richard Nixon, and possibly surpassing the level and depth of Nixon scandals.

The strong likelihood of a major war, with major commitment of troops, and loss of life closer to Vietnam over a period of years, than to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Manufacturing and Mining jobs will NOT return, as it will be clear that Trump’s pledge to the white uneducated working class will not be fulfilled.

A massive cut is likely in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Food Stamps, and poverty will rise, and not just among minorities, but among poor whites, sick people, and the elderly.

Environmental damage that will harm the health of all Americans will be likely, the greatest since the disastrous environmental record of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The conditions of labor will get worse, with no concern about minimum wage, sick leave, overtime pay, or basic benefits.

Racism will increase with backing of the Trump Presidency,

Mistreatment of women and of gays and lesbians is insured to multiply, with the support of extreme right wing social conservative Vice President Mike Pence.

The Supreme Court, unless both Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer stay healthy, will move dramatically to the extreme right, long term damage.

Basic civil liberties and civil rights will go by the wayside, with curbs on freedom of expression, as through speech, press, and assembly.

One can project that over time, a year or so, great disillusionment will set in, and possibly lead to open confrontations with law enforcement authorities, who try to quell public dissent with the approval of an authoritarian President and executive branch, and an unsympathetic Republican party controlled Congress.

Expect a strong reaction to occur, something such as happened under Richard Nixon during his continuation of the Vietnam War nearly 50 years ago.