Supreme Court

25 Years Of The Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26, 1990): Signature Achievement Of George H. W. Bush!

Today marks 25 years since the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which has transformed the nation for those with mental and physical disabilities.

It is the signature achievement of President George H. W. Bush, who has lived to see the celebration of a quarter century since the enactment of one of the most important and far reaching civil rights laws in American history!

This accomplishment, along with the prosecution of the Persian Gulf War against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, will always stand out as the major achievements of the 41st President of the United States!

The ADA prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, and to provide accessibility requirements on public accommodation.

There has been objections to the law from some religious groups, believe it or not, and from some business interests, but the law has been upheld in Supreme Court decisions over the past 25 years.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, now retired, has been given the primary credit for promoting the legislation through Congress, but fortunately, a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives and the Senate were able to overcome opposition to the legislation, and enact it into law!

Proper Republican Strategy: Attack Donald Trump Or Ignore Him? Neither Will Help GOP Brand!

The Republican Party is in deep trouble, as Donald Trump has now emerged in first place in some public opinion polls, passing Jeb Bush, and leaving everyone else far behind.

This brings up the issue: What is the proper Republican strategy to deal with Trump, attack him or ignore him?

In reality, neither will help the GOP brand!

If the decision is to attack him, Trump will be infuriated, and will strike back and set out to destroy the GOP totally. He will bluster and bloviate, and will have the means to form an independent movement or third party.

If the Republicans choose NOT to attack and, therefore, to ignore him, they will be complicit in his racist and nativist viewpoints, which many of them actually agree with.

No political party can succeed now or in the future which sets out to demonize ethnic minorities, because, like it or not, the nation is becoming more diverse, and will be minority majority within three decades, counting Hispanic and Latino Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans.

There is no way to bring back, even if people wished it, a mostly white Anglo America, as that is not going to happen.

The rapidly aging white Anglo population is dying off, and the nation and the Republican Party MUST face reality.

But is that likely to happen for 2016?

The answer is NO, and therefore, the GOP is rapidly becoming a dinosaur, and trying to make voting more difficult will require more effort to overcome such restrictions through the courts and through political action to register voters and meet the onerous requirements that some Republican governed states have put on the elderly, the poor, college students, and racial minorities in a purposeful manner.

And with a Democratic President, a likely Democratic Senate, and a possible Democratic House of Representatives, the Republicans will be marginalized further. And a Democratic President will have the ability to insure that the Supreme Court and lower federal courts move to the left, and overcome the conservative influence of Ronald Reagan, and the two Presidents Bush.

Once constitutional law goes back to the Warren Court image of the 1950s through the 1970s, the country will have been transformed in a way that the Republicans will never recover, until they abandon the far right image they have developed over recent years. Only then will the Tea Party influence finally dissolve and disappear!

The “Safety Net”: 80 Years Of Social Security, 50 Years Of Medicare, 5 Years Of ObamaCare!

The nation is marking 80 years of Social Security, brought about by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935; 50 years of Medicare, brought about by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965; and five years of ObamaCare, brought about by Barack Obama in 2010.

These basic aspects of the “Safety Net” were brought about by courageous Democratic Presidents generations apart, long after many European nations, including Great Britain, France, Germany and several Scandinavian nations had done so.

We are a better country because of these programs, and yet, the Republican Party would love to destroy the guarantees of these programs, and many conservatives have warred on Social Security and Medicare since they were enacted, just as they refuse to accept ObamaCare at a point where it has been upheld twice by the Supreme Court, and is actually working.

Intelligent voters are not going to forget, or be allowed to forget by Democrats, the true history of the passage of the “Safety Net”, and the constant barrage of attacks on these signature achievements by conservatives and the Republican Party!

Run, Joe, Run! Arguments For Joe Biden To Announce For President!

The death of Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, on May 30, seemed to clinch that Joe Biden would NOT run for President, and would decide to spend more time with his family 18 months from now, when his Vice Presidency comes to an end.

Being that he will be 74 by Election Day in 2016, it would seem to make sense that it would be time for Joe to “hang up his cleats”, and end his brilliant 44 year public career.

But now, the hints are strong that Joe Biden will NOT give up on being President, as it is said that his dying son urged him to go for what he has wanted all of his life.

It seems likely now that Joe Biden might announce his candidacy in August, and he seems to have strong support and a “Draft Biden” movement is actively recruiting suppoort.

It might seem surprising that after the loss of his beloved son, that Joe would decide to run, but one must understand that politics is his lifeblood!

One has a feeling that if he decides not to run, that he might still seek a role in the next Democratic administration, most likely that of good friend Hillary Clinton.

Somehow, the thought of Joe and Hillary openly setting out to destroy each other seems unlikely, just as Bernie Sanders has been very careful in his criticism. This is NOT the Republican Party, where everyone has knives out to destroy all opponents. A race of Hillary, Joe and Bernie could be the most civil race imaginable, and do a lot of good for the nation, setting a standard of decent behavior while seeking the Presidency. This is something everyone who has any intelligence and class should wish for and want!

And as much as Hillary has great experiences, and Bernie has great principles and decency, who can argue that Joe is not even better qualified, and has a genuineness, an authenticity that cannot be matched by any other candidate?

After all, Joe has had 44 years of experience, unmatched by ANYONE! He knows how to get along with the opposition, and is well liked and respected by Republicans who may disagree on policy, but really admire the guy! He has been invaluable as Vice President, and has great impact on policy. He is seen as the second most influential Vice President in American history, after Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina just voiced the thought of how great a guy Joe is, how it is not possible for anyone not to like and admire him, even if totally disagreeing on policy! And remember that Graham is a potential Presidential opponent!

Joe is a very talented leader who led on the fight against Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork in 1987, causing Anthony Kennedy to be on the Court and be involved in the gay rights and gay marriage cases, which Bork would never have supported. And Biden came out for gay marriage before Barack Obama, pushing him into support that might not have happened otherwise!

Joe is often right on foreign affairs, and told us ten years ago that Iraq should be three nations–Kurds, Shiite, and Sunni areas, and he has been proved right on that.

Joe is perceptive, visionary, and as a person, he is lovable, really caring about people, always ready with a big smile and a kind word! It recently came out that Joe encouraged a young man years ago who had trouble with stuttering, as Joe did when he was young, and now that man is telling all of us the impact Joe had on his life, giving him encouragement, and has published the handwritten letter Joe sent him a long time ago that changed his life! This is very inspirational stuff, no question about it, as Joe is very SPECIAL!

Sure, he has faults, such as sometimes “stupid” statements and too much “hands on” with women in public situations, but the important point is that there is no hint that he is anything but loyal to his wife, Dr Jill Biden. And no one is more devoted to his family, including his children and grandchildren.

No one who meets Joe has ever seen him as other than a “good guy”, and he has the enthusiasm about public affairs and public policy of a Hubert H. Humphrey!

His age is not a factor if we are considering so many others in both parties who are in their 70s or near 70, as Hillary Clinton is, for example.

There is no good argument for Joe against running, and if he loses the nomination, he will be gracious in defeat, and willing to help the next President at, who knows, maybe being Secretary of State or some other important position, as hie knowledge base and his experience make him useful into the future.

Joe Biden is not the past; he is the present and the future, and let us wish good luck in his likely quest for the Presidency, and whatever happens, he will have given it a “good fight”!

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!

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.

The Ultimate Wished For Two Person Debate: Eleven Scenarios In The Republican Battle For The Presidential Nomination In 2016

With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie entering the Republican Presidential race today, we have 14 announced candidates.

The Republicans have quite a group of “characters’, but the thought has crossed one’s mind that it would be great “theater” to have two person debates, including:

Donald Trump vs Carly Fiorina—two business “tycoons”, debating who is worse in business dealings. (Trump)

Mike Huckabee vs Bobby Jindal—who is more willing to defy the Supreme Court, which they would both like to destroy (Huckabee)

Rick Santorum vs Ted Cruz—who is more dramatic in his view of how gay marriage will destroy the nation (Santorum)

Lindsey Graham vs Rand Paul—what is the role of America in international affairs in an age of terrorism (neither)

Dr. Benjamin Carson vs Mike Huckabee—who is more devoted to a literal interpretation of the Bible (Carson)

Marco Rubio vs Ted Cruz—who is more favored by the Hispanic-Latino community (neither)

George Pataki vs Chris Christie—who is the more moderate centrist Republican (Pataki)

Jeb Bush vs John Kasich—who is the more electable candidate (Kasich)

Scott Walker vs Chris Christie—who is the more corrupt candidate (both)

Marco Rubio vs Rick Perry–who is the more dense candidate intellectually (Perry)

Donald Trump vs Chris Christie–who is the most obnoxious, bullyish, loudmouth candidate (both)

That Was The Week That Was: June 19-26, 2015 Most Significant Single Week In Many Years For Positive Change!

Who would ever have imagined that in one week’s time, we would witness three events that would transform American society as the week from June 19 to June 26, 2015?

Two days before that transformational week, nine African American Bible Class men and women in a church were slaughtered by a young man who had so much hate and racism in his body and mind that human life meant nothing to him, a tremendous tragedy for Charleston, South Carolina; for the nation at large; and for the nine families who lost their loved ones.

Nothing much more negative could have been imagined to occur regarding race relations in America, which have been in crisis with recent killings by police of African American men in many different locations around the nation.

But the the miracle week began!

The relatives of the nine murdered Bible Class men and women confronted the mass murderer who had done the dirty deed, and they all expressed to him that they forgave him for his sin, unimaginable behavior witnessed on television, amazing the whole nation.

The fact that this young mass murderer had used the Confederate flag as a symbol of his hatred and racism spurred the call for removal of the Confederate flag from the monument at the Columbia, South Carolina state capital, as well as elsewhere in the South.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, called for the legislature to consider removal, and State Senator Paul Thurmond, the son of racist former Senator, Governor and 1948 States Rights Party Presidential nominee Strom Thurmond, said the flag must come down. While it did not come down in time for the funerals of the nine victims, the movement was on to remove it, and we saw other Southern states remove the symbol, including Alabama, an unbelievable thought a few days earlier. It looked likely that the Confederate flag had met its doom on public property everywhere, although citizens would still have the freedom to wear and display the Confederate symbol openly.

Then, as the week went on, the Supreme Court, controlled by a conservative majority, which had moved to the right politically by recent decisions during the Obama years, including the Citizens United decision in 2010 and the Voting Rights limitation case of 2013, suddenly took a noticeable turn to the left, with Reagan appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy supporting ObamaCare and same sex marriage, and Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, siding for the second time on ObamaCare.

Suddenly, ObamaCare was finally established in a manner that would make it impossible to repeal, and it insured that Barack Obama’s signature achievement would last in the manner that Social Security came to be under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Medicare came to be under Lyndon B. Johnson.

And suddenly, after a long, hard fought battle over gay rights and gay marriage, the civil and human right to marry became guaranteed for gays and lesbians, as much as interracial marriage was insured by Supreme Court decision 48 years ago in 1967 in Loving V Virginia.

And with all this, Barack Obama also had victory on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite a major split with liberals in his own Democratic Party.

And then, even more inspiring was Barack Obama’s amazing eulogy of the pastor/state legislator killed by the young mass murderer. It reminded us of his great oratorical abilities, and the eulogy coursed through our beings and gave all decent people a chill up the spine, symbolically!

No President has had a week of such massive victories and achievements in many decades, and to have the Confederate flag being brought down was the icing on the cake!

So that was the week that was, which will be written about by scholars in future generations, as a miraculous week hard to match or surpass!

Anthony Kennedy, The Third Choice Of Ronald Reagan For The Supreme Court In 1988!

President Ronald Reagan had the misfortune of having two Supreme Court nominees rejected near the end of his term, and forced to choose someone else for the Court.

His nomination of Robert Bork, and then, Douglas Ginsburg, and his selection of Anthony Kennedy in their place in 1988, was a moment of tremendous historical importance.

With either Bork or Ginsburg, it is almost certain, if not so, that gay rights and gay marriage would not have accomplishes the majority votes in 2003, 2013, and now 2015, granting gays and lesbians complete equality, including the right to marry!

The importance of one man and one vote is clear cut, as under our system, the Supreme Court, much more than we realize, has a majority of one vote on significant cases, and that one vote majority transforms America for good or for evil.

One vote on the Court decided Bush V Gore in 2000; one vote on the Court decided the Citizens United Case in 2010; one vote on the Supreme Court decided the dramatic weakening of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

And the historic importance of Anthony Kennedy cannot be underestimated, as he has been the swing vote on the Court since Sandra Day O’Connor left the court ten years ago. Often, he has sided with the conservatives, but about one third of the time with progressives, as in these various gay rights cases.

Kennedy has had great courage, and he will suffer mightily with denunciations, death threats, and need for Secret Service protection, from right wing crazies who will wish him dead for his role in changing American society permanently.

Anthony Kennedy is truly a profile in courage and principle, and will play a positive role in the history of human rights, when this era we are living in, is written about in future generations!