Supreme Court

Presidents Who Were Fortunate To Become President Since 1900!

Today is Presidents Day. There is a tendency to look back on the Presidency’s history, and assume that those who made it to the White House were a certainty, when the opposite is, actually, often the case!

Since 1900, many of our Presidents gained that office by pure luck and timing.

Theodore Roosevelt would never have been President if Vice President Garret Hobart, under President William McKinley, had not died in office in 1899, and therefore, not on the ticket with McKinley in 1900.

Woodrow Wilson would never have been President if the Republican Party had not split in 1912 between President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt, and if there had not been a two thirds rule for the Democratic nominee in place, preventing Speaker of the House Champ Clark from being the Democratic nominee for President.

Richard Nixon would never have been President if the Democratic Party had not divided over Vietnam in the mid 1960s, and if George Wallace would not have run as a third party candidate in 1968.

Gerald Ford would never have been President if Vice Spiro Agnew had not been caught in corruption, forcing his resignation in 1973, and if there was no 25th Amendment, providing for a replacement Vice President by appointment of the President and approval by a majority of both houses of Congress.

Jimmy Carter would never have been President if the Watergate Scandal had not occurred, disillusioning many Americans about their national government, and finding a state governor as an appealing alternative, with his image as an “outsider” who would always tell the truth.

Bill Clinton would never have been President if the economy had not declined as it did in 1992, and if Ross Perot had not run on a third party line in that election, undermining George H. W. Bush.

George W. Bush would never have been President if the Supreme Court had not intervened, a revolutionary action, to stop the vote recount in Florida in 2000, with the reality that Al Gore had more than a half million popular vote lead nationally, and yet would lose the Presidency because of that action by the Supreme Court.

This list also does not include Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson, all of whom would never have been President if Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy had not died in office.

Philadelphia The Site Of The Democratic National Convention The Week of July 25, 2016!

So the Democratic National Committee has chosen Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love”, the city of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Convention, the city of Benjamin Franklin, to be the host for the Democratic National Convention, which will nominate the next Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

The convention will be held in the last week of July, the week after the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

So therefore, there will be little time for a “bump” in the polls for the GOP Presidential nominee, and an extra month for the official campaign, which will now start in August, rather than around Labor Day in September.

This author had predicted that Columbus, Ohio, would be the site, and concedes that this time, unlike Tampa and the Republicans in 2012, that he turned out to have predicted incorrectly. The reasoning was that Ohio was in play as a “swing” state, while Pennsylvania is not really such.

However, Philadelphia is a great choice, and the general term “City of Brotherly Love’ actually fits perfectly, as the Democrats are the party of equal rights for gays and lesbians, while the Republicans, with a very few exceptions of office holders, still defy and oppose such equality, including marriage, although it is clear that the Supreme Court is about to declare this June that gays and lesbians may marry everywhere in the United States!

Alabama And Gay Marriage: The Shame Of Roy Moore, Clarence Thomas, And Antonin Scalia

So Alabama becomes the 37th state to see gay marriage in effect, and it is to the shame of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, and Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, that they will go down in history as hateful, divisive jurists who use Christianity to justify their hate and defile Jesus Christ at the same time.

Moore is the controversial top jurist in a state which still has the shame of being the center of civil rights controversies, including the bombing of a church in Birmingham which killed four young black girls; the use of police dogs, tear gas and high pressure water hoses against peaceful civil rights marchers in Birmingham; the spectacle of Governor George Wallace standing in the door of the Registrar’s Office at the University of Alabama to try to prevent two black students from registering for classes; and “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, when police attacked peaceful demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, shocking Americans who could not believe what was happening, over what was the push for voting rights.

Fifty years later, the spectacle of the leading jurist in the state of Alabama, ordering legal authorities in the state to refuse to grant same sex marriage licenses, is a mockery of the rule of law, and of obedience to federal courts and the Constitution. And to see Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia make a public denunciation of their colleagues on the Court, refusing to stop gay marriage until the Court decides in June on this matter, is a rearguard action by two Justices who are a disgrace to the Court, and has displayed constant conflict of interest in their dealings with the Koch Brothers and others who they should steer clear of. It is a clear indication of the incompetence and arrogance of these two right wing Justices, the most right wing members of the Court in the past hundred years, and a disgrace to the Court’s history with their narrow mindedness and intolerance!

And the idea that Christianity is brought into this by Moore, and indirectly by Thomas and Scalia, is a mockery of a religious doctrine, which distorts the true teachings of Jesus Christ, a man who promoted tolerance, open mindedness, and understanding!

Republican Presidents And Ten Exceptional Supreme Court Appointments Since 1900!

Republican Presidents have contributed many outstanding Supreme Court Justice from the time of Theodore Roosevelt through the Presidency of George H. W. Bush, from 1902 through 1990.

Ten Justices can be seen as having a very positive impact on the Court, often surprising the Republican Presidents who appointed them, as many could have been appointed by Democratic Presidents in retrospect!

These Justices include:

Oliver Wendell Holmes, appointed by Theodore Roosevelt, and serving from 1902-1932.

Harlan Fiske Stone, appointed by Calvin Coolidge, and serving as Associate Justice from 1925-1941, and then elevated to Chief Justice by Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1941-1946.

Charles Evans Hughes, originally appointed by William Howard Taft, and serving as Associate Justice from 1910-1916, resigning to run as the Republican Presidential nominee in 1916, and then, reappointed, now as Chief Justice by Herbert Hoover, and serving from 1930-1941.

Benjamin Cardozo, appointed by Herbert Hoover, and serving from 1932-1938.

Earl Warren, appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, and serving as Chief Justice from 1953-1969.

William Brennan, appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, and serving from 1956-1990.

Harry Blackmun, appointed by Richard Nixon, and serving from 1970-1994.

John Paul Stevens, appointed by Gerald Ford, and serving from 1975-2010.

Sandra Day O’Connor, appointed by Ronald Reagan, and serving from 1981-2006.

David Souter, appointed by George H. W. Bush, and serving from 1990-2009.

Any scholarly listing of great Supreme Court Justices would certainly list Holmes, Warren, Brennan, Blackmun, and possibly Stevens in the top ten Supreme Court Justices of all time, a total of 112 Justices in the history of the Supreme Court up to now. And Stone, Hughes, Cardozo, O’Connor, and Souter would all rank in the next ten, making this list part of the top 20 out of the entire list. And Stone, Hughes and Warren served as Chief Justices, arguably the three best Chief Justices, following the greatest Chief Justice of all time, Chief Justice John Marshall (1801-1835)!

All of this above list, except Cardozo, served for a long time, from a low of 16 years for Warren, up to 35 for Stevens, and even Cardozo is rated as being an outstanding Justice, despite his short period on the Court.

So the Republican Party and Presidents, often by misjudgment or error, selected many of the greatest Supreme Court Justices in its history in the 20th century!

“Selma” Film Brings Back Memories Of Bloodshed And Deaths Over Voting Rights, As We Look At Crippled Law Due To Supreme Court!

Watching the “Selma” film, which has been nominated for Best Film in the Oscar Awards competition, one is reminded of the turmoil, bloodshed, and deaths that occurred over the issue of voting rights in the South a half century and more ago.

The Voting Rights Act, which became law exactly 50 years ago, was designed to prevent any more such denial of the right to vote, but the right wing Supreme Court, including African American Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, changed the effectiveness of the law two years ago, causing new voting restrictions in the past two years in Republican controlled states, and not just in the South, but also in the heartland of the nation, the Midwest and Great Plains States, and even some Western states.

Shelby County V. Holder made it possible once again to create barriers to voting, and the battle for voting rights has new challenges, which already has had an effect on voting in the midterm elections of 2014.

But seeing this film about the Selma to Montgomery march fifty years ago, motivates those who believe in fairness and democracy, to do whatever can be done to restore the purpose of what those people who died or were injured then did, a sacrifice that should not be forgotten!

The 14 States Fighting A Rear Guard Action Against Same Sex Marriage

As the Supreme Court considers the idea of making same sex marriage legal in the entire nation, 14 states stand in resistance.

It would be instructive to list those 14 states and indicate them by region.

The South—8 states—Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas

The Midwest—3 states—Ohio, Michigan, Missouri

The Great Plains—3 states—North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska

The only large populated states on this list are Georgia, Texas, Ohio and Michigan.

More than 70 percent of the nation’s population has the right to same sex marriage.

Once the Supreme Court considers the case of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, we will have more than 80 percent covered, assuming the Court rules in favor of gay marriage, but it is likely that the Court will go all the way and make it legal in the other 10 resistant states left on the list!

Supreme Court Accepts Same Sex Marriage Case: The Final Push For Marriage Equality Has Arrived!

The Supreme Court has finally accepted a same sex marriage case, to be argued in April, and decided by the end of June!

This will be a blockbuster case, coming at a time when 36 states already allow gay marriage, and the final push for marriage equality has finally arrived!

While there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of same sex marriage, it is hard to conceive of the Court rejecting it at a time when all but 14 states have accepted it, as the momentum is clearly in favor of acceptance.

Beyond that, the odds are good that at least five members of the present Court would support it, enough to bring it about, but it would be desirable if the vote was greater than that thin margin.

Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, all Democratic appointments of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, are seen as assured votes.

Ronald Reagan appointee Anthony Kennedy is the typical “swing” vote, and has supported gay rights in the past, and most particularly, in the case of Lawrence V. Texas in 2003, so it is expected he will go the same direction again.

But there is a chance that Chief Justice John Roberts could join the majority, and some observers imagine that Samuel Alito could join, also.

And even some think that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, seeing the handwriting on the wall, might join and make it unanimous, which would be the most fantastic situation imaginable!

Imagine the extremist Christian Right bigots, and conservatives and Republicans, and how they will, figuratively, commit suicide if the Court rules in favor of same sex marriage!

It will transform the Presidential Election of 2016, as how could any Republican nominee come out and condemn the Court, and run on some crazy idea that he would lead a movement to overcome the Supreme Court decision?

Just the thought that many Republicans, including those running for President, will be squirming in public, is a source of delight, as human rights wins out once again!

Same Sex Marriage Now Legal In Nearly Three Fourths Of Nation’s Population, With Florida Becoming The 36th State To Allow It!

The rapid move toward same sex or gay marriage is nearly complete, as Florida became the 36th state to establish it, beginning on January 6.

Many states have resisted it, but federal courts have mandated it, and soon, the Supreme Court will need to deal with the concept, and the likelihood of declaring it to be a national right seems very close, likely in the next six months.

The main holdouts are mostly Southern and Great Plains States, but also Michigan and Ohio.

When one looks back just 12 years ago, when the Supreme Court ruled that gay couples have a right to privacy and to avoid prosecution, in the Lawrence V. Texas case of 2003, the rapidity of change is absolutely amazing!

Public opinion has rapidly come around, with more than 70 percent supporting gay marriage. This is particularly true among young people, any one under the age of 40 in particular.

Highly religious people still oppose it, and many senior citizens are unhappy about it as a group, but with the passing years, and eventual disappearance of the senior citizens of today, eventually, one will look back and wonder why the great opposition for so long to a basic human right being extended to gay and lesbian couples, just as interracial marriage was not made legal nationally until Loving V. Virginia in 1967.

Even today, there are those who are appalled by interracial marriage and relationships, but the answer is, with that and gay marriage, that it is none of anyone’s business who someone chooses to love and to marry. One has the right to disagree, but also realize that personal feelings do not make what is legal!

The Last Of The Moderate Progressive Republican Senators Of The 1960s And 1970s Passes Away: Edward Brooke Of Massachusetts!

News of the death of former Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward Brooke (1967-1979) yesterday, marks the end of the group of moderate progressive Republican Senators of the 1960s and 1970s, who worked with Democrats across the aisle, and made the Republican Party a mainstream party with a conservative majority, but reputable and dignified moderate progressives who added distinction to the party’s history.

Brooke, the first popularly elected African American Senator in American history, served two terms of distinction, and promoted civil rights, the legalization of abortion, closer relations with China, and opposed Richard Nixon much of the time on his Supreme Court appointments and on the Watergate scandal. He worked to promote aid to the poor and to the cities of the country, and spoke up for the end of the Vietnam War.

Brooke was one of a small, admirable group of Republicans, no longer found on Capitol Hill, where the word “moderate” or “progressive” is now a dirty word. It was easy to praise Brooke, along with Maryland Senator Charles Mathias, Illinois Senator Charles Percy, and Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield, who all added greatly to the distinction of the Senate!

Will the Republican Party ever have men of the distinction of these four Senators, and others who started earlier in the Senate, including Jacob Javits of New York, and Clifford Case of New Jersey? Right now, that seems highly unlikely, as the Senators mentioned above would be called RINOS (Republicans In Name Only) by the present mentality in the Republican Party!

Mario Cuomo, Progressive Warrior In Tradition Of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hubert H. Humphrey, And Fiorello LaGuardia!

Mario Cuomo’s death on New Year’s Day took some attention away, momentarily, from the greatness of this man, a progressive warrior in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Hubert H. Humphrey, in a later generation, and with an ethnic tinge as with Fiorello LaGuardia!

Cuomo, an Italian American, was the first prominent white ethnic politician since LaGuardia to promote the liberal-progressive cause, and to be considered a serious Presidential candidate, other than John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy, both Irish Catholic ethnics.

Cuomo spoke up for change and reform, at the height of the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan, who worked to undermine the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1980s.

Cuomo worked to ban assault weapons and promote gun control; worked for legal abortion rights to be upheld; promoted the first mandatory seat belt law in cars nationally; vetoed the death penalty; and reformed the state courts to promote diversity. He served longer in office than any New York Governor, except Nelson Rockefeller.

Cuomo stood up for the middle class, working people, women, and minorities, a battle which continues decades later, but was the focus of Cuomo, who would have made a great Supreme Court Justice or President. He was, himself, from a struggling immigrant family, and understood the plight of those of similar background.

It seems clear that had Cuomo sought the Presidency in 1992, we would not have had Bill Clinton as President, and there would be no Hillary Clinton being considered today for the Presidency.