US House Of Representatives

Politicians Who Served On The Supreme Court In The Past Hundred Years

The Supreme Court has, in recent decades, become a group of lower court judges who move up to the Supreme Court.

The thought that politicians, who were elected to public office or appointed to a President’s cabinet, would end up on the Supreme Court, is no longer a likelihood, which is, in many ways, tragic, as being a politician gives a different perspective on law than those appointed to lower courts and moving up to the Supreme Court.

Among those few politicians elected or appointed to public office who served on the Supreme Court in the past century of time are:

Charles Evans Hughes–Governor Of New York 1907-1910, Republican Presidential nominee in 1916, Secretary of State 1921-1925, along with serving as Associate Justice 1910-1916 and Chief Justice 1930-1941, appointed by William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover.

William Howard Taft—Secretary of War 1904-1908, President of the United States 1909-1913, along with serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 1921-1930, appointed by Warren G. Harding.

George Sutherland—Utah Congressman 1901-1903, Senator from Utah 1905-1917, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1922-1938, appointed by Warren G. Harding.

Hugo Black–Senator from Alabama 1927-1937, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1937-1971, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Frank Murphy–Mayor of Detroit 1930-1933, Governor of Michigan 1937-1939, Attorney General of the United States, 1939-1940, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1940-1949, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Harold Burton— Mayor of Cleveland Ohio 1936-1940, Governor Of Ohio 1941-1945, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1945-1958, appointed by Harry Truman.

Sherman Minton—Senator from Indiana 1935-1941, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1949-1956, appointed by Harry Truman.

Earl Warren—Attorney General of California, 1939-1943, Governor of California 1943-1953, along with serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 1953-1969, appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

These eight Supreme Court Justices include four Governors, three US Senators, three Cabinet members, two Presidential candidates, one Congressman, two Mayors, and one State Attorney General.

Two prominent politicians came under consideration for the Supreme Court under President Bill Clinton, but both turned down an appointment—New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Maine Senator and Majority Leader George Mitchell.  Both would have been valuable additions to the Court, but instead two people with judicial experience—Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer—were chosen, although they have worked out very well in their time on the Court.



Anti Immigrant Hysteria: 1840s-1850s; 1870s-1880s; 1920s-1940s And Now! Do We Ever Learn?

Part of the ugly side of the history of America is its record of nativism and anti immigrant hysteria.

In the 1840s and 1850s, it was anti Catholic hysteria against the Irish and the German immigrants fleeing from poverty and political turmoil.  The “American” or Know Nothing Party was formed, had some members in Congress, and had former President Millard Fillmore (Whig) win the state of Maryland (heavily Catholic) in the Electoral College in the Presidential Election of 1856.

In the 1870s and 1880s, it was anti Asian hysteria, mostly Chinese at the time, and often led by Irish who had forgotten the prejudice and discrimination they had faced in an earlier generation,and it led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, courageously vetoed by President Chester Alan Arthur but passed over his veto by a two thirds majority in the House of Representatives and Senate.

In the 1920s through the Second World War in the 1940s, it was anti “new” immigration, to stop the massive wave of Catholics and Eastern European Jews from coming to America, as well as anti Japanese prejudice, replacing the Chinese who had already been banned from migration to America since 1882.

This led to the horrors of Italians, Jews, and other southern and eastern Europeans denied admission to America during the time of the rise and triumph of Fascism in Italy under Benito Mussolini and Nazism under Adolf Hitler in Germany.

The result was the Holocaust, which America could have worked against by admission of refugees, but just like now, it was Republicans, some Democrats, and conservatives who lobbied against children and women and old people being admitted, due to racism and nativism.

It also led to the forced movement of Japanese Americans into internment camps during the Second World War, as an hysterical reaction to Pearl Harbor being attacked by Japan.

In more recent decades, we have seen growing anti Hispanic and anti Latino discrimination, and now against Muslim and Arab refugees, as if we have learned nothing from our past.

America has been a beacon of hope in a difficult world, and we must not lose our image that the Statue of Liberty represents, so we must salute and applaud President Barack Obama for coming out forcefully against Republican Governors and members of Congress, who are demonstrating the ugliest side of the American experience once again!

Seven Years After The Collapse Of The American Economy, The Great Recession Is Over!

In 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush Administration, the American economy collapsed into the Great Recession, the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s!

Now, seven years later, the Great Recession is finally over, and most American economists would say we are at “full employment”, with an unemployment rate of 5 percent!

Does anyone wish to argue that, magically, John McCain and or Mitt Romney would have brought about such a low unemployment rate any sooner than seven years, when the same situation arose under the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt?

Twice, a Republican President brought down the economy, and a Democratic President revived the economy.

Both FDR and Obama were called Socialists, Communists, radicals, and extremists, and both faced great hatred from the elite wealthy.

The difference is that FDR kept a Democratic Congress, while Obama had to deal with an opposition House of Representatives for the last six years of his Presidency, and with an opposition Senate for the last two years of his  Presidency.

So in a way, Obama’s accomplishment may be all the greater!

It will take time for Obama to be appreciated for what he did for the economy, but the time will come, eventually.

At the same time, there clearly is a need for more to be done, as there are still too many people in our society, poorly educated and unmotivated, who need to be trained and helped to find stable employment, but a lot has been done, and it is appropriate to salute President Obama!

The Ten Longest Serving Speakers Of The House Of Representatives

Paul Ryan is the 54th Speaker of the House, but the top ten longest serving have dominated in the 226 years of history of Congress.

The ten longest serving have been in the Speakership for 81 of the 226 years, more than one third of the time!

They are, in order,with time rounded off:

Sam Rayburn  17 years

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill   10 years

John W. McCormack  9 years

Dennis Hastert  8 years

Champ Clark  7 years

Henry Clay  7 years

Carl Albert   6 years

Joseph Cannon  6 years

Thomas Foley   6 years

James G. Blaine  5 years

Six of these ten (Rayburn, O’Neill, McCormack, Clark, Albert, and Foley) were Democrats for a total of 55 years.

Three of these ten (Hastert, Cannon, and Blaine) were Republicans for a total of 19 years.

One of these ten (Henry Clay) was a Democratic Republican for a total of 7 years, later becoming a Whig as a United States Senator.

Clay, Blaine and Cannon were in the years from 1811-1911; Clark and Rayburn were in the years from 1911-1961, and McCormack, Albert, O’Neill, Foley and Hastert in the years from 1962-2007!

So modern Speakers on the average have served much longer periods than earlier Speakers!

Three Speakers Of The House Who Were “A Heartbeat Away” From The Presidency!

The Presidential Succession Act was changed in 1947 from what it had been in the earlier law of 1886.

Instead of the cabinet officers being next in line after the Vice President, the new law, in effect now for 68 years, has the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a Congressman elected by one Congressional district, as next in line.

So therefore, three Speakers of the House have been “a heartbeat away” from the Presidency, in mid 1947-1948, November 1963 to January 1965, and October to December 1973 and August to December 1974.

Joseph W.  Martin Jr. was the first Republican Speaker in 16 years, when the law changed, and when threats against Harry Truman by the Zionist Stern Gang in 1947, as reported by Margaret Truman, occurred, and Martin was a heartbeat away.

When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and Lyndon B. Johnson, who had suffered a heart attack in 1955 became President, 73 year John W. McCormack was next in line for 14 months, and the recognition of this fact and his advanced age, led to the passage and ratification of the 25th Amendment in 1967, providing for an appointed Vice President to fill a vacancy after hearings by the House of Representatives and Senate.

Carl Albert was the third Speaker to be next in line when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in October 1973, and Albert remained so for two months until Gerald Ford was selected and confirmed as the the first Vice President under the 25th Amendment.

Again, Albert was first in line from August 1974, when Richard Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became President, until December 1974 when Nelson Rockefeller was selected and confirmed as the second Vice President under the 25th Amendment.

So for a total of about two years, we have had Speakers of the House, and all three of the opposition party to boot, as “a heartbeat away” from the Presidency.

And although no President or Vice President has left office since 1974, the odds of such an event occurring at some point in the future is mounting, and worrisome, with three out of four years since 1947 having the opposition party in the Speakership as two heartbeats away from the Presidency!

21 Significant Speakers Of The House In American History

With the election of Paul Ryan as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives this week, it makes one focus on  the 54 House Speakers in American history, and recognition of the fact that twenty one of them were quite significant figures in the American past.

Probably the most prominent of all was one of the earliest Speakers, Henry Clay of Kentucky, who became Speaker as a freshman in 1811, and served three different times as House Speaker, from 1811-1814, 1815-1820, and 1823-1825. a total of more than six and a half years, as Congress did not meet back then for many months in any years, but sixth longest serving.  Clay is considered the most famous Congressional figure in American history in both houses of Congress, and was an unsuccessful Presidential nominee three times, in 1824, 1832, and 1844.  He was a giant figure in American political history and American politics.

John Bell was Speaker in 1834-1835, and was also a Presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union party in the Presidential Election of 1860, trying to prevent the Civil War by running as an alternative to the three other candidates that year—Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, and John C. Breckinridge.  He won three states and 39 electoral votes, carrying Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the Electoral College.

James K. Polk became the only Speaker so far to become President of the United States, in the Presidential Election of 1844, after having served as House Speaker from 1835-1839.  He is considered the most successful one term President, deciding due to ill health to refuse to run f0r reelection in 1848, but gaining the whole American Southwest in war with Mexico, and arranging the peaceful acquisition of the Pacific Northwest by treaty with Great Britain.  His retirement from the Presidency was the shortest in American history, only 105 days.

Robert M. T. Hunter was the youngest Speaker of the House at the age of 30, serving from 1839-1841, and later as Confederate Secretary of State in 1861-1862 during the Civil War.

Howell Cobb served as Speaker from 1849-1851, being 34 when elected, and served as one of the founders of the Confederate States of America in 1861.

Schuyler Colfax served as Speaker from 1863-1869, and as Vice President in the first term of President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869-1873, being the first of two Speakers to serve in the Vice Presidency, the other being John Nance Garner under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

James G. Blaine served as Speaker from 1869-1875, 10th longest serving with a little over five years, and later was the Republican nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1884.  He also served as Secretary of State under James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison, and was present at the site of the Garfield assassination in 1881.

Thomas B. Reed served as Speaker from 1889-1891 and 1895-1899, and was nicknamed “Czar Reed”, because he wielded great power in the Speakership, which added to the stature and influence of the Speakers after him.

Joseph Cannon served as House Speaker from 1903-1911, added the most power to the Speakership, more than Reed, but then saw a “revolution” of progressive Republicans led by George Norris of Nebraska, which stripped him and future Speakers of the absolute power that Reed and Cannon had waged, and was pushed out of the Speakership when the opposition Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 1910.  He was eighth longest serving Speaker, nearly six years, and had a House office building named after him despite his fall from power in 1910.

His successor, Champ Clark, served as House Speaker from 1911-1919, fifth longest serving at seven  years, and nearly won the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination, but lost to Woodrow Wilson.

Nicholas Longworth served as Speaker from 1925-1931, punished progressive Republicans and restored much of the power of the Speaker under Joseph Cannon, and was married to Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice.  Later, a House office building would be named after him.

John Nance Garner served 15 months as House Speaker from 1931-1933, and then became Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and served two terms in that office. He became famous for his statement that the Vice Presidency was not worth  “a bucket of warm piss!”  He opposed much of the New Deal, and tried to win the nomination against his boss when FDR sought a third term in 1940.  On his 95th birthday, President John F. Kennedy wished him “Happy Birthday” just hours before his assassination on November 22, 1963. Garner died at age 98 in 1967, the longest lived Vice President or President, and just 15 days before his 99th birthday!

Sam Rayburn was the most prominent, and longest serving Speaker of the House in American history, serving a total of 17 years in three rounds as Speaker, from 1941=1947, 1949-1953, and from 1955 to near the end of 1961, when he died in office.  A House Office Building is named after him, and only he and Henry Clay served three separate terms as Speaker.  He was one of the most prominent members in the entire history of the House of Representatives, engendering great respect and admiration, and served under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy.

John W. McCormack was the third longest serving House Speaker, a total of nine years from 1962-1971, and served as House Majority Leader all of the years that Sam Rayburn was Speaker.  He presided over the New Frontier and Great Society legislative package under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Carl Albert served as Speaker from 1971-1977, seventh longest serving in the office, and a heartbeat away when Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice President in 1973, until Gerald Ford was confirmed as Vice President under the 25th Amendment in 1973, and again when Ford became President in 1974 until Nelson Rockefeller was confirmed as Vice President at the end of that year.

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was the second longest serving House Speaker, a total of ten years from 1977-1987, serving under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.  He served the longest consecutive years as Speaker, and was an unabashed liberal, but negotiated a Social Security compromise agreement with Ronald Reagan in 1983, which became the mark of bipartisanship.

Thomas Foley served six years as Speaker from 1989-1995, and became the first Speaker since 1862 to be defeated for his House seat in 1994, retiring him from the House of Representatives, but he served as Ambassador to Japan for President Bill Clinton from 1997-2001.  He was ninth longest serving Speaker.

Newt Gingrich served as Speaker for four years from 1995-1999, having been the leader of the “Republican Revolution”, where the GOP took back control of the House of Representatives after 40 years in “the wilderness”.  Highly controversial and combative, Gingrich led the fight against President Bill Clinton, and moved for his impeachment in 1998, but then was forced out by an internal rebellion in his own party at the end of 1998.  He sought the Presidency in 2012, but fell short of the nomination, and remains an outspoken active commentator on politics.

Dennis Hastert became the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history, serving eight years from 1999-2007, fourth longest serving, seen as non controversial after Gingrich, and being Speaker under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  He became involved in a sex and financial scandal dating back to before he was in Congress, and faces prison time as this article is being written, having pleaded guilty.

Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker, serving four years from 2007-2011, and remains Minority Leader today, and her two Congresses under George W. Bush and Barack Obama accomplished more legislation, particularly under Obama, than any Congress since the 1960s.

John Boehner served almost five years as Speaker from 2011 until this past week, facing highly contentious opponents in his own party, the Tea Party Movement, now known as the Freedom or Liberty Caucus, a group of about 40 Republicans, who made his life miserable, and finally, he resigned, and has handed over authority to Paul Ryan, who was Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012, and had been Chair of the House Budget Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, before becoming Speaker this week.


Paul Ryan As Speaker Of The House: Will It Benefit His Party And The Nation?

So John Boehner is now retired as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, head of the House Ways and Means Committee, and 2012 Vice Presidential nominee for Mitt Romney, is the new Speaker. So instead of being one heartbeat away from the Presidency as Vice President, Ryan is now two heartbeats away from the Presidency as Speaker of the House, and requires Secret Service protection, which will change his and his family’s lives dramatically!

Anyone who has read my blog regularly knows that I have not been a fan of Ryan, and in fact, was attacked by right wing websites for my strong opposition to Ryan.

However, this is a fresh start in the House of Representatives, and we should all wish Ryan good luck, as he tries to organize the Republican Party: deal with the Tea Party Freedom Caucus members (eleven of them not voting for him as Speaker); and learn to “cross the aisle” more and work with the Democratic minority.

Ryan has potential to be a great Speaker, but it all depends on how he deals with intransigent members.

Certainly, the nation needs a stable and competent House to do “the business of the people.”

With Jeb Bush Floundering, Opportunity For John Kasich Potential To Rise Grows Dramatically!

It is clear that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is floundering in his Presidential bid, with his expression of exasperation at the toil and turmoil of campaigning, his complaints about being attacked by Donald Trump, and his wish he was able to do other things rather than waste his time, is stunning.

Despite his family name, one can say that Jeb Bush is probably done, unless he makes a major revival in today’s  Republican Presidential debate in Boulder, Colorado, sponsored by CNBC.

This opens up opportunity for John Kasich  to emerge as the “Establishment” candidate, and be able to combat the fact that Donald Trump and Dr. Benjamin Carson are in a massive lead in public opinion polls.

Marco Rubio is already showing signs that he is about to destroy his chances, by his announcement that he plans to vote against the budget deal negotiated by outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner, designed to keep the economy and budget stable until 2017 and the next President, and give incoming Speaker Paul Ryan a breather as he takes over House leadership. This is simply designed to gain support of the extremist right wing Freedom or Tea Party Caucus in the House, a massive error by Rubio.  It is almost as if Rubio, who has now condemned his job in the Senate, saying he has never liked it, is about to push himself out of politics altogether by his reckless behavior.

But also Rubio complaining about being unhappy as a Senator makes one wonder about his character, as the people of the third largest state, Florida, gave him the gift of serving in the Senate, which many people, including this author and blogger, would “die” for, and yet he is complaining about a “plum” job, one of the best one could attain for.  So this also makes Rubio far from the ideal candidate for President, because it makes one wonder whether he is interested in being President no matter what challenges he will face, and would he be able to handle the frustrations of the job, just by asking Barack Obama!

John Kasich has now expressed total exasperation about Donald Trump wanting to deport 11 million people and build a “Trump Wall”, which he considers preposterous; about Dr. Benjamin Carson, who now says he wants to end Medicare and Medicaid completely, along with his many whacko statements and revelations about his background; about Rubio, complaining about being a Senator; and about Bush, who seems not to want to work for the Presidency and wants the job handed to him on a silver platter, as if he is “entitled” to it!

Kasich is expressing what moderate conservative Republicans and outsiders, such as this blogger, feel, and the belief that John Kasich remains the best choice for the GOP, with his long career in the House of Representatives; his business and media career; and now his popular leadership as Governor of the most crucial state for any Republican Presidential nominee, the state of Ohio.

If the GOP had any sense, and its voters had mainstream ideas, John Kasich would be the nominee, but right now, the odds on that seem long.  The question is whether the party will overcome its extremist right wing Tea Party-Freedom Caucus and come into the light of a mainstream alternative to the Democrats, having lost the popular vote five of the last six times for the White House.  If they do not, the Republican Party long range future is doomed!

The Republican “Establishment”: Can It Overcome Donald Trump, Dr. Benjamin Carson, And Carly Fiorina?

It has been more than 100 days now of the Donald Trump phenomenon, and for the first time, Donald Trump is not first, ending up second behind Dr. Benjamin Carson, in an Iowa public opinion poll.  It seems as if the Trump surge may be starting to fray at the edges.

But the fact that Dr. Benjamin Carson is now ahead of Trump in Iowa, and the fact that Carly Fiorina, while weaker in polls than she was, is also still in the top few in any poll, one has to wonder will the Republican “Establishment”, which has always controlled the party nomination, except for Barry Goldwater a half century ago, be able to recover and choose the nominee of their party?
The fact that Texas Senator Ted Cruz is also doing better in the polls worries the “Establishment”, as Cruz is despised by John McCain, Mitt Romney, and now, even former President George W. Bush, who so stated that “I do not like that guy” at a fundraiser for his brother Jeb Bush, who is floundering badly in the polls, and has cut his campaign staff and spending, signs of a dying campaign.

But with Jeb Bush in trouble, and Chris Christie not improving his situation either, and predicted by many to be on his way out of the race soon, who is there the “Establishment” can have confidence in?   It comes down to a man who despite some stupid statements and low ratings in the polls still seems viable for some reason, and could run a decent campaign against Hillary Clinton, and at least compete in debates and in experience.

That is Ohio Governor John Kasich, with 18 years in the House of Representatives and in his second term as Governor, with a high public opinion rating, and slowly rising in New Hampshire, with little chance in the Iowa caucuses.

This blogger has said before that John Kasich is the best Republican in the race, although he is no J0n Huntsman, who competed in 2012, and is still the best Republican available to be President, although he is not running, and instead is promoting the “No Labels” movement for a bipartisan choice that could unite Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

Ohio is the crucial state, as anyone who studies Presidential election history is well aware of, and were Kasich to combine with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a “new generation” and telegenic figure from the other crucial state of Florida, a man who has some connection to the Establishment, but a foot in the camp of the challengers to the Establishment as well, it would be by far the best general election ticket.

Nobody in their right mind can think that Trump, Carson or Fiorina could actually win the election, but a Kasich-Rubio ticket, or even as some suggest, a Rubio-Kasich ticket of two men a generation apart in age as Barack Obama and Joe Biden are, with the “elder statesman” in the supporting role, COULD have a shot at winning over Hillary Clinton, although the odds are clearly, ultimately, against that scenario for the GOP!





October 2015: The Month Hillary Clinton Won The Presidential Election Of 2016!

Hillary Clinton has had a great month, a transformative month.

She won the first Democratic Presidential debate.

She saw Joe Biden decide not to run for President, relieving her of the major threat to her candidacy.

Virginia Senator Jim Webb, and now Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, both dropped out of the Presidential race, having made no dent at all.

She showed just how capable, intelligent, knowledgeable, courageous, and qualified she is for President, and demonstrated her physical strength and stability, in the Benghazi, Libya  House hearings, effectively making the Republicans look ridiculous, incompetent, and brazenly partisan.  It was a total victory for the former Secretary of State, former Senator, and First lady.

Hillary is now left with only two challengers–Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, with Sanders capable of competing in early caucuses and primaries, but likely to fall apart as momentum for the nomination, and gaining of delegates to the Democratic National Convention, proceeds.

O’Malley is, sadly, the victim of the wrong timing to run for President, but he represents the future generation, and just might have a chance to be Hillary’s Vice Presidential running mate, as his qualifications as Mayor of Baltimore and Maryland Governor are impressive.

The Republicans will be trying to undermine Hillary Clinton, but the odds of her winning the Presidency, becoming the first woman in the Oval Office, and 45th President of the United States, are extremely high, and betting against her is a losing proposition!