Day: May 11, 2010

The Effect Of New York City On The Supreme Court

With the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, that august body will now have, upon confirmation of Kagan, four members who spent their early years and much of their life in New York City, and ironically, in different boroughs of the city!

Antonin Scalia spent his formative years in Queens County; Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Brooklyn; Sonia Sotomayor in the Bronx; and Elena Kagan in Manhattan!

Also, the liberal bloc on the Court will consist of the three women and Justice Stephen Breyer, and that will mean the three Jewish members of the Court, along with its first Hispanic or Latino member, will be seen by the hinterland as out of touch with America. But realize the long range historical effect of New York City and State on American history, and one can understand why the city and state have had such an impact!

There has long been a tendency to favor New York for Justices, including, among others, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Charles Evans Hughes, and John Jay.

So the New York and Northeastern influence on the Court is an interesting reality, particularly at a time when the Tea Party Movement seems to be striking out against modern America, which is primarily influenced by that center of culture and commerce!

After all, even the terrorists see New York City as the center of America in ways that cannot be matched anywhere else in the nation!

The Tea Party Movement, The Republicans, And The Supreme Court

The Tea Party Movement is creating a true headache for the Republican party in regards to the nomination of Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court Justice by President Barack Obama.

Of course, it is well realized that a majority of Republicans in the Senate will vote against Kagan being confirmed. But many Republican senators are already admitting that Kagan is well qualified on paper. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona made it clear that they did not see a filibuster beginning, and that while they may have problems with Kagan in some way, they do not intend to let the Tea Party activists control the party’s strategy about the nominee.

But the Tea Party is just demonstrating how extremely radical right wing they are, as they have made up their mind to defeat Kagan because Obama selected him!

They want a Supreme Court that could just as well be made up of robots who do not use their mind, but simply promote a view of the Constitution that does not allow for anything other than the exact words of the document. Empathy, life experiences, and judicial activism are not to be part of the process. Any assertion of federal government authority is to be denied. Checks and balances and separation of powers are to be obeyed, without explaining how to interpret that. No consideration of foreign law is to be allowed under any circumstances in deliberation of cases.

This view of the Supreme Court would paralyze the Court’s ability to do its job! To promote in the 21st century the concept that the federal government has no authority other than what was perceived in the 18th century, and to assert states rights, when that was settled by the Civil War 150 years ago, is pure insanity! To assert also that no new rights to protect those who have been discriminated against historically should be allowed, and by implication, the thought that blacks, women, and other minorities should never have gained the equality which the Supreme Court has had a major role in promoting, makes one shake his head at the loony nature of this backwards, reactionary movement!

It is becoming very obvious that the Republican Party has an albatross around its neck: The Tea Party Movement! The leadership of the GOP need to make up their mind! Are they to be a mainstream party that represents the broad base of the American population, or are they to go down as an extreme reactionary, right wing group that has no possibility of having power and dealing with real problems in the 21st century? 🙁

Laura Bush And Abortion And Gay Marriage

Former First Lady Laura Bush has written a memoir of her life and years in the White House, and was interviewed this evening on Larry King Live on CNN.

It was a very revealing and fascinating hour, and it was somewhat surprising that Laura Bush revealed that she was in favor of gay marriage being explored, and believed that abortion rights should not be reversed by the Supreme Court!

This is a stand revealed publicly now, after her husband took the exact opposite stand as President.

But it is interesting that Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan also revealed publicly after their husbands left the Presidency that they both were pro choice on abortion.

So it seems clear that the women have a more open minded attitude on change and reform than their husbands, who apparently feel the need to toe the Republican “party line” and promote an anti abortion and anti gay rights and marriage agenda!

The Tea Party Movement, Republican Party, And Conservative Lie About Taxes!

The biggest issue that the Tea Party Movement, the Republican Party, and conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel have been propagandizing since Barack Obama became President is that taxes are out of control and are higher than they have ever been under this administration!

But USA TODAY published this morning an article that proves this propaganda to be totally wrong. The fact is that our taxes this past year were lower than at any time since 1950, when Harry Truman was President!

The figure is 9 percent for 2009, while the normal level is 12 percent. This includes ALL federal, state and local taxes, not only for income, but also for property, sales and other taxes!

Of course, the problem is not high taxes, but high government spending, which with high defense spending, and the burden of social security, medicare, and medicaid growing constantly, means that ultimately, taxes will have to rise dramatically, because the high national debt is due to the fact that the government has pursued the policy of doing what is popular, cutting taxes, but that just means the taxes are “kicked down the road”, as there is no way to avoid payment of debt in the future! Of course, the cost of paying debt grows by borrowing money rather than raising taxes as we need it!

So the politicians look to gain votes by promising lower taxes, but it is actually a lie, as taxes MUST go up later, if not earlier! The celebration over lower taxes has to be recognized for what is reality: Higher taxes are coming and are necessary, so get used to it!

Supreme Court Justices And Judicial Experience: Is It Required Or Preferred?

As Elena Kagan was nominated for the Supreme Court by President Obama yesterday, the debate began over the importance of a Supreme Court nominee having served as a judge before coming to the Court.

Every member of the present Supreme Court has been a Court of Appeals Judge, and one would think this was normal tradition and a requirement, neither of which thought is true in fact!

When one examines the history of the 111 Supreme Court Justices we have had to this moment, we discover a very different truth. Only 48 served as judges on the national or state levels. Three were Governors of their states (Earl Warren, Charles Evans Hughes, William Paterson). Seven have been Senators, including Hugo Black and Edward White. Seven have been Attorney General under a President. We have also seen other cabinet members–Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Labor, Secretary pf the Navy, and even Postmaster General, chosen for the Supreme Court. Additionally, we have had a number of Solicitor Generals (the position Kagan holds), and Law School professors selected. But also interesting is many who are simply described as “Lawyers”!

The point is that many of the very best Supreme Court Justices have NOT been judges before coming to the high bench. This list includes John Marshall (Secretary of State), Joseph Story (Speaker of the Massachusetts House), Roger Taney (Lawyer), Edward White (Senator), Charles Evans Hughes (Governor), Louis Brandeis (Lawyer), William Howard Taft (President and Law School Professor), Harlan Fiske Stone (Attorney General), Hugo Black (Senator), William O. Douglas (SEC Chairman), Felix Frankfurter (Law School Professor), Frank Murphy (Attorney General), Robert H. Jackson (Attorney General), Tom Clark (Attorney General), Earl Warren (Governor), Arthur Goldberg (Secretary of Labor), and Thurgood Marshall (Solicitor General)!

When one analyzes this list, it is clear that it is not required or necessary that a Supreme Court nominee have had experience as a judge at any level. Worldly experience in other types of positions is important to promote diversity on the Court, beyond the issues of race, religion and gender!