Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Two Supreme Court Justices Prove To Be Disasters And Embarrassments: Clarence Thomas And Samuel Alito!

It is now clear that the second Supreme Court nominee choices of George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, have turned out to be disasters and embarrassments to the Court they serve on!

Clarence Thomas was appointed by the elder Bush, and went through a tumultuous Supreme Court nomination battle, centered on sexual harassment charges by Anita Hill, and his confirmation was the closest vote of a successful nominee in decades!

He has proceeded to be an embarrassment, showing bitterness and the desire for revenge, and sullying the memory of the first African American Justice, Thurgood Marshall, who he replaced on the Court in 1991.

And a beneficiary of affirmative action, he has now, just today, compared affirmative action to slavery and segregation, an absolutely crazy comparison!

This man is inappropriate in his behavior in so many ways, including NEVER asking a question during oral arguments, the only Justice in memory to have that unfortunate distinction!

And then there is Samuel Alito, the appointment of George W. Bush in 2005, who mouthed open opposition to Barack Obama’s criticism of the Citizens United Case in his State of the Union Address in 2010, embarrassing himself and the Court!

And Alito, today, mocked fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg with gestures, including rolling his eyes, shaking his head, and looking at the ceiling. And Alito apparently has a problem with the other women Justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, showing disrespect for them in open Court. As Dana Milbank of the Washington Post said today, Alito displays “Middle School antics”.

And imagine, Alito could have been the Chief Justice if John Roberts had already begun testimony to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, but before he could, Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, and President Bush decided to switch Roberts to the Chief Justice position, and so Alito replaced O’Connor as an Associate Justice on the Court! Imagine Chief Justice Alito, the sour puss and nasty personality!

So the Bushes made major mistakes in selection of Thomas and Alito, and the Court is stuck with them for many years, beyond the retirement of another conservative, Antonin Scalia, who is more intelligent, and more charming, even if often obnoxious as well!

Supreme Court DNA Ruling An Attack On Privacy Rights

In a very disturbing decision, the Supreme Court on Monday, by a 5-4 vote, allowed for police to collect DNA samples whenever anyone is arrested, seeing it as equivalent of photographs and fingerprints, and allowing its collection in a national data base.

The combination of those in favor included Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision, along with Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts , and surprisingly, Stephen Breyer.

The four in opposition were Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and surprisingly, Antonin Scalia.

The attack on constitutional rights is alarming, and the Court majority seems to have no problem with that! Again, very disturbing!

Momentous Supreme Court Month Coming Up: Gay Marriage, Affirmative Action, Voting Rights Act Cases To Be Decided

The United States Supreme Court is entering its last month of the present session, and as usual, is leaving its most blockbuster decisions to the last weeks of its term.

Every June is momentous on the Supreme Court, as for instance, the upholding of the Obama Health Care Plan last June.

But this June is possibly more crucial when looking at history, as well as the issue of civil rights and civil liberties!

The most important cases are on Gay Marriage, Affirmative Action, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

With so much at stake, with 13 states having legalized gay marriage, and more to come in the next year, it would be wonderful if the Supreme Court went the whole distance, as it did in Loving V. Virginia on interracial marriage in 1967. It would be a major victory for civil rights and civil liberties, and stop the right wing attempt to fight gay marriage dead in its tracks! The hate mongering would go on, but if the Court ruled that two men or two women can be married, it could not be overcome by religious extremists by law!

Affirmative Action has been in effect since 1972, and remains highly controversial, but is now in danger or being ended as a method to promote the advancement of minority groups and women.

The Voting Rights Act, first passed in 1965, and renewed in 1982 and 2006, is now in danger of being curbed or ended, on the false basis that the record of Southern and other states on voting rights in the past no longer applies, but that leaves open the possibility of new voting rights violations in the future.

It is assumed that there are four votes on the Court to uphold all three cases–those of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan.

It is also assumed that three votes to prevent gay marriage and end affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act are certain–those of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

It would be a major surprise if any of these seven votes ended up differently.

The two “swing” votes are those of Chief Justice John Roberts, who has become somewhat unpredictable after, surprisingly, backing ObamaCare last June; and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, the true “swing” vote alone, since Sandra Day O’Connor left the Court seven years ago.

Will Kennedy side with the liberals on the Court on all three cases? It seems highly unlikely at this point, but a good bet on gay marriage at the least, but the Court could choose to decide that case in a very limited manner, not an all encompassing decision.

We shall see on all three cases very soon!

Hillary Clinton Under Attack Even Before Retiring From State Department: The Best Solution For Her Future Is The Supreme Court

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underwent a massive attack on her testimony on the Benghazi, Libya controversy before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, primarily from Tea Party Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Eon Johnson of Wisconsin.

But she also was viciously attacked, as in the old days of her husband’s Presidency and during her Senate years, by right wing talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Even the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch, went after her in its headlines today.

Any idea that, somehow, Hillary Clinton could be “crowned” President, was always a delusion. If she decides to run, she will be under tremendous stress from the opposition Republican party, and they have decided to “soften her up” during the period before she has to decide whether to run for President in 2016.

As this author has already stated at the beginning of this month, it seems highly doubtful that Hillary will run for the nomination, as it could literally kill her in the quest, or if she made the White House, while in office. Her earlier health scare is an excellent reason for a woman of 65 to decide that she has better things to do from age 67-77 than to run for President, and deal with the massive problems of eight tough years in office.

But Hillary Clinton can play a major role in American government, without running for President, and with a lot lower stress level.

When Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg retires from the Supreme Court, likely this June, but certainly during this term of Barack Obama, the President could reward Hillary Clinton with an appointment to the Court, which could last at least 15 years until she is 80, and a position where she would be immune from political attack, help to influence the future of constitutional law, and make a major contribution to the history of the Supreme Court. The only battle she would have is when there would be attacks on her nomination, but with a 55 Democratic seat edge, she certainly would be confirmed.

Once considered one of the top 100 lawyers in the nation in the years before her husband became President, Hillary Clinton would be a wonderful addition to the Supreme Court, and would cap her career in a very distinguished and dignified manner.

So, President Obama, start thinking quietly and privately about consulting with Hillary Clinton on the idea of her becoming the 113th individual to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States!

The Impeachment Threat Against Chief Justice John Roberts: Totally Ludicrous!

The right wing extremists are at it again, now threatening to move to impeach Chief Justice John Roberts IF he swears in President Barack Obama next weekend for his second term in office.

The “Birther” movement, led by Orly Taitz and others, and still insisting that Barack Obama is not eligible to be President because he was born in Kenya, is leading the movement to force Roberts out of office, a totally insane and ludicrous idea!

As has been stated earlier in another entry, a President can be sworn in by ANY judge, and examples of such are Lyndon B. Johnson sworn in by Federal District Court judge Sarah Hughes on Air Force One after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963; and Calvin Coolidge, sworn into office in the middle of the night in Vermont by his own father, a local justice of the peace in 1923.

And if Roberts refused to swear in the President, which he will not do, then ANY of the other Supreme Court Justices, such as Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, or Anthony Kennedy, could do the same. Does the “Birther” Movement plan to impeach all of the members of the Supreme Court?

And were Roberts or any Supreme Court Justice to be impeached by the House of Representatives, which is highly unlikely, particularly for Roberts, who was appointed by George W. Bush, there is no chance of gaining a two thirds vote in the Senate to remove him from office! With a Democratic Senate, not even half the votes would be obtained, even if all 45 Republicans were to vote to convict, something that is absolutely NOT going to happen!

All that the “Birther” Movement is doing is adding to its image as a group of wing nuts, not worthy of newsprint or any other public attention!

And Chief Justice Roberts, a man who has wished to avoid controversy, now can commiserate with President Obama, particularly after Roberts’ crucial vote upholding “ObamaCare” in June of last year, a path breaking moment in the history of the Court and of American reform!

Right Wing Lunatics Never Let Up On Aim To Destroy Barack Obama!

The wing nut right wing never stops attacking Barack Obama!

They claim that Obama is a Muslim President, despite the fact that the President has been responsible for the killing of more Muslims than George W. Bush. Obama has utilized the drone program in Afghanistan effectively, and has been able to end the lives of many terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but it is never enough!

Glenn Beck, the lunatic, has now said that if any of his staff members mention Obama’s name in the next four years, they will be fired. He plans to avoid mentioning Obama at all, but if so, how will he continue to make his millions as a demagogue dividing America, since his whole living has been based on destroying Obama with his reckless rhetoric?

And there has been a plan by the far right to try to prevent the Electoral College from counting electoral votes, but that was done in early December in all of the state capitols, and the joint session of Congress today will see Vice President Joe Biden open up 51 envelopes and announce the results of the Electoral College. And even if one or two electors are disloyal, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be declared the winners of the election, since their margin of victory in electoral votes is 62 votes more than the 270 needed to win!

And World Net Daily, an extremist, conspiratorial news website, has suggested that Chief Justice John Roberts announce that he will refuse to swear in the President for another term on Inauguration Day. In actual fact, Roberts will, assuredly, do no such thing, as he worries about his own reputation and that of the Supreme Court, and is not about to destroy his own image and reputation, which has been promoted by his decisive vote in the ObamaCare case in June of 2012!

But even if by some fluke, Roberts went crazy, it is not a requirement that the Chief Justice must give the oath to the President. ANY judge or Justice can do so, and one can be certain that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Justice Stephen Breyer or even Justice Anthony Kennedy would take on the responsibility if Roberts was to go off the deep end and destroy his whole career by refusing to do so.

And, finally, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on Air Force One by a woman federal district court judge, Sara Hughes, on November 22, 1963, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, so again, it does not even have to be a Supreme Court Justice who swears in the President.

It is clear the right wing lunatics will stop at nothing to attack and destroy Barack Obama, but while they make money off gullible and stupid people, it does not change the reality that Barack Obama is the choice of the American people, has accomplished a lot in his first term, and despite constant barriers, will achieve a lot in his second term, and go down as one of our better Presidents in American history!

Momentous Day As Supreme Court Chooses To Pass Judgment On Gay Marriage!

Today has been a very momentous day, as the United States Supreme Court has chosen to accept two cases on gay marriage, one involving the constitutionality of the Defense Of Marriage Act of 1996, and the other the validity of the passage of Proposition 8 in California, banning gay marriage.

This could be the blockbuster case of the present term, when it is decided in late June of 2013, after oral arguments in March.

This matter brings to mind the Loving V Virginia case of 1967, when the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the right of interracial couples to be able to marry, a very controversial and divisive case in the age of the Civil Rights Movement.

It should be pointed out that many Southerners and Christian religious leaders opposed interracial marriage bitterly, but once it was settled by the Supreme Court, the issue was moot.

The same opposition, heavily Southern and religiously based, is now vehemently against gay marriage, but the tides of history are going against a continuation of discrimination.

If gay marriage is accepted by the Court, after already being legal in nine states, no religious group would be required to marry a gay couple, but they could be married civilly by a judge or county clerk, or hire someone who is legally qualified to marry couples.

The belief is strong that the Court will rule at least 5-4, if not 6-3, for gay marriage rights, with the four Democratic appointments to the Court—Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan—voting for the majority, along with Justice Anthony Kennedy, and possibly Chief Justice John Roberts.

Kennedy is the key vote, but since he supported the right of gays to privacy in the Lawrence V. Texas case in 2003, and was, indeed, the decisive fifth vote, it is believed he will take a step further in support of this major step forward.

Roberts is an unknown quantity, but after his surprising vote for ObamaCare in June, it is believed he might join the majority on this significant case.

So now, ten years later, it looks likely that the Court will have evolved further, and the right of anyone to marry who they love will be guaranteed as a basic civil right.

This is basic social justice, and a majority in public opinion polls, and particularly the younger generation, support gay marriage.

No one is saying that there cannot be people who oppose gay marriage, but society does not have the right to use their prejudices and religious views to deny basic human rights to others!

An Interesting Solution To The Probable Hillary Clinton-Joe Biden Rivalry For The Presidency

After delivering a lecture this evening to a very interested audience about the Presidential and Congressional Elections of 2012, one participant came up with an excellent idea regarding the likely rivalry that will develop between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden for the Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in 2016.

While certainly younger and newer faces will compete with both Clinton and Biden for the Presidency, the potential rivalry presents a real problem, not only to their friendship and admiration for each other, but also for their boss, President Obama, who owes a great deal to both of them, and would, most certainly, rather not have to pick between them, or look ungrateful to either of them.

The solution would be, as this person said, to select one of them for the first vacancy on the Supreme Court, most likely to replace Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in 2013 or 2014.

Either one could sit on the Court and do an excellent job, but probably Hillary Clinton would be the better choice overall for the Court, a job that is highly prestigious, but far less intense than being Secretary of State or President. And she could serve for as long as she wanted, and it would be likely to please her husband, President Bill Clinton, immensely, and save her the rigors of a Presidential campaign.

It would give Joe Biden the chance to be the nominee if he can overcome younger opponents in the primaries and caucuses, but his age of 74 in 2016 would not be a plus, although he does possess immense energy.

At worst, he could become Secretary of State under another Democratic President in 2017, or be the second choice for the Supreme Court, if a second vacancy developed during the second Obama term.

The point is that both Hillary and Joe are treasures, and they could serve in other less, but prestigious positions, and continue their contributions to American government in their older years!

The Supreme Court: The MOST Crucial Issue In The Presidential Election Of 2012!

Plenty of attention is being paid to economic and domestic policy in the Presidential campaign of 2012.

Also, now with the Middle East crisis that erupted this week, foreign policy is, suddenly, being given tremendous emphasis.

It is right that attention is being paid to both areas of national policy, as they really matter!

But an area which still is NOT being focused on adequately, if in fact at all, is the effect of the election on constitutional matters, which are determined primarily by the Supreme Court of the United States, along with the federal circuit courts.

First, the circuit courts consistently have vacancies, even in a one term Presidency, which can have a dramatic effect on constitutional law. Also, it must be remembered that the tradition has been to appoint Supreme Court Justices from this level of the judiciary, although that was certainly not the norm in the long history of the Supreme Court.

Ultimately, however, it is the Supreme Court which is the final arbiter of the Constitution, as the nine members of the Court, once they have made a determination, rule the day, unless a constitutional amendment can be passed to overrule a Supreme Court decision, or the members of the Court, through changes of personnel, decide to revisit areas of controversy already decided by an earlier Court.

After a decade of no changes on the Court, from 1995 to 2005, suddenly, in a period of five years, from 2005-2010, there were four changes on the Court–Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005 and Associate Justice Samuel Alito in 2006 under President George W. Bush; and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Associate Justice Elena Kagan in 2010 under President Barack Obama.

Now in 2012, there are four Justices in their 70s, who are seen as possible or likely retirees from the Court over the next four years—Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (76), appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986; Associate Justice Anothony Kennedy (76), appointed by Reagan in 1988; Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (79), appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993; and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer (73), appointed by Clinton in 1994.

By the end of the next term, if none of these four Justices left the Court, they would range in age from 77 to 83!

It seems certain that one or more will retire, or unfortunately, die, in the next four years, and who is appointing their successors, is all important for the future of constitutional law!

If Obama makes one to four appointments, it will, at the least, keep the present balance, slightly toward the conservative side, but if Mitt Romney makes the choices, it could make the Court more conservative, more to the right, than it has been since at least the 1920s, if not the Gilded Age of the late 19th century!

This is NOT a minor matter, considering the areas of criminal justice, affirmative action, abortion, gay rights, and the constitutionality of laws passed under the New Deal of the 1930s and the Great Society of the 1960s, and recent actions on health care, campaign fund raising, and many other touchy, controversial areas of policy, and of civil rights and civil liberties!

The Court could turn back a century of political, social and economic reforms, if it turns in the direction of the far Right, a danger with Mitt Romney in office!

We can expect that by 2020, if not 2016, all of the members of the Court will be those appointed in the previous 15 years, with the possible exception of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (64), appointed by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, and stating he would not retire or leave the Supreme Court until he breaks the all time record of Associate Justice William O. Douglas, appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, and serving 36 years on the Court under seven Presidents, until he left in 1975!

So this issue needs to be addressed in the Presidential debates in October, as it is an issue for voters to consider, and to recognize its significance!

The Potential Future Of Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm: Supreme Court Or Justice Department?

Jennifer Granholm is a political figure to watch in the second term of Barack Obama, assuming that he wins reelection.

Granholm is the former Governor of Michigan and, earlier, was Attorney General of the Motor City state. She faced tough economic times, but managed to get reelected in 2006.

Since she left the Governorship, she has become a talk show host on Al Gore’s CURRENT channel on cable, and her show is well received for its analysis of the news, and her colorful personality.

That personality was very evident at the Democratic National Convention, when among all of the exceptional oratorical performances, her denunciation of Mitt Romney, and her description of the total number of jobs saved or created by Barack Obama’s rescue of the auto industry, both in Michigan, and in many other states, reverberated throughout the convention hall. She put on a magnificent, virtuoso performance, showing evidence of the acting ability she has, which, when she was young and a contestant on THE DATING GAME in 1978 at age 19, she indicated an interest in a Hollywood career.

Granholm’s speech and her background as Governor and Attorney General of Michigan bring attention to her potential future.

There is speculation that she could be on the short list for the Supreme Court and for Attorney General, as both positions can be expected to have vacancies.

The most likely first vacancy on the Supreme Court could be that of the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who will be 80 next year, will have served 20 years on the Court, and has suffered from two bouts of cancer and lost her husband in recent years. Granholm would be an excellent selection to take Ginsberg’s seat, and would insure that the liberal approach of Ginsberg would remain on the Court.

But also, it is likely that Attorney General Eric Holder, under attack by the Republicans on many fronts, might decide one term is enough, and Granholm, with her service as Michigan Attorney General for four years, would be an excellent successor, and would have no problem at all in going into combat with Republicans in Congress.

Granholm is one tough lady, and would be certain to be an Attorney General who would fight the good battle for the American people against the power of big business and special interests, and with concern for the rights of average Americans through strict enforcement of civil rights and civil liberties!