Category Archives: Law & justice

What kind of justice would Brett Kavanaugh be?

By Doug Muder, The Daily Sift, 7/16/18

Monday night, Trump named his second Supreme Court nominee: Brett Kavanaugh.

Immediately, legal and political pundits began speculating on how Kavanaugh’s appointment, if the Senate approves it, would affect abortion rights. Will Kavanaugh be the fifth vote to reverse Roe v Wade, allowing either states or the federal government to make abortion illegal? Or could he perhaps gut Roe while leaving it technically valid, perhaps by letting states regulate abortion in ways that make it practically unavailable, even if still theoretically legal? Or does he really believe in the principal of stare decisis, in which the Court leaves a precedent in place unless it proves unworkable?

Important as that issue is, it would be a shame if it sucked all the oxygen out of the room, leaving no space for discussion of the other implications of Kavanaugh joining the Court. Let’s look at a few of those issues.

Partisanship. One of the worst developments for the Supreme Court as an institution over the last two decades is the loss of its non-partisan image. Beginning with Bush v Gore in 2000, and going on through Citizens United (which destroyed campaign finance controls) and Shelby County (which gutted the Voting Rights Act), the public has gotten used to the idea that judges represent the party that appointed them. What the laws or the Constitution says is less important than which party a decision would benefit.

Kavanaugh is not going to improve that image. He first came to public attention as a main author of the Starr Report. While ostensibly non-partisan, the investigation into President Clinton lead by Kenneth Starr was transparently political. (Anyone who thinks the Mueller investigation is a “partisan witch hunt” has amnesia. Unlike the Mueller probe, Starr’s investigators regularly leaked damaging information to the press and timed their official announcements for maximum political effect. The Starr Report was written to be as sexually scurrilous as possible. Impeachment was a dim fantasy at that point, but at least the report could do political damage to the Clinton administration and embarrass Clinton personally.)

He subsequently was a lawyer for the Bush campaign during Bush v Gore, and then worked for Bush’s White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez….

keep reading and follow links at The Daily Sift

Casey: Trump Supreme Court Pick Represents a Corrupt Bargain and I Will Oppose It

Bob Casey US Senator for PA, 7/9/18

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of President Trump’s announcement concerning his nominee to fill the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement:

“In a nation with over 700 sitting federal judges, many of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, it is outrageous that President Trump will nominate from a list of just 25 dictated to him by the Heritage Foundation. This list is the bidding of corporate special interests hell-bent on handing health care over to insurance companies, crushing unions that represent working men and women, and promoting policies that will leave the middle-class further behind. Any judge on this list is fruit of a corrupt process straight from the D.C. swamp.

Heritage, which is an extreme Right organization, just released a new proposal to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions and gut Medicaid for seniors, people with disabilities, and children. They recently hosted a press conference for Republican attorneys general who are trying to eliminate those protections through the courts. In Pennsylvania, there are more than 5.3 million people (including 643,000 children) who have pre-existing conditions.

Heritage has also called labor unions – who helped build the middle class – “cartels.” From the formation of the first permanent Pennsylvanian local labor union in Philadelphia in 1792, through the Lattimer massacre in Northeastern Pennsylvania, to the Homestead Strike in Western Pennsylvania to today’s struggle to protect the right to organize, Pennsylvania workers have led the way to ensure that working people have basic rights, good wages, and benefits, like health care. The last thing working men and women in Pennsylvania need is another corporate justice on an increasingly corporate court.

I was elected to represent all Pennsylvanians. I was not elected to genuflect to the hard Right, who are funded by corporate America.

President Lincoln called on our nation to work to ensure “… that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Instead, Congressional Republicans in Washington and the Administration are determined to pack the Supreme Court with a government of, by, and for extreme Right corporate interests.

I will oppose the nomination the President will make tonight because it represents a corrupt bargain with the far Right, big corporations, and Washington special interests.”

Speak Out Against Judicial Mass Impeachment!

TTDem Committee, March 21, 2018

Pennsylvania state Republicans called yesterday for the mass impeachment of the four Supreme Court justices who voted to strike down their gerrymandered Congressional districting map and impose a new map for the 2018 elections. Having failed to persuade three courts, including the US Supreme Court, of the validity of their claims, state Republicans hope to simply cleanse the court of the four justices whose ruling they don’t like.

This assault flies in the face of the principle of judicial independence, one of the underpinnings of our form of government. If judges have to fear impeachment for decisions legislators don’t like, courts cannot properly function.

Rep. Ryan Costello in particular has been outspoken in calling for the mass impeachment of the justices with whom he disagrees.

Please call your state and national representatives today and ask them to speak out publicly against this attack on the state judiciary.

Contact Information: [for Tredyffrin; find others here]

State Rep. Warren Kampf, Paoli office: 610-251-2876

Sate Sen. Andy Dinniman, West Chester office: 610-692-2112

Congressman Ryan Costello, West Chester office: 610-696-2982

Sign and send the petition to your legislators: Do not impeach state Supreme Court justices

Petition from Daily Kos, 3/21/18

In a stunning display of contempt for democracy and the rule of law, Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Cris Dush has introduced a resolution to impeach the state Supreme Court justices who struck down the GOP’s congressional gerrymander and replaced it with a much fairer map for the 2018 elections.

This maneuver came just a day after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the GOP’s bid to block the state court’s ruling, demonstrating that even the conservative-majority federal bench thinks Pennsylvania Republicans have no legal leg to stand on.

The bad news? Republicans hold enough seats needed to impeach judges thanks to their gerrymanders of the legislature, which gave them a solid hold on the state House and the minimum two-thirds of necessary seats in the state Senate.

The good news? All we need is one Republican in the state Senate to block this charade. That’s why Pennsylvanians must contact their legislators, and pressure them against the undemocratic travesty.

Sign and send the petition to your Pennsylvania legislators: Do not impeach justices.