Tag Archives: US Supreme Court

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.”

#Union

by Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

Right-wing groups have been waging war against public sector unions for many years, and, last week, a divided 5-4 conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court handed them a win in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. This case, which overrules decades of precedent, was about stripping unions of resources, with the ultimate aim of eradicating labor unions altogether. Why was this such a prized goal for these right-wing groups? Because unions help level the imbalance between the rich and powerful and everyone else, and help working people get ahead.

Stamping out unions has long been the aim of many wealthy conservatives, because it’s easier for them to win elections, maintain economic dominance, and disempower workers when individuals can’t collectively improve their lives through the strength and solidarity of a union.

Janus’ supporters argued that the “fair share” fees nonmembers pay for union representation violate their First Amendment rights, even though workers have the right not to join a union or pay for any of the union’s political work. Justice Elena Kagan dismissed the majority’s opinion as “weaponizing the First Amendment,” noting that the same argument was raised—and unanimously rejected—41 years ago in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, a precedent the Supreme Court has upheld six times. With this reversal, public employees who benefit from a collective bargaining agreement but choose not to join the union can opt to be “free riders” and not contribute anything for the benefits they receive, while the union must still represent them….

keep reading and follow copious links at American Federation of Teachers

Supreme Court upholds new Pa. congressional district map, rejecting Republican challenge

by Jonathan Lai & Liz Navratil, Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/19/18 [Good! All Chester County is definitively within one district, PA-06, in line with the anti-gerrymandering principle.]

HARRISBURG — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to the new congressional map imposed by the state high court, assuring that the redrawn lines would be used in the 2018 elections.

The action came hours after a federal-judge panel dismissed a similar suit, saying Republican lawmakers who brought it had not legal standing. With the back-to-back rejections — both coming on the eve of the petition-filing deadline for congressional candidates — no legal challenges to the map remained.

The new map lines could have an impact on the makeup of the 2019 Congress, with Democrats hopeful that they could pick up at least a few more seats in Pennsylvania….

keep reading at Philadelphia Inquirer