Closing Thought–25Feb21

The Supreme Court is supposed to be the referee in our political system…..unbiased opinions based on the facts and the Constitution……so when a justice helps propagate a lie then the whole system is in danger.

What am I talking about?

Something that a long standing SCOTUS associate said recently…..

While it may not have been a complete surprise that Clarence Thomas dissented from his more liberal colleagues in a Supreme Court election case on Monday, what is causing some head whips is his apparently firm support for former President Trump’s debunked claims of election fraud. The case the high court declined to hear came out of Pennsylvania, where Republicans challenged an extension to the deadline for mail-in ballots due to the pandemic. Thomas, along with Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, disagreed with their colleagues’ decision to turn the case away, with Thomas arguing that even though the number of affected mail-in ballots wouldn’t have turned the election in Trump’s favor, the Supreme Court still should have addressed the underlying legal questions in case future votes see a narrower gap. His reasoning, however, as laid out in a 11-page dissent, relied partly on baseless fraud claims pushed by Trump and his allies, reports USA Today.

Thomas’ argument, which mentions “fraud” 10 times, per CNN: that even though rampant fraud wasn’t evident in the Pennsylvania case, mail-in ballots are especially vulnerable, and “an election free from strong evidence of systemic fraud is not alone sufficient for election confidence.” He also quoted a New York Times article calling fraud risk “vastly more prevalent” for mail-in ballots than during in-person voting—the same article said “fraud in voting by mail is far less common than innocent errors”—and mentioned “the high degree of subjective judgment” in tallying ballots. Alito and Gorsuch’s dissent didn’t bring up fraud. Per Slate, voter fraud with mail-in ballots is “vanishingly rare.” CNN notes that Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, has also pushed the fraud narrative. Prominent Democrats are pushing back, and a UC-Irvine election law expert suggests Thomas shouldn’t even have addressed it, telling USA Today it’s an issue “wholly divorced from the actual legal question in the case.”

There has been NO evidence of widespread voter fraud and yet Thomas helps spread a lie…..does not bode well for the independence of the Supreme Court.

The Court has become too partisan to be a true “referee’ in the working of the government and nation.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Could SCOTUS Screw The Poor?

The final word in this society, that is before Trump, was the Supreme Court….and it has before it now a case that they could screw the poor our of their health care…..

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will hear a pair of consolidated casesAzar v. Gresham and Arkansas v. Gresham — both of which concern whether the state of Arkansas may require Medicaid recipients to either work or take certain steps to find a job, or else lose their health benefits.

Arkansas, with the Trump administration’s approval, implemented a program called “Arkansas Works,” which requires Medicaid beneficiaries between the ages of 19 and 49 to “work or engage in specified educational, job training, or job search activities for at least 80 hours per month,” and to document that they’ve engaged in these activities.

The ostensible purpose of Arkansas Works is fairly straightforward. If Medicaid beneficiaries risk losing health care if they aren’t also employed, then they have additional incentive to find work. In approving Arkansas’s request to add a work requirement to its Medicaid program, the Trump administration claimed that this requirement would “encourage beneficiaries to obtain and maintain employment or undertake other community engagement activities that research has shown to be correlated with improved health and wellness.”

https://www.vox.com/2020/12/8/22158659/supreme-court-medicaid-work-requirements-azar-arkansas-gresham-obamacare-health

Forced to work during a pandemic where jobs are few and far between….really?  Is this what this country has become?

This might no interest most people but keep in mind that if this case is successful and the poor loses their access of health care….how long before they come for yours.

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Will ACA Survive?

The program fondly titles as Obamacare has proven to be popular and yet the GOP seems Hell bent on its destruction…..as it comes before SCOTUS yet again.

Once again the ACA (Obamacare) comes before the Supreme Court….and once again it looks like the GOP will be beaten into submission…at least until next session…..

The Supreme Court heard its third challenge to ObamaCare on Tuesday, and a decision won’t be out until next spring. But the early assessments after oral arguments wrapped up should give backers of the Affordable Care Act some comfort—it looks like the law will survive again. Coverage:

  • “Most of the Affordable Care Act appeared likely to survive,” writes Sam Baker at Axios. He notes that Chief Justice John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh “suggested they’re unlikely to throw out the entire health care law, as Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration have urged. Their votes would be enough to save it.”
  • That assessment is a common one. “The bulk of the Affordable Care Act … appeared likely to survive,” writes Adam Liptak in the New York Times. He, too, concluded that Roberts and Kavanaugh would join the court’s three liberal justices in saving the bulk of the law, even though Republicans scrapped a key component of it, the individual mandate. “In legal terms, they said the mandate was severable from the rest of the law,” writes Liptak.
  • At the AP, Mark Sherman agrees with all of the above. It’s possible the court will determine that the mandate itself is unconstitutional, but it doesn’t appear that Roberts and Kavanaugh would be willing to kill the entire law if that’s the case. He quotes Roberts: “Would Congress want the rest of the law to survive if the unconstitutional provision were severed? Here, Congress left the rest of the law intact. That seems to be a compelling answer to the question.”
  • John Kruzel of the Hill agrees, too, and he quotes Kavanaugh to make the point: “Looking at our severability precedents, it does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the act in place, the provisions regarding preexisting conditions and the rest.”
  • Ditto at the Washington Post, whose story is written by multiple reporters. They note that Roberts wrote the 2012 opinion keeping the law intact and say he (and Kavanaugh) seem inclined to do that again. Another Roberts quote, in regard to the individual mandate: “I think it’s hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act,” Roberts told Texas solicitor Kyle Hawkins. He suggested lawmakers wanted the court to do that for them, “but that’s not our job.”

How long before the next challenge comes?

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

SCOTUS: A Future Battle

All the noise around the newest attempt to pack the court with conservs to lead the fight on rights looks certain to move forward……(but the GOP is not packing the courts)…..

Then there has been noise about a Biden attempt to make the Supreme Court more in-line with typical America (whatever that is)……

Biden has said what Dems always say…..he will appoint a commission to study reform…..that means that they will drag their feet and accomplish NOTHING….as usual.

In an interview airing Sunday on “60 Minutes,” Biden told O’Donnell that if elected he would put together a bipartisan group to provide recommendations within 180 days on how his administration should work to reform the U.S. court system.

“If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission of, a bipartisan commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative. And I will … ask them to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack … the way in which it’s being handled,”

(thehill.com)

The House Dems have offered up a bill that I covered recently…..https://lobotero.com/2020/09/28/to-make-scotus-better/

Looks like law experts have jumped on the Dems bandwagon…..

Over two dozen constitutional law experts on Friday endorsed legislation recently introduced by a trio of House Democrats that would establish 18-year term limits for U.S. Supreme Court justices.

The endorsement letter (pdf) signed by professors and scholars across the country, along with a former U.S. senator and a former chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court, comes as the Senate GOP is trying to confirm right-wing Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s third nominee to the high court, before the November general election.

The ongoing political battle over the Supreme Court vacancy that resulted from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has elevated discussions and proposals to reform the high court. The term limits bill (pdf) was unveiled last month by Reps. Khanna (D-Calif.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), and Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.).

“We can’t face a national crisis every time a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court,” Khanna said while announcing the Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act (H.R. 8424), which would allow presidents to nominate two new appointees per four-year term.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/23/constitutional-law-experts-endorse-democrats-bill-create-18-year-term-limits-supreme

I like this proposal.

I do not think that partisan agents like Federalist Society should be consulted on judge nominations……NO political partisan group should have anything to say on nominations other than op-eds in support or opposition.

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SCOTUS Bullsh*t

Surprise this Barrett woman has been confirmed and once again the court has a full compliment of justices.

In what the AP calls the culmination of a decadeslong coordinated effort by a constellation of conservative groups, fueled by tens of millions of dollars from wealthy anonymous donors, to tilt the high court farther to the right, Amy Coney Barrett was on Monday night sworn onto the Supreme Court. Hours after the Senate confirmed her, Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to Barrett before a crowd of about 200 gathered for a celebratory event on the South Lawn of the White House, the AP reports. “This is a momentous day for America,” President Trump declared at the event. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had earlier told senators they should be proud, noting that those who opposed Barrett “won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

For her part, Barrett declared that “it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences” and promised to “do my job without any fear or favor.” She is expected to take the judicial oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony Tuesday at the court to begin participating in proceedings. Trump has made it a priority to appoint conservative judges who appeal to white Christian evangelicals. “We’ll appoint more conservative judges and justices,” he promised a month before Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. “We will protect religious liberty, defend the lives of the unborn, uphold free speech and safeguard the Second Amendment and your right to keep and bear arms. So important, right?” The AP has more on the mysterious millions behind the push to get Barrett on the court

Her disingenuous words were stunning….. Barrett declared that “it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences” and promised to “do my job without any fear or favor.” 

The four cases below will likely help us gain an understanding of whether Barrett is a right-wing outlier, even within an increasingly conservative federal judiciary. The votes she casts in these cases, and the specific legal arguments that she signs onto, may show us just how hostile the Court’s newest member is to democracy, and whether she’s willing to embrace deeply radical legal arguments that undermine progressive policy or punish interest groups aligned with the Democratic Party.

To be sure, Democrats should not necessarily heave a sigh of relief even if Barrett rejects the conservative position in each of these lawsuits. These four cases represent some of the most extreme arguments before the Court, and there are others that could well be revelatory. How Barrett rules on them should offer a window into just how radical the newest justice is likely to be.

https://www.vox.com/21525343/supreme-court-amy-coney-barrett-obamacare-pennsylvania-voting-rights-census-unions

If that lie were true then she would not be high on the list of judges for the Federalist Society….she will help bring about the much desired conservative agenda and kill as many policies as possible.

Just my thought on this attack on rights of ALL Americans…..

Time for reform within SCOTUS….we can only hope the reforms will come soon.

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Closing Thought–23Oct20

Talk about a waste of time!

I am always going on about the waste of taxpayer’s money and I have found yet more evidence of just how silly this system has become.

The Supreme Court will rule on the use of Pentagon funds for that silly wall on the Southern border.

The $2.5 billion on the table in an upcoming Supreme Court hearing on use of Pentagon funds to build the border wall has already been paid out, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed to Military Times on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would take up a challenge to one of the Trump administration’s U.S-Mexico border fencing funding workarounds, specifically $2.5 billion in military counterdrug money re-allocated in 2019 to be paid out to contractors by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Those funds cover 129 miles across six projects,” Mitchell said, contract awards for fencing in New Mexico, Arizona and California, according to USACE data. The Pentagon could not provide details on how many of those miles have actually been completed.

The original lawsuit, first filed in Texas last year, challenged the legality of using those funds to build fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. But as it wound its way through the courts, Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Christian Mitchell confirmed to Military Times on Tuesday, all of that money has been paid out.

A Texas judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs late last year, putting an injunction on any further border construction. But a Justice Department appeal lifted that injunction, and last summer, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote decided not to hear a challenge that would have reinstated it.

“The Court’s decision to let construction continue nevertheless I fear, may operate, in effect, as a final judgment,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent, on behalf of the four justices who voted to hear the case.

It’s unclear, however, what would happen if SCOTUS rules against the administration. The original lower-court ruling stopped construction, but did not cancel contracts or force refunds, which could be the case again this time around.

In total, the Pentagon diverted $6.1 billion in 2019 to fund the border wall, including $3.6 billion in military construction funds.

(Military News)

Once again the courts are a day late and we are dollars short.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Dems Play Games

I have often said that I think our Congress is a waste of time and money…..they spend more time running to a camera or massaging the genitals of donors or playing silly games.

The newest game is by the Dems on the SCOTUS committee vote…..

The Senate Judiciary Committee is due to vote Thursday on advancing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court—but the panel’s 10 Democrats will not be present. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats on the committee said Wednesday that Democrats will boycott the hearing to protest the “sham process” of rushing Barrett’s nomination through, the Hill reports. “We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just twelve days before the culmination of an election that is already underway,” they said in a statement.

The Democrats said Republicans were violating the “promises and rules” they established in refusing to grant Obama nominee Merrick Garland a hearing in the nine months before the 2016 election. The Democrats said Judiciary Committee rules require two members of the minority party to be present when business is conducted, but committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would proceed without them, NPR reports. “I will move forward,” the Republican said. “She deserves a vote.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he wants to hold a full Senate vote on Barrett’s nomination Monday, which would install the conservative justice on the court in time to rule on election-related cases.

The Dems are by NO means the only game players…..

This theatrics will accomplish nothing…..the nominee will go to Senate for a vote……and the Dems will look like pouty little brats.

It is stunts like this that I say the Congress is a pack of tired old political d/bags.

And the GOP is just as guilty….McConnell is playing a game for this nomination as well…..but he is playing with lives…..

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell told his Republican colleagues Tuesday that he has privately been urging the Trump White House not to strike a coronavirus relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the November 3 election, warning that an agreement could interfere with his chamber’s plan to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court early next week.

McConnell’s remarks, first reported by the Washington Post, came during a closed-door Senate GOP lunch just ahead of a Tuesday evening deadline for a relief deal set by Pelosi and agreed to by the Trump administration. While the deadline came and went without a deal, the House Speaker told Democratic lawmakers late Tuesday that the two sides “have been making some progress” and continued to voice optimism that “we can reach an agreement before the election.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/21/mcconnell-admits-hes-been-working-sabotage-covid-relief-talks-behind-scenes

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To Make SCOTUS Better?

I have written my thoughts on how I believe SCOTUS could be improved after the death of Ginsburg and the fight that is about to erupt……https://lobotero.com/2020/09/23/dems-need-to-buck-up/ and my plan for the court…..https://lobotero.com/2020/09/25/i-have-lots-to-say-about-scotus/

The Dems are thinking ahead and have apparently been reading IST (JK) for they will offer a new plan for the highest court this week……

Under a bill House Democrats are preparing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have had to retire in 2011—and William O. Douglas, the longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history, would have stepped down in 1957 instead of 1975. The bill, which Democrats plan to introduce next week, limits the terms of Supreme Court justices to 18 years. It excludes those currently on the court, who were appointed to lifetime terms, Reuters reports. Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna says it “would save the country a lot of agony and help lower the temperature over fights for the court that go to the fault lines of cultural issues.” Recent polls have shown large majorities in favor of introducing term limits, which are already required on the Supreme Courts of every state except Rhode Island.

The bill would allow each president to nominate two justices per four-year term. After their terms expired, justice would became “senior” and would be allowed to return to service on lower courts, as numerous former SCOTUS justices have done, including David Souter. This would allow term limits to be introduced without changing the Constitution, writes Gabe Roth In a USA Today op-ed. Roth is executive director of the nonpartisan Fix the Court group. While Democrats probably won’t be able to stop President Trump nominating a replacement for Ginsburg, “they can join with their conservative colleagues who have long embraced the concept of term limits and ensure that never again will a superannuated bench determine the direction of our country,” he writes.

Rep. Khanna has a bill that could do the trick….

“No justice should feel the weight of an entire country on their shoulders,” Khanna added. “No president should be able to shift the ideology of our highest judicial body by mere chance. Most importantly, our country’s top constitutional questions shouldn’t be decided by a panel of jurists who are biding their time until a president of their choice is elected. It’s time to standardize and democratize the Supreme Court.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/25/time-standardize-and-democratize-supreme-court-ro-khanna-introduces-bill-justice

I like the idea that the Constitution does not needed amending…that process takes so long that my grandchildren will have grandchildren before it is decided…..look at the Equal Rights Amendment written in 1972 and still has not been ratified a half a century later.

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Trump’s SCOTUS Lotto Is Done

I try to avoid the silliness of the nation on weekends….but sometimes there is news that truly needs to be reported…….

Looks like Donald the Orange has made his much awaited decision on who he would nominate to replace Ginsburg on SCOTUS…….and the winner is…..Amy Coney Barrett.

It appears that President Trump has his new Supreme Court nominee. The Washington Post, Politico, the New York Times, and Axios all report that sources are pointing to federal appeals court judge Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a move that would significantly push the Supreme Court even further to the right, with a 6-3 conservative majority. The 48-year-old Barrett, who has served on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit since 2017, would be the third relatively young conservative justice appointed by Trump to the high court, joining Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both in their 50s, on the bench.

Barrett, whom the Times calls a “polar opposite” to Ginsburg, was in the running to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy when he retired in 2018. Trump, however, was said to be “saving” the devout Catholic, known for her deeply conservative views on such topics as abortion and LGBT issues, for when Ginsburg’s slot opened up. A caveat from the Times, though, on Trump’s supposed nominee: “As they often do, aides cautioned that Mr. Trump sometimes upends his own plans.” On Friday night, in response to questions from reporters on his pick, Trump would only say he’s made his pick “in my own mind, yes,” and that “I haven’t said it was [Barrett], but she is outstanding,” per Politico.

There is so much more……this pick is polar opposite to Ginsburg…..but what can we expect when we allow ideologues make the picks for the president.

The 48-year-old Barrett was appointed by Trump to the appeals court in 2017, and was also reportedly a finalist for Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat in 2018. She has been portrayed as a favorite of social conservatives seeking to push against the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence. She is unusual, compared especially to famously (and perhaps strategically) tight-lipped recent nominees like Brett Kavanaugh and Elena Kagan, for her extensive paper trail on questions of constitutional law. As a legal academic, she’s written extensively on what obedience to the original meaning of the Constitution requires of judges and members of Congress; how to reconcile the importance of precedent with allegiance to the Constitution’s original meaning; and how precedent can be used to mediate deep disagreements about the law.

As a result, we know more about her jurisprudential beliefs than we’ll know about those of any SCOTUS nominee since, perhaps, Ginsburg. We know she identifies as an originalist who believes that the original public meaning of the Constitution is binding law. But we also know that she is skeptical of the radical libertarian originalist idea that economic regulation is presumptively unconstitutional, and that she believes some Supreme Court decisions that originalists may conclude are incorrectly decided nonetheless stand as “superprecedents” that the Court can abide by.

Her legal writing has also prompted heated reactions from detractors. One piece (with fellow law professor John Garvey) on when Catholic judges might be obligated to recuse themselves from death penalty cases, prompted criticism from Senate Democrats during her appeals court confirmation hearings, who suggested Barrett was unable to separate her faith from her jurisprudence (a charge she strongly rejected).

(Read More)

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21453067/amy-coney-barrett-potential-nominee-supreme-court

Read and weep……this is what our “impartial referee” of the Constitution has become a plaything of ideologues.

30+ days until the election and now the Dems have something else to bitch about…..which they need to focus on the vote and let this minor irritant go for the more they bitch and whine the more they turn people off.

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I Have Lots To Say About SCOTUS

There are a few things I would like to say before the nomination and hearing process starts…..before the circus and comedy tale begins.

We are having a knockdown and dragged out fight between the parties over the choices for the Supreme Court.

I have told the readers what I think of the most recent fight involving the replacement of Judge Ginsburg….but in case are are ill informed…..https://lobotero.com/2020/09/23/dems-need-to-buck-up/

But that is not where I will stop…there is so much more I need to say….if for no other reason that to get it off my chest.

My biggest question is…..why are they appointed for life?  No one else in the scheme of things in the government has a job for life…why the justices?  They can only lose their gig through misadventure (and that is a hard thing to prove)……

Did you know that since it’s beginning the Supreme Court has had only 17 chief justices?  244 years and that is all the chief justices we have had…..and they have in the past overruled their own rulings…..like Plessey v Ferguson(1896) gave us the law of segregation…..whereas the idea of  ‘separate but equal’ facilities….Brown v Board of Education (1954) overturned it.

By stacking the court with ideologues any progress can be overturned…now you see why their political ideology is so important these….once again it is not so much about the law but rather the political agenda.

There is more……if this is truly important then maybe learning about the branch would be wise.   http://supremecourthistory.org/

Picking a judge should be about the Constitution and seeing it is upheld at every turn….not about some political ideology agenda as it is today.

No one should have a government job for life.

It is the 21st century time for the US to move out of the shadow of the 19th century and update the Constitution to reflect society of the present.

Some changes to the federal judge positions…..all judges to include SCOTUS….they should be limited to 2 5 year terms…and the chief justice is based on seniority not favor from the president…..if the branch is suppose to be independent then make it so.

Then there has been floated the idea that SCOTUS judges should be elected as in the states.  I disagree!  That opens up justice to the influence of money and power more so than today.

Qualifications should be for SCOTUS…..20 years experience as a trial judge.  For federal judges there should be at least 10 years of experience….with no political affiliations.

Justices are chosen, in descending order, first by ideology, confirmability, age, race and gender…..no where is a training in law a requirement only considered because of tradition.

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