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Supreme Catastrophe?
Author: BobR    Date: 06/28/2018 13:28:18

When SCOTUS Justice Antolin Scalia died suddenly in early 2016, it seemed like we were poised to make changes to the court that would swing it in the direction of human rights for years to come. It was still too early to tell who the presidential candidates would be, but it seemed that Hillary Clinton would be the presumed Democratic party candidate, and none of the candidates on the Republican side seemed electable. Still - Senate majority leader "Turtle" McConnell created an unresolved constitutional crisis by refusing to take a vote on President Obama's replacement pick until after the election.

Perhaps McConnell had some "inside information", because the gambit worked. The worst possible nightmare happened - tRump became the candidate, and then the president-elect. A man who knows nothing of the Constitution or law (or even common decency) got to choose a Supreme Court justice. The spate of recent rulings show the consequences of that.

Now we get the news that justice Kennedy is retiring at the end of July. The announcement was sudden and unexpected, and hits like a punch in the gut. He was a moderate "swing" vote, which isn't like losing a more liberal-minded justice, but it means that tRump gets a chance to put his stamp on a 2nd seat, and move the court even further back in time.

Who will it be? The name Brett Kavanaugh has been tossed around, and he is considered to be on the short list:
Kavanaugh, 53, is a federal appellate court judge based in Washington, D.C., who previously clerked for Kennedy. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the appellate court took three years from his nomination in 2003 until he was confirmed by a 57-36 vote in May 2006.

Prior to the vote, Kavanaugh was blasted as an “unqualified judicial nominee” by the New York Times. The Times wrote that his resume “screams political partisanship” and pointed to his role in helping Kenneth Starr draft the possible grounds for impeachment for President Bill Clinton and writing and co-writing his own op-ed that called Starr “an American hero.”

What's clear is that tRump wants to leave his stain...er "mark" - on the court for 40-45 years, and considers this to be a good campaign issue to get people motivated to vote for Republicans to ensure that he gets confirmed. This is because Republicans fear that Democrats will do to them what they did to the Democrats - deny a confirmation until after the elections later this year. It's unclear whether Democrats have the power to actually do that - they would need to find a couple Republicans to side with them. As to McConnell, he's suddenly found his Constitutional duties to be the most important thing in the world:
On Capitol Hill, McConnell said the Senate “stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy.”

“We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall,” McConnell added.

The concern is that with a more conservative SCOTUS, right-wing groups will file lawsuits (or that the U.S. Congress or state legislatures could try passing regressive laws), with the hope of driving them to the Supreme Court to get their social issues forced upon us. There are legitimate concerns about this. However, doing so may not be good for conservatives politically:
When it comes to the post-Millennial Generation, one New York Magazine report warns that the young people should “scare the hell out of the GOP.” This is the generation that is taken to the streets before they even turn 18 and can vote. They’re already mobilized, energized and angry at the NRA and Republican members.

“Basically, everything about the millennial generation that threatens the GOP — its diversity, tolerance, and relative disdain for values rooted in conservative Christianity — is even more likely to be manifested among the post-millennials,” New York Magazine said.

That is a minimum of 100 million people who support LGBTQ rights, support equality, don’t want the government to control what they smoke, who they date and sleep with, are angry with the NRA and are demanding police stop shooting their friends.

[...]

With a far-right justice added to the court, the GOP will get 30 years of decisions that remind millennials and Gen Z members what the Republicans stand for. It will take them out of the mainstream of voters, even if the GOP manages to turn itself toward the middle before they’re gone entirely.

So here's hoping the young people are truly the future. They've grown up assuming all these rights are a given, and they may be finding out they have to fight for them just like their parents and grandparents did. This is definitely a setback, but the long-term future looks better, with white men becoming a minority, and young idealistic progressive-minded people taking their place in the political sphere.

 

39 comments (Latest Comment: 06/29/2018 00:33:39 by Will in Chicago)
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