Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Eight is Enough





It's hard to not notice how political our third branch of government has become.  True, the Chief Justice has ruled with the liberals several times this year, but this is a rarity.  Since the passing of  RBG last month, the R's are shitting all over themselves trying to get another far right judge to replace the lion of the left.

But do we really need a ninth justice? This from Politico: It argues that an even-numbered court would probably be more functional and less divided.

"As it happens, an even-numbered Supreme Court was good enough for the Founders and the first Congress. The Constitution does not specify how many justices should serve on the Supreme Court; it is up to Congress to determine the number. The very first Congress created a six-person court (one chief justice and five associate justices) when it passed the Judiciary Act of 1789.

The court’s path from six justices to nine was not a straight one. Two years after the nation’s first Judiciary Act, President John Adams and his Federalist allies shifted the court from six justices to five. Soon after, President Thomas Jefferson and Republicans returned the court’s size to six justices. Congress added a seventh justice in 1807. Congress again expanded the size of the court to nine justices 30 years later and to 10 justices during the Civil War. After the war, Congress reduced the court’s size to nine justices—where it stands today.

The Founders, and members of the first Congress, like Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, would not be familiar with our reliance on today’s nine-member Supreme Court to resolve our most controversial issues. In Federalist 78, Hamilton observed of the court that it “is beyond comparison the weakest” of the three federal branches. 

This is not true in our present world.  And the R's have been the most aggressive in making it so.

Ruth Ginsburg was confirmed with 90 votes.  But since the Republican majority changed the rules in 2017 to allow for filibusters of Supreme Court nominations to be broken with only 51 votes rather than 60, confirmation has been highly partisan. The precedent for this action had been set in November 2013, when the Democrats, who then held the majority, changed the rules, lowering the threshold for advancing nominations to lower court and executive branch positions from 60 votes to a simple majority, but they explicitly excluded Supreme Court nominations from the change.  McConnell changed that.

Consequently with that critical change, the Senate ultimately confirmed Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court by a 54–45 vote on April 7, 2017. One year later, the Senate voted 50–48 to confirm Kavanaugh's nomination. And the vote for our newest justice will be just as close as 2 R's say that we should wait until the election to appoint a new justice.  

All of us remember the callous lies that were spawned as the Republican McConnell led senate refused to hear President Obama's nominee in the last 10 months of his term because it's "only right to let the voters decide". And remember, Harry Reed changed the rules because the R's had blocked  hundreds of Obama's lower court judges for six years. Consequently, Trump inherited over 100 vacancies when he was sworn in.

In less than four years Trump has appointed about 200 judges, where Obama appointed  just 300 in 8 years.

 Now with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the court is about to fundamentally change with the announcement of Amy Coney Barrett.

This from the NYT:

WASHINGTON — President Trump introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court on Saturday, presenting her as a champion of conservative judicial principles and igniting a partisan and ideological battle to confirm her before the election in just 38 days.

During an early evening ceremony in the Rose Garden with Judge Barrett at his side and her husband and seven children in the audience, Mr. Trump said she would make decisions “based on the text of the Constitution as written” much as her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, the icon of legal conservatives for whom she once clerked, had done.

“She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution,” Mr. Trump said, making his third Supreme Court nomination in his nearly four years in office. At stake in her nomination is the future of gun rights, religious liberty and public safety, he added, as he pressed for historically rapid action by the Senate. “This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation,” he said.

What he didn't say was that she had Covid this summer. And the super spreader event that arose from that maskless, zero socially distanced show of Republican exuberance and greed now counts over 25 top level folks from the administration, including the POTUS himself who now have Covid 19.  

He also didn't say that Judge Barrett is a Catholic. But did you know that including Gorsuch who was raised Catholic, that will mean seven catholic justices? Catholics are only 23% of the population. I remember the day when JFK couldn't be elected because he was beholding to the Pope.  Now, a super majority of the highest court in the land is beholding to their Catholic faith.  The  remaining justices are of Jewish faith.

But, Amy Barrett is not just a Catholic.  She is a full Gospel, tongue talking, faith healing, Pentecostal light Catholic. They call themselves People of Praise.

From the Nation:

"Barrett’s religious views themselves would not be of concern, if we didn’t have ample evidence that they influence her legal views. And it’s important to note that People of Praise is significantly more restrictive than Catholicism. Cult experts say it’s not a cult. (clip)

But there is no denying that the group opposes abortion and gay marriage and bars “out” LGBT people from membership. Its South Bend school, Trinity, where Barrett was on the board for several years, teaches male and female students separately and prohibits dating. In 2017, The New York Times reported that while group members confirmed that Barrett and her husband were part of People of Praise—in fact, both their fathers had been leaders—she didn’t disclose her membership in Senate confirmation"

Considering it was RBG's last request  that we wait for the next president to appoint her replacement, it seems that adding Judge Barrett to an already Catholic heavy court with less than a month before the election is a moral sin

Maybe the Pope would agree.

Or at least be agnostic about it. 

Let's leave it at eight.

Eight is Enough




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