Trump packs US Supreme Court with far-rightists

This video shows progessive versus right-wing demonstrators at the United States Supreme Court.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Trump chooses second ultra-right Supreme Court justice

10 July 2018

President Donald Trump announced the nomination Monday night of Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appellate judge from the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. The confirmation of Kavanaugh, virtually inevitable given the open capitulation by the Democratic Party, will cement an extreme-right majority on the highest US court for the foreseeable future.

Kavanaugh is set to join the far-right bloc consisting of Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, with Chief Justice John Roberts—an arch-reactionary by historical standards—replacing Kennedy as the “swing” justice, having sided on a handful of occasions with the four more moderate justices who comprise the so-called “liberal” bloc.

The unveiling of the nomination on prime-time television, broadcast by all the networks and cable channels, provided a blare of publicity to an event that otherwise was completely empty. Trump repeated a few scripted platitudes about the Constitution being the “crown jewel” of American society, only days after he had demanded the summary expulsion of immigrants from the United States with no intervention by courts or judges, a flagrant violation of constitutional requirements.

The nominee, Kavanaugh, appeared with his wife and children, thanked the president, his parents, God and the “vibrant Catholic community” in the Washington, D.C. area, where he grew up. The religious references were the sole hint of his right-wing judicial stance, demonstrated in more than 300 opinions handed down over the past 12 years on the most powerful appellate panel below the Supreme Court.

Like Gorsuch before him, Kavanaugh is a dyed-in-the-wool right-wing partisan. Gorsuch came from right-wing Republican stock, as the son of Anne Gorsuch Burford, the Reagan administration EPA director who was forced to resign in disgrace for withholding documents from Congress about the favors she was providing to big polluters.

Kavanaugh was involved in right-wing provocations from his first years as a lawyer, playing a significant role in the Kenneth Starr investigation that culminated in the impeachment of Democratic President Bill Clinton. He actually drafted the bulk of Starr’s 450-page report, filled with salacious details about Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

He went on to work on the successful effort by the 2000 Bush campaign to steal Florida’s electoral votes, which led to the notorious Bush v. Gore decision, engineered by ultra-right Justice Antonin Scalia, which placed George W. Bush in the White House. Bush then hired Kavanaugh as a White House deputy counsel, where he vetted judicial appointments, then as staff secretary, before nominating him, at age 36, for a position on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

At the time, the World Socialist Web Site wrote, after reviewing Kavanaugh’s role in the Starr investigation and the Florida recount: “Now the wheel comes full circle, with the Republican president, installed in office by right-wing judges, naming one of Kenneth Starr’s hatchet men to one of the highest judicial positions in the land.”

Kavanaugh’s appointment to the D.C. Circuit was considered so provocative that it was blocked for two years by Democratic Party opposition, despite a Republican majority in the Senate at the time. Finally, in 2006, as part of a backroom deal to push through most Bush appeals court nominees and withdraw a few of the most odious, the Democrats dropped their opposition and allowed Kavanaugh’s nomination to be voted on. It was ratified by the Senate in a 57-36 vote.

The period between oppositional blustering by the Democrats and final capitulation will be measured in days, not years, this time around. Even though Senate Republicans have the narrowest of majorities, 50-49, given the absence of John McCain due to terminal brain cancer, the Democrats have already abandoned their initial appeals that Trump wait until after the November 6 election to nominate a successor to Kennedy.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer declared last week, in an op-ed piece published in the New York Times, that he will rely on a handful of “pro-choice” Republican senators—primarily Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski—to vote against any Trump nominee committed to overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Even if these two do break ranks, however, their defection would be offset by Democratic defections. Three Senate Democrats, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voted to confirm Gorsuch last year.

The backroom maneuvering on Capitol Hill will ensure a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh well before the November 6 election, with just enough Democrats backing the nominee to ensure confirmation, while Schumer and the majority of Democrats provide only token opposition.

Heitkamp, for example, opposed delaying the confirmation vote and indicated—before Kavanaugh was named—that she might well support Trump’s nominee. Tellingly, she called on Trump to nominate someone “who reflects the same qualities embodied by Justice Kennedy of being fair, pragmatic, and empathetic to all.”

While the Democrats and their media apologists moan over the departure of Kennedy, this reactionary justice was part of a long series of right-wing 5-4 decisions, including Bush v. Gore. He wrote the majority opinion in the notorious Citizens United case, which green-lighted unlimited election campaign contributions from corporations and billionaires.

In the court’s most recent term, Kennedy provided what one observer described as a “a taste of what a post-Kennedy court might look like”, providing the fifth vote for numerous right-wing decisions, most notably the ruling upholding Trump’s ban on visitors and refugees from five predominantly Muslim countries. He did not join the four moderates for a single 5-4 ruling.

In the course of his career, Kennedy’s only major deviation from the ultra-right consensus came in relationship to gay rights, where he authored a series of rulings striking down state laws directed against homosexuals, and ultimately legalizing gay marriage. Here, of course, he was following, not leading, a developing social trend, one that did not pose any threat to the capitalist system or the property and wealth of the ruling financial aristocracy.

From that standpoint, Kavanaugh is an entirely safe pair of hands for the ruling class. He has been an adamant upholder of executive authority and the “rights” of corporations and the wealthy, and especially unsympathetic to those seeking to use the courts to oppose crimes committed by the government—ruling, for example, that the widow of a Guatemalan man tortured and murdered by the CIA did not have standing to sue the agency.

A particularly clear statement of the support for Kavanaugh in the ruling class was the editorial published Monday in the Wall Street Journal, which reviewed the four reactionaries on Trump’s semi-public “short list”—Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman—and virtually demanded the selection of Kavanaugh as the most reliable defender of corporate interests. The editorial concluded that “if a GOP Senate can’t confirm someone like Brett Kavanaugh, it doesn’t deserve to hold the majority.”

In reality, the selection of Kavanaugh is so provocatively partisan, it suggests that the Trump White House has fully taken the measure of the Senate Democrats and wishes to make a public demonstration of their spinelessness.

TRUMP SCOTUS PICK ‘CAN’T BE TRUSTED’ President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court — a judge who has argued that a president shouldn’t be burdened by lawsuits, investigations or indictments. Here’s everything you need to know about the right-wing nominee, whom Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — the man refused to hold hearings for Obama’s pick Merrick Garland — says the Democrats should treat fairly. Dems quickly lined up against the pick, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) writing Kavanaugh “can’t be trusted.” [HuffPost]

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh backed US militarism in his appeals court rulings: here.

5 MEN COULD MAKE ABORTION ILLEGAL Within a few years, five men could revoke a woman’s right to have an abortion in the United States, with Brett Kavanaugh’s expected confirmation likely to tip the balance on the Supreme Court. Trump’s new SCOTUS pick has also consistently ruled against workers, and fought against the rights of people imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay to challenge their detention, arguing that international law should have no impact on the U.S. Constitution in the matter. Even students at Kavanaugh’s alma mater Yale are speaking out. [HuffPost]

TRUMP ‘STIFFED’ HIS CHAUFFEUR Noel Cintron, Trump’s former chauffeur, filed a lawsuit in New York state court on Monday against the Trump Organization, alleging he is owed “thousands of hours” of unpaid overtime. [HuffPost]

The Trump administration missed a court-imposed deadline Tuesday to reunite all young immigrant children who had been separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy: here.


8 thoughts on “Trump packs US Supreme Court with far-rightists

  1. The establishment would like for you to think that the Supreme Court is an impartial judicial institution whose decisions are above politics. That was perhaps once true, but it is certainly not the case anymore.

    Donald Trump just announced that he will nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Let me be absolutely clear: this nomination is a 100 percent political decision, and one that will have a profoundly negative effect on the lives of working people of this country for decades to come if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed.

    Brett Kavanaugh’s record has made it clear he will use his position on the court to protect corporations at the expense of workers, to allow corporations and the wealthy to buy elections and to undermine voting rights. Further, given the fact that Donald Trump stated repeatedly during the campaign that any nominee of his would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, I have no doubt that is exactly what Brett Kavanaugh will do.

    Simply put, nothing is more important now than doing everything in our power to stop this nomination. I intend to travel to many states around the country in opposition to this nomination. Can I count on you to work with me in this fight?

    Please add your name to my petition: We must oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. This is critical to protect our democracy, so please sign now.

    Here is a hard truth: for decades the far right has made it their number one goal to stack the Supreme Court with partisan ideologues. During that time, the current court has made dozens of decisions, many of them by a 5-4 vote, that have harmed women’s rights, the environment and most recently the Janus decision, which was an attack on union rights and the standard of living of American workers.

    Further, the Supreme Court has eroded voting rights, upheld Trump’s Muslim ban, and of course, by a 5-4 vote, decided Citizens United, empowering corporations and wealthy Americans to buy elections.

    And it is widely suspected that a hyper-partisan Supreme Court, with Trump’s new nominee, would aim its sights directly at overturning Roe v. Wade. We can’t let this happen.

    Donald Trump’s first nomination, Neil Gorsuch, has quickly become one of the most radical right-wing members of the court. The evidence suggests Brett Kavanaugh could go even further.

    The damage Brett Kavanaugh could do won’t just last until the next election. He could serve on the Court for decades, making dangerous decisions for years to come.

    Together we must do everything we can to win back the House, the Senate and the presidency to stop further disastrous nominees. But right now, we must do everything we can to stop the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

    That starts with you adding your name to our petition.

    Add your name to our petition to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Let us protect our democracy:

    This will be a long fight, and I’m proud to have you with me.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders

  2. 1. Brett Kavanaugh Is Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee: Live Updates, The New York Times, July 9, 2018

    2. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire, The New York Times, June 27, 2018

    3. Trump promised judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade, Washington Post, March 21, 2017

    4. Iowa governor signs restrictive abortion ban known as ‘heartbeat bill’, CNN, May 4, 2018

    Mississippi Governor Signs Nation’s Toughest Abortion Ban Into Law, NPR, March 19, 2018

    5. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: ‘No Doubt’ Abortion Will Be Illegal In 20 States In 18 Months, Huffington Post, June 27, 2018

    Abortion Policy in the Absence of Roe, Guttmacher Institute, June 5, 2018

    6. Senate Rejects Slimmed-Down Obamacare Repeal as McCain Votes No, The New York Times, July 27, 2017

    Senate Rejects Measure to Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks of Pregnancy, The New York Times, January 29, 2018

    7. Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion access law, CNN, June 27, 2016

    8. Supreme Court strikes down juvenile executions, The New York Times, March 1, 2005

    Supreme Court says IQ cannot determine mental fitness in capital cases, Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2014

    9. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s evolution on affirmative action, CNN, June 23, 2016

    10. Opinion analysis: Marriage now open to same-sex couples, SCOTUSBlog, June 26, 2015

    11. Anthony Kennedy, swing justice, announces retirement, SCOTUSBlog, June 27, 2018

  3. Had it not been for the landmark Brown v. Board of Education, I likely would not have become a lawyer, or a prosecutor, or been elected district attorney, or the Attorney General of California. And I certainly would not have been a United States Senator.

    As part of only the second class to integrate the Berkeley public schools, I know from firsthand experience how consequential an individual justice on the Supreme Court can be to the lives of Americans.

    When at its best, the Supreme Court has advanced the cause of justice and enforced the principle of equality; at its worst, it has upheld racial segregation, voter suppression, and the right of corporations to flood dark money into elections.

    Brett Kavanaugh represents a fundamental threat to the promise of justice and equality, which is why I am announcing that I will oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court.

    Sign my urgent petition opposing Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. As a replacement to Justice Kennedy, he presents an existential threat to our rights and to the health care of millions of Americans.

    sign the petition »

    Trump made clear during the 2016 presidential campaign that he’d create a litmus test for Supreme Court Justices — overturn Roe v. Wade and rule against the Affordable Care Act.

    Judge Kavanaugh makes good on that promise. As recently as last year, he disregarded Supreme Court precedent on Roe and opposed the reproductive health care rights of a vulnerable young woman — in a ruling that was overturned by a sitting of all judges on his court.

    The health of women and the rights of all Americans are on the line in this Supreme Court fight. Numerous cases involving women’s health are only one step away from the Supreme Court. Those are the stakes of this nomination and we must demand a mainstream jurist worthy of our country.

    Add your name to my petition opposing Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. He is too extreme and will shift the balance of the court for a generation.

    sign the petition »

    Not a single one of us can afford to sit on the sidelines if we’re going to win this fight. Thanks for taking action tonight.

    I’ll be in touch soon with more.

    — Senator Kamala Harris

  4. Pingback: British anti-ISIS fighters against Islamophobia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: NATO warmongers at war among themselves | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: British anti-Trump demonstrators speak out | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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