Forced Resignations Are the Surest Way to Reform the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is a national crisis. Is there any hope of fixing it?  Did Trump lean on Justice Kennedy to resign to grease the skids for Brett Kavanaugh, accused of sexual assault, gambling, and corruption? Over 4500 tips came into the FBI. Instead of investigating them, the FBI handed them over to the Trump White House where they were buried. Kennedy did resign in 2018, and Trump nominated Kavanaugh.

The exact number of tips was disclosed in a June 30 letter released by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on July 22. One of Kavanaugh’s accusers is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, an American professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She specializes in designing statistical models for the research project and in no way is involved in politics.

This calls into question the legitimacy of Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court.  Then Neil Gorsuch was given a seat on the Court for which President Obama had nominated Merrick Garland. Had one of these nominations been stopped, dozens of hard-right decisions stretching from Citizens United and Shelby County would not have reversed important civil rights.

Brett Kavanaugh had virtually no liquid assets, a $62,026 a year salary, and a five-figure credit card debt. but he somehow managed to come up with a $245,000 down payment on a $1,125,000 home in the tony Chevy Chase suburb of Washington, DC. The mortgage payments on the house were $55,200 a year, more than Kavanaugh took home from his job. How did Kavanaugh arrange to pay off as much as $200,000 of what may have been gambling debts just before his 2018 nomination, and another, a similar batch of debts around the time he was first put on a federal court?  How was able to come up with enough cash to put two kids in a $10,500 private school, and pay the $92,000 initiation fee for membership in a fancy country club? Did he agree to tow a right-wing voting record in exchange for a seat on the Supreme Court?

When it comes to domestic policy Supreme Court justices, particularly when in the majority, arguably have greater power than the president.  While the president can sign a bill into law, justices on the Supreme Court can alter or even strike down that law or interpret it in a way wholly inconsistent with the intent of the legislature that passed it.

Justice Kennedy, himself, may have been compromised. Donald Trump and his family, particularly Don Jr., had a long and financially rewarding relationship with Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin, who had headed up the part of Deutsche Bank that was involved in over a billion dollars worth of loans that ended up in the Trump family’s properties and pocket. The Deutsche Bank was prosecuted for laundering money for the Russian Mafia.

Why were the charges of sexual assaults, gambling and drinking problems, and actual corruption on the bench never investigated? Why did the FBI not interview Ford?  Was the  Supreme Court packed illegally and can this be undone, including investigating Clarence Thomas, who was ethically compromised and is now elderly himself? Thomas, the longest serving justice, acknowledged that the high court has its flaws, comparing it to a “car with three wheels” that somehow still works, The justice’s remarks came during a lecture at the University of Notre Dame in which he talked about traveling by RV in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee with his wife, Ginni.

Just before the Capitol Hill assault on the Capitol on January 6 Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote on Facebook,  “Watch MAGA crowd today best with Right Side Broadcasting .. and then C-Span for what the Congress does starting at 1:00 pm today. LOVE MAGA people!!!!!”

In a post about 15 minutes later, she wrote, “GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU STANDING UP or PRAYING.”

Shortly thereafter the post was removed.

Is Mrs. Thomas no less responsible for helping to trigger the incitement?

The Thomas’s have been skirting the ethical boundaries for years. Between 2003 and 2007, Virginia Thomas earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the foundation’s IRS records. Thomas failed to note the income in his Supreme Court on financial disclosure forms for at least five years, checking a box labeled “none” where “spousal noninvestment income” would be disclosed.

Virginia Thomas originated Liberty Central, whose purpose is to restore the “founding principles” of limited government and individual liberty.

The pressure should build to force a Thomas resignation. At age 72, he has been on the court the longest of serving justice.  After Court 30 years ago, Justice Clarence Thomas assured his law clerks, “I ain’t evolving.”  We live in a time of unprecedented change and Justice Thomas sits like a stone in the middle of the road. 

 Over the last two decades, the Supreme Court has effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as in 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder case voiding the enforcement mechanisms.  Over 400 anti-voter bills have been introduced in 49 states this year — and 30 are already law. 

The Supreme Court has stymied Biden on immigration. The justices left in place a lower court’s injunction preventing the Biden administration from ending Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which left many asylum-seekers unable to enter the United States as their cases proceed through the long process of being screened.

The Supreme Court launched a ‘political torpedo’ right at the Biden administration: In a four-sentence order,  the court is saying Biden has to continue to Trump’s policy because he didn’t end it in the right way. The majority of the Supreme Court is using the shadow docket to effectively decide cases long before the appeals would otherwise reach it.

Now millions of renters could face eviction in the coming days due to the court.

The laws allow the Supreme Court to have what is commonly known as the “shadow docket.”  Every year, the court considers emergency motions for stays of lower-court orders. It decides these cases without oral argument, often in a matter of days or even hours. In such cases, it typically offers no explanation for its reasoning, even when dissenting justices voice serious objections, and even when the court is effectively overturning the unanimous decisions of lower courts. This is the way a conservative court can overturn decisions in the shadows

The high court refused to block a Texas law banning most abortions after six weeks that makes anyone seeking or aiding someone getting an abortion open to lawsuits offering a $10,000 bounty.  It turns neighbors against neighbors, creating opportunities for wronged lovers and opportunists to sue anyone aiding a woman in getting an abortion.

Look at these statistics to see that the right to abortion results in fewer deaths.

Texas can now mandate that a 14-year-old girl must carry the pregnancy forced on her by a rapist, but the state cannot require the same girl to wear a mask at school, because that’s too great a burden on her freedom. The Supreme Court has agreed to take up Texas’ 6-week abortion ban after 15 weeks , scheduling oral arguments for Nov. 1 – just over a week from now. It is a direct challenge to what has been the law of the land for almost 40 years and saved the lives of thousands of young women.

Economists will tell you that restricting abortion access restricts women’s lives.

If the Court wants to eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion without explicitly overruling Roe. The Court could conceivably hold that there is still a constitutional right to an abortion, but states are free to impose burdensome requirements on abortion clinics — including requirements that are so expensive that they force clinics into insolvency.

Disapproval of the Supreme Court is the highest it’s been in years; a  recent Gallup survey found 40percent of Americans disapprove of the job it’s doing, compared with 29 percent disapproval in 2000.  “At this point, less than a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents approve of the job the court is doing,” said Gallup.  A recent survey by Marquette University Law School documented the same dramatic drop. Its numbers showed public approval sliding from 60 percent in July to 49 percent in September.

According to the CDC, over 700 women die of pregnancy complications each year. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths are preventable. More than 65 million American women would immediately lose access to abortion in their home states when Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

What we have now sitting in the Supreme Court is a six-justice majority is the judicial equivalent of a monarchy’s “heir and a spare.” The court, with a membership that has not been this conservative since the 1930s. If any five justices agree, they can rewrite whole hunks of the law of the land.  If Chief Justice Roberts isn’t with them, the court’s most conservative member, Justice Clarence Thomas, has the power to assign the majority opinion or write it himself.

Justice Clarence Thomas has denounced and schemed to overturn Roe Vs. Wade since professing to the Senate Judiciary Committee 30 years ago that he never even thought about the matter.

This case concerns a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortion at 15 weeks “except in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality” is one of the hundreds of abortion measures that state legislatures passed recently, many with the explicit goal of overturning Roe.  Abortion stigma exists everywhere. Even in countries where abortion is incredibly accessible, people still face stigma, shame, and isolation.

If Roe is overturned, here’s how the states line up:

    • According to the Guttmacher Institute, eight states retain enforceable pre-Roe abortion bans in their laws:
      • Alabama
      • Arizona
      • Arkansas
      • Michigan
      • Mississippi
      • Oklahoma
      • West Virginia
      • Wisconsin.
    • Also, 12 states have laws on their books that would trigger automatic bans on abortion if Roe were overturned:
      • Arkansas
      • Idaho
      • Kentucky
      • Louisiana
      • Mississippi
      • Missouri
      • North Dakota
      • Oklahoma
      • South Dakota
      • Tennessee
      • Texas
      • Utah.

All of these states have in common is a GOP-controlled legislature.

  • On the permissive side, 15 states and the District of Columbia have laws on their books that explicitly protect the right to obtain an abortion:
    • California
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Hawaii
    • Illinois
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Nevada
    • New Mexico
    • New York
    • Oregon
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Washington.

This politicized  Supreme Court finally issued a ruling in the cases challenging Texas’s near-total abortion ban, S.B. 8. it ruled that the Texas law can be challenged in court, but only narrowly, encouraging other states to enact similar bans. Joan Biskupic, CNN’s new correspondent  says Chief Justice John Roberts is beginning to lose control of the so-called “Roberts court” as the far-right majority has begun to radically change settled law and push through their own agenda.

Legislatively reforming the Supreme Court is out of reach in this Congress. The best recourse is to create an environment in which Thomas and Kavanaugh resign.

Another way to counter the right-wing is what California Governor Gavin Newsom pledged to empower private citizens to enforce a ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons in California, citing the same authority claimed by conservative lawmakers in Texas to outlaw most abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Let the “Supremes” deal with this one, drawing a distinction between birth and bullets!

Once again, the Supreme Court majority in denying the federal government from taking measures to stop Covid-D is responsible for grave injury to both people and the economy has jeopardized its legitimacy.

One thing the Court could do to unleash furious protest is prevent the House committee investigating January 6 to get Trump’s documents.

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