Tag Archives: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Court brings cause for concern

Oh, brother.

Donald J. Trump is predicting he could get to fill as many as four seats on the U.S. Supreme Court.

How does that grab you? I’ll tell you the unvarnished truth: It scares the ever-loving bejabbers out of me.

The president already has picked Justice Neil Gorsuch for the highest court in the land; he replaced another conservative, Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly a year ago in Texas. Justice Anthony Kennedy is reportedly considering retirement. Who’s next? Might it be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Try this one on for size: Justice Sonya Sotomayor.

Trump could swing court balance

That’s four of them. Kennedy is considered a “swing vote” on the court; Ginsburg and Sotomayor are part of the so-called “liberal wing.” Ginsburg’s health reportedly has been getting more frail over the years. Sotomayor, one of the court’s younger members, suffers from Type 1 diabetes, which could inhibit her ability to continue.

What might occur? Trump will get to appoint justices who’ll swing the court so far to the right that it could scare a whole lot more Americans than just yours truly.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to send good-health vibes to Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg and Sotomayor. We need them on the highest court in the land to maintain some semblance of balance and reason.

Justice Ginsburg seeks to make it right

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg now says she regrets those negative things she said about Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

Does she no longer believe what she said? Hardly. She just regrets saying those things out loud.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/us-supreme-court-justice-ginsburg-apologizes-for-trump-remarks/ar-BBukt9C?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

I’m going to give the Supreme Court justice high marks for saying she plans to be “more circumspect” in the future.

She had said Trump’s election as president would be disastrous for the country and joked she might move to New Zealand if Trump is elected.

I am one of those who have said she shouldn’t have made those statements. It is true that there’s nothing written or codified about what Supreme Court justices can say. It’s been a long-standing tradition that justices steer clear of partisan politics.

Ginsburg lost control of her verbal steering wheel when she popped off about Trump, who not surprisingly responded in his typically crude manner, suggesting the justice had lost some of her mental acuity. He demanded her resignation.

As Reuters reported: “On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them,” she said in a statement issued by the court. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect,” Ginsburg added.

That’s good enough for me. Is it good enough for her critics? I’m thinking umm … no.

Let’s stop the ‘consequences’ talk

ginsburgruth_012814getty

How about settling down just a bit, Republican members of Congress?

They’re all up in arms over remarks Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, about how she cannot imagine a country with Trump as president.

Rep. Randy Weber of Texas said Ginsburg ought to resign. Trump said the same thing. As the Hill reported: “The recent comments of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg on Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump are the antithesis of Lady Justice and in direct violation for what the highest court in the land stands,” he said. “Justice Ginsburg’s actions must be met with consequences. I agree with Donald Trump that she should resign.”

http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/287537-house-republican-ginsburgs-actions-must-be-met-with-consequences

While I agree that Ginsburg crossed a line, violated an unwritten rule about justices getting too politically partisan, let’s take heed of what the framers did when they wrote the U.S. Constitution.

They created an independent branch of government called the “judicial branch.” Judges get lifetime appointments to their posts. The idea was to enable them to be free of political pressure brought by the executive or legislative branches of government.

The founders got it right.

Ginsburg didn’t need to pop off as she did about Trump. But she isn’t the first justice to get involved in politics. In the earliest years of the Republic, justices ran for political office while sitting on the Supreme Court.

That kind of overt politicking, of course, hasn’t occurred in many years.

I don’t expect the Supreme Court to hear cases involving Trump while Ginsburg is sitting on that bench. However, I don’t doubt the justice’s ability to judge any case involving Trump fairly.

Although the framers had the right idea when they created an independent judiciary, they could not possibly remove politics from its actions.

I bring you Bush v. Gore in 2000, in which five Republican-appointed justices stopped the ballot-counting in Florida with GOP candidate George W. Bush leading Democratic opponent Al Gore by 537 votes out of more than 5 million cast in that state. Bush won Florida’s electoral votes and became president by the narrowest of margins.

Do you think politics played any role in that decision?

Well, that’s how the system worked.

As for the present-day dustup over Justice Ginsburg’s remarks, she made them, but let’s quell the talk about “consequences.”

Ginsburg was entitled to say what she said.

Yes, Justice Ginsburg crossed that ‘line’

ginsburg

When judges get appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, they usually follow a set of certain practices.

One of them is to keep their partisan political views to themselves.

Sure, their judicial philosophy often reveals their political leanings, but that’s for others to assume.

With that said, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has crossed a line separating the judicial branch from the rest of the federal government structure.

She said the following: “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” Ginsburg told the New York Times’s Adam Liptak. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/in-bashing-donald-trump-some-say-ruth-bader-ginsburg-just-crossed-a-very-important-line/ar-BBucVZt?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

Ginsburg’s reference is to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.

Very bad call, Mme. Justice.

It’s OK for justices to think certain things about politicians. It’s quite inappropriate for them to say it out loud. Judicial decorum dictates that they stay above the political fray. These individuals aren’t politicians. Presidents nominate them and the Senate confirms them on the basis of how they determine the constitutionality of federal law.

Justice Ginsburg, selected for the high court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, would seem to have an axe to grind given her statements criticizing Trump’s candidacy. Trump, after all, is running against the wife of the man who selected her to the Supreme Court.

Don’t misunderstand me on this point: I have trouble contemplating a Trump presidency, too.

I, though, am not a member of the highest court in the nation. I can say these things out loud. Justice Ginsburg needed to keep her mouth shut.

Ginsburg: 2nd Amendment is ‘outdated’

Some of the weapons collected in Wednesday's Los Angeles Gun Buyback event are showcased Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 during a news conference at the LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office says the weapons collected Wednesday included 901 handguns, 698 rifles, 363 shotguns and 75 assault weapons. The buyback is usually held in May but was moved up in response to the Dec. 14 massacre of students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

This came across my radar screen this afternoon.

I offer it here without comment. The thoughts belong to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed to the court in 1993 by President Clinton.

She said: “The Second Amendment has a preamble about the need for a militia … Historically, the new government had no money to pay for an army, so they relied on the state militias. And the states required men to have certain weapons and they specified in the law what weapons these people had to keep in their home so that when they were called to do service as militiamen, they would have them. That was the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.”

Then she said: “When we no longer need people to keep muskets in their home, then the Second Amendment has no function, its function is to enable the young nation to have people who will fight for it to have weapons that those soldiers will own. So I view the Second Amendment as rooted in the time totally allied to the need to support a militia. So … the Second Amendment is outdated in the sense that its function has become obsolete.”

She said more in an interview:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/second-amendment-outdated-justice-ginsburg-says/

I’m wondering about Justice Ginsburg’s argument on the Second Amendment.

If what she says is true, that the amendment “has become obsolete,” is she making a “strict constructionist” argument for interpreting the U.S. Constitution?

Your thoughts?

McConnell may not block judge picks after all

I’m not going to be so terribly presumptuous to assume that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell read High Plains Blogger recently and may be reacting to its — I mean my — assertion that gridlock regarding judicial appointments is bad for the nation.

Still, I am heartened to hear that despite what McConnell told a radio talk show host, he really and truly doesn’t have plans to block all future circuit court and Supreme Court appointments during the remainder of President Obama’s administration.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/244196-mcconnell-backs-away-from-judicial-shutdown-talk

The president has a number of circuit judge appointments pending in the Senate, which must approve them before the judges take their lifetime seats. A McConnell spokesman said the majority leader really didn’t say all those appointments were toast. They’d get a hearing and a vote, he said.

I’ve noted already that presidents deserve to select judicial appointees to their liking. That’s a consequence of national elections and Barack Obama has won two of them, in a row.

There’s still no word yet on what the Senate would do about a Supreme Court vacancy should one occur. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is said to be in poor health, but she says she isn’t retiring. She’s one of the liberals on the court. Her departure and a replacement wouldn’t shift the balance of power, at least theoretically.

If a conservative justice were to leave the court, well, that’s another matter.

In the meantime, the threat of locking down all future Obama appointments appears now to be lessening.

I’m left to wonder: Did the majority leader actually see my blog?

Nah. Couldn’t be … but it’s fun to wonder.

 

Conservatives show quick trigger fingers

You have to hand it to conservative political leaders, who demonstrate time and again how quick they are to seize an initiative and outflank their liberal foes.

Take the call by religious leaders for liberal U.S. Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves from an upcoming hearing on same-sex marriage.

http://thehill.com/regulation/240163-religious-leaders-want-justices-restrained-from-ruling-on-same-sex-marriage

They contend that Kagan and Ginsburg have put their personal views on the subject above the U.S. Constitution and thus have surrendered their moral authority to decide on this issue.

Is there a more impractical demand than this?

It wouldn’t fly any more than some liberal political interest — say, the American Civil Liberties Union — demanding that conservative justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas recuse themselves because of their often-stated bias against same-sex marriage.

The court is going to hear a case, Obergefell v. Hodges, involving same-sex marriage bans in four states — Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky. The justices might rule that states cannot supersede the U.S. Constitution that guarantees citizens the right to equal protection under the law; or, they might rule that states have that authority.

It should be decided, quite naturally, by the full court comprising liberals, conservatives and swing justices, such as Anthony Kennedy and, possibly, Chief Justice John Roberts.

Still, the hair-trigger response by faith leaders demanding the recusal by liberal justices offers a lesson in how to make a quick-strike political demand.

They’ve honed the strategy almost to an art form.

 

Ready or not, Texas, same-sex marriage on its way

Get ready, Texas.

We’re about to be told that same-sex marriage is OK after all in the Lone Star State.

That vote we had to amend the Texas Constitution to say “not just ‘no,’ but ‘hell no!’ to same-sex marriage”? It’s going to be ruled in violation of the other Constitution, the federal document that governs all Americans. You see, it has an amendment that guarantees “equal protection under the laws” for all U.S. citizens. It doesn’t say just for those who want to marry those of the opposite sex; it means all, period.

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/12/light-alabama-plaintiffs-tx-ask-relief/

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against an effort to overturn a lower-court ruling involving this issue in Alabama. That has court-watchers believing that other states whose same-sex marriage laws are in limbo at the moment now will be informed that, yes, they also must allow same-sex couples to get married.

One of the U.S. Supreme Court justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has said publicly that all Americans had better get used to the idea of same-sex marriage becoming legal in this country.

I remain somewhat conflicted on this issue. I dislike using the term “marriage” to define same-sex relationships. Being an old-fashioned kind of fellow, I remain a bit reluctant to climb on board fully. That all said, I do understand what the federal Constitution’s 14th Amendment says about equal protection.

Therefore, I believe it should be legalized purely on the grounds that the Founders understood that all citizens need certain guarantees written into the nation’s governing framework.

Texas remains one of 50 states, all of which are subject to federal law. Thus, we’d better prepare ourselves for the inevitable change in the way we view marriage.