Tag Archives: SCOTUS

We’re waiting on AG … patiently

A nation’s patience appears to be running a bit thin as it awaits some key decisions by its chief law enforcement officer … the attorney general of the United States.

AG Merrick Garland is a meticulous man and I am glad to have someone as thoughtful and as deliberate as Garland on the job at the Justice Department.

Am I among those who want Garland to act sooner rather than later? Not really. In truth, my mind and my interests are drawn to more personal matters these days, as my wife struggles with a serious medical condition.

However, were I free to think more frequently about Garland’s probe into the activities of Donald J. Trump my belief would be to let the man proceed at his own pace and at his discretion.

He already has appointed two special counsels to probe Trump’s pilfering of classified documents to his glitzy joint in Florida as well as the classified documents found in President Biden’s home in Delaware. I’ve declared already that I do not consider the incidents to be equal; the Trump matter is much more egregious than what I believe the president allowed to occur.

Garland, though, came to the DOJ after serving for many years on the federal bench. President Obama wanted Garland to take a seat on the Supreme Court, but Senate Republicans made sure that wouldn’t happen. His reputation as a jurist was that he was fair, dispassionate and — well — judicious.

He brings those traits to the Justice Department.

Garland also has declared that “no one is above the law” and has affirmed that statement merely by repeating what he has declared that “no one” can escape justice. By “no one,” I am going to presume he means that even former POTUSes are in the crosshairs.

Let us remember, too, that Garland has received a referral from the House 1/6 committee to pursue criminal indictments relating to the insurrection. He’s working on that matter, also with all deliberate speed. And … we have the Fulton County, Ga., district attorney, Fani Willis, who is examining whether to indict Trump on election tampering in the 2020 presidential election.

All of this requires patience, folks. I happen to possess plenty of it. How about you?


Biden finishes a bold move

When he served as vice president of the United States, Joe Biden got way ahead of the Barack Obama administration on the issue of same-sex marriage.

President Obama had opposed it publicly. Then Biden blurted out on national TV that he thought that gay couples are entitled to the same marital rights as heterosexual couples. Indeed, the Constitution backed up Biden’s assertion, which reportedly didn’t go over well in the West Wing of the White House.

Obama left office in January 2017. Joe Biden became president in January 2021. This week, he put his signature on a law that finishes what the president started with his assertion that same-sex marriage is protected by the Constitution.

Oh, and his signature also has codified rules allowing mixed-race couples to marry, which is another huge step toward preserving our nation’s guarantee that all citizens are entitled to “equal protection under the laws.”

“Marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love? And will you be loyal to that person you love?” the president asked from the South Lawn as he signed the Respect for Marriage Act. “It’s not more complicated than that.”

I never thought of President Biden as a trailblazer until that moment in 2012 when he stepped out in front of the administration he served. He was right then, and he was very correct this week when he signed legislation approved by congressional members of both parties. The Supreme Court would rule in 2015 that same-sex couples had a legal right to marry, setting off celebrations across the country

The signing this week also seeks to forgo a bizarre threat offered by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who — after the court struck down the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion — hinted that the court might take aim at same-sex and interracial marriages. Yep, that’s weird coming from a Black justice who happens to be married to a white woman. He need not worry now about whether the court is going to make his marriage illegal … you know?

Joe Biden’s firmness is a welcome sign of reason and resolve in a government plagued too often in recent times by chaos and confusion. Well done, Mr. President.


SCOTUS needs ethics rules

What in the name of judicial ethics will it take for the U.S. Supreme Court to adopt a code of ethical behavior that it insists that lower court judges must follow?

Good grief. We now are witnessing two justices on the nation’s highest court violating what would appear to be clear ethical rules governing their conduct as jurists. They both are conservatives, Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Thomas — the court’s longest-serving member — has been ruling routinely on matters related to the 1/6 insurrection even though his wife, Ginni, took part briefly in the rally that day preceding the frontal assault that Donald J. Trump incited. Thomas has been a lonely voice in standing up for Trump while his colleagues — liberal and conservative — have ruled against the ex-POTUS.

I have said many times that Justice Thomas should quit the court, not just recuse himself. His behavior has been nothing short of disgraceful.

Now we hear that Justice Kavanaugh has been keeping company with far-right-wing activists who belong to organizations that have brought matters before the Supreme Court. Huh? What? Are you kidding me?

How in the world does Kavanaugh rule impartially and without bias when he pals around with MAGA types? He cannot do it.

Back to my original point. The Supreme Court has punished jurists for unethical conduct over many decades. And yet the justices are not held to any sort of code of conduct that requires them to follow ethical rules of behavior.

How in the world does the nation’s top judicial bench justify that? How does Chief Justice John Roberts explain that lack of ethical standard? He doesn’t because he can’t.

This lack of ethical code is beyond absurd. It is reprehensible.


Don’t take it personally, Donald

Donald J. Trump needs yet another lesson in civics … so here goes.

The ex-POTUS reacted quite predictably to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for the House Ways and Committee to see his tax returns, the ones he withheld from public view for the past six years.

He said the court’s decision was “no surprise” that it “ruled against me.” Wait a second, Donald.

The court didn’t rule against you. It studied the law and determined that there was no legal basis to keep the records away from Congress. It wasn’t a decision based on any antipathy toward the ex-president.

I should remind The Donald that three of the court justices were nominated by him and that the 6-3 conservative majority on the court is presumed to look favorably on right-wing arguments that come before the panel.

It’s about the law, Donald, not about you.


SCOTUS clears way for Trump tax return

How does the saying go? Oh, I know: Inquiring minds want to know … actually those inquiring minds need to know and have a right to know.

Know what? They have a right to know how much a former president of the United States paid in taxes. They have the right to know how much he gave to charity. They are entitled to know the nature of his business dealings. They also have a right to know whether Donald J. Trump is as wealthy as he claimed to be while running for POTUS in 2016.

The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee to get its hands on Trump’s tax returns. The court didn’t disclose any details of its decision or reveal how the justices voted on it. Now, that begs the question: Does that mean you and I will see them? Not right away.

However, given the sieve quality of Congress, my guess is that we’ll get a peek at them in due course. Maybe soon.

Why is this a big deal? It’s a big deal because Donald Trump made it a big deal in 2015 when he announced his intention to seek the presidency. He rode down the Trump Tower escalator and said, among many things, that he would release the returns as other candidates have done.

Then he backed off. Then he said he would release them when the Internal Revenue Service completed its audit of the returns. We never learned whether the IRS was actually auditing them; Trump never produced any evidence of an audit. The IRS said it couldn’t confirm an audit but said that an audit didn’t preclude someone from releasing the returns.

Then he balked again. He’s been fighting release of the returns ever since.

Many of us want to see the returns. We are entitled to see them. The man worked for us. Trump was our “employee” for four years.

He wants to run for POTUS again. He likely will bellow, blather and boast more about his wealth. I long have known that the truly wealthy among us don’t brag about it. Thus, I am suspicious of Trump’s dubious claims of fabulous wealth.

Let us see for ourselves.


Judiciary wins in midterm

Among the many winners who are basking in the glory of the 2022 midterm election result must be those who work within the federal judiciary.

Had the Republicans been able to seize control of the U.S. Senate, GOP leader Mitch McConnell had all but guaranteed that President Biden would have to endure a massive legislative blockade of all his judicial nominees.

Democrats will be in control of the Senate for at least the next two years. That means Biden will be able to fill the 50-some judicial vacancies that have stayed vacant.

Should a vacancy occur on the Supreme Court, the president will be able to nominate someone, who then will be subjected to the senatorial scrutiny required of all such nominees. Remember what McConnell did to President Obama when a vacancy occurred in early 2016 upon the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia, He played a crass game of partisan politics and blocked the man Obama wanted to sit on the court — Merrick Garland — from ever getting a hearing.

That kind of chicanery won’t happen now that Democrats have secured at least 50 seats in the Senate.

Yes, the judiciary emerges as one of the winners of the midterm election.


How did Mrs. Thomas keep this secret?

Ginni Thomas says she never has discussed her political activity with her husband, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

That’s right. Mrs. Thomas would have us believe that Justice Thomas, presumably an alert, learned individual, would be oblivious to her involvement in activities involving the overturning of the 2020 presidential election; Ginni Thomas has made no secret of the notion that she believes the election was stolen from Donald Trump.

So, Justice Thomas, who has taken part in rulings involving the election — who has failed to recuse himself from those decisions — knows nothing about his bride’s involvement. We are asked to believe that?

I believe Ginni Thomas has described Justice Thomas as her “best friend.” I believe “best friends” tell each other, well, everything.

Who in the world is Ginni Thomas kidding? Not me. Not most Americans. My hunch is that her husband knows all about what his wife has been doing when she’s away from the house.

Ginni Thomas told all of this to the House select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection. Chairman Bennie Thompson, as he has done throughout the testimony, swore in Ginni Thomas to “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth” under threat of criminal prosecution.

Hmmm. What’s next? There could be a perjury accusation on its way.


Let her believe that crap, however …

Ginni Thomas is entitled to believe whatever conspiratorial crap fills her seemingly vacuous noggin, such as the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.

We have no evidence of any such theft. Still, that’s reportedly what she told the House select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection.

Fine, lady. You believe whatever you wish.

However, she occupies an unusual place in the world of public figures. She’s not elected or appointed to any high-profile office. She is, though, married to someone who fits that bill: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Here is where Ginni Thomas’s denials of wrongdoing get a little sticky, not to mention stinky. She insisted to the committee that she and her husband don’t ever discuss politics at home. And yet, she would have anyone with half a noodle in their skull believe that she would ignore what she has told others that the 2020 election was the “greatest political heist” in U.S. history.

Is she going to have us believe she never has said anything to her best friend, the man to whom she’s been married for 35 years about what she believes is the greatest act of theft in the history of our nation?

I am not going to accept that Justice and Mrs. Thomas never have talked between themselves about her political life outside the walls of their home.

The issue came to the fore when Justice Thomas cast the lone dissenting vote as the court ruled that he had to turn over his presidential papers to the National Archives. Every other justice ruled that Trump had to cut them loose; not so, Clarence Thomas ruled.

I will stand by my earlier demands that Clarence Thomas resign from the court. He has no business ruling on matters related to the insurrection when he is married to someone who believes The Big Lie about alleged electoral thievery.

And I do not believe for a nanosecond that Ginni Thomas has never said a word about to the justice.


Land of the Free? Hah!

Didn’t this country found itself as the “Land of the Free,” a nation that prided itself on delivering freedom to all Americans, a land that honored our civil liberties?

I ask because of what has transpired in recent months with the U.S. Supreme Court rescinding one of our sacred civil liberties, the one that granted women the right to determine how to control their own bodies, as covered in the rights of privacy spelled out in the U.S. Constitution.

The court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal in this country. Over the nearly five decades of its existence, legal scholars and other courts had determined that Roe was “settled law.” In other words, we couldn’t mess with what had become part of the nation’s legal fabric.

Not so, according to the current Supreme Court.

When the court rescinded Roe v. Wade it essentially determined that on this key issue, women are longer free to make critical, gut-wrenching and highly emotional decisions involving their own bodies.

There doesn’t appear to be any remedies available, given the current makeup of the U.S. Senate and certainly given the ideological bent of the court, with its six conservative justices. Senate Democrats want to “codify” legality of abortion legislatively, but they would have to overcome a certain Republican filibuster; they need 60 votes to end such an obstructionist act. A 50-50 Senate split isn’t likely to bend.

Oh, but wait. The midterm election could give Democrats an actual majority, enabling them perhaps to toss out the filibuster. We’ll have to see.

I just am baffled at the frontal attack that the GOP and their allies on the Supreme Court have leveled against a fundamental principle established by our nation’s founders. It is that American citizens enjoy the freedom to make decisions that only they can make for themselves.

I would say that a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy qualifies as a critical component of living in the Land of the Free.



Ginni Thomas: dangerous conspirator

Ginni Thomas just keeps distinguishing herself in ways that ought to bring shame not just to her but to her husband … who happens to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thanks to some intrepid reporting from the Washington Post, we now hear that Ginni Thomas urged Wisconsin Republicans to do all they could to overturn the results of that state’s 2020 presidential election. She wanted them to flip the results from Joe Biden’s column to Donald Trump.

Why is this important? Because … hubby Clarence Thomas continues to rule on cases involving that election, rather than (a) recuse himself from anything having to do with that event or (b) just resigning from the high court altogether, which is my preferred outcome.

It is an utterly disgraceful display of conflict of interest for Justice Thomas to continue ruling on these matters while his wife continues to roil the faithful with idiotic assertions that the election was stolen from Donald Trump.

This matter is so far from being over.