Tag Archives: Amy Coney Barrett

The Jet joke

The old joke goes “How do you know the plane is full of politicians? When the engines shut down and the whining goes on”, I believe it should be followed by a da-dum-dum. Yet the stage is set and it has been going on for a while now. The BBC article ‘Amy Coney Barrett: Democrats attack ‘shameful’ Supreme Court hearing’ got the better of me and the whining (in an age where we we have actual problems) got on my nerves. OK, I will admit that I am mostly Republican in mind, the issue of this president is one that I am not happy about. From my personal point of view, this president is no Republican, I consider him a greed driven loon, yet he was elected and as I wrote earlier, the constitution allows him to nominate a Supreme Court Judge, and the senate gets to confirm the nomination, this is what the American constitution gives us, yet the BBC gives us “But one Democratic senator on the committee described the process as “shameful””, so which Senator was that BBC? Do the people not have a right to know? In addition, what legal premise is this senator working from? In addition, the BBC gives us “The Republicans – who currently hold a slim majority in the US Senate, the body that confirms Supreme Court judges – are trying to complete the process before Mr Trump takes on Democratic rival Joe Biden in the election”, which is correct, but what are the names in the panel? The BBC also gives us “this process has been nothing but shameful. Worse, it will almost certainly lead to disastrous consequences for Americans”, as such I wonder what evidence can Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy give us? So far he is giving us nothing but air, not even hot air. At what moment in time, has any supreme court judge been anything but legal? Yes, we get it, they all want to have liberal judges and no one denies that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a force to be reckoned with and she was a liberal judge. Yet the law was clear, the elected president gets to nominate a Supreme Court Judge during his tour as president of the United States, electing a Supreme Court Judge is one of the few long term policies he can set, and as such President Trump is allowed to do what is happening today, but the media is nothing if not ‘appeasing’, they will print the ramblings of Democrats, because the larger belief is that this president is most likely a one term president and the media needs brownie points. 

So when we see “Democrats demonstrated that they want Amy Coney Barrett’s hearings to be about the Republican rush to seat a new justice before the elections and the possibility that she could be a deciding vote to strike down the increasingly popular healthcare reforms passed under Democratic President Barack Obama”, so where does it state in the constitutions that this is about  “the Republican rush to seat a new justice before the elections”, all whilst all parties (except the Republicans) ignore the constitution that states “When a vacancy occurs, the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints a new justice”, that is the law and the law was abided to, it might not please the Democrats, but the is what it is, so now they all whine like little bitches (I meant like jet engines). Yet in all this we see no clarity on the panel, do we?

As such, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court , who exactly are these members?  Well there is a majority group which consists of Lindsey Graham (SC), Chairman,  Chuck Grassley (IA), John Cornyn (TX), Mike Lee (UT), Ted Cruz (TX), Ben Sasse (NE), Josh Hawley (MO), Thom Tillis (NC), Joni Ernst (IA), Mike Crapo (ID), John Kennedy (LA), Marsha Blackburn (TN). These 12 members are the majority, the 10 minority members are Dianne Feinstein (CA), Patrick Leahy (VM), Dick Durbin (IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Chris Coons (DE), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Mazie Hirono (HI), Cory Booker (NJ), Kamala Harris (CA). 22 members ‘interrogating’ the next Supreme Court Justice, but the confirmation is set when all senators vote and the Republicans have a majority, a very slim one, as such the Democrats have one option, to ask the right questions, as they pound on those, they can merely hope to sway 3 senators away from the ‘Yay’ vote when the confirmation vote starts and they need a majority to make it pass, if ALL democrats agree this will not happen. The is as good as it gets for the Democrats. Will this happen? I do not know, the previous confirmation was Justice Kavanaugh and took 48 hours as well as more than 1200 questions. Will we see a repetition of this? We are about to find out. 

I wonder how much media will actually be focusing on the questions the democrats asked, and why they were asked. A similar setting does apply to the Republicans, yet the setting of “Democrats are avoiding the divisive topic of abortion, which motivates political adversaries as much as it rallies allies, for what they feel is more favourable political ground”, as such we see the chance of finding a justice with a focus on law is low compared to the Democrat need to find a person that is politically convenient. I merely wonder why they want judges to begin with.

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What is the law? 

That is the question I got myself wondering about. Now consider the law, the US and Commonwealth nations have common law, other nations like most in the EU have civil law, all nations that embrace the rule of law. I myself am largely in favour of the law (alas it does not suit me all the time, but the is life). So when I saw Reuters give me this morning ‘Democrats hammer Trump’s Supreme Court pick, say she could jeopardise Obamacare’. Yes, I get it, democrats are not in favour of conservative judges, the setting is however that the elected president gets to nominate whomever they want, yet it is the Senate that elects them by majority vote. In all this we see “Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and others in his party on Saturday blasted President Donald Trump’s choice of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, focusing in particular on the threat they said she would pose to healthcare for millions of Americans” (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-barrett-healthcare/democrats-hammer-trumps-supreme-court-pick-say-she-could-jeopardize-obamacare-idUSKBN26I00H). Yet here is the kicker, it seems that there is too large and too polarised a view in America for the situation to continue. Now, I have nothing against judge Barrett, I do not know her, and I don’t know any of the supremes, actually I knew one when she was a supreme (Diana Ross) and there is the case where I optionally know two judges, both named Dredd (Sylvester Stallone and Karl Urban). I will admit that I am making light of the situation (apart from the fact that I can), but consider the setting here. The nominated judge (at https://www.fjc.gov/history/judges/barrett-amy-coney) gives us:

  • Law clerk, Hon. Laurence H. Silberman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1997-1998
  • Law clerk, Hon. Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court of the United States, 1998-1999
  • Private practice, Washington, D.C., 1999-2001
  • George Washington University Law School, 2001-2002; adjunct faculty member, 2001; John M. Olin Fellow in Law, 2001-2002
  • Professor of law, Notre Dame Law School, 2002-2017
  • Visiting associate professor of law, University of Virginia Law School, 2007

This youthful youngling of 48 summers has experience, as such she is eligible. And this is where we get to Jo Jo Biden. This is important as they claim “the threat they said she would pose to healthcare for millions of Americans”. Now, I am not stating that she is not, I merely wonder how a judge with so much years of experience might optionally invalidate a setting unless it is an illegal one. Let’s not forget the this is a supreme court judge, not the election of Judge Fish (again the Dredd connection). 

It leaves me with questions, one of them is what would be illegal about Obamacare? If the second president keeps on unravelling on what the previous president put in motion, how useless has the American legal system become? That is a valid question, is it not?

All this whilst the vote of confirmation has not passed yet and this is where the Democrats panel members get to ask all the questions that could interfere with the nominee being confirmed. The Sydney Morning Herald gives us (at https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/the-trap-democrats-must-avoid-in-the-supreme-court-nomination-battle-20200927-p55zm0.html) “Republicans want to turn the confirmation process into a grievance-fuelled culture war by portraying Barrett – a devout Catholic conservative – as a victim of left-wing bigotry. Democrats want to use the Supreme Court showdown to highlight the precarious status of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and elevate it as an election issue”, I believe that this is right on point. Yet when we look at this, would either ever elect the best nomination? Lets not forget, the even as we accept “There is no precedent for a US Supreme Court vacancy to be filled so close to election day”, the reality is “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law”, this is what Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 states. There is nothing about how close to election it is. It is about the elected president of the United States, the constitution is actually that simple (no fish required). And none of it can happen without the consent of the Senate, and they are elected by who? Yup, you guessed it they are directly chosen by the people of the State, in this those 55% (the part that actually showed to the election) made their decision known and these senators, elected by the people will confirm (or reject) the nomination to the supreme court, but those parts are not really that highlighted by the papers are they?

Now, I will happily agree that I am not the greatest expert on the matter (apart from a master degree in law), but there is a lot we need to consider. How can the USA move forward when the setting is created that optionally the next term undoes the actions of the previous term? Is anyone considering that non-productive stage? Apart from the stage where we see the confirmation that the Affordable Care Act is in a precarious situation, implying that it was never properly set into law, and if that is so, whose fault was that? If we focus on the law, let’s make it about the law and there, the current president has been fortunate enough to elect 3 supreme court judges. The last one to do this was former President Reagan and he got to nominate 4 of them, just like former President Nixon, only President Eisenhower nominated 5. And so far, do the people of the USA have anything to complain about? Reagan nominated Judge Scalia, where some state that he was he was one of the most influential jurists of the twentieth century. Nixon elected Judge Blackmun, who was seen as became one of the most liberal justices on the Court. He is best known as the author of the Court’s opinion in Roe v. Wade, which prohibits many state and federal restrictions on abortion. Then there was President Eisenhower who nominated Justice Brennan, and ended up being known for being a leader of the Court’s liberal wing. So when I see all the tears on a lack of liberal judges, I wonder how valid it is. OK, I have an actual life, so I did not dig into EVERY nominated and elected justice, yet I hope that I am raising enough questions for you all to wonder and lets face it, unless you went in and actually voted, you have no real right (unless you were younger than 18 during the last election). 

In the end, we have to wait and see, mostly if the confirmation succeeds or not, because that is the next step. Let’s wait and see, the next step starts on October 12th.

 

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