Archive for federal judges

Poll-itics: SCOTUS approvals near lowest "in 14-year trend"


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SCOTUS, SCOTUS, SCOTUS, what are we going to do with you? Well, here's an idea: Elect Progressive presidents who will replace right wing extremist Supreme Court justices (and other judges) who decide cases that are turning this country upside down.

This Supreme Court has:

  • ruled in favor of prayers in city council meetings (read: Christian prayers);
  • eliminated buffer zones around abortion and contraception medical centers in Massachusetts so that women can now be intimidated and threatened literally within an inch of their lives;
  • weakened unions by ruling that they could not force home-care workers to join them and pay dues;
  • and, of course, allowed Hobby Lobby and other family-owned businesses to decide what kind of birth control their employees could use based on their bosses' religious beliefs. Not the workers' beliefs, mind you, because apparently, corporate religion trumps that of the individual.

And don't get me started on Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions allowing corporate money to attempt to buy elections the way Willard "Mitt" Romney buys car elevators.

According to Gallup, this has affected the court's popularity. Democrats in particular are not too thrilled with this SCOTUS. If that's the case, you know what to do: Vote. In droves. Swarm the polls. Help to register other voters and get them to the ballot box, too.

gallup scotus


Americans remain divided in their assessments of the U.S. Supreme Court, with 47% approving of the job it is doing, and 46% disapproving. These ratings are consistent with approval last September, when 46% approved and 45% disapproved, and rank among the lowest approval ratings for the court in Gallup's 14-year trend. [...]

Republican approval of the Supreme Court is up 21 percentage points since last September, from 30% in 2013 to 51%. Independents' approval shows little change, going from 47% to 46%. Support among Democrats, on the other hand, is down [...]

Americans' current views more closely reflect the court's own ideological divisions in these two recent decisions, rather than its bipartisan unanimity.


Republicans Accuse Obama of Court Packing While They're Guilty Of Packing By Unpacking



Remember George Castanza in Seinfeld. He was embarrased when Jerry's girlfriend Rachel walks in on him and his naked "manhood?" He tried to explain he just got out of a cold swim and he was experiencing "SHRINKAGE."

Well, this week the Republicans tried to cause the country to feel a cold shrinkage. What they were trying to do was convince the senate that there was no need for filling the three vacancies on the second most important court in the land, The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, aka DC Circuit Court.

Normally 11 members, they've experienced shrinkage, resulting in only 8 justices covering the workload for the full contingency. Despite the Republicans claiming there isn't enough work to keep the 11 judges busy, the court has had to pull in retired justices to keep the courts head above water. So in fact, the GOP argument doesn't hold -- yup, you've got it, water.

Now this is the court that gave us Chief Justice Roberts. Since his promotion to the SCOTUS, his seat on the DC Circuit Court bench has been sitting vacant, collecting dust.

Of the 8 justices currently serving, 5 were appointed by conservative Republican presidents. The other 3 were Democratic appointments. So one could argue this makes this court conservative leaning, 5-3. And that's the way the GOP wants it to stay.

Back in 1937, FDR tried to add 6 additional SCOTUS justices to the bench which had then and still has now, 9 members. That became knows as his attempt at COURT PACKING, changing the conservative court more liberal by adding new seats. Obama only attempts to fill vacant ones. So the argument of court packing is again, a blatant falsehood.

What is true is the Republicans are guilty of COURT UNPACKING, leaving vacant seats unfilled so they have a philosophical majority. If Obama fills those three seats, as he will, the court will swing balance 6-5 favoring  Democratic appointments on that court.

But that's not all that's at stake here with the Republicans. Currently there are an equal number of Republican and Democratic appointed Federal Judges -- 390 apiece. There are 93 openings to be filled. Because the Republicans obstruction and the now approved nuclear option, a simple majority will be all that's required of the Senate to approve the President's nominees. Here's the rest of the story.

Lesson here is Mitch McConnell, don't fool with Mother Nature OR the senior senator from Nevada. You go, Harry!!!


Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: "I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes."


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Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke at the Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel on history, ethics and law. In that speech, she expressed her opposition to the election of judges, saying the following, per the Chicago Tribune:

“I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes. In many states, that’s what they are.”

No way! Whatever could have put that crazy idea into her head? Of course that wasn't what GW Bush had in mind at all, right, when he and the GOP packed the courts with conservative judges; yet Republicans now refuse to so much as consider President Obama's judicial nominees.

O'Connor prefers to think of judges as, you know, impartial and independent, fair and unbiased. How novel.

Instead, she said, people "seem to think judges should be a reflex of the popular will" and that judges "need to avoid sitting on cases if even a whiff of bias can be detected."

Are you listening, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito?

More at the link.


"New definition of a consensus nominee is someone who Republicans like, Dems can stomach..."


wtf moment in progress


Judicial nominations have been moving at a snail’s pace, and of course, Republicans have blocked the president every step of the way. The courts have been overloaded, backed up, cannot function properly, and so they are unable to handle cases as judges are unavailable to preside over court proceedings. Trying to get your day in court has become as challenging as passing Democratic legislation in our current Congress.


To make matters worse, many Bush judges are already in place, which explains so many decisions that make Progressive heads explode.


Which brings us to the good news and bad news.


The good news: President Obama has found himself a judicial nominee that appeals to Republicans.


The bad news: President Obama has found himself a judicial nominee that appeals to Republicans.


Via the Los Angeles Times:


President Obama, who has seen court nominees run into Republican roadblocks, may have found a winning strategy for putting a judge on the powerful U.S. appeals court here: He chose a highly regarded corporate lawyer whose resume suggests he could have been a Republican nominee.

Sri Srinivasan, 46, was a law clerk for two Republican-appointed judges after graduating from Stanford University, and he worked in the George W. Bush Justice Department for five years before joining the Obama team as deputy U.S. solicitor general.


This man, per the Times, is likely to be confirmed. Bush's guy. From the Bush Justice Department, which, by the way, is an oxymoron.


More bad news: Senator Ted Cruz likes him. He and Srinivasan were law clerks in Virginia and at the Supreme Court together.


More good news: He would be the first South Asian native to serve on a U.S. appeals court.


More bad news:  He could be a leading candidate for the Supreme Court if and when a vacancy opens up.


More good news: He's a good listener and open-minded, per a colleague.


More bad news:


Liberal activists, unions and human rights groups refused to support him. Most of them say they decided to remain silent, not wanting to upset the White House or stand in the way of an Obama nominee.... The strongest opposition to Srinivasan has come from human rights advocates who have sued multinational corporations.


Are you getting nervous yet? No? Let me nudge you along:


Marco Simons, legal director for Earth Rights International, wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee complaining of Srinivasan's "propensity for pro-corporate, anti-human rights judicial activism." As a lawyer in Washington, Srinivasan has "built a practice around defending powerful multinational companies against allegations of human rights abuses such as war crimes, torture and summary execution," Simons wrote... "The new definition of a consensus nominee is someone who the Republicans like and the Democrats can stomach because they don't want to defy the president," he said.


There's your "liberal" president, GOP.