Tag Archives: SCOTUS

You Had One Job, Democrats

I cannot tell you how furious I am to see headlines that use the words “Neil Gorsuch” and “confirmation hearings” in the same sentence.

Neil Gorsuch is getting confirmation hearings that Republicans despicably denied Merrick Garland. That is a fact, and Gorsuch’s nomination is illegitimate. His confirmation will be illegitimate and, if seated, his tenure on the court will be illegitimate. As David Faris wrote,

Gorsuch’s seat was stolen by a craven act of democratic sabotage, and he will always be sitting in a chair reserved for the nominee of a Democratic president. He is illegitimate today, and he will be illegitimate 20 years from now. The fact that he is willing to accept a stolen Supreme Court seat does not speak well of his underlying character. Nicking a Supreme Court seat is not a victimless crime.

Gorsuch is happy to steal a Supreme Court seat. That makes him a thief, and a liar, and a craven political douche canoe who is not worthy of a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court. And anyone normalizing this process as if what we all know happened didn’t happen needs to be seriously checked. That goes for every media person and every member of the U.S. Senate pretending Gorsuch deserves to have this hearing. He doesn’t.

So I don’t want to hear about Neil Gorsuch. I don’t care if he’s a brilliant legal mind or a nincompoop. He does not deserve to be there. Period.

I don’t care that he’s a mysogynist who believes women “manipulate” maternity leave. I don’t care that he’s praised voter suppression or hates the environment. I do not give a rat’s ass as to whether he loves his wife or if he supports an independent judiciary.

This seat is not his to fill. The seat belonged to the person President Barack Obama nominated to fill it, before the Republicans invented some fake “rule” about not filling seats in election years. That rule does not exist, no matter who tried to pretend otherwise. Everybody knows it and anyone who says otherwise is lying.

And how the fuck did this happen, Democrats? Who dropped the ball here? We have been saying since the damn 2000 election that the Supreme Court is everything. So how did everyone just fall in line and act like, “Oh, okay, it’s an election year, got it.” How in the living hell did this happen?

What was it? Was it that Democrats were so sure Hillary was going to win that they didn’t want to get dirty fighting this battle? Is that it? What was the thinking here? Did the pending election take all of the air out of the room?

WHAT HAPPENED?

And where were our allies? Where was the Human Rights Campaign, MoveOn.org, the Center for American Progress, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and everyone else who is constantly badgering me for money? The Supreme Court is the most important thing in every one of your begging emails yet not one of you people fought for Obama’s pick? Nobody ran an ad on cable news? No one thought to rally the troops, get people to sign petitions, call their members of congress, march on the capitol, none of it?

Words fail that the left dropped this ball. THE most important ball.

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Grab The Popcorn, SCOTUS Edition

[UPDATE]:

Mitch McConnell is already saying that “the American people” should have a voice in the selection of the next justice and therefore the replacement should be postponed until after the election.

Told ya so. SO IRONIC! Remember Mitch McConnell in 2005?

“…the Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote.”

Meanwhile, President Obama has 340 days left in office — nearly an entire year. The longest confirmation for any current Supreme Court justice was 106 days. I’d say there’s plenty of time to go through this process.

Suck it, Republicans.

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Condolences to Justice Scalia’s family. He leaves a wife and nine children.

And a lovely hole on the Supreme Court just as cases on abortion, immigration, affirmative action and voting rights are about to be heard. Oh, my.

I will bet that Republicans are going to try cook up some kind of “strict constructionist” poppycock to explain why President Obama can’t nominate a new justice right now.

I remember (and have documented) all the times during the Bush Administration that Republicans told Democrats to just shut up and rubber-stamp W’s nominee. There were all the Justice Sunday events to fire up the evangelical activists; there were all the conservative writers who claimed that Bush should get whatever he wants because of “referendum”; and then, hilariously, there was Bill Frist repeating, ad nauseum, that “the president’s nominees deserve an up or down vote!”

That last bit was especially funny because a few years later, Frist’s disgraced staffer Manuel Miranda penned a letter urging Republicans to filibuster Sonia Sotomayor. Oh, the irony.

Republicans have enjoyed a majority on the Supreme Court for over four decades (at least, that’s according to some Yale legal expert on the news right now). I don’t for a second think Republicans aren’t going to try to pull some trick to keep Obama from changing that.

We live in interesting times, indeed.

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About Those “Friends” Of The Supreme Court …

In case you wondered about some of those dubious recent Supreme Court decisions, this article sheds some light:

“The court is inundated with 11th-hour, untested, advocacy-motivated claims of factual expertise,” she wrote in an article to be published in The Virginia Law Review.

Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them. Recent opinions have cited “facts” from amicus briefs that were backed up by blog posts, emails or nothing at all.

Some amicus briefs are careful and valuable, of course, citing peer-reviewed studies and noting contrary evidence. Others cite more questionable materials.

Some “studies” presented in amicus briefs were paid for or conducted by the group that submitted the brief and published only on the Internet. Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.

Yet the justices are quite receptive to this dodgy data. Over the five terms from 2008 to 2013, the court’s opinions cited factual assertions from amicus briefs 124 times, Professor Larsen found.

Huhn. “Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.” Nobody could have anticipated!

Seriously, is anyone surprised by this? Anyone at all? In a world where everything is manipulated, skewed, twisted, freeped and reshaped to favor one political agenda or another, is anyone shocked to learn that groups have targeted the United States Supreme Court along with every other corner of American civic life?

No, what’s truly shocking is that our esteemed Justices haven’t used, pardon the pun, better judgment when it comes to the sources they cite in their opinions.

For example:

In a 2012 decision allowing strip searches of people arrested for even minor offenses as they are admitted to jail, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy cited an amicus brief to show that there are an “increasing number of gang members” entering the nation’s prisons and jails. The brief itself did little more than assert that “there is no doubt” this was so.

And in a 2013 decision, Justice Stephen G. Breyer cited an amicus brief to establish that American libraries hold 200 million books that were published abroad, a point of some significance in the copyright dispute before the court. The figure in the brief came from a blog post. The blog has been discontinued.

Good grief.

What’s really horrendous is that, as the article states, folks like Justices Scalia and Alito have criticized their colleagues’ practice of citing facts from amicus briefs in their decisions, yet they themselves do it, too — when it’s convenient for their arguments, of course. In the Hobby Lobby case, Alito….

…[refused] to consider “an intensely empirical argument” in an amicus brief. “We do not generally entertain arguments that were not raised below and are not advanced in this court by any party,” he wrote.

… yet in a 2011 decision,

… Justice Alito cited an amicus brief to show that more than 88 percent of American companies perform background checks on their workers.

“Where this number comes from is a mystery,” Professor Larsen wrote. “It is asserted in the brief without citation.”

What this tells me is SCOTUS justices have already made up their minds about the cases before them and cherry-pick dubiously-sourced “facts” from amicus briefs — or not! — to justify their pre-arrived decision.

This is a horrible thought, because it diminishes America’s highest court in the land to mere Kabuki. That’s a level of cynicism even I never fathomed.

We’re so fucked.

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