About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Kavanaugh Confirmation Vote Turns On Speeches By Senators Graham & Collins

  click on image from FNC to enlarge
 
The above photo of Brett Kavanaugh & his wife & children was taken @ a private swearing in ceremony within hours of Judge Kavanaugh being confirmed by the Senate on October 6 as the 114th Supreme Court Justice.  President Trump had signed Kavanaugh's commission on Air Force One on his way to a MAGA rally in Kansas.  Chief Justice John Roberts administered the Constitutional Oath, shown above, & retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the Judicial Oath.
 
The public ceremonial swearing in took place Monday night in the East Room of the White House on national TV.
 
Kavanaugh's contentious confirmation process, including an additional hearing devoted to sexual assault charges by Professor Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh, had many lowlights as described in the last post but the following two highlights will not soon be forgotten – they are what the confirmation vote turned on.
 
1.  South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham stopped the hearing in its tracks with a speech (notice the body language of Kavanaugh on the split screen) that can only have been inspired by or learned from Graham's close working relationship with President Trump. 
 
Graham actually said the things that everyone in the hearing room & across the country, for that matter, knew was going on - but before Trump's election would have been afraid to say.  Graham could not have been clearer in unmasking the destructive political correctness theme of the hearing & exposing the Democrats' deliberate delay strategy in the hope to gain power.  It set the stage for all Republicans except Murkowski to vote for Kavanaugh. 
 
In summary, Lindsey Graham was politically incorrect, just like Trump, & that was exactly what was called for. 
 
2.  The day before the Senate's confirmation vote Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins gave the speech of her life on the Senate floor in which she detailed the time consuming process she went through in deciding to vote in Kavanaugh's favor. 
 
In her speech Collins mentioned the Constitution three times & said she was informed by The Federalist No.76: Hamilton – this was not only refreshing for me to hear but should be a model for every senator.
 
With regard to the sexual assault charges levied against Kavanaugh by Ford, Collins said that she believed Professor Ford had been sexually assaulted @ some point in her life.  Collins said that the debate is complicated further by the fact that the Senate confirmation process is not a trial but that certain fundamental legal principles about due process, the presumption of innocence, & fairness prayed on her thinking & she could not abandon them.  Accordingly, for virtually all of the reasons listed in the last post regarding lack of corroborating evidence Collins said that Ford's charges could not fairly prevent Kavanaugh from serving on the Supreme Court.
 
Collins found Kavanaugh's 12-year record on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, including his more than 300 opinions, his speeches, & law review articles very much in line with what she expected from a Supreme Court Justice – i.e., she "fully expect(s) them to be able to put aside any & all personal preferences in deciding cases that come before them."
 
Collins spent three hours discussing legal matters with Kavanaugh personally & called on attorneys from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service to assist her in evaluating Kavanaugh's extensive record.  Collins spoke with people who knew Kavanaugh personally such as Condoleezza Rice & Lisa Blatt who clerked for & is an ardent admirer of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
 
During this extensive review Kavanaugh was able to satisfy Collins' liberal points of view regarding 1) the protection of people with preexisting conditions under ObamaCare, 2) the belief that no president is above the law, 3) the right of same sex couples to marry, 4) the treatment of homosexuals with dignity & worth, 5) the availability of birth control services for women while minimizing the involvement of employers with religious objections, 6) the protection of abortion rights under Roe v. Wade, 7) the practice & tradition of precedent in judicial policy, & 8) the Trump campaign pledge to nominate only judges who would overturn Roe.
 
***
 
On October 4, the night before Senator Collins floor speech, Senator Graham sparred with a protester about the entire Kavanaugh matter & summed it up this way:  "It will never be enough.  If you don't believe he is a gang rapist, if you don't believe he is a stumbling bumbling drunk, serial sexual predator, maybe you'll believe he lied about how much he drank in high school, that he threw ice in a bar, or that he doesn't have the temperament – he didn't handle being destroyed well.  Enough, enough already.  Let's vote."
 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Two Down, Two To Go

"My personal beliefs are not relevant to how I decide cases." - Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh responding to a question from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley regarding whether or not Judge Kavanaugh ever followed Supreme Court precedent when it conflicted with his personal beliefs.
 
"You have to resign yourself to the fact that you're not always going to like the conclusions you reach.  If you like them all the time, you're probably doing something wrong." – Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch – on what makes a good judge -  quoting the late Antonin Scalia, who Gorsuch replaced on the Supreme Court in 2017.
 
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." – Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaking @ the University Of California, Berkeley in 2001 when she was an appeals court judge.  The speech that contains this quote was published in 2002 by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
With the Senate confirmation of U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, by a vote of 50 to 48 Saturday afternoon, to be the next Supreme Court Associate Justice, President Trump has now appointed two associate justices to the Supreme Court that have moved the court to the more conservative side of the above graphic.
 
Now it is not just that the justices on the graphic to the right of Roberts are more conservative than the four on the more liberal side of the graphic but that they are more likely to judge cases in accordance with their oaths of office.
 
Supreme Court Justices take two oaths before they may execute the duties of their appointed office; namely, 1) the Constitutional Oath that all federal officials must take swearing to support the Constitution, & 2) the Judicial Oath in which the justices swear they "will administer justice without respect to persons, & do equal right to the poor & to the rich, & that (they) will faithfully & impartially discharge & perform all the duties incumbent upon (them) as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court under the Constitution & laws of the United States.  So help me God."
 
Based on the above quotes it is easy to see how Kavanaugh & Gorsuch feel about honoring their oaths & virtually impossible to see that Sotomayor had any intention of honoring hers.  Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate 68 to 31 in August 2009.
 
As most long time RTE readers learned in junior high school (or before) we are not looking for a conservative or liberal justice – we are expecting a constitutional purist to be nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate, & then appointed by commission prepared & signed by the president.  Most of us learned in 9th grade civics classes that purity to the Constitution is the one & only criteria to be used by senators in the confirmation process of a Supreme Court nominee.
 
From 1789, when George Washington nominated John Jay to be the first chief justice, to the mid-1950s, public confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominees were rare, meaning there were few, if any, occurrences in the first century & a half of our Republic like the bitter Senate Judiciary Committee hearings last month when Democrat senators felt no compunction or shame as they showboated their arrogance & presented their 2020 presidential anti-Trump qualifications by taking cheap shots with one gotcha question after another that had nothing to do with nominee Kavanagh's constitutional purity.  Lowlights of the hearings included the nominee's young daughters being escorted from the room when they became afraid of protesters or when children from Parkland High School who are not old enough to vote were brought in to testify against the nominee.  How humiliating & rude.
 
Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee ran from September 4 through 7 with a committee vote scheduled for September 20.  On July 30 Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein, the ranking committee member, had received a letter written by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleging a sexual assault by Kavanaugh on Ford @ a drinking party in a private home when they were teenagers – but Feinstein kept the letter secret for over six weeks.  The letter did not become public until September 12.  The committee vote was delayed in order to have both Ford & Kavanaugh appear before the committee on September 27.
 
This additional step by the committee was taken even though Ford had not offered a consistent account of the alleged sexual assault – where it happened, when it happened, who was present, how many people were present, how she got there, how she got home, why she hid in a second floor bathroom after the alleged assault rather than run downstairs where there were other people to protect her, why she said she struggled academically in college due to the alleged assault but made no claim of struggling through her final two years of high school, & the witnesses that Ford identified either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them.
 
In short, Ford's claim came across as weak as a specific allegation against Kavanaugh & failed to meet even the lowest standard of evidence to even obtain a search warrant according to Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor who questioned Ford on September 27 before the committee. 
 
Had Feinstein handed Ford's letter over to the FBI in July, or conducted her own investigation, or even asked Kavanaugh about possible sexual assaults or drinking parties during her private meeting with Kavanaugh or during the committee hearing the disgraceful process that riveted much of the nation the past several weeks could have been avoided.
 
On September 23 a second allegation was brought to the New York Times against Kavanaugh by Deborah Ramirez when Kavanaugh & Ramirez were freshmen @ Yale.  The NYT interviewed several dozen classmates of Ramirez & found no one with first hand knowledge of her alleged account so they didn't publish the story.  The New Yorker did.
 
Kavanaugh's nomination was favorably voted out of committee on September 28 with the stipulation that a supplemental FBI background investigation would be conducted during the next week.  The FBI cleared both the Ford & Ramirez allegations & Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate as indicated above in a hateful process that was very unfair to Judge Kavanaugh & his family.
 
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said in her floor speech on Friday that Kavanaugh's confirmation process "has hit rock bottom" & "looked more like a caricature of a gutter level political campaign than a solemn occasion."  To me the confirmation process, & most pointedly the committee hearings, were an angry, shameful, abusive, slanderous, unthinkable character assassination by the Democrats on the committee that had nothing to do with the Constitution or Kavanaugh's ability to follow it.
 
When the Democrats tried to paint Judge Kavanaugh as a drunken gang rapist it was so contrary to the 30 years of his very public working life, all of which was within a few miles of where he grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland & included six FBI background checks for the various high level government positions he has held, that it reached the point of absurdity.  To defeat Kavanaugh's nomination Democrats were willing to drop the presumption of innocence until proven guilty principle claiming that Ford & Ramirez should be believed simply because they were women – a very dangerous position for every female to take who has a husband, son, father, friend or neighbor of the opposite sex.
 
Following the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016 BO had the constitutional duty to nominate a replacement & so he did in Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.  Enter Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who said he would not bring Garland's nomination forward, even into committee, because he thought the next president, after the 2016 presidential election, should have the privilege to make the nomination of his or her choice - eleven months later.
 
Please note that McConnell's idea to delay a confirmation vote was not original – he was following the idea of New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer who in July 2007 said that no Bush nominee to the Supreme Court should be considered because of the upcoming presidential election in 2008 – Schumer said this 18 months before a new president took office.
 
With the polls all through 2016 strongly showing Hillary Clinton as the next president, McConnell's clever gambit seemed destined to produce a worse nominee (one far less pure to the Constitution) than Garland, who would no doubt vote with the four justices on the more liberal side of the above graphic in deciding cases.
 
The Democrats' realization of the cancellation of their planned future Supreme Court nominees poured salt in an open wound when Trump won the presidency without winning the popular vote – although there is no official way to tabulate the popular vote result because it has no meaning in the Constitution. 
 
Not only has Trump nominated & appointed Neil Gorsuch instead of Garland but now Trump has successfully appointed his second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Cavanaugh, which moves the court toward the more conservative side of the above graphic with the younger Gorsuch replacing the equally conservative but elderly Scalia & Kavanaugh replacing the more liberal Kennedy.
 
Liberal Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 & a half years old & has been seen falling asleep on television more than once & Stephen Breyer turned 80 last August meaning that Trump may have more nominees to the Supreme Court in the very near future as these people finally retire after decades on the Court.
 
Two down, two to go.