Wednesday, October 10, 2018



(Bill Blum at

"One of the dominant myths of our political culture holds that the courts are nonpartisan. As Chief Justice John Roberts declared by way of an analogy to the role of baseball umpires in his 2005 confirmation hearing, the “job” of judges “is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”

Cute, but not so."

(Jacob Sugarman at

"These are the facts. The Senate majority, which the Republican Party currently holds with 51 seats, presently represents 44 percent of the country’s population. Following Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, four of the Supreme Court’s nine justices have been appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. Two of those justices attended the same D.C.-area prep school.

If the United States government faces a legitimacy crisis, it’s one that has been building for 18 years, if not longer than that. In 2000’s Bush v. Gore decision, five conservative justices determined that Florida could not conduct a recount of its heavily disputed election results—a decision that effectively handed the presidency to the Republican candidate. “Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear,” John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by Gerald Ford, wrote in his dissent. “It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

The naked politicization of the judiciary did not escape historian Howard Zinn. In 2005, after another former member of the Federalist Society, John Roberts, became the 17th chief justice of the United States, the activist and professor issued a warning to progressives about the power of the high court—one they might be wise to revisit on the heels of Kavanaugh’s ascension.

(Sharon Lerner at The

"President Donald Trump has also acknowledged Kavanaugh’s pro-industry bias, touting it as qualifying him for the nation’s highest court. In a July email to industry stakeholders, the president wrote that “Kavanaugh helped kill President Obama’s most destructive new environmental rules” and that he had “overruled federal regulators 75 times on cases involving clean air, consumer protections, net neutrality and other issues.”

Among Kavanaugh’s many opinions that haven’t pleased environmentalists is one that struck down an EPA rule limiting air pollution that crosses state lines. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the rule, which the EPA estimated would prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths each year. In a case over whether coal companies can dump waste into streams, Kavanaugh dissented from the other justices and sided with the companies. And in a decision from last year, Kavanaugh ruled that the EPA exceeded its authority when it tried to regulate HFCs, climate pollutants that are used in refrigeration and air conditioning.

With several big cases heading to the Supreme Court and the Senate barreling toward a vote on Kavanaugh, environmentalists are alarmed by his record. For only the second time in the past 25 years, NRDC came out against the nomination of a Supreme Court nominee, telling Sen. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein that Kavanaugh’s nomination “poses a unique threat to the principles and public resources we defend.”

Howard Zinn: Don’t Despair about the Supreme Court
(Howard Zinn at The

“It would be naive to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women, people of color, dissenters of all kinds,” he wrote. “Those rights only come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike, boycott, rebel, and violate the law in order to uphold justice.”

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