Ketanji Brown Jackson; A Winning Decision

Ketanji Brown Jackson – A Winning Decision 

The confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson is a historic day for black Americans and the U.S. Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson: A Winning Decision 

By Anna Hessel

 

Promise To Keep

During his presidential campaign Joe Biden promised to nominate the first African-American woman to the Supreme Court.  True to his word, when Justice Stephen Gerald Breyer announced his retirement, President Biden nominated the very accomplished Ketanji Brown Jackson.  On February 25, 2022, President Biden tweeted, “I’m proud to announce that I am nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court.  Currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, she is one of our nation’s brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional justice.”  Ketanji had previously made former President Barack Obama’s short list for the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, according to NPR.

Higher Power Couple

She was born on September 14th, 1970, in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Ellery and Johnny Brown.  Ms. Brown Jackson is a graduate of Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Harvard University, and Harvard Law School, earning her law degree in 1996.  The same year, having dated for six years in college, she married Dr. Patrick Graves Jackson.  Dr. Jackson is a gastrointestinal general surgeon employed at MedStar Health at the Pasquerilla Healthcare Center, Georgetown University Hospital, and Georgetown professor, per the Miami Herald.

Side By Side

Dr. Jackson is a supportive spouse and ally. It was a pleasure watching as he proudly sat behind his wife during the Senate confirmation hearings, alongside his twin brother William.  Dr. Jackson called her a, “brilliant and compassionate partner who still takes my breath away.”  The admiration is quite mutual.  On March 21st, 2022, Judge Jackson was quoted as saying, “Speaking of unconditional love, I’d like to introduce you to my husband of 25 years, Dr. Patrick Jackson.  I have no doubt that without him by my side from the very beginning of this incredible professional journey, none of this would have been possible…We met in college more than three decades ago.  Since then, he’s been the best husband, father and friend that I could ever imagine.  Patrick, I love you.”  Dr. Jackson had wiped a tear from beneath his eye as his beautiful wife, attired in a royal blue ensemble, testified at her hearing.

Lead Me Along The Path…

The couple have two daughters, Leila, age 17, and Talia, age 21.  Judge Jackson, when describing their shared parenting techniques, points out they have taught their daughters to respect all people, while putting work before play.  Ketanji’s strong faith in God is inspiring and empowering.  When she turned 18, during her freshman year at Harvard, Ms. Jackson recalls sitting on the university steps in tears, seeking consolation for her homesickness in the Lord.  “Even in my loneliness, I thanked God for the opportunity He had given me, for the firm foundation He had provided, and also for how far I had come.  The Bible is filled with people who through faith, were able to see beyond the present, to a world of hope and glory.  God knows what lies ahead of each of us.  The best you can do, as you look forward, is to take the long view…I do know that one can only come this far by faith.”

Friends In High Places

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and human rights activist, praised the nomination. Ms. Markle is quoted as saying, “The civil rights history of tomorrow is being written today…Her nomination has opened new ground…For the millions of young women who will rightfully find inspiration from this moment, let’s remind ourselves that Black achievement is something that exists just not today or yesterday, and not just in moments of celebration, but as a fabric woven into the entire chronicle of the American story.”

More Glass On The Ground

I personally get misty when I recall Vice President Kamala Harris, “so help me God”, as she was sworn in as the first woman, first black female, and first biracial woman to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.  VP Harris also teared up as the glass ceiling was once again shattered when Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed.  Kamala had presided over the history-making Senate vote, one very historic female overseeing the ascent of another very historic woman.

Made It With Room To Spare

Unfortunately, there were no black women in the Senate to vote for Judge Jackson, however, the chamber of one hundred, does have three black men. Of those three black Senators, only Tim Scott of South Carolina voted against her confirmation.  The reasons for that vote will be long questioned. Against these odds, the predominantly male and Caucasian assembly still confirmed this stellar nominee.  Early on it was feared by both the White House and Democrats; that Harris acting as President of the Senate, might have to break a tie.  VP Harris’ vote, however, was not necessary, because of the three Republican votes by Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

Judge To Justice

Ketanji Brown Jackson, cum laude graduate of Harvard Law, former supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review, and magna cum laude government graduate of Harvard’s Radcliffe College, will become the 116th Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the first black woman to hold this position.  She watched her confirmation vote with President Biden, and they took a celebratory selfie, which the President tweeted, stating, “We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America.”  He went on to call this vote a “historic moment” for the United States.  Justice-designate Jackson, with a 53-47 confirmation vote, will be sworn in this coming summer to the highest court of our nation.  I believe she will serve us extremely well.

It’s History!

Prior to the historic vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was quoted as saying, “This is one of the great moments of American history…Today we are taking a giant, bold and important step on the well-trodden path to fulfilling our country’s founding promise.  This is a great moment for Judge Jackson, but it is an even greater moment for America as we rise to a more perfect union.”

Elle Woods Knows

Elle Woods fans around the world praise the accomplishments of this woman of integrity, intelligence, and grace.  “What, like it’s hard?”  Congratulations and God bless, 116th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the Very Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson.

OP-ED: The Dangers of the “Shadow Docket”

OP-ED: The Dangers of the “Shadow Docket”

 

The conservative court is using the shadow docket to hide their partisan decisions.

OP-ED:

The Dangers of the “Shadow Docket”

There is a fundamental danger to our democracy when the Supreme Court is allowed to hide their actions through the misuse of the “Shadow Docket.” 

 

The “shadow docket” references cases taken up on an ’emergency basis’, outside the scope of the Supreme Court’s normal procedural order. . . .

By D. S. Mitchell

Partisan And Controversial Decisions

Observers have noted that the current court has disproportionately used the shadow docket to authorize its most right-wing and controversial decisions. Nearly all of the SCOTUS’s Covid-19 decisions have seeped and bubbled up from the shadow docket. Specifically, both of its rulings on the CDC eviction moratorium came through this dark and enigmatic process.

An Unsigned Opinion  

In August of 2021, SCOTUS handed Biden a shocking ruling. The court ordered Biden to re-instate Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program. Where did this ability suddenly manifest itself? The court has no authority over treaties with foreign governments. None. The outrageous ruling came in a single one paragraph unsigned opinion. This opinion (like other Shadow Docket opinions), gave no insight into the judicial history supporting the court’s decision to upend the constitutional separation of powers.  The court is now looking at the Texas abortion law. I’d call it a bit late. The heartbeat law went into effect on 9/1/2021. It is the first time a state has successfully imposed a six-week abortion ban since Roe v. Wade was decided.  The only reason is that the court has been packed with anti-abortionists. SCOTUS refused to take up the case, initially attempting to hide behind the shadow docket.

Vigilante’s Extraordinaire

As a refresher, SCROTUS said, (by initially refusing to hear the case) it was okay if Texas set up a system where vigilantes are allowed, and in fact, encouraged to pursue a woman in court for damages of up to $10,000; and anyone who assists her in obtaining an abortion.  Imagine this, it can be the cabbie that took the woman to the medical appointment, a friend who provided educational materials on termination, or the doctor who provides the abortion. Each of them under Texas law can be hauled into court and sued by someone with no standing in the case, in effect, on behalf of the state.

Dystonic Fiction

Atwood’s ‘The Handmaiden’s Tale’ in real life.

What We Expect

In the innocence of our collective minds, we fantasize the nine justices in their solemn black robes hearing robust debate in open court in front of fascinated and anticipatory spectators. Their esteemed heads taking in the well-considered arguments between opposing attorneys and ideologies, giving deliberate consideration to the legal issues of each individual case. Only after prolonged and august discussion does the court publish their venerable decisions in long verbose opinions. But, that is a faulty image of what is actually happening, folks. This heavily conservative court has slipped into a dangerous shadow zone, a place where justices lack the courage to sign their names to their own rulings, while expecting complete deference and compliance to those rulings. Somehow the two do not mesh in a democratic society.

Here’s How It Works

Here’s how it works in the SCROTUS of 2021. Lawyers are allowed to submit expedited briefs to make their “emergency” arguments, but they are not allowed to argue in person, in full view of the press and the public. These decisions don’t come after months of deliberation amongst the justices, but quickly and through whatever informal conversations the justices may have between themselves. Usually they don’t bother to explain to litigants the law or logic behind their decrees, instead issuing an order often amounting to a mere few sentences.

My Thoughts On The Matter

I believe, it is clearly evident that SCOTUS is operating in bad faith. This group of hacks is so lazy in their decisions that they won’t even take time to create legal reasons for their partisan hackery. Under the guise of “emergency” rulings this flawed and broken court is making policy. Courts do not make policy. That is not their role. Unsurprisingly the policy this court concocts melds nicely with the extremist Republican party’s political agenda. Using the “shadow docket” the court is attempting to camouflage it’s heinous actions.

Hitting The Talk Shows

Recently several of the sitting justices, hearing angry rumblings across the country have taken to the airwaves. Their recent appearances across media platforms make it clear that the justices have noted that the public view of the supreme court is at its lowest level in decades. When you have justices making speeches at colleges and going on TV claiming they “are not partisan hacks” you can damn well be assured they know the public is on to them.

The Real Danger

The power now wielded by unelected conservative justices is unnerving to me, and should be worrisome to anyone, no matter their place on the political spectrum. Just to point out, any Executive Order signed by this president (or any other president), any law passed by Congress, can be undone in the dark of night, without reason or explanation. Since this administration lacks the spine to proceed with court reform we can expect the six conservative judges to hold veto power over the Democrats entire political agenda.  Not just this year, or next, but for decades to come. It is time in the opinion of this writer to expand the court. The number of justices has been changed five or six times. Such action is not new, but it sure as hell looks like it is necessary.

EDITORIAL: Who Will Judge The Judges?

EDITORIAL: Who Will Judge The Judges?

EDITORIAL: WHO WILL JUDGE THE JUDGES?

By  D.S. Mitchell

Turtles All The Way Down

According to absurdist and other folks more clever than I, there is no inherent meaning to anything. Not that there’s no meaning, that would be nihilism, just that all things are arbitrary at their core. As famed genius Bertrand Russell put it, while addressing the issue of infinite regress, it is ‘turtles all the way down.’ An odd phrase based on the metaphor of the world sitting on the back of elephants, which in turn stood on the back of a turtle. Fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of novels will likely recognize the concept.

The Price of Tea In China?

What does this have to do with the Supreme Court? Trust me, I’m getting there. The idea of ‘turtles all the way down’ also applies to society and the application of authority there in. Leaders, officers, and elites are not born. At least, supposedly, not anymore. Every position of power is designated by the people who constitute society. In a very real way the exercise of authority is ‘people all the way down.’ Humans chosen by other humans to hold power over them. In the context of a participatory democracy those humans are the elected officials.

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Kaill McNeil: Alter-Narratives 9/12/2021

Kaill McNeil: ALTER-NARRATIVES 9/12/2021

ALTER-NARRATIVES

BAD Company

By Kaill McNeil

Backstory

If you want to know what someone is going to do tomorrow, look at what they did yesterday. Same with corporations, which are really just collections of people. Don’t stop there;  the same goes for nations. Although the term nation no longer applies, the state of Texas thinks it is a nation independent of the federal government.

Once a Nation

Texas was for a time an independent republic after it gained independence from Mexico in 1839. Immediately Texas began clamoring to join the United States. On 12/29/1845 Texas gave up its independent republic status and became the 28th state of the United States of America. Sadly, on 03/02/1861 Texas after 15 years in the union decided it would join in armed rebellion against the United States of America.  As part of the Confederacy, Texas attempted to secede from the union for the purpose of perpetuating slavery within its borders.

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OPINION: Retire Justice Breyer

Supreme Court needs term limits

OPINION: Retire Justice Breyer

By William Jones

Consistent Defender

Stephen Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1994.  Breyer has been a consistent defender of liberal priorities in cases involving abortion, marriage equality, voting rights, and other issues. There’s growing urgency on the left to see Justice Breyer step down from the court to be replaced by a younger liberal justice. This is only possible while Democrats are the majority party in Washington.

A Billboard Truck

In early April, the progressive group Demand Justice ordered a billboard truck to be driven around the Supreme Court building featuring the words “Breyer, retire.” The message was directed at Breyer, one of three remaining Democratic appointees on a court that has become increasingly dominated by conservative justices in recent years.  Much of that anxiety is informed by recent history. Liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not retire when Democrats controlled the Senate during the Obama administration. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died from cancer at age 87, shortly before the 2020 presidential race. Republicans moved swiftly to fill her seat with Amy Coney Barrett. This cemented a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that legal experts say may soon undo many rulings that defined Ginsburg’s judicial career.

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Gorsuch Hearing

                     

Gorsuch Hearing

D. S. Mitchell

Gorsuch Hearings

I watched the Senators question 10th Circuit Judge, Neil Gorsuch, for about 4 hours this morning.  Although interested, I couldn’t watch any longer.  I had to get a few things done, so I shut off the TV so I could run some errands. I replayed the proceedings in my head. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) definitely has a point when he questions whether we should be considering appointing a judge that was nominated by President Trump. After all Trump is under FBI investigation for conspiring with the Russians to win the 2016 election.

Life-Time Appointment

Schumer reminded us this was a life-time appointment.  Why such a big hurry, he asked? Merrick Garland was held off for over a year while the Republicans prayed for a Republican President in 2016. So, I’m kinda like Schumer, it’s not really Gorsuch, it’s Trump, he may not have a year left in office.  Maybe we should hold off a bit.

I’m Back

Errands run I’m back and I immediately turn the TV on. The Gorsuch hearing is still going. I had my back to the TV so I didn’t see who was asking the questions, but I heard a man ask, “Who’s paying for all your TV ads?” Good question I thought. For at least two weeks every time there was a break in regular programming there was a commercial featuring Gorsuch.

“I don’t know,” Gorsuch answered flatly.

I say to myself, “Really?”

Who Pays For The Ads

There certainly are a lot of support ads for Neil Gorsuch. Why?  Since when do you see 100’s of millions of dollars being spent on television ads for a Supreme Court nominee? I’ve never seen anything like it. I want to know who and why is spending all the green.  It’s probably the NRA, or another gun advocates group. I can’t imagine who else it would be. From what I know about Gorsuch, besides being blindly conservative, he is a do or die 2nd Amendment guy.

What I Missed

Who knows what I missed in the two hours I was running errands, but from what I saw, I think the Democrats did a decent job keeping Gorsuch’s feet to the fire. If it comes to it they might as well confirm him. As conservative judges go, I think we could get a lot worse nominee than Neil Gorsuch. I hope I’m not wrong. But, like every thing else in politics, only time will give us the answer.

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