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Allen West Intelwars SCOTUS secession Texas lawsuit

Texas GOP chairman Allen West floats secession in reaction to SCOTUS shooting down election suit

Allen West, the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, suggested Friday that some states secede from the United States in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court turning down his state’s lawsuit seeking to overturn election results in four other states.

What are the details?

West, a former Florida congressman, issued a statement, saying:

“The Supreme Court, in tossing the Texas lawsuit that was joined by seventeen states and 106 US congressman (sic), have decreed that a state can take unconstitutional actions and violate its own election law. Resulting in damaging effects on other states that abide by the law, while the guilty state suffers no consequences. This decision establishes a precedent that says states can violate the US constitution and not be held accountable. This decision will have far reaching ramifications for the future or our constitutional republic. Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.”

He added, “The Texas GOP will always stand for the Constitution and for the rule of law even while others don’t.”

The word “Confederacy” began trending on Twitter following the decision and West’s remarks.

But not all Republicans who supported the suit agreed with West. Arkansas GOP Rep. Bruce Westerman, who signed on in support of Texas’ litigation, issued a statement calling for unity in the country.

Westerman said, in part:

“Although there are other election lawsuits in courts around the country, I believe the Texas attorney general’s case was the best and likely last opportunity for SCOTUS to hear claims of fraudulent voting that could have had an impact on the presidential election results…SCOTUS rejected the case, and I believe closed the books on challenges to the 2020 election results.”

He added, “The only milestone left in completing the election process will be Congress counting the votes on January 6. The casting of electoral votes will end a hotly contested election, and we should come together as Americans to work together for the future of our country.”

Another House Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) called for West’s termination over the statement, tweeting, “I believe @TexasGOP should immediately retract this, apologize, and fire Allen West and anyone else associated with this. My guy Abraham Lincoln and the Union soldiers already told you no.”

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and their campaign have filed dozens of lawsuits nationwide seeking to overturn what they call a “rigged” election that has been widely called for Democratic nominee Joe Biden by mainstream media. The Trump camp has not been successful in their litigation efforts.

Two cases filed separately by pro-Trump politicians seeking to challenge state election results have now been rejected by the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, the high court turned down a lawsuit led by Rep. Mike Kelly (R), which sought to reject mail-in ballots filed in his home state of Pennsylvania.

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Election 2020 Intelwars Justice brett kavanaugh Justice Neil Gorsuch SCOTUS Supreme Court supreme court decision Wisconsin

Justice Kavanaugh accused of helping Trump ‘steal the election’ after SCOTUS rejects Wisconsin mail-in ballot extension

Justice Brett Kavanaugh is being accused of paving the way for President Donald Trump to “steal the election” after the Supreme Court on Monday rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats to have mail-in absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day counted even if they arrive after the election.

In a 5-3 decision, the court ruled that absentee ballots in Wisconsin could only be counted if they were in the possession of election clerks by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. State Democrats attempted to have the deadline for counting absentee ballots extended a full six days after Election Day, CNBC reports. They argued the extension was necessary due to the surge in mail-in voting caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, District Court Judge William Conley agreed with the Democrats’ arguments, ordering the deadline to be extended. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Conley’s decision in October and Democrats appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled against the Democrats. Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for himself and joined in part by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, said that the Constitution gives elected legislators the power to set election rules and that judges cannot overstep the separation of powers when the Legislature fails to act.

“Legislators can be held accountable by the people for the rules they write or fail to write; typically, judges cannot,” Gorsuch wrote. “Legislatures make policy and bring to bear the collective wisdom of the whole people when they do, while courts dispense the judgment of only a single person or a handful.”

In his concurring opinion, Kavanaugh said that while he understands the concerns over COVID-19, “you need deadlines to hold elections — there is just no wishing away or getting around that fundamental point. And Wisconsin’s deadline is the same as that in 30 other States and is a reasonable deadline given all the circumstances.”

“Moving a deadline would not prevent ballots from arriving after the newly minted deadline any more than moving first base would mean no more close plays,” he added.

Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion has been cited by critics on the left as evidence he wants to help Trump “steal the election” by discounting mail-in votes.

“Brett Kavanaugh Lays Out a Plan to Help Trump Steal the Election” reads one headline at Mother Jones, while “Brett Kavanaugh Signals He’s Open to Stealing the Election for Trump” is a piece by Mark Joseph Stern for Slate. These articles accuse Kavanaugh’s “frankly terrifying” opinion (Stern’s words) of echoing Trump’s rhetoric opposing mail-in voting in one passage wherein Kavanaugh defends states that have statutes similar to a Wisconsin law that disqualifies ballots received after Election Day:

Those States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election. And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.

“It is genuinely alarming that the justice cast these aspersions on late-arriving ballots,” Stern writes.

Another area of Kavanaugh’s opinion that’s under attack is a footnote where he positively cites Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s opinion in Bush v. Gore on why federal courts should step in to review state court interpretations of state election laws that affect federal elections, such as presidential election.

“Whatever the reasons behind Kavanaugh’s performance on Monday, he has given the nation another legitimate reason to fear that this election may end with a Bush v. Gore–like disaster for American democracy, but even worse than the original,” he concludes.

A CNN report on Kavanaugh’s opinion shares a similar premise with the headline “Brett Kavanaugh foreshadows how Supreme Court could disrupt vote counting,” suggesting that Wisconsin following state election law would disrupt the election. Another article for USA Today also suggests Kavanaugh is “echoing Trump.”

President Trump has frequently criticized mail-in voting, predicting that fully counting votes could take months after the election and suggesting “mail ballots are very dangerous for this country because of cheaters. They go collect them. They are fraudulent in many cases. They have to vote. They should have voter ID, by the way.”

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Abortion court case Intelwars Justice amy coney barrett roe v wade SCOTUS Supreme Court

Coming Friday: Mississippi heartbeat bill among first cases Justice Amy Coney Barrett will consider

The Supreme Court will deliberate Friday on whether it will review a Mississippi pro-life law that bans abortion after an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected.

If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will be the first potential challenge to Roe v. Wade‘s precedent to come before the court with newly installed Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett hearing the arguments.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch petitioned the court last week to review the state’s 15-week abortion ban, asking the court to clarify how lower courts should interpret a previous Supreme Court decision striking down a Louisiana pro-life law, CBS News reported. He cited several opinions from federal appeals court judges that varied in their reasoning on separate abortion-related cases, some citing the Supreme Court’s majority opinion from Medical Services v. Russo to strike down restrictions on abortion, others referring to Chief Justice John Roberts’ concurring opinion to keep those regulations in place.

“This case remains an ideal vehicle to promptly resolve both that question and the first question presented — the contradictions in this Court’s decisions over use of ‘viability’ as a bright line for measuring pro-life legislation,” Fitch wrote in a supplemental brief sent to the Supreme Court.

The case asks the court to decide “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” taking direct aim at the heart of the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion before fetal viability at 24 weeks nationally.

The lawyer for the pro-choice group challenging Mississippi’s heartbeat law told CBS News the law explicitly violates Roe‘s precedent.

“Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban defies nearly fifty years of Supreme Court precedent,” Hillary Schneller, the staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told CBS News. “Mississippi’s abortion ban, by definition, is a complete and insurmountable obstacle for pregnant people seeking abortion care after 15 weeks.”

On Friday, the nine justices of the Supreme Court will meet to discuss and vote on whether they will hear this case and others. Four justices must agree to take the case before the Supreme Court will hear the arguments. An announcement on the Supreme Court’s decision is expected to come Monday.

All eyes are on newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett as the court weighs this decision. Progressives fear and conservatives hope that Barrett’s addition to the court has cemented a 6-3 originalist-leaning majority that will overturn Roe, ending the national legalization of abortion and sending the issue back to the states.

The last abortion-related case to come before the court was Medical Services v. Russo, in which a 5-4 majority blocked a Louisiana law that required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four progressives on the court in a concurring opinion, saying that while he disagrees with prior rulings declaring such restrictions unconstitutional, the court is bound by precedent.

Multiple senators questioned Barrett on the role of Supreme Court precedent during her confirmation hearings, with Democrats attempting to have her clarify her views on Roe in particular. Barrett, following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s example, refused to give her opinion on Roe v. Wade‘s precedent, noting that there were pending cases before the court system challenging aspects of Roe and that it would be unethical for her to signal to potential litigants how she might rule.

During one exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), however, Barrett did not list Roe among several cases she called “super-precedents” that the court cannot overturn because they are established law. An example of one such case would be Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 court ruling that declared “separate is not equal,” ending racial segregation in public schools.

She didn’t tip her cards, though, deftly answering Klobuchar’s questions in a way that left her position on Roe‘s precedent ambiguous.

Roe is not a super-precedent because calls for its overruling have never ceased, but that doesn’t mean that Roe should be overruled,” Barrett explained.

Other pending cases the Supreme Court may consider are whether a New York prosecutor will get access to President Donald Trump’s financial information and election-related cases.

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Deportation Gorsuch Illegal Immigration Intelwars Kavanaugh SCOTUS Supreme Court

Horowitz: Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh suggest that identity theft might not warrant deportation of illegal alien

Democrats are panicking that, with Amy Coney Barrett’s impending confirmation, conservatives are on the cusp of a long-term five-seat majority on the Supreme Court. If only that were true. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch have already demonstrated that they are not on the level of Amy Coney Barrett, so at most, we will likely have only three reliable originalists on the court. Nowhere is this more evident than on the issue of illegal aliens continuously getting standing to block deportations.

For over 130 years, the Supreme Court has established a simple principle that all immigrants, and certainly those here illegally who commit crimes, are only in this country at the pleasure of the political branches of government and can be removed at any time without interference from the courts. This principle “has become about as firmly embedded in the legislative and judicial tissues of our body politic as any aspect of our government,” not “merely” by “a page of history … but a whole volume” (Galvan v. Press). The concept is “inherent in sovereignty,” consistent with “ancient principles” of international law, and “to be exercised exclusively by the political branches of government” (Kleindienst v. Mandel).

The lower courts and the leftists on the Supreme Court have gradually chipped away at this principle in recent years, and unless we get an originalist majority to push back against this trend, immigration enforcement will go the way of abortion regulations. Rather than upholding this doctrine, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch appear to be playing a dangerous game of flirting with the notion that courts can second-guess deportations of even criminal aliens by gradually granting them an array of due process they simply don’t have in our immigration law.

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Pereida v. Barr, one of many cases in which criminal aliens are trying to litigate a right to remain in the country. Mexican citizen Clemente Pereida was convicted of stealing the identity of a citizen in order to obtain employment in Iowa as an illegal alien and is now seeking relief from deportation, despite a denial from an immigration judge and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Even without stealing identity, he came here illegally and should have no legal standing to remain in the country. This case should never even have been in court, yet there were some disturbing comments from justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch indicating a sea change in the legal thinking of illegal immigration.

Law360 reports that Justice Kavanaugh “expressed doubt over the government’s claim that immigrants facing deportation carry the burden of proving they are eligible for immigration protections despite being convicted of certain crimes, when the record surrounding such convictions is incomplete or unclear.”

“He’s lived here for 25 years in the United States, has a wife and three kids here, one of whom is a U.S. citizen, works construction and cleaning, had a fraudulent Social Security number which got him a $100 fine but no jail time under state law,” Justice Kavanaugh said. “That seems a thin reed to make someone categorically ineligible for cancellation of removal.”

This statement is very concerning. Pereida’s life story doesn’t matter to the law, and identity theft is a very serious crime that has devastating effects on its victims. Moreover, this man is here illegally, so he has no right to remain regardless of whether he committed a serious crime or no crime at all. The entire philosophy behind sovereignty and the long-standing judicial doctrine that the executive branch has plenary power over these decisions is rooted in the fact that the burden of proof is on the alien to show that he is entitled to remain in the country.

Yes, the attorney general “may” grant cancellation of removal to some illegal aliens, but since when did that give aliens a judicial right to demand this voluntary act of leniency? The onus is on the alien to show that his record does not fit the standard of “crimes involving moral turpitude,” and if the record is too incomplete to determine that, he is on the losing end of the argument. As the law clearly states (8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(4)(A)(i)), “An alien applying for relief or protection from removal has the burden of proof to establish that the alien … satisfies the applicable eligibility requirements.” Unlike with criminal punishment, request for an immigration benefit places the burden of proof on the individual, not the government.

Then there is Neil Gorsuch. According to Law360, Gorsuch was concerned “that immigrants convicted of misdemeanors, where the underlying criminal statute is vague or broad, may struggle to produce sufficient court records to show that their conviction shouldn’t bar them from deportation relief.”

This has been Gorsuch’s game from day one. He takes simple concepts and makes them complicated. A half-century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, he suddenly felt that the definition of human sexuality in the context of sex discrimination was vague and could possibly include transgenderism! In Sessions v. Damaya, he struck down an entire section of criminal law governing the deportation of clearly violent aliens because he felt the statute was “too vague.” As I noted at the time, even if he was correct about the vagueness in the law, aliens have no due process right in the context of the vagueness doctrine to know what is a deportable offense. They remain here at the discretion of the political branches of government until they are naturalized. Thousands of criminal aliens have remained in this country because of that opinion.

What was further disconcerting and downright offensive is that Gorsuch dismissed and downplayed Pereida’s offense on account that he “wasn’t using a Social Security card to defraud anybody of anything, but just to get a job.”

Tell that to the millions of victims of identity theft! It often takes years to clean up the financial mess, the endless purchases under the victim’s name, and the watchlists that he was placed on as a result of the illicit activity. It has particularly devastating consequences for the child victims, who begin their adulthood saddled with all of the criminality, fiscal liabilities, and taxes of these illegal aliens. Hispanic Americans with Latino-sounding surnames are most vulnerable to such theft. Illegal aliens seeking employment will often be given the stolen Social Security numbers of children by the smuggling industry, because that will take longer to be detected.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “Eight of the 10 states with the highest percentage of illegal aliens in their total population are among the top 10 states in identity theft.” In Arizona alone, over one million children are victims of stolen identity, more than four times the national rate.

The fact that we have two of Trump’s appointees accepting the Left’s legal and philosophical outlook on sovereignty and due process is very concerning. Kavanaugh already said during his confirmation hearings that he disagrees with the plenary power doctrine (which is settled precedent) as expressed in a great dissent by his former colleague on the D.C. federal appeals court, Karen Henderson, that illegal aliens are considered to be standing outside our boundaries. He also wrote a shocking 7-2 opinion (in Nasrallah v. Barr) ruling that illegal aliens have access to judicial review to fight a denial of relief from deportation under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (“CAT”), despite a clear statute stripping the courts of jurisdiction to review such a case. Gorsuch signed on to the opinion, while Thomas and Alito dissented.

In addition, as Art Arthur, a former immigration judge and fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, observed, Kavanaugh used the term “non-citizen” 19 times instead of illegal alien in his concurrence in Preap, an immigration case from last year. Judges are usually very precise with these sort of terms, and technically, his use of this word actually made a few of his statements factually incorrect (see Arthur’s column for more).

It’s also important to remember that we have several million criminal aliens in this country out of 12-20 million illegal aliens. Those individuals should be out of this country immediately, according to any standard. Yet it takes years to remove even the worst gang members because each one can encumber his deportation order in court indefinitely. Pereida had his first court hearing in 2009! As Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told me, “What is especially concerning about this case is Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s apparent willingness to intrude on the clearly established executive branch authority to adjudicate an immigration benefit – in this case, cancellation of removal.”

The consequences are enormous, and we are already seeing them in the increased flow at our border because so many illegal immigrants rightly believe they can litigate themselves into legal status. “We can’t have every illegal alien who is told to go home, every failed applicant for immigration benefits, or every unqualified visa applicant taking their case to the federal courts,” warned Vaughan. “We can’t have federal judges and Supreme Court justices deciding routine immigration applications.”

When it comes to immigration and judicial picks, Trump was given bad advice and has swung and missed on two occasions. It is to be hoped that Barrett will not result in a strikeout. The bad news is that we still need two more originalist justices simply to uphold our national sovereignty and long-standing Supreme Court precedent.

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abraham lincoln Court packing Debate Intelwars Kamala Harris Lie mike pence SCOTUS watch

Kamala Harris gave false ‘history lesson’ when claiming Lincoln delayed SCOTUS nomination so Americans could vote first

As TheBlaze previously reported, Democratic vice presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) twice dodged Vice President Mike Pence’s direct questions during Wednesday night’s debate regarding if she and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would pack the U.S. Supreme Court with additional justices if President Donald Trump loses reelection and Amy Coney Barrett — his latest nominee — is confirmed.

But something else happened during one of Harris’ non-answers: She misrepresented history.

What are the details?

After Pence offered historical examples of presidents nominating justices in election years — and criticized the Democratic prospect of packing the Supreme Court should Barrett secure confirmation and Biden-Harris wins the White House — Harris seemed to have a ready answer.

“I’m so glad we went through a little history lesson; let’s do that a little more,” she told Pence. “In 1864—”

But when Pence interrupted and pressed for an answer, Harris shot back, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking, ‘k?”

Then Harris — displaying a noticeably wide grin — started again:

In 1864, one of the, I think, political heroes certainly of the president, I assume of you also, Mr. Vice President, is Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was up for reelection, and it was 27 days before the election. And a seat became open on the United States Supreme Court. Abraham Lincoln’s party was in charge, not only of the White House, but the Senate. But Honest Abe said, ‘It’s not the right thing to do. The American people deserve to make the decision about who will be the next president of the United States. And then that person can select who will serve for a lifetime on the highest court of our land.’ And so Joe and I are very clear: the American people are voting right now, and it should be their decision about who will serve on this most important body for a lifetime.

Harris, of course, continued to skate and giggle around Pence’s original question when he repeated it.

But it’s also important to note that her supposedly deeper dive into history was false. Lincoln didn’t delay nominating a Supreme Court justice so the American people could vote for a new president first, National Review’s Dan McLaughlin said before offering more details:

Lincoln, of course, said no such thing. He sent no nominee to the Senate in October 1864 because the Senate was out of session until December. He sent a nominee the day after the session began, and Salmon P. Chase was confirmed the same day. And Lincoln wanted to dangle the nomination before Chase and several other potential candidates because he wanted them to campaign for him. Lincoln’s priority was winning the election, which was necessary to win the war — and he filled the vacancy at the first possible instant.

McLaughlin added that “Kamala Harris is simply inventing history.”

The Washington Post admitted Harris’ claim “wasn’t exactly true,” and — citing historian Michael Burlingame in “Lincoln: A Life” — noted that Lincoln said he wouldn’t nominate anyone immediately because he was “waiting to receive expressions of public opinion from the country” regarding the next nominee. While Lincoln didn’t like Chase, nominating him helped Lincoln maintain a broad conservative coalition.

Here’s the relevant portion of the clip:


Pence and Harris battle over Supreme Court, court packing | VP Debate

youtu.be

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Amy coney barrett Intelwars poll SCOTUS Supreme court confirmation Supreme court nomination us senate

New poll shows growing support for Amy Coney Barrett’s SCOTUS confirmation, even among Democrats

Support to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court is growing, even among Democrats, a new Morning Consult/Politico poll shows.

While still shy of a majority, nearly half of voters, 46%, surveyed from Oct. 2-4 said the Senate should confirm Barrett — a 9-point increase since President Donald Trump announced her nomination on Sept. 26.

Support for Barrett’s confirmation has grown 71% among Democrats, from 14% supporting her confirmation in September to 24% — nearly 1 in 4 Democrats — supporting Barrett now.

Barrett’s support is up among independents as well, with 36% now supporting her confirmation compared to 28% in September — a 29% jump.

“Democrats are losing the Supreme Court messaging war,” senior reporter Eli Yokley wrote for Morning Consult.

“The share of voters who said the Senate should reject her nomination dropped 3 points, to 31 percent, from polling conducted on Sept. 26,” Yokley noted. “Both polls were conducted among roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with 2-point margins of error.”

Additionally, more voters now think Barrett should be confirmed as soon as possible by the Senate, regardless of who wins the election.

On Sept. 26, 40% of voters said Barrett should be confirmed only if President Donald Trump wins re-election. Now, 37% think Barrett should be confirmed only if Trump wins, and 43% say she should be confirmed regardless of who wins the election in November.

“The numbers mark an even larger shift from polling conducted before Barrett’s nomination, when half of voters said the winner of the presidential election should get to pick Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement and 37 percent said Trump should get to make the pick, regardless of the outcome in November. That poll did not mention Barrett’s name,” Yokley wrote.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin confirmation hearings for Barrett’s nomination on Monday. Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced the hearings will last through Thursday, Oct. 15.

Fox News reported that Senate staffers are working to ensure the hearings are conducted safely and in accordance with public health recommendations after two GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee, Mike Lee (Utah) and Thom Tillis (N.C.), tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

“Committee staff is making sure that there are PPE and sanitary stations, and there will be strict limits on people allowed into the hearing room among other precautions,” Fox News reported.

Members of the Senate will have the option to participate in the confirmation hearings virtually, though Chairman Graham will appear in person.

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2020 Election 2020 presidential election Amy coney barrett Court packing Intelwars Joe Biden Kamala Harris SCOTUS Supreme Court Supreme court nomination

CNN’s Jake Tapper asks Kamala Harris to ‘give us a straight answer’ on packing the Supreme Court. She refuses — and he calls her out.

The left’s call for packing the Supreme Court by expanding its size so that a Democratic president could fill the new seats with liberal jurists gained a lot of steam following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month.

But Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has repeatedly refused to say whether he would support such a move — most recently during the Tuesday night presidential debate with President Donald Trump.

Apparently a directive to not give a straight answer on the question went out to his entire campaign, because following the debate, Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, refused to answer CNN’s question about whether a Biden administration would seek to pack the high court.

What’s this now?

When President Donald Trump said he would nominate a judge to fill the Ginsburg seat and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the Senate would hold hearings and a vote on the nominee, Democrats vowed retribution — from killing the filibuster to court packing.

Democratic senators like Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii immediately came out and declared it was time for the Democratic Party to get behind a move to expand and fill the high court.

And many members of the media had their backs. Most notable was CNN’s Don Lemon and his rant that it was time to “blow up the entire system” and “stack the courts.”

Never mind that moderate Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have made clear their opposition to packing the court.

And Ginsburg herself was on record opposing the move.

Still, the cries on the far left grew louder as they watched the threat to their liberal majority on the Supreme Court continue to grow — especially with Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.

So it was a logical topic of discussion during Tuesday’s presidential debate. But it was one Biden didn’t want to discuss.

During a back-and-forth about the Barrett nomination, the president repeatedly asked Biden, “Are you going to pack the court?”

The former vice president refused to answer, admitting that his answer would become a distraction during the election.

What did Harris say?

Knowing the notion of packing the court plays well the Democratic Party’s liberal base but not so well with moderates, Harris held the Biden line following the debate during a Tuesday night interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Tapper noted that there were many Democrats who were advocating court packing, yet the Biden-Harris campaign refused to “give us a straight answer” about the topic.

“Neither you nor Joe Biden are willing to give us a straight answer as to whether or not you are willing to entertain that idea,” Tapper said. “But it’s not some fringe idea. Democrats in Washington are talking about it. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, has said that he’s not taking anything off the table. Is that an idea that you are willing to think about?”

Harris responded by dodging the question.

She, like Biden, doesn’t want court packing to be the focus.

“Joe has been really clear,” Harris said. “Let’s focus on what is happening right now. Deal with later later. Focus on what is happening right now, which is the American people are voting and they should be the ones to decide who will have the next lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court.”

“Let’s not get distracted,” she stated, avoiding a topic that makes many centrist Democrats nervous.

Tapper closed the interview by calling Harris out for not answering the question.

“I will respectfully note that you also declined to answer that question with me,” he said.


CNN calls out Kamala Harris for dodging on court-packing

youtu.be

A bemused Tapper then turned to his CNN colleague Abby Phillip and said, “I don’t really understand, Abby, why they won’t answer that question.”

Phillip made it clear why they won’t answer the question: “They don’t that answer that question because this is sort of like the Medicare for All of the general election, which is that there is an idea that is being talked about on the left of their party and they want to stay in the middle. That is why they won’t answer the question.”

(H/T: HotAir)

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Amy coney barrett Article II Section 2 Intelwars Judiciary Ruth Bader Ginsberg SCOTUS Supreme Court

Supreme Court and Rules of the Game

The United States Constitution’s Article 2, Sec. 2, cl. 2, provides that the president of the United States “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States.” President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett as U.S. Supreme Court justice who will replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Barrett currently serves as United States Circuit judge of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 7th Circuit serves the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

It is now the Senate’s job to decide whether to confirm Barrett’s appointment as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. In thinking about the Senate’s criteria for making their decision, we might ask what is the role of a U.S. Supreme Court justice? A reasonable answer is to recognize that our Constitution represents our rules of the game. It dictates what is and is not permissible behavior by government. Therefore, a Supreme Court justice has one job and one job only; namely, that of a referee.

A referee’s job, whether he is a football referee, baseball umpire or a Supreme Court justice, is to know the rules of the game and to ensure that those rules are evenly applied without bias. Do we want a referee or justice to allow empathy to influence their decisions? Let us answer this question using this year’s Super Bowl as an example.

The San Francisco 49ers have played in seven Super Bowls in their franchise history, winning five times. On the other hand, coming into the 2020 game, the Kansas City Chiefs had not won a Super Bowl title in 50 years. In anyone’s book, this is a gross disparity. Should the referees have the empathy to understand what it is like to be a perennial loser, not winning a Super Bowl in five decades? What would you think of a referee whose play calls were guided by empathy or pity? Suppose a referee, in the name of compensatory justice, stringently applied pass interference or roughing the passer violations against the San Francisco 49ers and less stringently against the Chiefs. Would you support a referee who refused to make offensive pass interference calls because he thought it was a silly rule? You would probably remind him that it is the league that makes the rules (football law), not referees.

Supreme Court justices should be umpires or referees, enforcing neutral rules. Here is a somewhat trivial example of a neutral rule from my youth; let us call it Mom’s Rule. On occasion, my sister and I would have lunch in my mother’s absence. Either my younger sister or I would have the job of dividing the last piece of cake or pie. Almost always an argument would ensue about the fairness of the cut. Those arguments ended when Mom came up with a rule: Whoever cuts the cake gives the other person the first choice of the piece to take. As if by magic or divine intervention, fairness emerged and arguments ended. No matter who did the cutting, there was an even division.

This is what our society needs — the kind of rules whereby you would be OK even if your worst enemy were in charge. Despite the high stakes of bitterly fought football contests, most games end peaceably, and the winners and losers are civil. It is indeed a miracle of sorts that players with conflicting interests can play a game, agree with the outcome and walk away as good sports. That “miracle” is that it is far easier to reach an understanding about the game’s rules than the game’s outcome. The same conflict-reducing principles should be a part of a civilized society.

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Adopting Amy coney barrett attack Children Intelwars Leftists SCOTUS

Leftists attack Amy Coney Barrett for adopting children

Judge Amy Coney Barrett was hit with a fresh round of assaults on Friday, after several media outlets reported that sources confirmed she would be named Saturday as President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But one attack that grabbed the attention of social media was a pair of Democratic operatives who separately lambasted Judge Coney Barrett for adopting children.

What are the details?

Dana Houle, who identifies herself on Twitter as an adoptive parent who has “elected Democrats,” sent out a series of tweets on the topic that began by asking” “Does the press even investigate details of Barrett’s adoptions from Haiti? Some adoptions from Haiti were legit. Many were sketchy as hell. And if press learned they were unethical & maybe illegal adoptions, would they report it? Or not bc it involves her children.”

Houle deleted the tweet following widespread backlash, including from Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.), but continued standing her ground. She wrote later, “I shouldn’t have tweeted this…Not because it is smearing someone as engaging in child sex trafficking, but because I didn’t realize all the rubes out there would take offense to it.”

But Houle was not alone in her thinking.

John Lee Brougher, who identifies himself on Twitter as a supporter of several Democratic politicians and affiliated groups, tweeted, “As an adoptee, I need to know more about the circumstances of how Amy Coney Barrett came to adopt her children, and the treatment of them since. Transracial adoption is fraught with trauma and potential for harm, and everything I see here is deeply concerning.”

The attacks on Coney Barrett from Houle and Brougher sparked outrage on the social media platform, ratcheting up the tension between Democrats and Republicans in the ongoing battle over whether or not a new justice should be named to the Supreme Court before Election Day on November 3.

Even before Coney Barrett was named as the likely nominee, Democrats in Congress warned that her religious beliefs would be fair game for scrutiny during nomination hearings.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hold the hearings, said earlier this week:

“Look, it wasn’t her religious views — it’s anybody’s views that they bring to their decision-making. So they keep telling us that none of the things they wrote or said yesterday should infringe on their decision, but how can we be assured that they can be objective? … Why should we say you get a lifetime appointment so that you can reflect your ideological agenda in your decision-making?”

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Democratic senator indicates Amy Coney Barrett’s Christian faith could be an issue during potential SCOTUS confirmation hearing

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hold the confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, said religion will not be off limits in the hearing if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is the nominee, CNN reported.

Barrett, a federal judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is a Catholic, and is considered the front-runner to be Trump’s nominee to replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barrett was also considered in 2018 when Brett Kavanaugh was ultimately nominated and confirmed.

“Look, it wasn’t her religious views — it’s anybody’s views that they bring to their decision-making,” Hirono elaborated after saying religious views shouldn’t be off-limits during confirmation hearings. “So they keep telling us that none of the things they wrote or said yesterday should infringe on their decision, but how can we be assured that they can be objective? … Why should we say you get a lifetime appointment so that you can reflect your ideological agenda in your decision-making?”

During Barrett’s 2017 hearing for the 7th Circuit, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) infamously expressed suspicion over how Barrett’s religion might impact her performance as a judge.

“Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that dogma and law are two different things, and I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma,” Feinstein told Barrett during the 2017 hearing. “The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”

Barrett answered at the time that she respected Roe v. Wade as established precedent, and that she did not let her religious views hinder her legal judgments.

“There would be no opportunity for me to be a no vote on Roe,” Barrett replied to the committee. “And I would faithfully apply all Supreme Court precedent.”

Media reports earlier this week attempted to frame Barrett in an unfavorable manner by comparing a Catholic organization she’s a member of to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a show about women who are oppressed under a fundamentalist religious dictatorship.

In 2018, Hirono and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) took issue with a judicial nominee who was a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization. They were critical of the group’s positions on same-sex marriage and abortion. From the Associated Press:

“The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” said Ms. Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, citing the group’s opposition to same-sex marriage. “If confirmed, do you intend to end your membership with this organization to avoid any appearance of bias?”

Ms. Harris asked Mr. Buescher, who became a member 25 years ago as a teenager, “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”

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Newsweek attacks potential Trump SCOTUS nominee for her Christian faith, has to issue a major correction

President Donald Trump will announce his Supreme Court nomination this weekend, and Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is believed to be a top candidate.

So media outlets have begun digging into her background, many of them with the intent of finding unfavorable information about the woman who could become President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court appointment of his first term. Barrett’s Catholic faith has been a primary focus.

Newsweek published an article that claimed in the headline that a Catholic group Barrett is a member of was the inspiration for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a novel by Margaret Atwood that was recently made into a television show. This is not true, and Newsweek had to issue a correction.

“Correction: This article’s headline originally stated that People of Praise inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The book’s author, Margaret Atwood, has never specifically mentioned the group as being the inspiration for her work,” the correction read. “A New Yorker profile of the author from 2017 mentions a newspaper clipping as part of her research for the book of a different charismatic Catholic group, People of Hope. Newsweek regrets the error.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is described on IMDb as follows: “A religion based autocracy has taken over most of the United States, renaming the country Gilead. In this country women are second-class citizens. Anyone trying to escape is punished.”

The article described some of the aspects of People of Praise, such as opposition to premarital or extramarital sex, opposition to abortion, and opposition to homosexuality and quoted a professor who questioned whether Barrett would be able to make individual decisions as a member of such a group.

Nevertheless, concerns have been raised that Barrett’s ties to the group as would influence her decisions on the Supreme Court.

“These groups can become so absorbing that it’s difficult for a person to retain individual judgment,” Sarah Barringer Gordon, a professor of constitutional law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, previously told The Times.

And while the People of Praise group was never brought up in Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing for her current post, Senator Dianne Feinstein told Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly within you.” Barrett told the senators that her faith would not affect her decisions as a judge.

President Donald Trump has said he will announce his nominee on Saturday, after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral. In addition to Barrett, the shortlist reportedly includes Judge Barbara Lagoa of the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the Fourth Circuit.

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Newsweek attacks potential Trump SCOTUS nominee for her Christian faith, has to issue a major correction

President Donald Trump will announce his Supreme Court nomination this weekend, and Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is believed to be a top candidate.

So media outlets have begun digging into her background, many of them with the intent of finding unfavorable information about the woman who could become President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court appointment of his first term. Barrett’s Catholic faith has been a primary focus.

Newsweek published an article that claimed in the headline that a Catholic group Barrett is a member of was the inspiration for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a novel by Margaret Atwood that was recently made into a television show. This is not true, and Newsweek had to issue a correction.

“Correction: This article’s headline originally stated that People of Praise inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The book’s author, Margaret Atwood, has never specifically mentioned the group as being the inspiration for her work,” the correction read. “A New Yorker profile of the author from 2017 mentions a newspaper clipping as part of her research for the book of a different charismatic Catholic group, People of Hope. Newsweek regrets the error.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is described on IMDb as follows: “A religion based autocracy has taken over most of the United States, renaming the country Gilead. In this country women are second-class citizens. Anyone trying to escape is punished.”

The article described some of the aspects of People of Praise, such as opposition to premarital or extramarital sex, opposition to abortion, and opposition to homosexuality and quoted a professor who questioned whether Barrett would be able to make individual decisions as a member of such a group.

Nevertheless, concerns have been raised that Barrett’s ties to the group as would influence her decisions on the Supreme Court.

“These groups can become so absorbing that it’s difficult for a person to retain individual judgment,” Sarah Barringer Gordon, a professor of constitutional law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, previously told The Times.

And while the People of Praise group was never brought up in Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing for her current post, Senator Dianne Feinstein told Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly within you.” Barrett told the senators that her faith would not affect her decisions as a judge.

President Donald Trump has said he will announce his nominee on Saturday, after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral. In addition to Barrett, the shortlist reportedly includes Judge Barbara Lagoa of the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the Fourth Circuit.

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BREAKING: Mitt Romney indicates that he would vote to confirm a qualified nominee from Trump, likely dooming Democrats’ obstruction chances

As President Donald Trump quickly moves ahead to nominate a replacement for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Democrats had hoped to halt that process in its tracks by convincing at least four Republicans that Trump’s nominee should not even receive a vote before the election. Those hopes likely took a mortal blow on Tuesday when Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) announced that he is not opposed to confirming a nominee in an election year and that he would vote on Trump’s replacement “based upon their qualifications.”

Thus far, Democrats have only been able to secure “no vote” commitments from Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine Senator Susan Collins among all the Republicans in the Senate. Democrats had hoped to secure similar commitments from Senators Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), or Chuck Grassley (Iowa), but one by one those hopes have been dashed. Democrats had remained hopeful that Romney might defect, given his contentious relationship with Trump (and his willingness to cast a “yes” vote on Trump’s removal from office after the post-impeachment trial in the Senate earlier this year), but Romney issued a statement on Tuesday indicating that he intends to give the nominee a fair hearing and that he will not object to confirming a qualified nominee.

In his statement, Romney said, “My decision regarding a Supreme Court nomination is not the result of a subjective test of ‘fairness’ which, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent. The historical precedent of election year nominations is that the Senate generally does not confirm an opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of its own.”

Romney continued, “I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications.”

It remains possible that one or more Republican defections may emerge during the confirmation process, particularly if Democrats are able to unearth previously unknown damaging information about the eventual nominee. However, it appears certain for now that the nominee will at least be given a full hearing before the Senate.

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President Trump announces when he plans to name his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Wednesday that he intends to announce his nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat formerly held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday.

In a statement posted from his Twitter account, Trump stated that he would announce his nominee from the White House, but noted that the specific time is yet to be determined.

It is widely anticipated that Trump’s nominee will be either Amy Coney Barrett, who currently serves as a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, or Barbara Lagoa, who currently serves as a judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Most observers believe that Barrett is the favorite to receive the nomination, particularly after news broke that Trump met with her on Monday. Trump has indicated that he also might have a face-to-face meeting with Lagoa when he travels to Florida later this week.

Regardless of who Trump ultimately picks, his nominee is sure to be fought tooth and nail by Democrats, who remain furious that Merrick Garland was not given a hearing after former President Barack Obama nominated him to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia after Scalia’s death in 2016. Democrats have already begun to attack the records of Barrett and Lagoa, and Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) have promised that they will not support any nominee until after the election.

Despite those defections, it looks increasingly likely that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will be able to cobble together enough votes to ensure that President Trump’s nominee will receive a full hearing and floor vote, absent any surprise defections or damaging revelations during the confirmation process.

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Left threatens violence if Trump nominates SCOTUS judge

On Monday’s episode of “Good Morning Mug Club,” Steven Crowder gave his take on the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Black Lives Matter riots, and much more. Watch the clip below for details.


Weekend Violence Update: Ruth Bader Ginsburg RIOTS | Louder With Crowder

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Want more from Steven Crowder?

To enjoy more of Steven’s uncensored late-night comedy that’s actually funny, join Mug Club — the only place for all of Crowder uncensored and on demand.

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Meghan McCain unloads on ‘The View’ over Democrats’ behavior ahead of SCOTUS nomination: Dems will do ‘anything and everything to smear any conservative’

Sparks flew on Monday’s broadcast of “The View” when the co-hosts discussed President Donald Trump’s plans to announce a nominee to replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by the end of the week.

Ginsburg died Friday at the age of 87 following recurring bouts of cancer.

What are the details?

Conservative co-host Meghan McCain squared off against her fellow co-hosts over the news, proclaiming that she backs Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) announcement that the Senate will vote on Ginsburg’s successor before the November general election.

“One of my biggest concerns is if we have a contested election in 2020, and it’s split like it was in 2000, we have to have a full court ruling on it,” she explained. “The potential for constitutional chaos is absolutely the most imminent it has been in my modern lifetime.”

McCain pointed out that while she agrees with her fellow co-hosts who said McConnell is a hypocrite over the announcement after he refused to confirm former President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016, she believes that the circus surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation could occur once more due to political division and underhanded dealings.

“Democrats on their side will do anything and everything to smear any conservative,” she insisted.

Co-host Sara Haines insisted that the focus should not be on rushing a SCOTUS nomination in the 45 days preceding the election.

“In the shadow of what’s been left behind after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, the irony of what type of human she was, and what we’re seeing in our politicians is disheartening,” she said.

McCain fired back, “At the same time, you have people on the left who are screaming that they’re gonna pack the courts and create violence and you’re gonna see chaos that we’ve never seen if Mitch McConnell does this. Everyone is behaving badly across the board, and the deep politicizing that happened after she passed is true, and while you’re correct that the majority of Americans are against repealing Roe v. Wade, 47% of Americans are pro-life.”

“Every time I talk about it on this show, it’s received as if it’s this vast minority in the country,” McCain said. “It’s not. I’m telling you, for people who are pro-life, not never-Trumpers … for people like me, it is a meat and potatoes issue, much like guns. It will get people out [to vote], period.”

Haines then went on to read a quote from Amy Coney Barrett — purported to be a potential SCOTUS nominee — but McCain wasn’t having any of it.

“I would be very careful slandering her, Sara, before she’s even been put forth,” McCain warned. “This is what I’m talking about with the Kavanaugh stuff!”

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg had to pull the plug on the segment, and, quickly cutting to commercial, yelled, “Everybody stop! We’re going. We’ll be back.”


What’s at Stake in Possible SCOTUS Appointment? Part 1 | The View

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Breaking: Supreme Court says Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away at age 87.

She was the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, and the first Jewish woman to serve on the highest court of the land.

A statement from the Supreme Court said that she died at home surrounded by her family. She died from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” said Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement.

“We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her – a tireless and resolute champion of justice,” he added.

She served more than two decades on the Supreme Court.

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Democrats threaten to expand — and pack — the Supreme Court if the GOP dares fill a high court vacancy this year

Democrats are warning the Republican Senate majority that if President Donald Trump gets a chance to nominate a third Supreme Court justice this year, the GOP-led upper chamber had better not confirm whomever the president sends over.

According to NBC News, Democrats are threatening to expand and pack the high court once they regain power should Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opt to confirm a Trump SCOTUS pick.

What’s going on?

Democrats remain in a tizzy over the Republican-controlled Senate’s refusal in 2016 to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the seat of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

At the time, McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans were invoking the so-called “Biden rule” — a position advocated in 1992 by then-Sen. Joe Biden when he justified delaying President George H.W. Bush’s Supreme Court nomination should the need arise.

Since then, the majority leader has been attacked by Democrats for saying he would fill any Supreme Court vacancy that occurred during the final year of President Trump’s first term.

The left has blasted McConnell as a hypocrite, but he and GOP leadership have countered that there’s a major difference between 2016 and 2020: When President Obama nominated Garland, his party was in the minority in the Senate; but President Trump’s party currently controls the Senate.

And now rumors swirling that President Trump could get a chance make a Supreme Court nomination in 2020 — from speculation about the possible retirement of either Justice Clarence Thomas or Justice Samuel Alito to concerns over the health of the court’s oldest member, Ruth Bader Ginsbur. Democrats are particularly concerned about a possible Republican-tapped replacement for Ginsburg, the court’s most reliably liberal voice, who has had a string of health issues over the last few years, the most recent being that she is undergoing treatment for the recurrence of liver cancer.

With all that’s at stake with the Supreme Court, Democrats are warning Republicans that filling a vacancy in this election year would embolden them to expand the size of the court once the party controls the Senate and the White House.

The prospect of an all-Democrat government is a real possibility this year, based on polling. Democrats, who currently have zero concern over losing control of the U.S. House of Representatives, are feeling fairly optimistic. According to Real Clear Politics’ polling averages for the Senate in 2020, the GOP has a one-seat lead (47-46) should the election be held today, but seven Senate seats are currently ranked as “toss ups” — six of them are currently held by Republicans. And President Trump is having his own struggles: According to the RCP polling averages, Trump trails presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 7.4 percentage points nationwide.

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, told NBC, “We knew basically they were lying in 2016, when they said, ‘Oh, we can’t do this because it’s an election year.’ We knew they didn’t want to do it because it was President Obama.”

Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, told NBC that the GOP should not be surprised if his party opts to expand the Supreme Court and fill it with left-wing justices.

“If they show that they’re unwilling to respect precedent, rules and history, then they can’t feign surprise when others talk about using a statutory option that we have that’s fully constitutional in our availability,” Kaine warned. “I don’t want to do that. But if they act in such a way, they may push it to an inevitability. So they need to be careful about that.”

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), an outspoken liberal progressive member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who famously lamented the presumption of innocence and due process as she attacked Justice Brett Kavenaugh during his confirmation hearings, said she has been “talking with people who have different ideas about what we can do — including adding to the court, including having certain circuit court judges cycle in and other ideas” like term limits,” adding, “I’m open to those kinds of suggestions,” NBC reported.

The Democratic Party, NBC said, is planning to add language to the 2020 platform calling for structural reforms to the high court “to increase transparency and accountability” and accusing the GOP of having “packed our federal courts with unqualified, partisan judges who consistently rule for corporations, the wealthy, and Republican interests.”

Last year, Hirono and a few fellow Senate Democrats issued a brief to the Supreme Court that it needed to “heal itself” as part of a warning to the court about a then-impending Second Amendment case. They threatened the court with retaliation should it not bend to their will.

“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it,” the brief said. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”

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Breaking: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized for ‘treatment of possible infection’

The Supreme Court of the United States announced Tuesday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital, and is expected to remain there “for a few days.”

What are the details?

The court’s press office released a statement Tuesday afternoon that said:

Justice Ginsburg was admitted to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland early this morning for treatment of a possible infection. She was initially evaluated at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. last night after experiencing fever and chills. She underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins this afternoon to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August. The Justice is resting comfortably and will stay in the hospital for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment.

Justice Ginsburg, who is the oldest member of the Supreme Court at 87, was treated at Johns Hopkins a few months ago for non-surgical treatment stemming from a gallbladder condition. She was also hospitalized twice last year for to have tumors removed.

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SCOTUS says New York prosecutors can seek Trump’s tax documents,​ blocks Congress from getting them — at least for now

In a pair of rulings Thursday, the Supreme Court decided that President Trump’s tax documents can be sought as a part of a criminal investigation, but that, at least for now, Congress is not able to get his financial records.

In a 7-2 decision in Trump v. Vance, the court rejected arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Department of Justice that the president is immune to a state criminal investigation while in office or that a higher standard is needed to subpoena a sitting president.

The tax documents are being sought as a part of a grand jury investigation into alleged hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. The ruling allows prosecutors to seek the president’s tax documents.

The court’s decision in Trump v. Mazars, also 7-2, was released only minutes later. The ruling dealt with Congress’ subpoena of Trump’s financial records.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion in both cases, wrote that “congressional subpoenas for information from the President, however, implicate special concerns regarding the separation of powers. The courts below did not take adequate account of those concerns.”

The court’s ruling in Trump v. Mazars sends the case back down to the lower courts with no clear prospect for when it might be fully resolved, the Associated Press reported.

The AP also noted that “the outcome in the two cases is at least a short-term victory for Trump, who has strenuously sought to keep his financial records private.” Since grand jury proceedings are confidential, it is unlikely that Trump’s financial records will become public any time soon.

This is a developing story and may be updated.

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SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts hospitalized after fall at country club in June

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was briefly hospitalized last month after falling at a Maryland country club.

According to the Washington Post, Roberts suffered a fall while at the Chevy Chase Club on June 21, serious enough that he required stitches and spent the night in the hospital for observation. He was released the next morning.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg told the Post that doctors believe Roberts fell due to light-headedness caused by dehydration:

The Chief Justice was treated at a hospital on June 21 for an injury to his forehead sustained in a fall while walking for exercise near his home. The injury required sutures, and out of an abundance of caution, he stayed in the hospital overnight and was discharged the next morning. His doctors ruled out a seizure. They believe the fall was likely due to light-headedness caused by dehydration.

Roberts, 65, has a brief history of seizures, one in 1993 and another in 2007.

However, as Arberg’s statement indicated, last month’s incident was unrelated to neurological problems.

The high court disclosed Roberts’ injury only after a witness told the Post about the incident. According to the Post, that witness saw Roberts with a bloody head.

Roberts is not the only Supreme Court justice who has been recently hospitalized.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s eldest justice at 87, has been hospitalized numerous times over the last decade, including to treat cancer. Her latest hospitalization was just two months ago.

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SCOTUS rules religious, moral objection exceptions to Obamacare’s birth control mandate are lawful

The Supreme Court handed religious freedom and the Trump administration a significant victory on Wednesday.

In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the Trump administration acted lawfully when it expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that forces employers to provide free contraceptives to employees.

The case — Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania — centered on whether the executive branch may lawfully make it easier for organizations with religious objections, including some for-profit businesses, to opt out of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.

What’s the background?

From CNBC:

The Supreme Court challenge came after Pennsylvania and New Jersey had successfully halted implementation of the regulations in the lower courts. The states argued that the federal government failed to follow the legal protocol known as notice-and-comment in creating the rules.

The states said that if the rules went into effect, they would be saddled with increased costs to run their taxpayer-funded family-planning programs. A federal district court sided with the states and prevented the new rules from going into effect. That decision was affirmed by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Philadelphia.

The Trump administration, via the Department of Justice, and the Catholic nonprofit Little Sisters of the Poor, asked the Supreme Court to reverse those rulings.

What did the Court say?

The court reversed the rulings of both lower courts. Justice Clarence Thomas, in writing the majority opinion, explained that the Trump administration had the “statutory authority” to issue the exceptions.

In a concurring opinion, Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch pushed back against the ruling’s dissenters — Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer — for claiming the Trump administration’s rule imposes a burden on employers.

“A woman who does not have the benefit of contraceptive coverage under her employer’s plan is not the victim of a burden imposed by the rule or her employer. She is simply not the beneficiary of something that federal law does not provide,” the justices explained. “She is in the same position as a woman who does not work outside the home or a woman whose health insurance is provided by a grandfathered plan that does not pay for contraceptives or a woman who works for a small business that may not provide any health insurance at all.”

Going a step further, Alito and Gorsuch argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 compelled the government to issue the religious and moral objection exception.

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SCOTUS abortion ruling is ‘worse than you think’ — but Justice Thomas offers hope to pro-life advocates

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts once again sided with the court’s liberal justices in a significant abortion ruling Monday, where, in a 5-4 decision, the high court struck down a Louisiana law that would have required abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

But for pro-life advocates, the ruling was even worse in the wider fight against abortion, according to conservative attorney David French.

French explained:

The SCOTUS abortion decision is worse than you think. It’s not truly 5-4. On the core of the abortion right, it’s more like 8-1. Only Thomas clearly attacks Roe/Casey. The other dissenters say this, essentially “apply Casey.”

This means, in plain English, that even the dissenters would likely strike down the Louisiana law if the plaintiffs could show that their access to abortion was “substantially impaired.” In other words, the law would be upheld only if it didn’t do much about abortion at all!

It is true that the Supreme Court was not asked to address the merits of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a landmark 1992 case that reaffirmed abortion rights, French went on to explain, but that still does not negate the court’s current perspective toward abortion as represented by Monday’s ruling.

“It’s true that Louisiana didn’t ask the court to overrule Casey. Perhaps another justice agrees with Thomas. All we know is what they just said, and what they just said indicates that the core abortion right is at least as secure as it was in 1992, when Casey was decided,” French said.

However, pro-life advocates do have some hope — in the form of Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thomas wrote a scathing dissenting opinion on Monday in which he said the court’s majority based its ruling solely on Supreme Court precedent, a legal doctrine known as stare decisis.

“But those decisions created the right to abortion out of whole cloth, without a shred of support from the Constitution’s text. Our abortion precedents are grievously wrong and should be overruled,” Thomas wrote.

He later wrote, “[W]e exceed our constitutional authority whenever we ‘appl[y] demonstrably erroneous precedent instead of the relevant law’s text.’ Because we can reconcile neither Roe nor its progeny with the text of our Constitution, those decisions should be overruled.”

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Chief Justice Roberts sides with the liberals in SCOTUS ruling striking down pro-life Louisiana law

The Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law Monday that would have required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics.

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four liberal justices on the court in June Medical Services v. Russo to make it a 5-4 decision, granting abortion advocates a surprising victory.

The law, which was passed in 2014, has been barred from enforcement by a lengthy legal battle after Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic sued to get the law overturned. They argued that it placed an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion by effectively eliminating nearly all of their options for legal abortion services, according to NBC News.

Advocates for the law, called the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, argued that the law is intended to ensure the safety of patients seeking abortions.

A very similar case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, was argued before the Supreme Court in 2016 and a nearly identical Texas law struck down by then-Justice Anthony Kennedy’s swing vote. Kennedy was later succeeded by conservative Trump appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and conservatives hoped that this time around, the decision would swing in their favor.

Kavanaugh did side with the conservatives in Monday’s dissenting opinion, but Roberts joined the majority.

Roberts claims precedent: The chief justice, who voted against striking down the Texas law in 2016, said that though he believed the court was wrong to do so then, he was bound by its precedent in this case. This legal principle is known as stare decisis.

“I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided,” he wrote. “The question today however is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case.”

Thus he concluded: “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

The decision is another disappointing one for conservatives who had hoped the nation’s highest court would begin to rule in their favor with the addition of two new conservative justices during the Trump administration.

But in recent high-profile cases, including this one and two others regarding gay and transgender rights and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the chief justice has chosen to side with the liberals, appearing to embrace his new position as the court’s swing vote.

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