Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Race To Replace, Con't

With Justice Ginsburg lying in state at the Capitol on Friday, and a week since her death, Trump is wasting no time nominating another terrible right-wing lunatic for her seat, a 6-3 conservative majority that could end civil rights, women's right's, abortion, and LGBTQ+ equality in a matter of months, and end the Affordable Care Act in a matter of weeks.
President Donald Trump intends to choose Amy Coney Barrett to be the new Supreme Court justice, according to multiple senior Republican sources with knowledge of the process. 
In conversations with some senior Republican allies on the Hill, the White House is indicating that Barrett, a federal appellate judge and Notre Dame law professor, is the intended nominee, multiple sources said. 
All sources cautioned that until it is announced by the President, there is always the possibility that Trump makes a last-minute change but the expectation is Barrett is the choice. He is scheduled to make the announcement on Saturday afternoon. 
A former law clerk to the late right-wing beacon Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett would tilt the balance of power on the court further to the right, possibly ahead of a consequential case on health care to be argued the week after Election Day. If her Senate confirmation is successful before the November election, the appointment would mark Trump's third Supreme Court pick in one presidential term, cementing a conservative stronghold in the court for a generation. 
She has been the leading choice throughout the week, since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. She is the only potential nominee known to have met with the President in person, according to two of the sources. One source said Trump was familiar with Barrett already and he met with her since she was a top contender the last time there was a Supreme Court vacancy, when the President chose Justice Brett Kavanaugh instead. 
Barrett was seen at her South Bend, Indiana, home on Friday. It was not clear if Barrett had been told she is the choice. Often that is done as late as possible to maintain secrecy around the announcement. 
"The machinery is in motion," one of the sources said.

Barrett’s elevation to this position has been a long time coming. Her nomination has been made with one issue in mind: abortion. The conservative men who have been attacking a woman’s right to choose for a generation have long pined for a woman to do the final work of denying women their right to their own bodies. They’ve said so: Ramesh Ponnuru, longtime editor at National Review and fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has written: “The main reason I favor Barrett, though, is the obvious one: She’s a woman…. If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned—as I certainly hope it will be, as it is an unjust decision with no plausible basis in the Constitution—it would be better if it were not done by only male justices, with every female justice in dissent.”

Barrett will not disappoint conservatives when it comes to abortion. While other jurists hoping to sit on the Supreme Court have at least attempted to be coy with their opposition to Roe v. Wade, Barrett has not. She has said that abortion is “always immoral.” She has said that Roe creates a framework of “abortion on demand” (a patently false claim given that Roe explicitly created a fetal viability standard after which the state was allowed to limit women’s fundamental rights). Barrett has put herself on the record against abortion rights generally, and Roe specifically, more than any person I can think of nominated for the Supreme Court after that 1973 decision.

Over the next few weeks, Barrett and her moderate Republican defenders will likely try to tell people that she’s been lying all this time. They’ll try to tell us that she hasn’t already made up her mind about abortion, that she respects 50 years of Supreme Court precedent, that she’s not being elevated to the Supreme Court just because she’s a woman who happens to hate a woman’s right to choose.

But no matter how hard Barrett tries to obfuscate her position in the coming days, hard-right conservatives know that her elevation to the court is a reliable vote against women’s rights. Why are they so sure about her legal views? Because Barrett herself has argued that she cannot and, more important, should not enforce secular laws that go against her religious beliefs.

If you read one thing about how Amy Coney Barrett’s religion would affect her ability to serve as a Supreme Court justice, read her own words. She addressed that matter in an article for the Marquette Law Review titled: “Catholic Judges in Capital Cases.” There, Barrett argued that Catholic judges should recuse themselves from cases that involve the death penalty. She argued that the Catholic Church’s moral stance against the death penalty might make it impossible for Catholic judges to dispense the impartial justice citizens are entitled to. Here’s part of the abstract for the whole long article:

Although the legal system has a solution for this dilemma by allowing the recusal of judges whose convictions keep them from doing their job, Catholic judges will want to sit whenever possible without acting immorally. However, litigants and the general public are entitled to impartial justice, which may be something a judge who is heedful of ecclesiastical pronouncements cannot dispense. Therefore, the authors argue, we need to know whether judges are legally disqualified from hearing cases that their consciences would let them decide. While mere identification of a judge as Catholic is not sufficient reason for recusal under federal law, the authors suggest that the moral impossibility of enforcing capital punishment in such cases as sentencing, enforcing jury recommendations, and affirming are in fact reasons for not participating.

This article is, frankly, a refreshing dose of truth of the sort most aspiring Supreme Court justices assiduously avoid. Barrett is straight-up explaining that her own religious biases may prevent her, or a judge like her, from upholding secular law. It is rare to find a would-be justice who is willing to admit that their personal convictions shape how they see the law, because they get trashed by the opposition party for such admissions, even though we all know that a judge’s personal beliefs and lived experiences must impact how they apply the law.

President Donald Trump’s Saturday announcement of his Supreme Court pick will spark a lightning-quick confirmation attempt by Senate Republicans that now seems almost certain to occur before the election. After Trump’s reveal, Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is expected to quickly lay out a hearing schedule for October, and the nominee will begin meeting with individual senators next week, according to senators and aides.

Provided no surprising information is unearthed that upends the nomination, Republicans and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are set to make history: Never has a Supreme Court justice been confirmed so close to a presidential election. Other than two dissenting GOP senators, no one thus far in the 53-member conference is arguing to wait for a lame duck session — let alone the next Congress — to hold a confirmation vote. McConnell only needs a simple majority.

“There’s not much of a margin for error. But we don’t have much error,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “We have our [party] meetings and no one has ever gotten up and made the case for why we should do this after the election.”

“There’s going to be plenty of time, plenty of time for both the nominee and the committee for questions, plenty of time to vote. I’m not worried about the timing,” added Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), who serves on the Judiciary Committee. “I’m obviously not Mitch McConnell, but I think we’ll have a vote before the election."
So, unless Chuck Schumer is willing to go full scorched earth, Barrett will be confirmed before the Senate adjourns for the election campaign on October 9.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on the Affordable Care Act on November 10.

The battle begins.

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