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dajoki

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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: PA
Member since: Wed May 11, 2005, 10:48 PM
Number of posts: 10,498

About Me

I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.

Journal Archives

A Federal Judge Condemned the "Roberts Court's Assault on Democracy.'' It's About Time

A Federal Judge Condemned the “Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy.’’ It’s About Time.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/03/federal-judge-condemns-roberts-courts-assault-on-democracy.html

Nowhere is the problem of asymmetrical rhetorical warfare more apparent than in the federal judiciary. For the past several years, federal judges, notably those appointed by Donald J. Trump, have felt unmoored from any standard judicial conventions of circumspection and restraint, penning screeds about the evils of “big government” and rants against Planned Parenthood. Most of the judicial branch, though, has declined to engage in this kind of rhetoric. There are norms, after all, and conventions, standards, and protocols. There seems to also be an agreement that conservative judges demonstrate deeply felt passion when they delve into such issues, while everyone else just demonstrates “bias” if they decide to weigh in. So when Justice Clarence Thomas just last year used a dissent to attack the integrity of a sitting federal judge in the census case, it was mere clever wordsmithing. But when Justice Sonia Sotomayor suggests, as she did recently, that the conservative wing of the high court seems to be privileging the Trump administration’s emergency petitions, she is labeled—by the president himself—unfit to judge. It’s such a long-standing trick, and it’s so well supported by the conservative outrage machine, that it’s easy to believe that critiques of fellow judges by conservative judges are legitimate, while such critiques from liberal judges are an affront to the legitimacy of the entire federal judiciary.

This dynamic is why it’s so astonishing to see progressive judges really go for broke in criticizing conservative bias in the judiciary, as U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman does in criticizing the five conservative justices on the Roberts Supreme Court in an upcoming Harvard Law review article. The article begins, brutally:

By now, it is a truism that Chief Justice John Roberts’ statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee that a Supreme Court justice’s role is the passive one of a neutral baseball “umpire who [merely] calls the balls and strikes” was a masterpiece of disingenuousness. Roberts’ misleading testimony inevitably comes to mind when one considers the course of decision-making by the Court over which he presides. This is so because the Roberts Court has been anything but passive. Rather, the Court’s hard right majority is actively participating in undermining American democracy. Indeed, the Roberts Court has contributed to insuring that the political system in the United States pays little attention to ordinary Americans and responds only to the wishes of a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals.


Adelman, who sits in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, goes on to methodically chronicle that which is hardly news to anyone who has observed the rightward turn of the Supreme Court. His article brings into clear relief the court’s systemic attack on voting rights for minority and other marginalized communities, by way of striking down a key section of the Voting Rights Act, as well as repeated blessing of voter suppression and decisions not to adjudicate political gerrymandering. He notes that the court privileges the wealthy and corporate interests at the expense of the public. He lays out in detail the rise of the conservative legal movement, starting with the infamous 1971 Lewis Powell memo that served as a right-wing call to arms and tracing its progress through the current well-funded effort to reverse the New Deal in the courts. The article ultimately portrays the slow movement of the Supreme Court to the right—and then the far right—through a long line of cases that reversed the Warren court’s protections for minority groups and poor and working-class Americans. It shows how the court has undermined unions and boosted corporate interests. The court, he notes, has greatly contributed to income inequality, health care inequality, and the hollowing out of the American middle class.

Adelman ends with this caution:

We are thus in a new and arguably dangerous phase in American history. Democracy is inherently fragile, and it is even more so when government eschews policies that benefit all classes of Americans. We desperately need public officials who will work to revitalize our democratic republic. Unfortunately, the conservative Justices on the Roberts Court are not among them.


<<snip>>

"Mr. Barr could not be trusted." We all knew that, so what will come of this?

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/05/us/politics/mueller-report-barr-judge-walton.html?

<<snip>>

Mr. Barr could not be trusted, Judge Reggie B. Walton said, citing “inconsistencies” between the attorney general’s statements about the report when it was secret and its actual contents that turned out to be more damaging to President Trump. Mr. Barr’s “lack of candor” called into question his “credibility and, in turn, the department’s” assurances to the court, Judge Walton said.

The judge ordered the Justice Department to privately show him the portions of the report that were censored in the publicly released version so he could independently verify the justifications for those redactions. The ruling came in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking a full-text version of the report.

The differences between the report and Mr. Barr’s description of it “cause the court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller report to the contrary,” wrote Judge Walton, an appointee of President George W. Bush.

Mr. Barr’s public rollout of the Mueller report has been widely criticized. Still, it was striking to see a Republican-appointed federal judge scathingly dissect Mr. Barr’s conduct in a formal judicial ruling and declare that the sitting attorney general had so deceived the American people that he could not trust assertions made by a Justice Department under Mr. Barr’s control.

<<snip>>

Pissed about Super Tuesday? Suck it up: Beating Trump means supporting the Democratic nominee

Pissed about Super Tuesday? Suck it up: Beating Trump means supporting the Democratic nominee
https://www.salon.com/2020/03/05/pissed-about-super-tuesday-suck-it-up-beating-trump-means-supporting-the-democratic-nominee/

<<snip>>

In a new essay for the New Republic, political scientist and pollster Rachel Bitecofer describes this moment in political history:
https://newrepublic.com/article/156402/hate-ballot

As the electorate is currently constituted, there are more potential Democratic voters out there than there are Republican, and not just in California. There are more in the Midwest and in the Sun Belt. There are so many more in Virginia and Colorado that both states have moved off the swing state map.

The 2020 election will be a battle of the bases, with nothing less than the country's survival as a functional democracy on the ballot. Partisanship is a hell of a drug — especially when it's cut with a heavy dose of existential fear.


There are eight months to Election Day. Much can and will happen that is outside of the ability of the pundits, the pollsters and the commentariat to predict. But one thing is certain. There will be Democratic and independent voters who are upset that their preferred candidate is not the party's presidential nominee. Some of these voters may choose to stay home, to vote for a meaningless third-party candidate or even to support Donald Trump in some ill-conceived protest against the system.

Such impulses are dangerous. Instead, these angry and disaffected Democrats and independents must vote with their heads and not their hearts, must embrace a new maturity, and must abandon childish purity tests that are best suited for halcyon days and a time of "normalcy" than for the nightmarish crisis of the Age of Trump.

Not to support the Democratic nominee — whoever that may be — is to aid Donald Trump and his authoritarian movement in their quest for a second term.

Moreover, not to vote against Donald Trump is to betray American democracy and the very values that so many disaffected progressives, Democrats and independents claim to embrace. Is the Democratic Party perfect, or even fully functional? Of course not. But to sabotage it now is to embrace darkness.

institutional ability of the press to fully convey the abnormality of this presidency is in doubt

Trump’s new attack on Biden exposes his own unfitness
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/03/trumps-new-attack-biden-exposes-his-own-unfitness/

<<snip>>

In this election, the institutional ability of the press to fully convey the abnormality of this presidency is in doubt. As Brian Beutler details, we’re already seeing a rerun of 2016, which was beset with the press corps’ failure to clearly demarcate Trump’s history of corruption and racism from the lesser sins of Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s allies are counting on these failures to resurface. GOP senators are intensifying sham investigations into Biden and his son, in the obvious expectation that if he’s the nominee, whatever they purport to find will be treated as legitimate news, casting a pall of corruption over him.

<<snip>>

Such duplicity can't survive appeal

https://twitter.com/RepAdamSchiff/status/1233864178584125440?s=20
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