We normally take a Saturday break each week. This week we are taking a Friday break instead. Today we are meeting with Louisiana 4th District Congressman Mike Johnson. We’ll bring you that interview in it’s entirety tomorrow — Saturday, July 7th.
Congressman Johnson is in his first term, serves on the House Judiciary Committee and has a lot to say to us all about the state of Congress, the G.O.P., and the Nation. Among other topics we’ll discuss are his opinions on the process and possible replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. You don’t want to miss him!
Political Leftists cringed with the untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Their horror heightened with the election of Donald Trump as President. Why? They knew with his certain appointment of a conservative replacement, the balance of power shifting to the right would certainly tip the scales of judicial renderings from SCOTUS to the right. And they apparently were correct. Listen for today’s Supreme Court Holocaust analysis.
Current Supreme Court justices and their political “leanings” are as follows:
John Roberts: Conservative
Anthony Kennedy: usually considered Conservative but as a “swing vote” that sometimes is Liberal
Clarence Thomas: Conservative
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Liberal
Stephen Breyer: Liberal
Samuel Alito: Conservative
Sonia Sotomayor: Liberal
Elena Kagan: Liberal
Neil Gorsuch: Conservative
What’s Happened Lately
Beginning with the outcomes of the current SCOTUS session, June 26th findings of the Court were released. These are the most notable AND most controversial:
Trump v. Hawaii (2018)
President Trump lawfully exercised the broad discretion granted to him under section 1182(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), to issue Proclamation No. 9645, suspending the entry of aliens into the United States, and the Proclamation does not violate the Establishment Clause. SCOTUS upheld Trump travel ban on some countries that are primarily Muslim in a 5-4 Vote.
National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra (2018)
SCOTUS struck down California law that required Crisis Pregnancy Centers in their counseling of those pregnant to discuss with those women the availability of state funded abortions in addition to non-abortion pregnancy result options. VOTE: 5-4
Abbott v. Perez (2018)
Supreme Court rejects district court’s conclusion that a 2013 Texas redistricting plan was tainted by the bias of a previous legislature and that certain districts were invalid as having the effect of depriving Latinos of the equal opportunity to elect their candidates of choice. VOTE: 5-4
Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, (2018)
Phillips, the owner of a Colorado bakery, told a same-sex couple that he would not create a cake for their wedding because of his religious opposition to same-sex marriages (which Colorado did not then recognize) but that he would sell them other baked goods. The couple filed a charge under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in a “place of business engaged in any sales to the public.” An ALJ ruled in the couple’s favor. The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed. VOTE: 5-4
Azar v. Garza (2018)
Doe, a minor was eight weeks pregnant when she unlawfully crossed the border into the U.S. She was detained by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), in a federally-funded Texas shelter. Doe requested an abortion. Absent “emergency medical situations,” ORR policy prohibits shelter personnel from “taking any action that facilitates an abortion without direction and approval from the Director.” A minor may leave government custody by seeking voluntary departure, or by working with the government to identify a suitable sponsor” in the U.S., 8 U.S.C. 1229c. Garza, Doe’s guardian ad litem, filed a putative class action on behalf of Doe and “all other pregnant unaccompanied minors in ORR custody.” The district court ruled in Doe’s favor, Doe attended preabortion counseling, required by Texas law to occur at least 24 hours in advance with the same doctor who performs the abortion. The clinic she visited typically rotated physicians weekly. The next day, the District of Columbia Circuit vacated portions of the order. Four days later, that court, en banc, vacated the panel order and remanded. Garza obtained an amended order, requiring the government to make Doe available to obtain the counseling and abortion. Believing the abortion would not take place until after Doe repeated the counseling with a new doctor, the government informed opposing counsel and the Supreme Court that it would file a stay application on October 25. The doctor who had performed Doe’s earlier counseling became available at 4:15 a.m. At 10 a.m., Garza’s lawyers informed the government that Doe “had the abortion this morning.” The Supreme Court vacated and remanded for dismissal. Doe’s individual claim for injunctive relief—the only claim addressed by the D. C. Circuit—became moot after the abortion but the unique circumstances and the balance of equities weigh in favor of vacatur. The Court considered but did not decide the government’s allegations that opposing counsel made misrepresentations to thwart review. VOTE 5-4
Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (2018)
Janus was an Illinois employee of a company and was not a member of the AFSCME union local at his employer. The case was filed on his behalf to confront alleged violation of his 1st Amendment rights by the Union paying a portion of the Union assessment he paid to/for political causes with which Janus disagrees. The Court ruled the Illinois law that forced non-union employees to pay such dues is not valid. VOTE: 5-4
It is very obvious with the SCOTUS rulings on these cases that the death of Antonin Scalia — a strict conservative Supreme Court justice — the sure results of Court rulings would end deadlocked — especially in controversial cases. And indeed that happened. Neil Gorsuch joining the Court has already made a dramatic difference. The 4-4 deadlock would have continued in most cases.
“What’s the damage with that?” partisans might ask. It’s simple: SCOTUS is NOT the place where cases start. Cases determined there are appealed from federal appeals courts around the nation. In SCOTUS 4-4 determinations on any cases results in the determination by the lower court that the appeal came from being confirmed. It is doubtful any of the above case results would have occurred in a 4-4 Supreme Court.
Justice Anthony Kennedy
In a surprise move, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring, giving President Trump a critical opportunity to move the Supreme Court more solidly to the right in what promises to be an epic confirmation fight.
The 81-year-old senior associate justice informed the White House in a letter of his intention to step down from the high court after 30 years, effective July 31. Rumors of another vacancy have reverberated across Washington in recent months, and it comes a year after Kennedy’s former law clerk Justice Neil Gorsuch, took over the seat occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Arguably the most powerful member of the Supreme Court, Kennedy’s moderate-conservative views often left him the “swing” — or deciding — vote in hot-button cases ranging from abortion to gay rights to political campaign spending. A Supreme Court vacancy will likely become a key issue in a midterm congressional election year, when control of the Senate is at stake. That body will consider Trump’s latest high court nominee, requiring only a simple majority for confirmation. GOP leaders changed the rules when Gorsuch was being considered, to get rid of the 60-vote procedural filibuster threshold. (FOX News Breaking Story)
You can bet Democrats will NOT “go quietly into the night” on this issue. Democrats are likely to initiate a move during the replacement of Kennedy to make it a referendum on Donald Trump as President: his honesty, integrity, etc. Their options to do so are limited. Remember: the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion to aid Trump’s election victory in 2016 is running out of steam. What else could Dems use? Who knows. But you can bet they — “if” they go down — will go down swinging.
One thing Democrats missed in the SCOTUS findings on these cases is that the Supreme Court DID not and DOES not decide cases based on political bias or agenda. Their finding regarding President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from the countries involved was well within the President’s Constitutional authority. The justices made it clear that regardless of anything said by then Candidate Trump was immaterial to the law. The law give this President — and any OTHER President — clear authority to take executive action in such cases.
Democrats have a habit of forgetting about the law when dealing with controversial issues. Laws and substance often do not matter to Dems: politically correctness drives their boat.
Case in point: Keith Ellison (D-MN) said that the President “has his Supreme Court tailor-made to his ugly philosophy,” calling it a “partisan court.”He added that he does not believe Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed after congressional Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama from filling a vacancy late in his presidency, is on the court “properly.” “It just proves one thing, that if you steal and rip off a Supreme Court justice, then you can try to jam any kind of nasty, racist, ugly policy down the throat’s of the American people. But we’re not taking it,” Ellison said.
Yes, the Ellison view on the matter is the epitome of “Symbolism over Substance. “But where are the majority of Americans on these and other controversial issues?
It’s happened! Many conservatives felt betrayed by the Justice Department and the Judiciary because of the Mueller investigation details that have been leaked. But apparently there’s hope. Today we look at the court transcript from Friday, May 4th in which Paul Manafort’s legal team petitioned for bank fraud charges to be dropped. The judge in the case shocked the World! Listen in to see just how corrupt is the Mueller investigation today and probably has been for a year.
(listen to the broadcast then download the transcript of the Manafort hearing from last Friday. Feel free to share this transcript. It will shock you)