Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Is Anyone Truly Surprised that Amy Coney Barrett is the Newest Member of SCOTUS?

When it came to making major decisions, the process would obviously be easier if it was made via strictly impartial facts. But impartiality is impossible. Most, if not all of the time, our beliefs and experiences color the final outcome of our decisions.

Last night, in a surprise to no one, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the newest member of SCOTUS.

Her rushed confirmation hearings, combined with taking the oath of office a week before the election is the living, breathing embodiment of court packing. Those in the Republican and conservative movements wanted to grab as much power as they could while it was theirs to take. If the blue wave comes as expected (and hoped for), the Democrats will have control of the White House and Congress.

There are two problems with her confirmation. The first problem is that there are no term limits on the members of the Supreme Court. While there is talk of creating term limits, it is just talk at this moment. Justice Barrett is forty eight. This means that she could be on the court for the next thirty to forty years. She could be ruling on cases that will forever change the trajectory of this nation.

The second problem is that with the election so close, some are predicting a reboot of the 2000 Presidential election. Those of us who are above a certain age can easily remember the chaos and uncertainty during that period. In a worst case scenario, the argument could make its way up to SCOTUS. I wouldn’t put it past you know who to ensure that the judges he appointed give him another four years in office.

At this point in time, we can only guess how the election will end and how Judge Barrett will rule. I hope with everything I have that when all is said and done, we become a better nation. But hope, as it often does, springs eternal.

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Confirming Amy Coney Barrett Spits on the Memory of RBG

Every generation of the feminist movement builds on previous generations. However, that does not mean that the current generation honors or remembers the work of their predecessors.

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last Friday, the news sent shockwaves throughout the country. According to an interview with her granddaughter, one of the late jurist’s last wish was that her replacement not be confirmed until after the election.

It is therefore, a surprise to no one that not only was that wish ignored, but her potential replacement is politically conservative. Her name is Amy Coney Barrett. Though she has taken advantage of the opportunities that were created for her via Judge Ginsburg, she is everything that RBG was not.

Judge Barrett openly opposes abortion and marriage in the LGBTQ community. Her nomination, if confirmed, would tip the balance within the Supreme Court towards the right. In theory, the court should be apolitical. But, in reality, politics views will always play a role in the decisions that are handed down.

What is more concerning than the choice of Judge Barrett is that Judge Ginsburg is not even in the ground. As far as I am concerned, the Republicans have ignored the choices of both the voters and RBG. They are so focused on winning the election, that they have forgotten who has the power to hire and fire them.

It’s time to remind them who is in charge.

#BidenHarris2020

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Rest in Revolution, RBG

Activism is not always done standing on a soapbox with a microphone in one’s hand. It can be done working quietly behind the scenes.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday. Born and raised in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, she came of age in an era when most women quietly settled in marriage and motherhood. She could have followed the pack, but chose another life. That life led her to become only the second women to join the United States Supreme Court. Serving nearly three decades, she was a feminist and icon in every sense of the word.

I can’t think of any other Supreme Court Justice who has deified on Saturday Night Live. Kate McKinnon is perfection.

Her passing represents more than her physical death. The question comes up of who should replace her. If precedent has anything to say, whomever fills her seat will not be named until after November. But, given the current state of American politics, I would not be surprised if there was already a list of potential replacements waiting in the wings.

In the words of our mutual ancestors, may her memory be a blessing and an inspiration to fight for equality.

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Thoughts On the Recent Supreme Court Rulings

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. However, that does not mean that I as an individual citizen has to agree with every ruling.

Though it is not written in stone, it is a tradition that all Presidents release copies of their tax returns and/or financial statements. Since you know who won the election nearly four years ago, he has come up with every excuse in the book as to why the paperwork has not been made public. Today, SCOTUS ruled that the tax returns have to be released to prosecutors in regards to the cases building against him in New York.

On the surface, the decision by SCOTUS (including you know who’s choices to join the court) seem like a 100% victory. It’s not, the fine print says that much. But it is a giant step in the right direction. The big baby is not immune from prosecution and must conform to the laws like anyone else.

The other ruling concerns the constant determination by the right (and the current administration by extension) to deny a woman her right to contraception. Instead of directly denying a female employee access to birth control, they are leaving it up to the prerogative of her employer.

If you can, imagine the following scenario: a pregnant woman goes to her doctor for a routine checkup. She is told that there has been a change to the fetus. It is no longer medically viable. She could carry the pregnancy to term, but there are risks in doing so. She could also end the pregnancy, but her employer does not believe in abortion. If she chooses an abortion, she will have to pay a potentially outrageous sum out of pocket because of her employer’s beliefs.

Does that sound right to you? It doesn’t sound right to me. From my perspective, the only thing my bosses should be worrying about is my ability to do my job. My personal life (medical decisions included) are frankly, none of their dam business.

Happy Thursday.

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The Light in the Darkness: The Supreme Court LGBTQ Ruling

Even in the darkest of times, there will always be that small light in the distance. As difficult it reach it as it may seem, we must always be fighting to get to that light.

It is no secret that our nation has been in turmoil for the past few months due to the one two punch of Covid-19 and the murder of George Floyd. But even with all that, there is still something to smile about.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld one of our nation’s highest ideals by making discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the workplace illegal. In a move that surprised many, two of more conservative judges (one of whom was appointed by you know who) stood with their liberal colleagues in favor of the ruling.

This gives me hope. We can live up to the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We can ensure equal rights for all. We can end the discriminatory practices that have been the unfortunate backbone of our nation for far too long.

It just takes time, work, and putting one’s fears aside to fight for a greater cause.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Pride month.

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The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation Book Review

Unless one is a diehard political junkie, the confirmation process of potential Supreme Court judges is an event that can be missed. But the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh last year was must-see TV. The sexual assault allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford made viewers and those in the halls of power ask if Judge Kavanaugh was truly up to the task at hand.

The new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, by New York Times writers Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin, is more than the story of Judge Kavanaugh. It is a mirror that reveals the truth that America is a divided nation, politically, socially and culturally. While telling the story of Judge Kavanaugh’s life, Kelly and Pogrebin do a deep dive into who their subject is and the accusations that nearly stopped his career in its path.

Like many Americans, I watched this story like a hawk last fall. What I like about the book is that the writers leave the perspective up to the interpretation of the reader. Though they make clear that the allegations are serious (as they should), they do not play judge and jury.

As a feminist, I have two perspectives on this story. The first perspective is that Judge Kavanaugh acted in a way that only one who is young, immature and stupidly drunk will act. It appears that in middle age, he has matured well beyond the young man he was in the 1980’s. The second perspective is that this is a man who has no respect for women, especially when he is not sober. If he truly has no respect for women, how is able to make sound legal judgements that can potentially affect millions of American women?

I recommend it.

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Thoughts On the New Brett Kavanaugh Accusations: Where There is Smoke, There is Fire

When Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed last year, his confirmation was far from smooth.

This week, new sexual assault allegations have surfaced against Justice Kavanaugh. If that was not enough, there are some who are questioning if the FBI did a thorough investigation and are calling for his impeachment.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

From my perspective, the fact that he was still confirmed in spite of the evidence speaks to the act that powerful men can still get away with sexual assault. Women are still there just to be sexual objects.

Where there is smoke, there is fire. I have a feeling that this will not be the last time that we will be hearing about the sexual misconduct of Justice Kavanaugh.

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Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World Book Review

When one is the first at anything, especially when one is a minority or disenfranchised, they are often labelled as a hero to those who they have paved the way for. But behind that bold heroism is years, if not decades of drive, hard work and fighting against prejudice.

Linda Hirshman’s 2016 book, Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, tells the story of the lives and careers of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who were the first and second women to join the Supreme Court respectively.

On the surface, the women couldn’t have been further apart. Sandra Day O’Connor was born into a Christian family who owned a large ranch in Arizona. Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up in an immigrant Jewish family in New York City. Coming of age in era when a woman was expected to marry and raise a family while her husband brought home the literal bacon, both women defied the rules of their era by earning law degrees and dared to openly question why women were second class citizens.

Along the way, they inspired and continue to inspire generations of women in every industry to fight for their rights and the equality that is their right.

What struck me about this book is that though both Justice Ginsburg and Justice O’Connor had very different early lives, they are remarkably similar in the paths they took, the challenges they faced and the paths they blazed for future generations of women.

Though this book has moments of being a dry academic style textbook, it is also a reminder of how far women have come and how far we need to go.

I recommend it.

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Thoughts On the Supreme Court World War I Memorial Decision

One of the basic tenets of America is the separation between church and state. While on the surface, this statement seems black and white, there are shades of grey beneath the surface.

This week, the Supreme Court decided that a giant cross in Maryland that memorializes young men from that community who died for their country in World War I can stay on public land.

I have to be honest, I am torn about the decision. Without a shadow of a doubt, the young men who gave their lives for our freedoms deserve to our respect, our thanks and a perpetual memorial. However, those who erected the memorial either forgot or ignored the fact that not every American soldier who died for their country was of the Christian faith.

Is there an easy answer to this question? I honestly don’t know. But I do know that all of our soldiers who gave their lives for their country deserve to be remembered, not just those who practiced Christianity.

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Thoughts On the Alabama Abortion Bill

Anyone who knows me (or at least has read this blog regularly), knows that my political views are pretty liberal. It’s therefore not hard to imagine that politically, Pat Robertson and I standard very far apart when it comes to politics and other sensitive subjects.

I was surprised to read that he is against the new Alabama abortion bill, stating that lawmakers have gone too far. If Pat Robertson is against this law, that says something.

The thing that strikes me about abortion laws is that they are used by men to control women’s bodies, but men’s bodies are never controlled by women or other men. This idea of a man controlling a woman’s body goes back to the not too distant past when a woman was chattel to her father, husband or other nearest male relative. There are some men (and some women) who still believe that a man has the right to control a woman’s bodies.

The only out that a doctor may have for not potentially going to jail for 99 years is if the abortion is determined to be medically necessary. There is no out for a woman who is raped or whose pregnancy is caused by incest.

The irony of this law is that it was signed by Alabama’s female governor, Kay Ivey (R-Alabama). According to the news report, the lawmakers who supported and signed the bill hope to us it as an avenue to eventually challenge Roe V. Wade in the Supreme Court.

While I respect that those who are pro-life have the right to the opinion, I think that if one is pro-life, why not focus on the children who are already living? There are so many children who are growing up in less then ideal conditions, why not focus your time and energy on those children?

I wish that in 2019, the issue of abortion and the government intervening on woman’s choice on whether or not have an abortion did not exist. But it still does and until the issue does not exist, I an and many others will continue to fight.

P.S. It takes two to tango and two to conceive a child. If these male lawmakers are so concerned about abortion, perhaps they should be making sure that the snakes are kept in the cages or condoms should be made readily available to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and a possible future abortion.

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