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OPINION

Sonia Sotomayor Rips Brett Kavanaugh With Warning New Justices Are ‘Willing to Overrule Precedent’

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered a strong warning to the American people and a strong rebuke of  Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the newest far right wing Justices on the Trump-shaped conservative-majority Court in a blistering but brilliant dissent handed down Thursday.

Justice Sotomayor warned this newly-constructed Court, unevenly weighted with six justices (ranging from highly conservative to far right wing religious extremist,) is “willing to overrule precedent without even acknowledging it is doing so, much less providing any special justification.”

That warning is similar to those posed by legal experts from the left who were extremely opposed to then-President Donald Trump’s final Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Justice Barrett’s judicial opinions made clear she will not honor precedent, known as stare decisis. Without that legal guardrail many decidedly settled law targets of conservatives, from the right to choose an abortion to the right to marry, could be struck down by the “Trump Court.”

The case Justice Sotomayor used to deliver her warning and her criticism of Justice Kavanaugh, is Jones v. Mississippi. It centers on a 15-year old boy who murdered his grandfather, claimed self defense, and was sentenced to life in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled life in prison for minors convicted of “non-homicide crimes” constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, unless that minor has been found to be “incorrigible,” or unable to be rehabilitated. (The ACLU’s position is regardless of the type of crime, life in prison for minors is cruel and unusual.)

On Thursday Justice Kavanaugh, who himself has a history of disturbing acts in college, as his confirmation hearing proved, wrote the 6-3 majority opinion in which he upheld the lower court ruling that the defendant was rightly sentenced to life in prison despite no finding of whether or not he is able to be rehabilitated.

“How low this Court’s respect for stare decisis has sunk,” Justice Sotomayor warned.

“Not long ago, that doctrine was recognized as a pillar of the ‘rule of law,’ critical to ‘keep the scale of justice even and steady, and not liable to waver with every new judge’s opinion,'” she wrote, citing Kavanaugh’s own opinion in a previous ruling.

“Now, it seems, the Court is willing to overrule precedent without even acknowledging it is doing so, much less providing any special justification. It is hard to see how that approach is ‘founded in the law rather than in the proclivities of individuals,'” she added, again using Kavanaugh’s own words against him.

She called the ruling a “contortion” of previous rulings, and writes: “As this Court has consistently reiterated, ‘a departure from precedent demands special justification.'”

“The Court offers no such justification today. Nor could it,” she charged.

“Instead of addressing these factors, the Court simply rewrites Miller and Montgomery,” she observes, naming the two cases that provide the precedent today’s ruling effectively overrules, “to say what the Court now wishes they had said, and then denies that it has done any such thing.”

Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern calls the ruling in the case “barbarous,” Sotomayor’s warning “ominous,” and her criticism of Kavanaugh “one of the most savage passages she has ever written.”

University of Michigan Law School Asst. Professor Leah Litman:

The U.S. Supreme Court has now made emphatically clear it is an activist court and “settled law” is fair game.

Civil rights activists, and the American people who value their rights, consider yourselves warned.

 

Image via Shutterstock

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OPINION

Former Trump Official Claims Biden Choosing First Black Woman Justice Bars ‘Hispanics, Asians and Gays’

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A highly-controversial former Trump official is claiming President Joe Biden’s promise to seat the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court is discriminatory.

Richard Grenell, who served as Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence, and as Trump’s  Ambassador to Germany, was seen by at least one lawmaker in Berlin as a “biased propaganda machine.” On Thursday Grenell attacked President Biden by attacking another Democrat, former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.

Lockhart served as President Bill Clinton’s White House Press Secretary. On Thursday he tweeted, “Ahead of the midterms, I look forward to watching every Republican Senator oppose the first black woman to the Supreme Court.”

Earlier in the day Grenell posted a similar tweet:

Conservatives, including on the far right which Grenell has been accused of having ties to, have been falsely claiming it’s “racist” to choose a Supreme Court Justice who is Black and a woman.

Those same conservatives are apparently ignorant of the fact that smart presidents, like smart managers, create a Supreme Court team. There’s no such things as “the most qualified,” nor is there any way, any right way, to measure. Presidents, smart presidents, want justices who are young so they can have a decades-long impact on the nation and its future. They want great minds who are able to work behind the scenes to win over their colleagues. And, unlike Republicans, they want justices who have the lived experiences of more and more Americans –because the law is not stagnant, despite what the originalists and textualists falsely claim.

Here’s Grenell, attacking President Biden through Lockhart:

Some responses to Grenell’s tweet:

 

 

 

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OPINION

‘Never Forget’: Critics Blast ‘Senator Sedition Fist’ Josh Hawley on Anniversary of His Fox News Insurrection Threat

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U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), whose fist-in-the-sky photo taken in front of the Capitol January 6 became emblematic of Donald Trump’s insurrection, is being raked over the coals as Americans remember the threat he delivered in a Fox News interview just one year ago today.

Here he is, talking on January 4 last year with Fox News’ Bret Baier, who bluntly told him “Congress doesn’t have the right to overturn” the election.

Hawley then countered with a misreading of the Constitution, but his claim that Trump could remain president depending “on what happens on Wednesday,” January 6, is to many chilling:

That video, first posted one year ago today, has gone viral:

“Never forget exactly 1 year ago today, Josh Hawley was on Fox spreading the big lie for Trump,” wrote on social media user. “He’s as guilty as anyone when it comes to the insurrection & if we lose the house in ’22, people like this Hitler wannabee will be first in line to overthrow democracy.”

“Hard to believe Senator Sedition Fist, aka Josh Hawley, is still a sitting Senator after this,” said another.

Other responses include:

“Josh Hawley is a dangerous fascist and he needs to answer for his crimes from January 6th.”

“Raise your hand if Josh Hawley is a seditious traitor who should be expelled from Congress ASAP!”

“We don’t talk about it enough, but Josh Hawley attempted to stop the certification of a presidential election and incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

“A year isn’t enough time to forget that Josh Hawley (along with Grassley, Cruz, and others) spread misinformation about the election and even made statements implying that they expected it to be overturned. All of them traitors!”

A few more:

 

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OPINION

Don Jr. Suggests Trump’s New Social Media Site Was Created to Help Republicans Win Elections

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Donald Trump, Jr. is appearing to suggest his father’s new social media platform, Truth Social, was created to help Republicans win elections.

Appearing on far right host Sebastian Gorka’s Newsmax show that aired Sunday, Trump Jr. was asked in a segment about the new social media site what his “specific message” is “to those who had just kind of given up on the idea of America and free and fair elections.”

Trump Jr. did not hesitate.

“Let’s stay in the game,” he replied, after discussing Truth Social for several minutes and urging viewers to join. “I mean, you know, these are all steps that we’re taking to make sure that we can level that playing field, the playing field has been so biased for so long, right?” he claimed.

“We’ve been playing T ball while the other side has been playing hardball and doing whatever it takes,” Trump Jr. said, despite some Republicans working to overturn the free and fair 2020 presidential election.

“You know, Donald Trump opened the door for conservatives to start pushing back, to play the game the way the other side has done it. We need to keep doing that, we need to stay in this game. They would love for us just to tuck tail to run to turn the other cheek to be dejected, to take our ball and go home. We can’t allow that to happen, we have to stay in the game we have to stay involved we have to be vocal and we have to be unafraid.”

And even though Facebook was formed in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Microsoft in 1980, and Apple in 1976,  he also seemed to suggest that “Big Tech” or social media platforms have been working against Republicans for 50 years.

“And if we do that and you look at what’s going on right now with the insanity of this administration and all of the leftist agenda, you realize, Americans are waking up. It’s about time, but they’re finally doing it and we’re actually able to put up a front against a huge, huge platform that has been working against us, for half a century.”

Watch:

 

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