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.”
One last thing I want to say about the Supreme Court’s terrible decision in Jones v. Mississippi today: The defendant was 15 at the time of the crime. 15 years old. And the Supreme Court has allowed him to be condemned to die behind bars. It’s barbarous. https://t.co/XS5CPsa2In
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) April 22, 2021
University of Michigan Law School Asst. Professor Leah Litman:
Justice Sotomayor brings the “stare decisis is for suckers” point home: “How low this Court’s respect for stare decisis has sunk.” pic.twitter.com/91GYxkbRyo
— Leah Litman (@LeahLitman) April 22, 2021
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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Watch: Fox News Attacks Biden for Not ‘Condemning’ Will Smith
Unemployment has dropped so low there are now five million more job openings than unemployed Americans. The stock market continues to rebound from the drops it suffered when Russian President Vladimir Putin started his illegal war against Ukraine. COVID hospitalizations and deaths continue to drop. President Biden has regained America’s place as the leader of the free world, and Russia is in such desperate straits some believe Putin’s reign is coming to an end.
Donald Trump’s fate and the fate of some of his top aides and allies look increasingly dire as bombshell after bombshell drop, sometimes more than one a day, and to some it may appear Trump and Putin will be removed from the public stage at some point in the near future.
And while the price of gas is still a topic of conversation and inflation is the latest boogeyman, the Fox News-GOP partnership is running out of crises to wave in front of their base, so they’ve now returned to manufacturing them.
On Wednesday an unknown reporter asked Biden’s Director of Communications Kate Bedingfield if the White House “condones” the “level of violence” Will Smith “unleashed” on Chris Rock at the Oscars.
“This White House is creating confusion,” said Fox News’ Pete Hegseth Wednesday, out of nowhere.
“And this is what I said yesterday,” Harris Faulkner replied, “with all the things that we have going on, even there – but our inflation, here are our crime here with everything we have going on, please stop making all of us focus on what he’s focused on, which is not being clear,” she said, falsely claiming Biden cannot communicate.
Faulkner is demanding the President of the United States not set the agenda for the country, a remarkable demand after four-plus years of his predecessor’s every thought receiving microscopic attention.
“Alright, I want to get to this because it is now beyond the Oscars. This this is a bigger situation now with Will Smith and Chris Rock, it’s opened a door on, you know, what do we want our kids to see? Who do we want our society to look like?” she added strangely. “It is a bigger thing.”
“The White House now has refused to comment or condemn Will Smith for smacking Chris Rock across the face at the Oscars,” Faulkner announced, because this White House has a policy, set by President Biden, of staying focused and not getting swept up in every minute scandal or social media sensation.
Even the video clip Faulkner showed includes Bedingfield saying President Biden didn’t watch the Oscars so they have no comment. The White House did not “refuse to condemn” anything, they just didn’t have a comment.
“The President was not able to watch the Oscars,” Bedingfield told the errant reporter. “Didn’t see it. So I don’t have anything. I don’t have any official comment from him or from the White House on this.”
Pete Hegseth, who it should be noted has (or at least, had) a policy of not washing his hands because he cannot see germs, weighed in:
“The White House has had no problem condemning issues of less consequence inside our culture. Clearly, they are copping out on this one.”
Fox News is now outraged that *checks notes* the White House is not weighing in on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock.
Pete Hegseth: “The White House has had no problem condemning issues of less consequence inside our culture. Clearly, they are copping out on this one.” pic.twitter.com/IubdiT4xVe
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 30, 2022
Former Trump Official Claims Biden Choosing First Black Woman Justice Bars ‘Hispanics, Asians and Gays’
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:
Asians, gays and Hispanics had no shot for a Supreme Court seat from Joe Biden.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) January 27, 2022
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:
Joe Lockhart celebrates barring Hispanics, Asians and gays for a Supreme Court seat. https://t.co/gSQC8bprKU
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) January 27, 2022
Some responses to Grenell’s tweet:
Being a woman and black doesn’t necessarily make one straight ….
— Alex 🏳️🌈 (@Sanvers_TV) January 27, 2022
So there are no gay black women? Idiocy, the GQP way.
— Snyder (@madgamecc69) January 27, 2022
God, you’re exhausting. Would a gay Hispanic-Asian-African-American liberal suffice for you then?
— Dominic Antonio Crossey (He/Him) (@DominicACrossey) January 27, 2022
How many of those types of people were on the Heritage Foundation list that your old boss picked from? How many of those were on his short list? Maybe I missed the multicultural open call for the last three.
— just Todd (@ToddBergman) January 27, 2022
‘Never Forget’: Critics Blast ‘Senator Sedition Fist’ Josh Hawley on Anniversary of His Fox News Insurrection Threat
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.
When you look up traitor in the dictionary you should find this picture of Josh Hawley taken January 6th. pic.twitter.com/x2C1QMmEMn
— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) January 4, 2022
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:
BRET BAIER: I want to pin you down on what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to say that Trump will be president after January 20?
JOSH HAWLEY: Well, that depends on what happens on Wednesday
BAIER: No it doesn’t
(Trump in fact lost an election!) pic.twitter.com/vsO2JyRJuk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 5, 2021
“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:
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Defeated President, Donald Trump@FBI Here ya go! https://t.co/GBLTUp2jtU
— Pridegoesbeforethefall (@moderateresist) January 4, 2022
Josh Hawley was the 1st Senator to say he would NOT certify #Biden as President! Hawley wanted to get ahead of every Repub, including #TedCruz, to get attention! 3 Senators have been expelled & it was over the Civil War! #JoshHawley & Cruz should be EXPELLED for this coup plot!!
— Dan Pereira (@ddanpereira) January 4, 2022
Never forget Josh Hawley’s role in all of this. https://t.co/uJj02Jfepp
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) January 4, 2022
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