Judge Amy Coney Barret Does Not Think SCOTUS 5-4 Split Decisions Are A Sign Of Political Partisanship

Federal Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett At Hillsdale College In May 2019

In an interview at Hillsdale College in May 2019, Federal Appeals Court Judge and now Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett said she does not think the increasing 5-4 split decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court are a sign of political partisanship. This is a very strange assessment given the fact that much of the public angst against the U.S. Supreme Court can be attributed to the increasing number of these 5-4 split decisions between the 5 conservative and 4 liberal justices, which people have reasonably attributed to partisan political differences.

Judge Barrett’s strange position that Supreme Court 5-4 split decisions are not as a result of partisan political differences will certainly draw the attention of Democratic Senators at her confirmation hearings, which are already expected to be the most contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings ever.

Bottom line folks, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the U.S. Supreme Court, Americans better get used to “non-partisan” 6-3 split decisions on ACA, voting rights, DACA, Trump’s tax returns, 2020 election challenges…….. Simply put, get used to “non-partisan” 6-3 split decisions on steroids!!

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Amy Coney Barrett Feared “A Very Marked Shift” In SCOTUS Composition If Hillary Clinton Won In 2016

University of Notre Dame Law Professor Amy Coney Barrett giving a presentation at Jacksonville University On November 3, 2016 , five days before the general elections

An interesting presentation then Professor Amy Coney Barrett gave at Jacksonville University in November 2016, five days before the elections, begs for further scrutiny now that President Trump has formally nominated her to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In her hour long presentation at Jacksonville University, which reasonable people will agree was highly impressive, Professor Barrett delved into a whole host of issues dealing with the U.S. Supreme Court and its Justices. Of particular relevance today, is the fear Professor Barrett expressed of “a very marked shift” in the Supreme Court to the left, were Hillary Clinton to win the presidency in 2016.(see clip below)

Professor Barrett’s concerns in November 2016 are of particular concern today because the “very marked shift” in the U.S. Supreme Court she feared in 2016 has come to pass. The only difference is that the marked shift in the court has been to the right, with Trump as President. More importantly, the very concerns she had about a future President Clinton replacing Justice Scalia with a liberal, is the exact situation we currently find ourselves in, with President Trump getting ready to replace liberal Justice Ginsburg with her–a staunch conservative. Given her fears in 2016, should Trump have nominated someone more liberal to replace Justice Ginsburg? In other words, is Judge Amy Barrett only worried about the U.S. Supreme Court markedly shifting to the left but okay if the shift is to the right?

Specifically, then Professor Barrett argued in her presentation that whoever won the presidency in 2016, who she assumed like many would be Clinton, would have a chance to replace up to four Supreme Court justices, given their advanced ages. Clinton, she argued, would not only fill the vacant Scalia seat with a reliable liberal, tipping the balance of the court leftward, but would also likely replace Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy with much younger reliable liberals, essentially turning the U.S. Supreme Court into a reliably liberal court. Trump on the other hand, Professor Barrett argued, would fill the vacancies with a “mixed bag” of justices resulting in a somewhat center-right court but definitely not a far right Supreme Court.

Reasonable people will agree that with the appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has already shifted the U.S. Supreme Court to the right. Trump’s nomination of conservative Judge Amy Barrett to replace reliably liberal Justice Ginsburg will therefore lead to the very “marked shift” in the U.S. Supreme Court that then Professor Amy Barrett feared with a Clinton presidency. The question Democratic Senators need to confront Judge Barrett with at her confirmation hearings, is whether she is now comfortable with the marked shift in the Supreme Court to the right. Should Trump have nominated a Supreme Court justice more in the mold of Justice Ginsburg to prevent the marked shift to the right?

It bears pointing out however that Professor Barrett espoused an interpretation of the role of judges generally, and supreme court justices in particular, that many legal scholars will find very refreshing. She stated very clearly that the role of a judge is not to placate to the partisan political camps but rather to follow the law, wherever it leads. She illustrated her point with Justice Scalia, who sided with the liberal justices time and time again on criminal law issues even though as a conservative, Republican voters expected him to be a “law and order” judge, always siding with law enforcement in criminal cases. Professor Barrett said Justice Scalia did so not because he liked criminals, but because that was what the text of the constitution required him to do. This should be a warning shot to Trump Republicans who are fast-tracking her confirmation in the hopes that she will rubber stamp GOP policy positions at the Supreme Court.

Bottom line folks, as things currently stand, Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s ascension to the U.S. Supreme Court is all but certain. There’s literally nothing Democrats can do procedurally or otherwise, to stop her confirmation to the high court. One only hopes that during her confirmation hearings, Democratic Senators will confront her with tough questions, among them, her fears in 2016 of a “marked shift” in the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court. Specifically, Democratic Senators should ask Judge Barrett why she feared a marked shift of the high court to the left but is now seemingly comfortable with a marked shift to the right, thanks to her confirmation.

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Handy List Of Iowa GOP State Senators Mad About Record Voter Participation Due To Mail-In Voting

Iowa witnessed record voter participation in its June 3rd primary elections as a result of a provision that allowed the secretary of state to mail absentee ballots to all registered voters due to the covid-19 pandemic. The noble goal of this provision was to save Iowa voters from going into crowded polling centers which would have increased their chances of contracting the virus. Given the ease and convenience of voting by mail, Iowans voted in record numbers, much to the delight of democracy lovers. Well, it turns out republicans were not happy with the record voter participation. They quickly moved in the Iowa state legislature to prevent universal voting by mail in the November elections–a clear cut effort at voter suppression.

On 6/10/2020 a bill that prohibits Iowa’s secretary of state from mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters for the November general elections passed the Iowa state senate by a vote of 30-19. Needless to say, all the 30 state senators who voted for this voter suppression bill were republicans. Because this is one of the most brazen acts of official voter suppression to date, we have no choice but to name and shame these 30 GOP state senators using our famous “handy list”.

Here’s a handy list of the 30 shameful Iowa GOP state senators who are mad that mail-in voting allowed record voter participation in the June primary elections, and are on a mission to prevent that from happening again this November.

Bottom line folks, there’s no longer any doubt that the unpopular policies of the republican party are increasingly turning it into a marginal/regional party. Republican party leaders have long realized that their only chance of clinging to power is to make sure as few people as possible vote, especially minorities who traditionally vote against them. Where, as here, we witness such a brazen attempt at voter suppression by elected officials, we have no otherwise but to loudly call them out.

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Is Barr’s DOJ Targeting Sen Burr To Thwart His TrumpRussia Collusion Findings?

Senator Richard Burr(R-NC) and U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right)

On Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS), host Maddow advanced a provocative theory as to the real reason Attorney General Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) may be going after senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr(R-NC) for possible covid-19 insider trading. According to Maddow, DOJ and by extension AG Barr’s pursuit of senator Burr may have very little to do with the serious covid-19 insider trading allegations, and more to do with the fact that senator Burr was getting ready to release the final installment of his committee’s findings on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

Host Rachel Maddow said, “As bad as the insider trading allegations are against Senator Burr, we also simultaneously have to worry whether the U.S. justice department under Attorney General William Barr might be targeting Senator Burr for reasons that are less about insider trading and more about convenience to the Trump administration. Sen Burr you will recall, has led the only functional bipartisan congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His committee’s findings have supported the intelligence community’s conclusions that for example, Russia interfered in the 2016 election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. That is something President Trump continues to deny as recently as an interview that aired this morning. More to the point though, Senator Burr’s committee is set to release it’s final report on the Russia issue in the coming months and that last installment we are expecting is on ‘possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.’ That’s what Burr is working on right now, but he’s had to step down as chair of the committee.”

As Maddow correctly points out, given AG Barr’s demonstrable pattern of acting as president Trump’s personal defense attorney, it is not entirely implausible for one to conclude that the AG’s pursuit of senator Burr is also about defending Trump from a potentially damning senate intelligence committee finding that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with Russia in 2016. Maddow also correctly points out that an investigation into a sitting U.S. senator, especially one who chairs the powerful senate intelligence committee, must have been approved at the very highest levels of DOJ meaning AG Barr’s footprints are all over this.

Bottom line folks, AG Barr has so tarnished DOJ’s reputation that even when it undertakes a valid high profile criminal prosecution like senator Burr’s, the general perception among members of the public is that it must have something to do with helping president Trump politically. The very same thing happened during Jeffrey Epstein’s high profile criminal prosecution. I will say again what I have repeatedly stated before and that is, the only way DOJ can cure its tarnished reputation is for career officials within the DOJ to pressure AG Barr to step aside. Because it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever push aside his trusted defender, the onus is on career DOJ officers to begin demanding that AG Barr step down for the good of the department. Simply put, continued silence by career DOJ officials regarding AG Barr’s conduct at this juncture is tantamount to complicity.

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Republican Legislators In Oregon Subverting Democracy

A must read piece on Vox shines the light on a very troubling but growing pattern among state GOP lawmakers of crippling state legistature business whenever voters put Democrats in charge. Turns out in Oregon, where voters have recently given Democrats super majorities in both chambers of the state’s legislature, Republican legislators have resorted to sabotage–literally refusing to show up for work thereby crippling the legislature due to lack of quorum. As the Vox piece correctly points out, these tantrums by Republican legislators beg for mainstream media attention not only because they are patently undemocratic, but also because they are a good reflection of Trump’s GOP tactics.

Republican legislators in Oregon are apparently sabotaging the legislature’s business by not showing up for work because they are opposed to climate change bllls currently being pushed by the majority Democrats. According to the Vox piece, this is the fifth time in the last 10 months that Oregon state Republicans have resorted to this undemocratic sabotage tactic, having employed the same tactic when Democrats, exercising their electoral mandate, were pushing bills related to guns, forestry, the state budget and healthcare.

As the article correctly points out, this is not just a state GOP phenomenon, but rather an accurate depiction of the current state of mind of Trump’s GOP, especially when one looks at it in light of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s conduct.

We have witnessed time and time again where McConnell and other Republicans in Washington ram through partisan bills using the argument “elections matter”. They are currently ramming through partisan/unqualified federal judges using the same rationale. It is interesting how elections matter only when voters put Republicans in charge and are seemingly meaningless when Democrats take over.

Democrats nationwide are looking forward to the elections in November hoping that a Democratic House, Senate and White House will automatically lead to enactment of Democratic Party policies. However, going by this Vox piece, Democrats prevailing in the upcoming November polls may not be enough. Democrats should expect sabotage by Republican minorities in both state legislatures and Washington, and should start seriously calling out these undemocratic sabotage tactics.

Bottomline folks,as the Vox piece correctly points out, this troubling GOP trend begs for more maindtream media attention especially now that we are in an election year. Republicans both at the state level and in Washington, must not be allowed to make elections matter only when they have majorities while rendering them totally meaningless when voters give Democrats the majority. Simply put, this troubling, patently undemocratic sabotage tactic currently employed by the GOP must either end or get seriously called out by the mainstream media.

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UPDATE-What is McConnell Hiding In His Military Records?

You’ll remember back in 3/31/2019, Yours Truly wrote a blog piece titled “What is McConnell hiding in his military records” that has elicited and continues to elicit a lot of reaction on Twitter and other social media platforms. There is no question that grassroots Democrats really want to know the real reason behind Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s military discharge in 1967.

In the blog piece, Yours Truly promised to dig into the real reason behind McConnell’s military discharge, an important election issue that mysteriously remains a mainstream media no-go-zone. Well, after months of pushing and prodding the Army for McConnell’s info via freedom of Information requests(FOIA), and being subjected to countless baits-and-switches by them, we have finally got some information.

FOIA On Mitch McConnell&#39… by Emolclause on Scribd

According to the FOIA response Yours Truly got from the Army on Jan 8 2020, Mitch McConnell served from March 21, 1967 to August 15, 1967(page 2). Virtually all of the personal information fields are populated by “N/A”, which I suspect is due to the Army’s privacy policy of requiring a signature before releasing such information. Specifically, the FOIA letter stipulates in part, “This record contains sensitive personal information which, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy to the veteran……..If additional information is needed, the Privacy Act of 1974 requires the written consent (signature) of the individual to whom the record pertains.”(see page 1 of attached document). In essence, one would need McConnell’s written consent before getting details about his salary, source of commission, military education etc, which is pretty understandable especially given the fact that Yours Truly is big on privacy.

The sticky point however is in regards to the “Transcript of Court-Martial Trial” field. As you can see from the FOIA response(page 2), it is not populated by “N/A” like the other fields. The field is instead populated by “Not on File”. This raises a whole host of questions because it does not address the dispositive question Yours Truly set out to address with the FOIA request–whether McConnell’s discharge was due to a Court Martial? Remember, allegations/rumors have been flying around for decades that McConnell’s discharge from the military had something to do with a sexual incident between him and another officer and that this incident was the subject of a court martial. To prove or disprove this rumor one has to ascertain whether McConnell was indeed the subject of a Court Martial. The FOIA response offers no answer whatsoever to this crucial question.

Yours Truly took up this burning question with the FOIA Public Liaison officer listed on page 3 of the document, one Kevin Pratt. Specifically, Yours Truly inquired as to whether the “Not on File” listed on the FOIA response meant a court martial was held but the information has been redacted, or whether there was none with respect to Mitch McConnell?

According to Army’s Kevin Pratt, a FOIA request cannot answer the question as to whether one was court-martialed or not. He instead directed me to file a request in writing to another Army office for such information. I then asked him whether the FOIA Ombudsman’s office listed on the FOIA response (page 3) would have information related to court martials to which he replied that they don’t. It’s not clear whether these complications are McConnell-specific or are the norm when it comes to FOIA requests regarding the military. Reasonable people will agree that it should not be this complicated for the military to either deny or confirm whether Mitch McConnell, one of the most powerful politicians in the country and who’s up for reelection, was ever the subject of a court martial. There can be reasonable disagreements however as to whether the details of such court martial proceedings should be kept private or be made available to the general public.

It cannot be left unsaid that the secrecy surrounding McConnell’s military record is patently unfair to his Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, also a veteran . McGrath’s military record unlike McConnell’s, is an open book which allows McConnell’s campaign to dig for campaign dirt while robbing her campaign of a similar opportunity. This glaring political bias should be enough cause for the Army to forego all the procedural technicalities surrounding information requests for veterans and release McConnell’s full military record in the interest of Kentucky voters.

Bottom line folks, no politician should ever be allowed to serve consecutive terms in the U.S. Congress while hiding crucial information from the public. The circumstances surrounding Mitch McConnell’s military discharge have been a valid campaign ever since he first ran for the U.S. Senate. There is absolutely no excuse why the mainstream media, which readily digs into the backgrounds of Democrats, continues to allow McConnell’s military discharge to be a non-story, even as he runs for his 7th consecutive term in the U.S. Senate.

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Mnuchin Grilled Over Trump’s Tax Returns Double Standard

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was grilled by Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) about the apparent double standard stemming from his department’s decision to deny a request for President Trump’s tax returns from House Democrats while at the same time gladly handing over financial records related to Hunter Biden to Senate Republicans.

Sec Mnuchin’s explanation, a plausible one, was that the request for Trump’s tax returns was governed by a different provision from the one governing records request related to Hunter Biden. According to Sec Mnuchin, the records request related to Hunter Biden was a SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports) request which he said Treasury has already released for over 1,000 individuals following requests by both Republican and Democratic committee chairs.

Specifically, Sec Mnuchin said, “The House disclosure of tax returns is subject to protections of 26 U.S.C. 6103 which on the advise of counsel as we documented, we had significant concerns. That’s very different than I believe what you[Sen Wyden] are referring to–SARS requests, which on a bipartisan basis we have responded to thousands ofSARS requests to the committees from both Republicans and Democrats on an equal basis.”

The question for House Democrats going forward is whether they can pin Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to this SARS rationale and get Treasury to release suspicious activity reports related to the Trump family from the myriad banking institutions they have been involved with, especially Deutsche Bank. This might prove particularly interesting given the fact that Attorney General William Barr’s daughter Mary Daly currently works at Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FINCEN), which presumably handles suspicious activity reports from the various banking institutions. Was Mary Daly installed at FINCEN for a reason? Hmm

Bottom line folks, getting Trump’s tax returns remains a very high priority for the majority of the American public. However, there are other financial records related to Trump and his family that House Democrats could pry loose using Sec Mnuchin’s SARS rationale, especially records related to Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank. Hopefully House Democrats will seize on this great opportunity Sec Mnuchin has unwittingly presented them with.

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Why Not Run For The U.S. Senate In 2020?

With many Democrats gunning for the White House in 2020 (the current count at 20+), the question that is increasingly popping up among grassroots Democrats is why some of these excellent candidates are not running for the U.S. Senate instead?

Every week we get stories from the mainstream media about how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to bring bills passed by House Democrats to a vote in the U.S. Senate. One would think, given these dire circumstances that Democrats would focus heavily on recapturing the U.S. Senate in addition to the White House in 2020. Strangely however, all the talk is about who is running for President, even though as mean as this sounds, some of these potentially excellent Senate candidates have zero chance of securing the Dem presidential nomination.

Yours Truly recently raised this very point on Twitter and the reaction was almost unanimous that some of these Democrats currently gunning for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, should focus instead on taking over the U.S. Senate.

In a recent post, Yours Truly laid out the 22 GOP Senators up for reelection in 2020 and the fact that everything remaining constant, Dems will need to flip at least 3 seats to recapture the U.S. Senate. Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colorado) and by some estimates John Cornyn (Texas) are GOP Senators most pundits think could lose to a Dem opponent in 2020. Why for example shouldn’t John Hickenlooper, who by all accounts is struggling in his presidential campaign, go after Cory Gardner’s Senate seat instead?

The same question applies to Texans Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro re John Cornyn’s Senate seat, and Montana Governor Steve Bullock re Senator Steve Daines’ seat. Bottom line folks, as the Dem presidential contest chugs along, it would be helpful if the mainstream media, especially the cable TV punditry class starts asking some of the long shot candidates, why they should not be gunning for the U.S. Senate instead? Better yet, this would be an excellent question for the debate moderators at the next Dem debate in Detroit slated for the end of July

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Mitch McConnell Rewards Lobbyist’s Wife With Federal Judgeship

A bombshell segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expedited the confirmation of U.S. District Judge Wendy Vitter as payback for the work her lobbyist husband David Vitter did to land an aluminium plant linked to Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska in Kentucky. David Vitter, a former Republican U.S. Senator from Louisiana is now a lobbyist for Rusal, the Russian firm tied to Oligarch Oleg Deripaska and previously sanctioned by the U.S. government. It is Rusal that has committed $200 million to build an aluminium plant in Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky.

According to the Maddow segment, the confirmation of Wendy Vitter as a federal judge had stalled because a lot of Republicans did not feel she was qualified for the job. However according to Maddow, five weeks after her lobbyist husband David Vitter called McConnell confirming that Rusal will invest in Kentucky, McConnell used his position as Senate Majority Leader to expedite Wendy Vitters confirmation–a clear cut case of pay-for-play corruption and abuse of power.

Maddow specifically said, “Within five weeks of David Vitter calling Mitch McConnell to tell him that Rusal was going to put this plant in Kentucky, Rusal was going to dump hundreds of millions of dollars into Mitch McConnell’s home state, within five weeks of that call, the nomination of David Vitter’s wife to be a federal judge, a nomination that had been languishing for a year and a half because she was so humiliatingly and embarrassingly and obviously unqualified for the job, whose confirmation hearing went so badly it went viral and got her nomination buried, turns out within five weeks of Mitch McConnell getting that call from David Vitter saying hey I got an aluminium plant we are going to put in your home state thanks from Oleg, within five weeks of that call, Wendy Vitter’s nomination got pulled off the trash heap by McConnell and Mitch McConnell expedited it, put it on top of the list and now she’s a federal judge for life. Must be nice.”

Bottom line, there are already a lot of questions surrounding Mitch McConnell and Russia that warrant an investigation. This new pay-for-play twist involving a federal judge should definitely be explored further both by Democrats and the mainstream media. Simply put, McConnell should not be allowed to abuse his position as Senate Majority Leader to push bills in the Senate that seemingly benefit him personally. More importantly, McConnell should not be allowed to continue ruining the credibility of federal courts with pay-for-play confirmation of federal judges. McConnell has already done enough damage to the credibility of federal courts with the Kavanaugh incident.

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Mitch McConnell’s Disgusting Hypocrisy On Obstruction Of Justice

A stunning video from Now This News shows Mitch McConnell some 20 years ago severely criticizing the Clinton administration for what he considered obstruction of the Ken Starr investigation into the president. Shockingly, some of the same obstructive tactics Mitch McConnell lamented 20 years ago, he now fully supports under current Republican President Trump–disgusting hypocrisy.

Mitch McConnell said this on the floor of the U.S. Senate 20 years ago regarding obstruction of justice; “Mr President I rise today to call attention to a serious and deeply troubling crisis in our country. This is a crisis of confidence, of credibility, and of integrity. Our nation is indeed at a crossroads. Will we pursue the search for truth, or will we dodge, weave and evade the truth? I am of course referring to the investigation into serious allegations of illegal conduct by the President of the United States. That the President has engaged in a persistent pattern and practice of obstruction of justice. The allegations are grave, the investigation is legitimate, and ascertaining the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the unqualified, unevasive truth is absolutely critical. The search for truth is being led by a highly capable former Solicitor General of the United States and a former judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Kenneth Starr. Mr President, I am deeply troubled today because judge Starr’s pursuit of the truth is being undermined every step of the way, every single day in the press by those whose sole mission is to attack and impune the court-appointed independent prosecutor and the congressionally-created process. And these attackers are not the journalists or the broadcasters. Mr President what troubles me the most here is that these reckless attacks, these ruthless onslaughts, are being carried out by the closest advisers to the President of the United States. The smear campaign is being orchestrated by the White House.”

Think about that folks, 20 years after his speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell now fully supports all the smear campaigns and obstruction of congress orchestrated by the Trump White House.

Bottom line folks, America has had it’s fair share of despicable politicians. Reasonable people will agree however that Senator Mitch McConnell is the most despicable U.S. politician ever and the video above is Exhibit A.

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