Supreme Court

Kavanaugh’s Fellow Justices Consider Him An ‘Intellectual Lightweight’ And Are ‘Losing Patience’: Report

As the key swing vote on the United States Supreme Court, you’d think Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh would take his job a bit more seriously.

But according to a revealing report from Mark Joseph Stern of Slate, Kavanaugh is actually considered to be an “intellectual lightweight” by his colleagues and they’re rapidly “losing patience” with him.

When he was nominated for the high court by failed former president Donald Trump, Kavanaugh was known very differently.

During his 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh styled himself as a brainy operator who combined intellectual firepower with affable moderation, in rhetoric if not in substance. He wanted to be the conservative whom liberals could respect—Justice Antonin Scalia without the volcanic temper—and the high-minded jurist who could sell right-wing legal theories to the public as common-sense constitutional principles.

But it turns out that almost no one respects Kavanaugh, no matter their political affiliation, and what he’s become is “a man with seemingly few fixed convictions and even fewer interesting things to say. To the extent that his colleagues think about him at all, they seem to view him as a fixer who can cobble together five votes for a diaphanous majority opinion that decides almost nothing.”

Translation: Brett Kavanaugh is a lightweight. Oh, and he likes beer. A lot. He made that clear during his confirmation hearings.

Kavanaugh’s written rulings have been threadbare, sometimes composed of a sentence or two, and often drawing scorn from his fellow justices, who have called him out in their own writings. Consider:

  • In U.S. v. Texas, “Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote her own five-page concurrence picking apart Kavanaugh’s majority opinion.”
  • Also in U.S. v. Texas, “(Neil) Gorsuch pointed out that Kavanaugh was ‘simply ignoring’ several important questions that undermined his logic.”

How much do his fellow justices dislike Kavanaugh? According to Stern, they can’t hide their contempt for their colleague.

Thomas, Barrett, and Gorsuch aren’t the only members of the court who are losing patience with Kavanaugh. Justice Elena Kagan memorably castigated him for treating “judging as scorekeeping,” whining about “how unfair it is” when he loses, and repeating the same bad arguments “at a higher volume.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor has repeatedly accused him of outright dishonesty by misrepresenting precedent and dangling false promises. In a fed-up dissent in just her first term, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson compared a Kavanaugh majority opinion to the children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Alito’s rebuttal to Kavanaugh’s dissent in Sackett v. EPA consisted of exactly one sentence: Kavanaugh’s argument, Alito wrote, “cannot be taken seriously.”

Where does that leave the highest court in the land? Well, Kavanaugh can only be removed by impeachment, and there’s certainly no political will for that to happen, especially since no Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached and removed from office. Samuel Chase was impeached, but he remained on the court.

For now, Kavanaugh will remain the ultimate judicial lightweight who is seen as a joke by his colleagues on the bench. And in some ways, that’s a fitting punishment for his past sins.


Affirmative Action Supreme Court

Clarence Thomas Gushed About Affirmative Action In 1983: ‘God Only Knows’ Where I’d Be Without It 

Theoretically speaking, 40 years is not a long time, especially when you consider that the planet we live on has existed for an estimated 4.5 billion years and Homo sapiens have walked the face of Earth since 190,000 B.C.E.

So it comes as somewhat of a surprise to learn that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said as recently as 1983 that he’d have been a different person were it not for affirmative action in the United States.

In an illuminating piece he wrote for The Washington Post, Timothy Bella quotes Thomas telling staffers in 1983 at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (which he was chairman of):

“God only knows where I would be today” if it wasn’t for affirmative action.
“These laws and their proper application are all that stand between the first 17 years of my life and the second 17 years.”

God only knows, and yet Thomas happily took a wrecking ball to affirmative action protections this week in Students For Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College despite having been helped by them to the extent that he now sits on the highest court in the land and was admitted to Yale University in part because such policies were in place at the time.

Of course, this change of heart and mind in Clarence Thomas has been clear for years, such as in the 2013 concurring opinion he wrote in Fisher v. University of Texas when he took previous rulings and stood them on their heads, declaring, “The argument that educational benefits justify racial discrimination was advanced in support of racial segregation in the 1950’s, but emphatically rejected by this Court.”

“And just as the alleged educational benefits of segregation were insufficient to justify racial discrimination then … the alleged educational benefits of diversity cannot justify racial discrimination today.”

So what happened to that 1983 Clarence Thomas?

Well, it likely had a great deal to do with the privilege he has enjoyed and continues to benefit from as he sits on the Supreme Court and hands down decisions while simultaneously accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in fancy travel and vacations from wealthy Americans who often have business before the court he sits on. That’s the very definition of quid pro quo, and yet Thomas was enraged when anyone dared to report on such matters, suggesting that he had done nothing wrong despite appearances to the contrary.

What does all of this tell us at the end of the day?

First of all, it tells us that Clarence Thomas is, by his own words, a hypocrite of the highest order.

Secondly, it suggests that today’s Supreme Court has lost nearly all of the legitimacy it once had.

And, from a political perspective, it tells us that the 2024 election will be devastating for Republicans, and it will turn out that way largely as a result of the wildly unpopular opinions that have been handed down by Thomas and his five fellow conservative justices over the past couple of years.

What does that mean for the Supreme Court? Hopefully that one day the number of justices will be expanded and in time it can reclaim a modicum of respect.


Donald Trump Joe Biden Supreme Court

Dark Brandon Supremely Trolls The Former Guy When Donnie Takes Credit For A Court Ruling

In a desperate attempt to make sure that right-wing evangelical voters don’t abandon him in the 2024 presidential race, failed and indicted former president Donald Trump is trying to let the world know that it was his three appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, an issue that is likely to cost Republicans millions of votes in next year’s general election, especially among independent voters.

Trump was goaded into making a statement on the SCOTUS decision after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a six-week ban on abortion in the Sunshine State telling reporters, “I signed the bill. I was proud to do it. He (Trump) won’t answer whether he would sign it or not.”

That drew a sharp response from Trump on his failing Truth Social site, where he wrote:

“After 50 years of failure, with nobody coming even close, I was able to kill Roe v. Wade, much to the ‘shock’ of everyone, and for the first time put the Pro Life movement in a strong negotiating position over the Radicals that are willing to kill babies even into their 9th month, and beyond. Without me there would be no 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, or whatever is finally agreed to. Without me the pro Life movement would have just kept losing. Thank you President TRUMP!!!”

Of course, two Republicans trying to be more extreme than the other on the issue of a woman’s right to decide what to do with her body is exactly what Democrats are hoping will be foremost in the minds of voters when they go to cast their ballots. If it is, the GOP nominee is likely toast and President Joe Biden will be reelected.

Trump’s post led Biden’s Twitter account to make a reply that was clearly meant to troll Trump and pin the title of abortion extremist on the former guy.

“That’s about as clear as it gets. Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans are responsible for killing Roe v. Wade. And if you vote for them, they’ll go even further.”

Yes, it seems that Dark Brandon is indeed back, and he’s ready for Trump, DeSantis, or whatever clown the GOP winds up nominating.


GOP Supreme Court WTF?!

Ted Cruz: Democrats Only Hate Clarence Thomas Because ‘He’s A Black Man’

If you thought you’d heard all of the absurd defenses that can possibly be offered up in the vain attempt to suggest that Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas didn’t do anything unethical when he accepted free trips worth tens of thousands of dollars from a Republican megadonor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested today that it’s all due to racism on the part of Democrats.

Appearing on “Sunday Futures” with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, Cruz had this to say:

“We know what Justice Thomas did wrong. He’s been one of the greatest Supreme Court justices ever to serve on the court. He has been a principal constitutionalist,and the left despises him; Democrats hate Justice Thomas, and they have the special degree of hate for him because he’s a Black man.”

“And their view is that African-American is not allowed to be a conservative is not allowed to disagree with left-wing orthodoxy,” he added.

According to Cruz, some of the liberals on the high court had also accepted trips, but he conveniently neglected to mention any names, probably because he was lying.

“They’re not looking at any of the Democrat justice. They’re not looking at any other judges. This is a political smear job directed at Clarence Thomas because he is an extraordinary constitutionalist.”

Ted Cruz wants us to believe that questioning the ethics of a justice on the Supreme Court is racist. So if the question was about Amy Coney Barrett, would that mean it was sexism? Interesting to see how quickly Republicans play the race card when they have no actual defense for one of their right-wing heroes.

Supreme Court

Clarence Thomas’ Attempted Cover-Up Of His Ethical Lapses Is Likely To Lead To His Downfall – Here’s How 

There was a phrase that entered the political lexicon during the Watergate scandal that eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon: It’s not the scandal, it’s the cover-up.

That may well be the case when applied to Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who is currently embroiled in a scandal of his own creation by accepting fancy trips and accommodations from a billionaire Republican donor, as was first reported by ProPublica earlier this month.

Thomas has attempted to downplay the entire matter, and it would appear that Chief Justice John Roberts has no interest in pursing the matter, even though not doing so threatens the integrity of the entire Supreme Court and its nine justices.

So while it may seem right now that Thomas is in the clear, Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics notes in an op-ed he wrote for MSNBC, that Thomas’ continued efforts to pull a screen down on his actions is a direct threat to him.

Thomas’ actions place him in potential legal jeopardy, and further undermine the Supreme Court’s legitimacy in the eyes of a public that has become increasingly skeptical of its ability to act as an apolitical arbiter of the law.

That’s where you can see the parallel to Nixon, Bookbinder continues:

That’s a lesson that the country learned from the Watergate scandal. The revelation that some Nixon campaign employees broke into the Democratic Party headquarters didn’t cause a generation of Americans to lose their faith in government. Time and again the cover-up is what ultimately causes the downfall.

If the Supreme Court is to have any legitimacy whatsoever (according to recent polls, public confidence in the high court is at an all-time low), it will have to try and police itself, and that means that Thomas’ days on the court of final appeal are numbered.

This is poison for the Supreme Court. It is an institution built on a foundation of public trust: It does not have the power of the purse or the authority to enforce the laws that it interprets. Credibility is its currency. And that foundation of credibility is already eroding. Thomas has an ethical duty, and he failed to live up to it. As a result, he has caused greater harm to himself, his legacy and the Supreme Court as an institution than disclosing his conduct would have done. And in doing so he learned the same lesson that many before him have been forced to learn: Honesty may be painful or uncomfortable, but the alternative is worse. And once again, our democracy may end up paying dearly for that lesson.

Justice Thomas needs to resign as soon as possible. Every day he remains on the court will only serve to further degrade our belief in the independence and integrity of the American judicial system.