THE JUDGE & THE JURY

Trump’s Nominee and the Court

We want our Supreme Court justices to be above reproach. We know that humans are flawed in many ways, but a person who sits in judgement of the most important decisions in the land needs to be honorable and fair.

For those of us who are old enough to remember Anita Hill and her agonizing testimony before an all-male panel of Senators, we know the result of that hearing gave us Clarence Thomas. In my opinion, Justice Thomas is a biased judge. But this isn’t just my opinion, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture left him out of their displays and mentioned Anita Hill’s bravery instead.

There are many in the black community who believe that some of the decisions and votes from Clarence Thomas actually turned back the clock for African-Americans in this country.  Judge Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, is a well-known conservative and attorney who founded Liberty Consulting and the advocacy (lobbying) group Liberty Central. She is also a columnist for The Daily Caller and has previously worked at The Heritage Foundation. If you remember, Trump got his list of potential judges for the Supreme Court from this foundation. Virginia Thomas has more influence here than even the president.

Now we have a woman who has come forward to accuse Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court of sexual assault when he was a teenager. Just as we had with Justice Thomas, one woman could stand between him and his lifetime appointment to the court. Will this simply be another Anita Hill moment with nothing really changing, or will the #MeToo movement finally be able to block a nomination to the highest court?

One of the things the protectors of the president are asking is, “Why did this woman wait so long to bring this up?” They wonder out loud, “Why now?” It’s rather bewildering that those same people will watch TV shows about cold cases that are reopened and solved without asking that same question. Sure, technology, DNA and time have a way of bringing the truth to the surface in those shows, why not follow that same kind of logic in this real-life, critical discussion?

Brett Kavanaugh is probably not a serial rapist, but just writing those words could generate a key word connection on the internet. If reposted by enough people, the connection between the nominee’s name and that label could become a search result on Google. The jury is not only public opinion, but also the fuel for the mathematical algorithms working their magic on the search terms people use. We saw what the internet did to Rick Santorum. He is forever linked with “anal sex” when people search his last name.

I watched hours and hours of the Senate confirmation hearings and, objectively speaking, I found Kavanaugh to be quite knowledgeable about case law and the tradition of precedent. At the same time, I felt that he was much too political to be on the Supreme Court. He seemed to be pitching for the job, like a greasy whore politician. It’s what he couldn’t remember that bothered me most. And who spends $60,000 on baseball tickets?

In the past, we’ve put some far-right lunatics on the court. People of today’s generation may not remember the name Lewis F. Powell Jr., but this associate justice was appointed to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon. He did more to help large corporations and rich people than any other justice. We wouldn’t have the Citizen’s United decision or the Hobby Lobby debacle without the road being paved by Justice Powell. If we could remove a few layers of decisions in the court, we would know the big print may giveth but the fine print taketh liberty away.

It’s likely going to be another wild week in Washington. Once again, Trump has created more fodder for the news networks with no greatness. He’s taken the memory of almost 3,000 dead souls in Puerto Rico and thrown them into the trash. He’s a womanizer and abuser of women’s rights and knows his base doesn’t care. The Great Orange Leader is only playing a character President. He’s not a real statesman.

Will the members of the Senate judiciary committee ignore the testimony of one woman from California? There are probably more secrets and lies in the thousands of memos that Brett Kavanaugh wrote while working for George W. Bush. That’s the reason Republicans don’t want people to see them. Hopefully this one woman will make them realize that they should look at everything this man has said and done in the past. Why the rush?

The good news is that anything which makes Donald Trump look bad will be dismissed. It might take the Donald a little longer to figure this one out, but in the end,  he will pluck another name from that long list of conservative judges provided by the Heritage Foundation. Like a novice at the track picking a horse, Trump will point to a name he likes and lay down another bet.

A person who could breeze right through the Senate would be Merrick Garland. He’s a good judge and an objective thinker but, unfortunately, he’s not on the sacred list. There is a reason that the people don’t get to vote on Supreme Court justices, I mean look what happened when they decided who should be president.

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