Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the US Senate, and The Courts
Ruth Bader Ginsberg
It has always been my policy to use the term “personal hero” very, very sparingly. Were you to assemble those I think of in this term, you would have room left over in a mid- sized van. Notorious RBG makes the cut.
What a remarkable person, woman, jurist, human being. Few people bring such passion, such perseverance, such intellect to her life and her work. Her personal life was a love story for the ages. Her vision and focus on what to do and how to get it done were unmatched.
We have lost a giant, one of the best of us. I understand how all this goes, but I am angry that we do not even have a few days to mourn and to reflect on a life well lived. What a shame. We will fit it in as we can, of course.
But I hope there are those at work on a memorial and reflection next year, on the anniversary of this terrible loss. And every year thereafter.
If you have missed them, I implore you to find the two fine films produced recently on Justice Ginsburg. They are both illuminating, inspiring, and fun.
RBG is available on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu, and elsewhere. The Trailer may be viewed at: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=rbg+2018&docid=608054828262557178&mid=B701DCFA8E3BDFCF70F3B701DCFA8E3BDFCF70F3&view=detail&FORM=VIREHT
On the Basis of Sex is available on Amazon Prime, Hulu, iTunes, and elsewhere. View the trailer: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=on+the+basis+of+sex&docid=608039486752817322&mid=13912AE54CF069D12C9513912AE54CF069D12C95&view=detail&FORM=VIRE
RIP, Justice Ginsburg. You served us all so well. We owe it you and all you stood for to carry on.
The US Senate
It is hard to imagine that the US Senate was once known as the greatest deliberative body on earth. So, a few things demand our focus right now. One can hope that McConnell will come up short on dong this unfair and immoral rush confirmation, but don’t count on it.
Voting IS ALREADY UNDERWAY and the incumbent is expected to loose. They denied the nomination to Obama almost a year before the inauguration. Whether he has the votes or not, he and Trump have expressed the intent to do this.
Accordingly, should the Democrats win in November, they should do the following:
– Make it known that McConnel and those who supported him burned down the house. The filibuster is gone. The super majority rule for almost all votes is gone.
– The federal courts have made it known they are overworked. The Democratic administration and Senate will help out with adding 100 new judgeships. This to be done as expeditiously as possible.
– Should he be reelected, make it known that McConnel is unacceptable. Call him out as completely untrustworthy. Republicans are encouraged to choose a new leader. Or they can be left out of legislation for the coming years. Better luck in the midterms.
– If the Republicans do get a confirmation, they have officially stolen two Supreme Court seats. Not a question of the power to do so. It’s a question of honoring democratic process and civil governance. Time to expand the Court and redress the balance.
This is not something I have been keen on, but in these circumstances, full speed ahead. Pete Buttigieg, who has a role in the transition, has given this a lot of thought and can help shape the legislation.
In these matters, as in so many others, the Republican US Senate has utterly failed as a check and balance. The country has suffered accordingly. Let us hope for better days, starting next year.
The federal courts, especially the Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court, have become lightning rods for political battle. This serves no one well. Two ideas are worth considering to break this pattern.
I would be careful about ceding too much power to nongovernmental agencies. Still, the fact that this Senate has confirmed judges deemed unworthy and unqualified by the bar association is troublesome. How about any nominee so rated by professional peers require a 60-vote super majority to be confirmed?
More importantly, lifetime appointments create a host of needless problems. The idea has been to insulate judges from political influence. A worthy objective, but one that, by chance, gives some presidents a bunch of appointments and some having none.
In addition, there is always the risk of a judge simply serving too long, with impairments. While complaining, I would also note that electing judges rather than appointing and confirming them is a faulty approach practiced by several states.
So, no more lifetime appointments. Make them long enough to bypass administrations stacking the decks (12-20 years). Second, have a mandatory retirement age. I would err on the long side; perhaps 80 or 85 would do the job. Third, encourage states to stop electing their judges and do this correctly.
It Does Not Get Much Bigger Than This
Honoring our heroes, making the Senate useful to democracy, fixing our courts.
We have work to do, America.
Voting is underway right now. The election closes for voting in 43 days.
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