No. I am sorry. I cannot support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court of the United States. It is not that he is unqualified. This guy is plenty qualified. He is the Peyton Manning of law. He has the pedigree. He has clerked for all the right people in all the right places. He went to the right schools – high school, college, law school, and postgraduate education. The point is not whether or not he is qualified. Neither is the point whether I agree with his ideology. I do not. Instead, we should be focusing on the fact that Neil Gorsuch is all about process.
President, let me underscore this, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Mister Garland is eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. Yet, empowered by purely partisan politics, the GOP-led Senate decided to make up their own criteria about whom they are going to vet and whom they are not. This is all about the Democrats’ deciding that it is time to grow a backbone. Sometimes, you need to draw a line in the sand and say, “This is about principle.”
We can go into all the ins and outs behind why the Republicans were 100% wrong about not even granting a hearing to Merrick Garland. They were wrong. They knew that, were they actually hold hearings, Merrick Garland would come off as someone who was thoughtful, intelligent; and, God forbid, Supreme Court material. So they decided to obstruct and thwart Garland in every way. Now, if we allow Neil Gorsuch to move forward, we have rewarded the Republicans for obstructionism. This cannot happen.
Every now and then, you must stand up for what you believe. Do you believe in the Constitution? Do you believe that we are a land of laws? If so, you must admit that we have no choice but to force the Republicans, and Donald Trump, to nominate Merrick Garland, even if they decide to vote him down. He must go through the process. It is the right thing to do. It is the American way.
Have you read Donald Trump’s immigration paper? Really?
On Sunday, Trump released a series of immigration proposals, one of which seeks to restore a similar vision of citizenship to the one embraced by the Supreme Court in its infamous Dred Scott decision. Trump calls for the United States to “[e]nd birthright citizenship,” which he labels “the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.” In Trump’s vision, the children of a disfavored class will once again carry tainted blood that disqualifies them from citizenship, even if his new target is the children of undocumented immigrants and not the descendants of men and women brought to this country in chains.
Black men and women “had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect,” according to the most infamous decision ever handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. The core of the Court’s reasoning in Dred Scott was the notion that citizenship was a kind of hereditary inheritance, passed down from the kind of people “who were citizens of the several States when the Constitution was adopted” to their children. Black slaves and their descendants were, thus, disqualified by their own blood from enjoying the rights of citizenship.
Birthright citizenship, the principle that infants born on U.S. soil automatically become citizens regardless of ancestry, was written into the Constitution as an explicit repudiation of Dred Scott. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” the Fourteenth Amendment begins, “are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” (more…)
Let’s go to school. I was confused about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Was does it do? Why was it necessary? Why was Section Five so important? Constitutional scholar Linda Monk answers all of these questions and more.
As you listen to this podcast, I would encourage you to check out some references. First, here is the Voting Rights Act. Secondly, Linda mentions a case that I had never heard of – South Carolina verses Katzenbach (more information here). You should also review the 15th amendment, which gives Congress the power to make voting fair across the US. We discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. Finally, we discuss Eric Holder’s bid to try and make sure that elections are fair for everyone.
This is a great interview and conversation. Sit back and enjoy.
Update: Linda Monk clarifies: “FYI, technically the Supreme Court did NOT decide to strike down Section 5 of the VRA; it struck down the threshold definition used in Section 4, which meant that Section 5 did not kick in.” As usual, I was kind of clueless. So, I went back to the Voting Rights Act and looked at Section 4. Of course, Linda is correct. Here’s how ScotusBlog puts it – Today the Court issued its decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the challenge to the constitutionality of the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. That portion of the Act was designed to prevent discrimination in voting by requiring all state and local governments with a history of voting discrimination to get approval from the federal government before making any changes to their voting laws or procedures, no matter how small. In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts that was joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, the Court did not invalidate the principle that preclearance can be required. But much more importantly, it held that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which sets out the formula that is used to determine which state and local governments must comply with Section 5’s preapproval requirement, is unconstitutional and can no longer be used. Thus, although Section 5 survives, it will have no actual effect unless and until Congress can enact a new statute to determine who should be covered by it.