Democrats Challenge SCOTUS

Didn’t see this coming — last week Sheldon Whitehouse and four other Democratic senators  filed an amicus brief in a Second Amendment case the SCOTUS is considering. And it’s some brief.

“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it,” writes Whitehouse, who is listed as the attorney of record on the friend-of-the-court brief. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ ” The phrase is from a poll question with which a majority of Americans agreed.

Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) joined the incendiary brief, which questions whether the court’s conservative majority — nominated by three Republican presidents — is motivated by partisan intent and is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

“Out in the real world, Americans are murdered each day with firearms in classrooms or movie theaters or churches or city streets, and a generation of preschoolers is being trained in active-shooter survival drills,” Whitehouse writes. “In the cloistered confines of this Court, and notwithstanding the public imperatives of these massacres, the NRA and its allies brashly presume, in word and deed, that they have a friendly audience for their ‘project.’ ”

The senators are challenging the legitimacy of this court to rule on cases touching on partisan issues, which is a damn ballsy thing to do. I’m impressed. And this could be read as a warning to Chief Justice Roberts to avoid letting his court turn into a rubber stamp for right-wing interests. Or else.

From ThinkProgress:

The brief itself is less a legal document than a declaration of war. Though parts of it argue that the high court lacks jurisdiction over this case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, the thrust of the brief is that the Supreme Court is dominated by political hacks selected by the Federalist Society, and promoted by the National Rifle Association — and that if those hacks don’t watch out, the American people are going to rebel against them.


New York State Rifle, Whitehouse writes, “did not emerge from a vacuum.” Rather, “the lead petitioner’s parent organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA), promoted the confirmation (and perhaps selection) of nominees to this Court who, it believed, would ‘break the tie’ in Second Amendment cases.” That promotional effort includes $1.2 million Whitehouse says the NRA spent on television advertisements supporting the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

The City of New York actually rescinded the law that is being challenged by the gun-rights people to stop the case from going to the Supreme Court, so I don’t see how the case is not moot. The law put restrictions on transporting firearms that the Rifle & Pistol Association thought were unreasonable.

In another interesting development of a couple of weeks ago

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is moving to bring new scrutiny to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s past, asking the National Archives on Tuesday to release a large cache of records related to his time in George W. Bush’s White House.

In a letter from Nadler and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), another senior Judiciary Committee member, the lawmakers said accessing the records are essential to “the public’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary.”

It may be too much to hope for that they might move to impeach Kavanaugh, but at the very least the SCOTUS is on notice that they need to act carefully or face consequences.

5 thoughts on “Democrats Challenge SCOTUS

  1. There are two remedies:

    1) Impeach every Court judge approved by less than a 2/3 majority in the Senate. Resubmit all the names in nomination (and include Merrick Garland and any other judge nominated by a President who was not brought before the Senate for confirmation) and see if they pass muster. Bring them up in the order they were nominated, and any left over, oh well.

    2) "In all other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make."

    • What is the impeachment process for judges?  If its just the House votes to impeach and if the vote passes and they are removed and gone then good.  But if it requires a Senate trial in order for them to be removed then this is even more reason why democrats should be putting more focus on winning back the Senate AND, for good measure, defeating McConnell in 2020.

  2. You know, I've thought about Kavanaugh a lot.

    Let's imagine a different world, one where he had testified "you know, I don't recall the specific incident that Ms. Ford mentioned, but… well, to my shame, I did engage in some horseplay with young women, and I can't deny her story is credible. And to my eternal shame, and regret, I may have been playing around, trying to be edgy and scary, and done what she said, without realizing how scared and vulnerable she felt. For that, I must apologize, to all of the women I might have wronged in such a manner." In that world, I'd actually feel that I could support a Senator who voted to confirm.

    Instead, he testified that he was never at "that party." Which party? The one where she remembered something happening that didn't actually happen? Which party was that? Which party was it, that she imagined you acted as if you wanted to rape you, but you weren't even there? I mean, seriously, what kind of statement *is* that?

    Even if I was making up a lie, I'd realize I needed to say "no encounter like she described ever happened, and I don't recall any gathering of the sort she described."

    I mean, what kind of *moron* says "I wasn't there" when the only distinguishing feature of "there" was an attempted rape?

    Okay, but… that wasn't all. He then claimed, without any basis, that the Democrats had engaged in a "search and destroy" mission because they wanted to hear from a witness who claimed to have evidence that was important to determine if he deserved a spot on the highest court in the land.

    A *JUDGE* said that the Senate should not be willing to ask for *testimony* that is *clearly* relevant to decision making and fact finding. That should be 100% disqualifying for anyone who isn't expressly trying to corrupt the court with a bootlicker.

    Oh, wait. I've just been informed that I'm hopelessly naive to be a political journalist because I think corruption is a meaningful concept. Also, I'm sure to lose access to people if I keep being so clearly partisan as to demand that judges should be non-partisan.

  3. Wait.

    What do I see?

    Can it be?C

    Let me take a closer look – BUT NOT TOO CLOSE!


    There they are.

    On Democrats?  Usually they're on Republicans.

    But there they are.

    Dos cojones!

    Lil' ones.

    Little bitty balls.

    But they're there!!!

    'Bout time.


  4. Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) joined the incendiary brief, which questions whether the court’s conservative majority — nominated by three Republican presidents, two of whom lost the popular vote — is motivated by partisan intent and is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

    No, in case you're asking; I will not forget that and I will not let it go.

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