How Do We Stop The Overthrow Of American Democracy – Before The Election?
Amy Coney Barrett, Bush v. Gore, Dark Money,
& the Federalist Society
The White House contacted Barrett a day after Ginsburg's death - Millions are being spent to move Amy Coney Barrett, a former member of the Federalist Society, through the confirmation process at lightning speed, to have her confirmed before the election. https://www.npr.org/sections/supreme-court-nomination/2020/09/30/918751234/what-barrett-would-recuse-herself-from-takeaways-from-senate-questionnaire
Counting down to the election, Americans are busy navigating their busy lives, economic struggles, pandemic pandemonia, and how best to vote. Clearly the American people are committed to having a say in the future of our nation. 30 million have already voted, and millions more are voting every day. Meanwhile, the slim majority of Republicans in the U.S. Senate are expediting decisive measures to block Americans from having their votes decide the outcome of the election. Trump's steadfast guardians in the U.S. Senate are laser-focused on confirming Amy Coney Barrett, cementing in an ultra-conservative 6:3 majority on the United States Supreme Court - before the election.
The rushed four days of the Senate Committee Hearing to interview Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on her experience, record, views, and intentions elicits a sinister preview - the end of democracy as we know it is destined to be our new reality for years to come - before Americans have had a chance to even think about the sweeping control that an invincible, profoundly conservative 6:3 majority on the United States Supreme Court would wield upon American lives and aspirations.
To begin with, the Affordable Care Act will be considered by the Supreme Court on November 10th. Barrett’s confirmation could mean the end of healthcare for millions during the pandemic. The case, California v. Texas, seeks to do through the courts what the GOP has failed to do in Congress: destroy the Affordable Care Act and its protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions.
President Trump has said that he wants the Supreme Court to intervene on his behalf in any post-election dispute over who won the election. “I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” instead of the eight seats currently filled. Mr. Trump has made it clear that he wants to be declared the winner by an overwhelming majority if the results go to the Supreme Court. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/23/us/elections/trump-supreme-court-election-day.html
Among the shadowy facts we are not supposed to learn in time, back in 2000, Judge Amy Coney Barrett was an attorney working on the Supreme Court proceedings that handed George W. Bush the U.S. Presidency. When Senator Amy Klobuchar asked Judge Barrett about her role as an attorney on the Bush v. Gore case before the Supreme Court, Barrett had the temerity to respond, “I did work on Bush v. Gore on behalf of the Republican side. To be fully honest, I can't remember exactly what piece of the case it was..”
Barrett provided no further information, but another attorney with Baker Botts who also represented the Bush-Cheney campaign recalls that as a young associate who had previously clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, “she was probably doing briefing work with regard to the various motions we were filing and legal arguments we were making. …If we had lost those cases, we would have lost the presidency.”
Democracy Now covered the four days of the Senate Confirmation Hearing from October 12 – 15, with their reports beginning on Tuesday, October 13, 2020:
On Monday, Barrett refused to pledge to recuse herself in an election case, when questioned by Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2020/10/13
SEN. CHRIS COONS: Given what President Trump said, given the rushed context of this confirmation, will you commit to recusing yourself from any case arising from a dispute in the presidential election results three weeks from now?
JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT: I would consider it — I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election for the American people. So that would be on the question of actual bias. … And what I will commit to every member of this committee, to the rest of the Senate and to the American people is that I will consider all factors that are relevant to that question, relevant to that question that requires recusal when there’s an appearance of bias.
AMY GOODMAN: Amy Coney Barrett also refused to say;
— whether a president should commit to a peaceful transfer of power, when questioned by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.
— if Trump could legally delay the election, asked by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.
Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota asked Barrett about the legality of voter intimidation.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR: Last week, a contractor from outside of my state of Minnesota started recruiting “poll watchers” with Special Forces experience, mm-hmm, to protect polling locations in my state. …Similar efforts are going on around the country, solicited by President Trump’s false claims of massive voter fraud. … Judge Barrett, under federal law, is it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls?
JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT: Senator Klobuchar, I can’t characterize the facts in a hypothetical situation, and I can’t apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts. I can only decide cases as they come to me litigated by parties, on a full record, after fully engaging precedent, talking to colleagues, writing an opinion. And so, I can’t answer questions like that.
Senator Kamala Harris focused part of her time on Barrett’s past comments attacking the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: In 2006, you signed your name to a call for putting, quote, “an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade.” … You signed a similar ad in 2013 that expressed opposition to abortion.
On the 40th anniversary of Roe, you delivered a speech in which you said that the court’s recognition of the right to choose was, quote, “created through judicial fiat” rather than grounded in the Constitution. And during your tenure on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, you have been willing to reconsider abortion restrictions that other Republican-appointed judges found unconstitutional. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was straightforward enough in her confirmation hearing to say that the right to choose is, quote, “essential to women’s equality.”
As Senator Harris noted, Judge Barrett’s views on a woman’s right to choose and make her own healthcare decisions, are the polar opposite of those Justice Ginsburg dedicated her career to uphold and protect. https://www.democracynow.org/2020/10/14/amy_coney_barrett_election_guns_abortion
62 percent of voters say the Supreme Court should uphold the decision that guarantees a woman’s right to abortion, while 24 percent say it should be overturned. 14 percent have no opinion.
These things do not just happen, as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has been investigating, the takeover of the U.S. Supreme Court has been years – and hundreds of millions of dollars – in the making. At the hearing, he presented his findings about how right-wing groups, including the Federalist Society and Judicial Crisis Network, have used dark money to reshape the nation’s judiciary.
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: This is a, to me, pretty big deal. I’ve never seen this around any court that I’ve ever been involved with, where there’s this much dark money and this much influence being used. Here’s how The Washington Post summed it up: This is “A conservative activist’s behind-the-scenes campaign to remake the nation’s courts.” And it’s a $250 million dark money operation.
Whitehouse concluded, "The evidence is that the Federalist Society is funded by massive, secret contributions from corporate right-wing groups that have big agendas before the courts." Citing reporting by the Washington Post, Whitehouse and fellow Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) claim Federalist co-chair Leonard Leo, "is at the heart of a network of more than two dozen right-wing nonprofit entities -- groups that raised over $250 million between 2014 and 2017 alone...to promote far-right policies and legal doctrines and the judicial nominees who advance them."
The Senate Democrats' study cites Koch Industries and the Charles & David Koch foundations, the Scaife Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the US Chamber of Commerce as among the organizations funding The Federalist Society.
Amy Coney Barrett was a member of the Federalist Society from 2005-06 and 2014-17. She ended her membership when she joined the appeals court, but she continues to be a panelist and speaker at Federalist Society events. https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/10/opinions/amy-coney-barrett-federalist-society-begala/index.html
According to the Federalist Society,
“Judge Barrett has published widely in the areas of federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation. Her scholarship in these fields has been published in leading journals, including the Columbia, Virginia, and Texas Law Reviews.” https://fedsoc.org/contributors/amy-barrett-1
The hearing for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barret continued, seeking to gain some insight into her views on issues ranging from voting rights to peaceful protest to labor to racial and social justice to gay marriage to climate change.
In response to various senators’ inquiries about her views on climate change, Judge Barrett professed a deer in the headlights lack of any position on the topic, as if climate change was not a matter ever coming before the Supreme Court.
This prompted Greta Thunberg to weigh in;
Judge Barrett’s response to Senator Harris, however, was more indignant than clueless;
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: And do you believe that climate change is happening and is threatening the air we breathe and the water we drink?
JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT: Senator, again, I was wondering where you were going with that. You have asked me a series of questions, like, that are completely uncontroversial, like whether COVID-19 is infectious, whether smoking causes cancer, and then trying to analogize that to eliciting an opinion on me that is a very contentious matter — opinion from me that is on a very contentious matter of public debate. And I will not do that. I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial, because that’s inconsistent with the judicial role, as I have explained.
In reality, the Supreme Court’s landmark 2007 decision, Massachusetts vs. Environmental Protection Agency, gave the federal government the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The court also ruled that states have standing to sue over the changing climate.
Coming in 2021, the Supreme Court will review a key aspect of a big case in which Baltimore is suing Big Oil over damages from climate change. The question has broad implications for a suite of other suits from local governments from Rhode Island to California aiming to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for global warming. The court’s decision to review the case is a win for oil companies hoping to stop the lawsuits looking for millions, if not billions, in damages for floods, fires and other climate change-fueled disasters. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/05/energy-202-supreme-court-will-hear-climate-change-case-next-year/
“In our civic life, our nation's most powerful Federalist role model, Chief Justice John Roberts, manipulated a fairly small case about an anti-Hillary movie into a wholesale rewrite of the nation's campaign finance laws to benefit big money corporate interests in Citizens United. He also gutted the Voting Rights Act, which Congress had reauthorized in 2006 by a vote of 98-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House. So much for not legislating from the bench.”
At the hearing, Republican Senator Ben Sasse asked Judge Barrett to name the five freedoms outlined in the First Amendment. She could name four.
SEN. BEN SASSE: What are the five freedoms of the First Amendment?
JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT: Speech, religion, press, assembly — speech, press, religion, assembly. I don’t know. What am I missing?
SEN. BEN SASSE: Redress or protest.
JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT: OK.
This recalls when then Texas Governor Rick Perry forgot the third federal agency he would shut down in a Presidential debate – a lapse which cost him his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
When Judge Barrett was asked about her views on voting rights, labor rights, gun rights, the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the peaceful transfer of Presidential power. environmental protections such as climate change, racial and social justice, her carefully crafted, invariable response was that she would need to take the time to hear arguments from the litigants, read briefs, consult with her law clerks, talk to her colleagues, and go through the opinion writing process.
It takes time to locate and review the facts, carefully assess and review the significance and implications, precisely what is being strategically blocked from the Senate and American public, in reaching a consensus that the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court, is in the best interest of the country – not just a tiny but extremely rich, powerful, unscrupulous few.
Unlike Senator Lindsey Graham, Barrett took extensive pains not to commit herself to upholding any American rights before her confirmation that she may violate in the near and foreseeable future.
The final day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett kicked off Thursday with Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham calling for a vote to schedule a vote on Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation for October 22nd, before the hearing had even finished, and without enough Democrats present in the room. Senator Dick Durbin, the sole Democrat present, attempted to adjourn the meeting in response.
SEN. DICK DURBIN: You cannot conduct that business without another minority member present. And so, at this point, I’m going to make a motion to adjourn this meeting until we have completed the hearing on Amy Coney Barrett. We still have a panel before us. This is unprecedented. We have never done this before as a committee. And if we are going to honor the rules and show mutual respect, the fact is, we cannot move forward. …
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Senator Durbin, with all due respect, we’ve had this problem in the past. We’re dealing with it the way we are today. If we create this problem for you in the future, you’re going to do what I’m going to do, which is move forward on the business of the committee. On the motion, the clerk will call the roll.
AMY GOODMAN: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the move solidified, quote, “the illegitimacy of this sham process,” unquote. If the Senate Judiciary Committee approves Judge Barrett’s confirmation on October 22nd, the full Senate could vote on whether or not to confirm her as early as October 26 — a week before Election Day. This has never happened before. Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell said Thursday Republicans have the votes needed to confirm her.
On Thursday, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut moved to suspend the hearing indefinitely.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: — To be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. I believe that this rushed sham process is a disservice to our committee. She has been rushed in a way that is historically unprecedented. There’s never been a nomination in an election year after the month of July. And the purpose of doing it is simply to have a justice on the Supreme Court, as the president said, to decide the election and to strike down the Affordable Care Act. We’ve had inadequate time to review this nomination.
— As indicated most recently yesterday, a CNN report that there are seven more speeches or talks that she has given that have not been disclosed to this committee. The consequence of this rushed process is that we’ve given inadequate scrutiny to this nominee. I move to delay these proceedings so that we can do our job.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Blumenthal was referencing a CNN report that revealed Judge Barrett did not disclose seven talks recorded on the University of Notre Dame Law School’s public calendar, including one with an anti-choice group in 2007. CNN also uncovered evidence she gave two talks in 2013 to anti-choice groups at the school. Under Senate rules, Barrett is required to provide a list of all public talks she’s given in her professional career.
Outraged Democrats then moved to shut down the hearing, with Mr. Blumenthal asking to suspend it “indefinitely.”
“The time has come to be honest about what is going on here,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota. “You are just trying to ram through this justice nominee — against your own words, in light of everything this president has said, where he won’t even commit to a peaceful transition to power. That is the world we are in right now.”
Urging them to reverse course, they warned that Republicans were setting a dangerous new precedent in an ever-escalating judicial war between the two parties that could irrevocably erode the legitimacy of the Senate — and the courts themselves.
“This process is a caricature of illegitimacy,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and a former chairman of the committee. “The fact that we had a nominee before Justice Ginsburg was even buried in order to jam this nomination through before the election. That is a mark on the United States Senate, it will be a mark of a process of callous political power grab.”.
Senate Republicans, plowing past Democratic objections, forced through a motion to schedule a committee vote on her nomination next week. The full Senate would begin considering the nomination on Oct. 23. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/15/us/politics/amy-coney-barrett-hearing.html
The stakes are astronomical in this appointment to cement a 6:3 conservative majority in the Supreme Court — Her record on the issues reveals a deeply entrenched opposition to the rights and aspirations of all Americans, as opposed to the privileges of the few. Never has the confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice been expedited at such warp speed. Dashing to overturn everything Chief Justice Ginsberg, among so many Americans have dedicated their lives to upholding - the inalienable rights of the American people above the unjustly tyrannical whims of the rich and powerful.
Like a pack of wolves slinking into the hen house in the predatory darkness of night, all our hard-won rights – from voting to family planning, health care to good-paying jobs, vacation, sick leave, public education, roads, bridges, national highways, parks, forests, libraries, museums and monuments, to clean air and water, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, now are heading toward the chopping block!
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