Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




Total Pageviews

Thursday, October 4, 2018

WEATHER FORECAST


Like many, I have been obsessed by the Kavanaugh nomination, the testimony, and the aftermath.  In this post, I am going to offer my opinion of how this will play out.  I am now quite sure that the nomination will succeed.  I predict that Murkowsky will vote no, but Collins and Flake will vote yes.  Since that will ensure the success of the nomination, Manchin and/or Heidkamp may then cast yes votes in an effort to help them in November.  Were the nomination to fail, a clean rightwing nominee would be frog marched through the Senate and confirmed before January, regardless of whether the Republicans retain control of the Senate. 

The yes vote on Kavanaugh will be a permanent stain on Collins’ legacy and the Maine voters may very possibly defeat her in 2020.  Much has been made of the importance to Trump of having Kavanaugh on the court in case a subpoena or impeachment case comes before the court, but I actually doubt that is significant.

If, as I expect, Kavanaugh is confirmed, the surge in enthusiasm on the right, much commented on in recent days, will die away, but the Left will become incandescent, and that may very well determine the outcome of the November election.  Kavanaugh will immediately take his seat on the High Court, but that, I am convinced, will not be the end of the matter.  Between now and November, and possibly beyond, more and more people will come forward to confirm the charges against him and quite possibly to level new charges as well.  This will be a continuing nightmare for the Court, and for the Republicans.

Meanwhile, in a year or two, Roe v. Wade will be overturned, and much more besides that is truly horrible will become law.

35 comments:

Derek said...

I doubt that Roe will be overturned; and if it is, it won't be any time soon. Not necessarily because there won't be five on the court to do it with Kavanaugh. Simply put, Chief Justice Roberts, if no one else, knows better. He knows what will happen to any pretense of an apolitical court (a pretense he still cares about, even if we don't believe it for a second) if that happens under his watch, and he knows the firestorm on the left that that would ignite. Remember, it was the passage of Roe that really galvanized the anti-abortion right (which Justice Ginsburg, a lawyer at the time, foresaw--see the recent New Yorker profile). A repeal, I expect, would do just that very thing on the left. The more likely conclusion is that Roe will be worn down as much as possible, as has been happening with the Voting Rights Act. A far cry from a good result, but not the same as repeal.

howard b said...

Professor Wolff:

But won't the propagandists at Fox and Trump himself try to pump up the volume of the Republican base in November?
Why do you say they'll die down?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Because they will have won. It is the losers who are motivated.

MS said...

Prof. Wolff,

You may prove to be correct. I am not a Pollyanna, but this is what I don’t get. Sen.’s Flake and Collins both insisted on having the FBI conduct another background investigation, when they knew that the FBI does not question people under oath. They sounded sincere – especially Flake - in their concern about some of the new allegations against Kavanaugh, particularly the allegation by Ms. Ramirez, which did not corroborate Prof. Ford’s accusation, since it was unrelated to that incident. Since they knew that Ms. Ramirez would not be questioned under oath, they must have contemplated that they would have to take her allegations, reported in the New Yorker, seriously. Otherwise, why even stop the floor vote to conduct the FBI investigation? I know you have suggested that he, like Collins, may just be acting like the philosophy professor you discussed in yesterday’s posting, but Flake took a lot of heat from his party members for delaying the vote. Flake has said publicly that if Kavanaugh lied during the hearing, then his confirmation is doomed. During the hearing, he testified that Ramirez’s allegations were false. Since Flake knows that Ramirez will not be questioned under oath, he must have contemplated that her statements to the FBI could be sufficient to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination – that they will demonstrate that he did lie to the Judiciary Committee. Am I giving him too much credit for logical thinking and/or integrity?

As an aside, it is reported today that one thousand law professors have signed a letter, which has been delivered to the Senate, asserting that J. Kavanaugh does not have the judicial temperament to serve as a Supreme Court Justice – or as a judge on any court. The signatories included several law professors from Harvard and Yale, Kavanaugh’s alma mater.

On Newser, the following comments appeared:

Christopher Glenn
22 minutes ago
Left wing Academia is against Kavanaugh - what a surprise!

thewaxman
44 minutes ago
Sorry Democrats, FBI investigation done and report given to the Senate. Result - nothing new that the Senate already didn't know. NO corroboration of any sexual assault. So what we have is not only judge Kavanaugh's reputation torn to sheds but Dr. Ford's as well all orchestrated by the Democrats of the Judiciary Committee to block or at least delay any nomination made by President Trump. The American people need to stand up and say no more of this crap.

Midlandr
1 hour, 7 minutes ago
Eph them thar perfessers... RBG doesn't deserve to be on the court as she believes SA has a better constitution and believes in the evil of Sharia.

The opinions do not represent a random sample, and so may not be representative of the general public. But they are indicative of the right-wing anger out there. And Justice Ginsburg believes “in the evil of Sharia”?

Sad.

Michael S said...

[Ignoring for the moment all the obvious and non-obvious qualifications and objections...] Mitch McConnell may perhaps be the most evil sane man alive. (If you add Chomskyeanism to Consequentialism, this is actually not totally implausible).

And, lest doom overcome day: even if Kavanaugh had been blocked (which it looks very much like he won't be), there's no reason to expect whoever replaced him would be any more or less partisan, or progressive. His presence on the SCOTUS will be repugnant, but - in the scheme of things - not likely to change the way the court decides. (Might also be useful rallying cry for progressives; Prof. Wolff. might be right that, if he's confirmed, the fervour on the right will be harder to sustain).

MS said...

Well, CNN’s Chris Cilizza agrees w/ Prof. Wolff. He is predicting that Collins, Murkowski and Manchin vote yes on confirmation:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/04/politics/kavanaugh-vote-murkowski-collins-flake-trump/index.html

And Michael, no, Kavanaugh’s confirmation will have a dramatic, adverse impact on future decisions by the S. Ct. Even if Roe is not overturned, it will be drastically watered down by affirming state legislative measures creating obstructions to abortion. But this is only one area in which Kavanaugh’s vote, joined by the 4 other conservatives, will have retrograde consequences. On a whole slue of areas – right to privacy, civil rights, affirmative action, criminal rights, police brutality, business interests vs. employees, unions, etc., etc., Kavanaugh and the conservatives will turn back the clock to the 1920s. Moreover, Kavanaugh is a mean spirited, spiteful individual – he will be actively seeking revenge against the Democrats and will vote in favor of any decisions that hurts their interests. And overhanging all of this is the possible indictment of Trump, which Kavanaugh has already indicated he believes would be unconstitutional.

While any of the other candidates on Trump’s list would have supported much of the conservative agenda in their decision making, they would not have had the same instinct for revenge that is going to motivate Kavanaugh.

MS said...

One more thing.

An idealist’s lament. I understand that being a United States Senator is a very desirable, prestigious office. It comes with many perks – good pay, great benefits, a measure of power, the opportunity to give stem winding speeches. But, even if you are voted out of office because of a particular vote, your life is not at an end. You can retire with a good pension, play golf and drink martinis, regale your family and friends with stories of your years in the U.S. Senate. Alternatively, you can accept a lucrative job as a lobbyist or, if you are an attorney, as a rainmaker with a prestigious law firm. So why not go out with a bang, standing up for something that you purport to believe in, like women’s reproductive rights, opposition to sexual harassment.

As I noted in a previous comment, it profits a man or woman nothing to give his/her soul for the whole world, but for the United States Senate?

David Palmeter said...

If Collins and Murkowski both vote yes,then a yes vote from Mancin would be a free vote and protect him from the consequences of a no in WVa. No sense risking defeat by voting no in a losing cause.

MS said...

David,

I understand the “pragmatic’ reasons that Sen. Manchin would have for voting yes if Collins and Murkowski vote yes. But, given what I wrote above about an honorable life even if an unpopular vote leads to electoral defeat, what excuse would Collins and Murkowski have to cast a vote antithetical to the feminist beliefs they profess? And, moreover, what’s happened to “To march into hell for a heavenly cause?” Tilting at windmills is scoffed at because Cyrano is delusional and mistakes the windmills for giants. But the reproductive rights of women and the right to be free of sexual harassment, and the threat that Kavanaugh presents to those rights, are not figments of anyone’s imagination.

MS said...

Addendum.

Jefferson Smith: “Lost causes are the only causes worth fighting for.” Repeating a statement by Clarence Darrow.

howard b said...

Michael S
McConnell is a cross between Pinocchio and Scrooge- he hoards money and power and hurts his country men- but Jesus loves him so he can do anything he damn pleases.
Seriously he gets away with it because of his moral authority- I mean it, by standing for God and country.
I think false consciousness might have something to do with it or the Dunning Kreuger effect.
We have to live with it and fight back by voting and by reminding ourselves that McConnell is a wicked man.
There's nothing wrong with us.
Even if they ruin America.
All the policy discussion is useless he's just a repulsive human being

David Palmeter said...

MS,

Mancin's winning in WVA is vital for any hope the Democrats have of taking the Senate. If his "no" vote would make no difference, there's no point in his casting it when it is likely to cost him vital votes in the coming election. If it would make a difference, then by all means he should do it.

Heitkamp has just announced she'll vote "no." She's also way behind in the polls and likely concluded that, however she votes on Kavanaugh, she has have no chance of winning. In that case, it costs her nothing.

Politics without pragmatism is impossible.

MS said...

David,

I agree that politics w/o pragmatism is unwise. As you know, I have posted several comments deriding pro Sanders voters whose lack of pragmatism has brought us to this terrible juncture. But that does not explain why Collins and Murkowski would repudiate their professed feminist convictions. Voting no on Kavanaugh’s confirmation arguably could cost them their seats as well, thereby losing the Senate to the Democrats. But if, in the process of preventing the Democrats from taking the Senate they succeed in installing a masogynistic justice on the S. Ct., who can rule against women’s interests for the next 30 years, what have they gained?

By the way, I must be getting senile. Cyrano??? No, Don Quixote.

For those who saw this obvious blunder, and refrained from humiliating me w/ an acerbic correction, thank you.
MS

David Palmeter said...

MS,

I'm a cynic. I think that both Collins and Murkowski made a calculated political judgment and decided that a "no" vote would hurt them more than a "yes." Collins is worried about the primary in 2020. There's a billionaire House member from Maine, a true Trumpian, who covets her seat. I've forgotten his name I've also forgotten the details now, but Murkowski has her own problems with Alaska Republicans. I think she had win as a write-in last time.

Anonymous said...

David Palmeter: The name you're looking for Bruce Poliquin. I'm not sure he's a billionaire. Lots of Wall Street money, but I've not heard that he belongs to a Billionaires' club. The Democratic Representative in the other House District in Maine was until recently married to a billionaire. Poliquin definitely would like to be a senator, but he has a rough re-election campaign right now for Congress. And he's not popular anyway. Collins is 65, so who knows whether she'll want to go another round. She will have a rough time of it, and she must know that by now: if she votes to confirm Kavanaugh she'll have trouble with Maine women (who have mostly backed her in the past).

Michael S said...

@MS - I share the revulsion at the consequences of a long-term proper right-wing 5-4 majority - but as you say, the only two possible differences between Kavanaugh and who Trump would have nominated instead are (1) possible added spite and (2) his pro-imperial-presidency statements. (I don't know enough about Kavanaugh's record as a judge to say more than this; he might well be terrible for some reason I don't know about).

Regarding (1), it's possible he will indeed seek revenge on the Democrats - but (a) I don't take his performance too seriously given that I believe his testimony was a lie (and he's a lot less likely to be vindictive if you assume he was lying). Given the kind of person I think he is, much of what he emotes I take to be a sham - means to end. I imagine he may experience some glee, if his vote sways a decision against some Dem-backed cause. But he was already a partisan hack! So (b) how may actual decisions is his extra spite going to change? Whoever Trump would have nominated would just as likely rejected (e.g) the current Blumenthal case regarding Trump and emoluments.

Regarding (2) it's possible, though not certain, that Kavanaugh will be more inclined to protect the president/cy. But given the pro-executive leaning of the Roberts court (not cases relating to which were decided along ideological lines); and given that (in my opinion; could well be wrong about this), I doubt anything of much moment is going to reach the SCOTUS, regarding Trump, at least while he's President; this is only a possible, marginal difference - which, when weighed against the awfulness that either Kavanaugh or his replacement would issue in, doesn't seem to me to amount to much.

Could be wrong about this. But I would predict that Kavanaugh's actual distinctive contribution will be merely extra poisonous solo opinions; I can't see him having any sway at all in the court itself, over the other justices, over its direction, given his nomination process.

But perhaps this too is wishful thinking. There might be no consolation in this.

MS said...

Michael,

You may well be correct in your belief that the net effect of a Kavanaugh confirmation on S. Ct. decisions will be no different than if one of the other candidates on Trump’s list were confirmed in his stead. I am persuaded otherwise, however. There often are unforeseeable consequences due to the vagaries of history. First, I believe you underestimate the effect a person with a grudge can have on the deliberations of a policy making entity. For example, only four justices are required to grant certiorari, the decision granting a request for appellate review in the S. Ct. Of the four conservative Justices, Justice Roberts is the most moderate. Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, voting as a block, are more likely to grant certiorari to cases that are hand-picked to reverse or modify liberal precedents they disagree with. A different judge on Trump’s list, one not bearing a grudge against Democrats, may have been more likely to join w/ Roberts to deny certiorari. Once certiorari is granted, Roberts may be persuaded to change his vote to join with his conservative brethren to reverse or modify such precedents. Why would he do so if he voted against certiorari? He may just change his mind after there has been a full briefing and oral argument – which would not have occurred if certiorari had not been granted.

Sometimes even a judge who is considered a conservative when nominated can surprise the President who nominated him/her when sitting on the Court. Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade, was such a judge. When he was nominated by Nixon, he had exhibited the bona fides of a conservative judge on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. His liberal decision in Roe shocked the Republicans. I agree there probably is no judge on Trump’s list who would not vote to overturn or modify Roe. However, there are other precedents that other judges on that list might, like Blackmun, have a more moderate view regarding. What particularly concerns me is Kavanaugh’s explanation of what he meant regarding his email questioning whether it was widely agreed among legal scholars that Roe was settled law. He essentially asserted that Roe was not settled law because it was not a unanimous decision and there were still Justices on the Court who disagreed with it. There are many liberal precedents decided in the 1960s by 5-4 votes. A prominent example is Miranda v. Arizona (1966), a 5-4 decision which requires the police advise an arrestee of his/her constitutional right to remain silent and to have legal counsel. (Many constitutional originalists/textualists regard Miranda as creating rights that are not explicitly expressed in the Constitution.) There may be other judges on Trump’s list who, notwithstanding that the decision was not unanimous, regard it as settled law. Given Kavanaugh’s theory that only unanimous decisions represent settled law, he is more likely to vote to grant certiorari on a case challenging the viability of Miranda, or seeking to modify its application around the edges. I am fairly confident Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch would join him in such a grant of review. Even if Roberts did not join the grant of certiorari, he might be persuaded in the end to vote with his conservative brethren.

Regarding the likelihood whether a decision challenging the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency might make it to the S. Ct., few could have predicted a case like U.S. v. Nixon, ruling that Nixon was not above the law and was required to obey a subpoena requiring that he turn over the White House tapes to Congress, or Jones v. Clinton, ruling that Clinton was required to undergo a deposition while still in office, would have made it to the S. Ct. Kavanaugh has already expressed opinions disagreeing w/ these rulings. There is no predicting what cases future events may thrust upon us.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, there is no way to tell how such cases would have turned out had another judge been confirmed. In general, however, I would prefer another judge on Trump’s list over a judge who has an axe to grind.

Joe Cairns said...

It's now 2,400+ Law professors who oppose Kavanaugh's nomination: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/03/opinion/kavanaugh-law-professors-letter.html?

Just how many law professors' votes does it take to frustrate a nomination?

MS said...

According to Mitch McConnell, an infinity.

Anonymous said...

Our political system is supposed to have an inherent system of checks-and-balances. But I’ve often wondered how that safety valve applies to the Supreme Court. The Court consists of nine politically well-connected lawyers who have life time appointments, and are all frankly political appointees. Not much check-and-balance there. That they constitute a kind of super-legislature seems clear enough: they get to say what the law is, because around 200 years ago their predecessors made this claim and the Court has got away with this pretense ever since. To adopt and adapt a line from Stalin: How many divisions does the Supreme Court have? One hears a lot of talk about constitutional crises if the President or the Legislative Branch calls the Court’s bluff, but so what? How many divisions does the Court have? I think we’ve given too much power to this small clique already; maybe it’s time to tell them to back off, and make it plain that we mean it. What are they going to do in response? Write an opinion? What I’m saying may seem disingenuous: But suppose Ginsburg and Breyer die, and Trump gets to nominate two right-wingers to replace them, and the Republican Senate, led by the current crop of troglodytes and weasels, confirms the nominees— do you think we’ll have anything left at the top of the legal-political pyramid that’s worth revering? We’re not realistically all that far away from that scenario. If one is worried about constitutional crises, one might consider whether we’re in for one if we don’t reel the Court in and check and balance it. How to do that? I don’t know, but I’d suggest for openers, investigate Thomas and Kavanaughty. Get them. That would be a good start. I think it’s a really bad idea that we treat the Court as if it is populated with High Priests, or even higher personages. Here’s another suggestion: the law is what the Legislature says it is. John Marshall can spin in his grave for all I care. How do we check-and-balance the Legislature? Vote them in or out.

MS said...

Anonymous,

The sentiment that the S. Ct. is powerless to enforce its decisions because it does not command a military, which you compare to Stalin’s asking how many army divisions does the Pope have, was actually expressed by Pres. Jackson with respect to the decision Justice Marshall wrote in Worcester v. Georgia (1832), in which he ruled that a Georgia statute infringed on the sovereignty of the Cherokee nation and was unconstitutional. Marshall ruled that since the Cherokee tribe was a sovereign nation, only the federal government had authority to pass legislation regulating the relationship between the Cherokee nation and the U.S. government. Jackson disagreed w/ the decision and famously stated (although some claim the quote is apocryphal), “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!”

I strenuously disagree w/ your proposition that we need a mechanism to oppose decisions by the S. Ct. What other entity is going to interpret the Constitution and the laws Congress enacts if not the courts, with the S. Ct. as the final arbiter of what the law is? Marshall’s assertion that it is the function of the S. Ct. to say, w/ finality, what the law is makes eminent sense. In any case, it is so firmly entrenched in our jurisprudence that it is not going to be rescinded. Nor should it be. The S. Ct. is the final authority to protect the rights of the minority against infringements by the majority – the rights of the Amish, for example, not to be compelled to attend public schools against the precepts of their religion (Wisconsin v. Yoder, 1972); that marriage between people of different races cannot be prohibited and criminalized (Loving v. Virginia, 1967); that a student who burns the American flag cannot be criminally prosecuted for making a political statement which is unpopular (Texas v. Johnson, 1989); that two men engaging in consensual sex in the privacy of their home cannot be criminally prosecuted (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003). And the list goes on and on. If we opt for a system that says we will only comply w/ those decisions we agree w/, who is going to decide who the “we” is? A judicial system whose decisions are only selectively enforced and obeyed is not a judicial system.

Moreover, what about decisions that restrict the power of the Executive? What if Nixon had told the Court to go to hell, I’m not turning over those tapes – if they want them, let them come and get them, I have my army to defend me. We would no longer have a republic, but a dictatorship. The fact that you don’t like the make-up of the current S. Ct. is not reason to reject the principle that the S. Ct. is the final authority of what the law is. Eventually –assuming we survive Trump’s presidency – a more moderate to liberal court will be established. If we set a precedent of disregarding the Court’s rulings just because we find them unpalatable, the conservatives will do the same when the tide turns in favor of the liberals.

Moreover, there are checks and balances on the S. Ct., and we are seeing them in action w/ the Kavanaugh confirmation. Just because we may not like the result in this particular case does not mean that it is defective. The Senate has final say as to who becomes a S. Ct. justice and has in numerous instances rejected, or caused the withdrawal of, nominees – Clement Haynsworth (1969); G. Harrold Carlswell (1970); Robert Bork (1987); Daniel Ginsburg (1987). S. Ct. Justices are also subject to impeachment, although only one Justice, Samuel Chase, has been impeached and was acquitted by the Senate. Congress has authority to determine what cases the federal courts have jurisdiction over, as long as the legislation does not conflict w/ the Constitution (one of the issues in Marbury v. Madison). The life-time appointment of the Justices is intended to insulate them from political pressures and is a bulwark that protects the independence of the judiciary.

What you propose would wreak havoc on our democracy as a nation of laws, the meaning and constitutionality of which are to be decided by a single high court.

Jerry Fresia said...

Periodically, the US political system is exposed as utterly corrupt. This is one of those times.

Anonymous said...

Lying to the FBI is a crime (as Martha Stewart learned), so examination under oath is not really necessary. No one is at risk of perjury prosecution anyway, so it does not much matter.

MS said...

Well, I'm eating my words. They don't taste very good - I'm out of ketchup.

I am very disappointed in Sen. Flake.

Hats off to Sen. Murkowski.

And yes, Anonymous, Sen. Collins is a hypocritical low life.

Anonymous said...

MS: I'm serious about the question of the accountability of the Supreme Court. I don't see that there's much of it. I think that the members of the court should not be above congressional investigation--if there's reason to suspect that any of them lied under oath to get the job. (And there is.) And the press should be on them, just like it's on the overt politicians all the time. The way things are now (and have been) comes too close to the justices themselves being above the law (like Nixon hoped he'd be). And as far as life-time appointments are concerned, I don't see the need for it (or the wisdom of it--though I know it's a constitutional issue). An ex-justice would be subject to the law, just like anybody else. Enforce it, and that will militate against personal corruption. Also (I'm not going to look this up), the life expectancy 200 years ago was what? 45 years? Whatever. Times have changed, and well-heeled people in this country can be expected to live a lot longer than ever before--and it's likely to get a lot longer. Etc. Anyway, when one cuts through the rhetoric there is still the question of the Court's accountability: 5 of them can make the law and what they say goes--for a long time. I think they need to be watched (and held to account). I don't trust them.

MS said...

Re Sen. Collins:

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” Groucho Marx

s. wallerstein said...

When you calculate how someone in Congress will vote, you always have to take into account where their campaign financing is coming from. If the big campaign donors are backing Kavanaugh (and they probably are), then certain Senators, who otherwise would vote against him, will vote for him.

David Palmeter said...

The dinner table this evening was dominated by the Kavanaugh Follies, with Joe Mancin as almost as big a villain as Kavanaugh. I was a lonely voice in dissent. My points were three:

1.If Mancin had voted “No,” the result would have been the same--a 50-50 tie, with Pence breaking the tie.
2.If Mancin had voted “No,” it would have cost him votes in West Virginia.
3.If Mancin lost in West Virginia, the chances of the Democrats controlling the Senate would be diminished.

I concluded, therefore, that Mancin’s vote improves the chances of the Democrats controlling the Senate and therefore is OK with me.

However, if his vote would have made a difference, then a “No” vote would have been unforgiveable. Six more years of Joe Mancin in the Senate are not to be preferred over 30 or so years of Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. Losing wouldn’t be all that bad for Joe. He could go back to West Virginia, get a nice (corporate-funded, no doubt) sinecure at WVA University lecturing on public policy, and, after the Democrat wins in 2020, accept an important post in the Cabinet.

David Palmeter said...

MS

Mealy-mouthed Sen. Collins is, as I see her, made, in an important way, from the same mold as Donald Trump: Their personal manners are very, very different, But both have only one value, and that's "what's in it for me?"

David Palmeter said...

s.wallerstein

I don’t deny the huge influence of money in congressional votes, but many of those big donors really don’t give a damn about Kavanaugh. If he had gone down, another conservative would have taken his place. The donors, for the most part, are the financial conservatives, i.e., the low-tax, low-regulation corporate types. They ally themselves with the social conservatives in order to win elections and get control of the government, but most of them have little or no sympathy with social conservative values. To the contrary, if his daughter gets knocked-up, the country-club/Wall Street conservative wants her to be able to get an abortion.

You can see this with Roe v. Wade: It was written by Justice Blackmun and concurred in by Chief Justice Burger--two county-club Republicans if there ever were any.

Kavanaugh is another member of the Catholic-right on the Supreme Court: Roberts, Alito, and Gorsuch, who succeeded Scalia, the epitome of the Catholic-right.

An interesting thing about the Supreme Court: until the 20th Century, it was composed entirely of white, Protestant men. Eventually there developed an unofficial Catholic seat and later an unofficial Jewish seat. The other seven were all white Protestants. Today, there isn’t a white Protestant on the Court: Roberts, Alito, and Gorsuch are Catholic; Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan are Jewish; Thomas at one time was Catholic (educated at Holy Cross) but I believe he’s now an evangelical Protestant; Sotomayor was born Catholic, but I don’t believe she is a practicing Catholic. She is divorced.

MS said...

I guess I'm not too surprised about Collins.

The one I am really disappointed about is Flake. He has written a book critical of Trump. He pushed to have the FBI investigation conducted. He is not running for re-election. Also, as I pointed out in previous comments, he stated publicly if Kavanaugh lied during the hearings, then he was done for. So how does Flake deal with Ramirex's allegations, which she undoubtedly repeated to the FBI. Kavanaugh, under oath. stated that Ramirez's allegations were false. If Flake was not prepared to believe those whom the FBI interviewed, particularly Ramirez, why did he push for the investigation? I still don't get it.

After the vote, I emailed Sen. Flake with the following quote from Dante: “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”

MS said...

One more bit of judicial trivia. For the first time in the history of the S. Ct., the Yale law school graduates (Sotomayor, Thomas, Gorsuch, Alito and Kavanaugh) will outnumber the Harvard law school graduates (Roberts, Breyer, Kagan and Ginsburg [Columbia/Harvard])

s. wallerstein said...

David Palmeter,

The daughters of the rich always get abortions, whether they are legal or not. It's poor and lower middle class women who benefit from legalized abortion.

Jerry Fresia said...

Possibly some good news:

As the Professor argues, this defeat will motivate Dems more than Repubs who are the victors in this battle; therefore this defeat may help the Dems win control of Congress.

And...

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) would then become chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. Johnson has committed to reopening the background investigation of Kavanaugh and the subcommittee would have authority to subpoena witnesses, documents, and emails related to Kavanaugh.

Further, the latest reporting is that emails("Don't f------ tell [people] Brett got in touch with me!!!"), revealed by NBC News, show that Kavanaugh was directly involved in tamping down witness support of the Ramirez accusation. As you know, Kavanaugh, under oath, said he only learned of the Ramirez accusation when it was published in the New Yorker.

Get out the vote.

LFC said...

MS

Re your "one more bit of judicial trivia" above -- I think you should re-check where Gorsuch went to law school. Broader point is that it would probably be good to have more variation (or diversity, if you prefer that word) in the Justices' educational backgrounds.