Sunday, July 01, 2018

A Call to Keep Balance on the Supreme Court

As most of you must be aware, the U.S Supreme Court last week handed down a number of controversial opinions.  As well, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be leaving on July 31st of this year.

Kennedy, the swing vote on the Court, has been a reliable voice for letting the Constitution guide his decisions.  Because of that, he has been the lead vote in many decisions that have made both sides either mad or glad.  But, he was a balance to the Court being a one-sided entity.

Our nation needs balance now, more than ever.  The decisions made with a one-sided Court will change the course of history for your children and grandchildren.

What is the situation now?  From Vox:
In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that since 2016 was such a highly charged election year, the Senate should wait until after a new president was seated to even consider a Supreme Court nominee. 

“It is a president’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent,” McConnell said then. “The American people are perfectly capable of having their say on this issue, so let’s give them a voice. Let’s let the American people decide.”

Of course, Republicans’ refusal to confirm Garland broke historical precedence. Six Supreme Court justices have been confirmed in presidential election years since 1912.

In other words, only two years ago, McConnell and Republican senators prioritized the role of both the president and the Senate in confirming a Supreme Court nominee — and made it clear that it was about the voters.

Republicans are now making a major reversal.
There is a way forward to that balance.  It involves three key moderate Republicans and a couple of Democratic senators.  The three Republicans are Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jeff Flake of Arizona.  

 One key issue seems to be the absolute goal by conservatives to overturn Roe v Wade.  Collins came out today saying that she would not vote for someone she believes would do this (and she also said she didn't think Roberts and Gorsuch would do that but I do). 
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a key swing vote in the upcoming fight to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, says she won’t support a nominee who has demonstrated “hostility” to Roe v. Wade, the historic decision legalizing abortion in the United States. 

“I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law,” Collins said in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. 
Trump, who during the campaign said he’d use abortion as a litmus test for potential Supreme Court picks and whose list of nominees was put together by conservative groups, told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that he “probably” wouldn’t ask a nominee about his or her abortion vote.
Jeffrey Toobin, the legal writer for the New Yorker, tweeted that he thinks Kennedy’s replacement by Trump means “abortion will be illegal in twenty states in 18 months.”
No matter what you personally believe about abortion, know this.  What would change if Roe v Wade got overturned is the end of safe, legal abortions.

No matter the law, rich women will continue to get them and poor desperate women - and teenage girls - will now turn to backstreet abortions.

 That will happen.   And it might be your daughter or granddaughter.

What should you do?

Contact all three senators.  

Tell them that the Court needs the type of balance as was provided by Justice Kennedy.  

Tell them that history may judge them for this vote more than almost any other vote they have taken.  

Senator Collins
Twitter: @SenatorCollins
phone: (207) 622-8414
snail mail:68 Sewall Street, Room 507
Augusta, ME 04330

Senator Murkowski
email: https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/contact/email
Twitter:  @lisamurkowski 
phone: (907) 271-3735 
snail mail: 522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Flake 
email: https://www.flake.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-jeff
Twitter: @JeffFlake
phone: 602-840-1891
snail mail:  Senate Russell Office Building 413
Washington, D.C. 20510

Next, contact the Democaric senators who help to vote in Neil Gorsuch. 
From CBS:
Democrats who voted for President Trump's first nominee to the Supreme Court, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, met with the president Thursday to talk about the Supreme Court, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

All three are facing difficult re-election races, in states that strongly supported Mr. Trump during the presidential election, and they could find it difficult to oppose the president's second pick.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia
email: https://www.manchin.senate.gov/contact-joe/email-joe
Twitter: @Sen_JoeManchin
phone: 202-224-3954
snail mail: 306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

Joe Donnelly of Indiana
email: https://www.donnelly.senate.gov/contact/email-joe
Twitter: @SenDonnelly
phone: (202) 224-4814
snail mail: 720 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
email: https://www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-heidi
Twitter: @SenatorHeitkamp
phone: (202) 224-2043
snail mail: SH-516 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Again, they need to be reminded about what side of history they want to come down on.

Balance on the Supreme Court - it's a good thing.