Wednesday, September 30, 2020

October 2020 Judiciary News


Supreme Court:

Ginsberg:  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died September 18 at the age of 87.  She was appointed to the DC Circuit by Carter in 1979.  She was elevated to the Supreme Court by Clinton in 1993 at age 60.  She was recommended to Clinton by Senator Orrin Hatch (!) and confirmed 96-3.  The three no votes were Jesse Helms, Don Nickles, and Bob Smith.

Ginsberg:  Despite her support for abortion, Justice Ginsberg acknowledged in 1973 that Roe v Wade was wrongly decided:
“One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.”
Ginsberg:  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hired over 100 law clerks, but only one is black (Paul Watford of the 9th Circuit).  Under the theory of 'disparate impact', any racial distribution in hiring different from the surrounding population is proof of racial discrimination.  Ginsberg's hiring discredits this theory.

Barrett:  President Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th Circuit for the Supreme Court on September 26.  Barrett, age 48, got her JD from Notre Dame and clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman (DC Circuit) and for Justice Scalia at the Supreme Court.  She was a professor at Notre Dame for 15 years, and has been on the 7th Circuit since November 2, 2017.

Barrett:  The AP explains how Barrett rose from law professor to Supreme Court nominee with the help of Don McGahn, the Federalist Society, and the conservative movement.

Barrett:  Ed Whelan has written a series of articles on Judge Barrett's views on abortion, the Second Amendmenttextualism and originalismTitle IX protections for accused students, and stare decisis.

McConnell:  Senator Mich McConnell has been accused of hypocrisy for pledging a vote on President Trump's nominee while refusing a vote on Merrick Garland in 2016.  However, McConnell clearly stated then that he was referring to blocking a nominee of the opposite party.

Hypocrisy:  In 2016, more than 350 law professors signed a letter stating that the Senate had a “constitutional duty to give President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a prompt and fair hearing and a timely vote.”  Surely they will say the same about President Trump's nominee.

Senate:  National Review examines how Senator McConnell rounded up support in the Senate for voting on a Supreme Court nominee prior to the election.

Lagoa:  Barbara Lagoa, the reported runner-up for the nomination, has been a member of the Federalist Society since 1998.  Her rise to prominence coincides with the increasing influence of the Florida Federalist Society over judicial selections in that state.

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

Trump list:  President Trump released a list of 20 additions to his list of Supreme Court candidates, along with a statement of purpose.  The additions are:

Circuit Judges: Bridget Bade (9th), Kyle Duncan (5th), James Ho (5th), Gregory Katsas (DC), Barbara Lagoa (11th), Peter Phipps (3rd), Allison Jones Rushing (4th), Lawrence VanDyke (9th)
District Judges: Martha Pacold (ND-IL), Sarah Pitlyk (ED-MO)
State Supreme Court Judges: Carlos Muñiz (FL)
US Senators: Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley
DC lawyers: Paul Clement, Steven Engel, Noel Francisco, Christopher Landau, Kate Todd
State Attorney Generals: Daniel Cameron (KY)

Notable omissions include Neomi Rao (DC), Michael Park (2nd), Andy Oldham (5th), Ken Lee (9th)

Future appointments:  Harsh Voruganti of the Vetting Room lists twelve state court judges Donald Trump and Joe Biden might elevate to the Court of Appeals.  The contrast is stark.

Blue slip:  For the past four years, senate Ds have lauded the blue slip, but now that they expect a Biden victory, the far-left group Demand Justice is demanding that Senator Diane Feinstein end it.  Feinstein says she is undecided, apparently meaning that she needs to know the election results before she decides her position on blue slips.

D-NM:  New Mexico's D senators are using the blue slip to hold up district court nominees from their states as a protest of the latest Supreme Court nomination.   It appears that other D senators are doing the same.

MD-FL:  Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a nominee to MD-FL, is only 33 years old.  She has been attacked for inexperience, and got a NQ/Q rating from the ABA.  Carrie Severino defends her experience, noting she had four clerkships, worked in the Department of Justice, private practice, and taught in law school.

New Nominations:
Supreme Court: Amy Coney Barrett--clerk for Scalia, Judge (7th Circuit)

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings:
October 1 (business): Five district court nominees are likely to be approved.


The Federal Judiciary:

Judicial winning:  Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network is writing a series highlighting Trump's conservative judicial appointees.  The series so far includes Kyle DuncanAmul ThaparKen LeeLisa BranchAmy Coney BarrettGreg KatsasJustin Walker, Kevin Newsom, Dan Bress, Eric Murphy, Daniel Collins, Patrick Bumatay, and Paul Matey.

Trump judges:  The far-left People For the American Way released a report, Trump Judges: Even More Extreme than Reagan and Bush Judges.  Music to our ears!

DC Circuit: Carrie Severino writes an 'open letter' to new DC Circuit Judge Justin Walker, detailing the "politicization and bitter infighting" on the circuit.

4th Circuit:  Senior Judge Clyde Hamilton died in early September at age 86.  He was appointed to D-SC by Reagan in 1981 and to the 4th Circuit by HW in 1991.  He took senior status in 1999 and was active until his death.  The 4th Circuit now has only two senior judges.

5th Circuit: Former Judge Robert Manley Parker died on August 27 at age 82.  He was appointed to ED-TX by Carter in 1979 and to the 5th Circuit by Clinton in 1994.  He retired in 2002.

ED-TN:  Judge Pamela Reeves died of cancer on September 10 at age 66.  She was appointed by Obama in 2014.  ED-TN now has two vacancies out of five judgeships.

State Supreme Courts:

Florida:  The Florida Supreme Court issued a 5-0 ruling that Governor DeSantis must appoint a judge from the existing list of qualified judges submitted by the Judicial Nominating Commission in January.  They previously ruled that his appointment of Renatha Francis to the court was not allowed by the law, since she did not have ten years of legal experience by the deadline to make the appointment.  The suit was filed by state rep Geraldine Thompson, a black D who wanted one of the more liberal black applicants screened out by the Commission to be appointed.  While she initially wanted a new list drawn up, the court allowed her to amend her complaint to demand a judge from the existing list.  Governor DeSantis waited a few hours after the court's deadline of September 14 at Noon to announce his choice.

Florida:  Governor DeSantis appointed Jamie Grosshans to the Florida Supreme Court.  She is a judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal, appointed by Rick Scott in 2018. Grosshans, age 42, is a member of the Federalist Society, Orlando Christian Legal Society, and Alliance Defending Freedom.

Kansas:  Eleven lawyers have applied for the seat on the Kansas Supreme Court vacated by retiring Justice Carol Beier.

Massachusetts:  Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants died at age 65.  He was appointed to the court by Governor DeVal Patrick in 2009.  Another seat will open December 1 when Justice Barbara Lenk is age-limited.  When those seats are filled, all seven justices will be appointees of left-leaning Republican Governor Charlie Baker.

Numbers and Trivia:

Clerks:  John Doe has a list of judges for whom Trump's judicial nominees have clerked.  Justice Thomas leads the pack.

D-KS:  Judge Wesley Brown was the oldest judge to ever hear cases.  Brown heard cases until shortly before his death in 2012 at age 104.  He was appointed by Kennedy in 1962 and took senior status in 1979.

Asian Judges: Wikipedia has a list of Asian judges, but does not separate out federal judges.  These are Asian judges that Trump has appointed:
6th Circuit: Amul Thapar
5th Circuit: James Ho
6th Circuit: John Nalbandian
DC Circuit: Neomi Rao
2nd Circuit: Michael Park
9th Circuit: Kenneth Lee
9th Circuit: Patrick Bumatay
ND-TX: Karen Scholer
D-HI: Jill Otake
WD-PA: Nicholas Ranjan
ND-IL: Martha Pacold
SD-FL: Anuraag Singhal
ED-NY:  Diane Gujarati

There are a few more who have been nominated (corrections welcome):
CD-CA:  Steve Kim
ED-NY:  Saritha Komatireddy


Supreme Court:  Dan McLaughlin shows that historical precedent supports a President and Senate of the same party filling a Supreme Court vacancy at any time, including a lame duck session.  This article led National Review's list of top stories for a week after RBG's death.

Bench Memos (National Review)
The Vetting Room
FedJudges (Twitter)
Senate Cloakroom (Twitter)
Senate Judiciary Committee
ABA Judicial Ratings
Wikipedia-Trump Judges
Wikipedia-US Appeals Courts
Senior Status Spreadsheet
Future Judicial Vacancies
BostonPatriot diaries: History Trump DC-5 6-11 9th
Ballotpedia-State Supreme Court Vacancies
The Supreme Courts
2020: March April May June July August September

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Voter Fraud: Now We Have Proof

For a long time, those of us on the right have suspected that voter fraud is widespread on the left.  There have been plenty of isolated cases where fraud has been proved, but these were usually small or amateurish.  This allowed democrats to claim that voter fraud was rare and oppose measures to secure elections, branding them 'voter suppression'.

That all changed a week ago with the publication of a bombshell article in the New York Post.

Confessions of a voter fraud: I was a master at fixing mail-in ballots

A democrat operative from New Jersey, speaking anonymously, has exposed the democrats' operation.  They collect ballots from unsuspecting voters (ballot harvesting), then steam open the envelopes, and replace the ballots with copies they have filled in.  Postal employees can also collect ballots from the mail do the same thing, or just destroy them.  Nursing home employees can also "help" the elderly fill out ballots.  Homeless people can be bribed to vote their way.

The right has focused most on voter impersonation, while mail vote fraud has always been a bigger threat.  Nonetheless, impersonation is also one of their tactics.

So what can we do?  The most secure way to vote is in person.  If you can't vote in person, fill out your absentee ballot and bring it to your local clerk yourself.  You absolutely should not trust anyone you don't know (including postal employees) with your ballot.  Then make sure your friends know this as well.