32 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-2-22

  1. It’s amazing how many folks — who do and should know better — are seeing the Supreme Court’s change in direction as somehow political.

    WSJ has a good editorial on that point:



    A Court for the Constitution
    The historic Supreme Court term that ended this week was a triumph for originalism.
    By The Editorial BoardFollow
    July 1, 2022

    A funny thing happened on the way to the supposedly partisan Supreme Court finishing its term: It ruled for the Biden Administration on immigration. Somehow that case isn’t making the dastardly hit list of those eager to declare that the Court is now “illegitimate,” but the Justices applied the law regardless of the policy and decided for the executive branch.(See nearby for elaboration.)

    This isn’t a partisan Court looking for preferred policy outcomes. It’s a Court that hews to the tenets of originalism, with different shades of emphasis by different Justices. The Court’s jurisprudence is focused more than anything else on who under the Constitution gets to decide policy, not what that policy should be.

    This is the main reason Democrats and the press corps are furious about the Court’s decisions. For decades they have counted on a majority of Justices to deliver or bless the policy results they want: on abortion, voting rights, healthcare, racial preferences, climate and economic regulation. You name it, the Court found ways to deliver it with balancing tests, trimester analysis, and the discovery of unenumerated rights between the lines of the Constitution’s text.

    For decades conservative critics have argued that the role of the Court should be different—supporting rights that are actually in the Constitution, but otherwise enforcing the separation of powers so each branch of government stays in its lane as defined by the Founders. With the arrival of three new Justices nominated by Donald Trump and shepherded to confirmation by GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell, that Court has arrived.

    The result is the opposite of judicial imperialism. …

    … (But …) The political result may be surprising. The right-to-life movement now must persuade voters across 50 states, and most voters favor some limits on abortion but not an outright ban. If Republicans sound like moral scolds and can’t make their case with compassion for women, they will lose the debate. If Republicans seek a national ban on abortion via Congress, the Court could strike it down. The Court majority in Dobbs has invigorated democracy and federalism. …

    … The Court is also taking a more robust approach to protecting the rights that the Constitution does mention, especially the First and Second Amendments. On gun rights, the Justices put new substance into the individual right to bear arms recognized by the 2008 Heller decision. Politicians can still regulate guns, but they must do so more carefully so individuals can defend themselves outside their homes.

    On religious liberty, the Court cleaned up decades of confusing instructions to lower courts on the separation of church and state. The Justices gave new vigor to the free exercise of religion by supporting private prayer in a public place and barring discrimination against religious schools. States don’t have to aid private schools, but if they do they can’t deny that aid to religious schools. This is a proper policing role for the Court in securing liberties specified in the Constitution. …


    So, yes, this is a huge shift that folks are seeing, but it’s not politically motivated — it’s philosophically motivated.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. And also, this means neither the left nor the right may get “what they want” out of this court. This is a separation of powers stance.

    The editorial ends with this:

    ~ This is a Court for the Constitution, and that means the right and left will have to win their policy victories the old-fashioned way—democratically. ~

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Janice, I was texting last night with someone with whom we have many very liberal friends in common who have been posting outrage over this court. We were feeling frustrated about how this is being viewed strictly as a new court trying to force a conservative political template on the country. (And these are knowledgable folks who should have a better understanding of the changes we’re seeing.)

    None of us should want a partisan Supreme Court that’s driven by politics.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A good editorial and on the abortion question, they have a point. Its going to be a messy few years and some Republicans aren’t doing themselves any favors. Many of the men (and even some women) commenting are in need of a biology lesson. Looking at the polls, its clear most Americans seek a compromise – abortion rights with limitations. If the Republicans present their case with an air of triumphalism as opposed to understand they will lose support.

    I do however question the main point of the article — its an orginialilst court. They may claim they are originalists but the second amendment doen’t include consideration for self-defense only for a well regulated militia. They are reading self defense into the Constitution.

    As for separation of church and state, sure people should be allowed to pray in a public place. However, a state employee acting in their capacity as a state employee and having authority over others should not lead prayer in a public institution. In the case of the coach praying on the fifty yard line, the football players under his authority may not view this as voluntary. Personally, I thought people were supposed to pray behind closed doors and not in public like the Pharisees. I’m waiting for the church of the fllying spagetti monster to demand equal time.


  5. Part of “illegitimacy” of the court is how it was constructed. A refusal to even consider Garland because it was Obama’s last year followed by hurriedly confirming Barret in the last weeks of Trump’s presidency appears to be a flouting of the rules. The other problem in this court is Clarence Thomas’s spouse acting as a lobbyist and as a supporter of January 6. Normally, in politics, we should separate spouse from the politicians but he’s a member of the Supreme Court. There are cases in which his wife worked for one side and yet he didn’t recuse himself, The latest, of course, was his lone dissent in Trump’s bid to withhold documents from the Jan 6th cmttee. Given his wife’s involvement, he should have recused himself.

    Its very construction was political and the behaviour of some is also political. Hence many see it as illegitimate.


  6. Thomas’s wife: As a private citizen, she was within her rights to be political involved. But considering her husband’s very sensitive and public position, it was perhaps unwise.

    We humans are such a complex mixture of ideas, personal histories, experiences and motivations. “Politics” does become part of all that. Those in the legal system are expected to leave personal politics behind, which maybe isn’t always entirely possible as so much of what influences us is almost subconscious.

    Still, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility if one has been mentally trained and disciplined with that framework in mind.

    Jurisdictional philosophy and theory is a matter of seeing issues and the constitution through a particular lens and that is more predictable and rational. … If that makes sense …

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re right and you make sense, dj. However, between McConnell’s shenanigans and Thomas’s lack of discretion, the court has lost some legitimacy. The government has legitimacy when it follows precedence and both written and unwritten rules – McConnel did not and this lowers legitimacy. Spouses should not be limited by their partner’s jobs, however, in the public realm, one must be careful in order to maintain a semblance of rule following and legitimacy.

    Looking at the court with an attempt at neutrality, I’m impressed by Sotomayor and Roberts. Kavauagh also seems to have a good grasp of the law, the issues and logic. But due to McConnell’s acts — he, Barrett and Grousch will always have a cloud over them. Interestingly, even if McConnell had allowed Garland to the bench, the court would be 5-4 just not 6-3.

    When looking at Thomas and his wife for conflicts its worthwhile to notice that in the US, spouses especially the wives seem to have a role in their partners jobs. The concept of Frist Lady is bizarre for a republic (as is retaining one’s titles). Many on the left missed the principle when Karen Pence became a teacher. They missed the mark because of the school. Instead they should have seen it as precendent for spouses to have their own career and life.


  8. Re Garland/Barrett — I will say we are in such a hyper-politicized state right now in the US that some of this can bleed into the court. Roberts has tried mightily to steer the court away from this, creating a very open struggle when the court is seated at State of the Union or other presidential speeches that can so easily break out in open expressions.

    Sotomayer’s remarks about Thomas recently were especially gracious — thinking also of the genuine friendship between Ginsburg and Scalia — and open gestures like that go far in helping maintain the court’s dignity and political neutrality. Most of us find all of that very refreshing in this climate.

    And behind the scenes, I suspect the justices have quite a bond with one another in that respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. (Watching the straight-faced expressions among justices at the various presidential speeches is almost comical as they seem to be almost struggling not to do anything that could be seen as even a hint of bias.)


  10. Sotomayer on Thomas:

    ~ “He has a very different vision than I do about how to help people … and about their responsibilities to help themselves,” Sotomayor said at an event hosted by the American Constitution Society. …

    .. But she added that the two share a “common understanding about people and kindness.”

    “That’s why I can be friends with him and still continue our daily battle over our differences of opinions in cases,” she said. “You really can’t begin to understand an adversary unless you step away from looking at their views as motivated in bad faith.” ~

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The stock market has lost 8.5 trillion (your 401K is sharing in the losses) in the first 6 months of this year. Inflation is over 10%. Govt bonds are down 11%. Gas prices are at record levels. 3 million plus illegal invaders have illegally crossed our southern border. Fentanyl deaths as a result of easy smuggling access across the wide open border are continuing to rise. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death in the US for adults between 18 and 45, but Biden is after vape cigs instead. And Covid continues to be a major issue.

    But no mean tweets!

    Thanks Biden voters.

    The only good this year politics wise has been the repeated wins in the Supreme Court and that’s all thanks to Trump.

    Build Back Better!

    Or not.


  12. But some just desperately want to believe.


  13. AJ – Not sure where you get your stats from. The inflation rate of 2021 is 4.7%. Given current inflation, its estimated that 2022 will be at around 8.6%.

    Gas prices by barrel are at the same price they were in 2014, the fact the price is twice the 2014 cost has to do with corporate greed. An excessive profit tax proposed by some Democrats and opposed by Republicans would solve this problem.

    Fentayl deaths have increased dramatically every year since 2015. There was a real spike in drug overdoses from 2019 to 2020. It spiked again in the spring of 2021 but declined slightly afterwards. There’s no reliable stats for 2022 yet.

    A stock market is not a good indicator of an economy. Neo-con economists and the elite want the middle class to buy into the stock market and so mention pension funds. Most workplace pension funds invest in more than the stcok market. My pension fund invests in stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. And they invest world wide. Given the diversification, a decline in North American stocks will be offset by rising property values and international investments. For the most part, the stock market is a casino where much of the buy/sell is done with algorithms.


  14. The attempts by Trump supporters to smear or otherwise negate Hutchinson’s testimony is amusing. At first Trump said he didn’t know her and she was not important; then photos surfaced of her right behind him in the oval office. Then some Secret Service said the scuffle never happened but when offered the opportunity to testimony under oath, they changed their story and said Hutchinson was mostly correct but Trump never grabbed the wheel (she never said he did). And now Trump claims the woman he barely knew was upset with him and only testified under oath because he personally turned her down for a job. If her testimony is so suspect, then refute it under oath. One of them will be guilty of perjury.

    If Trump supporters and Republicans are upset with the drift of the Jan 6th cmttee. They only have themselves to blame. McConnell withdrew his other nominations when two were deemed unacceptable. (lets face it Jim Jordan isn’t acceptable in a gym let alone a House cmttee). Boycotting a part of the democratic process is always a dumb move.

    Clinton testified for two days at the Benghazi hearings — Trump can testify here if he’s so certain Hutchinson and others are lying.


  15. At the end of the day, the vast majority of people just want to do right for their family and friends. And Supreme Court judges are no different that way. Even in the abortion debate, I’m sure both Barrett and Sotomayor have the same overall goal in mind — protect people’s rights, abide by Constitution and insure rule of law.

    In my facebook feed, I’ve been genuinely surprised by female childhood friends who still belong to the Christian Reformed Church. They have been pro-choice and view abortion as health care. This is very different from the pro life message we grew up with. This runs parallel to general public sentiment esp in Canada. Abortion rates are going down and with both pro-life education and better sex-ed it will continue to decline, hence the brute hammer of gov’t is not needed and interferes with women’s health care. For those in the Republican party and even in socially conservative states, this may serve as warning to tread with care and consideration rather than triumphalism.

    For activists on both the pro-life and pro-choice side it may seem impossible but many people may consider themselves both pro-life and pro-choice. They think abortion is generally wrong but they think its a matter between a woman and her doctor.


  16. I believe Trump has also diagnosed Hutchinson as someone with “mental issues.”

    Now that’s a common tactic: When you don’t have anything of substance on the issue, switch over to malicious personal attacks.

    It’s not very mature. But it is a familiar (and desperate) tactic. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Further proof that no one cares about Jan6 except for people who already wouldn’t be voting for Trump.

    That’s why they’re so desperate to make something, anything really, stick. 😀


  18. I see what you did there HRW. You would like us to look at the yearly rate as opposed to the current monthly ones because the last 4 monthly rates have buried your 4.7 for year 2021.

    Last year’s numbers are irrelevant. It’s gonna be over 10% for the month of June as the steady increases under Biden policy continues to adversely effect the economy.

    Nice try though. 😉


  19. (As to how many folks would actually vote for Trump, not just “Republicans” — remember, many Republicans have left the part to become independents.) So that’s a really small pool of people, 56% of actual party members. Not very impressive.

    I think Trump’s day has moved on and it would be a huge mistake for the Republican party to get struck on him again. He’s also not all that young …

    Time to move on.


  20. I love how you act as if after just two years of Biden Independents don’t see the appeal of a return to the Trump policies instead. 🙂

    Here’s a hint, Indies are overwhelmingly bailing on Biden, and in a two candidate/party system, who does that leave?

    Trump, if he’s the nominee of the R party. Right about now he and his economic policies are looking pretty good. Very good in fact.

    I’d bet at this point Trump could easily win a portion of Democrats as well.

    We’ll get to the general later, primaries first, and that’s all the poll I posted is looking at right now.

    As Carville said… “It’s the economy….”

    Not Jan6.


  21. I’ve said before, I’d prefer Trump step aside and play king maker and throw his support to DeSantis. The policies are the same, but the man doesn’t have the baggage that Trump brings. This will also appeal to Indies.

    But first we must dredge the bottom of the establishment/RINO barrel and see what comes lose. We’ll be forced to listen to pitiful wailings of the Bushs, the Romneys, the “principled conservative” sellout candidates, Chamber of Commerce shills, and assorted pretenders until the obvious choice can be denied no more.

    I hope it’s DeSantis, but I’d vote Trump if he’s the candidate. But then I’m not some weaselly little milquetoast loyalty pledge signing liar like the clowns who pulled that last time after demanding everyone sign on. Dishonorable toads, the lot of them…

    Primaries will be a hoot, that’s for sure.

    But first, the Democrats need a beating in the fall. A sound thrashing is due.


  22. Inflation, like any other economic indicator, has spikes and is best measured over a longer period of time; hence I posted the 4.7%. Current figures are also unreliable and mostly best estimates. My economist friends tell me that inflation should slow down soon now that higher interest rates have cut the money supply and with less money in circulation prices should stabilize. I’m not so sure. Standard theory states inflation is caused by too much money. However, in this case, I think pent up demand, real estate, and increased transportation costs have increased inflation. Demnad has dissipated and the rental market is starting to stabilize but transportation costs have not lowered and gasoline is still unreasonably high relative to the price per barrel. A robust excessive profits tax or a threat to break up the fossil fuel oligarchy might do more to lower inflation than higher interest rates. Corporate greed needs to be curbed. In any case the current 8-9% is supposed to stabilize over the summer and then decline so the yearly rate should be between 5-8% once the data is collected.


  23. I don’t think Trump can play kingmaker anymore. A Trump endorsement is no longer a sure win. There are three issues – the economy, Jan 6 and Roe vs Wade. Each one has a different effect and it will be a horrid Venn diagram of conflicting interests.

    House elections rarely produce any excitement. They are gerrymandered to such an extent that the other party sometimes doesn’t bother to run a candidate. The primary then is the only democracy given to the district. In Republican primaries, Jan 6th will matter, pro or con. In the general house elections, the economy and Roe vs Wade may have some influence but at best they will cancel each other.

    The Senate elections will be interesting since they can’t be gerrymandered. Here, Jan 6 and Roe vs Wade may give the advantage to the Democrats. Roe vs Wade and lingering memories of Trump may motivate apathetic Democratic voters to the polls and voter turnout almost always favors Democrats.

    2024 — Biden should announce now that he won’t run…..just cite age and need to spend time with wife, dogs and grandkids. DeSantis vs Trump will be an interesting primary – I wonder how long Trump can keep this up without his cognitive dissoance becoming obvious even to his supporters. DeSantis vs Warren or Klobucher would be interesting. AOC would be fun to watch during the Democratic primary, but like Sanders the party will make sure she won’t win..


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