The Trump Parade of Justices
Trump has announced his potential SCOTUS nominees and appears to have adhered to the claim he would rely heavily on the guidance of The Heritage Foundation, led by former GOP Senator Jim DeMint. This is interesting because a number of conservative senators, such as Orrin Hatch have addressed concerned about the intellectual downslide under DeMint and it's increasing political role that dismantles it's independent (as if we really ever beleived that anyway) conservative think tank credentials. The inability to separate intellectual examination from raw partisan politics has been troublesome, and to have that now become an arm reaching into the Oval poses problems for everyone.
Yes, this is the same organization which released a report claiming Hispanics were genetically intellectually inferior; they will now have a hand in picking your Supreme Court Justices if Trump is elected. It also can't be ignored that DeMint is a notorious revisionist of recent history and has a bully pulpit from which to repeated lies enough to make them truth.
So without further ado, here is the first example of Trump's presidential decisions:
A GW Bush appointee, he was also listed as a potential SCOTUS pick for Mitt Romney. He was an associate counsel in Office of Independent Counsel of Kenneth Starr during the Clinton investigation from 1995-1996. For or against the death penalty, many found his decision regarding concerns about the secrecy of death penalty protocols leaving room for unconstitutional behaviors on the part of the state. Colloton disagreed, deciding current protocols were constitutional because opponents had no suggestions on a more humane way to carry out the death penalty. It's virtually impossible to offer new protocols or ensure current protocols are humane when the current protocols remain secret.
A GW Bush appointee. This is judge is strongly against women's issues, as an example, he authored the 8th circuit decision that employers did not have to provide insurance coverage for birth control taken for the sole purpose of pregnancy prevention. He wrote a dissent regarding another decision to uphold an injunction in which he argued a radical "informed consent" law was constitutional. The case was later heard en banc where Gruendre wrote the decision stating the law was constitutional in a 7-4 decision.
Yet another GW Bush appointee. This judge would be a block to improving our jail systems having notably supported strong mandatory minimum sentencing practices and that all inmates can be strip searched regardless of crime status and it did not violate rights against unreasonable search or seizure. He dissented against the decision that a prison could be sued for failing to provide adequate suicide prevention protocols for the mentally ill. He also determined that a law enforcement officer was immune from suit in a decision stating there was no first amendment right to video an officer on the job after subject was arrested for recording an officer. He is also notorious for a comment regarding NFL players appeal to be included in a settlement case should they later develop neurological issues, “the settlement is going to be watered down by every field-goal kicker who is depressed” if they were included in the agreement.
Kethledge was appointed by Bush and twice filibustered by the Senate. The last filibuster was by both senators of Kethledge's home state and broken after Bush struck a deal with the Senators agreeing to appoint a judge of their choice to the 6th Circuit. His most notable decision was in favor of the Ohio GOP in a ruling that would have disenfranchised more than 200,000 voters, a decision overturned by the Supreme Court just a few days later.
Yes another GW Bush appointee; the argument over his appointment to the 11th Circuit was so contentious that Bus was forced to make him an interim appointment. He is know for referring to Roe v. Wade as "a constitutional right to murder and unborn child" and calling the decision the "worst abomination in the history of constitutional law." He is probably best known for his refusal to reopen the case of Anthony Ray Hinton while AG in Alabama, a man found innocent after spending 30 years on death row in Alabama. Pryor rejected the evidence outright saying the state did not doubt Hinton's guilt. The new evidence showed that the ballistics evidence did not match, and the expert hired by the defense, a one eyed civil engineer with little training, was not qualified. He has fallen on the side of voter suppression and religious activists in some of the cases heard. He is one of two judges mentioned previously as choices by Donald Trump.
The second judge previously floated by Trump, currently sits on the 7th Circuit by way of GW Bush. She is considered to be a reliable conservative. She backed the highly contentious Wisconsin Voter ID law, she also wrote what Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog called "“the broadest ruling so far by a federal appeals court barring enforcement of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law.” The conservative oppression doesn't stop there with Judge Sykes though, she also wrote that anti-gay organizations have a constitutional right to recieve government subsidies, even if they refuse to follow the laws and rulings prohibiting discrimation.
Currently sitting on the Colorado Supreme Court, Eid is also a former clerk of Clarence Thomas. There are three on this list, I believe, making me wonder if he got this list from Thomas' office, since Trump has called Thomas his "favorite justice." Eid embraces much of the same states' rights philosophy as Thomas, though happy to say she would not take it as far as Thomas in striking down child labor laws. Not really saying a lot, is it? She would be our first Lebanese-American justice. Eid is a supporter of gerrymandering, sharply dissenting against a decision that made several Colorado districts more competitive. Eid endorses torte reform, despite large quantities of evidence showing the system filters out virtually all bad faith and frivolous suits and ultimately does not impact costs.
Just appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court this past September, she also clerked for Judge Antonin Scalia. Larsen was also a senior political appointee in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under President George W. Bush -- yes, this is the division of the department that advises the president and the same offices that changed the legal perspective on waterboarding after more than a century of it being considered illegal, though she claims to have not be "read in" to the memo's that justified torture. Shortly after Scalia's death she stated in a local WLNS interview she thought "[Scalia] is rightly acknowledged as one of the greatest legal minds of our, our era.”
Lee is a former political appointee from the GW Bush Justice Department as well as a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. With this potential appointment Trump already seems to be trading in political favors, Lee is the brother of Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), one of, if not the most conservative members of the Senate. His most notable decision, and it really doesn't say much about his thoughts on other areas of the abortion debate, was that he agreed a fetus does qualify as a minor child for the purposes of the Utah wrongful death law. That is not the same as the 14th amendment definition of "person" that the anti-choice coalitions seeks and he did refer to it a difficult decision, so it appears he doesn't take the various aspects of the abortion issue lightly.
A Minnesota Supreme Court justice, Stras also clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. His philosophy, ironically, is to minimize the power of SCOTUS, suggesting retirement enticements and having judges "ride circuit", the practice of traveling the country and hearing lower court cases rather than solely focusing on constitutional issues in the high court. Much of his career has been spent teaching, writing and conducting research, appointed to the state supreme court in 2010.
Though quite charming and notoriously humorous, Willet is heavily libertarian in the Ayn Rand style of narcissism, Willet is very respected in conservative corners and adored in the Tea Party. He was part of a recent unanimous state high court ruling that the crumbling school system in Texas (yes, the state also infamous for screwing up textbooks so badly other states have begun to reject the) meets all constitutional standards. He is a supporter of "economic liberty" which means he would be fully behind Citizen's United and the potential for pushing the privatizing of public systems -- such as the education system that is severely under budget in Texas. Willet has gone after worker's protection laws, overtime and minimum wage laws.
These individuals are being laid out to "prove" The Donald's conservative creds; that he can be trusted to be "conservative" is what he's trying to convince people. This is what our future is with Donald Trump -- more citizen's united, less of our tax dollars used on our education, someone else's religion being allowed to interfere with some of our most personal decisions, more torte reform limiting your access to constitutional redress, fewer rights as workers and less access to protect our rights as individuals -- looks like.
We will literally risk relitigating the battles of our fore-fathers in regards to overtime, work hours and workplace safety and more. We will see a court that will stomp on attempts to prevent further ventures in the direction of Citizen's United and the 2014 McCutcheon decision -- the exact reverse of getting money out of politics.
Some citizens may be for this -- oppressing votes, forgoing individual rights for religious conglomerate's demands from hospitals to hobby lobby, further decimating our infrastructure though economic liberty philosophies. I'm not, and I don't see how anyone who wants to "Make America Great Again" can even think about getting behind more than a few of these judges.