Brett Kavanaugh Is Not a Victim

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz meeting with Judge Brett Kavanaugh

By konigludwig

In American jurisprudence, a criminal prosecution has a high burden of proof, and that is because a defendant’s life or liberty is in jeopardy. A civil suit has a much lower burden of proof than a criminal case, because it is only a defendant’s property that is in danger of forfeiture. In both situations, there is a presumption of a defendant’s innocence, and a requirement of due process, because something to which someone has a constitutional right is in jeopardy.

In the case of someone who has been nominated to serve in a public office, there is no right of entitlement whatsoever. Denying a nominee to a public office confirmation to that office does not deprive that person of either life, liberty, or property. Consequently, in evaluating a person’s fitness for public office, there is no requirement of a presumption of innocence. A candidate for public office is not on trial, and the burden of proving their fitness for office and qualifications is upon the candidate and not upon those tasked with evaluating their worthiness.

Interestingly, those who argue that Brett Kavanaugh is entitled to due process and a presumption of innocence, that he has some nonexistent constitutional right to become a Supreme Court justice, accord no such benefit of the doubt or right of due process to innocent persons, persons not accused of any criminality, who have fairly questioned Kavanaugh’s fitness for high public office.

Who Is Really Blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court Nomination?

It's Charles and David Koch versus the rest of us.  Credit: Reuters
It’s Charles and David Koch versus the rest of us. Credit: Reuters

From The Media Have Forgotten Who Really Is Blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court Nomination

By Dartagnan in the Daily Kos

The media’s telescopic gaze following the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia last week was, true to form, pointing in exactly the wrong direction. Scalia’s death prompted a breathless flood of pundit analysis focused on whether the Republican Party is violating Senate protocol or the Constitution itself by refusing to vote on the nomination of a new Supreme Court Justice in President Obama’s final year in office. Much chatter was devoted to rehashing the deliberate obstruction this president has had to cope with. While undoubtedly true, this misses the forest for the trees. It doesn’t matter so much what Republicans’ “excuse” is—or even whether it violates the clear intent of the Constitution—it does.

What really matters is why they’re doing it, and who it serves. The answer to that question leads straight to their donor base. Although it scarcely bears repeating, the Republican Senate and (to an even greater extent) the Republican House of Representatives now exists to serve the economic interests of a tiny group of very, very wealthy people, people who now stand to either gain or lose hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars spent complying with environmental, finance and labor laws and regulations, depending on who replaces Scalia. That is what this fight is all about. For the GOP and the billionaires who pull their strings, much ballyhooed rhetoric about abortion, affirmative action, union rights and voting rights are all subsidiary to this main event.

The two most prominent members of this tiny group of people are Charles and David Koch:

“In this election cycle… the Kochs have publicly stated that they and their compatriots will spend $889 million, more than either the Republican or Democratic parties spent last time around. According to a recent analysis in Politico, their privatized political network is backed by a group of several hundred extremely rich fellow donors who often meet at off-the-record conclaves organized by the Kochs at desert resorts. It has at least 1,200 full-time staffers in 107 offices nationwide, or three and a half times as many as the Republican National Committee. They may be the most important unelected political figures in American history.”

Read more at the Daily Kos

Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide

By Adam Liptak in The New York Times

 The White House was illuminated in honor of same-sex marriage.
The White House was illuminated in honor of same-sex marriage.

WASHINGTON — In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

Marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance — or at least stalling — in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

The court’s four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Each member of the court’s conservative wing filed a separate dissent, in tones ranging from resigned dismay to bitter scorn.

Read more at The New York Times

The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting

by Ari Berman

The Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In the past four years, under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court has made it far easier to buy an election and far harder to vote in one.

First came the Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which brought us the Super PAC era.

Then came the Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act.

Now we have McCutcheon v. FEC, where the Court, in yet another controversial 5-4 opinion written by Roberts, struck down the limits on how much an individual can contribute to candidates, parties and political action committees. So instead of an individual donor being allowed to give $117,000 to campaigns, parties and PACs in an election cycle (the aggregate limit in 2012), they can now give up to $3.5 million, Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports.

The Court’s conservative majority believes that the First Amendment gives wealthy donors and powerful corporations the carte blanche right to buy an election but that the Fifteenth Amendment does not give Americans the right to vote free of racial discrimination.

These are not unrelated issues—the same people, like the Koch brothers, who favor unlimited secret money in US elections are the ones funding the effort to make it harder for people to vote. The net effect is an attempt to concentrate the power of the top 1 percent in the political process and to drown out the voices and votes of everyone else.

Read more at The Nation

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