FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2020
Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on the Passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Tonight our nation mourns an American hero, a giant of legal doctrine, and a relentless voice in the pursuit of that highest American ideal: Equal Justice Under Law.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us. She fought for all of us. As a young attorney, she persisted through every challenge that an unequal system placed in her way to change the laws of our land and lead the legal charge to advance equal rights for women. It was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearings, and to strongly support her accession to the Supreme Court. In the decades since, she was consistently and reliably the voice that pierced to the heart of every issue, protected the constitutional rights of every American, and never failed in the fierce and unflinching defense of liberty and freedom. Her opinions, and her dissents, will continue to shape the basis of our law for future generations. May her memory be a blessing to all people who cherish our Constitution and its promise.
Tonight, and in the coming days, we should be focused on the loss of Justice Ginsburg and her enduring legacy. But just so there is no doubt, let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg. This was the position that the Republican Senate took in 2016, when there were nearly nine months before the election. That is the position the United States Senate must take now, when the election is less than two months away. We are talking about the Constitution and the Supreme Court. That institution should not be subject to politics.
Fight! (September 18, 2020)
A fight it is, then (September 18, 2020)
Sen. Roy Blunt (r) has already weighed in (September 19, 2020)
Today, from Josh Hawley (r), in yet anther attempt to set up his next rung on the ladder for 2024:
Josh Hawley @HawleyMO
Before I vote for any future Supreme Court nominee I want to see record evidence that they acknowledge Roe v Wade was wrongly decided as a matter of law
3:49 PM · Jul 26, 2020
Some of the responses:
When you have a uterus, I will give your opinion careful consideration.
Stop trying to control women!! My body is none of your business!
That should not be how we pick judges. Any judge willing to so brazenly prejudice themself in front of the Senate doesnt deserve a seat on the bench even if I agree with their opinion.
so you want to make sure these hypothetical justices are committed to killing women
As if I needed another reason to actively work against you next election.
How about we move the country forward, not backward?
We will not “win” if we overturn Roe v Wade, and we won’t “lose” because we haven’t. Get over it, Senator, it’s time to stop treating us as a one-issue party. We don’t want litmus tests from the left, and we shouldn’t demand them on our side.
Someone is running for President.
Obvious by his disregard for his constituents and constant political stunts.
How much time and energy do you spend fighting for human life after they are born?
Not so much in Missouri.
God damn it, dude. We’re trying to run a nation here, not a bible school for backwards ass white men. Drop the misogyny.
First of all, NO. Secondly, how is this helpful right now. More authoritarianism from the patriarchy is not what we need to unite this country.
Politicians don’t belong in medicine. You take your religiosity and your judgment to church with you. Let us take care of medical decisions.
Whatever, Commander Waterford.
Can’t wait until Hawley is blocking all noms because the only people who fit his criteria are in jail for blowing up abortion clinics.
YASS! We need the Senate to just dictate to the SCOTUS how to rule on all controversial cases, because we all know how much more qualified politicians are to deliver fair justice.
And Republicans wonder why they’re losing suburban women in droves.
These culture wars are waged so elites like Hawley can pick our pockets for his big money donors. And yet people fall for this con again and again.
And as a supposed pro lifer, do you also want to see if they are cool with keeping brown kids in cages or allowing secret fed police to brutalize moms and vets, and if they hate health care?
Resign in shame, you terrible embarrassment to my state
You fill me with enthusiasm! For voting for your opponent! Can’t wait.
Please explain to us why you were afraid of witnesses during impeachment.
Too much truth about the president you worship?
This is just a tactic to get his base fired up. Distraction.
Fuck You, Josh Hawley.
What else do you do aside from being a shitbag of a human?
You will be replaced.
If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
Whatever. You’ll be in the minority soon.
Spouting the same old tired shit
In just a few months you will belong to the minority party, at which point you will cease to matter. In 2024 you will be voted out and we will never hear from you again. I look forward to all of this.
Along U.S. 50 Highway in west central Missouri:
In 1943, in a time of war, no less:
….To sustain the compulsory flag salute we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual’s right to speak his own mind, left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind.
Whether the First Amendment to the Constitution will permit officials to order observance of ritual of this nature does not depend upon whether as a voluntary exercise we would think it to be good, bad or merely innocuous. Any credo of nationalism is likely to include what some disapprove or to omit what others think essential, and to give off different overtones as it takes on different accents or interpretations. If official power exists to coerce acceptance of any patriotic creed, what it shall contain cannot be decided by courts, but must be largely discretionary with the ordaining authority, whose power to prescribe would no doubt include power to amend. Hence validity of the asserted power to force an American citizen publicly to profess any statement of belief or to engage in any ceremony of assent to one presents questions of power that must be considered independently of any idea we may have as to the utility of the ceremony in question….
….Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. [319 U.S. 624, 641] As governmental pressure toward unity becomes greater, so strife becomes more bitter as to whose unity it shall be. Probably no deeper division of our people could proceed from any provocation than from finding it necessary to choose what doctrine and whose program public educational officials shall compel youth to unite in embracing. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.
It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.
The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own. Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism [319 U.S. 624, 642] and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us….
On “patriotic” pearl clutching (August 28, 2016)
“…Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard…” (September 24, 2017)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): jump on that publicity stunt bandwagon (October 8, 2017)
Gov. Eric Greitens (r): high or petty (October 11, 2017)
In the Missouri Constitution, Bill of Rights:
Section 6. That no person can be compelled to erect, support or attend any place or system of worship, or to maintain or support any priest, minister, preacher or teacher of any sect, church, creed or denomination of religion; but if any person shall voluntarily make a contract for any such object, he shall be held to the performance of the same.
Source: Const. of 1875, Art. II, § 6.
In the Missouri Constitution, Article, IX, Education:
Section 8. Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any religious creed, church or sectarian purpose, or to help to support or sustain any private or public school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other institution of learning controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of personal property or real estate ever be made by the state, or any county, city, town, or other municipal corporation, for any religious creed, church, or sectarian purpose whatever.
Source: Const. of 1875, Art. XI, § 11.
There’s now a case, taking issue with Missouri’s establishment clauses, before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Today from Representative Vicky Hartzler (r), via Twitter:
Rep. Vicky Hartzler @RepHartzler
A playground open to the community shouldn’t be denied grants for safety features because it’s owned by a church #FairPlay #TrinityLutheran
10:11 AM – 19 Apr 2017
Does church pay taxes?
Yea it should that tax free church can afford it.
What if it was the Church of Satan you hypocrite???
Yes it should when our Governor is making big cuts in funding for the disabled and elderly, education and not expanding Medicaid
“Over two-thirds of the applicants were rejected.” Open to the community? No. I don’t know why you support this. Sorry to be so suspicious.
But I’m suspecting that this will have consequences that reach much farther than a playground. Why are you supporting this?
Planned Parenthood is open to the public but you want to deny them government money.
I also wonder if the Christian lobby would sing the same tune today if it were a mosque claiming unequal treatment. Thoughts?
why are you wanting to change the Constitution which requires separation of church and state. it’s worked for 200 years
your tweets do not change the Constitution which requires separation of church and state. it’s work for over 200 years
There’s few things that irk me more than…. using children as political props. Very disgusting.
Why is it open to the community? I assume you mean the whole community, not just the church. If my backyard is open to the whole
neighborhood, do I get government funding? How about if I get religious status? Then do I get government funding? Can of worms, here.
This is just baffling to me. All public services should be secular. I honestly don’t get how religious hospitals are a thing.
Something else is going on here. Maybe she&Blunt are expressing support forGorsuch &whatever decision he makes.But it sure ain’t “the kids”.
Kids shouldn’t have to play on Christian, or Jewish or Muslim playgrounds. They should just be playgrounds.
Separation of church and state is there for a reason. If a religious pre school wants tax paid subsidies then the tax exempt status MUST GO.
Wrong! Unless you give those same grants to Muslims, Satanists, Pagans, etc…
Don’t forget the Pastafarians!
Um, actually it should.
If it’s owned by a church then it shouldn’t get tax dollars. Unless it is open to government oversight and regulation
In Alabama they’re granting churches rights to form their own police forces. Don’t be fooled, she’s using children as a tool for agenda.
That scares the shit out of me. Wish we could just split the country in 2 & let the Christians take over the South & leave us the hell alone
Our fate is that of the south. And they’re being victimized & abused by power hungry extremists using religion as a weapon. The @GOP must go
Well, that’s the beauty of the separation of church and state. Would you be crying this loud for Muslims? Nah, I didn’t think so. Hypocrite
Maybe you should be more worried about the impending GVT shutdown in 10 days….. Just sayin’.
#MO4 #DoYourJob #FairPlay
SEPERATE CHURCH AND STATE ALREADY AND FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION YOU CLAIM TO RESPECT.
That one laid an egg. But Neil Gorsuch, occupying a stolen seat on the court, will probably help change it all.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) will be supporting the filibuster and voting “no” on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senator McCaskill’s (D) statement:
This is a really difficult decision for me. I am not comfortable with either choice. While I have come to the conclusion that I can’t support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court — and will vote no on the procedural vote and his confirmation — I remain very worried about our polarized politics and what the future will bring, since I’m certain we will have a Senate rule change that will usher in more extreme judges in the future.
I cannot support Judge Gorsuch because a study of his opinions reveal a rigid ideology that always puts the little guy under the boot of corporations. He is evasive, but his body of work isn’t. Whether it is a freezing truck driver or an autistic child, he has shown a stunning lack of humanity. And he has been an activist — for example, writing a dissent on a case that had been settled, in what appears to be an attempt to audition for his current nomination.
Then there is Citizens United, the single most corrupting force in the history of politics in this nation. I cannot and will not support a nominee that allows dark and dirty anonymous money to continue to flood unchecked into our elections.
I reject this nomination because Judge Gorsuch would continue an activist position that states that corporations have the same rights as people. The men who wrote our Constitution would reject that nonsense, since they were highly suspect of corporations as the tools of royalty. Corporations don’t cry or laugh or marry or worry about sending their kids to college. Judge Gorsuch’s allegiance to corporations disqualifies him from the highest court in the land.
And finally, this judge does not reflect the promises that Donald Trump made to Missourians. The candidate Donald Trump farmed out this important decision to a right-wing group that fronts for large corporations and special interests. Donald Trump promised Missourians that he would look out for the little guy, for working people, for the forgotten. He promised he would drain the swamp of the special interests, the lobbyists, and politicians who have overlooked the working people in this country. This judicial nomination breaks those promises.
The President who promised working people he would lift them up has nominated a judge who can’t even see them.
You’ve just got to love the comments on social media from right wingnuts asserting that Claire McCaskill has lost their vote because of this. As if they ever have or would vote for her.
Besides, the republicans in the U.S. Senate have already established the precedent that a president shouldn’t nominate an individual to a vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court during the last year of their term in office.
Missouri’s biggest problem is that her Republican politicians burn red hot while the Democrats run lukewarm at best. That contrast is on full display as the zero hour for Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed approaches and our Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has to make up her mind about whether or not she is willing to reward Republicans for stealing a Supreme Court seat from a first-rate centrist and giving it to a die-hard radical ideologue with an instinct for affable obfuscation.
And make no mistake, Gorsuch is a rightwing advocate in originalist clothing. Analysis of his votes on the 10th circuit indicate that he “is to the right of both Alito and Thomas, and by a substantial margin.” His tenure will be a disaster for working people, the middle class, women and those interested in separation of church and state.
But his views, although important, are not the main issue. The other Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland is. As Gary Legum asserts in an article in Salon, the Republicans’ exercise of raw power to deny Judge Garland a seat on the court and what it presages for democratic government is the challenge that Democrats are facing:
This is not about grabbing back a “stolen” Supreme Court seat. This is about a principle of republican government that the GOP has smashed. Had the party considered Garland’s nomination and then shot him down in a fair and open vote, Democrats would have no argument here. But the unprecedented obstructionism of the Republican Party makes Gorsuch’s confirmation a proxy in a larger fight that is about the nature of political power, not ideology. And the language of power is the only one the modern Republican Party seems to understand.
Sadly, it doesn’t look like Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is up to dealing with folks who speak that language. As I write this, she’s coyly flirting with both conservatives and progressives. According to Politico , the lady won’t commit. There are rumors that some centrist Democrats are trying to broker a deal that would let them confirm Gorsuch in return for a few scraps from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Whether or not McCaskill is part of that group – who knows? When it comes to Gorsuch, maybe she will or maybe she won’t, she’s not saying.
McCaskill has, of course, been subjected to enormous pressure to give Donald Trump a victory, and she’s not blind to the fact that Missouri went overwhelmingly for Trump – a fact that Missouri’s GOP waves around like a cudgel. As State Rep. Paul Curtman, one-time* Tea Partier extraordinaire, proclaimed, “Sen. McCaskill can show Missourians she understands the message Missouri voters sent last November by voting to confirm Judge Gorsuch.”
Maybe. Though McCaskill might do better to consider those of us who rejected that message. As well as the fact that we may be joined by more than a few disillusioned Trump voters. Along with some of those who sat out the election to protest the picture of Hillary Clinton painted by Russian provocateurs. Lots of those folks realized what they’d done on Nov. 9. Buyers remorse is a real thing.
One thing’s for sure. No one who voted for Paul Curtman will ever vote for Claire McCaskill. And if she votes to send Gorsuch along his merry, aw-shucks way to the Supreme Court, lots of folks who voted for Hillary Clinton might be of a similar mind.
The real shame, though, is that I’m obliged to cast this issue in terms of realpolitik when it’s the moral dimension that is compelling. Missouri blogger Duane Graham makes the case for what this nomination means for those of us who depend on McCaskill to stand up for our values:
In any case, what we need now is a fierce stubbornness in this fight. But we also need a fierce patience to compliment that stubbornness. John Dryden said, “Beware the fury of a patient man.” Kierkegaard said, “Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” Today we filibuster an injustice. Tomorrow the filibuster may be gone. And some fine day in the future we will decide, with a simple majority, who sits on the Court.
Or, maybe, just maybe, Mitch McConnell will not want what’s left of his reputation to die on a hill with Tr-mp’s tattered and tainted flag planted on it. Maybe he will keep the filibuster, Gorsuch will go back to the Tenth Circuit, and we will have a more moderate, less Scalia-like nominee. We will never know, though, unless Democrats stand up and fight like hell. …
Why doesn’t McCaskill understand that lukewarm won’t do it this time?
*I say “one-time Tea-Partier” because I’m not sure the Tea Party is a thing anymore. Doesn’t tbe fringe of the fringe now label themselves differently? A little embarrassed because of past excesses perhaps?
Uh, Merrick Garland?
Today on Senator Claire McCaskill’s (D) Facebook page:
Last April, Claire met with President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland, after strongly urging her Republican colleagues to do their job and consider the President’s nominee. Today, in that same spirit, she met with President Donald J. Trump’s nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.
As a former Jackson County prosecutor, Claire sat down with Judge Gorsuch to hear from him on his record and views. “I was glad for the opportunity to sit down with Judge Gorsuch,” said Claire. “I’m looking forward to seeing his confirmation hearing.”
In case you haven’t noticed yet, Claire, they’ve already lit their torches.
A message for Claire McCaskill (February 1, 2017)
How about a primary challenge? Jason Kander v. Claire McCaskill? (February 6, 2017)
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that Claire McCaskill is being cagey about how she’ll vote when The Orange Simpleton’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, comes up for a vote. The article notes that she’s in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. The state went for Trump in a big way, but she still needs the Democratic base support she’ll likely lose if she breaks ranks with her party, rolls over and gives Gorsuch the thumbs up.
This analysis is probably true. Nevertheless, the decision ought to be a no-brainer for McCaskill. Does she think she’s going to get any of that Trump vote? Ever? Or that moderates are really impressed by wish-washy, to hell with my principles and my party voting?
And speaking of that base and what they might to do if McCaskill stands with the GOP and hands the Supreme Court over to the corporations and Christian fascists, maybe it’s time for a real primary challenge? Somewhere along the line fainthearted Democrats have to learn that there’s a price to pay for playing the odds. I know I’m tired of a congressperson who doles out her votes in a one-for-them, one-for-you kind of way.
I am aware that talk about primary challenges has in the past seemed like crazy talk. Who could we even put up against Claire McCaskill? The Democratic bench in Missouri isn’t exactly rich in strong, charismatic progressives. But right now there is one proven political player in Missouri who’s currently out of a job: Jason Kander.
— Would Kander run against such an established Missouri leader? Who knows. I certainly don’t know enough about the how political incentives work behind the scenes here in Missouri to even hazard a guess, nor do I know anything about Kander’s proclivities. I do recollect, however, that McCaskill herself primaried Bob Holden back in 2004. And won. And then lost.
It’s worth noting in this context that Kander is definitely making sounds that indicate he doesn’t plan to fade into the woodwork. He’s sending out regular emails to Democrats that suggest he’d like to lead the Missouri resistance to the GOP Trumpathalon. He’s hit upon important themes such as voter ID that resonate with progressives in his public appearances subsequent to the election.
—Could Kander win a primary and in the general election? Again – who knows. But I bet he’d put up a notable fight. He’s shown that he’s a smart, very able campaigner and has good ideas about how Democrats can win. Despite the 2016 Missouri Trump juggernaut, he came within three points of unseating a very well-established sitting senator, earning 228,000 more votes in Missouri than Hillary Clinton. He’s recently been lauded as a “celebrity in national Democratic politics.”
As for the general election, there’s also the chance that as Trump’s incompetence becomes more manifest and as folks realize what the real Republican agenda has been all along, there may be a backlash against knee jerk Republicanism that will be potent even against gun love, religious authoritarianism and bigotry. I concede that this may be wishful thinking, but if it pans out, even just a little, add that to Kander’s native appeal and you might have a big winner.
— But, but Kander’s not a progressive. Wouldn’t we be trading one “centrist” Democrat for another? Maybe. But this is Missouri after all. During the campaign, Kander expressed views that are weak in some of the same areas where McCaskill lets us down – he claims to support a balanced budget amendment, for God’s sake – and he showed a tendency to pander when it came to minor memes flogged in the right-wing press. The proof, however, will be in the pudding and we might as well get ourselves a new pudding – especially when the act of getting it sends a message to saggy puddings everywhere.
— Would voting for Gorsuch be enough to totally zero out McCaskill, or should we give her another chance? Maybe. But I know that I’ve been giving her one more chance again and again. Sometimes she comes through, but on the biggest issues she’s often not where we need her to be. The bill has to come due sooner or later.
As for the Gorsuch vote specifically, the thing to remember is that this issue is bigger than just this individual and does not even take into account Gorsuch’s extreme, non-mainstream judicial views, unsavory racist associations, as well as possibly exaggerated resume claims. All this aside, no self-respecting Democrat should even consider rewarding Republicans for defying their constitutional obligations and shutting out President Obama’s nominee, the well-qualified moderate Judge Merrick Garland. Ever.
Republicans broke the process, and we can’t pretend like it’s old times again. Now is the time to say no, say it loud and proud, and if McCaskill isn’t up to saying a forceful no, then maybe that’s what we have to say to her come 2018. Maybe Jason Kander could be the way we say it. Maybe not.