STILL MORE PROGRESS . . .
. . . if, that is, you think the Supreme Court has veered too far toward the rich and powerful. As in, for example, its 2000 decision that gave us the Bush years or its 2010 Citizens United decision that gave corporations and billionaires yet more political influence.
This Los Angeles Times analysis suggests that Justices Sotomayor and Kagen are making their voices heard:
By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
Reporting from Washington —
For most of the last two decades, Supreme Court conservatives led by Justice Antonin Scalia dominated the debates during oral arguments. They greeted advocates for liberal causes with sharp and sometimes caustic questions, putting them on the defensive from the opening minute.
But the tenor of the debate has changed in recent months, now that President Obama’s two appointees to the court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, have joined the fray and reenergized the liberal wing.
Gone are the mismatches where the Scalia wing overshadowed reserved and soft-spoken liberals like now-retired Justices David H. Souter and John Paul Stevens. Instead, the liberals often take the lead and press attorneys defending the states or corporations.
“They’re clearly on a roll,” said Washington attorney Lisa S. Blatt, who has argued regularly before the high court. “They are engaged and really active. It just feels like a different place.” . . .
Imagine if John McCain had won. He promised to move the Court further to the right: “I’ve said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I’ve said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts. I worked as hard as anybody to get them confirmed. I look you in the eye and tell you I’ve said a thousand times that I wanted Alito and Roberts. I have told anybody who will listen. I flat-out tell you I will have people as close to Roberts and Alito [as possible].”
And I guess I wasn’t going to tell you this, but I was at a Christmas party a couple of weeks ago, mostly with Democratic donors, many of whom I knew – or who at least looked familiar – and one friend, heading over to the dessert buffet, passed me off to a Princeton classmate of his, Sam something and his wife, Martha. He looked really familiar (Martha not so much), and we chatted for a while – at what fundraiser had I met them? isn’t it amazing how Washington shuts down over an inch or two of snow? – and later, when I reconnected my friend, he asked, “So what did you and Justice Alito discuss?”
In the category of “missed opportunities,” I would say this ranks right up there with the time I was offered 10,000 shares of Google at 50 cents and declined. Except that never happened, whereas my brain-dead conversation with Justice Alito (who is not a Democratic donor, by the way) really did.
I am an idiot.
Justices Sotomayor and Kagen are the extreme opposite of idiots. To me, the fast start they’ve gotten off to represents progress.
IT GETS BETTER
Not to beat a dead horse, but here is yet another “It Gets Better” video to share with your kids (in case they have any friends they think might be gay), this one from White House Staff.
Cool? Perhaps not. Warm? Yes, and – as at long last I recently found – they make all the difference in the world. Stop being an idiot and put them on. (The same company sells gloves that apparently work with the touch screen of your phone.)
Quote of the Day
In 1992, more was spent on legal fees in California [$16.3 billion] than on auto repairs, funerals, tanning salons, one-hour photo finishing, videotape rentals, detectives and armored car guards, bug exterminators, laundry, haircuts, day care, shoe repairs and septic tank cleaning combined.~Census Bureau survey, as reported in the LA Times
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