Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Under President Trump, a no-win zone for citizens in the federal judiciary ... by gimleteye

If Trump nominates 11th Circuit Court Judge William Pryor to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court, he will be affirming the promise he made during the campaign: to pack the federal court system with right-wing activist judges.

In June 2016, Right Wing Watch reported, "... on “Breitbart News Daily,” Donald Trump lashed out at his conservative detractors who have continued to criticize him even after he all but clinched the GOP presidential nomination. ... “Even though I’m going to appoint great judges, you know, we could have as many as five judges, and she (Hillary Clinton) is going to appoint super radical liberals and I’m appointing, you know, you saw the 11 names I gave, and we’re going to have great judges, conservative, all picked by the Federalist Society,” he said. (All My Judges Will Be Picked By The Federalist Society, June 13, 2016, Right Wing Watch)

The Federalist Society gained traction during the terms of George W. Bush and his mastermind Karl "Blossom Turd" Rove. (The nickname was W's, who joked about Rove's uncanny ability to turn a flower into shit, like rebranding justices unaffiliated with the Federalist Society as "activists".)

A Trump federal judiciary dedicated to an extremist, right-wing agenda will smooth over any turmoil in the GOP on policies that turn upside-down other orthodoxies: limited government intrusion on private liberties, international trade, and the deficit. After less than a week in office, it is clear that the GOP Congress would let Trump wage radical experiments with the economy so long as right-wing appointees are nominated and approved to the federal bench. Adam Nagourney, New Yorker staff writer, asks, "For all the talk about Trump taking over/hijacking Republican Party-conservative movement, is it possible that actually the reverse is true?" There is another way of describing the phenomenon: that the GOP right-wing is willing to let Trump thrash his way through the free world, upsetting apple carts wherever he goes and even jeopardizing national security and the economy, so long as it gets the installation of an activist, right-wing judiciary. All that stands in the way: historic filibusters by Democrats in the US Senate.

On top line controversies, like a nationalistic opposition to free trade, Trump is sharply breaking with GOP orthodoxy. But in selecting Senator Jeff Sessions to be the Trump attorney general of the U.S., and Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma to be the next EPA administrator, and in promising federal judge appointments vetted by the Heritage Foundation and by the Federalist Society, Trump is delivering the red-state base in Congress -- states which delivered the White House by only 77,000 votes out of nearly 120 million cast in November -- the holy grail of large corporate donors like the Koch Brothers: a right-wing firewall in the federal judiciary that will be impregnable for the foreseeable future, long beyond Trump's tenure in the White House.

William Pryor is among the top candidates to be Trump's nominee to the highest court in the U.S. From the NY Times, today: "Judge Pryor is a protégé of Senator Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trump’s nominee for attorney general. When Mr. Sessions was Alabama’s attorney general, Mr. Pryor served as his deputy, succeeding him when he was elected to the Senate... “His record clearly indicates that he applies the law in an evenhanded fashion, putting his personal beliefs aside,” said John G. Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation. “He is a man of great integrity committed to fidelity, to the Constitution and the rule of law.” Representing Alabama, Mr. Pryor in 2003 filed a supporting brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold a Texas law that made gay sex a crime. (A Supreme Court Pick Is Promised. A Political Brawl Is Certain, Jan. 25, 2017, NY Times)

For a terrific report how Alabama jurisprudence evolved during the years that William Pryor rose to power and privilege on the court, the Locust Fork News Journal, Oct. 2012, published, here: "How Karl Rove Took Over the Alabama Supreme Court and Created a ‘No Win Zone’ for Citizens".

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