“In a 1993 New York Times article, a former law clerk of Clarence Thomas said he held a grudge against liberals.
The conservative Supreme Court Justice was resentful of the media coverage of his confirmation hearing.
“The liberals made my life miserable … and I’m going to make their lives miserable,” NYT reported he said.”
“The decision in NetChoice v. Paxton reinstates an unconstitutional Texas law that seizes control of the major social media platforms’ content moderation process, requiring them to either carry content that those platforms do not wish to publish or be so restrictive it would render the platforms unusable. This law is unconstitutional because the First Amendment prohibits the government from ordering private companies or individuals to publish speech that they do not wish to be associated with.”
“Although the court did not identify which of the three judges dissented, it’s not hard to guess how the votes broke down. The panel includes Judge Leslie Southwick, a relatively moderate conservative appointed by President George W. Bush, as well as two notoriously right-wing judges.
Judge Edith Jones is a former general counsel to the Republican Party of Texas who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan when she was just 35 years old. Since then, she’s developed a reputation as an especially caustic conservative — Jones once told a liberal colleague to “shut up” during a court hearing, and she joined an opinion arguing that a man should be executed despite the fact that his lawyer slept through much of his trial.
The third judge, Andy Oldham, is a young Trump appointee who clerked for Justice Samuel Alito. Among other things, Oldham is the author of a Fifth Circuit opinion permitting a Trump-appointed district judge to seize control of much of the nation’s policy governing the US-Mexico border.
It is likely, but not entirely certain, that Jones and Oldham are right-wing outliers even when compared to the median justice on the Supreme Court. In 2021, Justice Clarence Thomas published an opinion expressing sympathy for the “common carrier” theory Texas relies on in NetChoice. But that opinion was joined by no other justice.
In any event, given the enormous disruption the Fifth Circuit’s NetChoice decision is likely to create for social media companies, it is likely that they will ask the Supreme Court to intervene very soon. We should know in very short order, in other words, whether the Supreme Court intends to write social media out of the First Amendment.”
“”who makes our public health policy. The judiciary – a 35-year-old unelected judge – or the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services?””
“Breyer prizes compromise, and as the court has become more ideologically polarized, he’s tried to find points of common ground with the conservative justices, even on relatively high-profile issues, like religious liberty. That pragmatic streak was on display in 2005, when he served as the pivotal vote in two separate cases about public displays of the Ten Commandments. In one of the cases, he voted with the conservatives to uphold the display; in the other, he voted with the liberals to strike it down. Over the years, he joined the conservatives in a variety of other important religion cases, including a dispute over a 40-foot cross that was displayed on public property in Maryland and a fight over whether Missouri could exclude a church from a public grant program for playground resurfacing.
In those cases, he often stressed the need to avoid religious disagreements — which sometimes led to outcomes that upset liberals. In the 2005 case where he voted to uphold a Ten Commandments display in Texas, for instance, he wrote that although it was a “borderline case,” ruling that it was unconstitutional could lead to the removal of similar displays around the country and “thereby create the very kind of religiously based divisiveness that the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid.”
And his breaks with his liberal colleagues haven’t been on religion alone. According to a recent analysis by political scientists Lee Epstein, Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, Breyer cast the lowest percentage of liberal votes of any of the three Democratic appointees who served with him. Epstein, Martin and Quinn found that most of those disagreements were in the area of criminal procedure, particularly in cases related to search and seizure.
Of course, Breyer has been an outspoken liberal voice on other issues, including reproductive rights and the death penalty.”
“Breyer plainly became concerned about the court’s reputation, particularly after Ginsburg died and was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, which gave the conservative majority even more power. He’s spent the years since then trying to convince Americans that the court was fundamentally a nonideological institution, even publishing a short book where he argued that the court — despite its clear conservative tilt — was not a political institution.
That commitment to preserving the judiciary’s nonpartisan image — and staying mostly in line with public opinion — put Breyer increasingly out of step with the court’s trajectory. This year’s term isn’t over yet, but at least some of the Supreme Court conservatives seem ready to veer sharply outside the mainstream on abortion, gun rights and other high-profile issues. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, meanwhile, shows no desire to make nice with the conservatives — in a recent dissent, she called the court’s decision to leave a highly restrictive Texas abortion law in place a “disaster” and a “grave disservice to women in Texas.”
In a 2020 interview, Breyer told reporter Dahlia Lithwick, “The best is the enemy of the good. … But if you have a choice between achieving 20 or 30 percent of what you’d like or being the hero of all your friends, choose the first.” That attitude seems unlikely to be especially popular at the Supreme Court going forward — among liberals or conservatives.”
“No one has ever elected Matthew Kacsmaryk to anything.
Kacsmaryk, whom former President Donald Trump appointed to the federal bench in 2019, was previously a lawyer for a Christian right law firm. He once claimed being transgender is a “mental disorder” and that gay people are “disordered.” He’s also one of the most powerful immigration officials in the country, having successfully wrested control of much of America’s border policy away from the man Americans elected president in 2020.
With the Supreme Court’s blessing, Kacsmaryk ordered President Joe Biden’s administration to reinstate Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires many asylum seekers who arrive at the United States’ southern border to stay in Mexico while they await a hearing.
Even if you ignore the moral implications of reinstating such a policy, there are good reasons to doubt that the policy is a good use of America’s limited border security resources. And Kacsmaryk’s decision is also unlawful for numerous reasons.
One of the most important reasons is that it upends the balance of power between the president and unelected judges. Reinstating the Remain in Mexico program requires the Mexican government’s cooperation — which means that Kacsmaryk ordered the United States to change its diplomatic stance toward Mexico. And that’s despite decades of warnings from the Supreme Court that judges should be “particularly wary of impinging on the discretion of the Legislative and Executive Branches in managing foreign affairs.”
Kacsmaryk’s decision, and the Supreme Court’s decision to stand with Kacsmaryk against President Joe Biden, is one of the most dramatic examples of the Republican-controlled federal judiciary’s many conflicts with America’s Democratic president. But it’s hardly an isolated incident.
In just four years as president, Trump remade the federal judiciary — all with a big assist from a Senate Republican leader willing to break any norm in order to ensure GOP control of the courts. Trump appointed a third of the Supreme Court and nearly a third of all active appeals court judges. He also peppered federal trial courts with conservative activists like Kacsmaryk, who are eager to overturn some of the most fundamental assumptions of US law.
Nearly one year into Biden’s time in office, the result hasn’t exactly been a bloodbath for his policies — in contrast to the seemingly never-ending array of lawsuits seeking to repeal Obamacare, no federal judge has yet tried to repeal Biden’s major legislative accomplishments such as the American Rescue Plan or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. But in two areas in particular, immigration and public health, the courts have been unusually aggressive.”
“if the Supreme Court wanted lower-court judges to stop ignoring precedents that permit President Biden to govern, it could intervene to stop them from doing so. Instead, it has rewarded many of the most aggressive conservative innovators within the judiciary.”
“South Dakota voters made history last November by simultaneously approving ballot initiatives aimed at legalizing recreational and medical use of marijuana. The success of the broader initiative, Amendment A, was especially striking because it prevailed by an eight-point margin in a state that is mostly Republican and largely conservative. But thanks to a legal challenge backed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, Amendment A was almost immediately tied up in litigation, and last Wednesday the South Dakota Supreme Court definitively overturned it, ruling that the measure violated the “single subject” rule for constitutional amendments.”
“State legislators proved more willing to set aside their personal views on marijuana in deference to the policy preferred by voters. “In my mind, [legalization is] inevitable because we’ve already seen the support from the public,” Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack said after Klinger’s decision. “I didn’t vote for recreational marijuana, but my constituents did,” added Greg Jamison, another Republican senator. “Rarely do we get a chance to enact a law and not for sure know what our constituents think of that. Here we know.”
In response to such comments from members of her own party, Noem threatened to veto any legalization bill the legislature might decide to pass. Noem later suggested she might be open to decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession. Possessing two ounces or less is currently a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.”
“In a market society, economists Milton and Rose Friedman wrote in 1979, “the consumer is protected from being exploited by one seller by the existence of another seller from whom he can buy and who is eager to sell to him.” In theory, if one company adopts “woke” branding that offends its customers, then the market will deliver those customers into the waiting arms of a competitor.
Yet, rather than waiting for the hand of the market to deliver an invisible spanking to “woke” corporations, speaker after speaker at the Federalist Society’s convention called for a central planner to intervene. ”