FTC’s Annual Supreme Court Recusal Report Is Out | Republicans Ready To Fill SCOTUS Vacancy, Past Precedent Be Damned
July 21, 2020
Fix the Court today released its annual report on Supreme Court recusals, providing explanations for all but one of the 145 times in which justices disqualified themselves from cases and petitions since October 7, 2019. FTC didn’t identify any instances in which justices were required to recuse themselves by law by failed to do so, which means the justices cleared a basic ethical hurdle.
DIFFERENCE IS IN THE DETAILS|
Jess Bravin with The Wall Street Journal reports on the Supreme Court’s decision to reject a request from the House of Representatives to expedite its litigation over PRESIDENT TRUMP’S financial records. Bravin notes, “The action underscored the court’s distinction between the House inquiry, which is intended to inform lawmakers’ oversight of banking, ethics and national security legislation, and a separate criminal investigation by New York state prosecutors that seeks many of the same records. On Friday, the court granted a joint request filed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Mr. Trump to expedite the follow-up proceedings over the state subpoena to the president’s accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP.”
A CONSTITUTIONAL MISREADING|
“The Constitution makes Congress the first branch among equals. But the past decade has witnessed a dangerous trend: a Supreme Court that expresses deep suspicion of Congress’s competence and motives. This distrust should be worrying for anyone who cares about the most democratic branch’s ability to serve as a check on presidential power and confront an ever-growing list of policy challenges.” In The Atlantic, Jonathan S. Gould and Olatunde C. A. Johnson review the dangerous trend of SCOTUS growing in its distrust for Congress, beginning with a look at how the high court handled this term’s case over the House acquiring the president’s financial documents. Gould and Johnson suggest that the Supreme Court’s “elevation of the president as more democratic than Congress misreads the constitutional design.” They write, “The president has never been popularly elected—the Electoral College prevents a strictly popular vote from deciding presidential elections. House members, by contrast, have been popularly elected since America’s founding, and Senators have been popularly elected for more than a century.”
CHANGE OF TUNE|
Ted Barrett and Manu Raju with CNN report Senate Republicans are signaling they’d be happy to confirm a Supreme Court nominee from PRESIDENT TRUMP, even if a vacancy occurred after the November election. Of course, this would essentially be a reversal from Republicans’ position when MERRICK GARLAND was nominated to the court by PRESIDENT OBAMA.
Ian Millhiser with Vox explains that if there’s a vacancy at SCOTUS the stakes would be enormous. If PRESIDENT TRUMP gets to put another conservative justice on the court, Millhiser suggests the uber-conservative court strip away health care access for millions of Americans, constitutional protections for the LGBTQ community, and regulatory power of the EPA.
“I hear a lot of Democrats worrying about what Trump will do to cling to power. I get it. Back in 2016, our chief concern was that he wouldn’t accept the outcome of an election we fully expected Hillary Clinton to win. And we should expect Trump to continue laying the groundwork for questioning the outcome of the election, as he did this past weekend during an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, in which he said, ‘I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election.’ But tactics from the Court won’t be overt. Roberts won’t be tweeting out wild conspiracy theories about vote by mail, but that doesn’t mean his views on the right way to sustain our democracy are any less dangerous. It will require vigilance, education and advocacy to ensure everyone knows their rights leading up to November.”The New York Times
“Early on Tuesday morning, while much of the country was still asleep, the federal government executed its first death-row prisoner in 17 years. We are among the lawyers who represented the prisoner who was killed, Daniel Lee. Make no mistake: The circumstances of Mr. Lee’s execution are a vivid illustration of the serious problems with the Trump administration’s reckless push to bring back the federal death penalty.”