SCOTUS Postpones Oral Arguments Due To Coronavirus | Republicans Pushing For More Court Vacancies To Fill
March 16, 2020
SCOTUS ON PAUSE|
The Supreme Court has postponed its oral arguments scheduled for later this month due to the coronavirus pandemic — something SCOTUS hasn’t done in more than 100 years. The last time the Supreme Court postponed its oral arguments was in 1918 due to the Spanish flu epidemic. Among the cases justices were scheduled to hear this month were the disputes involving PRESIDENT TRUMP’S tax returns and financial records.
Yesterday was the NOTORIOUS RBG’S 87th birthday, and as Ariane de Vogue with CNN points out, a majority of Ginsburg’s colleagues at SCOTUS qualify as “older adults” at a higher risk of being vulnerable to the coronavirus. She also notes that scheduled speaking events for JUSTICES BREYER, THOMAS, and SOTOMAYOR have all been canceled, although JUSTICE KAVANAUGH traveled to Kentucky on Friday for the swearing in of a lower court judge.
QUIT WHILE YOU'RE AHEAD|
Running out of federal court vacancies to fill, SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL has been personally reaching out to veteran judges urging them to step aside and assuring that he would fill their seats with worthy successors. Carl Hulse with The New York Times reports, “It was not known how many judges were contacted or which of them Mr. McConnell had spoken to directly. One of his Republican colleagues said others had also initiated outreach in an effort to heighten awareness among judges nominated by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush that making the change now would be advantageous. The overt effort by Republicans to create vacancies reflects a realization that Mr. Trump could lose the presidency, or that Republicans could lose the Senate majority and deprive Mr. Trump of his partner on judicial confirmations even if he did gain a second term.”
WITH DEEPEST REGRET|
Dahlia Lithwick with Slate writes of JUDGE JAMES DANNENBERG’S resignation from the Supreme Court bar in which he sent a letter to CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS criticizing the chief justice’s leadership as SCOTUS has “become little more than a result-oriented extension of the right wing of the Republican Party, as vetted by the Federalist Society.” Dannenberg wrote, “I no longer have respect for you or your majority, and I have little hope for change. I can’t vote you out of office because you have life tenure, but I can withdraw whatever insignificant support my Bar membership might seem to provide.”
FAIR IS FAIR|
Daniel Epps and William Ortman argue in The Atlantic that creating a position of defender general to make criminal justice fairer in the U.S. They write, “The single most influential job in American criminal justice is one that most people have never heard of: the deputy solicitor general who oversees criminal prosecutions. This is the person in the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General primarily responsible for making the government’s arguments in criminal cases. Understanding that job, and that person’s role in shaping criminal law in this country, reveals a serious, hidden problem: no equal office exists for the country’s defendants. Over time, that imbalance has worked to undermine the Supreme Court’s acknowledged responsibility to provide ‘equal justice under law.'”