Christine Blasey Ford’s now-public allegations that she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have had a striking and immediate political impact, with the Senate Judiciary Committee delaying its vote on Kavanaugh. Ford’s serious charges present a very close analogy with the allegations made by Anita Hill against her former employer Clarence Thomas during the latter’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991. In the era of #MeToo, a great deal has changed since then. But a great deal hasn’t, and it seems likely that the result will be the same as 1991 – that is, the confirmation of Kavanaugh after a desultory and incomplete investigation.
If Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will play a decisive role in whether the new Supreme Court will dramatically overrule the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, ending the abortion rights granted to U.S. women in 1973. But the real question is not about Roe or the Republican agenda – it’s about whether the court will allow states to effectively ban abortion.
The Supreme Court’s headline-grabbing ruling to uphold President Trump’s travel ban on citizens of several Muslim-majority countries in the face of overwhelming evidence that it was motivated by religious prejudice has overshadowed another Supreme Court decision that also deserves attention – especially now that Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring from the bench.
Doug Jones' remarkable victory in the Alabama Senate special election on Dec. 12 is the strongest sign yet that Republicans will lose seats in Congress in 2018 because of their unpopular president and extremely unpopular agenda. And yet a close reading of the Alabama result also highlights just how American democracy can thwart the will of the majority rather than serve it.
Roy Moore’s party has been punished for his refusal to do the right thing. While some Republican leaders wanted him to drop out of the Alabama Senate race after nine women accused him of sexual misconduct against them when they were teenagers, Moore refused – and went on to lose to Democrat Doug Jones in a special election Tuesday. That means Democrats who fretted that Al Franken shouldn’t have been pushed out of the Senate over the sexual misconduct allegations against him were wrong.
Richard Cordray, who has been the head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) since 2012, announced Wednesday that he will be resigning before the end of his five-year term. His interim replacement will be self-described "right-wing nutjob" Mick Mulvaney.
In early December, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case, in which a conservative Christian bakery owner seeks the right to discriminate against gay couples, is the latest attempt by conservatives to carve out special exemption for business owners to civil rights laws.
Donald Trump last week signed an executive order and took further administrative action that will weaken the healthcare coverage of millions of Americans. The president is required by Article Two of the Constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” So are his efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional?
With John McCain’s dramatic “no” vote, the Health Care Freedom Act (HFCA) died early last Friday morning and with it any hope of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the foreseeable future. While conservatives might prefer to blame incompetent vote-whipping in the Senate, the ACA could prove resilient for the same reason Medicare and Social Security have: most voters prefer not to wonder if they will be able to eat when hungry or see a doctor when sick. Any program that gives more economic security to a broad, politically powerful group will be dangerous to meddle with, even in these polarized times.
Whatever else can be said about the Republican Senate health care bill, it cannot be accused of pandering. The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) - which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) hopes to bring to a vote next week - is astonishingly unpopular, often getting less than 20 percent support in polls.