“Without a meaningful plan for court reform any presidential attempts to make needed change will simply be blocked by the courts.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rammed through eight of President Donald Trump’s lifetime judicial picks in just three days this week, accelerating the far-right court takeover that one commentator warned is “absolutely going to hamstring efforts to make the U.S. into a responsible, civilized country, for as long as we live.”
“Donald Trump is paying back his debts and then some to the anti-choice movement that got him elected.”
—Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America
The latest slew of confirmations, according to Bloomberg‘s Sahil Kapur, means that Trump and his Federalist Society allies have now hand-picked “about one in every five American federal judges,” or 170 judges total.
“Nearly all are in their 40s or 50s with lifetime appointments and positioned to shape American law for generations,” Kapur noted on Twitter. “It gets a tiny fraction of attention compared to other stuff he does but this is the Trump legacy that’ll echo for generations after he’s gone.”
This is absolutely going to hamstring efforts to make the US into a responsible, civilized country, for as long as we live. And all I’ve heard any liberal do is point to it and lament. Is there any remedy on the table, even theoretically? https://t.co/8DtDd9xYzb
— David Roberts (@drvox) December 5, 2019
The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed one lifetime judicial nominee Tuesday, five Wednesday, and two Thursday. The rapid confirmation of Trump nominees was made possible by McConnell’s decision earlier this year to invoke the so-called “nuclear option,” which slashed debate time on judicial nominees from 30 hours to just two.
“We’re appalled,” the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights tweeted Thursday in response to the latest confirmations.
“The GOP has hijacked our nation’s courts, and voters need to hear plans to fight back.”
Progressive advocacy groups and legal experts have warned that these right-wing judges will have the power to shape U.S. law on climate, reproductive rights, and other major areas for decades to come. At a rally in Kentucky last month, McConnell bragged that he and Trump are “changing the federal courts forever.”
In addition to being overwhelmingly young and far-right, a number of Trump’s judicial appointments have also received a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. One such judge, Federalist Society member Sarah Pitlyk, was condemned as particularly horrifying by rights groups following her confirmation Wednesday.
“Sarah Pitlyk’s confirmation to the district court in Missouri is a dream come true for the anti-choice movement and a profound danger to women and families in the state,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement. “Putting judges like Pitlyk on the bench who will spend their lifetime appointments working to roll back reproductive freedom is further proof that Donald Trump is paying back his debts and then some to the anti-choice movement that got him elected.”
In the face of the ongoing right-wing takeover of the federal judiciary, advocacy groups are pressuring 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to explain how they would work to reform the nation’s court system in order to enact progressive policy changes.
“Without a meaningful plan for court reform any presidential attempts to make needed change will simply by blocked by the courts,” said Emma Janger, co-director of the People’s Parity Project, a nationwide network of progressive attorneys and law students.
As Common Dreams reported in October, advocacy group Demand Justice launched a campaign urging Democratic presidential contenders to emphasize the importance of the federal courts and tell the public how they plan to break the right’s stranglehold on the judiciary.
“The GOP has hijacked our nation’s courts,” said Demand Justice, “and voters need to hear plans to fight back.”
Economists warn Trump policies will result in lost jobs and lower wages for American workers
The 20-year-old San Diego bakery Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe went out of business this month after an audit by US authorities found immigrants working there illegally.
In April, a small Nebraska town lost a potato processing plant, and the local revenue it generated, in the wake of an immigration raid on its facilities. A restaurant in New York appears to have suffered similar fate in August.
Farmers say they are planting less, turning to automation, eliminating some crops, leaving them to rot in the field or contemplating selling out of the business altogether -- all because they cannot find enough immigrant labor.
Trump supporter Steve Cortes loses it after Rick Wilson brings up war crimes prosecutions
The spokesperson for the "official" pro-Trump SuperPAC was admonished twice by an MSNBC anchor on Saturday night during a segment on impeachment that quickly went off the rails.
MSNBC anchor Joy Reid was anchoring a Saturday night special titled, "the impeachment trial of Donald Trump."
Her panel included Rick Wilson, the author of the bestselling 2018 book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever and Steve Cortes, the spokesperson for America First PAC.
Wilson explained why Republican senators refuse to stand up to Trump.
China reports 323 new cases of mysterious virus — as death toll rises to 54
The number of confirmed deaths from a viral outbreak in China has risen to 54, with authorities in hard-hit Hubei province on Sunday reporting 13 more fatalities and 323 new cases.
The latest numbers from Hubei, the epicentre of the contagion, would put the nationwide total of confirmed infections at 1,610, based on figures previously released by the central government.
President Xi Jinping warned Saturday that China faced a "grave situation" as authorities raced to contain a respiratory illness that has caused the widespread abandonment of Lunar New Year celebrations nationwide and overwhelmed health facilities in Hubei.