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Ash writes: "The Federalist Society has picked another Supreme Court Nominee. Doing the bidding for the secretive judicial activist group this time is Donald Trump."

Senator Bernie Sanders was one of many progressive leaders who addressed an energized crowd of demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court moments after Donald Trump named Judge Bret M. Kavanaugh to be an Associate Supreme Court Justice. (photo: MSNBC)
Senator Bernie Sanders was one of many progressive leaders who addressed an energized crowd of demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court moments after Donald Trump named Judge Bret M. Kavanaugh to be an Associate Supreme Court Justice. (photo: MSNBC)

God Hates a Coward, Mr. Schumer

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

10 July 18


he Federalist Society has picked another Supreme Court Nominee. Doing the bidding for the secretive judicial activist group this time is Donald Trump. Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was on a shortlist of potential nominees carefully vetted by the Federalist Society, as were Roberts, Alito, and Gorsuch. The court’s acronym should be changed from SCOTUS to FSASCOTUS, as in Federalist Society Approved Supreme Court Of The United States.

There is every reason to fear the result. It is bad for justice, bad for the law, and bad for the country. Pushing back against the Federalist Society’s meddling is complicated by the fact that the country’s majority, a majority that does not share the views of Federalist Society-approved judges, is represented in the nation’s Capitol by the minority.

It’s a deeply troubling state of affairs on a number of levels. One thing, however, is painfully clear – the Democrats are doing a better job of resisting their base than they are of resisting the fascist cabal in Washington that’s terrorizing the U.S. and its historic allies.

We have arrived at a clearly defined crossroads for American society and for the Democratic Party. Democratic voters and independents, who may or may not vote Democratic, overwhelmingly oppose Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice. The American people and the urgency of the moment demand a strong stand against this appointment.

The Democrats want majorities. Their main argument at this point is “We can’t do anything because we aren’t in the majority … Vote for us, then we can do something.” But there’s a great deal the Democrats can do right now. If nothing else, they can unite in their opposition to Kavanaugh. But they could also depart en masse, refusing to cooperate in a rigged process and perhaps even denying a quorum. All of which might not “work,” but it would be greatly admired and appreciated.

The Democrats, who were for decades the predominant majority party in both the House and Senate, became the minority party in both houses because they stopped standing up and fighting for things. The Democratic Party doesn’t fight anymore. They matriculate, they negotiate, they complain, but they don’t fight. When you don’t fight, you give the impression that you don’t care.

Edward M. Kennedy was a liberal icon, Robert Byrd a former Klansman, but one thing they had in common was that they would never allow their party or their constituents to be pushed around. They would fight behind closed doors, on the Senate floor, at the microphones, back home in the district – they would fight.

Chuck Schumer doesn’t like fights. He sees them as messy and unproductive. But fights schedule themselves conveniently when the moment arrives, and those who rise to the occasion rise or fall.

There are at least two important questions that must be addressed before Kavanaugh can be confirmed.

First, was there a quid pro quo between Kennedy and Trump? Did Trump agree to nominate Kavanaugh in return for Kennedy’s assurance that he would step down with adequate time remaining for a confirmation before a new Senate is sworn in?

Second, Kavanaugh has been nominated by a president embroiled in an advanced-stage criminal investigation. Will Kavanaugh hear cases relating to the criminal investigation of the man who appointed him, or will he recuse himself?

Like it or not, this is your moment, Mr. Schumer, this is your legacy. The will of the voters you are trying to energize for November is clear: Fight!

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+54 # Carol R 2018-07-10 09:40
This is why the Orange One picked Kavanaugh. “A president shouldn’t be burdened by investigations or indictments because it would cripple the federal government.”
Vocal Supporter Of Expansive Presidential Power…HuffPost

Kavanaugh has emerged as an outspoken champion of unitary executive theory: the justification of what is effectively unchecked presidential power over the executive branch.

Kavanaugh has argued that a president shouldn’t be burdened by lawsuits, investigations and indictments, a position that may be of great interest to the White House as special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“Whether the Constitution allows indictment of a sitting President is debatable,” Kavanaugh wrote in a 1998 article that argued that impeachment, not criminal prosecution, is the appropriate mechanism to hold a president accountable for criminal acts. About a decade later, Kavanaugh wrote in a Minnesota Law Review article that he believed a president “should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office.” He also argued that an indictment of a president would “cripple the federal government,” rendering it “unable to function with credibility” domestically and internationally . Such an outcome, Kavanaugh said, “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.”
+17 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-07-10 16:59
“A president shouldn’t be burdened by investigations or indictments because it would cripple the federal government.”

I wonder if Kavanaugh stood up & said the same thing when Bill Clinton was indicted. I just wonder, of course....
+37 # JCM 2018-07-10 10:05
For the 2018 and 2020 elections we must unite together to unseat the rump and his republicans. This is the only way to stop the destruction of everything progressive we have fought for. We must take the Senate back, otherwise the rump might get to pick another supreme court nominee. That would endanger our future for generations. More pollution, more financial theft, more gerrymandering, more disenfranchisem ent, millions thrown out of healthcare. The loss of no existing preconditions, and the loss of protections that have kept people from bankruptcy due to medical bills. No grants for renewable energy, research and development and the denial of climate change. And so much more. At this time a no vote or a third-party vote will only give the advantage to the republicans. Though out the year we criticize the Dems, push them more progressive but for the elections we must unite and vote for every democratic candidate we can. We need every vote to overcome the cheating. Unite for our Future.
+30 # tsyganka 2018-07-10 11:16
JCM, I firmly agree with your well-written and thorough post, but with one exception. Vote for the Best candidate in the primary election. Then vote for the Necessary candidate in the general election.

If we All vote, it may turn out that the Best candidate is also the Necessary candidate.

Vote in the primary with our hearts for our country's well-being - vote in the general election with our brains for someone who at the least will not harm our country and who (we hope) may actually help it.

As you so well said: Don't vote for Republicans.
+10 # JCM 2018-07-10 14:28
tsyganka: Thank you - Below is my position on the Democrats and the election. Perhaps, more inline with your thoughts.

To change the Democratic Party, we must support progressive ideas continually as best we can.
We must support progressive candidates during the primaries as much as possible.
We must vote for the winner of the Democratic primaries.
Not voting or voting third party will not unseat the republicans but will give them an advantage to win.
We should criticize the Dems when they go wrong, but not fail to criticize the republicans so not to create the impression that the two parties are the same.
There are blue dogs that I would like to get rid of but are still better than any republican.
Again, we must unite our purpose to remove rump and the republicans.
+20 # Art947 2018-07-10 12:35
As Marc Ash clearly noted -- it is too late to wait for a change in the House and Senate majorities to FIGHT against these bastards! Kavanaugh must be destroyed before he has the opportunity to destroy any more of our rights as human beings. The Federalist Society has demonstrated that they are the terrorists of the fascist part of our society. They must be treated as the pariahs that they are.
0 # JCM 2018-07-10 14:30
Art947: How would you try to destroy Kavanaugh?
+10 # Luara June 2018-07-10 17:39
Quoting JCM:
Art947: How would you try to destroy Kavanaugh?

Expose hm for the slime ball he is
+3 # JCM 2018-07-10 18:47
Luara June: As far as I'm concerned, he exposes himself every time he opens his mouth.
+72 # Blackjack 2018-07-10 10:18
Kennedy was never a "moderate." He just got labeled that way because he wasn't bat shit crazy the way Thomas is. So now his everlasting legacy will be that he gave Trump the opportunity to appoint someone to replace him who will likely be involved as a Supreme in impeachment proceedings. . . and Kavanaugh doesn't think a sitting president should be involved in impeachment proceedings because that would detract from his "work" as President? What work, pray tell? The work of tearing the country apart at the seams?

And YES, Dems need to freeze the Jello in their spines and learn how to fight! And that means Schumer the Wimp and Pelosi the Appeaser. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way! This is WAR! Gear up, get your lily white hands dirty, and dive in!
-20 # 2018-07-10 11:58
Correct. Kennedy was not a "moderate" but rather a libertarian-lea ning jurist. He was generally tolerant on civil liberties issues -- something most progressives could applaud -- and he was generally pro-economic freedom on dollars and cents issues -- something that most progressives would criticize. It appears that such a possibility seems impossible in the simplistic black and white, good vs. evil world where so many progressives live.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
-5 # Robbee 2018-07-10 13:36
Quoting Blackjack 18-7-10:
Dems need to freeze the Jello in their spines and learn how to fight!

- and if self-styled "progressives" had united with dems and elected hillary, we wouldn't be having this anguish?

any of it

repukes would be weeping over the death of "citizens united" for plutocrats and the loss of their radical, young, almost brand-new "constitutional " right to buy public officials, by buying their offices with UNLIMITED DARK MONEY "speech!"

and if i had a million dollars, i would buy a green dress!

and if wishes were horses, beggars would ride!

and if any reader had read my 2016 posts, the federalist society would not have been secret mystery to us?

and if self-styled "progressives" had cared about civil rights, defeating the dem party would have been their only priority

evidently blacks, latinos and women had more to lose than self-styled "progressives" admitted! - probably even cared!

now jack cries over spilt milk? - how predictable!

if i had a dollar for everyone who suddenly cares who sits on "plutocrat's" supreme court, i'd buy me a congressman!

can we close the door? now? after the horses all left the barn?

when you believe in things
that you don't understand
you're gonna suffer! - s wonder

whether we knew it or not? to not vote hillary? there was a cost?

now is when those who have loved everything dickhead has, so far done! can start to count the cost!

march! strike! - or kiss your dem ass bye!
+11 # Robbee 2018-07-10 13:38
vote like your life depends on it! - if only because it does!
+2 # JCM 2018-07-10 14:32
How true!
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-11 11:54
vote for whom? Does it matter? Are you an anyone-but-Trum p voter?
+8 # hectormaria 2018-07-11 14:38
Sen. McConnell and Republicrites have no problem throwing crap at the Dems, yet expect Dems will meekly throw flowers back at them. Why? Because Dems do not have the backbone to take a real stand to defend the people they represent: do not expect much from them.
+35 # tsyganka 2018-07-10 10:26
I disagree that Justice Kennedy was a "liberal icon." He voted against campaign finance reform, the Affordable Care Act, the Voting Rights Act, and (often) workers' rights and regulations on corporations.

Although the ignorant orange thing was told to pick a SCOTUS nominee from the Federalist Society's list, fascist Kavanaugh wasn't the Federalist Society's boy per se. He was Leonard Leo's boy.

Leonard Leo is a clever and dangerous far-right-wing fundamentalist Catholic religionist who wants religionists, misogynists, and union-crushers on the SCOTUS. He's on the Federalist Society (now temporarily on leave) and also runs the Judicial Crisis Network (formerly Judicial Confirmation Network), funded by the Kochs, the Corkerys, et al. The JCN was behind the appointments of Roberts, Alito, and Gorsuch. Also, 17 of the appeals court judges appointed by the fascist orange thing (he nominated 18) were members or affiliates of the Federalist Society.

Leonard Leo wants the three branches of government merged until his far-right-wing religionist views control the country.

Please read:
+22 # Moxa 2018-07-10 11:24
It says Edward Kennedy, not Justice Kennedy, was a liberal icon.
+17 # Marc Ash 2018-07-10 14:56
For the record in the piece above I state that, "Edward M. Kennedy was a liberal icon." That would be former Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, not to be confused with Associate Supreme court Justice "Anthony Kennedy." I argued in blunt terms that Anthony Kennedy was by no means the swing vote on the court the media was portraying him to be, but rather a staunch conservative. Here's that piece:

Marc Ash | Anthony Kennedy, a Swing-Vote, Seriously?

-2 # Robbee 2018-07-10 17:36
Quoting tsyganka 2018-07-10 10:26:
the ignorant orange thing was told to pick a SCOTUS nominee from the Federalist Society's list

- i was indicting the Federalist Society here on rsn, BEFORE IT WAS COOL!

long before dickhead came along, the Federalist Society was promoting its members for repuke prez appointments!

if civil rights don't make money for corporations? and few do? kiss your civil rights goodbye!

dickhead gets a two-fer! - first he appoints to scrotus, then he appoints to the d-c- court of appeals! - dickhead is the gift that keeps giving!

didn't vote hillary? - NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED!

next time vote like your life depends on it! - if only because it does!
+44 # tclose 2018-07-10 10:27
Wow, Marc is really pissed off. As he should be, as well as all of us on RSN.

Maybe this will be the catalyst for Dems - and Independents - to finally get really energized in time to greatly influence the November vote. Time is fleeting - lets do it!
+16 # DudeistPriest 2018-07-10 11:42
If god hates cowards, then he must detest the Democrat party because there is no better example of boot licking cowards. It's time to forget politics as usual. The people must stand up and rebel against the whole damned, corrupt system. What's needed are general strikes and consumer boycotts, although I doubt the brainwashed populace has the guts. So expect nothing to change. It makes me glad I'm old, and won't have to put up with this shit much longer.
+22 # btraven 2018-07-10 11:46
Good show Marc. Radical action-is required when you are "outgunned". As Machiavelli wrote many years ago " the best defense is a strong offense:"It's time for Sanders, Warren, et al who claim to offer a progressive alternative to the Clinton death grip on the careerism in the Dem Party to throw Schumer and Pelosi under the bus very openly. Rebellion is needed in the Dem Party not soft words.
+22 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-10 11:50
" One thing, however, is painfully clear – the Democrats are doing a better job of resisting their base than they are of resisting the fascist cabal in Washington that’s terrorizing the U.S. and its historic allies."

Sad to say but this is completely true. Many have said that this is the role given to democrats by the billionaires who fund the party -- keep the left wing in line.
-21 # 2018-07-10 11:52
Calling the Federalist Society "secretive" is simply false. Membership is open to all and their publicly published statement of purpose clearly outlines their political beliefs accurately.

It would be legitimate to argue that you disagree with them, as I assume you do, but attempting to make them out to be a secret cabal is nonsense. They are 100% open and forthright about their beliefs, strategies, tactics, and intentions.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+9 # MidwestDick 2018-07-10 13:35
Their main power derives from their ability to spread money around. So where can I find their financial statement for this year?
And how do they choose an executive director?
Oh.. Right! They ARE a secret cabal!
Thanks for being reasonable and agreeing with us posters for a change.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-11 06:05
You can find it. All non-profit corporations are required to file a IRS 990 form which lists all income and expenses. These are public documents. There are several organizations that help you find documents on non-profit foundations, including The Foundation Center.

This does not mean foundations don't lie on the 990. There's little enforcement.

My problem is the Federalist Society is that its mission statement is now much different from what it was when it was started. It started out as an open neo-confederate organization with the purpose of repealing the 14th amendment and most other laws or court cases that made the constitution more democratic. It wanted to return to the original intentions of the original constitution. All of that radicalism is now gone and has been replaced by platitudes. I don't believe the platitudes.
+7 # MidwestDick 2018-07-12 06:24
Their 990 is full of shell companies and BS entities on the revenue and expenses side. This is a dark money organization.
Ironically, Kennedy tortured his citizens united logic on the fiction that this sort of money in politics would be completely transparent and disbursed in bright sunshine.
+12 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-10 12:01
I think the Federalist Society is really a problem. It is quite dishonest about what it stands for and about its founding. It is a secretive society. Many law students join it in law school because they see it as a necessary professional organization for their success. I doubt they really understand what its goals are.

The Federalist Society is one of many "neo-confederat e" organizations that have been created by right-wingers in order to turn the nation black to the original constitution when the nation was dominated by slave holding south. The Federalist society is all about "state's rights" and "original intent of the framers" without actually saying that the framers were mostly southern slave holders. Originally, the FS was open about its opposition to the 14th amendment. Today it is not open at all about what it stands for.

The right way to deal with the supreme court is to bring the right cases to it. The left has been very weak on this. Time for the ACLU to get busy.
+5 # economagic 2018-07-10 21:31
"The Federalist Society is one of many "neo-confederat e" organizations that have been created by right-wingers in order to turn the nation black to the original constitution when the nation was dominated by slave holding south."

Very near to the thesis of Duke historian Nancy MacLean's 2017 book, "Democracy In Chains," about the career of a relatively obscure economist named James M. Buchanan, who resurrected John C. Calhoun as a model for return to the "Original Intent" of the Founders. He was also associated with George Mason University, and with the Koch brothers, and other far right libertarian groups, and was a receipient of a "Nobel Prize in Economics Science."
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-11 06:11
Interesting. George Mason is a real hotbed of these people, mostly because of funding by the Koch Bros, and others.

It is very interesting that as we move toward an oligarchy in reality with the now vast wealth gap, these "think tanks" emerge to provide the philosophical and theoretical support for oligarchy. But of course they are funded by oligarchs.

As I've long thought, the Age of Democracy is over. It emerged in the early 1700s with people like Locke, Shaftsbury, and others. It became mature in the 19th century with Marxism, revolutionary movements, and the foundations of de-colonization . But the reactions against the Age of Democracy became dominant in the later 20th century. We are now headed in the total wrong direction.

Neo-liberalism in economics seems to me to be the rise of economic feudalism or mercantilism.
0 # economagic 2018-07-11 19:55
Whooo, too late to think clearly. Check back here tomorrow evening!
+3 # MidwestDick 2018-07-12 06:26
True that! but we ain't dead yet.
0 # economagic 2018-07-12 20:51
Yes, it is indeed a hotbed of "Those People," the self-styled defenders of "classical liberalism" in the sense of particular premises and policies that were seen as "liberal" in the year 1700, such as unregulated markets ("everything for sale: to the highest bidder) and the right of persons other than kings to acquire great wealth and influence.

I don't know the full story of GMU--its founding and how it developed--only that it is built on the campus that was my wife's high school (Fairfax HS) in 1970-71.

Most pf the big RW think tanks (e.g., Heritage, Cato, ALEC) were founded in the 1970s. If that's the era you are thinking of, I would not disagree. But I would point out that it was not really until 300-400 years ago that anyone seriously questioned the notion of monarchy. The Federalist Society was founded in 1982, but AEI was founded in the 1940s.

As with definitions of socialism, there seem to be as many stories about the Age of Democracy and when it ended or will end as there are people discussing that subject. In fact, though I may be wrong, I seem to recall you yourself saying that true democracy on any large scale has yet to emerge. Language is a bitch, and clear, unambiguous "rational discourse" something of a myth. A good many people, including some who are relatively well informed, are heaving sighs of relief that we are at last headed in the RIGHT direction.

Neoliberalism, as with neoconservatism and neoclassical economics, is neither new nor liberal.
+8 # janie1893 2018-07-10 12:49
Why are Americans so dedicated to 'Party' that they can't see right from wrong. A political stance does not need to be a life-long commitment. It is okay to change one's political leanings when one disagrees with a particular party.
+3 # tedrey 2018-07-10 13:33
Now we have a test by which to judge candidates.
Candidates for all offices should clearly state, in primaries and in the general election, their stand on the Kennedy nomination. Then we can find out which candidates are really progressive, and whether the candidates that Schumer and Pelosi are pushing on us deserve that name.
+3 # Blackjack 2018-07-10 15:16
FYI, Mr. Know-it-All Robbee! I DID vote for HRC, so get off your freaking pedestal of superiority!
+9 # 2018-07-10 20:03
Absolutely. Michael Moore has it right when he says the Democrats should be out on the streets and the politicians should stop strategizing.
As for Kavanaugh the worst about him isn’t even his very probable abhorrent right wing views on abortion, same sex marriage, abortion, gerrymandering, etc. It’s his opinions placing the POTUS above the law, alleging he should not be indicted or even sued civilly or subpoenas because this would interfere with his “busy schedule “. THIS is why he was chosen. And still worse, total contradiction between these more recentl opinions and his actions as part of the Ken Starr investigation which led to the Clinton impeachment (“the mother of all false equivalencies”) : obliging Clinton’ to testify in the Paula Jones civil suit which WAS a true perjury trap( remember the Linda Tripp tapes) and completely unrelated to Whitewater. This exposes Kavanaugh as a partisan hypocrite and absolutely disqualifies him from being on the SCOTUS. Btw, this purportedly Christian father and husband with such respect for the office of the presidency so long as the President is a Republican was the very person who wrote up all the “dirty” questions designed to shame Clinton. A morally unacceptable human being.
+6 # librarian1984 2018-07-11 13:38
The Senate requires 51 to make a quorum and John McCain is out sick. Pence can't be used to make a quorum.

If the Ds are serious about fighting this until the midterms, then they should deny McConnell a quorum. Otherwise it's just empty words.
+1 # JCM 2018-07-11 17:51
One Dem has to be there to say there is no quorum. The problem is that would make 51 if all repubs show up.
+1 # 2018-07-11 20:07
+1 # librarian1984 2018-07-11 20:21
+5 # ahollman 2018-07-11 20:55
As a matter of process, Supreme Court justices should be nominated and confirmed relatively quickly, not with lengthy delays. On principle, everyone should support that.

However, Senate Republicans changed the rules and Senate behavior. Eliminating the filibuster on Supreme Court nominations effectively reduced the number of Senators needed to approve a Supreme Court justice from a supermajority of 60 to a bare majority of 51. By refusing to even hold hearings on Merrick Garland, they effectively vetoed a nomination without ever listening to the nominee, due to their intense dislike of the President who nominated him.

Republicans must now abide by the rules that they have changed.

I urge Democratic voters to contact both of their US Senators and urge them to publicly commit voting against anyone nominated prior to the inauguration of a new Congress in January, 2019. If a sufficient number of Democrats (and possibly some Republicans) take that public stance, then there will be no nominee until then, and the nominee then may be someone other than Kavanaugh (careful, that may a jump out of the frying pan into the fire).

On principle, this is a terrible way to maintain the judicial branch of government. As a matter of practice, there is no guarantee that this will work as expected. But if Democrats truly feel as strongly about protecting Roe v. Wade as Trumpnicks feel about God, guts and guns, then this is the only option.

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