By Kathy Bradford —
This last week we saw a lot of memorials to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her work touched a lot of lives profoundly, and not just through SCOTUS decisions and interpretations, but through changes in the law enacted through Congress directly traceable to her decisions and dissents. We also were made aware that her passing gives Donald Trump and the Senate the opportunity to do away with the type of carefully thought out law and social justice for which Justice Ginsburg was so famous. President Trump’s candidate is Amy Coney Barrett, a jurist with no time in front of the bench arguing case law, and only 3 years on the bench of a lower court.
Comparison of their credentials:
|Ruth Bader Ginsburg||Amy Coney Barrett|
|Law Degree||Columbia, 1st in class||Notre Dame, 1st in class|
|Clerk||US District Court, 2 yrs||Court of Appeals 2 yrs, SCOTUS 2 yrs|
|Law Practice||ACLU 8 yrs; 6 cases argued in the SCOTUS||private practice, 2 yrs; no time in front of the bench|
|Academia||2 years constitutional law researcher, Rutgers 9 yrs, Columbia 8 yrs||Notre Dame 15 yrs|
|Judge||DC Circuit 13 yrs
|Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals 3 yrs|
|Major Constitutional Law Belief Systems||Evolution through small, specific steps. Major social change should not come from the courts, but from Congress and other legislatures. This method allows for social change to remain in Congress’ power while also receiving guidance from the court.||Strong believer in ‘originalism’ as the interpretation of the Constitution that asserts that all statements in the constitution must be interpreted based on the original understanding of the authors or the people at the time it was ratified.|
A comparison of their credentials is shown above, but most striking is their stated constitutional law philosophy. Justice Ginsburg believed in a vibrant, growing and changing United States democracy. She believed the founders were revolutionaries who codified what they needed in 1789, but that they always meant the constitution to be an organ of growth and evolution. Her philosophy guided her to take small steps, as she would say, in law that have codified equality of all people in our laws. Justice Barrett, like Justice Scalia, is a strong believer in a rigid interpretation of the constitution that assumes that the founding fathers put everything that was needed into the original document. Her stated positions include eliminating or at least debilitating Roe versus Wade and crippling the Affordable Care Act.
This is why there is so much emphasis this year on Senate races. The President may nominate, but it is by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, that Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and other Officers of the United States are appointed. We must all try to elect Democratic senators to flip the Senate blue in 2021. A more progressive legislature can undo the harm that an unbalanced SCOTUS may create through the legislative process, just as they did in 2009 by establishing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Thank you to the League of Women Voters for an informative and concise presentation of the propositions on our ballot this November. A summary is in this newsletter, and a link to the video is included in case you or someone else in your household would like to see it again. Thank you also to Ann Nye and Reggie Jue for a smooth Zoom meeting.
Thank you for your generous donations to our lawn sign initiative. As I write this, most of the lawn signs have been delivered, but we have plenty of large window signs which can be mounted on a fence, a window, or a garage door to great effect. Click this link if you would like to request one.
The PV Dems board is currently deciding which campaigns to support with this money. Most board members are indicating they would like the funds to go to flip the senate blue. If you have suggestions for where the money should go, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org before October 5. Our decision will be announced at the next meeting and in the November newsletter.
Thank you also to those members who have joined us for the Sunday phonebanks. The Christy Smith and Harley Rouda campaigns have been appreciative of our efforts. In October, we will be switching over to call for Biden and several senate campaigns. It’s easy and fun to do and all you need is a computer with a microphone and speaker. The software provided by the campaign does all the dialing for you and scripts are provided. If you would like to join us, go to www.majority,us/cadems/event/297118 to sign up.
We are also distributing voter information door hangers in Rolling Hills Estates this week. The hangers have all the LACDP endorsed candidates and propositions printed on them. Thank you to the members who volunteered to walk these neighborhoods and deliver the door hangers. Your help is deeply appreciated.
So thank you everyone for all your help this month. It’s been a busy one.