From Hartmann Report
During the confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh, over 4,500 tips about sexual assault, gambling and other issues came into the FBI, including several now known to have come from highly credible sources. Instead of investigating them, we learned this week, Chris Wray's FBI handed them over to the Trump White House -- where they died.
At the very least, this calls into question the legitimacy of Kavanaugh's seat on the Supreme Court. A seat he gained after Neil Gorsuch was given a seat for which President Obama had nominated Merrick Garland, putting an asterisk next to Gorsuch's seat as well.
The summer of 2018 was a particularly dicey time for Donald Trump and the Republican Party. They'd made it through over 400 days in 2016 and 2017 by a whisker: had President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland gone through, he could have joined the four "liberals" on the Court and reversed dozens of hard-right decisions stretching from Citizens United and Shelby County all the way back to Buckley and Bellotti.
The Court could have reversed their own previous court-manufactured doctrines that corporations are "persons" and billionaires' money was "free speech," blown up Chief Justice Robert's proclamation that there was no longer racism in America so it was fine to gut the Voting Rights Act, and even cemented into law for generations women's right to get an abortion and gay people's right to marriage.
But while they'd managed to block filling Antonin Scalia's pivotal seat on the Supreme Court with Merrick Garland, they were concerned they could lose control of the Senate in the upcoming November midterm elections.
That confronted them with the dismal prospect of not being able to confirm another rightwing judge to make bulletproof the Court's radical turn to the right that started with the appointment of Lewis Powell in the 1970s.
And if anything happened to any of the other rightwing justices particularly Clarence Thomas, who was ethically compromised and elderly himself they could again face the possibility of losing the Court and reversing 40 rightwing years of rewriting both US laws and the Constitution.
The man who'd taken Powell's seat, Anthony Kennedy, was in great health and both mentally and physically fit, but he had taken the liberals' side more often than the GOP liked on cases having to do with upholding abortion rights, gay rights, affirmative action and capital punishment.
After all, when it comes to domestic policy Supreme Court justices, particularly when in the majority, arguably have greater power than the president. While the president can sign a bill into law, justices on the Supreme Court can alter or even strike down that law or interpret it -- in a way wholly inconsistent with the intent of the legislature that passed it.
Replacing Kennedy with a young, pliable (or blackmail-able) tool of the rightwing billionaire class would not only guarantee that previous radical decisions would stand, but let future voting, environmental and political corruption rulings move even harder to the right.
Coincidentally, Donald Trump and his family, particularly Don Jr., had a long and financially rewarding relationship with Justice Kennedy's son, Justin, who'd headed up the part of Deutsche Bank that was involved in over a billion dollars' worth of loans that ended up in the Trump family's properties and pockets.
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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)