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Kavanaugh confirmed and political conflict increases in America

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Oct 9, 2018 - 8:46:43 PM

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WASHINGTON—Disorder in The Court. Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Donald J. Trump’s second embattled Supreme Court nominee is now the 114th Justice on the high court after he was confirmed by the narrowest margin in 150 years, only one vote to spare: 50 in favor, 48 opposed, 1 present. It was the closest roll call to confirm a justice since 1881, when Stanley Matthews was approved 24-23, according to Senate records.

Thousands protested the confirmation hearings and deliberations at the Supreme Court steps, at the Capitol steps and in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. A total of 164 protesters were arrested, 14 of them during the roll call vote.

President Trump quickly declared victory. “So the vote is now in, and our country has a truly great new Supreme Court justice,” he told reporters before a rally on Oct. 6 in Topeka, Kansas. “We’re very honored by it.  He’s a—he’s an outstanding man, an outstanding person.  What they put him and his family through—the Democrats, over the last few weeks—is horrible.  If you look at what he’s had to endure–horrible, false statements.  Just—it doesn’t get any worse.

“But the beautiful thing is, he is now in.  He’s going to be there for a long time.  And he’s just an outstanding intellect, outstanding scholar, a brilliant lawyer—brilliant at everything he’s ever done. So we’re very happy. And the vote was a—it was a great vote, a very historic vote,” Mr. Trump continued.

One Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted yes. One Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she would have voted no, but withdrew and voted “present” as a courtesy to Montana Republican Steve Daines who was absent, attending his daughter’s wedding on the day of the rare Saturday vote.

But the process was contentious and divisive. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell kept his promise to “plow right through” all obstacles to the confirmation in the already sharply divided Senate when the confirmation took a spectacular and salacious turn three weeks before the eventual vote. A former high school acquaintance accused Justice Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a house party in 1982. The Senate Judiciary Committee arranged a second round of hearings where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified about the incident, and where Mr. Kavanaugh angrily denied the accusation and accused Democrats of unfairly conspiring against him.

People gather on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to protest the U.S. Senate confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4. Photo: MGN Online

Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation solidifies a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for decades to come. All five of the conservative members—Chief Justice John Roberts; Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and now Kavanaugh—have ties to the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, a group of 60,000 conservative lawyers and judges which plays a central role, as a clearing house for networking and mentoring of conservatives, at the same time handpicking judges for advancement within the federal court system.

Lawrence Baum is a professor of political science at Ohio State University, and author of the forthcoming book “The Company They Keep: How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court.”  He said the Federalist Society has become a pipeline to the Supreme Court. “The main influence of the Federalist Society, in both the second Bush administration, and so far in the Trump administration, has been to ensure that the nominees chosen by Republican presidents will be reliably conservative,” Prof. Baum told this writer in an Oct. 8 interview for “Monday Morning QB” on WPFW-FM radio.

“I don’t think I would go as far as referring to it as a stranglehold (on the Supreme Court). But the fact that you have five justices who have had associations with the Federalist Society, some of whom continue to have close relationships with the society, and who in more recent administrations have been chosen largely because of approval by the Federalist Society, that certainly means the society in direct and indirect ways has had a considerable impact on the court,” Prof. Baum continued.

The cost to the overall society for the bare-knuckles brand of conservative politics could be “grave,” according to a Bloomberg editorial. “The greater harm comes from an enormous stride toward a radically politicized Supreme Court,” the Editorial Board wrote Oct. 6, “and from a serious new challenge to its legitimacy. These are what the country just witnessed and will be unable to forget. Kavanaugh’s confirmation has compromised the ability of the court to do the job the Constitution demands of it.”

Leaders of both parties declared that their constituents are now newly energized by the Supreme Court fight to turn out and vote in the midterm elections Nov. 6. “It’s turned our base on fire,” declared Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. But Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York forecast gains for his party instead: “Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box.”

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell condemned Mr. Trump for placing himself, rather than the American people, at the center of the nation. “My favorite three words in our Constitution are the first three words: ‘We the People,’” Gen. Powell told Fareed Zakaria on CNN. “But recently, it’s become ‘Me the President’ as opposed to ‘We the People.’ And you see things that should not be happening.”

Gen. Powell criticized President Trump for “insulting everybody,” from world leaders to Black people, to immigrants to women, and for calling the media the “enemy of the people.”

But Mr. Trump may be a blessing in disguise for Black people, according to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

“Do you think that getting Trump out is a blessing to you?” Minister Farrakhan told the Pastors Prayer Breakfast at the Life Center Church of God in Christ Sept. 22. “No. Trump is your blessing. See, Trump got his foot—a lot of brown on the toe—because he’s kicking us where we needed a kick. Cause God wants you to come out of her, that you be not partakers of her plagues and her sins. Come out of her!

“But you want to get in her, full of lust for the material things of the world. And so beloved, you’ve got to come back to God. You’ve got to come out of the mind of Babylon, the mind of the rebels of God. Come out. You don’t have to go no place, just come out of their mind, their will, their spirit. Come out from under the deception of Satan. Come into unity and watch the judgment of God taking place.”