“For the second day in a row, President Trump asked the Supreme Court on Friday to protect his personal and business financial records from disclosure, this time to a congressional committee,” the Washington Post reports.
“In his first public speech as justice, one year after a polarizing Supreme Court confirmation, Brett Kavanaugh heaped gratitude on his supporters and extended an olive branch to critics with praise for the court’s liberal wing,” ABC News reports.
Said Kavanaugh: “They are patriots. They love our court and love our country.”
“Kavanaugh notably singled out Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a celebrated feminist icon reviled by some right-wing activists — as an ‘inspiration.'”
He added: “I’m grateful for Justice Ginsburg for being so generous to me. Ruth Ginsburg is an inspiration.”
“The Senate voted Thursday to make Steven Menashi a lifetime federal judge, despite his inflammatory writings about women’s rights and diversity, his refusal to answer senators’ questions and his role in devising an illegal Education Department effort to deny debt relief to students cheated by for-profit colleges,” the HuffPost reports.
“Democrats questioned his qualifications ― he has never tried a case, made oral arguments in court or conducted a deposition ― as well as his temperament.”
“Every Democrat present voted against confirming Menashi… Every Republican present but one, Sen. Susan Collins, voted to confirm him.”
President Trump’s lawyers told a judge they’ll ask the U.S. Supreme Court next week to block a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney seeking his tax filings and other financial records, Bloomberg reports.
“A key witness in the impeachment investigation filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he can testify, a move that raises new doubts about whether President Trump’s closest aides, like the former national security adviser, John Bolton, will be able to cooperate with the inquiry,” the New York Times reports.
“House Democrats had subpoenaed the witness, Charles Kupperman, who served as Mr. Trump’s deputy national security adviser, to testify on Monday. But in an effort to stop Mr. Kupperman from doing so, the White House said on Friday that the president had invoked ‘constitutional immunity,’ leaving Mr. Kupperman uncertain about what to do.”
“The implications of the suit, filed in federal court in Washington, extend beyond Mr. Kupperman. His lawyer, Charles Cooper, also represents Mr. Bolton and is likely to address congressional requests for his testimony in a similar fashion.”
“The Supreme Court will review whether the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is constitutional, a case with ramifications for the president’s powers to control the direction of independent government agencies,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Washington Post: “The Supreme Court has a powerfully controversial docket for its term beginning Monday that will test Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s efforts to portray the institution as above the noisy and partisan battles of the moment.”
“Two unknowns — the health of the court’s oldest member, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and whether the court will be drawn into legal controversies arising from the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump — add to the uncertainty.”
“The Supreme Court will review a restrictive Louisiana law that gives the justices the chance to reconsider a recent ruling protecting abortion rights,” the Washington Post reports.
“The court said Friday it would consider whether the 2014 law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals unduly burdens women’s access to abortion. Clinic owners said the effect of the law would be to close most of the state’s abortion clinics and leave the state with only one doctor eligible to perform the procedure.”
Slate: This Supreme Court term will launch a conservative revolution.
“Now, she has so much less to push up I don’t think that’s fair.”
— Chief Justice John Roberts, quoted by CNN, when asked if he could do as many push ups as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“So many people seem to think that judges are just like politicians with robes. Rubbish.”
— Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune.
“The Trump administration told the Supreme Court Tuesday that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional because Congress limited the president’s power to remove the agency’s director before his or her five-year term expires,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Two federal appeals courts have upheld the CFPB’s structure, which is intended to insulate the director from political interference by allowing dismissal only for ‘inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.’ They relied on a 1935 Supreme Court precedent, known as Humphrey’s Executor, which approved similar protections for members of the Federal Trade Commission, who like the CFPB director are presidential appointees confirmed by the Senate.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “Escalating the hardball isn’t the only way to go. One option would be to threaten to pack the court, but also offer a compromise. Several people have recommended a constitutional amendment that would fix the number of justices at nine, with each serving for a single 18-year term, staggered so that there’d be a vacancy every other year. That would have several virtues. One is that it would improve on the weirdly random nature of Supreme Court vacancies, which is difficult to defend as a matter of democracy. It would also reduce the hold that long-gone election results have on the future. And it would end the strong incentive to nominate very young justices. Some even argue that by regularizing vacancies, it might minimize the vast importance placed on every confirmation fight.”
“I’ve been ambivalent about this proposal, but it certainly has some advantages. And it’s a whole lot better than increasing the size of the court every time we get unified party government, which is where all of this is heading. If Democrats are going to play constitutional hardball, or threaten to, I’d much rather they try to reach a long-term compromise rather than continue to ratchet things up. It might even be in their interest to do so.”
Jamelle Bouie: “Democrats are left in an unenviable position. Should they win a federal ‘trifecta’ — the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives — they’ll still have to deal with a Trump-branded judiciary. It’s entirely possible that a future Democratic agenda would be circumscribed and unraveled by a Supreme Court whose slim conservative majority owes itself to minority government and constitutional hardball.”
“So what should Democrats do? They should play hardball back. Congress, according to the Judiciary Act of 1789, decides the number of judges. It’s been 150 years since it changed the size of the Supreme Court. I think it’s time to revisit the issue. Should Democrats win that trifecta, they should expand and yes, pack, the Supreme Court. Add two additional seats to account for the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh nominations. Likewise, expand and pack the entire federal judiciary to neutralize Trump and McConnell’s attempt to cement Republican ideological preferences into the constitutional order.”
“As Justice Brett Kavanaugh prepares for his second year on the Supreme Court, new reporting has detailed how the limits ordered by the White House and Senate Republicans last year constrained the FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct when he was a college freshman,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“The FBI was informed of allegations that Kavanaugh, while drunk during his freshman year at Yale, exposed himself to two heavily intoxicated female classmates on separate occasions. The bureau did not interview more than a dozen people who said they could provide information about the incidents.”
“One of the accounts, reported by Deborah Ramirez, was made public at the time of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. The other, not publicly known until this weekend, was reported by a male classmate who said he witnessed the incident. He unsuccessfully sought to get the FBI to investigate with help from a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to look into the allegation.”
President Trump once again came to the defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Politico reports.
Said Trump: “Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for liable, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue.”
Approximately an hour after the original tweet, he sent out a new tweet with the correct spelling of the word “libel.”
“Two New York Times reporters say they’ve uncovered a previously unreported account of sexual misconduct allegedly carried out by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a student at Yale,” the HuffPost reports.
“In an op-ed for the Times, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly said they learned of the alleged misconduct during a 10-month investigation of Kavanaugh’s life at prep-school and Yale, including the assault accusations, for their upcoming book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.”
“Max Stier, Kavanaugh’s classmate at Yale, told the reporters that he once saw Kavanaugh with his pants down while his friends pushed his penis into the hands of a female student during a dorm party.”
“Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote against President Trump’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, but only after changing his position behind the scenes,” sources familiar with the private Supreme Court deliberations tell CNN.
“More broadly, his moves in the census dispute demonstrate that as he begins his 15th year as chief justice, Roberts has become less predictable. He is wearing the heavy mantle of a vote at the middle of a divided bench in this new chapter of his tenure, with the 2018 retirement of centrist-conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy and a solid 5-4 conservative majority.”
“The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Trump administration to bar many Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States. The court said the administration may enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from people who had traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country,” the New York Times reports.
“A federal appeals court had largely blocked the new policy, but the justices, in a brief, unsigned order, allowed it to go into effect while legal challenges move forward. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.”