Republicans ruthlessly reshaped America to hold onto power - can Dems do the same thing to save it?

Thom plus logo In the power grab to fill the Supreme Court seat announced the same evening as the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mitch McConnell didn't do anything new. The GOP has a long history of playing hardball power politics.

In the late 19th century, Republicans added four states (Nevada, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota) purely to gain eight new Republican senators, a trick Democrats could duplicate today by bringing statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico (and maybe even Guam).

And in 1877, Republicans installed their presidential candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, into the White House after he had lost both the popular vote and the Electoral College vote to Democrat Samuel Tilden, a case Trump may have been referring to in a press conference on September 16, saying, "at a certain point, it goes to Congress." (This is the 12th Amendment nightmare I wrote about in March and Greg Palast has recently pursued.)

Republicans have also reduced the size of the Supreme Court specifically to deny a Democratic president a nominee before. (And, of course, there's the sordid tale of what they did to Merrick Garland.) Democrats can easily change the composition of the court with a simple majority if they control the House and Senate after the election and choose to end the slavery-era filibuster rule.

The closest any Democrat has ever come to this sort of thing was in 1937 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt threatened to "pack" the court as Republicans had done 71 years earlier. (The threat and widespread public opinion in its favor worked, forcing the court to change its position on the New Deal, so the issue never came to a vote in Congress.)

Pushing the boundaries even further, over the course of now-Chief Justice John Roberts' career working for President Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, he proposed a nuclear option that Republican lawmakers could use to legislatively overturn Brown v. Board and Roe v. Wade whether the Supreme Court liked it or not. Roberts' plan was never implemented, but it's still a long-shot option.

McConnell knows the first lesson of power politics: when representing only a minority, you must ruthlessly grab every bit of power you can, every time you can.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate represent about 15 million fewer Americans than do Democrats. The last Republican president initially elected with a majority vote from the American people was George H.W. Bush, 32 years ago in 1988; George W. Bush lost by about a half-million votes, and Trump lost by almost 3 million. In the U.S. House in 2018, 9 million more Americans voted for a Democrat than a Republican, a margin (8.6 percent) far larger than their actual governing majority.

Nonetheless, Republicans tenaciously hang onto power and do whatever it takes to both hold and increase that power at every opportunity.

Democrats must learn from this history and consider all of these options if they win the White House and the Senate, and hold the House this November. Being elected with solid majorities will enhance their credibility when they seize and wield that power, so it's doubly important now to strike when the opportunity arises.

Here's a deeper dive into the background, largely drawn from my books The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America and The Hidden History of the War on Voting.

Packing the Court in 1801

Thomas Jefferson beat John Adams in the election of 1800, and so, during the lame-duck session of 1801, Adams' Federalists (the conservative party at that time) passed the Judiciary Act of 1801 to cut the size of the Supreme Court from six members to five, purely to deny Jefferson an opportunity to make an appointment. (Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans-Woolnertoday's Democratic Party-increased the number of members of the court to seven in 1802.)

The law also created 16 new federal judgeships, which Adams sought to quickly fill before Jefferson took office in March; that created a mess that led to the Marbury v. Madison decision, which authorized the court to strike down laws passed by Congress.

Packing the Court in 1866/1869

In 1866, Republicans in the House and Senate passed a law to reduce the number of justices on the Supreme Court from 10 to 7 to deny Democratic President Andrew Johnson an opportunity to fill a seat opened up with the 1865 death of Associate Justice John Catron. Johnson was furious, but there was nothing he could do.

Three years later, with Johnson out of the White House and Republican President Ulysses Grant safely in charge, they passed the Judiciary Act of 1869 that raised the number of justices up to nine, where it has stood till today.

Packing the Court in 1937

During FDR's presidency, four of the Supreme Court's justices, Pierce Butler, James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, and Willis Van Devanter, were collectively known as the Four Horsemen. They were invariably joined by one of the other justices, particularly Justice Owen Roberts, to strike down New Deal legislation that attempted to address unemployment and poverty, no matter how popular it was.

For the preceding decades during the Lochner era, the court had struck down dozens of state laws protecting workers, including women and children.

In 1935, the Supreme Court ruled that both the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the National Industrial Recovery Act were unconstitutional, gutting Roosevelt's New Deal legislation.

The Agricultural Adjustment Act had passed in 1933 with 76 percent of the House of Representatives voting for it. The bill passed the Senate, also with 76 percent of the Senate voting for it.

Historian William Leuchtenburg wrote for Smithsonian magazine that after the Agricultural Adjustment Act was struck down, "Many farmers were incensed. On the night following [Justice Owen] Roberts' opinion, a passerby in Ames, Iowa, discovered life-size effigies of the six majority opinion justices hanged by the side of a road."

The National Industrial Recovery Act had likewise passed with 71 percent of the House voting for it and 81 percent of senators voting for it.

When the Supreme Court used its power of judicial review to overturn these laws, it wasn't viewed just as an assault on FDR's New Deal. It was, in the opinion of many Americans (and FDR himself), an assault on the very basis of our democratic republic.

Then, shortly before Roosevelt was reelected in 1936, the court struck down a New York state law that established a minimum wage for women and children in Morehead v. New York ex rel. Tipaldo.

The pendulum of popular opinion swung hard against the court almost overnight. One Republican newspaper in New York declared its opposition to the ruling: "The law that would jail any laundryman for having an underfed horse should jail him for having an underfed girl employee."

And as historian David B. Woolner, author of The Last 100 Days: FDR at War and at Peace, noted, "Over... 13 months, the court struck down more pieces of legislation than at any other time in U.S. history."

In 1937, the National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security Act (both passed in 1935) were on their way to the court. Considering how the Four Horsemen had ruled during FDR's first term, Roosevelt knew that he needed to do something or risk losing both pieces of legislation.

With the New Deal on the line, Roosevelt went on the attack. On February 5, 1937, just months after his landslide reelection, he announced his plan. He asked Congress for the authority to appoint one justice for each justice over 70 who would not retire.

In 1937, the average life expectancy for men in the United States was only 58 years old. The average age of the Supreme Court justices at the time was 71 years old, and six of the justices were age 70 or older. A book mocking the court, called The Nine Old Men, "was rapidly moving up the bestseller lists," as Leuchtenburg wrote.

FDR directly called into question the "capacity of the judges themselves" to dispose of the growing number of cases facing federal courts. The United States' population had increased nearly 70 percent between 1900 and 1936, and the number of cases facing federal court dockets had exploded. Citizens were waiting longer and longer to go in front of older and older judges.

Roosevelt's plan would have immediately given him six appointments to the Supreme Court and up to 44 appointments for federal lower courts. Roosevelt argued that "[a] constant and systematic addition of younger blood will vitalize the courts."

On March 9, 1937, Roosevelt told the nation that the court was ruling not just against himself and Congress, but against the will of the American people.

"The Courts," Roosevelt told the nation, "have cast doubts on the ability of the elected Congress to protect us against catastrophe by meeting squarely our modern social and economic conditions."

Roosevelt's critics were aghast at his plans. They claimed he was trying the "pack the court" with justices who would simply be his yes men.

Reacting to his critics, Roosevelt cut to the heart of the matter:

"[I]f by that phrase the charge is made... that I will appoint Justices who will not undertake to override the judgment of the Congress on legislative policy, that I will appoint Justices who will act as Justices and not as legislators-if the appointment of such Justices can be called 'packing the Courts,' then I say that I and with me the vast majority of the American people favor doing just that thing-now."

Congress never voted on the plan. It's unclear whether it would have succeeded, or if a more moderate plan that would have given him only two or three justices might have passed more easily.

Instead, on March 29, 1937, a Washington state minimum wage law came before the Supreme Court in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish. The law in question was nearly identical to the New York state law that had come before the court a year earlier when it had outlawed minimum wage laws as being unconstitutional.

But this time, Justice Owen Roberts abandoned the Four Horsemen to uphold Washington's minimum wage in a 5-4 decision. In a further series of 5-4 decisions two weeks later, the court upheld the National Labor Relations Act as constitutional. The nation was astonished.

Labor Secretary Frances Perkins was close friends with Justice Roberts' wife, Elizabeth. When the decisions came down, according to Kirstin Downey's biography of Perkins, "she rushed that afternoon to Roberts' home" and "threw her arms around the man and hugged him."

"Owen, I am so proud of you," Perkins told the Supreme Court justice. "A man of your standing and intelligence who is not afraid to change his mind!"

Downey wrote of how Roberts was embarrassed by the affection but also very pleased. "Really, do you think so?" he replied to Perkins.

Less than two months later, the court declared that Social Security was constitutional.

The New Deal had been saved from execution on the Supreme Court's bench. Social Security had been salvaged, and the National Labor Relations Act gave labor and unions a lifeline after generations of fighting to stay afloat.

Roberts' about-face in West Coast Hotel case was referred to at the time as "the switch in time that saved nine," rendering FDR's proposal unnecessary.

Packing the Senate

In 1864, Abraham Lincoln was looking at the potential future composition of the U.S. Supreme Court after the war, concerned that Democrats might end up controlling the judicial body.

Back then, it took roughly 125,000 citizens in a territory to qualify it for statehood, and the Nevada Territory only had 40,000 residents, but almost all were GOP-aligned. So, ignoring the 125,000-person requirement (it was more a matter of policy than law), Lincoln proposed statehood for Nevada and Congress approved it, adding two new GOP senators.

After the Civil War, as Southern (and Democratic-controlled) states were reintegrating into the Union, Republican President Ulysses Grant was worried that Democrats might end up controlling the Senate, and so in 1876 Grant and Republicans in Congress added Colorado-with fewer than 40,000 residents-as a new state, gaining two more GOP senators.

Democrats were rising in power again when Democrat Grover Cleveland won the White House in 1884 and won the popular vote (but lost the Electoral College) in 1888. Popular-vote loser Republican President Benjamin Harrison, in 1889, successfully proposed the Dakota Territory-which then had 134,000 residents-be split into two territories, North Dakota (pop. 36,000) and South Dakota (pop. 98,000), and each of them become states with two senators each.

Thus, in 25 years, the GOP added eight senators, largely cementing their control of the Senate until the Great Depression; from Lincoln's inauguration in 1861 until FDR's inauguration in 1933, Democrats controlled the Senate for only 10 years.

Roberts' Nuclear Option to Get Around the Supreme Court

The year 1981 was a big one for court-stripping-or, as it's sometimes called, jurisdiction-stripping. No fewer than 30 pieces of legislation were introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Republican congressmen that included court-stripping provisions. It was a huge topic of discussion and legal activity among Republicans.

And a young lawyer working in Ronald Reagan's Justice Department, an up-and-comer named John Roberts, was hot on the trail.

Court-stripping is based on the idea that Congress has the power, under the Constitution, to pass laws that include provisions that specifically prevent (or strip the jurisdiction of) the Supreme Court (or any other federal court, if stipulated) from ruling on that particular law or issue's constitutionality.

It's based on Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution, which says, "[T]he [S]upreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make."

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled, in Brown v. Board, that states had to racially integrate their schools. Southern states promised "massive resistance" in defiance, and entire school districts were shut down; many Southern states opened private all-white "segregation academies" such as the one Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith famously went to and sent her daughter to.

Brown provoked a mini-industry among right-wing white racists: Fred Koch's beloved John Birch Society was putting up "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards across the nation and publishing articles and pamphlets tying civil rights activists to communism; hundreds of all-white private schools opened; and conservative scholars of the Supreme Court and the Constitution searched through old books and debates from the founding era to that day looking for rationales to overturn the decision.

Other than years of disruption to public education and a redoubled effort by conservatives to keep public schools funded with local property taxes (so that poor and/or Black schools would continue to turn out poorly educated students), not a great deal came of the opposition to Brown v. Board.

But defying the Court became a much bigger business in 1973, when the court in Roe v. Wade ruled that women have the right, at least in the first trimester of a pregnancy, to choose to have an abortion pretty much anywhere in the country, for any reason.

Reagan kicked off his 1980 presidential campaign with a speech about education and states' rights to a predominantly white crowd near Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights activists had been murdered in 1964. Willing to say and do whatever it took to take the White House, Reagan was the perfect vessel for a white supremacy message opposing forced integration, welfare for Black people, and abortion for white women.

Reagan's administration brought together a constellation of conservative white men to change the face of America. Ted Olson, who later argued Bush v. Gore before the U.S. Supreme Court, led the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. As an assistant attorney general, Olson worked with counselor to the attorney general Ken Starr (appointed to that job in 1981), who was later (1989-1993) George H.W. Bush's solicitor general. Other new faces Reagan hired included Samuel Alito and John Roberts.

Starr tasked Roberts, a staunchly antiabortion Catholic, with reviewing the entire history of the U.S. Supreme Court for cases that suggested a legislative or administrative way to overturn Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board.

Roberts wrote an extraordinary 27-page document that's largely unknown, in the form of a memo on the letterhead of the Office of the Attorney General, to Ken Starr, signed by Roberts as special assistant to the attorney general. It is titled, "Proposals to Divest the Supreme Court of Appellate Jurisdiction: An Analysis in Light of Recent Developments."

Roberts wrote that he had found "over twenty bills [pending in Congress] which would divest the Supreme Court (and, in most instances, lower federal courts as well) of jurisdiction to hear certain types of controversies, ranging from school prayer and desegregation cases to abortion cases."

What Roberts and his researchers had discovered was substantial.

Court-stripping is based on the exceptions clause of Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution, which stipulates that the courts exist "with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make."

Roberts noted in his memo that "[t]he exceptions clause by its terms contains no limit... This clear and unequivocal language is the strongest argument in favor of congressional power and the inevitable stumbling block for those would read the clause in a more restricted fashion."

Roberts was looking at the nuclear option. If he could build a strong case for Congress passing a law against abortion or desegregation, and persuade Congress to use the exceptions clause to render the courts moot, then this could be the magic bullet to restore segregation and recriminalize abortion.

Roberts concluded with a 1968 comment from Sam Ervin of North Carolina, one of the Senate's most outspoken opponents of racial integration and abortion.

He wrote, "As Senator Ervin noted during hearings on the exceptions clause, 'I don't believe that the Founding Fathers could have found any simpler words or plainer words in the English language to say what they said, which was that the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is dependent entirely upon the will of Congress.'"

Roberts agreed: "[W]e are not considering a constitutional clause that is by its nature indeterminate and incapable of precise or fixed meaning, such as the due process clause or the prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures."

This was clearly the original intent, Roberts argued, because "the exceptions clause 'was not debated' by the Committee of Detail which drafted it or the whole Convention."

Citing Federalist, no. 81, Roberts wrote, "Hamilton noted that the clause would enable 'the government to modify [appellate jurisdiction] in such a manner as will best answer the ends of public justice and security,' and that appellate jurisdiction was 'subject to any exceptions and regulations which may be thought advisable.'"

Section III of Roberts' screed on court-stripping dives deep into Supreme Court decisions to find rulings explicitly saying that Congress can regulate the Supreme Court and block the court from ruling on particular issues.

Beginning with the 1869 decision Ex parte McCardle, Roberts wrote, "A unanimous Court upheld the power of Congress to divest the Supreme Court of jurisdiction. The Court clearly based its decision on Congress' power under the exceptions clause. Chief Justice Chase began the opinion by recognizing that the appellate jurisdiction of the Court 'is conferred "with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make."'"

Quoting Chase again, Roberts added his own emphasis: "We are not at liberty to inquire into the motives of the legislature. We can only examine into its power under the Constitution; and the power to make exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction of this Court is given by express words [underline Roberts']."

He continued his historical exposé of court-stripping with another 1869 decision, Ex parte Yerger, and then United States v. Klein (1872), Wiscart v. Dauchy (1796), Durousseau v. United States (1810), Daniels v. Railroad (1865), and The Francis Wright (1881).

In The Francis Wright, Roberts found that Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite (whose court oversaw the infamous 1886 "corporate personhood" Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case) wrote for a unanimous court, quoting him as follows: "Not only may whole classes of cases be kept out of the jurisdiction altogether, but particular classes of questions may be subjected to re-examination and review, while others are not."

Each case strengthened the idea that Congress could simply pass a law, without even needing a supermajority, that barred the Supreme Court from ruling on a set of issues-like Reagan's hot-button issues of school desegregation and abortion.

Moving toward late-19th-century decisions, Roberts quoted the court in Colorado Central Consolidated Mining Co. v. Turck (1893): "[I]t has been held in an uninterrupted series of decisions that this Court exercises appellate jurisdiction only in accordance with the acts of Congress upon the subject."

Roberts, in his own voice, added, "Again, it bears emphasis that the basis for this theory is the implicit exercise by Congress of its exceptions power when it makes a limited grant of jurisdiction."

Still building his case, Roberts jumped into 20th-century rulings, starting with National Mutual Insurance Co. v. Tidewater Transfer Co. (1948). Writing for the majority, Justice Felix Frankfurter noted in the decision, "Congress need not give this Court any appellate power; it may withdraw appellate jurisdiction once conferred and it may do so even while a case is sub judice."

About the 1944 Yakus v. United States case, Roberts wrote, "Justice Rutledge noted... that 'Congress has plenary power to confer or withhold appellate jurisdiction.'"

Regarding Flast v. Cohen (1968), Roberts quoted from Justice William O. Douglas, who wrote, "[A]s respects our appellate jurisdiction, Congress may largely fashion it as Congress desires by reason of the express provisions of Section 2, Article III. See Ex parte McCardle."

In Section IV of his memo, Roberts again covered the span from the framing of the Constitution to the time of his writing the memo, quoting another dozen or so cases that referenced, less directly, the power of Congress to exempt the Court from certain issues or decisions.

Roberts also noted that the original Judiciary Act of 1789 (which created the federal court system) also refers to Congress' power of exception.

Time to Play Hardball

Both demographics and popular political opinion are moving against the Republican Party, and Republican politicians know it. Democrats should use this moment-if we can succeed in fighting back the GOP fascist tide-to use historical precedent to reconfigure our government so it represents the will of a majority of Americans.

No more Mx. Nice Guy.



TarryFaster 2 years 36 weeks ago

2:49 PMThom, have you ever read an article named, "Beware The Psychopath, My Son"? If you are not familiar with it, may I encourage you to explore the TRUE cause of exactly who has been responsible for the major destructive factor of the good will of humans -- ever since we first formed tribes

The article is the first link ("Research studies have shown ...") on my webpage,

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 36 weeks ago

Another excellent history lesson, Thom!

The modern, right-of-center Democratic Party better wake up fast and become fully conscious of the Republican Party's fascist coup happening right now in slow motion, right out in the open for all to witness.

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton

Perhaps Trump's deep love affairs with Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, Duterte, Andrzej Duda, Erdoğan, Bolsonaro, and god knows how many other brazen despots, which he has been openly admiring and not-so-secretly emulating during his illegitimate "presidency," had sprung forth from having been forced to read Animal Farm in middle school.

That's probably one of the few books the "stable genius" has ever actually read. If indeed he really did (if he didn't pay someone else to fake his book reports), he obviously took to heart the exact wrong lesson.

whatabout's picture
whatabout 2 years 36 weeks ago

The darling of the democrat party Joe Biden debates Joe Biden.

Bless his heart.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 36 weeks ago

"the democrat party" -- Anymore, that worn-out, ill-informed, almost subconscious tell reveals all one needs to know about whatever wingnut slime drips out of the mostly empty zombie skull of a hopelessly indoctrinated Trump troll.

The heart and soul of the Republicon Party -- who cuts the laughable figure of a cartoonish fat slob tweeting on the toilet:

Trump flops at the ABC town hall while facing a real debate monitor and real citizens without his usual ringfort of staff reinforcing his deluded and malevolent worldviews.

Legend 2 years 36 weeks ago

Just got back from a week in the mountains where I am off of the grid but still have satellite TV. When away I listen to Podcasts while working. Listened to a Bill Press Podcast with an interview with Brian Stelter, who is the host of CNN's Reliable Sources and author of the New York Times Bestseller, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth. Very interesting how basically Fox News is controlled by Trump. I will admit that I rarely watch Fox News. I see it for what it is, a brainwashing network that offer the news that it wants you to hear, along with its opinion. And does not present the News that it does not want you to hear. Several websites regularly post the lies and deceits of Fox News. The most known is I generally watch MSNBC which I challenge anybody to debunk or find websites that debunk it. It has a lot of fact and lets you make an opinion. Just to update myself I watched several hours of Fox News this week. It totally makes you realize why so many are still supporting Trump. They do not hear the daily News if they watch Fox News. They basically get opinion only, the opinion that Fox News wants you to have. Give it up for a week. Watch MSNBC or CNN. Or try Democracy Now. Put down Fox News for 1 week and see the change.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 36 weeks ago

What about that, whatabout? Do you hear what Legend is saying?

Legend 2 years 36 weeks ago

Whatabutt will not take up the challenge. He is beyond that. He sources sites that are much worse than Fox News.

Legend 2 years 36 weeks ago

Open carry is working out so well. Wonder what the rest of the world thinks of us?

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 36 weeks ago

So much anger and hate! What a sorry, ragtag rabble of white trash protesting illegally without a permit in Portland, Oregon today, itching for a gunfight and desecrating American flags -- whiney little bitches making fools of themselves in their white-supremacist clown getups, placating their racist, "law and order" (ha ha) demagogue.

Let the good times roll...

Yes! Scream and holler and spread that virus amongst yourselves, you goofy fcking idiots. Your army of orcs will defeat themselves as they get sick and die off, that many fewer enemies of democracy. Thank God Oregon has all mail-in voting so that sane people won't have to breathe the foul breath expelled by Trump dead-enders -- simple-minded fools defying city orders to wear masks and social distance.

Also today, in fascist juxtaposition, Trump nominates another unqualified, big-corporate-friendly, religious whack job to the SCOTUS for a lifetime appointment.

"The Supreme Court is finished: Republicans have killed it. Now it's time to fight back.
Trump and McConnell have corrupted the Supreme Court and the judicial branch for a generation. Time to fight dirty."
-- Lucian K. Truscott IV

Legend 2 years 36 weeks ago

Amy Coney Barret, The next SC for life Justice. She speaks in Tongues. Her extreme beliefs will affect her Judicial decisions. If Obama had nominated a Muslim, imagine the Republican response.

"In 2012, as a professor at Notre Dame, Barrett signed a letter attacking a provision of the ACA that forced insurance companies to offer coverage for contraception, a facet of the law later modified for religious institutions. The adjustment forced insurance companies – not employers – to alert employees to contraception and abortion drugs that were available under the insurance plan.

The letter Barrett signed said: “The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization. This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.”

If she is confirmed before the November election, one of Barrett’s first cases could determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act."

She Believes in Faith healing, which the Covid-19 virus will hava a good laugh at.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 2 years 36 weeks ago

Mr Legend:

I see you get some excercise by 'jumping to conclusions'. When did Wikipedia become a reliable source? I don't know of any educational institution that accepts Wikipedia as a creditable reference. Also, where in the Wikipedia article does it state Mrs. Barrett speaks in tongues? Here's a direct quote from your questionable source. "People of Praise was formed in 1971 by Kevin Ranaghan and Paul DeCelles. Both men were involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, in which Pentecostalreligious experiences such as baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and prophecy are practiced by Catholics." As I hope you can see the article is referring to People of Praise founders Kevin Ranaghan, and Paul DeCelles, and uses the words 'such as' when referring to speaking in tongues. Nowhere in the Wikipedia article does it say Mrs Barrett speaks in tongues.

Where in the world did you come up with the statement "She believes in Faith Healing"? There's no mention of 'Faith Healing' in either article. I guess it's a form of magic you do, 'pulling facts out of thin air'. May I suggest you go back and re-write your post, but leave out the excercises and magic tricks.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 36 weeks ago

They just can't help themselves. Since most radical Christianist Republicans, who make up the party's central base as well as a majority of its political leadership, generally think that their SCOTUS nominees should be strict anti-abortionists, they are unabashedly imposing a very narrow religious test in a country where the Founders strove mightily to separate matters of religion and state as much as humanly possible. (Anyone who doesn't understand and agree with the veracity of that statement is simply not paying attention, is badly misinformed, or is lying.)

Therefore, in my opinion, Democrats have a duty and a moral obligation to quiz judge Amy Coney Barrett extensively about exactly how much her far-out religious views will influence her decisions on the highest court in the land, which oversees a supposedly secular government elected by a blend of citizenry with perhaps the most diverse religious views of any people in the world.

Here's a synopsis of Barrett's record by Terry H. Schwadron that doesn't bode well:

“Faced with two plausible readings of a law, fact, or precedent, Barrett always seems to choose the harsher, stingier interpretation. Can job applicants sue employers whose policies have a disproportionately deleterious impact on older people? Barrett said no. Should courts halt the deportation of an immigrant who faced torture at home? Barrett said no. Should they protect refugees denied asylum on the basis of xenophobic prejudice? Barrett said no. Should they shield prisoners from unjustified violence by correctional officers? Barrett said no. Should minors be allowed to terminate a pregnancy without telling their parents if a judge has found that they’re mature enough to make the decision? Barrett said no. Should women be permitted to obtain an abortion upon discovering a severe fetal abnormality? Barrett said no.”

Further reading:

​An excerpt from the second bullet point:

"People of Praise describes itself as a “charismatic” Christian community, referring to a form of Christianity that believes that supernatural occurrences ― such as prophecy, miraculous healing and speaking in tongues ― can occur in people’s daily lives through the work of the Holy Spirit. These beliefs are most often associated with Pentecostal Christianity, but in the late 1960s, Catholics began adopting this form of spirituality as well." [bold lettering mine]

During the Senate hearing process -- to end any speculation and to document it forever on the congressional record -- Judge Barrett should be compelled to answer for herself the question about prophecy, faith healing, and speaking in tongues and whether or not she believes or has ever partaken in that unscientific nonsense.

At any rate, regardless of the truth and Democrats' legitimate concerns, barring some miraculous intervention from above (tongue in cheek), Senate Republicans have all the tools to ram her through -- primarily: shameless hypocrisy, a boatload of Trump/McConnell/Graham lies, and complete disrespect and disregard for the spirit of the Constitution, and in many cases, the letter as well. But at least the People should have the right to inform themselves about which party is actively destroying our democracy -- lately, on almost a daily basis.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 2 years 36 weeks ago

The Democrats have themselves to blame for allowing President Trump to have his way with appointments:

1. Ginsburg should have retired during the Obama administration. Had she retired in 2014 or 15, Obama would have been successful in getting his nominee to the Supreme Court. I guess Ginsberg, who was at the time was suffering with pancreatic cancer, thought she would live forever.
2. The more egregious mistake was made by that political 'genius' Chuck Schumer. When the Democrats didn't get their way with the Merrick Garland nomination, Schumer dug his heels in and forbid Democrats to vote for Trumps nominee Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch was/is a conservative replacing conservative justice Anton Scalia. In order to get Gorsuch approved, senator McConneel changed the rules for approval from 60 votes to a simple majority and Gorsuch was approved. There was no advantage to be gained or lost by electing Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. However, the rules were forever changed. When Kavanaugh was nominated, all Republicans needed was a simple majority again to have him approved. Had Schumer not been so adamant during the Gorauch nomination, Kavanaugh's conformation would have required 60 votes. At that time the country was not politically ready to change the votes for confirmation from 60 to a simple majority. It's that same today, there's no way the country would accept changing from 60 votes to a simple majority, if it weren't already so. I foresee Democrats doing more damage to their already tarnished reputation if Mrs. Barrett is attacked for her religious beliefs. I hope the Democrats do attack her, let them show to the country just how intolerant they are. Let's get this on.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 36 weeks ago

Ah so, in Doorknobs's reading, Democrats are responsible for the poor decisions and wicked behavior of Republican miscreants -- all the hypocrisy, bad faith, and depravity of the Republicans' Senate star chamber -- just because they failed to stop McConnells' undemocratic juggernaut of lies and corruption. By the same logical fallacy, bank managers are responsible for the actions of a bank robber because they somehow failed to lock up the money more securely. Obviously, Sherlock.

And why, pray tell, is asking to what extent a SCOTUS nominee will allow her strong personal religious views to influence her rulings from the bench an "attack?" The People have a right to know as much as possible about a lifetime appointee who will be making weighty decisions that will affect hundreds of millions of lives long into the future, do they not? Or, do you believe in hiding the truth from the American people as do most other Republicans?

Even though she'll probably never admit it, I'll bet soon-to-be-defeated Susan Collins wishes like hell she could go back in time and change her Kavanaugh vote. This time around, McConnell's antics could cost Republicans the Senate for a generation or longer. Let's hope so.

Indeed, get it on! Let the good times roll...

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 2 years 36 weeks ago

I realize what I'm about to say is anecdotal, but it needs to be said. My cousin is a Nun. A School sister of Norte Dame. She's also an evangelical Catholic active in the Latino community. Politically, she's a leftie, but he religion trumps her political beliefs. She would not stand for the trashing of Mrs. Barrett's beliefs, they are the same as hers. Her religious beliefs (both my cousins and Mrs Barrett's) are in sync with the Latino community in the USA. Not that it makes a difference, but Pope Francis is also a evangelical Catholic Latino, and also a Jesuit. Soo bring on the attack, and watch the Latino's in the good old USA jump on the Trump Train...

ppowell496's picture
ppowell496 2 years 36 weeks ago

Ever if Ms. Barrett does NOT believe in faith healing nor speaks in tounges, there is plenty in her speeches, from her own mouth to worry about her ability to be partial.

Did you thoroughly enjoy your little "deconstruction" of the OP's opinion?

Please be careful as you dismout from your high horse, it can get throny out there.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 36 weeks ago

Republicans, always playing the victim...

Again, Doorknobs the rightie, "attacking" and "trashing" are your words. You are creating a reprehensible strawman argument and then jumping to a mistaken conclusion based on your own mistaken assumption.

While ordinary citizens may certainly critique and criticize radicalized religious extremism that they deem harmful to a functioning society, nobody in Democratic leadership is planning to gratuitously "attack and trash" someone else's benign religious beliefs. That is the exclusive purview of Donald Jerkwad Trump and his fellow travelers vis-à-vis the vast majority of peaceful Muslims.

However, Senators certainly have the obligation, indeed the constitutional duty, to ask Barrett if prophecy, faith healing, speaking in tongues, or any other strongly held religious dogma that she may have internalized will unduly influence her constitutional obligation to strive for and execute impartiality, as ppowell496 indicates.

And while it's totally fine, whether others agree or not, that your "leftie" cousin's "religion trumps her political beliefs" -- we live in a free country (kinda) where even atheism, or any other out-of-mainstream, nonviolent personal belief system for that matter, is, by law, supposed to be on equal footing and enjoy equal protection with Christianity (They aren't and they don't in too many cases.) -- it is not okay in America to have any judge, especially on the Supreme Court, put religion above the Constitution in the performance of her or his official duties and rulings.

A jurist is not a nun. We live in a secular nation, not a theocracy. It would be remiss for the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, not to ensure that that is the case. I'm sure that most rational Latinos and Latinas would agree with that conclusion. Si?

Besides, Trump has so vilified immigrants from Mexico, Central, and South America ("criminals, drug dealers, rapists, murders, terrorists") that I seriously doubt very many U.S. Hispanics would vote for such a xenophobe, religious bigot, and all-around hombre estúpido under any circumstance. That "Trump Train" has derailed long ago.

Legend 2 years 36 weeks ago

#11 Doorknobs,

As far as Wikipedia as a source I will let you research all of the references and footnotes in the articles. There are 88 footnotes in the first article. Have at it. Wikipedia is a much better source than your “word” which is all that you use. And that “word” is the “word’ of a Republican which has very little value these days.

"People of Praise was formed in 1971 by Kevin Ranaghan and Paul DeCelles. Both men were involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, in which Pentecostal religious experiences such as baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and prophecy are practiced by Catholics."

It is referring to People of Praise of which she is a member.

and prayer for physical healing is the same as faith healing.

As cults and religions go, which one is correct? How would the Republicans feel if a Muslim was picked by a POTUS? After all "In God We Trust". What about a Mormon who believes in a separate fairy tale yet claims to be Christian. Can Religion affect how one would vote on The Affordable Care Act? Or Guns? She did rule for a Felon possesing a gun. Praise the Lord and pass the Ammunition.

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