Supreme Court rules on abortion access and Trump tax returns next week

It’s a lifetime appointment. They can rule how they want. Some have made an entire career of being assholes (see: Thomas, Scalia).

Don’t forget they knew that kicking it back down would delay any real decision until after the election.

I highly doubt it. There is plenty of politics on the court, but none of it is this nakedly Machiavellian.

The political differences and similarities among the justices exist alongside other similarities and differences regarding issues like judicial methodology and intellectual temperament. Even when two justices agree on an outcome, they might do so for different reasons, or emphasize different aspects of the case. Also, cases that seem politically very fraught to outsiders often involve very narrow or arcane legal issues, and it’s often the case that these are far more relevant to how the case is decided than the political leanings of the justices.

You can sometimes see these issues in the opinions and concurrences and dissents. For example, in one of the cases about Trump’s tax returns, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh agreed with the overall judgment of the majority, but wrote a concurrence explaining that they would have reached a similar result using slightly different reasoning.

Also, as QuickSilver says, no-one can fire them, and they can’t be voted out, so there’s no particular need to demonstrate their honesty.

Okay makes sense - thanks.

All federal judges can be impeached. A judge in FL was impeached and removed and now he serves in Congress. He was elected 4 years after he was removed and he’s been in congress since 1993.

Yeah, I’m old enough to remember the Impeach Earl Warren bubble among segregation diehards. (Didn’t happen and was never likely to. Anything’s possible, but impeachment of a Justice movements never seem to get much traction.)

He will treat Trump well, if only as a message to the next Republican Presidential candidate…

In the case of a Supreme Court judge, possible but highly unlikely, especially if only on the grounds of either dissenting on a judgement or voting with the majority. You need a majority of the House plus two-thirds of the Senate.

Why didn’t the SC ruling address the “Shall provide to Congress on request” clause? Is that another decision they kicked down to the lower courts?

That’s not a Constitutional clause; it’s part of a statute.

The IRS is supposed to hand the stuff over if requested by Congress, but Congress has to follow the Constitution in making its requests, and that’s the issue that the Supreme Court was dealing with here. The court said that Congress can only make these sorts of requests in the first place if it’s in pursuit of a valid or legitimate legislative purpose. The question of Congress’s purpose in issuing the subpoenas was central to this case, and is part of the reason that the court sent the case back down.

Note, too, that the opinion clearly distinguishes a “valid legislative purpose” from something like a law enforcement purpose. Congress is not an enforcement agency, and it can’t demand the President’s (or anyone else’s) records just to put the President on trial. It has to use the impeachment process if it wants to do that. From the majority opinion:

Thank you.

An interesting CNN article on how Justice Kavanaugh tried to sidestep both issues:

Brett was too busy going to keggers to work on those cases.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the Supreme Court is leaking like it never has before.

I was just reading that. If offers a very interesting behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the Court that don’t often get written about. Other than the usual attempts mind-reading…

“In March, Kavanaugh faced a test of the tension between his conservative bona fides and the apparent efforts to revive his reputation among women.”

Was Kavanaugh in fact deliberately trying to repair his reputation, or was he simply acting in a manner consistent with his beliefs?

“Kavanaugh has not turned his back on the politicians who guaranteed his high court ascension…”

To me, there is an implication here, not supported by anything, that Kavanaugh is consciously trying to “look out” for the beliefs of some. Maybe, maybe not.

Anyway, continuing on, the article shows Kavanaugh as someone interested in a certain degree of accommodation with the other justices, perhaps not what some would have expected. But it’s way too early to make any kind of predictions as to what he will be like over the long term. I myself wouldn’t mind a drift to “Souterism”, if I may coin a term, such as that exhibited by Justice David Souter, who did not turn out the way conservatives expected. Time will tell, but I’m not holding my breath.

This was also a thought I had: “I don’t remember this kind of thing being written about before!”

Not just weeks after, that’s for sure. Check out Woodward and Armstrong’s The Brethren and Toobin’s The Nine for very good, more historically-minded peeks behind the scenes at the court.

I read this, and I concur wholeheartedly. One of the biggest things I took away from this was Toobin’s explanation that the Chief Justice has way less sway over things than I originally thought. Of course his vote means no more than any other justice, but other than “running” the meetings where they all discuss things, and assigning writer’s of opinions, he (hopefully I can edit that pronoun soon) has no more power than the others. I try to no longer to, for example, think of the “Rehnquist court” as anything other than the decisions made when he was CJ, and not as something where he drove a lot of the rulings handed down.

Anyway, great book!

Glad you liked it, FP. Here’s an interesting article, part of the same CNN series this week as the Kavanaugh article, on the Chief Justice’s role these days:

I like Biskupic’s work, and she does a good job of discussing the inner workings of the court, given that she has to rely almost exclusively on anonymous inside sources, and has very few ways of determining, in cases where she gets contradictory information, whose account is accurate.

But I thought the piece on Kavanaugh contained far too many speculations and assumptions, of the kind that you’ve quoted here. In another place, she writes:

I’ve read a bunch of Kavanaugh’s opinions and dissents from this term, and nothing in any of them suggested (to me, anyway) any particular or keen awareness of public opinion, or any desire to mollify it by moderating his jurisprudence. She goes on at length about him allegedly trying to please both sides and appear moderate, but unlike some of her other articles on the court, where she connects her claims to court informants, her discussion of Kavanaugh’s “apparent” thinking is almost all just pulled straight out of her ass.

I have no particular love for Brett Kavanaugh, nor for his decisions, but I also don’t think that this is very good reporting.