Oct 17 Socrates Cafe

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Socrates Café
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Our Socrates Café is a place and time for us to get together to exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences in order to learn by pondering the questions and opinions of others.  All political, economic and social points of view are welcomed and encouraged.

The only ground rule is that we will be polite to those opinions
that differ from our own.

What Is The Legacy Of The Kavanaugh Hearings?
Article 3 of the United States Constitution establishes the Supreme Court. It provides no guidance as to scope or size beyond “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”

The size of the Supreme Court has varied over the years from six, in 1789, to as many as ten, but has remained unchanged by Congress at nine since 1869. In 1937 President Roosevelt attempted to add as many of six justices but failed.

In general, the votes of the Senate to confirm justices have been bipartisan. For example, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a noted liberal and former lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union was confirmed in 1993 by a 96-3 margin. Antonin Scalia, a stanch advocate of textualism was confirmed in 1986 by a 98-0 vote.
Up until recent years, this bipartisanship based on judicial qualifications was the modus operandi with the exception of Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish justice, in 1916 (47-22 with all negative votes but one by Republicans) and Clarence Thomas in 1991 (52-48 with all negative votes save two cast by Democrats). Over the last century multiple nominees have been rejected on a bipartisan basis because they failed in the opinion of the senators to meet what they perceived as the standards for the court.

None of the past confirmation hearings appear to have engendered the animosity, partisanship, and anger as that which we have witnessed over the past several months.

  • Why the difference?
  • What have we learned?
  • What is the legacy?

Facilitated and written by: Robert M. Rubin