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Tonight’s presidential debate will be the first time candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be asked at length about the Supreme Court on a stage together. This is surprising, given that the future of the Supreme Court is unquestionably at stake in this election.
It’s time for reformers to focus not just on the corporate scammers, but on the court decisions that so greatly decreased the risks of scamming.
For now, one thing is clear: federal courts have played a key role in upholding the fundamental right to vote for all people this November and in ensuring that states abide by the Constitution.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — with the help of his caucus, including Sen. Pat Toomey — is content to pervert the law to serve his partisan political ends: the hope that a Republican will be elected the next president and nominate a conservative justice to preserve the court's rightward tilt.
Sometimes bias can be hard to see. But much like the horrific shootings of unarmed African American men pre-judged as violent and dangerous, the Peña-Rodriguez case is a terrible and unmistakable reminder of the real harms that racial and ethnic stereotyping can create. As Justice Kagan put it during argument, the case has “the best smoking-gun evidence you’re ever going to see about race bias in the jury room.” When it makes its decision, the Supreme Court should ensure that our jury system, hailed at our nation’s founding as a sacred bulwark of liberty, is a protective barrier against such discrimination, not an agent of it.
We should not limit the Supreme Court’s ability to perform its critical role in our democracy. We should instead make sure it is composed of Justices who will faithfully apply the law. That’s the Supreme Court’s job. And Republican Senators should let it do it.
Racial bias in the criminal justice system, the growing political power of minority voters, and the accountability of predatory banks are at the center of this term’s most interesting cases.
A new Supreme Court term begins this week without a ninth Justice, and – unlike Senate Republicans who continue to refuse to do their jobs and give the President’s nominee a hearing and a vote – the eight Justices currently on the Court still need to do their jobs to the extent they are able to. After all, a number of significant cases are on the Court’s docket this term. They may lack the blockbuster status of some cases in previous terms, but they still raise important issues that are central to who we are as a nation.
Looking back at 2005, it’s pretty clear that Senate Republicans can promptly fill a vacancy on the Court (and deal with an announced retirement) when they want to. Their partisan inaction now is nothing short of shameful. And the Court, the country, and Merrick Garland are paying the price.