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Kagan, Sotomayor say Supreme Court must steer clear of politics to protect legitimacy

On the eve of a Senate vote likely to result in the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, two of the three sitting female justices said the court must guard its own reputation for being impartial, neutral and fair. Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor shared concerns that widespread polarization in the country's political environment could affect public perceptions of the court's legitimacy. Speaking at a question-and-answer session during a conference at Princeton University dedicated to celebrating women, Kagan and Sotomayor did not directly address the prospect of Kavanaugh's confirmation but said there was value to maintaining a "middle position" on the court's bench. "This is a really divided time," Kagan said. "Part of the court's strength and part of the court's legitimacy depends on people not seeing the court the way they see the rest of the governing structures of the country now." Their pre-scheduled appearance at the "She Roars" conference came just hours after Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-Virginia, announced they would support Kavanaugh's nomination. Sotomayor said she sought out "the good" in her colleagues and that the court's members had a practice of maintaining collegial relationships even in times of disagreement. "If you start from the proposition that there's something good in everyone it's a lot easier to get along with them," she said. "It's just the nine of us," Kagan added. The two justices, both Princeton graduates, were interviewed before an audience of more than 3,000 by another alumna, Heather Gerken, who currently serves as the Dean of Kavanaugh's alma mater, Yale Law School.

Political War Over Replacing Justice Kennedy on Supreme Court Underway

Democrats and liberal advocacy organizations face enormous challenges if they hope to prevent President Trump and the Republicans from installing a conservative justice who would shift the ideological balance of the court for generations. Mr. Trump has vowed to pick from a list of highly conservative jurists, and Republicans control the Senate, which can confirm the president’s choice by a simple majority. But the potentially monumental impact of Justice Kennedy’s departure appears to have lit a fire under Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists, who vowed Thursday morning to mount a vigorous fight in the hopes of preserving decades of liberal court precedents on abortion, civil rights, gay rights, affirmative action and the death penalty. Conservative organizations were mobilizing to support a quick confirmation of a justice who would be expected to vote against the court’s liberal precedents. rights, civil rights, workers’ rights and health care,” Ms. Pelosi declared. Liberal activists and Democratic lawmakers have demanded that a replacement for Justice Kennedy not be confirmed until after the midterm elections in the fall, arguing that voters should be given the opportunity to select the members of Congress they want to vote on the vital selection. Mr. McConnell defended his decision to move forward with filling the vacancy this year, in contrast to his handling of the nomination of Judge Garland. We’re right in the middle of this president’s very first term.” Mr. McConnell pointed to the Supreme Court confirmations of Justices Elena Kagan in 2010, Stephen G. Breyer in 1994 and David H. Souter in 1990 — all midterm election years in a president’s first term. “We should not vote on a new Supreme Court Justice before the American people vote in November,” Mr. Kaine wrote. Conservative organizations are gearing up as well to provide political support to Republican lawmakers for a speedy confirmation and to demand the appointment of a conservative jurist.

How SCOTUS’ ruling on labor unions in Janus vs. AFSCME could upend politics in...

Buy Photo Pennsylvania’s public-sector labor unions, which represent 6 percent of the state’s workers and spend tens of millions of dollars on political campaigns annually, could be substantially handicapped thanks to a blockbuster decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Pete Matthews, president of Philadelphia’s District Council 33, said his blue-collar municipal union spent more than a year asking members to sign cards pledging to remain. Janus ruling follows years of labor losses The Supreme Court’s decision comes after America’s unions have suffered decades of decline. “This decision could have far-reaching implications beyond public-sector unions to unions generally and to workers, even some who are not organized,” Casey said. “Even if we didn’t have union participation in supporting candidates, I think there are some members of the corporate right that just don’t want workers to be organized anyway,” he said. His union mostly represents workers outside of the government. He echoed Morgan in saying that the Janus decision could mobilize workers who feel under attack. According to a 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service, 5.6 percent of workers are union members in states with right-to-work laws, compared to 15 percent in other states. Less than 10 percent of the people represented by the union are not members, according to Kirsch. It’s politics.