Friday, September 18, 2020

Vacancy at the U.S. Supreme Court

A liberal Supreme Court Judge, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, age 87, passed away today due to pancreatic cancer. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.  U.S. Supreme Judges have no retirement age. They can serve as long as they want to.

Here is the situation in U.S. Supreme Court.  Since they can serve forever, every President is waiting to fill up their own candidate.  If the President is a Democrat, he will want to fill up with a liberal.  If the President is a Republican, he will want to fill up with a conservative. This is very important because it will have heavy influence on issues that are to be decided by the Supreme Court.

President Trump was very lucky.  In his first term, he was able to appoint two conservative judges, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.  The current position is 5 conservative judges and 4 liberal judges (with Ginsberg).

Here is the situation as of today.  Within a few hours of Ginsberg’s death, President Trump is already considering about 5 people for replacing her.  Two of them are Indian Origin.  Amul Thapar and Neomi Rao.

Here is a tricky situation.  2016 was a year for Presidential election.   President Obama, a few months before the election,  had an opportunity to fill a vacancy.  He nominated Merrick Garland.  The Republicans controlled the senate.  Therefore, the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate  Mr.  Mitch McConnell is the one to decide  what business will be taken up by the Senate.   In 2016, he refused to take up this matter for discussion.  He said “voters should be able to express their views at the ballot box before the Senate votes in the final year of a president's term.”

Now the same situation in 2020.   2 months before the election there is a vacancy.   Democrats are telling Mr.  McConnell to go by the same rule he invoked in 2016. But Mr.  McConnell says he is not going to abide by what he said in 2016. Today he said he will make sure Trump’s nominee is confirmed while Trump is still the president.

If the Republicans can do that, It will be 6 to 3 in favor of Conservatives in the U.S. Supreme Court. This will affect the American people and everything in the United States for many many years.

PS: I have no idea why the last 2 paragraphs came in this fashion.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Anita Hill

Lot of my American readers may have forgotten this name.  Almost all the non-American readers have never heard this name.

Anita Hill in 1991

Anita Hill is an American lawyer and academic.  She is a professor at Brandeis University. In 1991, every newspaper and TV media in USA were talking about her every day.  Here is the background

In 1991, President Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.  All Supreme Court nominees must be confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Democrats were in majority in the Senate at that time.  Joe Biden was the Judiciary Committee Chairman.

Anita Hill came to testify against nominating Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court Judge.  She previously worked for Clarence Thomas.  She alleged sexual harassment while she was working for him.  The Republican Senators, who were in the minority in the Senate, asked Anita Hill lot of embarrassing questions.  They even suggested that she has a loose character and  is a slut.

Joe Biden, Chairman of the Committee, was in control of the testimony.   He could have stopped the Republican Senators asking Anita Hill embarrassing questions.  But he did not.

There were 4 other witnesses waiting to testify and support Anita Hill’s credibility.  Joe Biden never called them to testify.

Finally, Clarence Thomas was confirmed by a margin of 52-48, the narrowest margin for any Supreme Court Judge.

A few years later, Joe Biden called Anita Hill to talk it over and express regret. He said Anita Hill did not get a fair hearing and was not treated  well and he took full responsibility.

Did Anita Hill forgive Joe Biden.  NO.  She said she is ready to move on.  Also, ready to hold Joe Biden accountable.

Latest News:  Last week, Anita Hill announced she will be voting for Joe Biden in the coming Presidential election.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Biden's Running Mate Kamala Harris

Finally, Joe Biden announced his running mate (for VP) - Kamala Harris.

This is really not a big surprise as she has been the front runner for the VP role.  Indians can be happy because her mother is from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Kamala spent a lot of vacation time during her childhood in Besant Nagar, Chennai. Her mother and grandfather taught her carnatic music and bharathnatayam.


    Top Left to Right: Kamala Harris, Her grandma Rajam Gopaln, Her grandpa

    P.V. Gopalan, Her sister Maya Harris.  The kids: Maya's daughter and a cousin


Here are some pros and cons regarding Kamala Harris.

Pros

She is highly educated.

She has held a solid number of public jobs - District Attorney in San Francisco, Attorney General for the State of California, U.S. Senator from California.

She is a great debater.

She comes across very well in front of the camera and on television.

She is also loved by the black community in America.

 

Cons

She is very ambitious.  A little too ambitious and opportunistic.

She knows that Biden will be a one term president only (four years) and it's highly possible that he won’t even finish his one term due to his advanced age and mental capacity. Therefore, she will have her own agenda instead of implementing Biden’s agenda.

She implemented the 1994 Crime Bill to the fullest. The bill was written by Joe Biden and approved by President Bill Clinton. It resulted in mass incarceration and innocent people were put in prison..

She has a "sugar daddy", Willie Brown, Speaker of the California Assembly. He made sure she was moving up the political ladder but in return what did Kamala was doing the forbidden dance with Slick Willie.

She is a big proponent for medicare for all. Many Americans aren't supportive.

 

So what do I think of Biden's pick for VP?

I don't think Harris is a bad pick at all.  However, I do not think she was the best choice.

I believe Susan Rice would have been a better running mate (also minority female).  She was the National Security Advisor for Barrack Obama.  Rice was also U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.  Rice is also highly educated and she graduated from Stanford University and Oxford.

 

Can Biden/Harris defeat Trump/Pence in November?

I'm not an R, or a D. I'm an I - for Independent.

When Biden became the candidate for the Democratic Party, I put his chance of winning at 70%. Now with Kamala Harris as his running mate, I put his chance of winning at 55%.

PS: The blog post when I put it here came funny.  I don't know how to fix it.