But this radical judge in Texas, a reliable anti-immigration activist has “time and time again used his position to try and dismantle progressive immigration policies—and his allies on the xenophobic right have repeatedly looked to him for anti-immigrant rulings and injunctions.” He’s not going to stop, no more than any of the George W. Bush and Trump-appointed federal judges who have far-right agendas on any number of issues, and who are young enough to be haunting society with reactionary rulings for generations to come.
Hanen and his fellow wing-nuts are going to keep teeing up radical decisions for the U.S. Supreme Court, and they are a lot more likely to prevail now that it’s got three Trump judges and a 5-vote radical-right majority.
The destructive Voting Rights Act decision that ended this year’s Supreme Court term is just a precursor to the horrors that are to come. We know that they’re taking both Second Amendment and abortion rights cases next term. They’ve made ominous noises about taking an affirmative action case, and there’s another challenge to the Affordable Care Act waiting in the wings.
Look at what happened in the last term: the last reliably liberal appeals court in the nation, the 9th Circuit, was reversed in 15 out of 16 of its rulings that came before the Supreme Court. The reversed cases included a broad range of issues, from immigration, religion, and voting rights, to property rights and class-action lawsuits.
A few of of the longtime judges on the 9th Circuit explained to the LA Times how it’s been happening. Trump’s picks have been writing star dissents, then pressing for reviews of the rulings. “The more people who join the dissents, the more it gets the attention of the conservatives,” on the Supreme Court said one of the judges. Another added “This year was different. […] This year was really different.” Both spoke anonymously because federal judges speaking out about the politicization of their institution is bad form. Possibly also because the conservatives on the Supreme Court would probably start looking at their rulings specifically for retaliation. It’s certainly not too much to expect of Samuel Alito or Clarence Thomas.
Because what these conservatives on the Supreme Court are doing is telling lower court judges how to construct their rulings on things like voter suppression laws in the states to keep those laws in place.
Without urgent action from Biden on down through the Senate, the future is bleak and Biden’s agenda on everything from climate change to education to consumer protection is in jeopardy. Any Democrat’s reelection is in jeopardy, now that the Supreme Court has issued a primer on how states’ judges can “legally” block huge swathes of Democrat-leaning voters from the polls.
The administration and Democratic Senate is doing a bang-up job on filling existing vacancies with a diverse slate of younger judges, with broad professional experience. As far as that goes, it’s a great thing. But it’s not enough.
Court reform, court expansion is essential.