Sunday, October 21, 2018
Joining a minority of US jurisdictions, the Supreme Court of Washington ruled last week that sentencing of youthful offenders to life sentences without parole violates the US Constitution. 21 jurisdictions including states and the District of Columbia having ruled similarly and the present minority of states demanding that juveniles not have a minimum sentence of "life" look is growing.
The man in question murdered three members of his family when he was 15. The victims were his parents and 5 year old brother. He obtained his GED and took courses through a community college while incarcerated. But as a psychologist testified, the youthful brain fails to consider long term consequences of actions.
In 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled that sentencing juveniles to automatic life sentences was unconstitutional. The Washington State legislature then passed a statute allowing youthful offenders to have their sentencing reviewed, but provided that life in prison was still an option. That option is now struck by the Supreme Court.
This opinion moves human rights forward in Washington State and comes shortly after the state's Supreme Court determined the state's death penalty was unconstitutional.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
The Constitution's failure to acknowledge full voting rights in black men and all women, has had long lasting repercussions. The founders ignoring the fundamental rights of more than half of the population produced devastating results that extend into this decade. Active voter suppression efforts are taken to prevent people of color from voting. Threats of arrest for voter fraud, and other acts of intimidation are not only common but are effective. One of the most insidious deprivations of voting rights is denying the right to vote to those who are incarcerated for felonies and for newly returning citizens. Maine and Vermont do not deprive those convicted of felonies of the right to vote, even while incarcerated. This is not so in other states..
In 2016, Crystal Mason of Texas voted in the presidential election. She had no idea that she was not permitted to vote while on probation. And certainly no one from the state, including her probation officer, ever told her she could not vote while still doing community service. Ms. Mason, who is African-American, was recently sentenced to five years in prison. Being both female and a woman of color, Ms. Mason is just the sort of individual that the founders never intended to enfranchise. The resulting avoidance by the drafters connects to present voting disruptions in a direct line.
A majority of states permit returning citizens to vote. Before someone you know who was formerly incarcerated participates in voting, it would be helpful for them to check and learn who is permitted to vote and when voting may resume in the jurisdiction of residence. One helpful resource may be found here.
Monday, October 15, 2018
The President is making his move to quell opposition.
"A new proposal by the Trump administration would seriously limit the number of protests in Washington, D.C., and bar demonstrations outside parts of the White House and the National Mall altogether." So reports Newsweek. The National Park Service claims that it proposed the plan that would shut down protests on the north side of the White House, near Lafayette Park. Protesters have demonstrated in that area for 50 consecutive nights. In addition the plan would prohibit protests on the National Mall and would cap the number of protesters permitted to demonstrate. Portions of Pennsylvania Avenue would be shut down, as well.
Many other presidents have lived through continuous protests in the neighborhood. President Nixon was the target of anti-war protesters, as well as those seeking impeachment. On one early morning, President Nixon went to the Lincoln Memorial to engage those demonstrating. Protesters during the Vietnam War continued a steady chant of "Hey, Hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today." The demonstrators were so persistent that often the Johnsons forewent plans for entertaining visitors because of the chanting outside.
This President has no tolerance for dissent. Despite protest being a long, embedded activity in our political culture, President Trump seeks to shut down peaceful protest. This move is one of the most threatening to democracy to date.
We should all be very worried.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
As reported by Amy Howe in Howe On The Court The Supreme Court declined to intervene in the case of Richard Brakebill v. Secretary of State of North Dakota which challenges North Dakota’s requirement that voters produce identification that includes their current residential address. Lawyers for those challenging the requirement argued that the requirement would prevent thousands of Native Americans from voting because they often do not have traditional addresses. In addition, Native Americans are disproportionately homeless. The law in question was put on hold by the Federal District Court hearing the matter when North Dakota was ordered to permit voters with identification showing a street or mailing address to exercise their franchise. But now the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit put that order on hold. In declining to hear the case on whether to continue the lower court order, voters in the final election will be required to show identification with a current residential address.
Justice Ginsburg dissented with Justice Kagan joining her:
“ The risk of voter confusion appears severe here because the injunction against requiring residential-address identification was in force during the primary election and because the Secretary of State’s website announced for months the ID requirements as they existed under that injunction. Reasonable voters may well assume that the IDs allowing them to vote in the primary election would remain valid in the general election. If the Eighth Circuit’s stay is not vacated, the risk of disfranchisement is large.”
In the meantime, suit has been filed against Brian Kemp the Georgia Secretary of State alleging voter suppression in the hotly contested governor's race where Stacey Abrams seeks to become the first African American governor. The lawsuit claims that the Secretary of State is refusing to certify 40,000 new applications for voter enrollment. Mr. Kemp happens to be Ms. Abrams' opponent.
Saturday, October 6, 2018
After spending a depressing Saturday mourning our political process and anticipating the anti-female and anti-LGBTQ opinions that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh likely will bring, I am just beginning to recover. Having been a fully engaged, practicing lawyer during the Hill-Thomas hearing, I felt sucker punched. I realized that this time around I actually had some hope that the voices of women would be heard. That little part of me that thought this time around would be different was angry. Nothing had changed.
We have witnessed an absolute disregard for what is happening in the country. After all, the next presidential Supreme Court Nominee will be a conservative justice. What does the Senate think it had to lose by passing on Justice Kavanaugh. The objections to Kavanaugh center not only on the sexual assault allegations, but on his behavior at the Senate hearings when he disrespected women senators. The Senate's failure to acknowledge the concerns of millions of men and women resulted from the immovable belief by men in power that they are beyond questioning or examination. They don't care. At the Hill-Thomas hearing the women were silenced as in Kavanaugh, but the raw hatred of women was kept at bay.
But something else changed since Hill-Thomas.
While Senator Grassley may believe that the protests were helpful to the Republican Senators, he is wrong. The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh has inspired younger women to vote and carry on. The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh is a catalyst for women. I am particularly heartened by the young women who demonstrated. Watching women being arrested for protesting following the confirmation hearings is so hopeful. Many of the women and men who are demonstrating are in their twenties. Their energy and persistence is inspiring. And they vote.
Our new leaders have arrived.
Thursday, October 4, 2018
The first letter to be delivered to Senate Judiciary leadership signed by multiple law professors was one from professors who teach, write or work on the gender violence. Dated September 26, the letter addressed issues of integrity and temperament of the nominee. But notably the letter addressed the committee's engaging a female prosecutor to query Dr. Ford and the resulting effort to raise the standard of proof to "beyond a reasonable doubt." Use of the criminal standard in civil matters has plagued gender violence survivors for decades. Use of the higher standard inevitably leads to abuse claims not being substantiated by the legal system.
"We are additionally concerned about the selection of a prosecutor to question Dr. Ford. Questioning by a prosecutor fuels misguided ideas that the allegations raised should be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That standard of proof has no place here, since the liberty and equitable issues at stake in criminal cases are not at issue. We would expect the Committee to conduct its own questioning, as it has done with other nominees and throughout this process. "
Then in a letter dated October 4th, over 2,400 US law professors opposed the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Guardian, the New York Times , Chris Hayes and other reporters and outlets have reported on the letters. The letter, as printed in the New York Times, brings together male and female professors who may otherwise disagree on Judge Kavanaugh's qualifications, but universally agree that Judge Kavanaugh's hostile and disrespectful behavior at last week's hearings revealed that Judge Kavanaugh does not have the temperament demanded of Supreme Court justices.
A separate letter was signed by over 900 female law professors and emphasized. “Judge Kavanaugh’s lack of respect for our democratic institutions, and for women in positions of power in particular, revealed that he does not have the requisite judicial temperament,” the letter states. The letter particularly notes Kavanaugh's behavior with female senators.
Unknown is the impact the letters will have on the Senate vote. But many of the signatories report experiencing communications from colleagues, former students, community members and others who are grateful that they signed on. These are amazing times and many are looking to lawyers for leadership. Congratulations to all signatories.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
In a CNN opinion piece Prof. Judith Resnik traced the history of women's legal issues becoming a prominent factor in the history of Supreme Court nomination hearings. The 1970 nomination hearing of George Harold Carswell was the first time that legal issues of importance to women were part of the inquiry. Congresswoman Patsy Mink described Carswell of lacking any understanding of women's equality issues when he refused to review a case where a woman was denied a position because she had children, yet fathers were hired for that same position. Carswell was rejected as was Robert Bork, whose hearing was held in 1987. Judge Bork's opinion was that the equal protection clause did not protect women. He also referred to sexual harassment as "sexual escapades".
Prof. Resnik discusses the progressive influence of women's advocacy that led to the Clarence Thomas vote being delayed, a la Brett Kavanaugh. Prof. Resnik's piece affirms the direct line of women's advocacy from the 70's to the present that has forced the consideration of issues important to women as a factor in Supreme Court nominees' hearings. What remains to be seen with the Kavanaugh hearings is whether the vote will reflect the incremental progress of those advocating for women or whether we will observe a repeat of the Thomas hearings.
The full opinion piece may be read here.
Sunday, September 30, 2018
How many times does it take for one person to learn the lesson that the suspected crime is not what typically creates harm to the accused, particularly for the white and wealthy. The attempted coverup causes the harm. One would think that more than anyone, a judge would have learned this lesson through observation.
Judge Kavanaugh did not.
The testimony of Dr. Linda Blasey Ford may not be sufficient to derail Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the US Supreme Court. Nor may the FBI investigation. But under any objective standard Judge Kavanaugh has undermined himself.
Even knowing that temperament is a critical factor in judicial appointments, Judge Kavanaugh could not maintain civility during last week’s hearings. He was particularly rude to his female interrogators, supporting theories that this is a man who does not respect women.
Claiming to be the victim, and creating the requisite tears is a technique often used by white men of privilege to divert attention from their own inappropriate behavior.
Chief Justice Roberts must be distraught.
In addition to disrespecting the Senators, Judge Kavanaugh disrespected the rule of law. Although, or perhaps because, he was under oath at last week’s hearing, the Judge refused to answer many questions, notably around his drinking. Throwing back to Senator Amy Klobuchar her question about whether he has suffered blackouts from drinking was an effort to chisel away at her dignity. Even beer consumption questions were scorned by the nominee, though the issue is central to other allegations. His defensiveness around drinking makes some wonder not only whether Judge Kavanaugh suffers from alcoholism, but whether we were witnessing the dis-temperament of one who needs alcohol to function and perhaps had not imbibed for a couple of days – just in case a senator inquired. Covering up his drinking was a mistake. There is a line of former classmates who will attest to the Judge’s frequent inebriation sometimes to the point of vomiting. This attempted cover up may be the Judge’s undoing.
Even worse would be the discovery that anger and disrespect is Judge Kavanaugh’s natural state, unrelated to any addiction. But whatever the source, we can only hope that Judge Kavanaugh seeks whatever help he needs to disengage from his self-righteousness and recover or discover a respectful, alcohol-free self. Maybe then he will understand the significance of the human rights focus on respect and dignity.
The bottom line is that Judge Kavanaugh revealed his anger, disrespect and incivility to the country. And he quite likely lied or misled the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judge Kavanaugh has neither the temperament nor the character to sit on our highest court. The ABA should use Judge Kavanaugh's wretched display of anger as grounds to change their ranking of Judge Kavanaugh to “unqualified”.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
RFK Human Rights will celebrate its 2018 Human Rights Laureates at a December 12th New York Gala. The awardees are President Barack Obama, Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Humana CEO Bruce D. Broussard. Laureates were selected for their exceptional work toward a more just and peaceful world.
Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert and founder of RFK Human Rights, will present the awards. Robert Kennedy's daughter Kerry, who is President of RFK Human Rights, noted that "On the 50th anniversary of his historic campaign for the White House, we honor laureates who have sent forth countless ripples of hope to millions of people inspired by their example."
More information on the awardees and the event may be found here.
Monday, September 24, 2018
Identifying as resisters has some downsides. Michael Alexander has reframed the discussion to flip our view of what is being resisted and by whom.
Ms. Alexander challenges us to examine what it means to identify as a member of the Resistance. In her NYT op-ed, "We Are Not The Resistance" the author briefly examines the history of the #Resistance movement, noting that while some resistance falls along party lines, other concerns attract a crossover population. Ms. Alexander ponders whether calling those opposed to some of the actions of this administration "the resistance" results in lowered expectations of those who resist.
"Resistance is a reactive state of mind." Alexander notes. "While it can be necessary for survival and to prevent catastrophic harm, it can also tempt us to set our sights too low and to restrict our field of vision to the next election cycle, leading us to forget our ultimate purpose and place in history."
Indeed, when we resist are we asking for a return to the status quo prior to the offensive act? A return to the status quo satisfies very few. The status quo maintains power primarily in the wealthy and the white. Women, people of color and others who historically have been denied political and cultural power are unlikely to support a return to the status quo.
We are at a moment of revolutionary change. We are not the resisters. The President is the resister. We are seeing the last gasp of corrupt systems that empower white men and often only wealthy white white men. If we adopt Ms. Alexander's more optimistic view of our expectations and our place in historical change, we can release ourselves from the exhaustion of resistance and elevate our expectations to creative change toward justice. We free ourselves to disengage resistance and join the energy of revolution.
The op-ed is well-worth reading in full to expand our historical and sociological perspective of the current movements.
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Lack of a Strategic Approach. We found that BOP could not ensure that its correctional institutions adhered to BOP policies pertaining to female inmates because BOP has only recently taken steps to formalize a process for verifying compliance with those policies. Further, while BOP established a Central Office branch that serves as its source of expertise on the management of female inmates, this branch may not have adequate staffing to fully fulfill its mission. Additionally, BOP requires all staff in female institutions to take training on the management of female inmates and trauma-informed correctional care; however, BOP does not require its National Executive Staff to complete these trainings. As a result, the officials who develop policy and make decisions that affect female inmates may not be aware of their needs.
BOP Programming and Policies. We identified three areas in which BOP’s programming and policy decisions did not fully consider the needs of female inmates: (1) trauma treatment programming, (2) pregnancy programming, and (3) feminine hygiene. We found that BOP may not be able to provide its trauma treatment program to all eligible female inmates until late in their incarceration, if at all, because BOP has assigned only one staff member at each institution to offer this program. We also estimated that only 37 percent of sentenced pregnant inmates participated in BOP’s pregnancy programs between fiscal year (FY) 2012 and FY 2016. We believe that participation was low because BOP inmates and staff lacked awareness of these programs, and staff may apply eligibility criteria more restrictively than intended by BOP headquarters. Further, we found that the distribution methods for feminine hygiene products provided to inmates varied by institution and did not always ensure that inmates had access to a sufficient quantity of products to meet their needs.
Lack of Gender-Specific Posts. We found that BOP’s practice of assigning Correctional Officers to posts solely by seniority has resulted in an inefficient use of Correctional Officer resources at female institutions. Male Correctional Officers are assigned to posts at which staff must regularly conduct searches of female inmates. Because the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 and BOP policy prohibit male Correctional Officers from searching female inmates, female Correctional Officers must leave other assigned posts to conduct these searches.
· Negative Impact of Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Danbury Conversion. We examined BOP’s 2013 decision to convert FCI Danbury from a female institution to a male institution, which resulted in 366 low security sentenced female inmates serving a portion of their sentences in Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) Brooklyn—a detention center intended for short-term confinement. We found that at MDC Brooklyn, BOP offered female inmates no access to outdoor space, less natural light, and fewer programming opportunities than what would otherwise be available to them at BOP facilities designed for long-term confinement.
Click here to read the full report.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
When I heard that an additional day of congressional hearings was scheduled for Monday, I cringed. I vividly remember the Anita Hill hearings. We owe a debt to Prof. Hill. She was one of the first women to publicly take on the topic of sexual harassment against a powerful man who had the support of powerful men. Prof. Hill was not protected. She was promised anonymity by the FBI only to be brought to testify at the Thomas confirmation hearing. She experienced professional and personal criticism and retaliation. Witnesses who could have supported her claims were prevented from testifying.
Is Prof. Ford facing the same fate? She attempted anonymity but quickly was "outed". Will supporting witnesses be permitted to testify? Or will Prof. Ford be forced to testify to details of a traumatic event only to find Judge Kavanaugh confirmed? My only hope comes from the #MeToo movement. 600 graduates of Ms. Ford's high school have signed a letter of support, stating that her description of events comports with their experiences. A much smaller number of women who knew Judge Kavanaugh when he was in high school have signed a letter attesting to his good character.
Anita Hill commented on Prof. Ford's predicament. In today's New York Times, Prof. Hill reflects on how Congress can "do better". Prof. Hill said the committee must follow “some basic ground rules.”
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
This month the US Human Rights Commission issued its report Contemporary Civil Rights Challenges: A View From The States. The report results from a survey of the 50 states' local civil rights advisory committees.
The top civil rights concerns revealed by the survey are race/color, administration of justice and voting rights. Other concerns are education, criminal justice, freedom of expression and civil rights enforcement.
Some of the specific concerns raised include voter suppression, Native American rights, the tension between religious liberty and non-discrimination laws, LGBT rights, cost of education and many others. The report also addresses geographic differences and national trends.
Monday, September 10, 2018
Francisco Rivera sends along this announcement from Santa Clara University:
The Katharine & George Alexander Law Prize Committee is seeking nominations for the 2019 recipient of the annual Katharine & George Alexander Law Prize. The Committee also encourages the sharing of this message with friends and other contacts for additional Prize nominations.
Katharine and George Alexander created the Prize in 2008 to bring recognition to those who have used their legal careers to help alleviate injustice and inequity. Along with the recognition associated with the award, each recipient also receives a generous cash prize.
Nominees for the Prize must be advocates who have used their abilities in the field of law and shown brave commitment to alleviating injustice and inequity.
The past four recipients of the Prize are:
- Emily Arnold-Fernández, Executive Director of Asylum Access, a leading global refugee human rights organization (2018)
-Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (2016);
-Martina E. Vandenberg, founder and president of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center (2015);
Nominations should be prepared on the form found
Supporting materials explaining the merits of the nominee for the Prize can also be provided through that form. The deadline for submission of nominations is October 1, 2018.
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Between August 21 and today, a nationwide prison strike has been in progress. Incarcerated individuals across the nation have protested in various ways. Some stopped working their often grueling jobs that pay two to three dollars a day, sometimes less. Others have engaged in hunger strikes while many refused to purchase items from the prison commissaries. Commissaries charge hugely inflated prices. Strikers are particularly courageous as prison retaliation can be fierce, including solitary confinement.
One of the major issues that prompted the protests is the poor quality and often dangerous food served to the prisons. A Center for Disease Control study found that incarcerated people are more than six times more likely to get a food borne illness than other individuals. Many states' prison food does not meet the state's own minimal nutritional standards. The privatization of prisons, and prison food delivery has made conditions even worse as the quality of food deteriorates to make prisons and private corporations more profitable.
Other concerns include ending forced labor, creating humane prison living conditions and developing prison policies that prioritize the humanity of the incarcerated.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Today was the beginning of confirmation hearings to determine whether Brett Kavanaugh will be the next US Supreme Court Justice. While odds are that Kavanaugh will be confirmed, there are a few Republican senators who appear ambivalent. One consideration that might drive those Republican to a confirmation vote is knowledge of who else is on the President's list of nominees. The question for many might be "How do you vote when you disapprove of the candidate, but fear that the next nominee will undermine constitutional rights on an even broader scale?"
Republicans claim that victory will be theirs, but they act otherwise. Litigators would probably be sanctioned for withholding discovery until the night before the first day of trial. Yet, not trusting fair play, 42,000 documents related to Kavanaugh's work at the White House under President Bush were released only last night. As one senator said, they would have to read at a rate of 7,000 pages per hour to read the documents prior to the start of the Kavanuagh hearings. Yet another 100,000 documents are being withheld altogether under cover of "executive privilege."
When some argue that the next supreme court justice will decide the future of the constitution, there is great reason for that concern. Since President Trump's election we have seen one attempt after another to undermine due process. From the torture of immigrants, to attacks on our systems, including the media and the Justice Department, it is clear that the President does not respect the rule of law. That the next Supreme Court justice could promote the agenda of a president who disdains law and protocols frightens an already frightened opposition.
Despite their concerns with fair play, some senators are focusing on doing their job by examining the candidate on issues of grave concern. Senator Whitehouse spoke of the Roberts' court's unwavering support of corporations over individuals and over human rights. Senator Whitehouse pointed out that in 73 cases Robert's "gang of five" sided with corporations. Senator Whitehouse particularly noted the Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC, decision which shields US corporations from human rights abuse lawsuits under the Alien Tort Act.
What is clear from these hearings, once any Trump nominee is confirmed, human rights lawyers must think carefully not only about which cases to bring before the court, but more importantly which cases not to bring before the court. Preservation of constitutional rights might be better served by restraint.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
Editor's Note: The author discloses that she is a member of the committee that wrote the report discussed below.
In finding Judge Kavanaugh unqualified to serve on the US Supreme Court, the National Association of Women Lawyers' Supreme Court Committee (NAWL) approached their assessment from the perspective of the nominee's commitment to concerns faced by women and legal issues that have a special impact on women and their families.
The committee found that in several ways Judge Kavanaugh is a strong force in promoting women in the profession. For example, he aggressively hires female law clerks, one year hiring all female law clerks. The committee acknowledged that Judge Kavanaugh showed a more than casual understanding of domestic violence in his majority opinion written in Nwoye v US.
Yet other opinions raised serious concerns, particularly in the arena of reproductive rights. Most notably Garzar v. Hargan and Priests for Life v. HSS. In Garzar, Judge Kavanaugh revealed what NAWL felt was a patronizing attitude toward the minor who had made a decision to have an abortion. Despite that the 17 year old refugee had participated successfully in a judicial bypass hearing, and had a guardian ad litem, Judge Kavanaugh questioned her lack of support in making the decision . Judge Kavanaugh's solution would have delayed the procedure to a time where an abortion would become more dangerous.
While in Priests for Life the NAWL committee stated: "The Committee is concerned that anytime a party asserts an infringement of their religious beliefs, Judge Kavanaugh would not proceed to any additional analysis of the extent of the burden or the reasonableness of the asserted infringement. A mere assertion of rights under RFRA would essentially defeat any individual rights, even those rooted in the Constitution."
The full NAWL report may be read here.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
As we say good-bye to Senator John McCain, we are comforted by his bravery and the lack of self-pity he displayed at the end of his life. Senator McCain left a farewell letter to Americans. He addressed his pride in being American, and his love of country. He also addressed the global rise in tribalism. Below are some quotes from his letter. The full address may be read here.
We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.
But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do
Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
At the ABA annual meeting this month, panelists were asked to opine on what effect the "America First" policies of the current administration are having on human rights advocates. The speakers were part of a panel "International Human Rights: Law and Policy in the Trump Administration".
One panelist, Elisa Massamino of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights, noted that there is nothing inherently wrong with an "America First" policy, but the underlying concern is President Trump's refusal to accept a rule-based world order. She noted that the administration has stepped out of the Human Rights Council and is discontinuing State Department Human Rights Reports.
Mary Meg McCarthy of the Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center commented on the administrations disregard of due process for immigrants and refugees. She said "What we're seeing is a brutality, a brazenness, a mean-spirited process that seeks to dehumanize noncitizens and persons of color."
Other comments of human rights concerns are worth reading. In addition, the panelists commented on bright spots coming out of the resistance, including lawyers showing up at airports during the travel ban. You may read more here.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
With the passing of John McCain, the Senate loses the last of its long term members who believed in treating everyone with dignity. He believed in including members of both parties in decision making, voting on principle not partisanship. One of his best friends in the Senate was Joseph Lieberman, an independent and former democrat. He and Vice-President Biden were known to spar politically but also maintain a strong friendship. Senator McCain reached across party lines to work on immigration legislation with the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He cast the deciding vote to preserve the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps his own illness and his acknowledged high quality care influenced his vote and empathy for those who can not afford care without assistance. In addition, Senator McCain opposed the transgender military ban and supported other LGBT rights.
There is no question that Senator McCain loved the United States and was despairing of the current climate of divisiveness.
Having suffered in a POW camp for five and a half years, Senator McCain experienced the worst of torture and knew first hand the seriousness of human rights violations.
Not without his flaws, Senator McCain was known for his flash temper. But he was well loved and known also for his humor, literacy and literary references.
Congress has lost its conscious as well its last effective influence of civility. The hope for cooperation and respect now passes to those who will soon be newly elected as those currently in Congress seem unable to overcome the entrenched hostility.