Episode

7/17 Donald Trump and the Plot to Take Over the Courts w/ Elie Mystal

July 17, 2019

On today’s show, Elie Mystal, Executive Editor at Above the Law, joins us to discuss his cover story in the Nation, “Donald Trump and the Plot to Take Over the Courts.”

Sam and Mystal take a 30,000 ft. view of Trump’s judicial maneuvers before moving to particular judges and their legal records on the bench. Trump and McConnell have confirmed at least 123 federal judges, including 41 to the circuit court of appeals judges. 14% of all federal judges are Trump judges, and 22% of all circuit court judges are Trump appointees. McConnell was a huge roadblock for Obama entire legal project, with 116 vacancies at the end of Obama second time. With the benefit of hindsight, Sam and Mystal agree that the liberal progressive movement has not done the organizational work needed to bring left-leaning judges and lawyers to the federal bench. According to Mystal, the GOP knows how to play this game, the Federalist Society and Judicial Crisis network know how to slam liberal organizations like the American Constitution Society and ACLU as unhinged leftists.

Shifting gears, Mystal explains why your region’s circuit court of appeals is the most instrumental in determining your state’s laws. The final arbiter on the laws that affect your day-to-day life is your circuit court, the Supreme Court does not need to see every case that is appealed beyond the circuit court, leaving the final ruling at the circuit court. Mystal then breaks down Trump’s worst of the worst confirmed judges. Starting with Don R. Willits, appointed to the 5th circuit, was once called the “most conservative” judge on the Texas Supreme Court by religious-right leader James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Willits has consistently ruled against LGBT protections in Texas and refused to recognize same-sex marriage licenses awarded in other states. Next up, Chad Readler. Readler was Jeff Sessions “right-hand man” in the DOJ’s civil division where he defended Trump and Sessions’ child-separation policies and ending DACA protections. And lastly, we have Amy Barrett, the handmaiden. Mystal says that conservatives have been saving Amy Barrett as their ace-in-the-hole for when Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies. Barrett will be the one who allows the GOP court to overturn 40+ years of precedent when they abolish Roe v. Wade and a whole host of other reproductive rights. Read the entire piece to get a better understanding of why the left needs to organize around the judicial system!

And in the Fun Half: Sam contemplates if he’s having a stroke, Bernie isn’t making friends at Washington Post 2020 Candidate forum, and won’t be caught in a gotcha moment about bussing either, Dave Rubin gets Marianne Williamson on his program and it didn’t go as planned, Marianne explains reparations and restitution for slavery, Rubin gets schooled, he pivots and takes her into the deep end on Iran, but Marianne sinks him instead, Elizabeth Warren asks why the acting Defense Secretary won’t commit to ending relationships with his former employers at Raytheon, a Palantir co-founder calls Google and its employees “not a patriotic company,” Emerald Garner delivers a powerful statement calling for Officer Pantaleo job to be terminated, how Bill Barr quashed the DOJ’s investigation into Garner’s death, plus no calls and no IMs!

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