Finally Friday Reads: Time to Celebrate instead of Despair! We have a Worthy Justice!Posted: April 8, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I just finished watching Judge Brown Jackson’s speech at the White House. It’s such a joy to be excited about a new appointment to the Supreme Court. Her speech was amazing! After weeks of Republican disrespect of this phenomenal woman culminated by all Republican Senators but Romney leaving the floor of the Senate upon her approval to the country’s highest bench. This is hot-off-presses from The New York Times which is linked in the first link of this paragraph.
Flanked by Judge Jackson and Vice President Kamala Harris — the first Black woman to hold her role and whom he called the first “smart” decision of his presidency — Mr. Biden said the judge’s confirmation had changed not only his own trajectory but the course of American life itself.
“This is going to let so much sunshine on so many young women, so many young Black women, so many minorities,” the president said in remarks on the White House South Lawn. “That is real.”
In her remarks, Judge Jackson called her confirmation “the greatest honor of my life.” She recalled substantive meetings with 97 senators and thanked them for their role in the nomination process, providing a graceful coda to hours of televised interactions with senators who had often acted emotionally as they questioned her.
Judge Jackson again pledged judicial independence. “I’ve also spent the better time of the past decade hearing thousands of cases and writing hundreds of opinions,” she said. “At every instance, I have done my level best to stay in my lane and to reach a result that is consistent with my understanding of the law and with the obligation to rule independently, without fear or favor.”
White House officials said that they had invited the judge’s family, all current and former Supreme Court justices and three Republicans — Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — who voted with Democrats on Thursday to confirm Judge Jackson, lending a modicum of bipartisanship to an otherwise bitterly polarized process. The Republican senators were not in attendance at the event on Friday.
Not even Romney was moved to come to today’s event. I can only imagine what stewpot Lady Lindsey is cooking in with pearls clutched. Nearly everyone I talked to yesterday joined me in goosebumps yesterday when Vice President Harris announced the result. The crowd at the White House could not contain their joy.
This is a win for democracy. This is a win for our country on the road to a more perfect union. Our institutions need to look like all of our citizens. This was a big step. As the soon-to-be minted new Associate Justice reminded us, this was a one-generation step from her parents who attended segregated schools to the next Supreme Court Justice.
MS Magazine‘s Cynthia Richie Terrell wrote this about a month ago: “What Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Nomination Means for Representation and Justice: Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation” It’s a trip through the times of women in government shattering glass ceilings.
Washington Post columnist Michele Norris wrote a powerful piece about the need to move more quickly to a society where everyone has opportunities to succeed and lead regardless of their race, gender or socio-economic status:
When I learned that President Biden had asked Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court, my first instinct was to cheer this historic appointment. But what soon followed was an instinct to dream of the moment when the elevation of such a supremely talented person would be more routine than remarkable.
I hope to see a world where we can stop tossing confetti when 232-year-old institutions include women, people with brown skin, those who are differently abled, those who are LGBTQ or those who have been locked out for centuries.
I hope to see a world where braids and passion twists or kinky, curly, fuzzy, nappy, “grow as God gave me” hairstyles are as common as side-part, soft-fade, executive haircuts in CEO suites and anywhere people exert influence over life, learning, longevity and the engines of our economies.
I hope to see a world where names like Ketanji and Kamala and Kizzmekia roll off the tongue as easily as Ashok, Xiomara or Eun-Woo. A world where more National Football League coaches have names such as Kwame and Francisco. A world where college students do not feel like they must Anglicize their names so their résumés don’t go straight to the piles labeled “not ready” or “not sure” or “not now.”
Can we do this again? Hopefully, soon (giving the side-eye to Just Clarence Thomas whose time has come and gone)! The midterms are coming. Elena Schneider–writing for Politico–reports on the strategy of the Democratic party going forward. “‘If we do this right …’: The new Dem organizing strategy catching fire ahead of the midterms. Operatives who helped elect Sen. Jon Ossoff are exporting their voter contact program to more states for the midterm elections.
A group of Democratic strategists is trying to spread a novel organizing tactic in this year’s election. Technically, it’s called “paid relational organizing,” but it boils down to this: paying people to talk to their friends about politics.
Democrats think it helped them win the Senate in 2020 — and are hoping the get-out-the-vote strategy will help limit the pain of a brutal 2022 election environment.
Conversations with friends, family members or neighbors are more likely to earn a voter’s support than chats with a stranger at their front door, which is the traditional way campaigns have run paid canvassing programs in the past. And an important test case for deploying the strategy at scale came out of the Georgia Senate runoffs in 2021 when now-Sen. Jon Ossoff’s (D-Ga.) campaign, flush with nearly unlimited cash but only two months to spend it, used a paid and volunteer relational program to get people talking to acquaintances instead of strangers about the election.
In particular, the Ossoff team hired 2,800 Georgians, specifically targeting those with little or no voting history themselves to do this outreach to their own networks. The campaign was making a bet that many of the friends and family of their highly political volunteers were already engaged in the runoff election, but that this group could expand the electorate with relational outreach into their networks — which were likely to include more irregular voters or non-voters like them. The campaign folded this data into their vast field program, tracking conversations and whether those contacted had voted. They could even notify organizers, based on their own network, which voters were tagged as “only reachable by you.”
A post-election analysis found their efforts boosted turnout by an estimated 3.8 percent among the 160,000 voters targeted through their relational program. Ossoff and now-Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) won by 1.2 points and 2.1 points respectively, flipping the state and the Senate to Democrats.
Now, the two women behind that effort — Davis Leonard and Zoe Stein, who are partnering with Greta Carnes, the former national organizing director for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign — are working together to export relational organizing, both paid and volunteer versions, to a host of Democratic campaigns and groups ahead of the 2022 midterms.
This should be interesting. It should go pretty well if this is the best The Federalist can do these days.
A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled to uphold the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal workers, ordering that a preliminary injunction issued against the requirement be eliminated.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’s 2-1 ruling reversed an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown, a Trump appointee in Texas, who in January blocked the mandate for federal workers. The 5th Circuit Court further ordered that the district court dismiss the case.
Judge Carl Stewart, writing for the majority opinion, said plaintiffs in the case could have challenged the vaccine mandate through the federal government’s internal process for federal workers.
“The plaintiffs could have challenged an agency’s proposed action against them before filing this suit and certainly before getting vaccinated,” the judge wrote.
Biden implemented the mandate for federal workers in September, with religious and medical exemptions allowed. Under the order, non-exempt employees must get vaccinated or they could face disciplinary procedures, including termination.
A group called Feds for Medical Freedom, a 6,000-member organization, sued in December, challenging the order on the grounds that it exceeds the president’s authority. The federal judge in Texas agreed and blocked the mandate in January, but the government appealed to the 5th Circuit.
At issue in the case is whether federal workers can seek relief from discipline through the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA), which protects employees from unfair or unwanted practices. However, the government argues the plaintiffs are trying to circumvent the process, to which Stewart agreed.
This is important given the uptick in Covid-19 in our nation’s Capitol. From the DCist and Amanda Michelle Gomez: “With Mayor Bowser And Others Testing Positive, How Prevalent Is COVID-19 In D.C. These Days?”
Various public officials, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, announced they tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. While the named lawmakers both reported mild symptoms, the high-profile cases had some locals wondering how widespread COVID-19 is these days.
The impact COVID-19 has on personal health and healthcare systems in D.C. is currently low, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. The same is true of the Maryland and Virginia suburbs in the D.C. region. However, the CDC has reworked metrics to deemphasize case counts, as the Biden Administration seeks to usher in a new phase of the pandemic, one that’s potentially less disruptive.
However, case counts in D.C. are starting to climb, although not dramatically. DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt told reporters on Thursday that D.C. has seen a “small uptick” in cases the last two weeks. Her department’s website reports that the weekly case rate roughly doubled between March 13 and 27. She said the District is seeing more cases on a weekly basis, but most do not appear to require medical treatment. “We still have very low rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19,” she said in a press call.
Those new cases include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was with Biden in the days before she tested positive for the virus. On Friday afternoon, the White House said Biden had again tested negative for Covid.
Earlier Friday, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield had acknowledged it remained possible the president could still contract the disease at some point.
“We take every precaution to ensure that we keep him safe, the vice president safe, the first lady, second gentleman, our staff here. But, you know, it is certainly possible that he will test positive for Covid, and he is vaccinated, boosted and protected from the most severe strains of the virus,” Bedingfield said in an interview on CNN.
Still, the White House held an event Friday to mark the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. While it took place outdoors, only those expected to be in close contact with the president were tested, and masks were not required on the White House campus.
Jackson watched the vote with Biden at the White House on Thursday, where she and Biden, without masks, embraced and held hands as the Senate voted on her nomination.
There’s a lot of news coming from Ukraine which I’ll post down the thread. I’d just like to bask in joy for at least one post.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?