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Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Is Bending The Rules To Be The Cruelest Sitting Justice Member Ever

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The confirmation hearing of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which ultimately led to him being confirmed to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States, got a huge amount of press coverage, as a result of sexual harassment allegations made against him (which, of course, have still not been properly investigated). Because of that, it is easy to forget that Kavanaugh was not the first but in fact the second Supreme Court nomination that President Donald Trump has already made during his two and a bit years as President of the United States and leader of the free world so far. The first judge, Justice Neil Gorsuch, has been sitting on that bench for some time now, and the havoc he is wreaking there is enough to make your blood curdle.

For instance, he recently passed a judgement sentencing a man to the death penalty in what might well be the cruelest and most abominable case in recent memory. In the case of Bucklew v. Precythe, the Court handed down its opinion in one of the most historic and important Eigth Amendment decisions in a very long time, but the reasons why and the logic behind it are profoundly disturbing. For several decades, the Court has taken the specification of a “cruel and unusual” punishment for what it means at face value, which is totally logical. What Gorsuch has done is take that entire legal framework and disregard it completely in order to approve the state of Missouri torturing a man to death.

According to his logic, so long as the state does not inflict pain for the sole purpose of inflicting pain, there is no problem. This is totally wrong and utterly abhorrent for a number of reasons, the most obvious one being that he has completely missed the point. That legal provision is supposed to prevet unnecessary and unfair pain in the lead-up to death, but Gorsuch has overhauled that completely, for no apparent reason besides him cruelly deciding that this guy needs to suffer the death penalty, in spite of the obvious extenuating circumstances. This will have profound consequences that extend far beyond just this case:

Bucklew was one of these cases, where Kavanaugh browbeated a lawyer defending Missouri’s plans to potentially inflict tremendous pain during an upcoming execution. “Are you saying even if the method creates gruesome and brutal pain you can still do it because there’s no alternative?” the newest member of the court asked at one point.

And yet, Kavanaugh did not simply join Gorsuch’s opinion, he wrote a separate opinion suggesting that maybe death row inmates could be executed by firing squad. Monday’s decision in Bucklew, in other words, is not just a sweeping rewrite of one of the Bill of Rights’ core provisions. It may prove to be a very real window into the mind of Kavanaugh — and it suggests that, whatever noises Kavanaugh makes during a hearing, he will ultimately be a reliable vote for whatever outcome the Court’s conservative bloc prefers.

This is what happens when people who are not properly qualified for such senior positions get appointed anyway for political reasons.


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