Another hurricane aimed at USA


Staff & Wire Reports

Commercial boats leave the Destin Harbor in Destin, Fla., on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Residents of this Florida panhandle city were busy Monday readying themselves for Hurricane Michael, which is predicted to make landfall somewhere around Panama City, Fla. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)

Commercial boats leave the Destin Harbor in Destin, Fla., on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Residents of this Florida panhandle city were busy Monday readying themselves for Hurricane Michael, which is predicted to make landfall somewhere around Panama City, Fla. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)

This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a view of Tropical Storm Michael, lower right, churning as it heads toward the Florida Panhandle, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, at 6:52 p.m. Eastern Time. (NOAA via AP)

Rob Docko ties a knot while securing his boat at the St. Andrews Marina in Panama City, Fla., Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, to prepare for Hurricane Michael. (Patti Blake /News Herald via AP)

Hurricane Michael gains strength, takes aim at north Florida


Associated Press

Tuesday, October 9

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Michael quickly intensified into a Category 2 over warm Gulf of Mexico waters Tuesday amid fears it would strike Florida on Wednesday as an even stronger hurricane. Mandatory evacuations were issued as beach dwellers rushed to board up homes just ahead of what could be a devastating hit.

A hurricane hunter plane that bounced into its swirling eye found wind speeds rising. By 11 a.m. Tuesday, top winds had reached 110 mph (175 kph), just below a “major” Category 3 hurricane, and it still had plenty of water to suck up as fuel before striking the coast.

The speed of the storm barreling toward the Florida Panhandle — Michael was already well north of Cuba and moving north-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph) — gave many people a dwindling number of hours to prepare and flee before being caught up in damaging wind and rain.

“Guess what? That’s today,” National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. “If they tell you to leave, you have to leave.”

The hurricane’s effects will be felt far from its eye. Forecasters said Michael’s storm winds stretched 370 miles (595 kilometers) across, with hurricane-strength winds extending up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the center.

Gov. Rick Scott also warned people across northwest Florida Tuesday morning that the “monstrous hurricane” was just hours away, bringing deadly risks from high winds, storm surge and heavy rains.

His opponent in Florida’s Senate race, Sen. Bill Nelson, said a “wall of water” could cause major destruction along the Panhandle. “Don’t think that you can ride this out if you’re in a low-lying area,” Nelson said on CNN.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect Tuesday morning for some 120,000 people in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the coast.

Forecasters said parts of Florida’s marshy, lightly populated Big Bend area could see up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of storm surge.

Michael also could dump up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain over some Panhandle communities before it sweeps over Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters said tornadoes could spin off the storm and 3 to 6 inches of rain could cause flash floods as it barrels over a corner of the country still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan bluntly advised residents choosing to ride it out that first-responders won’t be able to reach them while Michael smashes into the coast.

“If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you’re now calling for help, there’s no one that can respond to help you,” Morgan said at a news conference.

Michael wasn’t quite done wreaking havoc in the Caribbean on Tuesday. Forecasters warned of up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas, and disaster agencies in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua reported 13 deaths as roofs collapsed and residents were carried away by swollen rivers.

In Florida, Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties, from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage evacuations. The governors of Alabama and Georgia also made emergency declarations.

With just a month to go before Election Day, Florida voters in evacuation zones also were given one more day to register to vote, once offices reopen after the storm.

Scott also told caregivers at north Florida hospitals and nursing homes to do all they can to assure the safety of the elderly and infirm. Following Hurricane Irma last year, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning.

“If you’re responsible for a patient, you’re responsible for the patient. Take care of them,” he said.

In the small Panhandle city of Apalachicola, Mayor Van Johnson Sr. said the 2,300 residents were frantically preparing for what could be a strike unlike any seen there in decades. Many filled sandbags and boarded up homes and lined up to buy gas and groceries before leaving town.

“We’re looking at a significant storm with significant impact, possibly greater than I’ve seen in my 59 years of life,” Johnson said of his city on the shore of Apalachicola Bay, which where about 90 percent of Florida’s oysters are harvested.

There will be no shelters open in Wakulla County, the sheriff’s office warned on Facebook, because they are rated safe only for hurricanes with top sustained winds below 111 mph (178 kph). With Michael’s winds projected to be even stronger, residents there were urged to evacuate inland.

“This storm has the potential to be a historic storm, please take heed,” the sheriff’s office said in the post.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida’s Democratic nominee for governor, filled sandbags with residents and urged the state capital’s residents to finish emergency preparations quickly.

“There’s nothing between us and this storm but warm water, and I think that’s what terrifies us about the potential impacts,” Gillum said.

Fineout reported from Tallahassee, Florida.

The Conversation

An Indonesian city’s destruction reverberates across Sulawesi

October 9, 2018

A bridge in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, was destroyed in the recent earthquake and tsunami. AP Photo/Aaron Favila


Jennifer Nourse

Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Richmond

Disclosure statement

Jennifer Nourse receives funding from the Fulbright Program and has received a University of Richmond Faculty Research grant.


University of Richmond provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

I’ve been visiting the city of Palu in Central Sulawesi, a province in Indonesia, for the past 38 years as part of my anthropological fieldwork.

So it was particularly harrowing for me to read about the 7.7 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that decimated the city on Sept. 28.

The full scope of the devastation hasn’t come into focus, but thousands have been displaced, died or gone missing.

What we do know is that it will take years for Palu, the region’s capital city, to recover and rebuild. But while the devastation might be most visible in Palu, the province’s rural areas could ultimately end up suffering the most.

The hub of Sulawesi

Indonesia, a country made up of 13,000 islands populated by 263 million people, has over 300 different ethnic groups in 34 provinces.

Sulawesi Island, once known as the Celebes, has 18 million residents spread over six provinces in an area that’s roughly the size of Florida.

Because of its unique shape – it looks like a lopsided spider with thin tendrils shooting off in various directions – travel to various parts of the island can be difficult, and many regions are isolated.

When I first arrived in Palu in 1980, it was a quaint city of only 30,000 people. White picket fences surrounded residents’ homes, and colonial-era architecture lined the main thoroughfares. Situated on the shimmering, emerald-colored waters of Palu Bay, the city was flanked by a U-shaped curve of steep mountains.

It was stunning.

As I searched for a field site, it became quickly apparent that Palu was one of the few cities in the region with paved roads, running water and electricity. Much of this development had occurred since the federal government designated Palu the administrative center for a newly created province of Central Sulawesi in 1978. Using a World Bank loan, the federal government was able to fund the construction of roads and government buildings, while expanding the city’s electrical and communication grids.

I eventually decided to focus my anthropological research on the Lauje, one of Central Sulawesi’s 32 ethnic groups. The Lauje live in woven bamboo houses deep in the mountains above Tinombo, a region seven hours from Palu by car. For the next two years, I lived in one of these houses studying the Lauje language and conducting fieldwork.

During that period, I only made three or four forays into “modern” Palu. But even back then, it was clear that the city played a vital role in the day-to-day life of the region’s remote villages.

The Palu administrators decided where clinics and schools would be built and how they would be funded and staffed. They helped build and maintain the vital roads and bridges that coastal elites used to access the lucrative ebony, bamboo, cloves, coffee and chocolate farmed by upland peasants.

Steady – but fragile – growth

Over the years, I’ve watched Palu grow. What was once a sleepy little administrative capital where it seemed like everyone knew one another had become, by 2016, a bustling city of 375,000 residents with palatial mansions, gridlocked traffic, rock concerts and shopping malls.

As Central Sulawesi’s capital city, Palu serves not only its residents, but those throughout the province.

It’s where middle-class people living in more rural areas send their kids to university, where they travel to buy computers or automobiles and where they go for serious medical procedures. It’s where administrators from far-flung counties go to attend training workshops, file government reports or request funding for local projects.

While Palu became more prosperous during the 31-year rule of former President Suharto, most of the Lauje and the province’s other ethnic communities continued to live in poverty, surviving off subsistence farming.

Change came when President Suharto left office in 1998 and a new democratic government took power.

For decades, Suharto’s family had unfairly controlled the prices of lucrative crops such as coffee, cloves and chocolate, pocketing government-imposed costs and fees for themselves.

Now, with fairer costs and prices in place, farmers can profit more from their labor – and can then pay for the books and uniforms required to send their children to middle and high schools.

Meanwhile, more equitable distribution of federal resources funded new schools and health clinics in rural regions. The Palu government also built motorcycle trails that bypassed the rivers, allowing farmers to more easily transport their produce to markets.

In 2017, Central Sulawesi’s economy grew at a rate of 7.14 percent. Much of that has taken place in Palu, but the province’s other regions have slowly been inching out of poverty, too.

Life on pause

This fragile economic growth has now been completely upended; the region’s infrastructure is in ruins.

“The air here in Palu smells like rotting corpses,” a friend recently told me over Facebook. “It’s unhealthy and aftershocks still rumble and looters are everywhere.”

With Palu’s bureaucrats, business people and teachers fleeing, no one knows how county governments will be able to function. Life isn’t just on hold for city dwellers; everything in the province, it seems, has come to a standstill.

My friends in several Central Sulawesi communities have told me over Facebook that even though bottled water is scarce, they’re afraid to boil river water still cloudy with debris from the earthquake.

Many rural families receive scholarships to private schools in Palu that train their children to be midwives, pharmacists or medical technicians. What will happen to those already enrolled, whose schools are now shuttered or destroyed?

What will happen to the pregnant women in remote areas who can’t access doctors or midwives because they have all been sent to Palu?

What will happen to the flow of goods that once entered the Port of Palu and were then transported via truck across Central Sulawesi’s mountains?

The rural poor often end up suffering the most after natural disasters.

In Central Sulawesi, I fear this will be the case as well.

Mohammed Ahmed joins PUCO

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Oct. 9, 2018) – Mohammed Ahmed joins the PUCO today where he serves as the executive transmission advisor to the chairman.

Mohammed has over thirty-five years of experience in the transmission and power system planning arena. Mohammed joins the PUCO from American Electric Power (AEP), where he was a transmission planning manager, having joined AEP in 1981. Mohammed is an electrical engineer by training, but he has also participated in regulatory proceedings both at the state and federal level, and has had lead nationally through organizations like the Edison Electric Institute and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. He has also had an international presence, assisting in international transmission projects and planning through USAID.

“We are very excited to have such a qualified and nationally respected transmission expert join our team at the PUCO. Mohammed will add great value to our already strong siting and forecasting staffs,” stated Chairman Asim Z. Haque.

Mohammed is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Ohio, and holds both a Bachelors of Science and a Masters in electrical engineering.

Kavanaugh to hear his 1st arguments as Supreme Court justice


Associated Press

Tuesday, October 9

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Supreme Court with a new conservative majority takes the bench as Brett Kavanaugh, narrowly confirmed after a bitter Senate battle, joins his new colleagues to hear his first arguments as a justice.

Kavanaugh will emerge Tuesday morning from behind the courtroom’s red velvet curtains and take his seat alongside his eight colleagues. It will be a moment that conservatives have dreamed of for decades, with five solidly conservative justices on the bench.

Kavanaugh’s predecessor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in June, was a more moderate conservative and sometimes sided with the court’s four liberal justices. Kavanaugh, in contrast, is expected to be a more decidedly conservative vote, tilting the court right for decades and leaving Chief Justice John Roberts as the justice closest to the ideological middle.

With justices seated by seniority, President Donald Trump’s two appointees will flank the Supreme Court bench, Justice Neil Gorsuch at one end and Kavanaugh at the other. Court watchers will be looking to see whether the new justice asks questions at arguments and, if so, what he asks. There will also be those looking for any lingering signs of Kavanaugh’s heated, partisan confirmation fight. But the justices, who often highlight their efforts to work together as a collegial body, are likely to focus on the cases before them.

Republicans had hoped to confirm Kavanaugh in time for him to join the court on Oct. 1, the start of the new term. Instead, the former D.C. Circuit judge missed the first week of arguments as the Senate considered an allegation that he had sexually assaulted a woman in high school, an allegation he adamantly denied.

Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48 Saturday, the closest vote to confirm a justice since 1881, and has had a busy three days since then. On Saturday evening, Kavanaugh took his oaths of office in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court while protesters chanted outside the court building.

And on Monday evening he was the guest of honor at a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House. While Trump apologized on behalf of the nation for “the terrible pain and suffering” Kavanaugh and his family had suffered and declared him “proven innocent,” the new justice assured Americans that he would be fair and was taking the job with “no bitterness.”

Kavanaugh has also begun moving in to his new office at the Supreme Court, taking over space previously used by Justice Samuel Alito, who moved into offices vacated by Kennedy. Kavanaugh has also hired four clerks, all women, the first time that has happened. He has also been preparing for arguments this week.

On Tuesday, the court is scheduled to hear two hours of arguments in cases involving long sentences for repeat offenders. On Wednesday, the only other day of arguments this week, the court will hear another two hours of arguments. One of the two cases the court is hearing Wednesday involves the detention of immigrants, an issue on which Kavanaugh’s vote could be key.

Though he missed the court’s first week, none of the six cases argued dealt with blockbuster issues. They included a case about a potential habitat for an endangered frog and another about an Alabama death row inmate whose lawyers argue he shouldn’t be executed because dementia has left him unable to remember his crime. Kavanaugh won’t vote in those cases, but if the court is split 4-4 it could decide to have those cases re-argued so Kavanaugh can break the tie.

As the newest member of the court Kavanaugh will take on a few special jobs. He will take notes for the justices when they meet for private conferences. He’ll also be the one to answer the door at those meetings if someone knocks to deliver something such as a justice’s coffee or forgotten glasses.

He’ll also sit on the committee that oversees the court’s cafeteria, which is open to the public. Chief Justice John Roberts has previously said that assignment is a way of bringing a new justice “back down to Earth after the excitement of confirmation and appointment.”

The Conversation

Justice Kavanaugh is a threat to Roe v. Wade – but not the only one

October 9, 2018


B. Jessie Hill

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Judge Ben C. Green Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University

Disclosure statement

B. Jessie Hill receives funding from an anonymous foundation that supports research on reproductive health care. She is a volunteer attorney for the ACLU of Ohio and litigates challenges to abortion restrictions.


Case Western Reserve University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, some are wondering: Will Roe v. Wade, the landmark case recognizing a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy, continue to be the law of the land?

Kavanaugh told Sen. Susan Collins, a key vote to approve his nomination, that he viewed Roe v. Wade as “settled law.” But from my vantage point as a constitutional law professor who also litigates reproductive rights cases, the future of Roe v. Wade looks more tenuous than it ever has.

A new vacancy, a new court

Replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired this summer, with Kavanaugh, who was a deeply conservative judge during his time on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, will fundamentally remake constitutional doctrine in this area.

In 1992, Kennedy’s swing vote preserved Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 decision known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey. More recently, in the 2016 case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Justice Kennedy’s vote was critical to the five-justice majority, which again affirmed the right to choose as fundamental.

But, despite what he told Collins, Kavanaugh has expressed hostility to Roe.

In a public speech last year, Kavanaugh praised the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s dissent from the Roe decision. He also voted against an undocumented minor in government custody who wanted an abortion, complaining that the judges who voted in favor of the young woman were granting a right to “abortion on demand” and arguing that the woman should have to delay the procedure for a few weeks until a family could be found to sponsor her.

This record suggests Kavanaugh could provide a critical fifth vote to the anti-Roe wing of the court, joining justices Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.

What happens if Roe is overruled?

If the Supreme Court votes to overrule Roe, it wouldn’t immediately make abortion illegal throughout the country. That would probably require five justices to decide that embryos and fetuses are “persons” entitled to constitutional protection. No justice – not even the strongly anti-abortion Justice Antonin Scalia – has ever taken such an extreme view.

Instead, the court would probably say that states are allowed to restrict abortion however they see fit. The court may rule that states can choose to protect “potential life,” and that the woman’s right to choose whether and when to become a parent is not strong enough to overcome the state’s interest in protecting fetuses.

That means some states would probably outlaw abortion altogether, perhaps with narrow exceptions in cases of rape or incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. Other states may place few or no restrictions on abortion – perhaps making it illegal only once the fetus is viable, typically after the 22nd week of pregnancy.

A challenge in the states

Numerous states stand ready to mount a challenge to Roe.

In 2018 alone, seven states have introduced or passed so-called “heartbeat bills” that ban abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy. These laws are bold assaults on Roe’s central premise: that states cannot ban abortions early in pregnancy.

A challenge to a “heartbeat bill” could bring Roe before the court, but in reality, a challenge to a law like that isn’t even necessary. In fact, almost any abortion case, including several that are already pending, could become a vehicle for overturning Roe if the justice choose to hear it. The Supreme Court gets to pick and choose the cases it hears and needs only four justices to vote to hear a case. That means it might decide to weigh in on abortion rights as soon as this fall.

For example, the newly composed Supreme Court could decide to take up the constitutionality of laws in Ohio or Indiana banning abortions sought for particular reasons, such as fetal anomaly. Both laws have been blocked by federal courts, and either could still be appealed to the Supreme Court. If the court decides to hear one of those cases, it could uphold the laws on the grounds that Roe was incorrect and a new, more relaxed legal standard should apply to abortion restrictions.

What’s more, nine states, including Wisconsin and West Virginia, actually still have pre-Roe abortion bans on the books. These laws weren’t being enforced as long as Roe was the law of the land. If Roe is overturned, it’s possible that prosecutors in those states would try to bring criminal charges against doctors performing abortions, without even waiting for the legislature to pass a new law banning abortion.

Four additional states – North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana and Mississippi – have passed so-called “trigger laws” providing that abortion will become illegal the moment Roe is overruled.

Even in the absence of laws such as these, though, many state legislatures won’t hesitate to enact new abortion bans immediately. In fact, the Center for Reproductive Rights considers only 21 states to be relatively low-risk for passing new abortion bans if Roe fell.

Of these 21, a few states are expected to take an active role in protecting abortion access in the absence of Roe. This would likely mean that women in Massachusetts would live under a permissive set of laws, while women in Mississippi would face more restrictive ones.

The role of Roberts

Of course, it’s possible that Roe will live another day.

With Kavanaugh seated, Chief Justice John Roberts will be at the ideological center of the court, with four conservatives – Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh – all to the right of him. Roberts is therefore likely to become the swing vote.

Roberts is a famously careful jurist who often avoids overruling precedent by issuing a narrow opinion instead. He is also likely concerned about his legacy. He might not want the Roberts Court to be the court that overruled Roe and took away the right to choose. He might be concerned about the backlash among members of the public, who have long assumed that Roe was here to stay and who favor keeping it by more than a two-to-one margin.

Then again, many justices have affirmed their devotion to precedent, only to later overturn it. Both Roberts and Gorsuch spoke favorably about following precedent during their Senate confirmation hearings. Yet both justices voted in June 2018 to overturn a unanimous Supreme Court case protecting the rights of unions – Abood v. Detroit Board of Education – that had stood undisturbed for more than 40 years.

Still, it’s important not to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Whether or not Roe goes, with Kavanaugh on the bench the Supreme Court is likely to shift far to the right on reproductive rights — potentially affecting not just abortion, but access to contraception as well. One sign of this shift is Kavanaugh’s record of siding with employers seeking to block employees’ access to birth control under the ACA.

And, even if Roe isn’t overturned, it may continue to exist in name only, as the Supreme Court is likely to uphold every sort of restriction short of an outright abortion ban.

In short, there are many possible paths for Roe v. Wade in the future, and significant questions remain. One thing is almost certain, though – the court will continue to erode the power of Roe.

This story has been updated from a version published on Aug. 2, 2018. An earlier version appeared on March 19, 2017.

1 Comment: Terrence Treft

thanks for the interesting article.

are “… embryos and fetuses are “persons” entitled to constitutional protection.“ ?

but, that is precisely the case. abortion is not a religious or even moral question, but one of civil rights. the long standing principles are two:

all people are entitled to inalienable rights (rights of citizenship)

rights may not be denied for age.

upwards of 80% of pregnancies are unplanned. while all pregnancies and abortions are greatly down, it remains that almost all abortions are a consequences of unplanned pregnancies … a consequence of irresponsible behavior/choice.

why should the rights of one group be denied because of the irresponsible behavior of another? that principle is not applied elsewhere in civil rights cases.

the onset of “life” is debatable, but, it is a certainty that an unborn life/fetus/embryo (as those may be defined), if left to the uninterrupted progressions of nature, will certainly be “born”, grow and attain its ordained biological destiny.

a child “born” immediately assumes full citizenship and rights, yet that same child, one hour earlier, and essentially the same organism/individual, has none. denying rights by age is unconstitutional. denying rights to unborn citizens is unconstitutional. in the case of a homicide of a pregnant woman, the unborn suddenly attains the status of “person”. should that not be applied otherwise?

the question that arise therefore is the value of life, the value of one citizen’s rights over another. is the value of a born individual, capable of free will and free choice, capable of responsible behavior, greater than that of an unborn individual, helpless and free of the “sins of the parents”? do some people enjoy, by the proximity of their “birth”, more rights than others?

it is as simple as that. whose life, whose rights are most important, the irresponsible citizen or the helpless citizen? which prevails, right or might? abortion is a contraception of convenience, replacing the long standing principles of due process, responsibly and accountability for one’s actions.

Analysis: Democrats Turn to Extreme Ideas After Supreme Court Defeat

By Michael Graham

During the presidential campaign of 1884, a pro-Republican clergyman called the Democrats the party of “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion.” Backlash from Democrats helped push Grover Cleveland into the White House. Today the phrase might be “Protests, Impeachment and Court-Packing.” And none of those issues are likely winners for Democrats.

In the wake of their party’s failure to keep Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court, some Democrats and their progressive allies are pushing ideas that would have been dismissed as fringe extremism just two years ago. Today, they’re being promoted in the Washington Post, The Nation and other respected left-of-center publications — and even by members of Congress.

“The next time the left has some political power, why not just expand the size of the Supreme Court and add another handful of justices?” asks Ian Samuel in The Guardian. “Make Brett Kavanaugh a gifted and energetic member of a 10-to-5 minority. Don’t get mad, in other words: Get even.”

“This is called ‘court-packing,’” Samuel helpfully explains to his readers, and he goes on to lay out why he thinks it’s a completely reasonable and mainstream idea. And he’s not alone. A Washington Post op-ed headline reads: “Democrats must consider court-packing when they regain power. It’s the only way to save democracy.”

The person who wrote that op-ed, professor David Faris of Roosevelt University, is also author of the book “It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics.” He argues that “Republicans seem bent on pressing their ideological advantage with absolutely no consideration given to the possibility of appointing a consensus candidate to the court.”

“For that,” Faris warns, “they must pay a steep price.”

But packing the court may not be necessary if progressives succeed in their other strategy: Impeachment.

More than 150,000 people have signed the left-wing group CREDO Action’s online petition calling for Democrats to impeach Justice Kavanaugh. “An accused sexual predator who committed perjury by repeatedly lying under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee has no business being a judge — period,” CREDO co-founder Heidi Hess said. “We will particularly focus on making sure House Democrats know that progressives expect them to use their full power to get Kavanaugh off the bench if they gain control of the House.”

“Cory Booker says Kavanaugh impeachment shouldn’t be off the table,” reports Yahoo News. “If there is conclusory evidence that shows unequivocally that he lied to a Senate committee, that is a crime and he should be held accountable for those criminal acts,” the New Jersey senator (and likely 2020 Democratic presidential candidate) said Sunday while campaigning in Iowa.

Impeaching a Supreme Court justice would require a simple majority of Democrats in the House but a two-thirds’ majority in the Senate. The former is viewed as a likely outcome of the coming midterm elections, while the latter is virtually impossible. But that hasn’t stopped prominent Democrats from making their case.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who would be the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats take power, says he’s prepared to open an investigation into Kavanaugh and his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It is not something we are eager to do,” Nadler said in an interview.

“The Senate, having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we (the House) are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions,” Nadler told the New York Times.

And 40 members of Congress sent President Trump a letter warning that if a House investigation determined Kavanaugh had lied under oath, “the constitutionally prescribed remedy would be impeachment proceedings.”

Some Democrats have gone even further, calling for the impeachment of Justice Clarence Thomas, arguing that he should never have been confirmed to the Supreme Court after the (largely discredited) claims of Anita Hill in 1991.

Is this smart politics? “The Democrats will not win back the Senate if they run on impeaching Brett Kavanaugh,” says Fordham University law professor Jed Shugerman.

Perhaps the most surprising reaction to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, however, is the assault on the institution of the U.S. Senate itself.

“Senators representing less than half the U.S. are about to confirm a nominee opposed by most Americans,” complained Philip Bump in the Washington Post.

Dylan Matthews at calls the Senate “a grotesquely unrepresentative body that amplifies the power of small states at the expense of voters in big states.”

At NBC News, Ken Dilanian concurs: “It may not happen in our lifetimes, but the idea that North Dakota and New York get the same representation in the Senate has to change.”

Typical Americans who grew up on “School House Rock” and civics classes on the three branches of government may be taken aback when they learn progressives are challenging one of the fundamental building blocks of the America’s constitutional system, along with the basic makeup of the Supreme Court and the notion of “innocent until proven guilty.”

Two years ago, voters’ decision to make Donald Trump president seem radical. Today, it looks like small potatoes.


Michael Graham is political editor of NH Journal. He’s also a CBS News contributor. You can reach him at

Commercial boats leave the Destin Harbor in Destin, Fla., on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Residents of this Florida panhandle city were busy Monday readying themselves for Hurricane Michael, which is predicted to make landfall somewhere around Panama City, Fla. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP) boats leave the Destin Harbor in Destin, Fla., on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Residents of this Florida panhandle city were busy Monday readying themselves for Hurricane Michael, which is predicted to make landfall somewhere around Panama City, Fla. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)

This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a view of Tropical Storm Michael, lower right, churning as it heads toward the Florida Panhandle, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, at 6:52 p.m. Eastern Time. (NOAA via AP) satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a view of Tropical Storm Michael, lower right, churning as it heads toward the Florida Panhandle, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, at 6:52 p.m. Eastern Time. (NOAA via AP)

Rob Docko ties a knot while securing his boat at the St. Andrews Marina in Panama City, Fla., Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, to prepare for Hurricane Michael. (Patti Blake /News Herald via AP) Docko ties a knot while securing his boat at the St. Andrews Marina in Panama City, Fla., Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, to prepare for Hurricane Michael. (Patti Blake /News Herald via AP)

Staff & Wire Reports