High Court a Topic for Next Debate; AFJAC on the Lower Courts

SUPREME COURT SET AS CAMPAIGN DEBATE TOPIC: When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate for the third and final time, on Oct. 19 in Las Vegas, the Supreme Court will be among the planned topics, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Last month, our sister organization the Alliance for Justice urged that the candidates be asked to debate the issue. “With one vacancy on on the Court, long overdue to be filled, and three more justices who will be in their 80’s in the next president’s first term, the Supreme Court is inescapably one of the most important issues in the 2016 election,” AFJ’s Justice Watch post said.  In a debate on Sunday, Trump and Clinton fielded one question about the high court (see Gavel Grab).

AFJAC OP-ED ON LOWER FEDERAL COURTS: Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, authored an op-ed for TIME urging Americans to consider also how the next president “will set the character and caliber of sores of appointees to [the federal] lower courts” after taking office. Aron wrote:

“In our volatile political landscape, the debate about filling a Supreme Court vacancy is highly important but not enough. Americans must decide soon which presidential candidate would select federal judges at all levels who will uphold civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights and other important rights. We must decide how the unrelenting Senate Republican blockade on qualified judicial nominees can be removed.

“In short, we should ask ourselves which candidate for office will make it possible for us to populate our vital lower courts with the judges who, although their names often fade in memory, help define and protect our constitutional rights and freedoms for generations.”

GARLAND NOMINATION: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in an interview with Charlie Rose, “stressed the importance of having nine justices on the Supreme Court” and pointed out that President Obama’s nominee, Chief Judge Merrick Garland, still could get a hearing in the Senate during its lame-duck session this year, according to TIME.

AFJ IN THE NEWS: The (Lafayette, Louisiana) Daily Advertiser mentioned Alliance for Justice when reporting on legislation sponsored by Republican Rep. Charles Boustany, titled the Ending Legacy Lawsuit Abuse Act. The newspaper said Boustany intends the measure to prevent plaintiffs’ lawyers from “venue shopping” for sympathetic courts to hear a specific kind of lawsuit. “Critics of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, such as the Alliance for Justice, say decisions there favor special interests and large corporations, including oil and gas companies,” the article said.