Know Your Supreme Court

The next year of Supreme Court action will have a profound impact on America and every citizen. Critical issues decided will include immigration, presidential power, first and second amendment rights, states rights, human rights, voting rights, impeachment, and the list goes on. Plus, we may very well see yet another Justice appointment. Ideology of individual Justices will be on display. How well do you know your Justices? Here is a quick run-down.

In response the President Trump’s recent remark about an “Obama” federal judge, Chief Justice John Roberts rebuked that, “there are no Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges, or Clinton judges, just federal judges.” I give him credit for taking the high road, but we all know federal judges are chosen based on how they view the world, particularly from a conservative or liberal perspective. The flip from a liberal-leaning to a conservative-leaning Supreme Court with President Trump’s two nominees will make a huge difference in upcoming cases. Congressional inaction on immigration has forced the President to take executive actions that will continue to end up in the Supreme Court. As you follow these headlines, you will want to better familiarize yourself with who these justices are and how they view the issues. I hope these abbreviated bios help.

John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, was born in Buffalo, New York, January 27, 1955.  He received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979. He was Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office from 1982–1986, and Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1989–1993. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003. President George W. Bush nominated him as Chief Justice of the United States, and he took his seat September 29, 2005. Note: Chief Justices are nominated by the President and serve until retirement or death. President Bush nominated Roberts as a new Chief Justice replacing Chief Justice William Rehnquist who died in office.

 

Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, was born in the Pinpoint community near Savannah, Georgia on June 23, 1948. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974. He served as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. President Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and he took his seat October 23, 1991.

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and was on their National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat August 10, 1993.

 

Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, was born in San Francisco, California, August 15, 1938. He received an LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He served as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and as its Chief Judge, 1990–1994. He also served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 1990–1994, and of the United States Sentencing Commission, 1985–1989. President Clinton nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat August 3, 1994.

 

Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, April 1, 1950. He received an LL.B from Yale Law School. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1990. President George W. Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat January 31, 2006.

 

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.

 

Elena Kagan, Associate Justice, was born in New York, New York, on April 28, 1960. She received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986. She served for four years in the Clinton Administration as Associate Counsel to the President and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. In 2009, President Obama nominated her as the Solicitor General of the United States. A year later, the President nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 10, 2010. She took her seat on August 7, 2010.

 

Neil M. Gorsuch, Associate Justice, was born in Denver, Colorado, August 29, 1967. He received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a D.Phil from Oxford University. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2006. President Donald J. Trump nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat on April 10, 2017.

 

Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Justice, was born in Washington, D.C., on February 12, 1965. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1990. From 2001 to 2003, he was Associate Counsel and then Senior Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush. From 2003 to 2006, he was Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary for President Bush. He was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2006. President Donald J. Trump nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat on October 6, 2018.

Test Your Knowledge of Thanksgiving

Even with all the chaos and evil around us, we have so much to be thankful for in America today. We should thank the Lord every day for the goodness, beauty, and love we are blessed to experience. As we observe the national holiday of Thanksgiving, let us be grateful for what we have above all other nations. Here are a dozen Thanksgiving trivia questions and answers for your enjoyment:

1. Which President made Thanksgiving a national holiday?

2. What President began the tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey?

3. What meat did the native Americans bring to the first Thanksgiving?

4. What culture produced the idea of the cornucopia, the horn of plenty?

5. About how many turkeys are eaten in America each Thanksgiving? 120 million, 280 million, or 410 million?

6. What percentage of Americans eat turkey each Thanksgiving? 65, 76, or 88?

7. What was the first department store to hold a Thanksgiving Day parade?

8. Indians from what tribe accompanied the pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving?

9. Before sailing the Pilgrims across the Atlantic, the Mayflower was used for what purpose?

10. A native American bird, the turkey was first shipped to Europe from what state?

11. How many American Presidents were descendants of Mayflower passengers? One, three, six, or eight?

12. What popular Christmas song originated as a Thanksgiving song?

 

Answers:

1. Abraham Lincoln declared Nov. 26th as the official Thanksgiving holiday. It was later changed to the fourth Thursday in November by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

2. Although a few earlier Presidents jokingly pardoned a turkey before Thanksgiving, George H. W. Bush established the annual tradition in 1989, and it has been done by every subsequent President each year.

3. Deer (venison)

4. The Greek culture made the cornucopia popular in mythology.

5. 280 million

6. 88

7. Not Macy’s. It was Gimbel’s.

8. Ninety Wampanoag Indians were at the first Thanksgiving.

9. A wine hauling vessel

10. Florida. The Spaniards brought it back to Spain.

11. Eight. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush, and, therefore, George W. Bush.

12. Jingle Bells. James Lloyd Pierpont wrote the song to commemorate the Thanksgiving Day sleigh races at Medford, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Final Years of the Greatest Generation

Every Veterans Day, I am asked to speak at two local assisted living facilities. I interview a couple of veteran residents who fought in World War II, and I tell of their experiences in the public gathering of other residents and their families. This is always humbling as I remind myself that these courageous men and women are becoming scarce among us, and we must not lose their stories. Here are a few thoughts on the “Greatest Generation.”

Twenty years ago, Tom Brokaw popularized the term “Greatest Generation” in his book about the courageous and tenacious men and women who overcame the Great Depression and fought in World War II. My generation that followed and the generations that follow me can never claim to have the grit of these forerunners. Some of those I have interviewed survived weeks of snow and freezing temperatures of the Belgian forests in the infamous Battle of the Bulge. Others jumped over bodies of fallen friends as they stormed the enemy-infested islands of the Pacific.

Certainly, there are equally brave combatants who have continued to answer the call of duty and risk their lives or die for our precious freedoms. Veterans of Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other military operations have sacrificed their lives, limbs, and innocence of youth on far-away battlefields. However, there is just something different about these heroes in their nineties–farmers, factory workers, business men, doctors, and students–who dropped everything to fight against the evil global invasions of the Germans and Japanese. A basic understanding of this war reveals how close the allies came to defeat. Only their selfless valor preserved the free world that we too often take for granted today.

Looking deeply into the failing eyes of former soldiers, sailors, marines, or airmen in their wheelchair-confined last years has given me glimpses of the once-young 1940’s souls. In the prime of life, this generation left schools, careers, and families to defend the homeland in a strange land. These warriors abandoned everything to make the comforts of our generation possible.

World War II veterans number about a half-million today, or about .1% of our population. The last American World War I veteran, Frank W. Buckles, died in 2011 at the age of 110. If the Lord grants me a long life, I suspect that, within the next 20 years, a news report will announce that the last veteran of World War II, the last hero of the “Greatest Generation,” has passed away. In the meantime, we must continue to hear their stories in person and tell them widely and often.

I encourage everyone to make whatever effort it takes to search out at least one veteran from this special era and become familiar with his or her story. If every American will do so, the “Greatest Generation” will live on in the minds and hearts of the next generation. Lest we forget.

Please like and share this post as a tribute to the “Greatest Generation.”

 

 

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