Things That Matter

As Republicans Move To Fill Supreme Court Seat, Julián Castro Says Democrats Should Consider Nuclear Option

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, progressives are struggling to figure out their next move. Republicans have made it clear they don’t care about precedent or even following their own made up rules, and plan to attempt to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible.

Some Republicans have even gone as far as saying they’ll vote to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee even if he loses the November election, in a lame duck session of Congress.

This has Democrats in overdrive trying to figure out their game plan and how they’ll respond to Republican efforts to once again steal a Supreme Court seat.

Julián Castro says that Democrats should consider packing the court if they come into power come January.

In an interview with Buzzfeed’s News O’Clock podcast, this year’s only Latino candidate for president said that Democrats should consider adding more justices to the Supreme Court if Senate Republicans rush to confirm a justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. His announcement is a reversal from his stated position during the presidential campaign.

“For many of us, that wasn’t our preference, but the fact is you have Mitch McConnell not abiding by, not working in good faith under the Constitution. … If you have that kind of abuse of the system, then I think that, yeah, Democrats should be open to different ways that we can stave off draconian changes to our fundamental rights,” he said.

During last year’s presidential primaries, Castro said that he “would not pack the court” if we were elected president, but with reproductive rights, voting rights, and healthcare hanging in the balance, he now believes Democrats should consider structural reform to the court.

“When those are the stakes, and Mitch McConnell is the one who’s abused this system, then yeah, I think we need to be open to considering either adding more justices or other structural reforms that will prevent this kind of abuse in the future,” he said.

Nothing in the Constitution limits the number of justices that sit on the Supreme Court.

Credit: Sam Gateaux / Getty Images

Adding more justices to the Supreme Court, or “packing the court”, has become widely popular among progressives as they see it as a last resort to restoring equality to the court. And the only way in writing wrongs committed by Republican Senate leadership.

Obviously, one concern is that if the Democrats increase the court size when they have power, that the Republicans could expand it again when they regain power. And we would have a never ending saga.

But as the Democrats are once again outplayed and outmaneuvered by the GOP, many say it’s a risk worth taking.

Castro also warned that Biden was losing his traction with Latino voters.

Meanwhile, Castro has also expressed concern that the Biden campaign isn’t doing enough to win the support of Latino voters.

“I believe the campaign gets it in that they understand they have work to do,” Castro said, adding that he thinks that Biden will pick up Latino support by Nov. 3 because the campaign is now investing in voter registration, bilingual messaging across platforms, and tailored outreach to different Latino communities, rather than treating them as one unified voting block.

“The Latino community too often is invisible, it’s an afterthought,” said Castro, who was housing secretary under Barack Obama. “Even though it’s going to be the largest non-white voting group in 2020. I think in every way in American society … there’s this image of the Latino community as though everybody got here five minutes ago.”

Joe Biden’s campaign has “to make sure that they are doing everything they can to reach out to a community that already has one of the lowest rates of voting, that needs to be brought into the fold”, Castro said.

With 29 million eligible voters in 2018, or about 12.8% of the total, Latinos voted more than two-to-one for Democrats, according to Pew Research. That was a much lower rate than for the party’s key bloc, African Americans, who went 90%-9% for Democrats.

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

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It was no secret that if the Republican Party and Donald Trump got their way with the Supreme Court, that women’s health and reproductive rights would be under attack. Well, Trump installed his new justice, Amy Coney Barrett, to the court in November and she’s just issued her first opinion in a case related to access to abortion.

Amy Coney Barrett handed a victory to the White House and Conservatives regarding abortion.

Since taking her seat on the Supreme Court in November, Justice Coney Barretts’ opinions have escaped much scrutiny. However, her latest opinion in an abortion-related case is drawing scrutiny from both the left and the right for clues of how she might rule in the future.

The decision, issued despite objection from the court’s more liberal judges, reinstates a requirement for patients to pick up the drug, mifepristone, in person. Three lower courts had blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s in-person pick-up requirement for mifepristone during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the risks of contracting COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or a hospital.

Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, called the court’s decision “chilling” and one that “needlessly” endangers “even more people during this dark pandemic winter.”

In an interview with NPR, she added that people of color, like Black and Latinx patients, are at particular risk for health risks posed by COVID-19. Requiring them to go to a doctor’s office in person to pick up the drug threatens the health and lives of those patients, she said.

It’s the first abortion-related decision since last year’s swearing in of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose presence on the high court bench ensured a new conservative majority. Abortion-rights advocates have been fearful of what a conservative majority could do to chip away at legal protections for abortion.

On the surface, this week’s abortion ruling is fairly minor but it has many women worried.

Credit: Phil Walter / Getty Images

In its ruling, the Court didn’t release a majority opinion, which means that the case doesn’t explicitly change existing legal doctrine. And the case concerns a policy that the Biden administration could likely reverse after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

But, when you read between the lines, the case – FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – warns of a dark future for abortion rights and women’s health.

The premise of pro-abortion rights decisions like Roe v. Wade (1973) is that the Constitution provides special protection to the right to an abortion that it doesn’t provide to other elective medical procedures. Yet, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor explains in dissent, American College effectively rules that a commonly used abortion drug may be regulated more harshly than any other legal medication.

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Julián Castro Calls Out Republican Officials And Base For Enabling Trump Inciting Violence At Capitol

Things That Matter

Julián Castro Calls Out Republican Officials And Base For Enabling Trump Inciting Violence At Capitol

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Americans are still trying to wrap their heads around the violence at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Julián Castro is putting the blame for what happened directly on the Republican elected officials and base that emboldened President Donald Trump to speak the way he did.

Julián Castro is not mincing words about the language that led to the storm of the Capitol building.

Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Obama Administration, is speaking out against Republicans. Castro has been in politics with his twin brother Joaquin for years and understands the impact President Trump’s words have had. He is also not shying away from placing blame on those who enabled the president.

“I think they have different reasons [for not speaking against Trump],” Castro told Alicia Menendez, the host of “American Voices.” “For some of them, they are still trying to curry favor with Trump’s base. I put folks like Josh Hawley [R-Mo.] and Ted Cruz [R-Texas] and the other senators who continued to object to the certification of the election in that camp. Some of them also know that it would indict them. [Also] people like Mick Mulvaney, who stood by while Donald Trump was inciting hate and in some cases violence against immigrants, against other groups. So, they don’t want to face that themselves. Others truly hold the beliefs that Donald Trump holds, which are bigoted and racist.”

Castro has been raising the alarm about President Trump’s rhetoric.

In 2019, a man drove to El Paso, Texas with the sole purpose of shooting and killing as many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as possible. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, killed 23 people and injured 23 more. A manifesto written by the shooter included a lot of the language pushed by President Trump.

According to the manifesto, the El Paso shooter wanted to stop the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” President Trump had spent months telling supporters at rallies that there was an invasion of immigrants along the southern border.

“You referred to countries as shitholes. You urged American Congresswomen to ‘go back’ to where they came from. You called immigrants rapists,” Castro said in the ad. “As we saw in El Paso, Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you. Because they look like me. They look like my family. Words have consequences. Ya basta.”

The riot really puts the video of Trump supporters trying to run a Biden bus off the road in another light.

During the 2020 campaign cycle, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was going to an event in Texas. While on the freeway, a cluster of Trump supporters started to try to run the campaign bus off of the road. One of the campaign workers car was sideswiped during the incident that drew criticism from some.

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., celebrated the caravan of aggressive Trump supporters. During a rally in Opa-locka, Florida, Sen. Rubio could barely contain his excitement over the video.

“I saw yesterday a video of these people in Texas,” Rubio told a largely maskless rally in Florida. “Did you see it? All the cars on the road, we love what they did.”

After the attack on the Capitol, Sen. Rubio quickly changed his tune about the mob President Trump has incited to violence. Though, he still made excuses for some as only Sen. Rubio can do when it comes to hedging his bets to protect his political career.

“It’s something else as well to see that for some of these politicians, they had to feel personally in danger, personally in danger themselves, before they could see clearly,” Castro said in the interview. “You expect more from people in a position of public trust than that. I guess, at the end of the day, it’s better late than never. It’s also still clear that a lot of those Republicans, both elected officials and the Republican base, still will not hold Donald Trump to account for everything that he has done. To me, what that means, is that the Republican Party as we know it should not exist as a party. It needs a fundamental transformation or a different party.”

READ: Julián Castro Is Bringing Back His ‘Adiós Trump’ Shirts To Raise Money For Dreamers

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