BREAKING NEWS Man indicted for fraud on fallen Huntsville Police Officer Billy Clardy III’s memorial fund Full Story

George H.W. Bush leaves for final trip to DC

Former President George H.W. Bush's casket leaves Texas for the US Capitol, where he will lie in state.

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 10:54 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 10:54 AM

As a contingent of well-wishers flood the nation's capital to pay respects to George H.W. Bush, one of the former president's most lasting legacies took his seat Monday morning at the Supreme Court to hear arguments in a tax case.

It's been more than quarter century since Bush left the White House, but Justice Clarence Thomas — appointed by Bush in 1991 — serves as a reminder that a president's impact can reverberate long after his presidency. Thomas is hard at work trying to reshape the law and his former clerks now populate the Trump administration and the lower courts. Whether a president gets the opportunity to fill a Supreme Court vacancy is often left to chance or circumstance, but Bush got two chances, and he chose two very different judges.

Thomas took the seat of the civil rights legend Justice Thurgood Marshall. At the time, the nomination of the 43-year-old Thomas was a crushing blow to civil rights groups, which had hoped in vain that Bush might take the opportunity to fill the seat with someone closer to Marshall's judicial philosophy. Instead, Thomas, now the longest serving justice, is perhaps one of the most conservative members of the court, sometimes writing alone and hardly ever speaking during oral arguments, but laying a marker of conservative jurisprudence that will last for decades to come.

Thomas has emerged as a star of the conservative Federalist Society and frequently speaks before the group to standing ovations. "I've gotten to the point where it's like the priesthood. This is what I was called to do," Thomas told an audience in 2013.

His supporters were stunned when the Smithsonian opened a major museum in 2016 meant to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans and almost entirely ignored the achievements of Thomas, who rose from poverty to serve as the country's second African-American associate justice of the Supreme Court. The museum did have a picture at the time of Anita Hill, who famously blew up Thomas' confirmation hearings with allegations of sexual harassment. Thomas — who always vehemently denied Hill's accusations — never addressed the Smithsonian controversy publicly.

Meanwhile, his former clerks have high positions in the Trump administration. Neomi Rao, for example, serves as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an agency within the White House Office of Management and Budget. She has also been nominated to fill Justice Brett Kavanaugh's previous seat on the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Gregory Katsas served in the White House Counsel's Office during the turbulent first few months of the Trump administration and now sits on that court, which is considered the second most powerful court in the land, as it is often asked to review the workings of federal agencies.

The former clerks play a large role outside of government as well. William Consovoy — a private lawyer — is a lead lawyer challenging Harvard's admission policy in a case that is almost certain to land before the Supreme Court and could change the face of affirmative action.

Justice David Souter, on the other hand, was Bush's first nominee in 1990. Souter retired in 2009. A relative unknown, the brilliant jurist who preferred his homestead in New Hampshire to the pomp and circumstance of the nation's capital, was an enormous disappointment to the right, becoming a consistent liberal vote on the court. In 1992, he voted to uphold the core holding of Roe v. Wade. He also forever changed the nomination process.

"No more Souters" became a rallying cry of the Federalist Society. After his appointment, the conservative group worked to create an efficient vetting machine made up of sympathetic lawyers with the goal of ensuring that no future Republican president ever appointed an unknown to the bench again.

Just before he retired, Souter told an audience that each fall he underwent an annual "intellectual lobotomy" when he had to return to the bench.

Indeed, the fact that Don McGahn, who would later serve as White House counsel, put out a list during the Trump campaign of possible Supreme Court nominees was likely a delayed reaction to the Souter nomination.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 82°
Florence
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 76°
Fayetteville
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Decatur
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Scottsboro
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 78°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 110636

Reported Deaths: 1092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby21492288
Davidson19400202
Rutherford607253
Hamilton566147
Knox403236
Williamson326922
Sumner317870
Unassigned29544
Out of TN278314
Wilson207221
Montgomery173411
Bradley171310
Sevier17135
Trousdale15726
Putnam154413
Robertson145017
Hamblen122913
Blount11207
Tipton11069
Maury10815
Washington10662
Madison91213
Bedford87110
Macon83213
Sullivan8069
Hardeman80111
Lake7490
Bledsoe6721
Loudon6533
Fayette6208
Anderson6075
Dickson5951
Gibson5672
Dyer5557
Cheatham5485
Rhea5021
Jefferson4962
McMinn48920
Lawrence4786
Obion4354
Henderson4310
Carter4275
Lauderdale4236
Coffee4172
Warren4034
Hardin4017
Cocke4001
Cumberland3796
Haywood3745
Greene3715
Monroe3669
Roane3642
Smith3633
Hawkins3624
Giles3519
McNairy3165
DeKalb3051
Franklin2864
Weakley2763
Marshall2652
Lincoln2541
Hickman2310
Carroll2283
Crockett2263
Claiborne2210
Henry2160
Wayne2161
Campbell2131
Marion2054
White1943
Chester1932
Johnson1720
Grainger1690
Polk1651
Decatur1612
Unicoi1380
Overton1341
Union1200
Cannon1180
Jackson1061
Humphreys1053
Scott1040
Grundy1012
Meigs980
Benton971
Sequatchie940
Morgan821
Hancock761
Fentress740
Perry740
Stewart700
Clay610
Lewis561
Houston550
Moore450
Van Buren330
Pickett221

 

 

Community Events