One-Time Assistant To Sen. Bill Proxmire, Columnist Mark Shields Dead At 85

There was no way not to love the look of Mark Shields, who seemed to have arrived for a television appearance donning his coat and finishing with his tie just as the camera eye blinked for the show to start. He looked very much the part of a newspaper columnist who had too many thoughts rushing about in his head to be concerned if his attire was perfectly adjusted.

When he started to opine on the issues of the day in politics, or the personalities that made for the latest headlines, whatever rumpled look he might have brought to the set was forgotten as his perspective and institutional memory held the audience at attention.

With that being said it is clear how I felt about Mark Shields who died at the age of 85 this weekend. I thought him not only a bright writer and commentator on our times but also fitting that image of an intrepid newspaper columnist and witty conversationalist who would be a perfect dinner guest.

His columns were a must-read for the way he blended current themes within the larger context of how our nation could be and should be. His political views were sharp and clear-eyed. He had, after all, worked in the political cauldron to see the process of politics up close.

His first job in the world of politics was in the office of Wisconsin Senator Bill Proxmire, where he had a desk as a legislative assistant. He branched out as a consultant for the Robert Kennedy presidential campaign, and later among other contenders for a variety of offices.

What he was not able to do with success as a political operative he made up for with a pithy knack for writing columns with verve and style and analyzing politics on television shows such as PBS’ NewsHour.

As we know with each turn Shields knew humor was the best way to connect facts with persuasion concerning the events under discussion.

Of President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Shields said dismissively that “the toughest thing he’s ever done was to ask Republicans to vote for a tax cut.” The House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was “an invertebrate”; Senator Lindsey Graham made Tonto, the Lone Ranger’s loyal sidekick, “look like an independent spirit.” In both major parties, he said, too many are afflicted with “the Rolex gene” — making them money-hungry caterers to the wealthy.

Asked in a 2013 C-SPAN interview which presidents he admired, he cited Gerald R. Ford, a Republican who took office in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Ford, he said, was “the most emotionally healthy.”

“Not that the others were basket cases,” he said, but “they get that bug, and as the late and very great Mo Udall, who sought that office, once put it, the only known cure for the presidential virus is embalming fluid.”

With the passing of Shields, we have lost not only someone who was bright and talented but also a link to the times when those in government actually wanted to make the trains run on time. A time when, though politics was frothy, it was not all cut and burn and curse your opponents with every term imaginable.

I know people from all points on the political compass feel a loss this weekend. But we also know it was a joy to have had him being part of our political culture.

Godspeed, Mark.

Walter Mondale Memorial For “My Type Of Democrat”, First Political Rally

There was a memorial service this past weekend that did not receive as much notice, given it was held on a Sunday and a year after the death of the person being honored. The pandemic impacted so many aspects of our lives, including the timing of the service for Walter Mondale.

He died in April 2021.

The New York Times wrote a perfectly toned article about Sunday’s gathering.

There was, indeed, a quintessentially “Minnesota nice” quality to the event. Eulogists spoke of Mr. Mondale’s Norwegian stoicism, Midwestern values and dedication to helping others. The marching band from his cherished University of Minnesota played the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Lillian Hochman, a young Minnesota actress, sang “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie,” a Mondale favorite.

You can watch the powerful remarks from Jon Meacham and the emotional tribute from President Biden here.

Mondale was my type of Democrat, my type of politician. Correct on the issues with a strong moral character and manners that would be welcome in any home in the nation. He was also the first major politician I had the chance to encounter.

On Labor Day 1984 I was attending the first major political rally of my life.  It was also the first major political rally that I would report on for WDOR news.

I was young, eager, and so excited that I could barely contain myself.  Days before the event I had gone through a background check to gain press credentials which allowed me onto the risers with the national press.  Knowing I was going to stand alongside some of the journalists I had a deep respect for was as electrifying to me as being at a rally with a presidential nominee.

I had traveled from Sturgeon Bay to Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Merrill, Wisconsin in my light blue Chevet and still recall the feeling that life could not be better.  I was doing what I had always really wanted to do, which was get close to politics and report about it.  I knew then not everyone could say they get to live what they dream, and I recall attempts to slow down to better take in every moment, every detail.

Many broadcasters were questioning whether the traditional start of the presidential fall campaign was best done in a place like Merrill.  If memory serves me right Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro started that Labor Day in New York and encountered rainy weather.  That the sky was gray and filled with sprinkles in Merrill was not lost on those who thought it an omen for the election outcome.

When the music ramped up Mondale and Ferraro took the simple outdoor platform and gave punchy dramatic stump speeches

But Mondale saw it far differently.  With rolled-up shirtsleeves, Mondale told the audience it did not matter whether it was rain, hail, sleet, or snow.  The Democrats would make it to the polls on Election Day!

I knew at once that my political infection was for real.  Never before had I felt so alive.  So in the moment.

Here is the final draft of that speech.

Once at the rally site I climbed to stand with the press and was truly pleased to be about three feet from Lynn Sherr and Brit Hume, both from ABC.  I smiled to myself when Sherr asked Hume how to pronounce “La Follette” and I then laughed out loud later that night when she mispronounced it on the national news.   Everyone has on-air slips, and it was comforting to see it play out in front of me.

To be honest being on the risers with the press could have been the culmination of the day and I would have been totally content.

Geraldine Ferraro was loved by that crowd in Merrill.  The applause was enthusiastic, and the warmth for her was genuine.  Later I went down and recorded some interviews with voters and my thrust of the news story was how they viewed the first female nominee.  Ferraro was breaking new ground and they were glad Labor Day in Merrill was where she spent some of her time.

I shall be forever grateful to Mondale for choosing Ferraro as his running mate.

I will never forget that first major rally, the sense of being young and living life. Or the strong convictions of a man who would have been a far superior choice for the nation that year in the election.

Our country lost a great man who epitomized the meaning of public service. Mondale summed it up best with one line. “Politics is not about power. It is about doing good for the people.”

And so it goes.

What About Increasing Crime In Red States, Counties?

If you turned into the Masters Tournament during the first three days of play it was possible to believe that only Tiger Woods was playing golf. Fawning over a player took new heights with every step taken made out to be akin to stepping onto the moon.

And if you happen to be following the news about crime nationwide you might believe that increases in a range of illegal behavior are taking place in only blue states and blue counties. Republicans are hot on the rhetoric about crime and how it is coming your way due to liberals. But crime statistics are up and running wild in Trump country, too, where conservatives hold the power of state governments.

For example, Jacksonville, a city with a Republican mayor, had 128 more murders in 2020 than San Francisco, a city with a Democrat mayor, despite their comparable populations. In fact, the homicide rate in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco was half that of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Bakersfield, a city with a Republican mayor that overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Yet there is barely a whisper, let alone an outcry, over the stunning levels of murders in these and other places.

We found that murder rates are, on average, 40% higher in the 25 states Donald Trump won in the last presidential election compared to those that voted for Joe Biden. In addition, murder rates in many of these red states dwarf those in blue states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. And finally, many of the states with the worst murder rates—like Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas—are ones that few would describe as urban. Only 2 of America’s top 100 cities in population are located in these high murder rate states. And not a single one of the top 10 murder states registers in the top 15 for population density.

No one wants crime to increase and there is no joy to be found in stats that show red states are facing the same dilemma as elsewhere in the country. But to continually read and hear midterm electioneering from the GOP about murder rates and efforts at police defunding—which was modest in the few larger cities where such efforts were entertained–undercuts the larger need to understand exactly why there are increases in homicides. In both blue and red states and counties.

I am no expert on the criminal mind but think the level of abusive behavior that was unleashed in the past two years on local roads with excessive speeds, running lights, and disregard for others is a small part of the larger narrative about crime. I have considered that some of the nitwits on Madison streets feel that the only place they have any power is behind the wheel. So they act out.

The pandemic and economic angst are surely no reason to commit a murder, yet we know that sociologists and those schooled in criminal psychology can demonstrate how fluctuations in crime rates occur due to such large events.

Pushing fear concerning crime, which is at the heart of congressional Republican efforts to take back the house, is, of course, par for the course. Which segues this post back to the beginning.

Making white voters in suburbs and rural areas feel like the crime wave is taking over the nation and it is all due to the undermining of police is not only cheap politics but lacks the needed concern to address what is really at the cause of the increases. If that effort is all partisan-based, then the GOP is doing a fine job.

If, however, we are intent on better understanding the upswing in crime and truly wishing to impede it from continuing we need to have a fact-based conversation with others than just the GOP base.

And so it goes.

Our Politics Smolder, Democracy Suffers

There is much to be alarmed about when reading the newspapers from day-to-day. Eastern Europe is ablaze, war crimes mount, and a madman is still alive in Moscow. But closer to home we have issues that tear at the fabric of our democracy, with the latest example coming from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

This week he stated Republicans would not have held hearings on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court if they held a majority in the Senate.

“If we get back the Senate, and we’re in charge of this body, and there’s judicial openings, we will talk to our colleagues on the other side,” Graham said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Jackson’s nomination. “But if we were in charge, she would not have been before this committee.”

Such is our politics in 2022. As a decades-long politico, I am embarrassed about the condition in which we now find ourselves. We can track the history of how we arrived at this place, and while there is plenty of specifics that can be placed on each party, that does not take away the fact that the above statement from Graham was reprehensible.

By the end of this week, the Senate could very well confirm the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. That is a significant stride for a nation that long had only white men holding those seats. Rather than honoring that moment or understanding a president has the right to his appointments, barring some egregious or illegal behavior on the part of the nominee, we instead are witnessing a very low moment in our politics.

(For the record, I have still not figured out what took place upon the death of Senator John McCain, a long-time friend of the South Carolina Senator, which unleashed a continual series of outrageous comments and behavior.)

I have long enjoyed the court nominees over the decades facing the Judiciary Committee and having views shared concerning how the law should be reasoned, probing into if and how the Constitution was a living document, and how precedent weighs into guiding authority for deciding subsequent cases. But the hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson were not what the public deserved, as they were not able to learn anything of substance over the four days.

What we were presented with, all too often, was base low-ball behavior.

I get it that the minority wants to be anything other than the minority. I get it that political points need to scored at some level, but the disrespectful questions, and then in some cases, the lack of a Republican listening to Jackson’s full response showcased what is currently wrong with our politics.

Not for the first time does this blog desire our conversations with each other to be more elevated. This blog has called out Madison radio personalities for low-brow on-air behavior, a president for cursing in public, and now the display our nation witnessed in the Judiciary Committee.

What strikes me, and I suspect a wide swath of the nation when it comes to Senate votes for court nominees, is the bipartisan nature we once enjoyed when placing new people on the bench. Here’s how our politics looked with those votes for court nominees going back to Antonin Scalia’s confirmation in 1986.

TAKE NOTE: Scalia had been the most celebrated justice on the right. He got 98 votes in his 1986 confirmation. The most celebrated justice on the left, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, got 96 votes in 1993.

What Graham said about the future of our political process in Washington is truly disturbing. How many judges nominated by President Biden will then-Majority Leader McConnell allow to be confirmed in a GOP majority chamber? Well, apparently the answer is zero. And that is simply destructive to democracy.

Our Founding Fathers envisioned several examples of possible dangerous behavior to democracy and placed solutions to them within the Constitution. But they simply could not have fathomed the degree of partisanship currently running through the Republican Party. Partisanship so deep and corrosive it would harm the nation itself.

We really do need to find some more ‘John McCains’ within the Republican Party to keep the ‘Lindsey Grahams’ tethered to democracy. Our nation demands it.

And so it goes.

Wilbur Mills Knew How To Create A Real Sex Scandal

Wilbur Mills and Fanne Foxe Photo: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images with photo of Madison Cawthorn above

I grew up in a rather conservative household. Not in any rigid or bombastic way, but in the mild and routine ways and manners that came with rural Wisconsin in the 1960s and ’70s. My mom frowned on hearing ‘damn’ used by officeholders in news clips on the radio and felt a president should wear a jacket when in the Oval Office. My dad spent 40 years in town government looking out for how tax dollars were spent.

So it will not be surprising to learn when I was just starting out in high school the story that was talked about with disdain at home along with ‘what is the latest’ concerning an Arkansas Democratic congressman and a stripper, held my attention. Mom was born in that southern state and felt pride when something positive was reported coming from it. I can assure you that Wilbur Mills and Fanne Foxe, the frolicking woman in the Tidal Basin in front of the Jefferson Memorial, did not win anything other than rebukes at our home.

If such stories were reported over the years about married members of congress they were viewed as unacceptable and not how we should model our lives. The moral lessons from home were always rather basic.

I thought about Mills and the stripper this morning, and by extension what my parents would say concerning the latest sexual bombshell of a story that has riveted Washington.

North Carolina Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn has stated some of his fellow elected members invited him to sexual orgies. He also claimed cocaine was used in his presence.

The first-term conservative said he received invitations along the lines of: “‘Well, hey, we’re going to have kind of a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come’.” The 26-year-old described his response on the podcast “Warrior Poet Society”: “I’m like, ‘What did you just ask me to come to?’ And then you realize they are asking you to come to an orgy.”

The fact Cawthorn made such a public statement before any sex was actually undertaken is what needs to be addressed. If the offer actually happened what was to be gained by making it known? But since it was likely a self-generated moment of delusion one has to then ask what is the deeper problem with Cawthorn?

It is one thing to have an elected official with a zipper problem caught after his affair and embarrassed. Even a conservative one like Mills who seemed to live a rather staid life overall. The post-coitus blame game then starts with booze or pills and a lack of momentary mindfulness being the root cause of forgetting the spouse was back at home.

But how do we explain Cawthorn, who is a walking minefield of odd behavior, now creating a sex scandal out of supposed conversations? I am not sure if the one-term congressman grasps that he can not just state something like that without a whole series of reporters asking who, exactly, is he implicating and when did this party invite get sent?

Meanwhile, Washington and the rest of the nation know what a real sex scandal looks like. And what a mere attempt at headline-grabbing looks like, too.

And so it goes.

What Next After Tears And Standing Ovation For President Zelensky In War-Time Speech To Congress?

It was something our nation has not seen in a very long time. A powerful, moving, emotional, and dramatic presentation about the need for good to overcome evil in this world.

This morning Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a most unusual and need I say rare wartime virtual speech urged Congress to stand more fully with his nation. After giving his thanks for the support from the United States thus far, he spoke for military items that have been urged for on this blog in recent weeks as the Russian military pounds and kills in Ukraine.

Zelensky urged for aid so to help close the sky over his country to Moscow’s weapons, asked that his defiant and strong-willed nation be provided more effective surface-to-air defenses, and made it known all American companies should quit doing business in Russia at once.

His words could not have been more plain and direct.

“In the darkest time for our country, for the whole of Europe, I call on you to do more.”

The address was heard by the entire Congress on a large screen in a theater-style auditorium under the Capitol. With the gravity of the hour upon the shoulders of freedom-loving people worldwide, Zelensky stated “we need you right now.”

The powerful words and image of a brave Churchillian-type figure brought tears to the eyes of some lawmakers and a resounding standing ovation. He concluded his historic address by speaking in English.

“To be the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”

It was an address loaded with precision about the United States and this moment in time. We absolutely need to be mindful of not only what he said, but who we are.

Our nation remains a world leader, as our mission is clear and our strength undeniable. Our might comes not only with military hardware and trained members of the services but also with a firm set of principles and ideals that have global appeal.

With a dictator invading, killing, threatening, and blustering on the world stage it then demands that the standard-bearers for democracy and freedom do the part that history demands. Our ideals call us to stand up. We simply need to intervene in a far more powerful and effective manner with this madness in Ukraine.

So what happens now after the members of Congress head back to their offices?

“My hope is that what comes out of today’s discussion with President Zelensky and all of us working together in a bipartisan basis is to tighten the sanctions immediately, is to provide more armaments that they actually need to defend themselves … and give them a fighting chance to protect themselves,” said Sen. Rob Portman who is the co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus. 

This blog stands with the use of the warplanes from Poland for use in Ukraine. The rather sad spectacle of the Biden Administration rebuffing Poland’s offer to send MiG-29 jets to Ukraine via a U.S. military base in Germany was not this nation’s finest moment over the past weeks. Referring to the planes Zelensky today said, “You know they exist. You have them, but they are on earth, not in the Ukrainian sky.”

After the address, Biden correctly announced new military assistance for Ukraine that will include anti-aircraft defenses, drones, and other weaponry. The new aid will help provide 800 anti-aircraft systems to combat Russian planes; 9,000 anti-armor systems to help destroy Russian tanks and armored vehicles; 7,000 small arms such as machine guns and shotguns; and a total of 20 million rounds that includes artillery and mortar. 

While I strongly support President Biden, and find him an honorable leader, I am concerned about some reticence and foot-dragging with some aspects to Putin’s war of aggression. I want more resolve and impactful decisions that will hit hard on the ground in Ukraine.

I read a column this month in The New York Times which ended with a theme I have thought to be essential when talking about Ukraine.

Long before Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt understood that America could not be indifferent to Britain’s fate, even with the odds so overwhelmingly against it. At a meeting in Britain in January 1941, his closest adviser, Harry Hopkins, used the words of the Book of Ruth to convey to Churchill the feelings the two Americans shared:

“Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” Then he added, “Even to the end.”

That is precisely how I feel today.

And so it goes.

Budget Process In Washington Is Broken, A Bi-Partisan Mess

Today news was reported that Congressional leaders reached an overarching agreement to boost military and non-defense budgets, paving the way for a comprehensive deal to fund the government into the fall.

Then Congress can wrangle over most likely another resolution to fund the government until some date that runs up to a national holiday. We have seen this chaotic scenario play out time, and time again. The process for the normal Congressional procedure with the appropriations process is simply no longer working.

Consider a fact that is shocking when you sit down and think about it.

Congress has managed to pass all its required appropriations measures on time only four times: in fiscal 1977 (the first full fiscal year under the current system), 1989, 1995, and 1997. So, this is clearly a problem that can not be tossed about in partisan terms, as both parties are to be faulted.

The accord announced today is a crucial breakthrough that’s expected to lead to the enactment of a sweeping 12-bill spending bundle in the next few weeks, following months of tense cross-party negotiations. Democrats are seeking to finally override the funding levels carried over from the spending package signed into law in the last weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, while Republicans are fighting for a military budget far above the less than 2 percent increase President Joe Biden requested.

While specific contentious policy debates may yet upend the talks, leaders in both parties applauded the framework agreement.

Let me offer a simple reminder of how the process is supposed to operate. I have to credit Mr. Winn, an engaging and determined teacher who knew the value of civics education, for pounding home each chapter in the textbook.

First, and foremost, there must be an orderly process, or the power players can triumph over the green-horns who may not know the intricacies of passing appropriations bills. Grasping that process matters is not just a trite phrase. It has meaning and consequences when not adhered to.

Second, the President is required to send to Congress a budget in February. It is actually a law that reads “On or after the first Monday in January but not later than the first Monday in February of each year, the President shall submit a budget of the United States Government for the following fiscal year.”

This year, just as a side note, President Biden did not follow 31 Code § 1105 and submit a budget. Over the past week, reporters have stated the rationale for missing the mark is due to Congress not yet finishing their work for the fiscal year 2022 appropriations–hence, how does one construct a budget without knowing which base of numbers to work from.

Let me press home again, the ongoing problem in Congress, as they have not passed regular 2022 appropriation bills. And to add frosting to that cake, those bills, had they passed on time, were supposed to be completed by September 2021.

Congress, in the days when Allen Drury wrote his Advise And Consent series of great reads, had a framework prepared for how to tax and spend by late spring from the appropriation committee. The two houses of Congress used that framework to craft and cajole over individual spending bills with everything completed by October 1st when the federal government’s new fiscal year starts.

Two current problems have weighed down this textbook chapter from my high school days. Congressional time seems to have taken on a more turtle-like pace, and the partisan dysfunction has rocketed beyond comprehension.

The number of days Congress works is a topic that does require attention.

In 2012, the House was in session for 153 days. During the 2010 midterm elections when Republicans took over the chamber, the House was in session 128 days. In 2008, they were here 119 days and in 2006, they were here a mere 104 days.

This year, 2022, Congress will meet for 112 days, including Committee Work Days, which is consistent with second-session years in the past. Over the last fifteen years, the House has been scheduled to meet for an average of 111 days during the second session of a Congress.

Is it just me, or could there be a remedy with the Congressional calendar to find time to make sure appropriations bills are sent through normal procedures and processes and finalized on time?

I understand the time commitment members of Congress face with a wide array of duties in the district. But, I feel confident in suggesting missing the glad-handing at the Friday night diner will be viewed with favor by voters it is means working in Washington on the nations’ business.

And so it goes.

Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee Will Not Be Mired To Textualism, Will Understand Privacy

And just like that, a new page was turned in Washington. The national narrative took on a new angle.

The news this morning was surprising only that it did not wait to be released at the end of June. The end of this term of the Supreme Court.

Justice Stephen Breyer will retire and in so doing President Joe Biden will have his first opportunity to place a justice on the Court. The ideological balance will not change with this selection, but the placement of a justice who understands the foundation of how the law should be viewed in the larger context is simply vital.

It is strongly assumed that Biden will follow through on his campaign promise to place the first Black woman on the Court. That would be historic, and politically sound. But the larger victory to the nation is the fact that any nominee from the Biden White House will not be a follower of the sterile notion of ‘original intent” or its cousin in intellectual laziness ‘strict constructionist’ thinking.

When we placed a ballot in our hands in the fall of 2020 and cast a vote for president many likely did so with the character of Donald Trump top most in their thoughts. While that was clearly on my mind too, my overriding decision, however, was based on the need for solid fact-based and serious jurists for the federal courts and the Supreme Court. That consideration, along with international affairs drives my voting as it has since my first vote in 1980.

Many in the nation cringe, and correctly so when thinking about ‘original intent” or ‘strict constructionist’ thinking.  The main reason to dismiss this way to view the Constitution is that such concepts are nothing less than a slap to the Framers of that document. There is nothing to suggest they wanted to be the final arbiter on an evolving nation. The second reason to find much dismay with constructionism is the way it undermines the moral authority of the courts.

Republicans and right-wing conservatives talk often about reigning in the courts from ‘liberalism’ and in so doing think that then gives them license to enact harsh rulings about the progress of society regarding a whole raft of issues. Using ‘original intent’ as a partisan weapon places a wedge issue into the judiciary and in so doing undermines one of our republic’s major institutions.

To state, as the ‘originalists’ do, that the words of the Constitution do not evolve with time is a seriously flawed idea.  To pretend that the living America of ideas and events does not necessitate a Constitution that bends and adapts within the framework of guiding principles is one of the most bizarre and dangerous concepts that has ever been suggested.  Those who promote such ideas are the American equivalent of the Taliban, who use the Koran in highly misguided ways.  Pragmatic and logical voters understand past decisions made by the court, along with public needs, and expectations, along with the larger values that were implied in the Constitution, are needed to be used by judges when making rulings.

Trying to do a mind-meld with the Framers about software privacy or looking for guidance in their written texts about transgender rights is simply absurd.

History can be a guide as to the dangers of ‘strict constructionist’ thinking. It can also be a guide as to the wisdom of using guiding principles of the Constitution to expand rights and increase the American Dream. The horrendous Dred Scott decision can be viewed as the work of the former, but most of us better recognize the wisdom of the latter as Chief Justice Earl Warren’s tenure outlawed segregation in public schools.

That is why I firmly believe that when it comes to presidential elections we must always be aware of the need for a working modern judiciary.

One of the central issues in the nation is the right of women to have control over their bodies when it comes to abortion. One of the foundations in the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade, is the core constitutional principle of privacy. Conservatives rail against the idea that ‘privacy’ is even protected in the Constitution. 

Now, while it is true that the Constitution does not mention the right of privacy, over time there has been recognition that privacy is an unenumerated right.  The Griswold Case is one that every high school kid learns about; as it was the first time that the Constitution protects that vital right to privacy.  In that case, it was about the right to contraceptives.  In 1973, the issue of privacy was a central argument and focus, as it was in the famed Lawrence v. Texas, where privacy was used to strike down a law against gay sex.

The nation’s attention is now to focus on one way we judge the legacy of a president. The selection of a justice for the Court. We can be most confident that with President Biden the eventual nominee will have a firm understanding that the Constitution is a living document.

That is after all, why we vote for a Democrat to sit in the Oval Office.

And so it goes.