The Daily News on Judge Brett Kavanaugh
If confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court, federal appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh will almost surely cement the top judicial panel’s right-wing majority for years to come.
That’s why Democrats in the Senate, led by Chuck Schumer, instantaneously declared their implacable opposition to the nomination. So much for giving the man a fair hearing, like the one Dems demanded Senate Republicans give Barack Obama’s choice, Judge Merrick Garland.
The GOP was wrong then. Forswearing Kavanaugh at the outset is wrong now, turning what should be a tough confirmation process into a partisan guerrilla war.
But a deep dive into Kavanaugh’s long record is required, as are tough hearings that delve into his most troubling rulings and writings.
By early indications, Kavanaugh would be a reliable fifth vote for a maximalist interpretation of the Second Amendment. In a 2011 dissent from the majority on his appeals panel, he wrote, “There is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semiautomatic handguns and semiautomatic rifles.”
Senators must grill him on this dissent.
Kavanaugh also looks poised to join a majority eager to weaken the already eroding status of workers and unions.
The Senate must cross-examine him on whether this tendency conflicts with the “open mind” he promises to bring to every case. And scrutinize his rulings upholding voter-ID laws with the effect of disenfranchising large numbers of African-American voters.
Kavanaugh could well tip the high court’s balance to overrule Roe v. Wade, the two-generation-old precedent granting women the right to an abortion. Without forcing him to prejudge on any particular case, senators must demand he say whether he considers that 1973 ruling settled law, fundamentally flawed or somewhere in between.
We worry deeply about the direction of the court if and when Kavanaugh joins it. But Democrats must remember he is one among many conservative jurists President Trump could have chosen, and generally considered a star in the firmament respected across the spectrum for his temperament and intellect.
Had Garland gotten his deserved vote under Obama, Kavanaugh would not now be getting ready to fill a second vacant seat. That’s an injustice Democrats should remember every November. The road to turning the high court in the right — or left — direction ultimately runs through the ballot box.
The Utica Observer-Dispatch on elder abuse
We are rightfully concerned about and should be vigilant when it comes to preventing child abuse. But something that often flies under the public radar is elder abuse.
We must be ever alert to that, too.
A recent report from county officials was disturbing. It found that more than 143 seniors facing some form of elder abuse had been referred to the Oneida County Office for the Aging & Continuing Care and its partners in the county’s Elder Abuse Coalition last year.
According to the county’s data, the largest number of cases — 51 — was self-neglect. That might be one of the tougher problems to keep track of since many elderly folks live alone and, if they have no family, could go days without any human interaction.
That’s why it is incumbent on all of us who might know or at least be aware of shut-ins to make every effort to stay in touch with them to keep track of their well-being. In some cases, a friend, neighbor or even an acquaintance might be the only human contact an elderly person has for days or even weeks. Elderly people who live alone might neglect themselves in many ways — ranging from health care to nutrition — that could be harmful to them.
If you know an elderly person who is alone, periodic checks on their well-being could make the difference between life and death.
Other types of elder abuse include financial exploitation and caregiver neglect (both affected 20 seniors, county record show), while another 22 cases involved some type of “other domestic” abuse. Two cases involved a senior being controlled or isolated by another person. In cases other than self-neglect, family members were the most common culprits, accounting for 36 cases while friends accounted for 10 cases, professionals or paid caregivers for three cases and others for three cases.
Just as we me must be advocates for children, so must we be the eyes and ears for elderly folks who cannot adequately fend for themselves. Keep tabs on elderly people who might be alone and watch for signs of neglect, and do not hesitate to report a suspected problem by calling 315-798-5456.