by Gerald Boerner
We are continuing our series of postings that will examine the likely nominees for the Supreme Court vacancy that will result from the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens in June. Today we examine the second possible male candidate for the nomination, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. We will be interested to see whether the expediency of getting the nominee confirmed will overshadow the selection of the most prepared, most experienced, and most appropriate person for that position.. GLB
“It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.”
— Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
“The price of justice is eternal publicity..”
— Arnold Bennett
“Justice is the infrastructure of proprietorship..”
— Kemal Ataturk
“In the rush for justice it is important not to lose sight of principles the country holds dear.”
— Kofi Annan
“When there is time to think about cricket, I think but when there is time to be with family, I try to do justice to that aspect of my life as well.”
— Sachin Tendulkar
“But if you’re asking my opinion, I would argue that a social justice approach should be central to medicine and utilized to be central to public health. This could be very simple: the well should take care of the sick.”
— Paul Farmer
“I retired from public Business from a thorough Conviction that it was not in my Power to do any Good, and very much disgusted with Measures, which appeared to me inconsistent with common Policy and Justice..”
— George Mason
“The values by which we are to survive are not rules for just and unjust conduct, but are those deeper illuminations in whose light justice and injustice, good and evil, means and ends are seen in fearful sharpness of outline.”
— Jacob Bronowski
Supreme Court Candidates: Deval Patrick
President Barack Obama has made one appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, that of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Justice David H. Souter. Sotomayor was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 6, 2009. He will additionally have the opportunity to fill the vacancy created by John Paul Stevens, who has announced his intention to retire at the end of the court’s term in June 2010. Speculation has also focused on the potential retirement of 77-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Demographic considerations have played into the appointment of Supreme Court justices since the institution was established. Starting in the twentieth century, these concerns shifted from geographic representation to issues of gender and ethnicity.
Prior to the 2008 presidential election, many court watchers suggested that the next president would be under significant pressure to appoint another woman or ethnic minority to the court. The case for naming more women was particularly widespread given the recent retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor and the rapidly changing demographics of the legal community, with women now accounting for about a fifth of all law partners and law school deans, a quarter of the federal bench, and nearly half of all law school graduates. Shortly before the election, for example, NPR reported, "Most observers of the Supreme Court agree about one thing: The next nominee is likely to be a woman". Furthermore, after Obama’s presidential election victory, Hispanic legal interests groups such as the Hispanic National Bar Association began urging Obama to nominate a Hispanic justice.
Given the relative youth of the most recent Republican appointments, it was also noted that Democrats had, "a strong incentive to pick younger justices this time around". Age proved to be an important consideration for Obama, who was "looking for a justice who will be an intellectual force on the court for many years to come". As a result, Obama did not seriously consider candidates such as Jose Cabranes, Amalya Kearse, Diana Gribbon Motz, David Tatel, and Laurence Tribe, all of whom he respected but were older than 65 when Obama was looking to replace David Souter.
Introducing Deval Patrick
Deval Laurdine Patrick (born July 31, 1956) is the 71st Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A member of the Democratic Party, Patrick served as United States Assistant Attorney General under President Bill Clinton. He is the first person of African descent to hold the office of Massachusetts governor.
Patrick was born on the South Side of Chicago, where his family resided in a two-bedroom apartment in Robert Taylor Homes housing projects. In 1959, his father Laurdine "Pat" Patrick, a member of jazz musician Sun Ra’s band, left his wife Mae (née Wintersmith), Deval, and their daughter, Rhonda (who is one year Deval’s senior) in order to play music in New York City and because he had fathered a daughter by another woman. Deval reportedly had a strained relationship with his father, who opposed his choice of high school, but they eventually reconciled. Patrick was raised by his mother, Mae, who traces her roots to American slaves in the American South, in the state of Kentucky.
While Patrick was in middle school, one of his teachers referred him to A Better Chance, a national non-profit organization for identifying, recruiting and developing leaders among academically gifted students of African American descent, which enabled him to attend Milton Academy. Patrick graduated from Milton Academy in 1974 and from Harvard College (with a concentration in English and American literature) in 1978. He then spent a year working with the United Nations in Africa. In 1979, Patrick returned to the United States and enrolled at Harvard Law School. While in law school, Patrick was elected president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where he first worked defending poor families in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
He and his wife, Diane Patrick, née Bemus (b. 1951), a lawyer specializing in labor and employment law, married in 1984. They have lived in Milton, Massachusetts since 1989 and have two daughters, Sarah and Katherine. In July 2008, Katherine publicly announced that she is a lesbian, and mentioned that her father did not know this while fighting against an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution. In a joint interview Patrick expressed support for his daughter and said he was proud of her.
In 1994, Clinton nominated Patrick Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate. As the head of the Civil Rights Division, Patrick worked on issues including racial profiling, police misconduct, fair lending enforcement, human trafficking, prosecution of hate crime, abortion clinic violence and discrimination based on gender and disability. He led what was (before the September 11, 2001 attacks) the largest federal criminal investigation in history as co-chair of the Task Force investigating the arsons of synagogues and Black churches in the South in the mid 1990′s. He had a key role as an adviser to post-apartheid South Africa during this time and helped draft that country’s civil rights laws.
His tenure was not without controversy. Federal affirmative action policy was under judicial and political review, and Patrick was thrust into Clinton’s policy defense. Patrick also enforced federal laws concerning treatment of incarcerated criminals, to the extent that one warden called him a "zealot." He has also been criticized for his role in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals case Piscataway v. Taxman, wherein, due to budget constraints, a white woman named Sharon Taxman was laid off rather than a black woman of allegedly "identical" qualifications, because the school wanted diversity on its teaching staff. Taxman sued and prevailed in US District Court, but Patrick encouraged the Justice Department, which had supported Taxman in the Bush administration, to withdraw from the case. Taxman was subsequently rehired and eventually settled her suit.
In 1997, Patrick returned to Boston to join the firm Day, Berry & Howard, and was appointed by the federal district court to serve as Chairman of Texaco’s Equality and Fairness Task Force to oversee implementation of the terms of a race discrimination settlement at Texaco. Working with employees at all levels, Patrick and his Task Force examined and reformed Texaco’s complex corporate employment culture, and created a model for fostering an equitable workplace. After serving for nearly two years, he was appointed Vice President and General Counsel for the company in New York City, leading the company’s global legal affairs. From 2000 to 2004, Patrick worked as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. He resigned in 2004, ending nearly 6 years of weekly commuting between Massachusetts and jobs out of state.
Some gay rights activists have criticized him for his tenure on the United Airlines (UAL) board. During this time, the company fought a San Francisco ordinance requiring companies to offer domestic partnership benefits. Patrick contended that for a global company to comply with local employment ordinances in San Francisco would have set an unhelpful precedent. Patrick successfully encouraged UAL to offer such benefits to all employees, making it the first airline to do so.
In 2004, he was appointed to the board of directors of the firm that controls Ameriquest, the mortgage company infamous for predatory lending scandals. Ameriquest subsequently agreed to a $325 million dollar settlement regarding their predatory lending practices in 49 states. Deval Patrick resigned from the board on July 2, 2006.
Administration as Governor of Massachusetts
On November 7, 2006, Patrick was elected to be the first African American governor of Massachusetts, the third black governor in United States history. He is one of two current African American governors, along with David Paterson of New York, the first time in U.S. history two black governors serve concurrently. He took office on January 4, 2007.
In August 2007 Patrick announced that he was appointing former Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police chief Joseph C. Carter to the position of The Adjutant General (TAG) of the Massachusetts National Guard making him the first African American TAG in the 370-year history of the state’s Guard.
In December 2009, Patrick announced he was promoting Deputy Superintendent Marian J. McGovern to Colonel in the Massachusetts State Police. The promotion makes McGovern the first female leader of that police organization in its 144-year history.
Before taking office, Patrick named a transition team headed by lawyer Michael Angelini, bank executive Ronald Homer, and Weld administration economic affairs secretary Gloria Cordes Larson. In his first meetings with the legislative leadership, he proposed his first action would be to hire 1000 new police officers and to expand full-day kindergarten statewide. He has since scaled back his original proposal and will hire only 250 officers. As part of the transition, Patrick created a series of working groups who held public meetings to advise him on various policy areas. The groups included a few names prominent in the election: Harvard Pilgrim CEO Charles D. Baker, Jr. on Budget & Finance, a Weld administration finance advisor who had been considered a potential GOP candidate for governor; Center of Women and Enterprise founder and candidate in the Lieutenant Governor’s primary Andrea Silbert on Economic Development; and gubernatorial primary candidate Chris Gabrieli on PreK-12 Education.
Appointment of Interim Senator
On September 24, 2009, Patrick appointed Paul G. Kirk as the interim US senator in the wake of Ted Kennedy’s death.
During the 2006 Gubernatorial Election Patrick faced criticism for writing letters to the parole board describing correspondence from Benjamin LaGuer, a man convicted of a brutal eight-hour rape, as "thoughtful, insightful, eloquent, [and] humane". Patrick, who supported the release of LaGuer, contributed $5,000 towards the DNA testing which backfired by further linking LaGuer to the crime.
Before taking office, Patrick faced criticism for urging legislators to ignore the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s finding that the legislature was constitutionally bound to take a second vote on whether or not to allow a citizen initiated referendum to define marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. The Massachusetts General Court ignored his call and voted not to place the measure on the ballot.
In the early months of Patrick’s administration, a series of decisions the governor later conceded as missteps brought substantial unfavorable press. These included spending almost $11,000 on drapery for the governor’s state house suite, changing the state’s customary car lease from a Ford Crown Victoria to a Cadillac, and hiring a staff assistant (who had previously helped chair his election campaign) for the Commonwealth’s first lady at an annual salary of almost $75,000. Emerging from a weekend of working on the state’s budget and calling for cuts in services to taxpayers, Patrick responded in a February 20, 2007 press conference that "I realize I cannot in good conscience ask the agencies to make those choices without being willing to make them myself" Patrick subsequently reimbursed the Commonwealth for the cost of the drapery and furniture purchased for the state house, and the additional monthly difference in his car lease First Lady Diane Patrick’s staff assistant, Amy Gorin, resigned.
Later in the same month Patrick again came under fire, this time for contacting Citigroup Executive Committee chair, and former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin on behalf of the financially beleaguered mortgage company Ameriquest, a subsidiary of ACC Capital Holdings of which Patrick is a former board member. Both Citigroup and ACC Capital Holdings have substantial holdings in Massachusetts. Patrick attempted to deflect criticism claiming he was calling not as governor but as a private citizen. Later Patrick backed down, stating "I appreciate that I should not have made the call. I regret the mistake."
In December 2008, Patrick faced criticism from Massachusetts Republicans for the hiring of attorney and real estate consultant Dana Harrell to the newly created position of state Director of Real Estate Services. Harrell is a neighbor of Deval Patrick in Milton, and he and his wife have contributed to the governor’s election campaign and to the Democratic State Committee. The appointment to the $120,000-per-year position came at a time when the state faced a $1.4 billion revenue shortfall which may cause Patrick to layoff 1,000 state workers and cut state aid to towns and cities.
Patrick came to the defense of Presidential candidate Barack Obama during the Democratic primary when it was reported that a few key phrases from one of Obama’s stump speech were very similar to words used during Patrick’s own 2006 Massachusetts Gubernatorial run. The charges of plagiarism were largely dismissed after Patrick explained that he had encouraged Obama to use the same quotes.
Throughout his term in office, Patrick has made achieving “world-class public education” a main priority of his administration. After campaigning against charter schools, Patrick now supports a doubling of the number of charter schools in Massachusetts. In his first year in office, Patrick proposed making Community College free to all Massachusetts high school graduates.
Patrick favored the legalizing of same-sex marriage because of the fundamental principle that "citizens come before their government as equals". He worked with the state legislature to prevent a ballot measure eliminating same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, which reaffirmed the state’s first-in-the-nation same-sex marriage allowance.
Patrick opposes the death penalty, saying that "the death penalty does not work. It hasn’t worked in actually deterring crime, and it won’t work for Massachusetts." This position had put him at odds with ex-Lt. Governor Kerry Healey, who wanted to "reinstate the death penalty for felons convicted of killing a law enforcement officer, judge, prosecutor or corrections officer".
Patrick was an early supporter of the Cape Wind energy project, at a time when prominent Massachusetts politicians from Mitt Romney to Ted Kennedy were working against it. His leadership on this issue was a key turning point in the early stage of the campaign, and tapped into the then-unknown widespread support held by over 70 percent of the state.
On health care reform, Patrick has called the new health insurance mandate an important first step that needs to be "implemented brilliantly", although far from the last word. He has said that the state needs to have a debate about moving towards single-payer health care.
Patrick is a proponent of stem cell research and was critical of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for vetoing a stem cell bill. He proposes creating a bonding bill similar to California’s recent path, and using it to invest in stem cell research at the University of Massachusetts, creating a simultaneous boost to the commonwealth’s institutions of public higher education.
Patrick has called immigration a federal issue and has supported the McCain-Kennedy plan to tighten border control and create "pathway[s] to citizenship" for immigrants who have established lives in America. On the state level, he supports increased enforcement of employment laws to crack down on employers taking advantage of illegal immigrants, while opposing discrimination on the basis of immigration status for providing state services, including such things as public housing, in-state tuition for public universities, and drivers’ licenses. Recently, he has acknowledged it may be impossible to go forward on drivers’ licenses due to recent federal legislation.
Patrick submitted a bill that would allow the construction and operation of three resort-style casinos in the state. He argued that these casinos would generate $2 billion for the state economy and add $400 million in annual casino revenue and $200 million in fees per license to the state coffers as well as add $50 million to $80 million in sales, meal, and hotel taxes. He also touted that the casinos would create 30,000 construction jobs and 20,000 permanent jobs.
Patrick proposed that the revenue generated would be spent to beef up local law enforcement, create a state gambling regulatory agency, repair roads and bridges ($200 million), gambling addiction treatment ($50 million) and the remainder would go towards property tax relief.
Patrick’s plan faced strong opposition from Salvatore DiMasi, the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. DiMasi questioned the governor’s projections of new jobs, revenues to be generated and was an opposed to what he referred to as a casino culture saying: "Do we want to usher in a casino culture– with rampant bankruptcies, crime and social ills– or do we want to create a better Massachusetts for all sectors of the society?"
On March 20, 2008 the Massachusetts House of Representatives rejected Patrick’s casino bill by a vote of 108 to 46. Despite the overwhelming vote, questions were raised by critics of DiMasi as to the tactics he used to win. These included allegations that he promised a subsequent vote on a bill that would allow slot machines at the state’s four racetracks and the pre-vote promotions of six lawmakers who had been thought to support the bill, but either abstained or voted against the bill. DiMasi denied that any promise had been made on the race track bill and denied that the promotions were connected to the casino bill vote.
Patrick’s conduct was also criticized and his commitment to the bill questioned when it was revealed that he was not in the state on the day the bill was voted on in the legislature. As the bill was being voted down, Patrick was in New York City finalizing a $1.35 million dollar deal with Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House, to publish his autobiography.
On January 2, 2009, Patrick joined the governors of four other states in urging the federal government to provide $1 trillion in aid to the country’s 50 state governments to help pay for education, welfare and infrastructure as states struggle with steep budget deficits amid a deepening recession.
Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:
Wikipedia: Deval Patrick…
Wikipedia: Barak Obama Supreme Court Candidates…
Other Web Sites:
Brainy Quote: Justice Quotes…