Takes on the travel ban, and why Justice Anthony Kennedy should not retire

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Jack Ohman says that the unkindest Medicaid cuts are coming from Dr. Mitch McConnell and the U.S. Senate Butcher Shop and Urgent Care. Read the meaty cartoon here.

Our take


Justice Anthony Kennedy must not retire. Here are three reasons: No one could blame him if he were to decide to spend more of his remaining time with his family, perhaps even return to his hometown of Sacramento and teach at McGeorge Law School. And we haven’t always agreed with his decisions. But as Erwin Chemerinsky wrote in an op-ed for The Sacramento Bee Monday, he’s a true swing vote. Major cases involving religion, gerrymandering and more are on the 2018 docket. And as Monday’s decisions show, a second Trump justice would shift the court to the hard right, for a very long time.


Foon Rhee: California has had 40 senators and 80 Assembly members since 1862, while our population has increased nearly a hundredfold. That’s hardly a recipe for a truly representative government.

Dan Walters, CalMatters: Knowledge, it’s been said, is power. And that explains, in a nutshell, why those in public office fundamentally dislike, and often resist, revealing information to the voting and taxpaying public.


Sheila Kuehl: The Los Angeles County supervisor and former state lawmaker says she’s calling the GOP health plan Make America Sick Again. “Put that on your baseball caps, you 14 California Congressional representatives – Calvert, Cook, Denham, Hunter, Issa, Knight, LaMalfa, McCarthy, McClintock, Nunes, Rohrabacher, Royce, Valadao, and Walters – who voted for the House plan.” Kuehl says the implications are “horrific” for California, and not just for large counties like Los Angeles.

Yvonne Walker: California’s drought didn’t last forever. Neither will the downturn in public pension funds, despite the doomsday predictions from self-styled experts.

Take a number: 62 percent

Support for same-sex marriage is at an all-time high, according to a new survey released Monday, the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, that legalized gay marriage nationwide. Only 32 percent of Americans now say they oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry, according to the Pew Research Center. More Americans were opposed as recently as 2010, 48 percent to 42 percent. But demographic groups that had been strongly against are now much more supportive of gay marriage, including Baby Boomers, African Americans and Republicans, the survey says. It suggests that a court ruling can help build backing for major social change – and shows how important the high court truly is. Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Takes on the travel ban

Los Angeles Times: From the beginning, President Trump’s arguments defending his ban on travel to the U.S. by people from first seven, now six, predominately Muslim countries have rung hollow. The decision by the Supreme Court on Monday to let some of the ban go into effect even before the court decides the merits of the legal challenges is disappointing, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and upheaval.

San Francisco Chronicle: As six federal courts have recognized, President Trump’s efforts to prohibit Muslims from entering the country belong in history’s dustbin with the laws enacted a century ago to prevent Asian, Italian and Jewish immigration. Unfortunately, a faction of the U.S. Supreme Court appears eager to let the administration recycle the regrettable chapter.

Chicago Tribune: Because President Donald Trump failed to devise a reasonable and effective short-term travel ban, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in Monday to help. And a good thing too. The checks-and-balances system exists to handle these moments.

Baltimore Sun: President Donald Trump called the Supreme Court’s decision to hear cases related to his ban on travel from six Muslim nations and to allow it to go into partial effect in the meantime “a clear victory.” But there’s nothing clear about it, either for his administration or for those who could be affected by it.

Their take

Raleigh News & Observer: The ominous possibilities in Donald Trump’s environmental policies now are seen in the EPA cutbacks. To start, buyouts have been offered to more than 1,200 employees agency-wide. Other cutbacks may affect as many as 700 nonprofit and state jobs in North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

Victorville Daily Press: Assemblymen Jay Obernolte of Hesperia, Vince Fong of Kern County and Tom Lackey of Palmdale, all Republicans, have authored legislation to put the California budget online in a push aimed at transparency. Though we think this is a noble effort that should be unanimously approved in both the Assembly and Senate, we doubt it will be.

Kansas City Star: The U.S. Supreme Court was correct when it ruled Monday that Missouri had violated the First Amendment by denying playground improvement funds to Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia. The narrow decision makes sense. The broader issue of church-state separation, though, remains deeply unsettled.

Syndicates’ take

Eugene Robinson: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to ram through legislation that would return us to the days when hardworking families had to choose between seeing a doctor and paying the rent – legislation that will surely cost lives.

David Leonhardt: Republican senators who have doubts about the health care bill will face a career-defining choice.

David Brooks: Republican politicians could have created a better health care system that did not punish the poor. But there are two crucial differences between the conservative policy johnnies and GOP politicians.

Trudy Rubin: President Donald Trump clearly believes communing with autocrats is the key to a great deal. But based on Trump’s experience so far with the Saudi royal family, with Xi Jinping of China, and with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the Big Man Doctrine has been a big bust.

Michael Gerson: Given the pace of change in our time, the 22nd century is almost unimaginable.


Ford (Motor Co.’s) greed shows why international companies must be reined in.” – Bill Jurkovich, Citrus Heights

Tweet of the day

“My GOP colleagues ought to ask: Is this the America they want to leave for their children? 22M uninsured & 20% higher premiums. #CBOSCORE” – Rep. Mark DeSaulnier‏, D-Concord, @RepDeSaulnier