Sunday, April 03, 2016

THERE WON'T BE ANOTHER DEMOCRATIC APPOINTEE ON THE SUPREME COURT UNTIL THERE'S A DEMOCRATIC SENATE

Two Republican senators who seemed to be dissenting on Supreme Court obstructionism have been sent to a reeducation camp:
The wall of Republican opposition to the nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland to the Supreme Court has been shored up by two Republican senators revoking their support for holding confirmation hearings....

As the White House heralds the growing number of Republicans agreeing to meet with Judge Garland, Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have reversed themselves and say they now back the decision made by Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, not to hold hearings....

Their announcements leave just two Republicans who openly support holding hearings and even voting on Judge Garland’s nomination: Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mark S. Kirk of Illinois....

Republicans who have broken from party leaders have suffered blowback from conservative groups. Mr. Moran weathered particularly brutal attacks, with some threatening to back a last-minute primary challenger against him in his re-election bid.
A few days ago, I said that the obstruction strategy seemed to be working if only a handful of Republican senators were deigning to meet with the nominee and fewer still were willing to go as far as hearings. In comments, I was told that I had it all wrong -- "As the pressure object takes a step backward, pressure mounts, not declines," one of you wrote. Well, maybe. But Republicans zealots are much more, um, zealous than Democratic zealots. So I'm not the least bit surprised that Moran and Murkowski have been brought into line with Correct Thinking.

(As Barney Frank once said of Republicans in Congress, "Half of them are Michele Bachmann. The other half are afraid of losing a primary to Michele Bachmann." Substitute Dave Brat for Bachmann and that's still true.)

Moran's recantation, in particular, makes it clear that Republicans will probably obstruct any appointee by President Hillary Clinton if they hold the Senate next year:
“Senator Moran called Senator Grassley to discuss his position,” said a statement released by Mr. Moran’s office on Friday. “As Senator Moran has said, he is opposed to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. He has examined Judge Garland’s record and didn’t need hearings to conclude that the nominee’s judicial philosophy, disregard for Second Amendment rights and sympathy for federal government bureaucracy make Garland unacceptable to serve on the Supreme Court.”
"Second Amendment rights"? Yup. I don't think we've spent nearly enough time discussing the fact that Mitch McConnell, apparently speaking on behalf of the entire Republican Senate delegation, gave Supreme Court veto power to the NRA.
In response to a question from host Chris Wallace, who asked if Senate Republicans would consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court after the election if Hillary Clinton prevails, McConnell responded that he “can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm, in a lame duck session, a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association [and] the National Federation of Independent Businesses.”
McConnell's making this sound as if it applies only to the last year of Obama's term, but why wouldn't it hold next year as well? Did Republicans conclude that Barack Obama had a mandate to govern in 2009 or 2013? Why will they think Hillary has one in 2017?

If we want a nine-justice Supreme Court, we need either a Republican president or a Democratic Senate. I think even a Democratic Senate would eventually approve a Republican president's pick. I simply don't believe a Republican Senate will ever approve the pick of a Democrat.

10 comments:

Victor said...

2nd Amendment?

Really?

Where's my fucking bullet?

mlbxxxxxx said...

Without a Dem senate (or a R pres) we are more likely to see a 7 member court than a 9 member one.

mlbxxxxxx said...

And, if we get to a 7 member court (assuming a conservative-leaning majority), they will try to freeze it at 7.

AllieG said...

If the Senate refuses to act, Clinton or Sanders should simply declare silence equals consent and swear the justice in his or herself. They'll go crazy (er) but so what? Force the issue. At some point, the Court will have to defend its own legitimacy as an institution because the temptation for any President to say that the rulings of a court hamstrung by a partisan majority of the Senate have no validity and will not be honored by the Executive Branch will be very strong.

Russell Laverty said...

I think we need to differentiate between a majority leader not allowing a vote and a nominee or a string of nominees actually being voted down by a solid wall of Republican "no"s, which would be seen as somewhat legitimate, if they could actually pull it off. However, if the Republicans continued the same strategy of simply denying a vote to Hillary's nominees, it would be seen as a declaration of (political) war, and the response would have to be very strong. Full blown constitutional crisis. The President could then invoke emergency powers and appoint judges directly to the Court. Or play it the way AllieG outlined above. Either way, it's hard to see how the end game would be beneficial to the Republicans, which is why I really doubt they would try to maintain the strategy longterm.

Ten Bears said...

Dick Cheney's theory of a Unitary Executive suggests he or she could impose Martial Law, the disband Congress and the Senate as obstructionist, and send them home for a vote of confidence.

Perhaps even "postpone" the election.

Ken_L said...

They'll cross their fingers Ginsburg dies or becomes incapacitated, restoring a right-wing majority. Then they'll generously offer to confirm two replacements: the liberal choice, Garland, to replace Ginsberg and a constitutional conservative like Cruz to replace Scalia. What could be fairer?

Peter Janovsky said...

I agree. A Republican Senate will never confirm a liberal deciding vote on the Court. The bullshit "let the voters decide" argument will simply change to another bullshit argument.

Redhand said...

This truly does represent a descent into complete lawlessness on the part of the Republican Senate. Speaking as an attorney who revers the rule of law, I consider the Repub leadership's refusal to perform its advise and consent function to be flatly unconstitutional, and profoundly damaging to federal government institutions and functioning.

One of the other commenters quipped about Cheney's Unitary Executive theory. That theory is cut from the same cloth. The Republicans show that, in their current rabid state, they are a threat to our form of government. The only thing they care about is power, the Constitution be damned.

I know it sounds quaint to say this, but if one doesn't ring alarm bells at these violations of basic constitutional principles, we won't have much of a government left. Unless these excesses are called out and curbed, we will become a semi-fascist oligarchy dominated by the extreme right wing in this country.

Ten Bears said...

Sorry Red, but we already are a semi-facist oligarchy dominated by the extreme right. Some are speaking out; most, though, the vast majority, meekly vote the status quo while churlishly condemning those who do speak out.

Characteristic number fourteen of the Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism (which can be found at my place) is Fraudulent Elections. We've got that one nailed. Best laugh I had all last week was Hillary demanding, nay, ordering Sanders to drop out before half the country has had the opportunity to caucus or primary. A good laugh, in particular at the overwhelming shit-stink of desperation.