Monday, February 22, 2016

Supreme Folly

Several members of the Republican leadership have told President Obama not to even bother nominating a candidate for the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by the passing of Justice Scalia. Justice Scalia's body wasn't even cold when candidates for the Republican nomination made their feelings known, as well as the Senate majority leader. They have said that there would be no action taken on such a nomination because it is an election year. They even had the gall to say that such a nomination should not even be made during an election year, that it has not happened in decades and that it runs against the Constitution to do so, Once again, their memories are convenient. So afraid of a liberal appointee, they have declared themselves – once again – at war with the President. Michael Steele, former head of the RNC, has pointed out that these Republicans have put the cart before the horse by not waiting for the President to perform his Constitutional duty to make such an appointment, and then react. It may backfire for the GOP. All they had to do was wait, receive the nomination, and advise and consent or not consent: to debate, delay, even vote no. Instead, they put themselves ahead of the Constitutional process, arguing that the process is flawed when it is obvious that it is not the process they object to or fear, it is the President. Delay, to them, gives them the chance that a conservative judge will be appointed by the next President and approved a year to eighteen months from now. In the meantime, they are happy to see a Court with eight members and probable 4-4 ties on court rulings. A 4-4 tie means the case at hand reverts to the last decision prior to the court hearing. Good news for abortion opponents in Texas; good news for labor unions in California. But once again, the politics of obstruction is in full force. My hope is that this glaring revocation of responsibility by the majority party in the Senate will wake up the voters and bring them out on Election Day to overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates and return them to the majority in both the House and the Senate, but at least the Senate. While we're at it, lets reach the magic filibuster-proof number 60 Gerrymandering makes this hard even with a good voter turnout, but it can be done. The last time was only eight years ago. Then newly sworn in President Clinton can nominate Barach Obama to be only the second former President to also serve on the Supreme Court and be confirmed, 61-39. The other President to achieve this distinction was William Howard Taft, who also bears the distinction of being the first sitting President to throw out the first pitch to start the 1910 baseball season. That way, Mr. Obama has a job for life and his expertise on Constitutional Law will be put to good use. Of course, new President Clinton might make him Secretary of State first, for which he is also imminently qualified. Six former Secretaries of State became President. Hillary Clinton would be the seventh. No former President has become Secretary of State after leaving office, but Mr. Obama is youthful and vigorous and experienced. Whatever the process determines, let the Republicans stall and see what they wind up with at the end of the process.

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