Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ding Dong


My dad, who was on the Oregon Supreme Court, and later, for the rest of his judicial career, was the Chief Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals (and whose nomination to the Federal bench got caught up in the politics of LBJ's last months in office) used to say Antonin Scalia was the smartest guy on the Supreme Court of the United States. As my dad was, in my view, the perfect example of an impartial judge and smarter than anyone I knew, I took his view seriously. Among the many things I'm sorry I can no longer discuss with him is what his current view of Scalia might have been. Smart, maybe. Still a good judge? I really doubt it.

The gods, I hope, will forgive me for speaking ill of the dead; but if Scalia was ever an impartial interpreter of the Constitution, he gave up even the pretense of it when Barack H. Obama took office. He came to making prior "judicial activism" look like a coma. I've looked: I can't find any place in the Constitution that says corporations are people or that money is speech. Nor is there, in that honored document, any defintion of marriage. (There are, however, ample words referring to equal protection under the law.) And he entirely stopped disguising his inclination to inject his religious views into the law of the land.

The same, of course, can be said of Samuel Alito.

There's no way in hell Republicans will allow President Obama to appoint Scalia's replacement; they'll pin their hopes on getting into the White House. To that end, I'm sure they'd swallow their tongues and support even Trump or Cruz. I doubt they could find anyone worse than Scalia has been in the past seven years. Well, unless it's Cruz and he appoints this piece of work, his favorite.

This is one among many reasons why electing a Republican for president in these times would be an existential disaster. One can only hope that Democrats and whichever candidate on whom they settle will make this obvious case, and make it effectively. Because it's not just the judiciary at stake: it's democracy, it's the environment, it's the planet. Seriously. It is.

9 comments:

Paul Wartenberg said...

It's likely the Senate will do everything they can to prevent Obama from even bringing a nomination into the parking lot of the nearest McDonalds.

However, this is also an election year for 1/3 of the Senate, and 24 of 34 seats are Republican-held, and 6 of them are toss-up and even a few more are in Blue States that can go with a Democratic challenger. If those Senators think they can get away with outright obstruction of their Constitutional obligations to approve (even disapprove) a nomination for a Judicial seat they are required by law to fill, they are underestimating the Moderate/Centrist voters that are key to any general election win.

Unlike House seats where gerrymandering can carve out a safe seat, the statewide voters can't be ignored that way. So at some point, in a sane setting, the Republicans will eventually allow a moderate-leaning nominee become a Justice.

Then again, the Republicans do not live in a sane setting. /headdesk

Sidney Schwab said...

And yet state-wide elections have produced such current senators as Cruz, Inhofe, Johnson, McConnell... For plenty of senate races, blocking an Obama nominee would be a badge of honor.

One of Obama's appointees to a federal bench is India-born Sri Srinivasan, who received a confirmation vote of 98-0. Some say that's who he'd appoint. It'll be interesting to see how Rs handle it when it happens; and what CJ Roberts will have to say about the effect on the court if there's a delay.

Dr Strangelove said...

It's particularly aggravating to hear the GOP field insist that the next justice must be a strict interpreter of the words of the constitution yet, with hardly a pause for breath, also insist that President Obama must adhere to a completely arbitrary "tradition".

It's as if they want to make him a three-fourths president this term. At least that's more than three-fifths.

Sidney Schwab said...

Good one, doc!

"Judicial activism" and "strict interpretation" are words Rs toss around like dead cats. What they mean is that the former means decisions they don't agree with, and the latter means those they do. If "money is speech" or "corporations are people" came from strict interpretation, or if saying blacks should attend less stringent colleges isn't going beyond interpreting the law, then I can't read and don't understand English.

Smoothtooperate said...

Ted Cruz said "Insufficient balance" as a reason to block any Obama nomination....and the campaign funds thingy. Ted needs money to run for the POTUS.

The dimwits will have to do this for 9 years. Bernie Sanders will win and guess who he'll nominate?...lmao! Even if Hillary wins it will be a woman liberal.

Balance? Pffft...It wasn't balanced with the 9 judges. We need a little more estrogen and shaded skin tone. We need another Sonia Sotomayor. She fits the description and came from the Bronx too! There should be 5 girls and 4 boys and 5 must be minority. That's even...or uhh "balanced".

The only "Judicial Activism" I see is the Tpubs refusal to do anything before or after Scalia's death...McConnell 15 minutes after the death announcement said Obamas' pick will never be approved. 15 minutes! The Tpubs are a pretty disgusting bunch. Time and again they use dead people as bargaining chips and propaganda. They steal the honor and valor of our vets. The same exact politicians send them all over the world for decades of war to die. To ruin marriages and lives in general. Bankrupt America.

All anyone would have to do is watch the last Democrat and Tpubs debates. Which side looks and acts more presidential? I want the Dems. to nominate the next Justice...and the next and the next.

I've been saying this for about a decade to anyone who'll listen. "The SCOTUS can not fall to the Tpubs. under any circumstances." The SCOTUS needs to save capitalism from itself. Starting with Citizen United, voting, gerrymandering, womens rights and civil rights in general.

Sidney Schwab said...

Totally agree, Smoove. In fact, I just hit "send" on my Wednesday newspaper column which covers and says much the same.

Smoothtooperate said...

The Breitbart community did not like my comment and even called me a troll!...lol

I said "God must have wanted Scalia dead."

Sidney Schwab said...

My column includes a reference to that, too! Maybe we share the same brain. If so, you're screwed.

Smoothtooperate said...

Well, that explains my high IQ score, my "Regal Nose", and my un-hawk like powers of sight.

You're right...

I'm screwed... :O)

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