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Death of Justice Scalia
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:18 am    Post subject: Death of Justice Scalia Reply with quote

I'm surprised there isn't a topic yet so I'm starting one. The long knives are coming out quickly after Scalia's death and I fear this will turn very ugly very quickly. The Republicans control the Senate and have no obligation to confirm any nominee offered by Pres. Obama. Control of the SCOTUS is suddenly in play and I'm sure both the Republicans and Democrats will want their Justice to replace Scalia.

How does everyone see this playing out?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Republicans will block any nominee. By September the news will be reporting, "Day 140 of the GOP obstructionism." Obama will end up directly appointing a Justice (which has precedent), and the GOP will do as it's done when Obama acts unilaterally.......Nothing.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm interested by the large number of people calling Justice Scalia "evil". I disagree with a fair bit of Scalia's jurisprudence but "evil" that justifies just about any and all actions against the man.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The majority leaders are not playing this particularly well. They should never have come out and said I would block any and all appointments. It is obstructionist. It clearly says, its not about the appointment as much as it is not giving Obama a win. THIS is what is wrong with govt today.

They would have played this better to allow Obama to propose candidates and just let the process start. If Obama doesn't propose candidates that they can agree with, then block those appointments based on their viability as a candidate. At least then you had some plausable deniability on obstructing. This in turn could turn into an issue for the Presidential candidates.

I don't however believe that the President will be able to do a unilateral appointment without the Senate.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had taken a long weekend but nothing went as planned. Oh, well. It is what it is.

Here is the sub-article on recess appointments, which are incredibly rare. Still...he could put someone in Scalia's now-vacant seat and that person would be a full member of the SCOTUS until the Senate comes back into session.

I concur--it would be bad for the Republican-controlled Senate to lead with "we will reject any Obama nominee" because it reinforces the stereotype of The Party of No. Let him nominate whomever he pleases, drag the process out, then reject the candidate and force him to make another choice. Keep this process up long enough until he has to make a quick emergency recess appointment then kick that person out next February and approve someone else to fill the spot permanently.

In any event, the process of appointing a new Justice will work its way into every campaign, especially Senate runs. Some people will win (or lose) based on their statements of "I will oppose any Obama nominee" or "I will support any Obama nominee". The Presidential candidates are also likely going to have to chime in with their thoughts on the kind of person they would appoint.

edit: I forgot to mention that the Internet is already burning up with conspiracy theories about "it wasn't natural causes". *sigh*

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw the consipiracy theories early. It doesn't help that the TV show "Scandal" had a story line about a sitting President murdering a sitting Supreme Court Justice. It gets people's imaginations all reveeved up.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:

I concur--it would be bad for the Republican-controlled Senate to lead with "we will reject any Obama nominee" because it reinforces the stereotype of The Party of No.
But that's exactly what they were elected to do.

I heard on a local radio program that Senator Obama joined a filibuster to keep a Bush SCOTUS appointee from getting a confirmation vote from the Senate. I haven't confirmed it yet, but if true, screw him. The Dems have no problem being the "party of no" when it's them.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you do get that confirmation, we'll be interested in who the nominee was.

Yes, absolutely, there is a long history of both issue-based and partisan opposition to SCOTUS nominees on both sides. Opposition to particular nominees is one thing. A public blanket rejection of any potential nominee is rather a stronger stand and appears more purely partisan.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savor Dam wrote:
When you do get that confirmation, we'll be interested in who the nominee was.

Yes, absolutely, there is a long history of both issue-based and partisan opposition to SCOTUS nominees on both sides. Opposition to particular nominees is one thing. A public blanket rejection of any potential nominee is rather a stronger stand and appears more purely partisan.
Sure, it looks more purely partisan than opposing a single appointee, but I disagree that it actually is. Dems and Reps don't just coincidentally disagree that any particular nominee isn't qualified or suitable. The disagreement is always entirely partisan, every single time. We're in the realm of appearance here, not reality. I like that the Reps have decided not to pretend.

This is also a relatively rare circumstance, a death of a SCOTUS Justice in the final year of a lame duck president, during the election of the next. I heard that it hasn't happened in 80 years. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Mitch is responding to events as well as ideology.

What's wrong with the people having more power to decide this? Why not put it off until after the election? If it's that important to people which party appoints the next Justice, they'll express it in their vote for the next President.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chuck Schumer in 2007 said that he'd block any appointments from GWB since he was a lame duck. Bush had 19 months left in his term at the time.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/schumer-in-2007-dont-confirm-any-bush-supreme-court-nominee/article/2583283
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but Schumer wasn't speaking about an actual dead Supreme. What makes McConnell's statement so egregious is that he said it while Scalia's body was still cooling, so to speak -- and with a reporter present. I'm certain this stuff is discussed behind closed doors all the time -- but saying it in public is of a different magnitude. I bet Mitch is sorry now that he opened his mouth.

Zarathustra wrote:
What's wrong with the people having more power to decide this? Why not put it off until after the election?

Because we already had a say. We elected Obama (twice!) and all those guys in the Senate for a specific term of office, during which we, the people, expect them to handle anything that comes along. Including the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice when one of them dies in an untimely fashion. Even if the Republican members have to hold their noses and approve somebody who isn't a conservative.

Supreme Court appointments don't always work out the way the President expects, anyhow. Reagan appointed Justice Kennedy, and everybody expected him to be a conservative -- but he's turned out to be the swing vote. One of the names being mentioned right now is Judge Sri Srinivasan, and it sounds like he could go either way.

And before y'all ask, I don't think Scalia was evil (and not just because I don't believe in evil Big Grin ). I think he held some backward views, and I sure didn't appreciate his votes much of the time. But I would have never wished him dead. (Although I admit I was relieved when I heard he'd died...)

(Edited to fix: It was Reagan, not Nixon, who appointed Justice Kennedy.)
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:

Zarathustra wrote:
What's wrong with the people having more power to decide this? Why not put it off until after the election?

Because we already had a say. We elected Obama (twice!) and all those guys in the Senate for a specific term of office, during which we, the people, expect them to handle anything that comes along.
Mitch was reelected more recently than Obama. He is exercising his Constitutional power. Why do you think the Founding Fathers gave the Senate this power? It was specifically so that President wouldn't act like a king. Which Obama has.

Quote:
Including the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice when one of them dies in an untimely fashion. Even if the Republican members have to hold their noses and approve somebody who isn't a conservative.

The Reps don't have to approve anyone, much less someone who violates and contradicts the legacy of Scalia himself. Obama can appoint anyone he wants. Think about that for a second. He could appoint someone who is conservative, if having a full Court is really what he wanted. But we all know what he wants is to 'fundamentally change America,' as he admitted himself. He doesn't want a functioning government as much as he wants an extremist Progressive legacy. And it's entirely within the Congress's power to resist that partisan goal, and especially relevant since they are the people's own representatives.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot wrote:
I'm interested by the large number of people calling Justice Scalia "evil". I disagree with a fair bit of Scalia's jurisprudence but "evil" that justifies just about any and all actions against the man.


I dunno about "evil", but didn't he once say something like the fact that somebody was innocent shouldn't prevent a legally arrived at death penalty from being carried out? Laughing

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I despair over the notion that the Republican party can ever be saved from itself. I believe the Senate is obliged to consider any appointee... if they prove to be unacceptable, well that certainly isn't the Senate's fault, now is it? Assuming a moderately liberal candidate is thereby confirmed, well that isn't the worst possible outcome and given the health of Ginsburg a Republican successor would be able to rebalance the scales before long. But coming out preemptively as the brand of obstruction is nothing short of stupid. McConnell is a walking disaster.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
aliantha wrote:

Zarathustra wrote:
What's wrong with the people having more power to decide this? Why not put it off until after the election?

Because we already had a say. We elected Obama (twice!) and all those guys in the Senate for a specific term of office, during which we, the people, expect them to handle anything that comes along.
Mitch was reelected more recently than Obama. He is exercising his Constitutional power. Why do you think the Founding Fathers gave the Senate this power? It was specifically so that President wouldn't act like a king. Which Obama has.
Don't derail a good partisan rant with facts. Racist.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:
Yeah, but Schumer wasn't speaking about an actual dead Supreme. What makes McConnell's statement so egregious is that he said it while Scalia's body was still cooling, so to speak -- and with a reporter present. I'm certain this stuff is discussed behind closed doors all the time -- but saying it in public is of a different magnitude. I bet Mitch is sorry now that he opened his mouth.

Zarathustra wrote:
What's wrong with the people having more power to decide this? Why not put it off until after the election?

Because we already had a say. We elected Obama (twice!) and all those guys in the Senate for a specific term of office, during which we, the people, expect them to handle anything that comes along. Including the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice when one of them dies in an untimely fashion. Even if the Republican members have to hold their noses and approve somebody who isn't a conservative.

Supreme Court appointments don't always work out the way the President expects, anyhow. Nixon appointed Justice Kennedy, and everybody expected him to be a conservative -- but he's turned out to be the swing vote. One of the names being mentioned right now is Judge Sri Srinivasan, and it sounds like he could go either way.

And before y'all ask, I don't think Scalia was evil (and not just because I don't believe in evil Big Grin ). I think he held some backward views, and I sure didn't appreciate his votes much of the time. But I would have never wished him dead. (Although I admit I was relieved when I heard he'd died...)


Why does it matter that Chuck Schumer didn't get the opportunity to make good on his threat when he made clear what would happen if the opportunity had arrisen? It is still black tounged hypocrisy to object to the Republicans promising to do exactly what he said he was going to do if the opportunity arose.

I think you mean Justice Stevens and Nixon, not Justice Kennedy.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doc Hexnihilo wrote:
But coming out preemptively as the brand of obstruction is nothing short of stupid.


I agree with this. The Senate has the power and the responsibility to consider and either reject or approve in this situation. But to say we will reject any and all appointments is not just a bad idea, its bad politics and its not what they were elected to do. It is obstructionist politics and its exactly what is wrong with the atmosphere in Washington.

They would have been better off to let the POTUS send these people forward for consideration and then actually consider them one at a time. If they are not acceptable then you 'pass', and move on to the next one.

On the other side, to say 'well the Democrats did it' is certainly not taking the high road and at the end of the day, is that what you want to be remembered for? Being just like the Democrats. (keep in mind this could be reversed if I was a Democrat).
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'd think it'd be in everyone's best interests to work together to appoint a moderate to SCOTUS. You know. Let Obama do his job to make an appointment, and then let the Senate do it's job to either confirm or reject that appointment. Sure, whoever Obama appointed would likely be more liberal than conservative, but that's how the process works. Whoever it was would have to be moderate enough to pass through the Senate.

If they don't like his appointment, they can always reject it. But personally I think the "we will not let Obama appoint anyone whatsoever" statements are just stupid and short-sighted. They just confirm my dissatisfaction with everything political.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevinswatch wrote:
... personally I think the "we will not let Obama appoint anyone whatsoever" statements are just stupid and short-sighted. They just confirm my dissatisfaction with everything political.

-jay
But for people who want the Republicans to fight Obama, it's not stupid at all, nor short-sighted. SCOTUS Justices are lifetime appointments. Everyone here is looking at the big picture. Some people want Obama to alter the Court leftwards for the next few decades, while others want to stop that at all costs. The former call it "stupid," while the latter applaud it. Our analysis here is entirely partisan.

The stakes could not be higher. This is worth the political damage to the Reps. Everyone can call them names. But that's nothing compared to controlling the composition of the world's highest court. Who cares about appearances when the stakes are that high? The people have resoundingly rejected Obama at the state and federal level for the last few years by decimating the numbers of Democrat representatives. It's about time our representatives reflect that reality and enact the will of the majority. The minority of Obama supporters can complain all they want, but we voted. This is the result. Do a better job at convincing your fellow citizens and maybe it will swing back your direction. But calling them stupid and short-sighted isn't a good start to that end.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whelp, I guess if we can't all just get along and work together, then I guess we're just screwed.

Luckily the world keeps on going in spite of all these stupid politics.

-jay
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