Aux Armes, Citoyenes!

It’s just being reported that the GOP caucus in the US Senate has decided that Presidenting while Democrat and/or Black is not to be allowed to happen.

That is — the majority party in The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body™ has decided that it will not entertain any piece of President Obama’s nomination for the still dead Scalia’s Supreme Court seat.  Zip, zero, nada, nothing:  no hearing, no vote, no respect for whatever jurist Obama chooses; for Obama himself, obviously; for the office of the President, clearly; and ultimately for the Constitution so many of those prating thugs assert they hold above all else.

To which my response is:

Thanks

Thank you.

You couldn’t have done a greater service to the Democratic Party’s hopes in November, and thus to the country.

It’s hard usually, as readers of this blog know, to cut through the noise of political blather and the insistent demands of daily life.  But this is one of those moments when stakes and character become clear — enough, I deeply hope, to move the dial in November. Most simply, if there were any enthusiasm gap between the parties, it’s going, going, gone now.

We have two jobs:  for one, elect the Democrat, whoever that may be, to the Presidency.  I’m more a Hillary person than a Bernie one, but I’ll pound the hills of New Hampshire for either one this coming fall, every damn chance I get.

The other:  these embarrassments as Senators must go:  Kirk, Johnson, Toomey, Portman, Ayotte.  The Florida open seat, and as distant hopes, McCain and Burr too.  I’ll be up in New Hampshire (as I may have mentioned a sentence or two ago), pounding the hills for Governor Hassan, every damn chance I get.  If you can get to a race that’s in the balance, do so.  If you can’t, do whatever else you can.

One last thought: I didn’t think that anything the GOP could do — especially an act as predictable as this — would do more than deepen my weary sense of “they are who we thought they were.” But this feels like a last straw. I’m just done with allowing any framing of this as “just politics” or what have you. I and a majority of my fellow citizens voted President Obama into office twice. The disrespect to him is something he can handle (better than I ever would). But it’s the delegitimizing of my vote, my choice, my place in American democracy that has just gotta stop. The current Republican Party has to be destroyed, root and branch. They are blight on policy, and a boil on the body politic. Time for them to go.

195 replies
  1. 1
    MomSense says:

    I’ll be seeing you in NH.

  2. 2
    Frivolous says:

    It’s very sad, yes. This Filipino wishes you all good luck in electing a Presidential Democrat in November.

  3. 3
    Trentrunner says:

    I of course share your outrage, but will the general electorate?

    All they will see is video of Biden and Obama themselves blocking a President’s SCOTUS nomination.

    I’m not at all confident that Americans generally and Dem/Dem-leaning voters particularly get just how important filling this SCOTUS vacancy with a liberal is.

  4. 4
    dr. bloor says:

    Not surprising. It’s arguably their least-worst chance at keeping their right-wing revolution alive at this point.

    Harry Reid is going to procedurally kick McConnell in the junk as often as he can on his way out the door this year.

  5. 5
    randy khan says:

    This really doesn’t change my view of the importance of this election one little bit. And I can’t even be angry about it, since I didn’t have any other expectation.

    But I wonder what Portman and Ayotte and Toomey and Kirk are going to do when it starts cutting into their poll numbers (as I think it will).

    As an interesting footnote/question, I wonder if it’s actually necessary under Senate rules to have a committee hearing before a floor vote.

  6. 6
    Seebach says:

    Hopefully Trump will continue his destruction of the Republican party from the inside as well.

  7. 7
    Tom Levenson says:

    @dr. bloor: I would say “I hope so,” except for the fact that I have no doubt at all that my man Reid will do all that and more. And enjoy it.

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    The most abiding question in current American politics: Will the GOP pay a political price for doing wildly unpopular things?

  9. 9
    Punchy says:

    So when he nominates someone, is that person stuck in nommy candidacy for perpetuity, or is there a sell-by date, whereby the nomination officially is “over”? If it’s the latter (say, after the R’s officially decline to hold a hearing), Obama can do it again, right? Just keep doing it, each time prefaced with a national speech in front of the country on TV, just so everyone is aware of his selection, and thus just how obstinate the Senate Republcans have become?

    I’d love to see him throw up justice after justice, perhaps a half-dozen, each one more liberal than the previous. Of course, it only works if the media reports, which it doesnt, so it wont.

  10. 10
    Karen says:

    I’m confused. You and other people seem to think that this will be the last straw for the GOP and people will be soooo disgusted they’ll vote the GOP out. But I thought that it was the voters who demand they do this isn’t it?

    Also, since the Constitution needs to be followed, isn’t this sedition or treason?

  11. 11
    lethargytartare says:

    treasonous racists, every last one of them. They’ve spent 7 years implying the duly elected President shouldn’t be allowed to serve because of his ineffable otherness, and now they’ve publicly said they will refuse to follow the Constitution and allow our elected President to so his job.

    This isn’t politics, this is sedition.

  12. 12
    ruemara says:

    Damn straight! And can the constant naysayers and handwringers take a kava break? Enough polling shows that people believe in a Congress that does its job. If you don’t believe it is getting enough attention, I encourage you to discuss it with a low information voter or two and change their minds. Write a letter to the editor and to your dumbass GOP rep. At least go down fighting, not cringing.

  13. 13
    Tom Levenson says:

    @randy khan: I actually called Ayotte’s office to let her know I’ll be seeing her in Salem and environs this fall.

    The nice young man on the other end of the line objected to my suggesting that racism was at play in this disrespect for the President, noting that Ayotte herself was no racist: he was black and she’d hired him.

    He wanted an apology to the senator for the suggestion, and I told him of course not. I hadn’t said Ayotte herself was racist — just that in supporting this disrespect she gave comfort and cover to those who are — while noting that the GOP’s presidential candidates offered some proof of the existence of a racist strain in the party. He did not ask again.

  14. 14
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Mike DeBonisVerified account
    ‏@ mikedebonis
    Hatch says if nominee showed up at his office he would not meet w/ them. “Not on the basis of the Supreme Court nominee.”

    I haven’t seen it in a while, but Hatch has in the post-Bush years been called a moderate, probably during the debate on stem-cell research, which he supports because a relative (IIRC a grandchild) has a condition that does/would benefit

    I believe Kirk and Collins are on record calling for hearings.
    ETA: don’t want to overstate the case, they issued press releases, they’re not actively fighting for anything

  15. 15
    Cacti says:

    @randy khan:

    Kirk and Collins are already wobbly on the issue.

  16. 16

    @BGinCHI: Not until the press stops covering their asses and acting as the GOP propaganda arm.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Hungry Joe says:

    The GOP senators’ in-our-face blowing off of a clear Constitutional responsibility SHOULD mean a sweeping victory, and a re-taking of the senate, by the Democrats. But will the GOP’s calumny (I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before. Feeling a little smug about it, I am) actually resonate? Will enough people who would have voted GOP make the switch? — “Good heavens, my beloved Republican senator blocked Obama’s Supreme Court nomination. Why, this is wrong, just wrong. I do believe I’ll vote for the other guy.”

    I mean, they shut down the government, then blew us away. Elections may have consequences, but do consequences affect elections anymore?

    … All of which isn’t to say we shouldn’t fight this, kicking and scratching and biting. And snarling. Don’t forget snarling.

  19. 19
    Amir Khalid says:

    @BGinCHI:
    Surely not with its base, who have been expecting this all along.

    Sometimes I wonder what took the Republican party so long to reach this extreme. I think we all knew that something like this was coming when Obama won his first Presidential election.

  20. 20
    Cacti says:

    Polling in PA showed 57% of respondents favoring Obama’s nominee getting a hearing from the Senate, so I wonder how long Toomey will be able to hold out with his 40% in-state approval rating.

  21. 21
    Steve from Antioch says:

    This just underlines the fact that RBG is a selfish moron.

    Had she retired a year ago, Obama could have seated a replacement.

  22. 22
    Paul in KY says:

    @ruemara: Hell, yes!

  23. 23
    WarMunchkin says:

    @BGinCHI:

    The most abiding question in current American politics: Will the GOP pay a political price for doing wildly unpopular things?

    No. They will not. The same fucking playbook works on the apolitical. This was written in defense of Donald Trump supporters, on a popular news site.

    The beauty of America is that it’s wide open and diverse, in color, creed and convictions. And no matter what you believe in, it’s never appropriate to tell someone their opinions are wrong.

  24. 24
    Hal says:

    But the American people must decide! Lame duck President! He only has 332 days left in office. That’s right around the corner.

    What I don’t get is why they think this gives them a leg up on Dems? This becomes by default a GOTV issue for democrats more the republicans. Why not just get it the hell out of the way?

  25. 25
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tom Levenson: I wouldn’t even be sure he was black. The kinds of slimes (ex-college republicans) who infest those jobs are not above lying to someone on the phone.

  26. 26
    Betty Cracker says:

    But it’s the delegitimizing of my vote, my choice, my place in American democracy that has just gotta stop.

    Very well said — that point should be shouted from the rooftops, and I will work it into every conversation I have with anyone about this.

    As to whether or not this issue will finally trigger a well-deserved blowback on the GOP, I think that depends entirely on how Obama and Reid play it, and I trust they’ll play it well. It won’t grab as much media attention as it deserves until there’s a nominee, and I’m betting the president will choose strategically to maximize electoral pain, as well he should.

  27. 27
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Steve from Antioch:

    This just underlines the fact that RBG is a selfish moron.

    Had she retired a year ago, Obama could have seated a replacement.

    Disagree. McConnell and his co-conspirators would simply have used a different excuse to obstruct the appointment, and if a justice were eventually approved he or she would be nowhere near as progressive as RBG. And her opinions since the time that people like you wanted to step down have been effing great.

  28. 28
    dr. bloor says:

    @Punchy: “Ladies and gentleman, those of you who have been watching need no reminder that the Senate refused to consider my highly-qualified Mexican-American nominee last week. This was on the heels of rejecting my highly-qualified black nominee the week before, and my highly qualified female nominee the week before that. Without further ado, let me introduce you to my highly-qualified Asian-American nominee…”

  29. 29
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Steve from Antioch: You’re not fit to scrub Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s toilet, you gun-humping fuck-knuckle.

  30. 30
    Paul in KY says:

    @Hal: Because they think they have a good shot at winning & want that nomination for their own asshole.

  31. 31
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    The other: these embarrassments as Senators must go: Kirk, Johnson, Toomey, Portman, Ayotte. The Florida open seat, and as distant hopes, McCain and Burr too.

    Blunt in MO too. People write Misery off as too deeply red a state, but half of the state wide offices are Dem held and Claire beat Todd “legitimate Rape” Akin like a red headed step child. I don’t think Hillary can win MO but I think Jason Kander just might. Probably an uphill battle but one that is win able. As such I’m putting my volunteer hours into his campaign this cycle.

  32. 32
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Punchy:
    It’s an uncomfortable place to be, I would imagine: the President wants you in, but there are some powerful Senators calling you names and subjecting you to very public pressure to abandon your hopes for what is probably your dream job. I can well understand and sympathise with those who ask to be taken out of consideration in those circumstances.

  33. 33
    oldgold says:

    This is a coup. They have a right to hold hearings and deny consent. They have no right not to hold hearings. Period.

    On other fronts they continue this extraordinarily dangerous game. From Talking Points Memo:

    “Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on Tuesday compared a pending announcement from the White House on a plan to close Guantanamo Bay to the Trail of Tears……

    Issa said it was up to U.S. military leaders to decide whether to follow Obama’s plan, which he said was unlawful…

    “Are they going to obey an unlawful order, an unlawful order to move people from Guantanamo, an unlawful order to close the base?” he said……He further suggested he’d support military leaders who refused to implement Obama’s plan.”

  34. 34
    Tom Levenson says:

    @WarMunchkin: Umm. That’s a Mashable diary, and yeah, it’s all about the apolitical. But that diary also emphasized that in that apoltiical setting, Trump evokes extremely strong blow-back…and all the polls I’ve seen suggest that this blunt refusal is something folks actually understand and dislike.

    More to the point — for those of us who thought that the Bernie v. Hillary battle could reach a damaging level of mutual loathing, stuff like this glues the Democratic coalition back together. Which is the first step, at least, of ensuring a victory in November.

  35. 35
    No One of Consequence says:

    Hey Juicers, whatever happened to that UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH d-bag who was spouting off so frequently a year, year-and-a-half ago? (Don’t follow the comments as well as I should, and for the life of me, I cannot remember who that was…)

    I wonder if with Jeb!(?)’s withdrawal, that he is undergoing any acts of contrition, or even something as basic as sincere self-questioning?

    Thanks in advance,

    – NOoC
    p.s. Caucused in Iowa for Bernie, but will loudly and proudly support whichever D gets the nom, because, I love my country, warts and all. Any of these R bastards are just nucking futz! (I suggest we sell them Texas and wall it off — after we move the military bases and Austin.)

  36. 36
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Paul in KY: Sure. But it doesn’t cost anything to me or to the argument to take him at his word.

  37. 37
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    When El Trumpio gets the GOP nom, it becomes very easy to pose the question to those bullshitting po-faced Senate assholes: who do you want your pal Trump to nominate?

    I only wish Harry Reid could bow out on a campaign to impeach those bastards for breaking their oath.

  38. 38
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Betty Cracker: Come now, Betty. Don’t waffle. Let me know what you really think.

    (Stifles laughter so as not to shock the impressionable minds outside my door.)

  39. 39
    Gimlet says:

    Even if they held hearings on a replacement SC justice, the majority of the Senate is Republican and they can turn down each and every candidate when it comes to a vote.

    There is not going to be a replacement until after the election.

  40. 40
    Tom Levenson says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Excellent. I’ll throw a couple bucks MO way. To far from the River Charles for me to do much other good.

  41. 41
    Amir Khalid says:

    @No One of Consequence:
    That troll has come back as a Marco Robot supporter.

  42. 42
    jl says:

    I think a good idea for anyone with GOP Senators to call up and say that you will contribute time and money to their opponents this summer and fall in proportion to how much they obstruct the Obama nominee.

    The GOP knows that the majority of the country wants them to at least consider an Obama nominee, that is why the GOP is spinning like a top to generate BS precedents for not even holding a hearing. Latest is a BS out of context Biden quote from decades ago, as if ‘Biden said shit’ is a precedent for anything but Biden saying shit. I am a Biden fan, but any fool can see he ‘says shit’ from time to time.

    The heat will really come down when Obama nominates a totally excellent and outstanding and completely unobjectionable nominee and the Senate just sits there. Probably there will be a hearings clock in the WH press room, so good time to start softening up the GOP and let them know that there will be a price to pay.

    I dunno, threaten an hour of GOTV work in Nov for every day the GOP delays hearings.

  43. 43

    @No One of Consequence: He is here under a different handle, was backing Jeb first and now has switched to Rubio.

  44. 44
    Karen says:

    Can the GOP be sued?

  45. 45
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    McConnell, Cornyn and Hatch now on record as refusing to even meet with a nominee. I guess that’s gonna be the thing. It would take a nominee willing to go along with some fairly theatrical photo-ops, and Ron Fournier, Richard Cohen and Ruth Marcus would be scandalized by such a lack of dignity, but I could see Chuck Schemer and maybe Leahy making some really bad (for Republicans) news footage out of that.

  46. 46
    chopper says:

    it’s easy when you remember that the conservative mindset treats Democratic governance as inherently illegitimate. to them it’s no different than an illegal military occupation. consistency or reason doesn’t matter when you’re that far down the rabbit hole.

  47. 47
    Paul in KY says:

    @oldgold: Yeah, I’m sure not following a direct order from your CINC is the ticket to more promotions, for people who live to be promoted.

  48. 48

    Still fantasizing this hurts Grassley’s reelection because he chairs that committee.

    Also the man is 82 and seeking another 6 year term. How fixated on yourself do you have to be to do that?

  49. 49
    Calouste says:

    In positive news today, Justin Trudeau, sexiest politician alive and future Grand Emperor of the United States of Canada, Cascadia and New England, is going to take part in the Toronto Gay Pride Parade.

  50. 50
    NonyNony says:

    @Steve from Antioch: This is snark, right?

  51. 51
    gvg says:

    The reminder that these radicals are disregarding my vote and the majority of us, happens to hit me hard. They are being insulting to us as much as Obama.

    Um, I happen to agree that Ginsberg was selfish not to retire the minute Obama and his first Congress was seated. it’s been worrying me the whole 7 years. Her health makes it a risk for us. I think she is in denial about her health myself and I sympathize but really wish she had been more realistic. well if wishes were horses…

  52. 52
    April says:

    This denying the legitimacy of my vote thing is what soured me immediately on Cruz. He was elected the same year the President Obama and Candidate Romney campaigned specifically on what they would do regarding Obamacare. The nation voted and 55 mil. of us chose to keep Obama and Obamacare. Cruz shuts down the govt in order to invalidate the presidential vote. I hated him before I ever saw a photo of his hideous face.

  53. 53
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Agreed. Who’s running against that feckless trout anyway?

  54. 54
    D58826 says:

    @BGinCHI: That has already been answered in 2010 and 2014. Unless something major happens,between now and 2020, the gerrymandered house will remain republican thru the 2020’s. The GOP needs to win in only 21 states to gridlock the Senate forever (assuming the democrats don’t ditch the filibuster). IIRC 11 of the 21 states have a combined population smaller than California or New York.

    The system worked in the past because both parties were a coalition of right/middle/left members. The GOP leaned a bit right and the democrats left but there were enough folks in the middle to get things done. Even Saint Ronulus the Unprepared had a pragmatic streak that allowed for things to get done. Our form of government will not work when you have two ideologically ‘pure’ parties.Obviously the GOP is much more ‘pure’ and extremely conservative at that.

    It’s day’s like this that I want to say last one out the door turn out the lights.

  55. 55
    jl says:

    I think best approach to polite threats to GOPer Senators is that you will tell family friends co-workers and acquaintances that the GOP Senators are political cowards.

    After Obama nominates a great candidate that will be embarrassing and hard to explain why should deny conformation, the GOP doesn’t want to have to explain a rejection to the general election voters.

    And I think it is the truth. To paraphrase another Harry: “I’m not going to give Hell about you to everyone I know, I’m going to tell the truth about you, and you will think it’s Hell.”

    Glad we have Obama and Reid on the case. They will do their best to make the GOPers in the Senate pay a price, and we should help them out as much as we can.

  56. 56
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tom Levenson: I have the upmost confidence that you would always be polite & professional in that setting. Certainly was not implying that you should have accused them of lying in that manner.

  57. 57
    April says:

    I really like the idea of President Obama nominating the woman he went to law school with who is from Iowa and is a favorite of Grassley. If Sen. Grassley won’t even give the home state gal a hearing, won’t his Iowa senate reelection look iffy? I mean, it is not like Iowa has had a ton of Supreme Court justices or anything that they would take kindly to rejecting her out of hand.

  58. 58
    Tom says:

    While we’re at it, let’s take back the House. That really needs to be a primary focus from now until whenever we succeed (and we will).

  59. 59
    jl says:

    @D58826: Still very worthwhile to make as big a dent in the House as possible. If some notable reactionaries lose their seats, and the party gap is narrowed, that will remind some more moderate GOPers that they have to win the general as well as the primary to keep their racket going. (Edit: it won’t make a decisive difference in getting legislation through, but may be important for a few important votes).

    Just because there is little hope of winning the House back in November, that is no reason not to go all out to do as much damage to the GOP caucus as possible.

  60. 60
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:
    Strom Thurmond turned 100 while in office as a US Senator.

  61. 61
    dm says:

    I haven’t done the math, but it is entirely possible that President Obama received more votes than the entire Republican Senate caucus combined.

    If so, people ought to talk about that.

  62. 62

    @Tom Levenson: The primary isn’t until June 7. AFAIK, Grassley has no primary opposition so he doesn’t have to protect his right flank. Four Democratic men are running, all of them having been in the state lege at some point, but none of them with a statewide profile. It will be an uphill slog, though Iowa’s tendency to vote D at the presidential level will help because voters would have to split their tickets. And we can always hope Trump depresses R turnout, since Iowa is the only state so far in which he didn’t win. Otherwise, it will take a lot of money, stumping, and GOTV.

  63. 63
    randalms says:

    I would like to see HRC and Bernie say that the next justice should be Obam’s pick, and so they will re-appoint whoever Obama chooses.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Amir Khalid says:

    @randalms:
    Hillary has already made that statement — that it’s Obama right to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice. I don’t remember if Bernie has.

    ETA: President Bernie/Hillary might not necessarily be in a position to name a candidate again, especially if the candidate wants to withdraw from consideration rather than face a stalled appointment process.

  66. 66
    D58826 says:

    @jl: True but until there is a major change in the political environment gridlock is the order of the day if a D is in the White House. And given what an R would propose then the democrats should return the favor and filibuster every proposal right down to a Mothers day resolution. I am assuming that the GOP does not eliminate the filibuster but I suspect that is what will happen

  67. 67
    Redshift says:

    @oldgold:

    Issa said it was up to U.S. military leaders to decide whether to follow Obama’s plan, which he said was unlawful…

    “Obama’s plan,” which was produced by the Pentagon. Whatta maroon.

  68. 68
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @BGinCHI: so far the answer has been no.

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @randalms:

    I would like to see HRC and Bernie say that the next justice should be Obam’s pick, and so they will re-appoint whoever Obama chooses.

    I don’t know. I think they should give Obama credit and consideration, but the new president has the freedom and the responsibility to make his or her own choices.

    I think that Sanders and Clinton should say that they will have a slate of judicial appointments as one of the first orders of business, and that they would expect the Senate to vote on the choices as soon as possible, without any phony delays or obstruction.

  70. 70
    D58826 says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Better question is if Congress can sue the President over executive orders can the President sue the Senate for not fulfilling it’s constitutional duty on SCOTUS appointment.

  71. 71
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    that it’s Obama right to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice.

    It is not his right, it is his obligation.

  72. 72
    gene108 says:

    @BGinCHI:

    The most abiding question in current American politics: Will the GOP pay a political price for doing wildly unpopular things?

    Only if the body count is high enough.

    See War, Iraq, circa 2006.

  73. 73
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Tom Levenson: racist is as racist does. Strom Thurmond hired black people, too, by the way.

  74. 74
    RaflW says:

    I really do hope the O team is gaming out how to make this look as shitty as humanly possible for McConnell and Co. The Prez will need to work his rolodex and find several willing participants who can be nominated, ignored, trolled and paraded about.
    The GOP has certainly not learned much from various debt-limit standoffs and other hold-the-firecracker stunts. This time I hope Obama generously helps the GOP in their self-mutilating quest to blow their whole damn hands off.

  75. 75
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @dm: Dean Heller of NV spewed that pablum about “the people having a voice”. In 2012 when he was elected to his full term, he was on the same ballot as Obama and got about 80,000 fewer votes. He actually got fewer votes than Romney and somehow still managed to beat Shelley Berkley in the closest Senate race in that cycle. All of which implies some weird ass ticket splitting, or I guess people not bothering to complete ballot? Go figure voters.

  76. 76
    WaterGirl says:

    I live in Illinois and I loathe Mark Kirk, but I thought he had already taken a stand on this in an op-ed:

    Sen. Mark Kirk: Obama’s Supreme Court pick deserves fair hearing in Senate

  77. 77
    kindness says:

    So…we find ourselves at a crossroads, again.

    Let us assume either Hillary or Bernie win this thing. How long before the shooting starts?

  78. 78
    Fair Economist says:

    @gvg:

    Um, I happen to agree that Ginsberg was selfish not to retire the minute Obama and his first Congress was seated.

    If Ginsberg had retired, the senior non-conservative justice would be Breyer. Ginsberg is a liberal, at least by the weak-tea standards of the court, while Breyer is actually a moderate even by those weak-tea standards. I think she didn’t want him with control of who got the dissents.

  79. 79
    Percysowner says:

    According to TPM the GOP has stated they won’t even MEET with anyone Obama nominates. This is appalling! Well I’ll be knocking on doors and calling people this fall to unseat Portman.

  80. 80
    Gimlet says:

    When the election gets closer, if it appears the Republicans are going to lose control of the Senate, they may decide their best chance to lessen the damage is get the replacement named before the election.

  81. 81
    Immanentize says:

    A few off thoughts — Tom L., I am a Baystater, but I am committed to working in NH for Hassan
    — I think Grassley might be vulnerable on this (from left and right). Didn’t a major Iowa paper already hit him on this stupid move?
    — I like the idea of Hillary and Bernie both supporting Obama by agreeing to resubmit the nominee if elected
    — How much of this is the Republicans fending off tea party filings against them for the next few months?

  82. 82
    No One of Consequence says:

    @Amir Khalid – Thank you kind sir.
    @schrodinger’s cat – And you too, kind feline.
    @Iowa Old Lady – Grassley is (imho) extremely unlikely to face serious competition for his last senate election bid. Decades ago, I used to respect him, and thought it good and proper that an Iowan was the head of the Finance committee. However, I have also seen him pick his teeth with a butter knife in a five-star restaurant… He will always have some small part of a soft-spot in my heart, because when my wife was trying to get her green-card and citizenship, I reached out to my two senators, Grassley and Harkin. Grassley’s office called me back the next day, and then followed-up a couple of weeks later. Never, ever did hear from Harkin at all. That stung me a bit. But not enough.

    Grassley knows better than to be acting like this. He knows that the Pres has the constitutional right to nominate, and that he and his fellow Senators have the Constitutional responsibility to hold their hearings and in a reasonable amount of time, hold a vote on it.

    Joni Earnst on the other hand needs to be thanked for her military service, and shuffled off into her own pig lot with a pair of brand new shears. She hasn’t had enough time to make a stain on our national political landscape like Representative Steve King(R-OdiousLittleShitStain), but give her some time, and we will most certainly come to regret not putting a better candidate and effort behind Harkin’s lost seat. Steve King makes me apologize to any non-Iowan I meet who brings him up. Not in my district, but Sweet Jeebus I hate that man.

    Peace,

    – NOoC

  83. 83
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    I really don’t get the Republican end game here. They’re sticking it to Obama! Yay! That and $2 will get you a cup of coffee. I can’t believe any of them can’t see beyond now to November, when they lose big and get stuck accepting whoever the Dems decide to nominate. At least right now they can insist on a relative moderate. In another 9 months they’ll have no power over who the nominee is. But spite is better than minimizing the damage, I guess.

    I don’t see the MSM treating them very well when Obama nominates a qualified individual and they don’t give that individual a hearing, or even the time of day. That has never, ever happened in the entire history of the Nation. Bork got Borked, but he got a hearing and a vote. Even the “both sides do it” crowd will be hard put to argue that both sides do in fact do it under those circumstances.

  84. 84
    jl says:

    @D58826: So what? Important to start pushing now anyway,

    Thanks for the realistic advice, but I see no reason why realism about what can be done is a good excuse not to try.

    A House with a narrower GOP majority and few GOPers a little worried about the general election will be better than a fat and happy GOP House caucus.

  85. 85
    ruemara says:

    @D58826: that is such a legitimate question.

  86. 86
    WaterGirl says:

    @dr. bloor:

    “Ladies and gentleman, those of you who have been watching need no reminder that the Senate refused to consider my highly-qualified Mexican-American nominee last week. This was on the heels of rejecting my highly-qualified black nominee the week before, and my highly qualified female nominee the week before that. Without further ado, let me introduce you to my highly-qualified Asian-American nominee…”

    I nominate YOU to go work for the President. Right now.

    Besides, don’t you have to go with the supreme court nominee of the president you have, not the president you (republicans) wish you had?

  87. 87
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @D58826:

    Unless something major happens,between now and 2020, the gerrymandered house will remain republican thru the 2020’s.

    Possibly. Even the most bastardly gerrymanders start to loosen up towards the end of the decade (teenagers reach 18, old people pass away, people move in and out) which is why GOP state legislators have started getting a bit twitchy about districting maps this year.

    Turnout can make a difference. Voting in state leg races matters.

  88. 88
    WaterGirl says:

    @Amir Khalid: I strongly suspect that this is a one-shot deal –if the President asks you and you decline the nomination, you have lost your potential spot on the supreme court forever.

  89. 89
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Immanentize: How much of this is the Republicans fending off tea party filings against them for the next few months?

    That’s what I was wondering about Murkowksi, who I think explicitly came out for hearings before joining McConnell’s refusenik camp. As Booman said, somebody got to her, but I think a lot of times when we think something must involve photographs of nekkidity and goats, it’s just a whiny appeal to loyalty that brings them back around. That’s I think what happened with Judd Gregg in 2009.

  90. 90
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @randy khan:

    As an interesting footnote/question, I wonder if it’s actually necessary under Senate rules to have a committee hearing before a floor vote.

    Having SCOTUS nominees even testify before the Senate is a relatively new “innovation”.

    Wikipedia:

    The Committee’s practice of personally interviewing nominees is relatively recent, beginning with Harlan Fiske Stone in 1925. Some western senators were concerned with his links to Wall Street and expressed their opposition when Stone was nominated. Stone proposed what was then the novelty of appearing before the Judiciary Committee to answer questions; his testimony helped secure a confirmation vote with very little opposition. The second nominee to appear before the Committee was Felix Frankfurter, who only addressed (at the Committee’s request) what he considered to be slanderous allegations against him.[3] The modern practice of the Committee questioning nominees on their judicial views began with the nomination of John Marshall Harlan II in 1955; the nomination came shortly after the Court handed down the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, and several Southern senators attempted to block Harlan’s confirmation, hence the decision to testify.[4][5]

    I don’t know how much of it is now “required”. The Senate can change most of the rules with “unanimous consent”, but when someone refuses to do something, the body can grind to a halt. Especially if that person is in the majority leadership…

    I’m not sure how much Obama is going to press the issue directly, but I’m sure he’s trying to work all the angles he can. Democratic voters, though, should be outraged.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  91. 91

    @Immanentize: The Des Moines Register, the state’s only big paper, said Grassley was acting out of (im)pure politics. But as@No One of Consequence: has noted, Grassley will be hard to defeat. He’s such a fixture. It was his 2010 bleating about Death Panels that made him lose all respect from me. He knew better.

  92. 92
    les says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It’s an uncomfortable place to be, I would imagine: the President wants you in, but there are some powerful Senators calling you names and subjecting you to very public pressure to abandon your hopes for what is probably your dream job

    I wonder about that. From the position they’re taking, I’m not sure they can say anything about the nominee–no hearing, no consideration, no review. They’d look even dumber–if they claim the nominee is unqualified, hold hearings and vote him/her down.
    OH, hell, what am I saying. They’ll do both.

  93. 93
    Karen says:

    Isn’t this behavior treasonous and seditious? Can’t they be called on it?

  94. 94
    Immanentize says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: But people are fixtures and certain winners until they are not. Ask Richard Lugar.

  95. 95
    Immanentize says:

    @Karen: Add this to the call today by Issa for military folks to defy President Obama’s orders to transfer prisoners from Guantanemo and as someone said on this blog days ago — “How does this not end in a coup?”

  96. 96
    zmulls says:

    Obama understands that you just keep pressing in the direction you want, and look for an opportunity to push through an opening. Yes, the most likely scenario is Obama nominates someone and the R’s hold the fort all the way through the election.

    But a lot happens between now and then. Once you have a nominee (someone very qualified, moderate, sensible) and you have the optics of the nominee visiting Democratic lawmakers and not being allowed to see Republican leaders — the needle can shift.

    Once the primaries are over, and Toomey, Portman, Ayotte, etc., have to pivot to the general…the needle can shift.

    McConnell and the entire caucus can say right now that they will snub any nominee for 10 months, but boy, when you get five months in and the First Monday in October is coming closer, how tenable will that position be?

    When John McCain goes on teevee every Sunday and they ask him every Sunday when the hell he will vote to allow hearings, the needle can shift.

    Obama gets that politics is the art of the possible, and if he keeps the pressure up, the winds may break his way.

    Think about it…if it’s Rubio vs Clinton (for instance), and the polls show Hilary beating Marco like a tamborine, will the Senate prefer the moderate in front of them, or will they want to roll the dice on Hilary’s nominee?

    One thing, if I were Obama, I’d get a commitment from Sanders and Clinton to agree to renominate whoever he picks, so he can assure the nominee that they will eventually get a fair shake in the next administration, if they get ignored this year.

  97. 97
    RaflW says:

    @Steve from Antioch:

    RBG is a selfish moron.
    Had she retired a year ago, Obama could have seated a replacement.

    Assumes facts not in evidence. McConnell would have found a reason to foot-drag and be a total a-hole in that nomination process. This man is the epitome of scorched earth politics. Had RGB retired, we might very well have a 7 seat SCOTS now.

  98. 98
    dr. bloor says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    In another 9 months they’ll have no power over who the nominee is. But spite is better than minimizing the damage, I guess.

    They probably don’t have an endgame, but buying time is their best option at this point. They won’t be obliged to approve anyone further to the left under the next Pres than they were for Obama. And from their point of view, maybe the Koch Bro–er, President Rubio gets to pick the next nominee.

  99. 99
    Amir Khalid says:

    @WaterGirl:
    I’m sure of that too. But it would hard for any Supreme Court nominee to dismiss all the US Senators bound and determined to keep the President from even beginning the process to put them in the job. They might wait it out for a while, but after months of no forward progress, giving up would be very understandable. It’s happened before with some people Obama tried to appoint, as I recall.

  100. 100
    David M says:

    I don’t see any reason the Senate Democrats shouldn’t push through this pick before Obama leaves office, if they take the Senate this fall.

  101. 101
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    Let me ask you this, if she dies the day after some republican is elected and that leads to the nomination of, say Gregg Abbott or Priscilla Owen, would you then think that, perhaps RBG should have retired earlier?

    In other words, is there any scenario in which you think RBG should have retired earlier in the Obama presidency?

  102. 102
    meander says:

    How about a series of “shadow hearings” run by the Democrats to publicly interview Obama’s appointee(s)? I recall some minority hearings during W days that got some publicity. Can Senators call for hearings like this?

  103. 103
    🌷 Martin says:

    There is no really strategy here, folks. The GOP lost control of their voters and Trump is the result. Rage is the only conservative principle left. The party doesn’t know how to close this pandora’s box, so they’ve decided to just roll with it and hope it blunt’s Tumps appeal somewhat. They probably know it’s a losing position, that it’ll cost them the election, but they might see that as a better outcome than Trump as the standard-bearer.

    TL;DR version – the GOP is on fire and running in random directions hoping it’ll go out.

  104. 104
    RSR says:

    And Will Bunch brings the hammer down:

    @Will_Bunch

    You know who else waited until Inauguration Day to act? The fundamentalists who held Americans hostage in Tehran.

    LETTER: ‘this Committee will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee’ until 1/20/17

  105. 105
    scav says:

    My guess is, if there is an election in the foreseeable future, any democrat electd will be by definition a lame duck. The rights of the public, necessarily republican as their superior knowledge knows, must be protected! Mere Elections shouldn’t interfere with the mighty will of this imagined electorate.

  106. 106
    RaflW says:

    @Hal:

    What I don’t get is why they think this gives them a leg up on Dems? This becomes by default a GOTV issue for democrats more the republicans. Why not just get it the hell out of the way?

    Good piece the other day (don’t recall by whom) explained that this is a classic collective action problem. Opposing Obama and the scotus nom plays well for nearly all GOP Senators in their individual races. Yes, Kirk, Johnson, Toomey, Portman, Ayotte may be more vulnerable. But most importantly, McConnell will see himself at more electoral risk if he lets a nom thru.

    True, he may be minority leader in 2017. But the article strongly suggests he’s OK with that, he’s just not OK with losing his seat, and quite a few other GOP Senators feel similarly – including worrying about a primary from the right.

  107. 107
    SFAW says:

    I suggested (at TPM) that it would be good humour for the President go on primetime TV, about two days after they punt on his nom, and say he will (pre-emptively) issue a pardon for McConnell, Cornyn, and the rest of the conspirators, regarding the charges of Seditious Conspiracy and Rebellion or insurrection (18 US Code Chap 115) — IF those racist, un-American motherfuckers do their jobs. If they refuse, well … “who can predict what would happen next, right, AG Lynch?”

    (I don’t expect President Obama to use the phrase “racist motherfuckers” in his announcement, of course. “Un-American,” however, is a different story.)

    Be tough for the MSM to ignore, though I expect they would try mightily

    ETA: Yes, I realize making a case for sedition would be tough. But it would put those motherfuckers on the defensive for awhile.

  108. 108
    jl says:

    @dr. bloor: I think the only endgame the GOP gives a rat’s ass about is political consequences. If the Senate GOP thinks they will suffer political consequences in November because of obstruction, or Democratic President and Senate looks more and more likely as election approaches, they will turn on a dime, and like always, will yell whatever lies they can get away with to justify whatever they decide to do.

  109. 109
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Karen:

    Isn’t this behavior treasonous and seditious? Can’t they be called on it?

    No, just wildly irresponsible. They can be called on it. It’s called an election. If our side would bother to vote, they’d get crushed for their actions. That our side too rarely votes, it’s a bit of a coin flip.

  110. 110
    scav says:

    @scav: I mean, shit, they’ve bcome accustomed to basing their legal opinions on apparent use of seances into the minds of the founding fathers, now want to use the same seances to channel the opinions of Scalia, and know the true will of True Americans by similar spooky ESP.

  111. 111
    SFAW says:

    @Steve from Antioch:

    Let me ask you this, if she dies the day after some republican is elected and that leads to the nomination of, say Gregg Abbott or Priscilla Owen, would you then think that, perhaps RBG should have retired earlier?

    No.

  112. 112
    psycholinguist says:

    Has somebody asked what the magic number is for these twits? If Scalia had died with 366 days left in POTUS term, would that have been okay? What about 399, 420? What, exactly, is the cutoff and what is the principle that determines it?

  113. 113
    Gravenstone says:

    @Steve from Antioch: Kindly go fuck yourself.

  114. 114
    MikefromArlington says:

    Like I said, Dems need to go at this from all angles, the courts, news programs, Internet, get loud and make a scene.

  115. 115
    SFAW says:

    @scav:

    they’ve bcome accustomed to basing their legal opinions on apparent use of seances into the minds of the founding fathers

    Only if you believe that they’re not lying about the whole “founding fathers” bullshit they’ve been peddling. As has been shown more than few times, Fat Nino – who is Still Dead — had no problem ignoring “original intent” when it did not comport with the decision he wanted to push.

    It’s all in Article IX of The Constitution. That’s the one that says “IOKIYAR.”

  116. 116
    RaflW says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: At this point, Ron Fournier can most cordially go to hell. What shocks me is that anyone gives that contemptible farce even a passing glance.

  117. 117
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    This won’t do a damn thing and everyone here knows it. Dems fail to rise to a challenge, preferring to whine, and the GOP…well, this is what people elected the GOP for in the first place, right? One term president ring a bell?

    They’re doing exactly what their constituents want. I wonder why ours won’t.

  118. 118
    Gimlet says:

    May influence the coming elections

    http://www.wbrc.com/story/3129.....-losses-up

    U.S. bank earnings jumped 11.9 percent in the final three months of 2015 compared with the previous year as revenue rose. Legal expenses declined as some big banks wound down legal settlements that arose from the financial crisis.

    But the data issued Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed an increase in loan losses for the industry for the first time in 2009, during the crisis. The increase in loans that banks wrote off as uncollectible was especially strong — 43.4 percent — for industrial borrowers as tumbling oil prices hurt energy companies.

    Falling oil prices over the past year and a half — now hovering around $30 a barrel for crude oil from a $100 high in mid-2014 — have sliced into the profits of energy companies and put projects on hold. Big Wall Street banks have made loans to energy companies to finance oil production in Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere. As cash flow from oil sales has trickled, some companies are straining to repay their loans.

    The fallout has come fast. The six largest U.S. banks — JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and Bank of America — have tens of billions of dollars of exposure to risky energy loans that won’t all be paid back. The value of those loans will have to be written down even further, and bank profits are going to take a hit, the credit agency Moody’s has said.

  119. 119
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Frivolous: Considering that while there may be a Republican pResident. there are no Presidential Republicans to be found these days, you’re right in more than one sense.

  120. 120
    zmulls says:

    #102 Meander

    A shadow hearing is one that occurred to me. Just set up a table, announce it’s not an official hearing but make it look like one.

    Another thing that could happen: Obama invites Sandra Day O’Connor to the White House, and they have a joint press conference so Justice O’Connor can say to the cameras that OF COURSE there should be a confirmation process

    And what if CJ Roberts or other justices drop strong hints that they are pretty pissed off about the whole thing?

  121. 121
    SFAW says:

    @Calouste:

    In positive news today, Justin Trudeau, sexiest politician alive

    You forgot Poland Baud!

  122. 122
    Amir Khalid says:

    @psycholinguist:
    I don’t know what the magic number of days was before, but I think the deadline now is probably the day before a Democratic president is wworn in.

  123. 123
    scav says:

    I do at least have a theory why these superior knowers of what true ‘mercans really want allow the charade of mere elections to conrinue. At least this way, they have to be bought off again by major contributors at regular intervals, it’s sort of a bidding cycle. Large contributors might enjoy it as it confines the process to a few periods and means they maybe don’t need to attempt constant herding and payoffs. Senators, havong demonstrated their reliability, are on the longer cycle.

  124. 124
    japa21 says:

    @psycholinguist: They have used the term “lame duck” which technically, I believe, applies to the last 2 years of a President’s second term. So anything after November, 2014 would qualify.

    The optics of this are going to be very important and I don’t see a way that the GOP can win from an optics standpoint. However, if the Dems and Obama don’t create a brilliant optics moment, then it is a draw.

    My suggestion:

    Once nominated, the nominee has very public meetings with all the Dem Senators. After each one of the, the Dem Senator walks the nominee down to the office of a GOP Senator that they know is in his/her office, just on the pretext of introducing the nominee. Make sure this is on tape for public viewing.

    If the GOP Senator refuses to even greet the nominee, this would look very ugly. If, on the other hand, she/he greets the nominee, and even shakes hands, it becomes far harder to justify not going the next step, having an interview, hearings and the rest.

  125. 125
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Gimlet: Yup. There’s another financial crisis simmering. Not clear when and how big the moment of truth will be, but there are a lot of dodgy loans hanging out there. If we’re luckier than we deserve, the leverage on them won’t be nearly as big as the 2007-8 craptacular.

  126. 126
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    Liberal justices are not interchangeable and RBG is a national treasure.

  127. 127
    SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel says:

    Curse you for putting up my favourite scene from Casablanca, the scene that invariably and inevitably makes me tear up. Curse you for making me cry in public.

  128. 128
    oldgold says:

    I wonder if the Senate’s refuses to consider his nominee in contravention to the requirements of Article II of Section 2 of the Constitution, if the President could not reasonably contend that that the Senate is in a “defacto recess” and make a recess appointment.

  129. 129
    glory b says:

    @Cacti: Toomey’s election was the last time a republican won a statewide election. He and Gov Corbett won by a few percentage points(I think it was 2%) in the 2010 Repub sweep. The last election, Dems swept all of the Supreme Court seats and won by an average of about 15 points.

    There’s no reason to think the trend won’t continue. For years, the take on Toomey was that he was too right wing for PA. I like to think he just got lucky.

  130. 130
    scav says:

    @SFAW: Nah, the founders didn’t really mean what they wrote down. Just like Jebus didn’t really mean all that PC nonsense that crept into the red letter.

  131. 131
    Elizabelle says:

    Good NYTimes article, Why is Mitch McConnell Picking this Fight? The readers’ comments are great. I did not see any in favor of his tactics.

    Short answer: because the guy is the embodiment of the permanent campaign, and him and Republicans staying in power. Period. Also, he realizes the jig will be up with campaign finance if the Supreme Court tilts moderate/liberal.

    Check out the photo illustrating story. It’s perfect, and Mephistophelean.

    For anyone who doesn’t want to waste a click, writer Alec MacGillis’s main points are:

    [Former senator] Robert F. Bennett of Utah [on the early strategy]: “Mitch said, ‘We have a new president with an approval rating in the 70 percent area. We do not take him on frontally. We find issues where we can win, and we begin to take him down, one issue at a time. We create an inventory of losses, so it’s Obama lost on this, Obama lost on that. [Talk about our wired for Republicans media helping there, too.] And we wait for the time where the image has been damaged to the point where we can take him on.’ ”

    … to understand Mr. McConnell’s staunch opposition to the president: It is less about blocking liberal policy goals than about boosting Republican chances. Mr. McConnell intuited, shrewdly, that if he could bottle things up in Washington with the filibuster and other tactics, the blame for the gridlock would fall mostly to the Democrats — the party in the White House. Not to mention that Mr. Obama had campaigned on the promise of transcending Washington’s divides, which made partisan dysfunction look like a personal failure. [Again, a functioning press would have been enormously helpful here.]

    … Another cost to [the constant opposition] became apparent only later. Withholding any votes from Obama’s big proposals meant, by definition, that the Democrats ended up forcing them through on party line votes, which further inflamed the grass-roots conservative backlash to the president. This backlash helped Republicans win in 2010 and 2014, but it also left Mr. McConnell with an empowered right wing [like Jim DeMint and the other Teahadists] …

    …. Unlike [earlier] procedural delays, Mr. McConnell is taking a high-profile stand [and a chance on increasing Democrats’ outrage and turnout].

    The likeliest explanation is that the insurgency that Mr. McConnell helped engender has gotten so strong, embodied in the rise of Donald J. Trump and Ted Cruz, that it has caused him to lose his bearings. He felt compelled to get out in front of the base’s ire over the Scalia replacement to avoid a later challenge to his leadership perch.

    It is also possible, though, that in the Supreme Court’s balance, in particular in relation to campaign finance law, Mr. McConnell has at long last discovered one matter that is so consequential that it is worth risking an election over.

  132. 132
    RaflW says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Any idea if Rob Hogg has a snowball’s chance? Am I wasting my $$ to help his campaign? Grassley is ready to be let out to pasture.

  133. 133
    Archon says:

    These are the same people that literally sent a letter to the Ayatollah of Iran suggesting not to complete any deal with the current President. That should have been a MAJOR scandal which discredited the Republican majority in the Senate, instead it was a two day story at most.

    If they can do that with no political repercussions anything and everything is possible now.

  134. 134
    glory b says:

    @Steve from Antioch: Yeah, I never understood the love she gets. Dissents aren’t worth much, and her relationship with Scalia seemed like an abusive marriage, he was so contemptuous of her beliefs.

    I think she’s too full of her own high opinion of herself and her writings. She selfishly has some hero on the court (don’t remember who it is) and wants to put in more time than him. Why this makes a difference to her I don’t know.

    I know, blasphemy.

    Thurgood Marshall should be everyone’s example here. People called on him to retire while Carter was still in office, so he could be replaced by someone worhty of his legacy.

    He stayed too long at the dance, had to retire and got replaced by Thomas.

  135. 135
    Barbara says:

    Well, I normally go to Pennsylvania if I can, but my state is also swingy in the presidential election so I try to do a lot here as well, even though there is no senator up this year. However, I would be willing to go all in to support a vendetta against Senator Charles Grassley, who usually cruises to reelection. This is his committee, his doing, showing him to be a complete stooge (who is also senile) and this could actually be a kind of tea party moment from the other side. You, Iowa citizens, voted for Obama. Twice! And your duly elected senator is giving you the middle finger and refusing to do the job you elected him to do as a Senator. Give him the middle finger, why don’t you? Isn’t it time? And the good thing is, Grassley is barely coherent in the best of conditions. He is seriously way past his sell by date.

  136. 136
    chopper says:

    @Karen:

    they can be called on it, but it’s not like even the supreme court can force the senate to show up for work.

  137. 137
    xenos says:

    It is not treason, and it is not unconstitutional.

    But it certainly is an abdication of Congress’s duties and responsibilities . And in our system of government, what power that is abdicated by one branch of government is easily taken up by another. With the cooperation of the democratic minority in the Senate, Obama can run circles around them. Want to see an executive pushing through regulatory change at a rate the Senate can not keep up with? Just watch.

  138. 138
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The Constitution doesn’t say the President “can”, “should”, or “might be a nice idea”; it says “SHALL” appoint.

  139. 139
    RaflW says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    ETA: President Bernie/Hillary might not necessarily be in a position to name a candidate again, especially if the candidate wants to withdraw from consideration rather than face a stalled appointment process.

    Since McConnell has forced this into the realm of absurdist Kabuki, couldn’t Obama ‘advance a name’ and have her/him do a presser, visit some D Senators, etc, but not be formally, officially nominated. And then the next one, and the next one, etc. I suppose the first sacrificial lamb has to actually be nominated so as to conform to the bullshit centrist (occasional, when it’s a Dem) need for following form’s sake.

    But after that one goes down in a barrage of right wing NO-cannons, couldn’t Obama just trot around a series of highly qualified, smart & telegenic legal eagles to embarrass the crap out of people like Grassley? They’d just be floated, so Prez. Bern/lary could nominate them?

  140. 140
    glory b says:

    @Betty Cracker: Hey, excuse us who don’t understand how you can be best buds with someone who’s purpose is to destroy your life’s work and delight in doing so!

    Collegiality my ass.

  141. 141
    NCSteve says:

    @Trentrunner: When did Obama and Biden block a SCOTUS nomination?

  142. 142
    MomSense says:

    @Trentrunner:

    I’m not sure that it needs to motivate the general population, but it certainly will motivate Democrats to volunteer and generally step up their activity level. More volunteers talking to voters about bread and butter issues is also a good thing.

  143. 143
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @glory b: He should have retired more than a decade in advance?

  144. 144
    Elizabelle says:

    @glory b: Justice Marshall did get another ten years on the bench (he outlasted Reagan, thank dog for that), but I take your point.

    I too think the Notorious RBG should retire this year and have Obama replace her. It’s not about her, excellent as she is. It’s too much risk to remain. I wonder if Scalia’s demise has got her reconsidering. (Although, despite missing her friend, she may feel 30 years younger for not having to put up with his constant obstruction.)

  145. 145
    max says:

    And Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were unanimous in their opposition to confirmation hearings, said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican.

    “This is his moment,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor, addressing the president. “He has every right to nominate someone. Even if doing so will inevitably plunge our nation into another bitter and avoidable struggle, that is his right. Even if he never expects that nominee to actually be confirmed but rather to wield as an electoral cudgel, that is his right.”

    1) It is the President’s power and DUTY to appoint a new justice to vacant seats.
    2) Refusing to do so with almost a year left would basically be dereliction of duty.
    3) The courts have to keep functioning and one of the ways we do that is to APPOINT FUCKING JUDGES! Jesus Christ.
    4) The concept of George W Bush, George HW Bush, Ronald Reagan, or Presidents Trump, Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich declining to appoint a judge into a vacant seat with almost a year left to go in their term is a fucking laugher.
    5) To fail to appoint a justice because any one of those thought it would hurt the feelings of the Senate is … an idea for a really noxious troll.

    Mr. McConnell added: “But he has also has the right to make a different choice. He can let the people decide and make this an actual legacy-building moment rather than just another campaign roadshow.”

    1) ‘My legacy shall be using my 330 excess vacation days to just kind of wander off.’
    2) Wut?

    As Republican senators emerged from a meeting in Mr. McConnell’s office, Mr. Cornyn said, “We believe that the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president.”

    1) A lame-duck President is a President just after a term-ending and tenure-ending election. That’s a lame-duck.
    2) That’s been the definition of a lame duck since the very beginnings of the Republic.
    3) You’re demanding a lame fuck. Huh unh.

    It is entirely within the Senate’s rights to refuse to hold a hearing and otherwise act like a bunch of ostriches with their heads in the sand. That is their right to do so. But you know, they also have the right to NOT ACT LIKE A BUNCH OF ASSHOLES and raise obstructionism to a new level. It is the Senate’s DUTY to advise and consent OR not consent. Opting to do this raises this tactic to a whole new level and it should become immediately obvious should the next President be a Republican and the Senate Democratic, than Majority Leader Schumer would have no real choice but to blockade a Supreme Court pick for FOUR YEARS.

    But if you’re just going to take a pill and become lame fucks, please, just recess the fucking place and go home and do something useful.

    max
    [‘That would also be within their rights.Oh! And have a nice day!’]

  146. 146
    glory b says:

    @Steve in the ATL: All right, she should have retired as soon as Obama got a Dem majority. She’s not the only liberal feminist judge out there.

    I thought she was too old when Clinton appointed her. The Repubs were appointing guys in their early forties, who, as we now see, were going to torment us for decades.

  147. 147
    RaflW says:

    @Redshift:

    “Obama’s plan,” which was produced by the Pentagon. Whatta maroon.

    Well, the Pentagon is in effect a political institution, so it is Obama’s plan. But he has also been CIC for 7+ years, and I think the leaders who are now at the top in that establishment more than likely happen to favor it. I imagine that military top brass are just as aware of what an asshat Issa is as the average BJer.

  148. 148
    Frivolous says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    Yeah, that’s true.

    Former Navy, by any chance? Been to Subic Bay?

  149. 149

    @RaflW: I have no idea of the relative chances of the Democratic candidates, I regret to say. You could always wait and kick in no matter who it is on the theory that getting rid of Grassley would be worth the price.

  150. 150
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Trentrunner: When did Biden and President Obama block a Republican candidate?

  151. 151
    D58826 says:

    @Percysowner: And now Turtle is saying that he is not sure how the Senate should approach a nominee from the NEW President. He figures the nomination will be considered but isn’t sure if there will be an up or down vote.

  152. 152
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: The Republicans are doing this because their backs are against the wall. If Scalia is replaced by a Democrat, then the conservative movement as we know it is over. They are betting that they can somehow block Obama’s nominee and then go on to win the election in November. The odds are seriously against them, but it’s the only hope they have…

  153. 153
    Peale says:

    @RaflW: Unfortunately, I think anyone Obama nominates is DOA, even if renominated by Clinton or Sanders next term unless the Dems take the senate and change the rule. Republicans will be more than happy to prevent an abortion loving feminiazi communist atheist radical from taking up a position until it doesn’t matter.

  154. 154
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Steve from Antioch: How is RBG retiring earlier relevant to the fact that Republicans are preemptively blocking President Obama from replacing Scalia?

  155. 155
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: Agreed.

    However, whatever value she has as a national treasure is pretty slight in comparison to the potential damaged done to this country from 20 or 30 years of a “conservative” Justice on the Court sitting in her seat as compared to a generic “liberal” Justice.

  156. 156
    D58826 says:

    @max: Can we start docking their paychecks?

  157. 157

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Yeah, in 18th century language, that SHALL used in the third person is an imperative, not a simple future tense.

  158. 158
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    I really don’t understand what you hope to accomplish by making childish posts like this.

    Do you somehow feel better of anonymously insulting someone on the internet?

  159. 159
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @Patricia Kayden: It just underlines what I have been saying for a while now: That this late in his term, Obama has a very small chance of getting a nominee through.

    When I first posted about this a couple of years ago – the danger of a Senate stonewalling was plausible, but hypothetical. Now it is very real.

  160. 160
    Elizabelle says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Hi, Patricia.

    Leaving the timing aside, I think RBG should not take her chances on the next administration. If she lives another 30 years, that would be great, but it’s a risk.

    I wonder if having the Supreme Court’s balance swing in the last year of the Obama presidency would motivate Democratic voters (it’s such a huge win; Trump is right that people love winning), or allow some Democrats to become complacent.

    I am not sure it would motivate that many more Republicans — they’re already poutraged over just about everything. Although, I guess you could end up with some moderates pulling the GOP lever, if they think abortion rights and eventually Citizens United and gun control will get a saner hearing from a more centrist Supreme Court.

    I am of the bird in the hand preference. RBG is one of the very best birds out there, ever, but look what back to back W appointments (Roberts and “Scalito”) did for us.

  161. 161
    RaflW says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    but I think a lot of times when we think something must involve photographs of nekkidity and goats, it’s just a whiny appeal to loyalty that brings them back around.

    And cash. Boatloads of it. All legit, of course, funneled through campaign committees and PACs and untraceable c(4)s. But one assumes that Murkowski was rather graphically shown the with/without GOP ATM options after her first pronouncement.

  162. 162
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @glory b: I think RBG has been a great justice and I wish she could serve for 30 more years.

    But let’s be realistic her – there is now a 50/50 chance that her actions are going to result in a conservative justice sitting in her seat for the next 20 or 30 years.

  163. 163
    daverave says:

    Given the obvious disregard for historical precedents, I don’t see why a republican senate would even entertain nominations were Hill or Bern to win in November. Waiting one year or four years, in their minds there is no legitimacy to a Democratic president at this point. Just let the liberal SC justices die off until there is a republican president to replace them all in bulk.

    “The Constitution places the power to determine the number of Justices in the hands of Congress. The first Judiciary Act, passed in 1789, set the number of Justices at six, one Chief Justice and five Associates. Over the years Congress has passed various acts to change this number, fluctuating from a low of five to a high of ten. The Judiciary Act of 1869 fixed the number of Justices at nine and no subsequent change to the number of Justices has occurred.”

  164. 164
    RaflW says:

    @zmulls:

    When John McCain goes on teevee every Sunday and they ask him every Sunday when the hell he will vote to allow hearings, the needle can shift.

    Ha ha ha, what TeeVee show is that?
    They’ll ask once. The Sunday morning gutter press are worse cowards than the elected officials they purport to interview.

  165. 165
    glory b says:

    @SFAW: As I said before, Marshall vs. Thomas, how’d that work out for us ((cough) Voting Rights Act (cough))?

  166. 166
    Peale says:

    @Ridnik Chrome: They are doing this because they probably are in tune with their money people. They are going to be able to rake in big and often for their campaigns this term to prevent an “anti-business” justice from being nominated (anti-business being any judge who may from time to time side against a business interest). They’ve been promising their evangelical voters an anti-gay marriage judge, a bring back school prayer judge, etc. I think this vacancy will motivate those two bases much more than the democratic side. My guess is that they’ve done the polling which is why the wishy-washy Republicans fell in line.

    Democrats need to translate a vacancy into something their voters have a stake in. If they run on “Obama was insulted. Get mad” on this issue, they’ll be surprised to learn that the base is hardly motivated by insults to Obama. They aren’t. If they were, they’d have showed up in 2010 and 2014.

  167. 167
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @psycholinguist:

    What, exactly, is the cutoff and what is the principle that determines it?

    The cutoff is “when a Republican is president”, as stated in the True Constitution written on gold plates and translated by Mitcheph Smith.

  168. 168
    SFAW says:

    @glory b:

    As I said before, Marshall vs. Thomas, how’d that work out for us ((cough) Voting Rights Act (cough))?

    That’s about three levels too meta for me to parse your point.

  169. 169
    Peale says:

    @SFAW: @SFAW: And not really fair to justice marshall. When Reagan was elected, he was only 70 years old, which isn’t considered very old for a justice these days. How was he supposed to know that he would have to wait 12 years before a democrat could replace him?

  170. 170
    RaflW says:

    @Elizabelle: Now would be a terrible time for RGB to retire. As it is, the court will likely stalemate at 4-4 in a number of high profile cases. Each time that happens, Obama can remind the nation that we could have a decisive, complete court.
    RGB retires, and McConnell turns the obstruct-o-meter to elleventy million, and Roberts gets his rulings 4-3. He’s just as happy as if it was 5-4.

  171. 171
    NCSteve says:

    Incidentally, that scene is, quite possibly, the single greatest climactic scene in the history of American cinema. Watching it with the sound down is a revelation. And even without the sound, I still choke up right at the closeup of Yvonne singing, even after all the times I’ve seen it.

  172. 172
    RaflW says:

    @Peale: Or, as was tweeted this afternoon

    @HeerJeet
    So maybe just no new Justices, till SCOTUS hits 5 and they can’t make quorum. Then end of constitutional governance

    If we have Prez. Bern/lary and a GOP Senate in ’17, this seems actually possible.

  173. 173
    glory b says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: Well, no one is interchangeable with another, but the time comes when one should bow out gracefully and let another take the stage.

    Once again, Marshall vs. Thomas.

  174. 174
    Elizabelle says:

    @RaflW: But would RBG step down before a replacement was seated? Couldn’t she pull an Eric Holder: I am here until my replacement is confirmed, live with it.

    And she could skip retiring if no replacement is forthcoming. Is that possible?

  175. 175
    SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel says:

    @gvg:

    It’s a LIFETIME APPOINTMENT. It is no part of any Justice’s brief to worry about the political calendar. Obviously many of them do, but they don’t have to and I, for one, am not going to criticize any sitting Supreme Court Justice for continuing to do a job they enjoy as long as they feel they are able. I’d say the same thing about a conservative member.

  176. 176
    SFAW says:

    @glory b:

    WTF do Mike Marshall and Thurman Thomas have to do with anything?

    Or is it Marshall Crenshaw and Clarence Thomas?

    Or maybe you meant Marshal Dillon and Thomas the Tank Engine?

    Or maybe — for those of use who don’t have your encyclopedic knowledge regarding early American something-or-other, and for whom “Marshall vs Thomas” does not help much for Google — YOU COULD EXPLAIN WTF YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.

    Sorry, don’t know what came over me.

  177. 177
    Calouste says:

    @RaflW: So could three justices, as a protest against the GOP obstruction to filling the vacancy, recuse themselves from each case thereby preventing the court from reaching its quorum?

  178. 178
    randy khan says:

    @glory b:

    As others have pointed out, he didn’t die for 11 years after Carter left office, so it’s really not a good example.

  179. 179
    glory b says:

    @Peale: My understanding was that he had a health scare of some sort, even though he was relatively young. I might be wrong, but I remember conversations about him stepping down.

  180. 180
    glory b says:

    @SFAW: Thurgood Marshall being replaced by Clarence Thomas.

    Sorry.

  181. 181
    glory b says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Oh, it’s too late now. This is a shoulda woulda coulda conversation.

  182. 182
    D58826 says:

    @daverave: In one sense the 4-4 tie works in the short term in favor of the left. On a 4-4 split the circuit court decision stands, at least in that circuit. Since most of the circuits are blueish there is a slight advantage to the left. The right pushed the teachers union case thru the district and 9th circuit basically saying we have no case. Then they got a quick appeal to SCOTUS where they knew they had the 5 votes to prevail. Well in a 4-4 split the circuit decision stands, i.e. you an’t got a case.

    Or at least that is my non lawyerly understanding of how it works. Obviously a 5-4 liberal split is better but in the short run take what we can get. Even the EPA stay can be gotten around apparently. If the EPA modifies the rules a bit. Then it becomes a new case and the DC circuit will decide in favor of the EPA and no stay will be issued. The case case work it’s way thru the normal district court trial phase.

  183. 183
    TallPete says:

    You couldn’t have done a greater service to the Democratic Party’s hopes in November, and thus to the country.

    I think it’s a bit of a stretch to think this will have a big impact in Nov. It does surprise me that they are so blatant about it. You’d think they’d slow march a few nominees thru the Senatorial committee and simply refuse to report them for a vote or filibuster.

  184. 184
    SFAW says:

    @glory b:
    Thank you.

  185. 185
    Betty Cracker says:

    @glory b: You’re entitled to your opinion about Ginsburg’s relationship with Scalia, and it’s a truly legitimate question as to whether she should have retired early in Obama’s second term. But I bet you don’t go around calling her a “moron” like the gun-humper did since you don’t seem like a moron yourself.

    @Steve from Antioch: The same reason you felt compelled to call an excellent SCJ like RBG a “moron,” I guess, only with several trillion times more justification.

  186. 186
    SFAW says:

    @Calouste:

    So could three justices, as a protest against the GOP obstruction to filling the vacancy, recuse themselves from each case thereby preventing the court from reaching its quorum?

    That’s an interesting thought. But, I imagine they’d find some bullshit justification (egged on by that idiot from AZ, don’t recall his name) to allow Scalia’s vote to count, “because we KNOW how he would have voted, so what’s the diff?”

    But if current members of the Court refuse to recuse themselves (lookin’ at YOU, Sockpuppet!) where they obviously should (although that number has dropped by one in the last two weeks, Praise Jeebus), then what’s to prevent them from pulling another heretofore unheard-of end-around to get what they want?

  187. 187
    Turgidson says:

    @RaflW: Ron “Severe Dementia” Fournier now has a platform at the Atlantic to spew his empty-headed faux-centrist concern trolling. He seems to have acquired the talent, best exemplified by the continuing employment of Megan McArdle, of being able to continually advance in his profession in spite of overwhelming evidence of being a total fucking clown and con artist.

    I dropped a note to the Atlantic pleading with them to think of the children and reconsider their decision to allow Ron “Severe Dementia” Fournier to sully their reputation with his billowing clouds of bullshit ink. So far they have not acted on that advice.

  188. 188
    SFAW says:

    @Turgidson:

    So far they have not acted on that advice.

    Maybe if you dropped a hint that you’re a close personal friend of President-to-Be Baud!, they might listen more attentively.

  189. 189
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Frivolous: no, just sometime mariner. Dad was though, and did: sometime in 1945, I think.

  190. 190
    Elizabelle says:

    @Turgidson: Jeebus. Fournier has failed upwards again. What gives?

  191. 191
    Turgidson says:

    @Elizabelle: Same reason as McMegan, David f’ing Brooks, and others. He tells the mostly-GOP-elite rich and powerful the comforting lies they expect from him. He makes a big stink about how discouraged he is about the broken state of politics (which, naturally, BOTH SIDES are equally to blame for, which he either knows is total nonsense or has dementia, hence my nickname for him), but he plays his role in perpetuating this status quo and plays it with vigor. Right down to his periodic, smug yet utterly ignorant columns about the “debt crisis,” which are almost entirely parroting Fix the Debt lies.

    I thought the Atlantic had enough taste and sense to steer clear of Ron “Severe Dementia” Fournier, but I guess not. After all, they do let David Frum pollute their site with his own mendacious “reasonable conservative” stupidity and Young Conor Friedersdorf whine about various libertarian grievances no one cares about. Maybe they’re just helping out an old friend who suffers from undiagnosed head trauma, I dunno.

  192. 192
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Steve from Antioch:

    Fuck off and die, asshole. You think RGB could have gotten replaced last year by anyone to anywhere to her left? I think she’s held out because she wants the first woman president to replace her, as is her prerogative. And if a Republican wins in November, it will be because of the failure of Democrats to understand the importance of her status.

  193. 193
    Citizen Alan says:

    @glory b:

    Thurgood Marshall should be everyone’s example here. People called on him to retire while Carter was still in office, so he could be replaced by someone worhty of his legacy.

    He stayed too long at the dance, had to retire and got replaced by Thomas.

    Gee your dumb. Thurgood Marshall retired due to health in 1991. You’re suggesting that he should have retired at least eleven years earlier (in the process somehow predicting Reagan’s election, his reelection, and Bush I’s election to replace him)? What awesome precognitive powers he must have had! Hell, if anything, he should have fought to stay on longer, since he died days after Clinton’s Inauguaration.

  194. 194
    fuckwit says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Berkeley was a weak-sauce candidate. Even Dems hated her. She was crooked too, or perceived that way. We tried to convince O voters to support Berkeley but they flat out refused, often indignantly. Source: canvassed door to door in NV in 2012 for Obama.

  195. 195
    Frivolous says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    Thanks for answering. I appreciate it.

Comments are closed.