When Grown Ups Are In Charge

Here’s President Obama, writing in SCOTUSblog* on what he’ll look for in a Supreme Court nominee (h/t Washington Monthly):

First and foremost, the person I appoint will be eminently qualified.  He or she will have an independent mind, rigorous intellect, impeccable credentials, and a record of excellence and integrity.  I’m looking for a mastery of the law, with an ability to hone in on the key issues before the Court, and provide clear answers to complex legal questions.

Second, the person I appoint will be someone who recognizes the limits of the judiciary’s role; who understands that a judge’s job is to interpret the law, not make the law.  I seek judges who approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice, a respect for precedent, and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.

But I’m also mindful that there will be cases that reach the Supreme Court in which the law is not clear.  There will be cases in which a judge’s analysis necessarily will be shaped by his or her own perspective, ethics, and judgment.  That’s why the third quality I seek in a judge is a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.  It’s the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom; experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times.  That, I believe, is an essential element for arriving at just decisions and fair outcomes.


Also — just in case you were worrying (I wasn’t and am not) that President Obama might take seriously for a moment any suggestion that he should punt on this choice, here’s all you need to know:

The Constitution vests in the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.  It’s a duty that I take seriously, and one that I will fulfill in the weeks ahead.

I will so miss this man.

*POTUS blogging FTW!

Image:  David Gilmour Blythe, Justicec. 1860

230 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    Saw that. Including a very good assessment on why Obama did not vote for John Roberts, sterling credentials in the first two categories aside. Lack of understanding how the real world works.

    The person the President is searching for is — very much like Barack Obama.

    Maybe RBG is waiting to retire for when she can be replaced by Mr. Obama.

    ETA: Wait — reading fail by me. What I saw was WaMo’s Nancy LeTourneau’s very good column ON the president’s stated criteria.

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    There is something very conspicuous in the way the Senate GOP have rushed, quickly and loudly and in as shrill a manner possible, to declare NO hearing or anything at all shut up no way nothing to see here go away.

    They do not want there to be any coverage or conversation, because every word written by anyone with half a brain or the ability to read the Constitution or study any history will demonstrate that they are wrong. That they are playing pure power politics. That this is a gross power grab.

    So I was really glad Obama took to SCOTUSBLOG and that others are keeping the conversation alive.

    The GOP is shit scared. Alamo time for them, and I don’t mean rental cars.

  3. 3
    Elizabelle says:

    Here’s the LeTourneau link and excerpt from then-Senator Obama’s assessment of John Roberts’ fitness for the Supreme Court:

    What a Constitutional Scholar Looks for in a Supreme Court Nominee
    By Nancy LeTourneau

    “Senator Obama: The problem I face — a problem that has been voiced by some of my other colleagues, both those who are voting for Mr. Roberts and those who are voting against Mr. Roberts — is that while adherence to legal precedent and rules of statutory or constitutional construction will dispose of 95 percent of the cases that come before a court, so that both a Scalia and a Ginsburg will arrive at the same place most of the time on those 95 percent of the cases — what matters on the Supreme Court is those 5 percent of cases that are truly difficult. In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.

    In those 5 percent of hard cases, the constitutional text will not be directly on point. The language of the statute will not be perfectly clear. Legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision… – in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.”

    LeTourneau: The analogy John Roberts so often used for the role of a Supreme Court Justice as merely a baseball referee who calls strikes and balls was not an adequate response for then-Senator Obama.

    Elizabelle: As we have found, Roberts is a referee who calls balls and strikes while suited up in one of the team’s uniforms. Unless he’s worrying about his legacy. Oh dear.

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    Not a bad first blog post, but he really needs to up his profanity game if he’s hoping to have any lasting success. Definitely lacking in pet photos as well.

  5. 5
    japa21 says:

    I will miss this man being our President. However, I have a feeling he will not just disappear and we will have the opportunity to see him remain a major influence in our society.

    When he talks about taking his duty very seriously and that he expects the Senate to take their duty seriously, I think he is actually setting up what will be, for him, a major theme of the upcoming elections at all levels.

    The duty to govern responsibly vs the refusal to fulfill one’s duty. He will be calling out the GOP repeatedly for failing to do what they are required to do, for showing they are not serious about governing. And it will be up to Dem candidates at all levels to echo that theme.

    Here in Illinois we have a governor who basically is acting like a two year old demanding full compliance or he won’t allow anything to get done. I have said before, if Dem candidates up and down the slate don’t tie every GOP candidate to that philosophy they will be committing political malfeasance.

  6. 6
    Mike J says:

    I wish he had posted here. We’re always so welcoming to new bloggers.

  7. 7
    Seebach says:

    Are you implying God Emperor Trump will not govern as an adult?

  8. 8
    WarMunchkin says:

    @dmsilev: You may wish to read one of PBO’s older blog posts, now at least ten years old: Tone, Truth and the Democratic Party

    It’s interesting what holds up and what doesn’t.

  9. 9
    Rommie says:

    So far, the Senate has given very pointed Advice that ANY appointment is inappropriate for this President to make for the rest of his term, and that Consent Will Not Happen. They are following the Constitution just fine, and that’s what we’ll hear as part of their defense.

    And they’ll ride it all the way to the ground, Major Kong style.

  10. 10
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mike J: If they’re not morons they do fine. I doubt BHO would get an FdB reception.

  11. 11
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    I wonder if people will think of Obama as a “typical politician” when all is said and done. He really does seem to approach every decision with his philosophy of government in mind.

  12. 12
    BGinCHI says:

    @japa21: Rauner is wrecking the state, one painful misgovernance at a time.

    IL is going to be digging out from this disaster for years.

    Meanwhile the goddamn Trib is opining that it’s all the fault of “too much government.” Gee, you think we could trip overlapping government agencies without burning down the whole motherfucking state?

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    @Rommie: If they were smart they would have just waited and then failed to confirm.

    They are not smart.

    They are terrified.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    liberal says:


    Maybe RBG is waiting to retire for when she can be replaced by Mr. Obama.

    RBG didn’t retire in 2009 because (like Breyer, I suppose?) she’s an egotistical asshole who put her own ego ahead of the good of the country.

  16. 16

    He doesn’t say fuck often enough to write here

  17. 17

    I think the bigger reason they want to deny any chance at all to any nominee is because they know Obama is being honest about the kind of candidate he’ll nominate. The last thing they want is to have to justify why they’re refusing to confirm somebody who is eminently qualified, obviously not a radical, and (most likely) recently confirmed by the Senate with a near unanimous vote. As long as the stance is “no hearing at all when the president is a lame duck”, they can try to avoid the question of why they’re refusing to give a fair hearing to a qualified candidate.

  18. 18
    opiejeanne says:

    OT, but have you seen this essay by Tariq Nasheed? He refers to President Obama’s”hateful neglect” of black people and urges them not to vote at all.


  19. 19
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @BGinCHI: The Tribune arguably committed treason during World War II by spilling that we had broken Japan’s naval ciphers. Assholes.

  20. 20
    BGinCHI says:

    @Roger Moore: Exactly. I was talking more about their strategery, and the betrayal of fear it holds.

    They are out of options other than NO.

    These men are nihilists, Donny.

  21. 21
    singfoom says:

    @BGinCHI: Every single democratic candidate for every single office should keep hitting that theme home over and over again: “The Republicans in the Senate are refusing to do their job. They want to be elected and then do nothing. We cannot have this, we have problems to solve and we want to solve them.”

    Repeat ad infinitum on every airwave possible from now until the election. Either they’ll relent and have a nomination hearing where it’ll be clear they’re just not doing their jobs because Obama will nominate someone who is not a radical.

    I don’t think they thought this through very well at all…

  22. 22
    BGinCHI says:

    @opiejeanne: Probably written by Frank Luntz, or funded by him.

  23. 23
    BGinCHI says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: Whoa. Now that’s oppo research.

  24. 24
    BGinCHI says:

    @singfoom: Could not agree more unless you send me a check.

  25. 25
    redshirt says:

    I keep reading you all expecting Republicans to behave rationally. I’m not sure where you get this from.

    They don’t give a fuck, neither do their voters. It’s up to us to outvote them and get them out of office. Otherwise, Republican Rules apply – meaning, anything they want.

  26. 26
    japa21 says:

    @BGinCHI: The Trib always describes Rauner’s approach as being pro-business and anti-union as if one can’t be pro-business and pro-union.

    Actually, his approach is pro-top 1% and anti everybody else, but the Trib could never say that. Unfortunately, Rahm doesn’t help matters.

  27. 27


    If they were smart they would have just waited and then failed to confirm.

    I’m not sure that would be the smart course. They have two big, interrelated problems:

    1) If they hold a real confirmation hearing, they’ll give the nominee a chance to present his/her credentials, and then they’ll have to find a reason for denying confirmation. That’s going to be hard to do plausibly when Obama sends them a qualified nominee who was passed by a near unanimous vote recently.

    2) They’ll need to maintain very good discipline to deny confirmation. There will be waverers who will be worried about how a no vote will affect their reelection chances in a purple state in a presidential election year, and refusing to have a vote at all is the easiest way of keeping them from voting yes.

    Related to that, there’s the problem that allowing an actual nomination process risks letting Obama try nominating again after the first nominee is rejected. Maybe you can come up with a plausible excuse for rejecting the first nominee, but rejecting a second and third one will be harder to frame as anything but pure obstruction. That will increase the pressure on any waverers to confirm subsequent nominees.

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:

    @japa21: The brain drain is going to be significant.

    The only way it’s not worse is that the surrounding states have even more fucked up governors and state houses.

    How can a state afford to devastate education at all levels?

  29. 29
    Cacti says:

    I’m certain that whoever the President nominates will be thoroughly qualified and have an unblemished professional record.

    Which will make the GOPers complete refusal to give him/her a hearing seem that much more petulant.

    It will also be a good occasion to let the public know that the GOP’s chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee has no legal education or training whatsoever.

  30. 30
    japa21 says:

    @BGinCHI: However, some of what Rauner has been preaching is starting to seep across party lines.

    Our current state senator is running in the primary for Duckworth’s open seat. One of the candidates running for his seat is preaching the benefits of term limits. That was one of Rauner’s more effective campaign pushes yet is also one of the stupidest ideas out there. I have to get more information on who is running against her, but she is unlikely to get my vote.

  31. 31
    BGinCHI says:

    @Roger Moore: 1. Those credentials are going to get presented anyway.

    2. Already cracking.

    I’m not disagreeing. I just think they overplayed their hand. Their bigger problem is they don’t have any way to improved their fortunes except for Donald Trump. How’s that working out?

    I can’t wait til Priebus gets fired. Fucking weasel.

  32. 32
    Cacti says:

    The subject matter of this thread is also a good time to remember…

    Antonin Scalia is still dead.

  33. 33
    opiejeanne says:

    @BGinCHI: Possibly, but it’s a really angry essay and it’s starting to make the rounds on Facebook. I only saw it because a black friend invited me to a group called Race Relations, where they are chewing on it right now. I am keeping quiet and listening to the conversation.

  34. 34
    BGinCHI says:

    @japa21: It won’t work. It just won’t.

    Also, and no offense to you, your district also elected Joe Walsh. So, the suck is strong around you. Other than IKEA I can’t think of anything positive.

  35. 35
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Cacti: One advantage of the blanket refusal is that if it stands, it won’t reflect badly on any nominee. There’s been some speculation that nobody is going to want to get nominated because they’ll get loser stink and be unable to get on the Court in the future, but if it’s obvious that that’s the reason, wouldn’t a future Democratic President have a case for just re-nominating?

  36. 36
    japa21 says:

    @BGinCHI: Hey, I think Priebus is doing a great service for the United States. Under his leadership the GOP is imploding and showing its true colors to everybody. Perhaps from the ashes a new phoenix will arise that is at least semi-sane.

  37. 37
    BGinCHI says:

    @japa21: You got me there. I’m holding out for Chris Chocola though….

  38. 38
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @liberal: Say what now?

  39. 39
    Cacti says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    My dream scenario would be President Clinton nominating Obama for the vacancy, and a new Dem Senate majority voting him in.

  40. 40
    SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel says:


    Absent some egregiously bad behavior, her tenure is for life if that’s what she wants. Refusing to resign or retire just because you want her to step down doesn’t meet the threshold.

  41. 41
    Keith G says:

    I will so miss this man.

    Frankly, I can’t imagine a president who would punt on this issue. Those who make it to the Oval Office tend to be very protective of executive power at the very least if not somewhat expansionary. So, while it is all well and good to proclaim (well deserved) love and the future missing of this man, I can’t see him as being very unique in this matter.

  42. 42
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @opiejeanne: It could work if it wasn’t “Here’s what I think we should do,” but “Here’s what we have decided we will do, unless…” This isn’t a group of people with no leverage whatsoever, like the ones who never vote to begin with. An organized, sustained voting strike by people the Democrats are absolutely counting on to win could achieve some results. Like BLM did, but much more threatening than a rally interruption.

  43. 43
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    A blanket refusal to consider Obama’s nominees wouldn’t necessarily stop the Republican Senate caucus from insulting any individual nominee or potential nominee. Indeed, it might help make that person think twice about being nominated again by President Hillary.

  44. 44
    oldster says:

    That’s all great.

    [I only wish he had not used “hone in on.” I suppose it is well on its way to becoming standard, but my aged ears will never get used to it.]

  45. 45
    Steeplejack says:

    I would like to take this opportunity to note that the Republicans have been slipping another inaccuracy into this debate with no pushback that I have seen, i.e., that Obama is a “lame duck.” They seem to use it as a (dismissive) shorthand for someone who is approaching the end of his term in office, regardless of the circumstances. But the more accurate, historical definition is that it refers to a politician who is finishing the end of his term after his successor has been elected. The classic case would be, say, a president who is defeated for election to a second term and is marking time until Inauguration Day (e.g., Jimmy Carter). In that case there is little point to mounting big initiatives or making big decisions.

    None of that applies to Obama. He is not a lame duck in any sense.

  46. 46
    RaflW says:

    @liberal: RBG didn’t retire in 2009 because (like Breyer, I suppose?) she’s an egotistical asshole who put her own ego ahead of the good of the country.

    Serving another 7 years and still counting was all ego and not a desire to do her duty as she sees fit? I just do not understand the vitriol tossed her way by some here. WTF (and I do mean F) has she done that is so awful??

  47. 47
    RaflW says:

    So this morning I was imagining Amy Lobuchar deciding to be an awesome team player. Think of the hijinks and shenanigans as she collegiality pops her head into the offices of the GOP Senators who have refused to even meet with the nominee.

    Would they even be able to show up for committee meetings she serves on? What about floor sessions?

    Thus would be trolling McConnell & Co. in the 11th dimension. Wheee!

  48. 48
    boatboy_srq says:

    Eight years of Shrubbery proved exactly what the GOTea expects from every branch of government: people willing to suck up to the PTB, toe the party line and h8 on Those People (and Democrats, and Socialists, and Democratic Socialists [unless they’re from Germany], &c). This is the party that seriously considered Harriet Miers for SCOTUS, who tolerated Ashcroft and Gonzalez as AGs and who threw tantrums about US attorneys who didn’t go soft on Republicans and hard on Those People. Obama should be loudly applauded for the posting and the reasoning – but just as loudly the GOTea should be denounced for its pettiness, its narrow vision and its commitment to form over substance, pageantry over policy, and pandering to the wingnuts and the 1% over fulfilling its duty to govern.

  49. 49
    Steve in the ATL says:


    [I only wish he had not used “hone in on.” I suppose it is well on its way to becoming standard, but my aged ears will never get used to it.]

    That happened here another time in the last couple of days. I took a valium instead of pointing it out.

  50. 50
    Keith G says:

    @RaflW: Exactly.

    A so-called liberal calling Ruth Bader Ginsburg an egotistical ass hole is just about the most insanely head-up-the-ass stupid thing I have read since…..well….since last night at Balloon Juice. She has been, and remains, an important voice – a voice that should not be put out to pasture because of somebody’s view of political expediency.

  51. 51
    ruemara says:

    @opiejeanne: Who? Never heard of him.

    I was a very reluctant Obama supporter. For very critical reasons, like experience, savvy handling of congress and ability to bring in new blood. I took a long time, even after Clinton started using some ham handed tactics after losing. The man has grown on me, even after he took office. Forced me to grow and learn wtf I was talking about where it came to progressiveness and legislation. I am grateful and amazed at his skill and gentle dignity. We, as a country, have both benefited and missed an opportunity. Let me say, if people had kept voting dem throughout his term, a Bernie type presidential candidate would be there and a clear path to a more just America would also be there.

  52. 52
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mike J: That was definitely worth a laugh out loud, even if it did startle my kitties!

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel says:


    Yeah, I don’t understand the vitriol either, and it seems to be on the increase around here. It’s one thing to make a persuasive argument about why it might be politically advantageous for a justice to retire at a particular time, and I’m certain that many Supremes in the past have used political calculus in making their decisions. But to all intents, it is a lifetime appointment. RBG has the right to step down, or not, whenever she damn well pleases. And (as I said yesterday when I commented on someone else calling her vile names for not retiring), I would and do hold the same position in the case of conservative justices.

  54. 54
    dmsilev says:

    @Steeplejack: They started calling him a lame duck roughly 5 seconds after polls closed in Nov 2014.

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel says:

    O/T (or perhaps not all that much), but Harry Reid is endorsing Hillary Clinton.

  56. 56
    SFAW says:


    WTF (and I do mean F) has she done that is so awful??

    You so silly.

    OBVIOUSLY, she did not step aside during that 3-month window when Obama had a filibuster-proof majority, thus denying Obama the chance to name a “healthier” (i.e, one who would not die while Preznit Jeb Bush was in the Black White House), left-of-center Associate Justice. Which WE ALL KNOW WOULD HAVE SAILED THROUGH THE SENATE, BECAUSE THE SENATE HAS BEEN SO GREAT AT WORKING WITH OBAMA FOR HIS ENTIRE TERM(s).

    And you’re a selfish asshole for thinking otherwise.

    ETA: And that goes for you, too, Siubhan. (Even if I disagree with the adjective you’ve added to your nym.)

  57. 57
    Paul in KY says:

    @Amir Khalid: If they get the willies from being nominated & then dissed by the mean ole Repubs, then they weren’t SC material to begin with.

  58. 58
    opiejeanne says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: Yes. The opening salvo is simply Don’t Vote, and that will teach the two parties, and he goes on in that vein for quite a while. He never proposes bargaining or how that should be implemented. The problem with that is that Republicans aren’t counting on that support, so the only party affected will be the Democrats, and that is what’s getting the big reaction from the people in the group.
    Reading the reactions of the PoC in the group this was posted to, they’re not buying it. One friend, a doctor, points out the damage that will be caused by even more Republican governors. Another one never voted in any election for 30 years before 2008, and now has voted in every election since them, all the down tickets, all of the local elections. This person said they were too tired to bother before 2008. I am encouraged by the reactions of the people in that group, because they don’t want to dismiss the election.

  59. 59
    SFAW says:


    They started calling him a lame duck roughly 5 seconds after polls closed in Nov 2014.

    A notable instance of restraint on their part.

  60. 60
    JGL says:

    @liberal: Shut your mouth about RBG. She’s a goddamn national treasure. And the last few years she has been ON FIRE against Scalia and helping to push his dissenting opinions into the embarrassing spittle-flecked ragey rants that have tarnished his supposed legacy.

    Given the level of work required to even get a district court judge seated, who is it that you think the Senate would have approved in her place? And how? What magical unicorn pony land do you live in where we’d get to have another justice as liberal as RBG?

  61. 61
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RaflW: She didn’t just go ahead and die.

  62. 62
    opiejeanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel: I thought “Liberal” and the guy last night are trolls, and they are certainly trolling us now.

  63. 63
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    And that goes for you, too, Siubhan. (Even if I disagree with the adjective you’ve added to your nym.)

    Just for you, I’ve removed it.

  64. 64
    SFAW says:


    What guy last night? You mean I missed another moronic RBG-is-the-Anti-Christ post?

    I THOUGHT my blood pressure had been a little low recently.

  65. 65
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel:

    Yeah, I don’t understand the vitriol either, and it seems to be on the increase around here

    Nah, same as it ever was.

  66. 66
    p.a. says:

    When assholes are in control.

    Not the last.

  67. 67
    SFAW says:


    Thank you, my dear. I am not qualified to comment as to whether you’re a scoundrel/scoundrette, but you’re certainly not annoying.

  68. 68
    Poopyman says:


    Antonin Scalia is still dead.

    That was last week. What has he done for us lately?

    On an unrelated note (heh!), I see they still won’t publicize where the grave is. I was just wondering. For a friend, of course!

  69. 69
    🌷 Martin says:

    There’s a bit of an open question starting to make the rounds of whether Obama needs a vote at all. The Senate’s job is to advise and consent but unlike the case for treaties where the approval is specified (“provided two thirds of the Senators present concur”), there is no approval stated for justices.

    It could be interpreted that a lack of action on the part of the Senate is construed as consent, that they were given a reasonable opportunity to advise and they chose not to.

    I mean, if we’re going to be all originalist and shit on this, then let’s go all the way. Put up a nominee and if in 90 days there hasn’t even been a meeting scheduled, send them over to USSC with a robe and lets see what happens.

  70. 70


    2. Already cracking

    Which makes it all the more important to guarantee that there is never a vote.

  71. 71
    Germy says:

    The Return of Judge Scalia!

    Scalia returns to give his opinion on Obama’s right to replace him.

  72. 72
    Aleta says:

    Obama is describing Baud to a T. But why would he be in on the plot to block Baud from the presidency?

  73. 73
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW: She’s not trying very hard… yet.

  74. 74
    Amir Khalid says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    send them over to USSC with a robe

    I was under the impression that the garment in question was called a muumuu.

  75. 75
    RaflW says:

    @SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel: I wonder just a bit if at least some of the less well hinged BJers also resent her personal friendship with Scalia?

    If folks have specific rulings she voted on, or wrote majority, minority or concurring opinions on that they feel make RBG a bad liberal justice, then by all means, let us know. Otherwise it’s just the usual unicorn brigade being mad over things in the past that objectively cannot be changed. And that shit is boring as hell.

  76. 76
    SFAW says:


    She’s not trying very hard… yet.

    But the point is, she would have to try very hard.

    I, on the other hand …

  77. 77
    Paul in KY says:

    @Poopyman: I would love to visit it, after I’d had about 4 Nattys.

  78. 78
    SFAW says:


    If they’d use that as a justification, then they’d also hate Teddy Kennedy, because of his friendship with Orrin Hatch.

  79. 79
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW: Yeah, it comes natural to me too, just ask my wife. On 2nd thought, don’t.

  80. 80
    SFAW says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I was under the impression that the garment in question was called a muumuu.

    Only by Obama, and only because of his Hawaiian upbringing.

  81. 81
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:


    usual unicorn brigade

    It’s pretty bad when our side can’t tell the difference between ratfuckers and the delusional. I guess it’s the lefty version of Poe’s Law.

  82. 82
    SFAW says:


    Don’t worry. And I certainly won’t introduce her to my wife, it you catch my drift …

  83. 83
    boatboy_srq says:

    @opiejeanne: Interesting, isn’t it, how people who expect to have a voice in their government insist on demanding that the President provide all the policies they want – forgetting the role that Congresss, the state legislatures and the other bodies (in which they are presumably represented) play in US politics. You would think that, with the GOTea calling Obama everything except niCLANG and marching in lockstep to obstruct every one of his proposals, having at least some recognition for what he has achieved would be warranted. But nooooo – all this idiot can go on about is how every Dem is out to get the Black vote for free so they’re no better than the Repubs and staying out of the election – abdicating their Constitutional rights, for which not a few of all races have struggled and died – is called for.

    If we are honest with ourselves,exactly how much worse would it be for Black society if Trump was elected?

    Really? He’s going to go there? Has it not occurred to him that so much anti-Other posturing from the GOTea comes from deeply rooted animus brought into sharp focus by the electorate forcing the Kenyan IslamoFascoSoshulist President on them? NO: things for Black society might not have been quite so ugly under Clinton or Edwards. But the Teahad apparently reasons that, because there is that one single Black Man in the WH they couldn’t touch, yet for whom they blame all their ills, it’s OK for wingnut Teahadis to go after the ordinary Black citizen with gun and tire iron and eviction notice and pink slip in displaced fury.

    He has a long litany of Democratic figures who he feels have let Black society down. And he’s not wrong naming and shaming. But suggesting that sitting out this election is a solution is misguided, foolhardy and a guarantee that the wingnuts – who most certainly will not sit this one out – will win. And his readers and followers will be left to deal with the consequences of a much more Conservatist government in which they have no say and over whom they have no leverage.


  84. 84
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW: Well, look what happened when Ted died: We got Scott Brown, lost the filibuster proof majority in the senate and the Obama Presidency was officially over!!! SEEEEEE??????

  85. 85
    Cacti says:

    Saw a rumor that Obama will be nominating Brian Sandoval for SCOTUS.

    Anyone else see this?

  86. 86
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Reports hitting the wire that Sandoval is one of the candidates being vetted. Obama had better not nominate him.

  87. 87
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:


    Why would he appoint a Republican?

  88. 88
    scav says:

    Is revealing to watch certain elements of the “left” assail RBG for not being the Anton Scalia Political Party Uber Alles of their side.

  89. 89
    pamelabrown53 says:

    I, too, will “so miss this man”. For the last 7 years I’ve been able to feel calmer knowing that he was unlikely to do something really stupid or destructive.

  90. 90
    JPL says:

    @Cacti: /Reid asked him to vet him.. link

    just no….imo

  91. 91
    RaflW says:


    exactly how much worse would it be for Black society if Trump was elected?

    I hope some other black voters have helped him game out that scenario.

  92. 92
  93. 93
    Cacti says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    Why would he appoint a Republican?

    Off the top of my head:

    -Originally recommended for the federal bench by Harry Reid
    -From a purple state

    Boxes in the Senate Republicans in just about every possible way.

  94. 94
    WaterGirl says:

    @🌷 Martin: I love that! May I ask where you have seen that idea pop up? Hoping it gains traction!

  95. 95
    ruemara says:

    @JPL: I detect presidential trollery. Let them deny a Republican.

  96. 96
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Cacti: I would rather see Marco Rubio’s gay porno than Sandoval nominated for SCOTUS

  97. 97
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Vitriol in general is same as it ever was, but vitriol directed at RBG is sharply up in the last day or two.

  98. 98
    Nina says:

    The real reason they don’t want to hold any Judiciary meetings is that Ted Cruz is on the committee. They don’t want to give him a platform to speak, nor do they want to be stuck in a room with him for that amount of time. Plus they will have to hold back on their impulses to vote against him in sheer repulsion.

  99. 99
    WaterGirl says:

    @PsiFighter37: Your comment is so much better than the one I was going to type: “Why the fuck would President Obama do that?!???”

  100. 100
    p.a. says:

    @burnspbesq: Fantastic! Also too, though; snowball, meet Hell. Hell, snowball.

  101. 101
    gwangung says:

    @Cacti: Not to mention taking out a potential rival for Harry reid’s seat, leaving a better shot for a D.

  102. 102
    Nina says:

    The ultimate undeniable nomination would be Sandra Day O’Connor.


    Older, so she’s a placeholder

    Oh, yeah, she’s done the job

    But she voted the wrong way on Bush v Gore so fuck her.

  103. 103
    Poopyman says:

    @Paul in KY: I suspect that by the time we got there it’d be a swamp. A smelly, smelly swamp.

    Or at least I can dream so.

  104. 104
    Aleta says:

    @Steeplejack: Thanks for pointing that out. Surprised to realize that despite knowing better, I didn’t even notice their manipulation. Gee they are slippery.

  105. 105
    trollhattan says:

    @Richard Mayhew:
    In which case, Luther, his anger translator needs to become a BJ front-pager, stat. Great post, also, too.

  106. 106
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Cacti: He is still a Republican. Forget it outright. This is a sure way to demoralize our side.

    Harry Reid nominating him while Bush was president means jack squat.

  107. 107
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @gwangung: Joe Heck is running for Reid’s seat, not Sandoval.

  108. 108
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That was my first thought. Also, Sandoval is Hispanic. The Senate’s dissing him outright would be just another reason for the GOP to lose even more Hispanic voters.

  109. 109
    Cacti says:


    He is still a Republican. Forget it outright.

    So were Stevens and Souter.

    So was Earl Warren.

  110. 110
    beltane says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Marco Rubio’s gay prono endures for only the only briefest blip of time, Brian Sandoval on the SCOTUS could last an eternity.

  111. 111
    Betty Cracker says:

    @PsiFighter37: Agreed. Hope this is just a trial balloon to throw the nihilists off their game.

  112. 112
    Amir Khalid says:

    After her photo spread for MAXIM Germany, can Melania Trump still be FLOTUS? An inquiring mind at CNN apparently wants to know.

    I roll my eyes.

  113. 113
    Cacti says:


    Not to mention taking out a potential rival for Harry reid’s seat, leaving a better shot for a D.

    I was honestly surprised Sandoval didn’t run for POTUS.

  114. 114
  115. 115
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    You GUYS….

  116. 116
    misterpuff says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Biden does.

  117. 117
    scav says:

    Throwing a few troll baits / compromise & reasonable markers into a preliminary consideration hopper (especially in light of the clog in the real nomination down the line) seems a minor thing compared to the overall position of reasonable consideration of a variety of candidates. Also seems to fit with the Obama observed in the past, although the no fucks one probably won’t bubble him to the top of the prelim hopper.

  118. 118
    trollhattan says:

    Word. Tiny notorious RBG might well be the “legal giant” some are pretending Fat Tony was and in any case, is in there Doing Her Job. Compare and contrast, for example, to Sleepin’ Clarence. What the hell does he do to earn his paycheck? I guess one of the other three is going to have to step up and tell him what he thinks, now.

  119. 119
    hamletta says:

    Josh Marshall has a good argument for why the Repubs are playing with fire:

    As I said, partisans on both sides are immovable on this. And loosely affiliated or swing voters, by definition, aren’t terribly knowledgeable about or concerned about the specifics of or differences about judicial philosophy which undergird this fight. But these voters are extremely focused on gridlock, doing your job or not doing your job, people who refuse to do their job or just do what makes sense for seemingly arbitrary reasons.

  120. 120
    trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Her first lady pet project can be buying runway models a sammich.

    Somebody at CNN should check check in with Mrs. Sarkozy for her take.

  121. 121
    Paul in KY says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I too. Just as there have been times when the supposed Republican that was placed on court by a Republican president did not end up being who they thought he was (Warren, Souter, etc), it could go the other way too.

    The moderate could end up being another Scalia/Alioto.

  122. 122
    gvg says:

    I admire Ginsberg for many things, but I think she was selfish to not retire when Obama was elected. Sorry it upsets so many of you. At the time I don’t recall that I was alone in thinking it. It is simply fear of her dying at the wrong time. She is and was old. She has had cancer, a rather serious kind. She isn’t the only smart capable liberal who can serve and is egotistical to think so. Suppose Obama hadn’t been reelected? Suppose Trump, Cruz or Rubio is and THEN she dies. The risk is high and obvious and I don’t think it was worth it. You don’t have to agree. The court as a whole is terribly important and it just terrifies me that so much depends on her frail health.
    I had honestly assumed she was only holding on through Bush’s term in order to retire under a democrat so it really surprised me she insisted on continuing.

  123. 123
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I would like to take this opportunity to note that the Republicans have been slipping another inaccuracy into this debate with no pushback that I have seen, i.e., that Obama is a “lame duck.”

    And not just the Republicans. The media use it all the time.

    Pushback? I think not.

  124. 124
    Paul in KY says:

    @Nina: Interesting theory. Given what I’ve seen, that could be a reason.

  125. 125
    Jim, Foolish LIteralist says:

    @Betty Cracker: @PsiFighter37: Agreed. Hope this is just a trial balloon to throw the nihilists off their game.

    Thirded. I hope this is just to get them on record refusing even to consider one of their own, which some have, at least one.

    ‏@ burgessev
    Cornyn says doesn’t make a difference if Sandoval is the nominee. Position stays the same

    I agree it would be demoralizing for Dem activists

  126. 126
    JPL says:

    @ruemara: If Sandoval is the nominee, I hope the repubs refuse to confirm him. What we know is that he is a moderate and the Club for Growth is in an uproar. On the negative side, he is not pro union.

  127. 127
    beltane says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist: The GOP’s position is such that it really doesn’t matter who Obama nominates. They have made it clear that they will not consider any nominee whether that person is Loretta Lynch or Ted Cruz.

  128. 128
    Archon says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist:

    Obama has enough juice with the left to put up a guy like Sandoval without a revolt with Dems but that would be an extremely bold move that could show clearly how ridiculous Republicans are or backfire.

  129. 129
    D58826 says:

    @Steeplejack: The GOP considered him a lame duck or maybe more accurately an illegitimate duck as soon as the electoral college vote hit 270 on election night in 2008.

  130. 130
    beltane says:

    I’m sure a Republican president would nominate a Democrat to the Supreme Court in order to win over a recalcitrant Democratic Senate majority.

  131. 131
    Jim, Foolish LIteralist says:

    @Archon: Obama has enough juice with the left to put up a guy like Sandoval without a revolt

    Hell I suspect a number of Dems (McCaskill, Machin, that one from PA whose name always escapes me, Headlamp) would love to be able to tell the home folk they voted for a Republican to be on the bench, but I think it would be a bad move for motivating Dem activists this close to an election. Especially if, as mentioned upthread, BS is anti-union.

    OT/ETA, just clicked onto MSNBC to see a clip of the interview with Mrs Trump, in a room that beggars description in its grandiose vulgarity.

  132. 132
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    This is fine. It is what I referred to @ #53 as a persuasive argument. And I actually think many of your points are valid and worth discussion and consideration.

    What I can’t abide is people calling her things like ego-driven selfish asshole (not pointing at you, as I honestly don’t remember who the commenter was who cast epithets in RBG’s general direction the other night). She is a smart lady and I’m sure she has thought long and hard about reasons she should retire and timing of said retirement, as well as reasons for not stepping down. And weighed all those reasons, well, judiciously.

  133. 133
    JGL says:

    @gvg: I continue to ask how you think a liberal justice was going to get appointed to fill her seat? It doesn’t just happen because you want it to. Given the level of obstruction, realistically, do you think anyone even in the ballpark of her liberal position would have been approved? She is, across the Board, miles more liberal than Kagan or Sotomayor and they barely made it in a more favorable congressional environment.

    More favorable = not quite as batshit insane as the last few years.

  134. 134
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Why didn’t Breyer get the kind of calls for strategic retirement that Ginsburg did? He’s younger, but he’s not young.

  135. 135
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gvg: That’s a perfectly reasonable concern and opinion that is likely to upset no one. What has upset people is in this discussion (including me) is commenters calling RBG a “moron” and “asshole.” They can DIAF.

  136. 136
    Paul in KY says:

    @Poopyman: We can dream, can’t we?

  137. 137
    Amir Khalid says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:
    Maybe it’s a feint. Obama might be floating the possibility of nominating a Republican politician just to see if the party dares pounce on one of its own.

  138. 138
    D58826 says:

    @JPL: While I guess it is risk no matter who Obama picks but a republican could turn out to be a reverse David Souter. IIRC when JFK picked Justice White he thought he was getting a liberal but White turned out to be a somewhat conservative justice.

  139. 139
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It might just be a courtesy at the request of Harry Reid. It doesn’t really make other kinds of sense to me, so I’m going to wait and see what happens. I actually believe that Obama has earned my trust.

  140. 140
    waysel says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: That commenters nym is “liberal”,of all things. Last night and in this thread, too.

  141. 141
    Miss Bianca says:

    I don’t get all this hatin’ on Notorious RBG for ‘not retiring when I think she should have’. Damn it, she is under NO obligation to anyone or anything – not you, not me, not the country, not the president, not her husband, not the ghost of old John Marshall – to retire. Hello, “life-time appointment”!

    ‘Selfish’, my fat white fundament. Seriously, have we come to this? “Hey, selfish old LADY Supreme, just retire already! For the good of – something!’ Because of course, there would have been NO obstructionism in the appointment of her successor, and of course her successor would ipso facto have had even MORE impeccably liberal chops, right? Right? Isn’t that the way politics works – the way I want them to?

  142. 142
    Paul in KY says:

    @Amir Khalid: She’d be the first FLOTUS to be named after a country in the board game Risk.

  143. 143
    moops says:

    “… and I would like to take this moment to remind the Senate that unreasonable complaints might have me prefer to burnish my CV as president of the Harvard Law Review and a lecturer in constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School and former two-term US President, and present myself to President Clinton as a candidate for the Supreme Court.”

    hell, even President Trump would consider appointing him. He is really a good pick. The Senate better not blather on about it through THAT nomination or they will likely lose their majority.

  144. 144
    Davebo says:

    From the NY Times. Pretty eye opening polling!

    Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with the freeing of slaves in Southern states after the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view.

  145. 145
    D58826 says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist:

    grandiose vulgarity

    isn’t that a synonym for Trump?

  146. 146
    Paul in KY says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist: It looked like the kind of room that Elvis or Marie Antoinette would think was over-the-top and vulgar.

  147. 147
    Archon says:

    This is a master political move, even if it’s a trial balloon. It works primarily because Obama has forged enough “adult in the room, I’m reasonable” capital that this doesn’t sound implausible to the press and swing voters.

  148. 148
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Nina: O’Connor resigned (officially) for family health reasons. There’s not a lot to suppose that she’d accept renomination, since it’s unlikely those family health concerns have been mitigated, even though she has kept busy. Although one wonders whether the health concerns weren’t for her sanity after sitting alongside Scalia all that time, and with him gone SCOTUS might be less unhealthy for her.

  149. 149
    moops says:


    To remain a Republican now is much different than being a Republican back then.

    To claim that title now is to be stubborn, stupid, or evil.

  150. 150
    Paul in KY says:

    @Miss Bianca: How do you think she would like being replaced by Justice Addington?

  151. 151

    @Paul in KY:

    Just as there have been times when the supposed Republican that was placed on court by a Republican president did not end up being who they thought he was (Warren, Souter, etc), it could go the other way too.

    That seems unlikely. The thing about both Warren and Souter was they had essentially zero record at the federal level. Warren had been governor of California, and Souter had served less than a year on the federal bench before being nominated. Part of the goal with Souter’s nomination was to try to slip somebody by who had so little record that nobody knew what he was like. That wound up backfiring because he was more of a Rockefeller Republican than an ideologue. It wouldn’t apply to somebody who had clerked for a liberal justice, worked in a Democratic administration, and/or had a substantial record as a federal judge.

  152. 152
    Betty Cracker says:

    @moops: True. I’m pretty sure this is pure trolling — or at least I hope so.

  153. 153
    RaflW says:

    @burnspbesq: re: Balkin’s link: We have certainly seen this with the general refusal of Congress to declare wars. Now the President can just bomb the living bejeepers out of anyone and send in troops with damn near no Congressional action. It gets decried by Congrescritters, but they built this mess by their cowardice.

    So, yes, there may well be unforeseen consequences of the SCOTUS obstruction.

    I also have my doubts that a GOP Senate would even bother to confirm many/any Appellate or District court appointments for a President Clinders.

  154. 154
    El Caganer says:

    @D58826: If things had broken differently, we could have had Grandiose Vulgarity vs. Vermin Supreme.

  155. 155
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thought it was someone different last night but can’t be arsed to scroll back through the threads to find out.

  156. 156
    Jim, Foolish LIteralist says:

    Manu Raju ‏@ mkraju 29m29 minutes ago
    Just asked Deb Fischer, Nebraska Republican, if she’d consider Sandoval as a Supreme Court nom. She said no. “It’s not about the person.”

  157. 157
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Being that I have no idea who Justice Addington may be, I’d better reply for RBG with “no comment”.

  158. 158
    WaterGirl says:

    @Archon: “This is a master political move, even if it’s a trial balloon. It works primarily because Obama has forged enough “adult in the room, I’m reasonable” capital that this doesn’t sound implausible to the press and swing voters.”

    Are you referring to the President writing at SCOTUSblog or to vetting the republican governor of Nevada?

  159. 159
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist:

    “it’s about the black president”. I finished that thought for her.

  160. 160
    Paul in KY says:

    @Roger Moore: Did any of the points in your last sentence apply to Gov. Sandoval?

  161. 161
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @RaflW: I’ve seen an argument that “constitutional hardball”, in which procedural norms get repeatedly abandoned in favor of obstruction under the letter of the law, has resulted in the power of the executive branch gradually increasing just because otherwise there’s no way for anything to get done. The end state might be a situation in which the President is a sort of elected dictator, and the legislative branch obstructs itself into complete irrelevance.

  162. 162
    Aleta says:

    Would you meet them
    Here or there?

    We would not meet them
    here or there.
    We would not meet them

    Would you? Could you?
    in a car?
    Meet them! Meet them!
    Here they are.
    A train! A train!
    A train! A train!
    Could you, would you
    on a train?
    In the dark?
    Here in the dark!
    Would you, could you, in the dark?

    We would not, could not,
    in the dark.
    We will not meet them here or there.
    We do not like them anywhere!

    You do not like them.
    So you say.
    Try them! Try them!
    And you may.
    Try them and you may I say.

    The President Reads “Green Eggs and Ham”

  163. 163
    Paul in KY says:

    @Miss Bianca: Google ‘David Addington AND Cheney’

  164. 164
    RaflW says:

    @Cacti: So we risk having a “moderate” Republican on the S.C. for a generation to box in McConnell? I’m not liking this game one bit.

  165. 165
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    This man, I assume.

  166. 166
    ruemara says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: that may be too pointed for TV consumption.

  167. 167
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Paul in KY: Dude, that’s just mean

  168. 168
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Paul in KY: @SiubhanDuinne:

    OK…why do I have a feeling this is gonna make me queasy?

    ETA: Well, I won’t speak for RBG, but I’ll speak for myself: ‘ewwwww’…

  169. 169
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @RaflW: Yeah, there’s always the danger that Obama baits them with a guy so right-wing they can’t possibly object to him, and after weeks of stonewalling they just say “ha ha, OK.”

  170. 170
    Paul in KY says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: That’s the scumbag. He should be in prison, with his master.

  171. 171
    patrick II says:

    It’s the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom; experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times.

    This excerpt from Obama’s post made me think that he was considering a governor before I read the comments naming Brian Sandoval. I have no idea if he’s the guy, but I’m guessing from the quote Obama’s not looking for someone who has spent his entire career on the bench or teaching law.

  172. 172
    Gravenstone says:

    @liberal: Why don’t you go join Steve in Antioch in the nearest avaialable conflagration? Fucking useless wastes of protoplasm, the lot of you.

  173. 173
    Cacti says:


    So we risk having a “moderate” Republican on the S.C. for a generation to box in McConnell? I’m not liking this game one bit.

    You’ll have to excuse me if I trust the political instincts of the two-term POTUS a bit more than the combined political wisdom of BJ.

  174. 174
    Cacti says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist:

    Just asked Deb Fischer, Nebraska Republican, if she’d consider Sandoval as a Supreme Court nom. She said no. “It’s not about the person.”

    That’s the kind of thing we want them saying, no?

    Explicit confirmation that petulance is the real motivation at work.

  175. 175
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @boatboy_srq: Her “family health concern” was her husband, who had dementia and has since died.

  176. 176
    Fair Economist says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I don’t think there’s anything in the world I’d like to see than Rubio’s gay porn ASSUMING I could record it and broadcast it on the internet. Don’t care if I violate copyright laws – I’ll go to jail for that.

  177. 177

    As someone on here (Elizabelle maybe?) keeps saying Scalia is still dead. Count your blessing the FSM saw fit to take one of the conservatives. We could be in much worse trouble.

  178. 178
    scav says:

    So, now’s there a person nominated for the Librarian of Congress. I’m assuming the Lame Duck rule will apply here too, so another stone to add to the Do Your Damn Job theme.

  179. 179
    RaflW says:

    @Amir Khalid: They’d be pouncing on a Hispanic in swing-y Nevada, at that. I don’t see McConnell backing down right now on obstruction, so if this is just a name-float, it’s smart.

  180. 180
    Miss Bianca says:


    Well, if the Lame Duck Rule *doesn’t* apply, that’s another stone to pile on as well…so, stones for everyone!

  181. 181
    WaterGirl says:

    I had a dream last night that Elizabeth Warren threw her hat in the ring for president last night. What’s funny is that I’ve never been a “Elizabeth Warren should run for president” person – I think she’s right where we need her.

    I did check the news this morning, and it was apparently only a dream.

  182. 182
    SFAW says:


    O’Connor resigned (officially) for family health reasons. There’s not a lot to suppose that she’d accept renomination, since it’s unlikely those family health concerns have been mitigated,

    I believe the “family health reasons” were that her husband was ill (Alzheimer’s). He died in 2009.

    That being said: she can burn in hell as far as I’m concerned, because of her “I’ll vote with you, Nino, if you promise not to be mean to me” vote in Bush v. Gore.

    ETA: And, of course, Gin & Tonic got there first. Well, not the “burn in hell” part, of course.

  183. 183
    Paul in KY says:

    @SFAW: Same here!

  184. 184
    Mike J says:


    The tax increases Sandoval signed have since funded a landmark overhaul in public education—likely to become his signature achievement and a bold gamble meant to turn around what is frequently ranked the worst state education system in the country. Yet education is simply the most recent of a long list of Sandoval’s conservative heresies: The abortion rights governor has embraced Obamacare; lauded immigration reform and DREAMers; fiercely championed renewable energy; and taken lesser known actions on police body cameras, driver’s licenses for undocumented aliens and multiple moves to squelch Republican-led tort reform.

  185. 185
    WaterGirl says:

    @SFAW: I know. I have a lot of trouble with the fact that she said she knew it was wrong at the time and she did it anyway. ugh.

  186. 186
    Strategery says:

    Why don’t the Democrats start calling it a shutdown? It’s a simple word the public understands, the public doesn’t like, and which the Republicans already have stamped on themselves from, well, shutting down the government. And it’s defensible – the public understands a 4-4 tie.

    Don’t get in the weeds talking about tradition or courtesy and for God’s sake don’t repeat the words “lame duck”, that’s fighting on the imaginary turf the R’s have invented. They dodged a bullet on the last government shutdown because it was so far from an election that they got their polls numbers back.

    Now they are shutting down the Judiciary Branch. Just call it that. It’s a Louisville Slugger of a message if the Democrats feel like using it.

  187. 187
  188. 188
    SFAW says:


    I know. I have a lot of trouble with the fact that she said she knew it was wrong at the time and she did it anyway.

    Which, when you think about it, makes her not unlike Fat Nino (who is Still Dead).

  189. 189
    Betty Cracker says:

    Josh Marshall speculates that the Republicans are desperate to shut the Supreme Court issue down as soon as possible so as to contain the political fallout. He thinks that’s why they’re not only saying that won’t confirm a nominee but won’t even hold a vote or meet with a nominee, etc., which comes off as extreme.

    Marshall also surmises, correctly, I think, that this strategy will only work if the Democrats cooperate by making a stink now and then dropping the issue. Maybe this Sandoval trial balloon is just part of a long-term strategy to keep the conversation front paged. Maybe there will be several more trial balloons, each designed to make the Republicans look as extreme and obstructionist as possible.

    Eventually they will nominate someone (hopefully NOT a goddamned Republican!), parade that person around on TV and through congress, etc. If they play their cards right, they can drag this out all through election season to maximize damage. They might as well.

  190. 190
    Fair Economist says:

    @Mike J: Looking at Sandoval’s record, I have to say he doesn’t seem like a bad choice after all in a judicial sense. I still think he’d be painful politically for the Democrats, although perhaps he’d end up more painful for the Republicans. A Republican Senate allowing a pro-choicers onto the Supreme Court, creating a possibly permanent pro-choice majority would get a lot of flack from the holy rollers. A Republican Senate refusing to confirm him would get a lot of flack from everybody else.

  191. 191
    Calouste says:

    Has anyone asked Sandoval yet? Of course he can’t give a right answer. Keeping options open, or probably anything more than 2 millimeters short of “I ain’t working for that n1@@3r!!1!!” would see him attacked as a RINO. Where an outright refusal would probably put off quite a few people. One thing Obama has been good at is forcing his opposition to show their hand. Can’t see this having much to do with Sandoval himself, but maybe Reid put this up to make things more difficult for whatever hairball the Gridlock & Obstruction Party is going to run for his seat. Not filling the seat seems to be pretty unpopular so far with the voters.

  192. 192
    PaulW says:

    Is there any way we can get Obama to guest-blog at our places?!?!

    /open invite to Notice a Trend given to the White House. Only good until Jan. 2017

  193. 193
    Larv says:

    Another aspect of the Sandoval trial balloon may be not just to take him out of the running for Harry’s Senate seat, but to taint him with national Repubs. I suspect a lot of Dems fear him as a future presidential candidate. Sandoval is a very popular, relatively young, hispanic republican who isn’t associated with the current (extremely unpopular) Rebub congress. He’d be an appealing national candidate. Even without him being on the court, just being nominated by That One could harm those chances by tying him to Obama in the national consciousness. I’m purely speculating, but it seems like the kind of long game Harry Reid likes to play.

  194. 194
    SFAW says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Hans von Spakovsky wants a dead man to have the vote.

    Von Spakovsky should make himself into a test case, to see if that will work.

    “Sure, Hans — we’ll be HAPPY to let you vote, if you blow your brains out first.”

  195. 195

    @Paul in KY:
    Sorry; I didn’t look back far enough to see the discussion there was specifically about Sandoval. The one point that does apply to him is that he served as a federal judge for about 4 years, so he at least has a substantial judicial track record to consider.

  196. 196
    PaulW says:

    As I blogged last night, if the President is a lame duck because of this year’s election, then 24 of the Republican senators up for vote this 2016 are ALSO lame ducks and anything they say or do shouldn’t count.

  197. 197
    PaulW says:


    God Emperor Trump will govern like a Worm.

    /walks without rhythm

  198. 198
    Calouste says:

    @Larv: See also: The Presidential Ambitions of John Huntsman and Chris Christie.

    Obama understands very well that the Republican primaries are decided by the hard core nuts, and that any positive connection to him will be poison to them for decades to come.

  199. 199
    PaulW says:


    they started called Obama a lame duck one hour after his inauguration in 2009…

  200. 200
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Hans von Spakovsky wants a dead man to have the vote.

    Having conflicting emotions here. As a liberal and a man with some integrity, I know that everything Hans von Spakovsky advocates for is wrong. As a Chicago native, a dead man voting seems perfectly natural.

  201. 201
    PaulW says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I think Obama does need Senate votes for high-level appointments like SCOTUS. There’s been laws passed – I’m not sure which ones – which codified which positions require Senate approval and which don’t.

    What could happen is if the Senate ever has to call a recess, when they are not in session. During that time-frame, Obama can fill a seat but only temporarily. I think the temp Justice would still need Senate approval to keep the seat, otherwise he/she has to step down after a set time period. Thing is, McConnell is also declaring the Senate will never break for recess in order to stop Obama from doing just that.

    At some point, I really think these jokers are violating their oaths of office and ought to be charged in federal court on felonies. Is there a law about oath-breaking and who has standing to file those types of charges?

  202. 202
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cacti: That’s the kind of thing we want them saying, no?

    Absolutely, a news cycle of “Republicans even refuse to consider a Republican”. I hope that’s the point of the Sandoval balloon

  203. 203

    @patrick II:

    I have no idea if he’s the guy, but I’m guessing from the quote Obama’s not looking for someone who has spent his entire career on the bench or teaching law.

    Of course that could also apply to somebody who served in private practice, in DOJ, or in the Solicitor General’s office.

  204. 204
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Roger Moore: I think we have had enough prosecutors on SCOTUS to last us a while–don’t need any more for the next few openings

  205. 205
    scav says:

    @Steve in the ATL: More than a merely a Dead Man (with or without a ouija board), I think he should also be considered a Lame Dead Duck, so if anything, perhaps we should retroactively disallow any decisions he made for about 300 days before his death and let the PEOPLE decide. Right?

  206. 206
    Larv says:


    Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Sandoval’s potential Repub primary opponents would beat him upside the head with any connection to Obama. Can you imagine what kind of hay Ted Cruz would make of that?

    Edit: I should say that I don’t think this is a primary reason for the Sandoval trial balloon, which I think is more about showing Obama as willing to compromise and getting the Republicans on record as refusing to consider a fellow Republican. But I have to think it’s a consideration.

  207. 207
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Completely meaningless and coincidental, but for some reason I now forget, I was googling Betty Ford earlier today (the person, not the clinic!) and it turns out her first husband’s name was William Warren. So she was actually Elizabeth Warren for a few years in the 1940s.

  208. 208
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @scav: This is the type of thinking that will make you an insider in Baud’s cabinet

  209. 209
    SFAW says:

    That is one of the more Outstanding comments I have read in a long while.

  210. 210
    Shortribs says:


    I was honestly surprised Sandoval didn’t run for POTUS.

    He was probably eyeing the VP slot until Trump opened his maw and offended most of the American continents.

  211. 211
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    He would have to keep us well-supplied with pictures of Bo and Sunny.

  212. 212
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I want to be buried back in Chicago so I can stay active in politics.

  213. 213
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Nice!

  214. 214
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Interesting!

  215. 215
    gene108 says:


    The ultimate undeniable nomination would be Sandra Day O’Connor.


    Better would be John Paul Stevens. Appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford. More reliable liberal vote. Already done the job.

  216. 216
    gene108 says:


    Edit: I should say that I don’t think this is a primary reason for the Sandoval trial balloon, which I think is more about showing Obama as willing to compromise and getting the Republicans on record as refusing to consider a fellow Republican. But I have to think it’s a consideration.

    The Republicans treated former Republican Senator, Chuck Hagel, like shit, when he was nominated for Secretary of Defense in 2013.

    They don’t give damn. Edit: The media doesn’t give a damn either, for them it’s “politics as usual”.

    Once you side with Obama, you are the enemy.

    Past history be damned.

  217. 217
    boatboy_srq says:

    @SFAW: She had breast cancer in ’88. Departed spouse or no, that’s still “family health” and a good reason to say no. She’s since recognized the error of the BvG decision (aren’t we all for reformed pols?) so I’d be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt nowadays. If you’d asked me in 2000-2003 I’d have said BLEEP no, and again when she resigned (pending confirmation of her successor – who turned out to be Alito, natch), but now I’m not so sure.

  218. 218
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    looks like this was a pure media play, aka trolling

    Jon Ralston
    ‏@ RalstonReports
    Sandoval spox: “Neither Governor Sandoval nor his staff have been contacted by or talked to the Obama Administration…” on SCOTUS vacancy.

  219. 219
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    I don’t want Sandoval, but it would be a nice counterbalance to Obama’s inadvertent screwings-over of state-level Democrats when he filled his Cabinet.

  220. 220
    D58826 says:

    @patrick II: While Ike regretted the choice Earl Warren was a pretty good justice and he never served a day on the bench until he joint the supreme court. His background was all in elective office.

  221. 221
    LesBonnesFemmes says:

    I love my President. I hope he continues to troll Yertle and the other asshats all year long until they cave.

  222. 222
    Princess says:

    If you want to read the actual history of the filling of Supreme Court vacancies, instead of the NPR?Fox News spin, here’s what Geoffrey Stone said when he advise senior Democrats today:

    The Supreme Court Vacancy and the Constitutional Responsibilities of the Senate

  223. 223
    J R in WV says:

    @boatboy_srq: Pretty sure former justice O’Conner’s “health issues” involved the health of her husband, but I don’t know if he is still alive so as to have health issues today.

    And a few comments later I see that he has died:
    @Gin & Tonic !

  224. 224
    WaterGirl says:

    @Princess: Wow. Bookmarked so I can share with anyone who thinks the is just business as usual.

    Edit: you should link to that article in every thread until someone here front-pages it.

  225. 225

    @BGinCHI: It’s simple–it’s the GOP in the Senate telling Obama, “Up yours, n***er.”

  226. 226

    @opiejeanne: Sanctimonious jerkoff. F**k him–a lot of people went through hell and some died to ensure my right to vote. If this f**ker wants to waste his, fine, but I am not going to spit on the efforts of those who came before me just because I want to run away and pout. This idiotic behavior of not voting to send some sort of message does nothing except to ensure more GOP wins, which means more people will be tossed over the fence and given the business. Maybe this @$$hole wants that to happen, but I do not.

  227. 227
    SFAW says:

    You’re far more gracious than I.

    It was 17 years or so between her cancer diag and her resignation. Be that as it may, it was her husband’s health, not her own, that led to her decision.

    I cut her far less slack on BvG — I’m reasonably confident that she knew at the time (i.e.., 2000) that she knew it was the wrong decision. I vaguely remember reading something to that effect, before her very-public mea culpa in 2003 (or whenever). [To be clear: “vaguely remember” translates to “I could be totally full of shit, or transposing memories, or having selective memories, or just want it to be the way I said it.”]

    So maybe I won’t have her burn in hell; maybe I will just wish a really bad sunburn on her.

  228. 228
    liberal says:

    @Gravenstone: just cuz I can make a reasonable cost/benefit analysis, unlike fucksticks like yourself and RBG?

  229. 229
    sherparick says:

    I believe that if President Obama really wanted to blow the minds of Conservatives and Republicans, and he should nominate Judge Richard Posner. If we had a Democratic Senate, with 60 solid liberal or moderately liberal votes, Posner would not be my first, or 10th preference, but under the current circumstances, he would put the Republicans in a terrible bind, since he was originally, with Judge Bork, one of Saint Ronnie Reagan’s original choices to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (the 7th Circuit in Posner’s case). And he is probably the most brilliant judge on the U.S. courts these last 34 years. In addition, at 77, Posner would be at worse a 10 to 15 year judge.

    “Judicial career: Posner is one of the most prolific legal writers, through both the number and topical breadth of his opinions, to say nothing of his scholarly and popular writings.[34] Unlike many other judges, he writes all his own opinions.[6] Nobel Laureate economist Robert Solow says that Posner “is an apparently inexhaustible writer on… nearly everything. To call him a polymath would be a gross understatement…. Judge Posner evidently writes the way other men breathe”, though the economist describes the judge’s grasp of economics as, “in some respects, … precarious.”[35]

    Aside from the sheer volume of his output, Posner’s opinions enjoy great respect from other judges, based on citations, and within the legal academy, where his opinions are taught in many foundational law courses. An example is his opinion in Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. v. American Cyanamid Co., a staple of first year Torts courses taught in American law schools, where the case is used to address the question of when it is better to use negligence liability or strict liability.[36]

    In his decision in the 1997 case State Oil Co. v. Khan, Posner wrote that a ruling 1968 antitrust precedent set by the Supreme Court was “moth-eaten”, “wobbly”, and “unsound”.[6] Nevertheless, he abided by the previous decision with his ruling.[6] The Supreme Court granted certiorari and overturned the 1968 ruling unanimously; Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the opinion and spoke positively of both Posner’s criticism and his decision to abide by the ruling until the Court decided to change it.[37]

    In 1999, Posner was welcomed as a private mediator among the parties involved in the Microsoft antitrust case.[7]

    A study published by Fred Shapiro in the University of Chicago’s The Journal of Legal Studies found Posner is the most-cited legal scholar of all time by a considerable margin, as Posner’s work has generated 7,981 cites compared to the runner-up Ronald Dworkin’s 4,488 cites.[1]…”

    To conclude, Posner would not be my first choice as Liberal or a Democrat (although he would defend Roe v. Wade and no one has written a more thorough evisceration of the Robert’s court decision destroying the Voting Rights Act.

    Finally, there is reason above all other that Richard Posner should be the Balloon Juice candidate to be the nominee of President Obama to the Supreme Court.

    …Posner and his wife have lived in Hyde Park, Chicago, for many years. His son Eric Posner is also a prominent jurist and works as a Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Richard Posner is a self-described “cat person” and is devoted to his maine coon, Pixie.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Posner

  230. 230
    Paul in KY says:

    @Roger Moore: No problemo!

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