Open Thread: Don’t Think of It As Plagiarism — Gorsuch Just Declared ‘Eminent Domain’ on Lesser Writers’ Words

*Is* Neil Gorsuch a plagiarist? As an intro to the way Our Media works, the Twitter storyline is kinda fascinating…



Open Thread: Nuclear Justice

(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)
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Good for the Democrats — they should keep fighting the Gorsuch charade, no matter how sad it makes the Media Village Idiots. Per the Washington Post:

Senate Democrats secured enough votes to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, increasing the likelihood that Republicans will change the rules of the U.S. Senate to ensure his confirmation later this week.

Democratic opposition to Gorsuch has been building for days, and four more senators announced on Monday that they would vote against him and support a filibuster of his nomination. That gave Democrats the requisite 41 votes to put up a roadblock and compel President Trump and Senate Republicans to either withdraw Gorsuch’s nomination or change Senate procedure.

With Trump and Republicans vowing that Gorsuch will be confirmed despite any filibuster, a change in how the Senate does business — the so-called nuclear option — is expected by Friday…

The outcome of the panel’s vote was never in doubt — Republicans hold a majority of seats on the committee and Gorsuch was approved on a party-line vote. But the testy hearing foreshadowed what is likely to be a combative week over the merits of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the way both parties have behaved during years of feuding over the makeup of the federal court system.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) indicated on Monday that they would oppose Gorsuch and vote against cloture — or the motion to end a filibuster that is required to hold a final up-or-down confirmation vote.

During an hours-long committee hearing, Leahy, the longest-serving member on the panel, criticized Gorsuch’s answers during his marathon confirmation hearing as “excruciatingly evasive.” He said that a GOP move to end filibusters of Supreme Court nominees would damage the Senate but argued that he had to vote his conscience, even if it pushes Republicans to change the rules.

“I cannot vote solely to protect an institution when the rights of hard-working Americans are at risk,” he said, “because I fear that the Senate I would be defending no longer exists.”

The longer the spotlight shines on Gorsuch, the more threadbare his lying professions of absolute innocent impartiality show. The Repubs have been trying to turn the Supreme Court into their rubber stamp since at least the days of Richard ‘Mediocre people are entitled to a little representation too’ Nixon; if they insist on being rabid partisans, we can at least deny them the pleasure of hiding behind hypocrisy when they do.



Monday Morning Open Thread: Keep Resisting

Bill Nye, star of the megahit “Science Guy” television show of the 90s, announced his public support of the March for Science in a blog post on Thursday. The April 22 march is billed as a call for the world to support and safeguard science in light of recent policy changes disrupting research at the Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health, NASA, and more. The event will include a teach-in and rally on the National Mall followed by a march through the streets of D.C.

Nye, whose new Netflix series will drop the day before (an air date set long before the march was planned, but presumably also intended to coincide with Earth Day, which is on April 22), will be at the event as a speaker and honorary co-chair. He explained his support for the march in a blog post for The Planetary Society, a science nonprofit of which he is currently the CEO…

What else is on the agenda as we start the new week?
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Hearings on Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS seat are due to start again tomorrow…



Open SCOTUS Thread: More Good News (If We Can Keep It Up)

The NYTimes:

While a parade of witnesses spoke in the committee room, Mr. Schumer went to the Senate floor and announced that he and other Democrats would refuse to permit an up-or-down vote on President Trump’s nominee. The Senate’s “cloture” rule requires a supermajority of 60 votes to overcome such a filibuster.

“After careful deliberation I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” Mr. Schumer said. “His nomination will have a cloture vote. He will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation. My vote will be no, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

If at least 41 of the chamber’s 48 Democrats stick together in the filibuster, it would force the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, to decide whether to try to change the rules of the chamber and approve Judge Gorsuch with a simple majority. Mr. Trump has urged Mr. McConnell to take that step if necessary.

Mr. McConnell has said he wants the Senate to confirm Judge Gorsuch to fill the vacancy, which was created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia a year ago, before departing for a scheduled recess on April 7….



Late Night Open Thread: All the Right Enemies, All the Wrong Friends


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I am not, in general, a big fan of the ‘Trump’s using this as a distraction’ theory — flinging all the crap he can find to see what sticks is not advanced strategery. But when it comes to their golly-gosh SCOTUS nominee, the Repubs are sure making a valiant, all-out effort to turn the slightly steaming pitcher of vodka-scented yellow liquid of this week’s Trump/FBI revelations into something that could plausibly be sold as lemonade…



The New “Improved” Muslim Travel Ban Struck Down

Amazing how much of a prissy little old man Lord Smallgloves looks in this clip — that pursed-lipped, finger-wagging, unnaturally-curved backbone posture is every neutered assistant principal reprimanding the “young toughs” for their unseemly camaraderie. The opposite of #WINNING!

“The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with,” Trump said during a rally in Nashville. “This new order was tailored to the dictates of the 9th Circuit’s — in my opinion — flawed ruling.”

Trump called the court actions blocking his orders “unprecedented judicial overreach.”…

“And let me tell you something, I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place,” Trump said.

The President’s comments came during a previously scheduled campaign rally. It took place shortly after US District Court Judge Derrick Watson blocked Trump’s executive order. The new travel ban was set to take effect Thursday.

The new executive order removed Iraq from the original list of seven banned countries, stripped away language about prioritizing religious minorities in the refugee admissions process and did not include an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. But it still banned citizens of six Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and temporarily stopped the admission of all refugees…

As the “bad news” drew jeers from the crowd, Trump explained that he needed to be cautious in his criticism, an apparent reference to the flak he took after calling the first federal judge who ruled against his executive order a “so-called judge.”

“I have to be nice otherwise I’ll get criticized for — for speaking poorly about our courts. I’ll be criticized by these people, among the most dishonest people in the world,” Trump said referring to reporters in the room.
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Muslim Ban 2.0 — First Time Tragedy; Second Time Tragic Farce

I’ll leave it to the more knowledgeable among us to dissect (looking at you, Adam…). But the greatest hits are about what I’d expected.  Iraq’s off the list as we owe too much to too many there.  The other six countries from the original order remain, though the specific restrictions are a little different than in Fear The Furriner version one.  Here’s The Washington Post‘s take:

President Trump signed a new travel ban Monday that administration officials said they hope will end legal challenges over the matter by imposing a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations, authorities said.

In addition, the nation’s refu­gee program will be suspended for 120 days, and it will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.

 

The goal is obviously to deliver some red meat to the Trump base while sliding past inconvenient judicial reality tests. Trumpistas are already suggesting that the administration should not have to justify the order in court, despite evidence that there is no net national security gain from a Muslim ban:

A Department of Homeland Security report assessing the terrorist threat posed by people from the seven countries covered by President Trump’s original travel ban had cast doubt on the necessity of the executive order, concluding that citizenship was an “unreliable” threat indicator and that people from the affected countries have rarely been implicated in U.S.-based terrorism.

The Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, criticized the report as being incomplete and not vetted with other agencies, and he also asserted the administration should not be pressed by the judiciary to unveil sensitive national security details to justify the ban.

“This is not something that the Department of Justice should have to represent to a federal-district court judge,” the official said.

We shall see.

Over to y’all.

Image: Benjamin West, The Ambassador from Tunis with His Attendants as He Appeared in England in 1781, 1781