Discussion in 'Politics and the Topics of the day' started by MASTERBAKER, Jun 28, 2018.
Front Cover of Thursday’s New York Daily News
Okay, so now what ?
The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy will give Trump and his enablers in the Senate another opportunity to shape the Supreme Court for a generation.
At every level of the federal bench, they're packing the courts with judges who share Trump's ideology.
The best way to stop this power grab is to:
1) Tell your senator to oppose Trump's nominee.
2) End Republican control of the Senate which you'll have an opportunity to do in November.
Please help spread the word.
The Donald delivers
Illustrated | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
W. James Antle III
July 5, 2018
Since Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, I have repeatedly heard some version of the following from conservatives who declined to back the Republican presidential nominee in 2016: If I had known that Donald Trump would keep his promises on judges, I would have voted for him.
In replacing the late Antonin Scalia with equally conservative stalwart Neil Gorsuch, and with the opportunity now to replace Kennedy with a more reliable conservative vote, President Trump has the chance to shift the nation's highest court rightward for a generation. But he also has an opportunity to fill a more immediate political need: consolidating his support among the Republican base and further marginalizing what's left of the "Never Trump" right ahead of the midterm elections, where turnout is critical.
As Trump's job approval ratings among Republicans approach George W. Bush's post-9/11, it may seem unnecessary to settle this intra-party feud. But what Never Trumpers lack in numbers they more than make up for in influence — as columnists, television commentators, and GOP political operatives. And these elite anti-Trump conservatives really do speak for a much larger constituency who have always had serious reservations about Trump but voted for him anyway, however reluctantly.
During various low points of the Trump administration, anti-Trump conservatives tweaked the president's Republican defenders for answering every (justifiable) criticism of the president with "But Neil Gorsuch!" However, after the recent 5-4 rulings on public sector unions, religious liberty, and other contentious issues, "But Gorsuch" is sounding like a stronger argument. And if Trump can do Ronald Reagan one better by actually getting a reliable conservative to fill Kennedy's seat, he will have delivered where Republicans who are more personally virtuous and devout have long failed. In so doing, Trump is building his political capital with social conservatives, despite comments and personal conduct that has the potential to embarrass them, as well as the fact that the organized religious right mostly supported Ted Cruz in the primaries.
The conservative case against Trump was always two-fold: His personal flaws would cripple his presidency and discredit conservatism, and he was more of a liberal Trojan horse than a true conservative anyway.
For some, this latter part was a bit of a cop-out. Trump nevertheless had a long enough record of espousing moderate to liberal positions on issues of importance to conservatives that this wasn't an unreasonable argument.
You could even now make a solid case that Trump's record on spending and the debt isn't conservative. But that is true of plenty of Republicans who Never Trumpers supported. Meanwhile, Trump has been better for conservatives on judicial and social issues than we had reason to expect, and he has aggressively cut taxes and regulations. Overall, the personal criticisms of Trump have held up while the ideological objections so far have not.
Maybe the long-term damage Trump does to conservatism's brand outweighs his contributions on judges. But that is a tougher case to make than simultaneously arguing Trump is too liberal and too flawed. And that's why the Never Trumpers still seeking to discredit Trump's conservatism on judges, like former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt and Washington Postconservative Jennifer Rubin, sound an awful lot like liberals.
Provided the president nominates a conservative judge, it will be hard for conservatives in good standing to oppose him or her — and a confirmation would give Trump a solid claim to a respectable conservative legacy.
All of this could be completely undone by developments in the Trump-Russia probe or an economic downturn (especially if precipitated by trade wars) or a blowout in the midterm elections, to name just a few scenarios that could vindicate the Never Trumpers' political judgment. With the Supreme Court weighing in the balance, however, at the moment conservatives are getting quite a lot out of their deal with The Donald.
Chris Britt Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate
Ethics and Democracy
The 2-Step Strategy to Win the Supreme Court Fight
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement sets up a monumental shift in the balance of the Supreme Court. Kennedy was often (but not always) a moderating force on the Court, and was key to many instrumental decisions on issues that affect us all.
If Trump successfully installs an extreme justice to fill that seat, the Court will rubber stamp the Trump agenda for a generation to come. Trump wants to put a hard-right conservative in this seat: he’s already put out a “short list” of 25 possible picks, and every single one is an extremist. This puts settled rights like abortion, marriage equality, and health care back under threat.
Here’s what we can and can’t do in response to this vacancy, and how we could win.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE SENATE
Under the Constitution, the Senate must confirm all nominees to the Supreme Court. In practice, this means that once Trump has nominated someone to fill the Kennedy vacancy, the nominee has to have a hearing and a confirmation vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, then another confirmation vote in the full Senate (which now requires a simple majority of Senators to vote “yes” to confirm).
THE HARD TRUTH: THERE IS NO PROCEDURAL TOOL TO STOP THIS
The last time there was a vacancy on the Supreme Court, it was after Justice Scalia passed away and Mitch McConnell used an unprecedented level of obstruction to keep President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, from so much as having a hearing in the Senate. This kept the seat vacant for over a year, until Trump became president and nominated Neil Gorsuch.
Up until that point, Senate rules required Supreme Court nominees to get 60 votes to be confirmed to the bench. But McConnell didn’t have 60 votes—so he changed the rules, using the so-called “nuclear option,” so that nominees required only a majority. That is still the Senate’s rule today. And because there are currently 51 Republican Senators, that means they have the votes to confirm Trump’s nominee. Unless we stop them.
THE 2-STEP STRATEGY
The only way we can defeat Trump’s nominee is to:
1. Get to 51 votes. To start, we need 49 “no” votes from EVERY SINGLE SENATE DEMOCRAT to have a fighting chance. That means we need Minority Leader Schumer whipping as hard as he can and as long as he can to keep his caucus in line. And it means we need the three Democratic Senators who voted for Justice Gorsuch—Senators Manchin (WV), Heitkamp (ND), and Donnelly (IN) to stand with us this time. If we lose any of these Dems, we will lose.
That gets us to 49. To get to 51, we need a couple Republican Senators. The two most logical targets are Senators Collins (ME) and Murkowski (AK). This nomination has extraordinary implications for Roe v. Wade and reproductive rights—and both of these Senators are pro-choice, with a history of bucking their party to stand up for women’s health. They would deal a devastating blow to women everywhere if they supported any of Trump’s nominees.
Trump is expected to announce his SCOTUS pick Monday, July 9. From Monday, July 9 until Friday, July 13, join our week of action and show up at Senate District Offices to demand our senators protect our democracy—our choice, our affordable health care, our rights—and #SaveSCOTUS. Search for an event below and learn more here.
July 09, 2018 - 07:38 PM EDT
Press: Democrats must hang tough on high court pick
BY BILL PRESS
TWEET SHARE EMAIL
A dangerous myth has infiltrated American politics. We hear it whenever the issue of Donald Trump's latest appointment to the Supreme Court is raised.
It goes like this: Senate Democrats up for reelection from red states this year have no choice. They MUST vote for Donald Trump's nominee for Supreme Court, or else they will lose their bid for reelection. Whether or not they continue to serve in the Senate all depends on how they vote on the court.
Nonsense! There is no political data - none! - to support that premise, which was probably cooked up by some Republican consultant to scare the hell out of Democrats. I defy anyone to come up with one example of a senator who's lost his or her seat because of how they voted on a Supreme Court nominee. The argument they'd automatically do so is pure bunk.
But, so far, it seems to be working. No sooner had Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the bench than many Democrats simply threw in the towel, saying there was no way they could stop Trump. Why? Because at least five Democrats running in red states - West Virginia's Joe Manchin, Indiana's Joe Donnelly, Missouri's Claire McCaskill, Montana's Jon Tester and North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp - have no choice but to vote for Trump's nominee.
Again, wrong, wrong, wrong. Consider the math. It's an uphill battle, to be sure, but by no means impossible for Democrats to block Trump's Supreme Court nominee. The current Senate line-up is 51 Republicans and, in effect, 49 Democrats (counting Independent Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine)). But, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) battling brain cancer and unlikely to return, that makes it 50-49. Which means Democrats need to pick up only ONE Republican vote - most likely Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Bob Corker (Tenn.) or Jeff Flake (Ariz.) - to win the day. But only if all 49 Democrats hang tough.
Can Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester and McCaskill vote "no" and still survive? Absolutely. Here's how. First, don't apologize or make excuses for voting against Trump on such an important issue. Instead, brag about it. Make it a positive part of the campaign. Remind voters: You did not elect me to be a rubber-stamp for any president, Republican or Democrat. You elected me to do what's best for the people of our state. And that's what I'm doing.
Second, tell people what's at stake. This is not just some popularity contest for Trump's Supreme Court nominee. This is about life and death issues which will have a profound impact on every American. As The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin notes, if anybody on Trump's list of 25 potential nominees is confirmed, the newly constituted court could be expected to overrule Roe v. Wade and allow states to prosecute any physicians and nurses who perform abortions; allow shopkeepers or restaurants to refuse service to LGBTQ Americans; enable universities to accept fewer African-American and Latino students; approve laws designed to make it more difficult to vote; expand exercise of the death penalty; and prohibit states from adopting any sensible form of gun control, even the banning of bump stocks.
Surely, it's not so difficult for red-state Democrats to make the argument that protecting fundamental constitutional rights of all Americans is more important than an automatic show of loyalty to any president. The only thing preventing Democrats from blocking Trump's Supreme Court nominee is not the math. It's the backbone to prevent the court from moving backward.
Press is host of "The Bill Press Show" on Free Speech TV and author of "From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire."