nomination from President Obama, I had some thoughts that I decided I’d write
up yesterday after my Valentine’s celebration with my beloved.
are serious compromise candidates on the current shortlist, extraordinarily
qualified moderates like Sri Srinivasan who would likely refuse to overturn
treasured conservative precedents like Heller (establishing an individual right
to bear arms) and Citizens United (allowing unlimited corporate electioneering).
qualifies as “moderate.” That
was one of the most disgraceful decisions in the Court’s history – up there
with Dred Scot – with dire consequences for American democracy. That decision
— which itself showed utter disregard for precedent — deserves no deference
as established precedent from any justice that President Obama should consider.
fair-minded and not a right-wing ideologue. The Republican-appointed justices
on the Court have prevailed in a great many 5-4 decisions that have required
torturing the law to get a desired right-wing result. (Besides Citizens United,
the decision gutting the Voting Rights Act comes to mind.)
right-wing agenda would likely give us 5-4 decisions going the other way on
some crucial matters. (For example, with any such moderate justice on the Court
instead of Scalia, I strongly doubt the Court would have put the Clean Power
Plan on hold the other day.)
fair-minded, reasonable and moderate justice would be costly to them. It would
cost them the ally they’ve enjoyed, a Court that has worked with them to
advance their ideological and corporate agenda. But if President Obama puts
forward a genuine moderate with excellent qualifications and character, they
would block that confirmation at their peril.
forcing a delay until after the elections.
presidential contenders agreed at Saturday night’s debate, and the right-wing
press jumped into action to pretend that blocking a Supreme Court nominee for
11 months is a time-honored American tradition. (It’s not.)
Stern also suggests that the Republicans could hurt themselves in the elections
by putting the Supreme Court front and center as an issue. Are the Republicans
really certain, he asks, “that
a presidential election entirely focused on the impact of the court on American
life—as this one surely now will—plays to their advantage?” “Most Americans,” he adds, “absolutely despise Citizens United and want to keep Roe v. Wade on the books. An election that focuses
overwhelmingly on money in politics and first-trimester abortion is a losing
election for Republicans.”
“most Americans…absolutely despise Citizens
United,” why President Obama would want to nominate a “moderate” who would
leave it standing is beyond me. This is precisely the kind of argument the Democratic
president, and the party generally, should be glad to pick.)
themselves with such obstructionism.
nearly a year to go in his term – it’s not as though Scalia’s death created
this vacancy only a month before the election – would be unprecedented. (At
least, so I believe. Has any Senate refused to vote on a Supreme Court
nomination submitted nearly a year before the end of the president’s term?)
warning to the president not to nominate a successor to Scalia was disgraceful,
a violation of American political norms. It reveals the Republicans utter
commitment to their own power, regardless of how it shreds the American
issue, affecting the presidential race, and even more directly affecting the
fight for control of the Senate.
raises issues that might be disadvantageous for the Republicans in the coming
election. But it is also that they might hand the Democrats an opportunity to
expose the Republicans for the political atrocity that they’ve become.
and it is true that the Democrats have often shrunk from seizing such
opportunities and making the Republicans pay a political price for their
lately been in disarray –the Democrats have been showing more boldness and
confidence in the political fight. Moreover, they will soon have a new standard
bearer who may be more disposed to press such a battle.
Republicans have shown themselves once again deserving of whatever political
punishment an effective Democratic Party can dish out.