The Death of Justice Antonin Scalia: Time to Start “Borking”

Pendulum-NRD-600Last night, President Barack Hussein Obama addressed the nation concerning the passing of Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As he showed during a State of the Union Address, several years back, to say that he did not care for this Judicial Giant, would be putting it mildly.

In fact, as his remarks, courtesy of whitehouse.gov reveal, ol’ Scooter is positively chomping at the bit to replace him with a Far left Extremist Judicial Activist of his own choosing.

Good evening, everybody.  For almost 30 years, Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia was a larger-than-life presence on the bench — a brilliant legal mind with an energetic style, incisive wit, and colorful opinions.     He influenced a generation of judges, lawyers, and students, and profoundly shaped the legal landscape.  He will no doubt be remembered as one of the most consequential judges and thinkers to serve on the Supreme Court.  Justice Scalia dedicated his life to the cornerstone of our democracy:  The rule of law.  Tonight, we honor his extraordinary service to our nation and remember one of the towering legal figures of our time.

     Antonin Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey to an Italian immigrant family.  After graduating from Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, he worked at a law firm and taught law before entering a life of public service.  He rose from Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel to Judge on the D.C. Circuit Court, to Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

     A devout Catholic, he was the proud father of nine children and grandfather to many loving grandchildren.  Justice Scalia was both an avid hunter and an opera lover — a passion for music that he shared with his dear colleague and friend, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  Michelle and I were proud to welcome him to the White House, including in 2012 for a State Dinner for Prime Minister David Cameron.  And tonight, we join his fellow justices in mourning this remarkable man.

     Obviously, today is a time to remember Justice Scalia’s legacy.  I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time.  There will be plenty of time for me to do so, and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.  These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone.  They’re bigger than any one party.  They are about our democracy.  They’re about the institution to which Justice Scalia dedicated his professional life, and making sure it continues to function as the beacon of justice that our Founders envisioned.

     But at this moment, we most of all want to think about his family, and Michelle and I join the nation in sending our deepest sympathies to Justice Scalia’s wife, Maureen, and their loving family — a beautiful symbol of a life well lived.  We thank them for sharing Justice Scalia with our country. 

God bless them all, and God bless the United States of America.

The Liebrals, over at The Washington Post elaborated on the situation facing our nation and Obama’s possible choices.

President Obama declared Saturday that he intends to nominate a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a move aimed at deepening his imprint on the nation’s highest court.

“I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time,” Obama said, adding that there’s “plenty of time” for the Senate “to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone. They’re bigger than any one party — they’re about a democracy.”

But the president faces a fierce and protracted battle with Republicans who have already signaled that they have no intention of allowing Obama to choose a nominee to succeed Scalia.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said that Scalia should not be replaced until the next president has taken office. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) rejected that position. “It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat,” he said in a statement. “Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”

Obama has nominated two justices to the court in the past, and he has expressed the desire for jurists with empathy. He did not discuss his thinking about that on Saturday night. Instead, he used the moment to pay tribute to Scalia, whom he described as an “extraordinary judicial thinker.”

In selecting Supreme Court nominees, Obama has relied heavily on the advice of Vice President Biden, a former Senate Judiciary chairman. Biden has demonstrated again and again a strong working relationship with McConnell, having previously negotiated several tax and budget deals. The court nomination may hinge on Biden’s ability to reach a deal with McConnell again.

But the fate of the nomination would clearly be in Republican hands. While Democrats were able to change the rules in 2013 to make it easier to approve lower court judges with a simple majority, Supreme Court nominations still require 60 votes to advance past an opposition filibuster. To derail or delay the nomination, McConnell could simply not schedule a vote, but even if he allows Senate consideration of the nomination, Democrats do not have the numbers to overcome a GOP filibuster.

Although the Republican-controlled Congress could easily thwart an Obama nominee, such a decision could reverberate across the presidential campaign and into in the November elections, in which several GOP senators face tough, competitive races.

The most immediate outcome of the Scalia vacancy is that it offers Obama the chance to draw sharper battle lines with Republicans during an increasingly acrimonious presidential election.

The administration now faces a chaotic political and legal environment in which the president must prepare for a bitter confirmation fight or embrace the prospect of a deadlocked Supreme Court divided evenly between liberals and conservatives.

Scalia’s death also throws into doubt the outcome of some of the most controversial issues facing the nation in cases before the court this term: abortion, affirmative action, the rights of religious objectors to the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and the president’s powers on immigration and deportation.

A deadlocked court could leave appellate decisions in place without setting a precedent. That would please the administration on a case involving union membership, for instance, but would keep Obama’s executive action on deportation from being implemented.

White House officials would not comment Saturday evening on their deliberations about a potential nominee, but the administration has an extensive list of possible candidates to choose from, including some who would change the face of the court by virtue of their race or sexual orientation.

“Blocking a strong person of color, a woman or an historic LGBT candidate for the Supreme Court might cause conservatives more trouble than they think they’re preventing,” said Robert Raben, a Democratic consultant and lobbyist who served as a senior Justice Department official under President Clinton. “The perception of unfairness or bias at the height of a national election could seriously backfire.”

One former senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the president was likely to look to someone young enough to make a mark on the court over several decades. Obama has appointed several such jurists to U.S. appellate courts, the person noted, providing him with a relatively deep bench to from which to choose.

Among the leading candidates would be Sri Srinivasan, a judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, who was confirmed to seat in a 97-to-0 Senate vote in May 2013. Srinivasan would be the first South Asian American on the court. He worked in the U.S. Solicitor General’s office under both Obama and President George W. Bush, and clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Other contenders from that same court include its chief judge, Merrick Garland, who is well liked by conservatives and was a finalist for such a nomination when Obama selected Justice Elena Kagan in 2010. Patricia Ann Millett, who won confirmation to the D.C. Circuit in December 2013, may also be considered.

Obama could also look to current or former administration officials, said those familiar with the president’s thinking, or even to the Senate. Among those officials are Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Eric Holder, the former attorney general.

Other potential choices could include Deval Patrick (D), the former governor of Massachusetts, or Paul Smith, who chairs the appellate and Supreme Court practice at Jenner & Block and, if confirmed, would be the first openly gay justice.

Beyond the D.C. Circuit, there are many other appellate judges the president could look to in selecting a nominee. Those include Paul Watford and Mary H. Murguia of the 9th Circuit; Albert Diaz of the 4th Circuit and Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson of the 1st Circuit.

Regardless of whom Obama selects, the combination of the timing of the opening, the stark division on the court and deeply partisan passion being evoked in both presidential primaries would make this confirmation battle unlike any of the past 40 years.

The last confirmation in the eighth year of a presidency was Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whose 97-to-0 vote in February 1988 came after two failed nomination efforts by President Reagan in the face of a Democratic-controlled Senate in late 1987. Kennedy is seen as a traitor among conservative activists, who view his rulings on abortion and gay rights with the liberal bloc as an example of GOP leaders choosing political expediency over ideological rigidity.

The only other attempt to fill a vacancy during a presidential election year came in 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson tried to elevate Abe Fortas to be chief justice. The Senate blocked Fortas. Subsequently, the other nomination to fill Fortas’s spot as associate justice was withdrawn during the final months of Johnson’s presidency.

Under normal circumstances, the nomination of a justice takes about 75 to 90 days, the first 60 or so involving a thorough vetting process by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Typically, the panel does not consider judicial nominees after mid-May, under a tradition established by the late Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.). While chairing the Judiciary Committee, Thurmond declared that he would not take up new judicial nominations within a few months of a presidential election.

Filling the post of Scalia, however, will be anything but normal. He was the outspoken champion for the court’s conservative wing and had many admirers in the Senate, including McConnell. Obama’s first two appointments to the court were relatively easy because Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Kagan were replacing liberal-leaning justices.

Senate conservatives, already predisposed to not approve of Obama’s choice, might be loath to allow him to replace their judicial hero with a liberal jurist who would tip the court in a left-leaning direction. As of now, Sotomayor and Kagan often sided with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer in the most ideologically driven cases, with Kennedy and sometimes Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. providing the tie-breaking votes.

If Republicans leave the Scalia seat vacant for any lengthy time, that sets up the chance of a series of 4-to-4 votes in which the ruling of the lower federal court would stand as the law of that particular region of the country.

That political math in the Senate means Obama will need the support of all 46 members of the Democratic caucus and at least 14 Republicans to end a filibuster and successfully appoint Scalia’s successor. In the president’s previous Supreme Court nominations, just nine and then four Republicans voted to confirm Sotomayor and Kagan, respectively.

So, what now? I will tell you “What Now”.

Time for McConnell and the Senate Republicans to grow a spine and do some “Borking”.

What do I mean by “Borking”?

On October 23, 1987, The New York Times printed the following article…

One of the fiercest battles ever waged over a Supreme Court nominee ended today as the Senate decisively rejected the nomination of Judge Robert H. Bork.The vote was 58 against confirmation and 42 in favor, the biggest margin by which the Senate has ever rejected a Supreme Court nomination. [ Roll call, page 10. ] Judge Bork’s was the 27th Supreme Court nomination to fail in the country’s history, the sixth in this century, and the first since 1970, when the Senate rejected President Nixon’s nomination of G. Harrold Carswell by a vote of 51 to 45. There have been 104 Supreme Court justices in the nation’s history.

The vote came two weeks after Judge Bork, in the face of expected defeat, said he would not withdraw his name and wanted the full Senate to vote on his nomination. In a statement issued from his chambers at the Federal courthouse here, where he still serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Bork said he was ”glad the debate took place.”

”There is now a full and permanent record by which the future may judge not only me but the proper nature of a confirmation proceeding,” the 60-year-old judge said.

President Reagan, in a statement released by the White House, said, ”I am saddened and disappointed that the Senate has bowed today to a campaign of political pressure.” The Next Nominee? In the final hours of the three-day debate on the Senate floor, senators turned their attention to the next nominee for the vacancy on the court. The White House is not expected to name a new candidate before the middle of next week.

The President has publicly vowed to find a nominee who will upset Judge Bork’s opponents ”just as much” as Judge Bork himself. Mr. Reagan said today, ”My next nominee for the Court will share Judge Bork’s belief in judicial restraint – that a judge is bound by the Constitution to interpret laws, not make them.”

Meanwhile, senators on both sides of the debate urged the President to adopt a less confrontational tone.

Now, in the last year of the Obama Presidency (Praise God), it is imperative for the United States Senate to adopt president Reagan’s “confrontational tone”.

Why? Well, here is a quote for you…

In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States. Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism’s glories than of socialism’s greatness. Conformity overrides dissent; the desire to conserve has overwhelmed the urge to alter. Such a state of affairs cries out for explanation. Why, in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force? Why, in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation’s established parties?

Who said that?  Karl Marx?  Vladimir Lenin?  Danny Glover?  George Clooney?  Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm)?  Nope.  It was the Obama-appointed and Senate-ratified, Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan.  The quote was a part of her senior thesis, written almost thirty years ago while an undergraduate at Princeton. The title of the thesis: “To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933”.

The Senate must “Bork” every single Supreme Court Nomination of this Lame Duck President.

He has done enough damage to our country, already.

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

O’Malley Hints at Democrat Corruption. “Beware the Ides of September?”

Bathroon-Server-600-LIAll the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. – William Shakespeare

The New York Times reports that

Martin O’Malley had one clear chance to make waves within the Democratic National Committee, and he seized it, delivering a fiery speech Friday that condemned his party’s leadership for what he called a process “rigged” to help Hillary Rodham Clinton — namely, curtailing the number of presidential primary debates.Accusing party leaders of trying to keep Democratic ideas hidden as the Republican presidential candidates spew “racist hate” from their debate lecterns, Mr. O’Malley, the former Maryland governor and mayor of Baltimore, questioned the decision to hold “four debates and four debates only” before the first four states finish voting.

“This is totally unprecedented in our party’s history,” Mr. O’Malley said. “This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before. Whose decree is it exactly? Where did it come from? To what end? For what purpose? What national or party interest does this decree serve? How does this help us tell the story of the last eight years of Democratic progress?”

While Mr. O’Malley never named the party’s chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, his remarks about the debates were clearly aimed at her – and she sat looking grim throughout, barely clapping, and appeared angry when she shook his hand once he finished.

He did not name Mrs. Clinton in his speech, either, but Mr. O’Malley was asked afterward if he thought the debate schedule had been arranged for her benefit. “Yes, I think so. Don’t you?” he replied.

While Mr. O’Malley has been deeply critical of the party for weeks over the debate schedule, this was a frontal attack on the party’s leadership from its own stage. Without endorsements or many major donors, Mr. O’Malley has little to lose.

But he was giving voice to a complaint that a growing number of party committee members have been making privately. Those members, mindful that Mrs. Clinton’s standing in some polls has sagged lately, have been concerned about a process that could ultimately do the party a disservice.

But delivering such a raw speech startled Democrats at the party’s summer meeting, although it was met with cheers from the crowd.

Mr. O’Malley, a lifelong Democrat and onetime chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, seemed comfortable playing the insurgent as he took the stage.

He urged Democrats to draw a sharp contrast with the discourse among the Republican presidential candidates. “Silence and complacency in the face of hate is not an honorable option,” he said, alluding to Donald J. Trump’s divisive remarks about immigration and women. “We must stand before the American people and show them we have a better way.”

Mr. O’Malley pointed out that the New Hampshire debate, the only one to be held before that state’s primary, was set for a weekend in December, when many people will be distracted with Christmas shopping and family obligations. (“At home we would call that too cute by half,” he told reporters after his speech.)

First off, does O’Malley stand a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of winning the Democratic Nomination as the Party’s Presidential Candidate?

Of course not.

However, he does bring up some interesting points.

The America Democratic Party, who once and still triumphantly hails themselves as the “Party of Diversity”, have seen their line-up of potential Presidential Candidates reduced to an unknown in O’Malley and two, possibly three candidates, with a lengthy political and personal record of dubious accomplishments and personal peccadillos.

In other words, they’re a bunch of old white folks from the Northeast Corridor.

If you Libs believe that this is “diversity”, then I do not believe that you know what that word means.

O’Malley’s not-so-subtle accusation of Political corruption in the Nomination Process sounds familiar. Wasn’t it just last election that Grass-root Conservative Republicans were losing our minds over the way that a milk-toast Northeastern Moderate named Mitt Romney somehow gained the Republican Nomination as our Presidential Candidate?

Why yes, we were.

Political Corruption harkens back to the days of the Old Testament, when despotic rulers reigned with impunity…until someone even more nefarious than they were, stole their kingdom out from under them.

As regards this political intrigue regarding the Democratic Candidates for their party’s Presidential Candidate Nomination, it is beginning to line up along the lines of a Shakespearean Tragedy, with the presumed nominee, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, playing the role of Julius Caesar.

At this point in the unfolding of the tragedy,  it appears that the “Roman Senators” are beginning to line up against her.

With O’Malley pointing out the behind-the-scenes machinations and “Crazy Uncle Joe” Biden receiving the blessings of Emperor Barack Hussein Obama to enter the race, if he so wishes, the gravitational pull of all of Hillary’s past transgressions, including her present E-mail Scandal, are beginning to seemingly align the stars against her.

 Has

Has the seemingly-Teflon reputation of the Clintons finally come to an end?

Will this Political Play end with Hillary being symbolically “stabbed” in the back by her former boss, the President of the United States?

…I sure hope so.

Et tu, Barack?

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

Haggling Over Hagel

obamahagelPresident Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm) has presented his choice for United States Secretary of Defense. And, the consensus, from both sides of the aisle, is that ol’ Scooter is either a) unbelievably arrogant,  b) mad with power, or c) just plain nuts.

I choose, d) all of the above.

The New York Times has the story:

Chuck Hagel appears to have weathered a concerted and vocal campaign to derail his chances for defense secretary, with President Obama likely to nominate him as early as next week, administration and Congressional officials said Friday.

Since Mr. Hagel’s name emerged as a candidate for the Pentagon in early December, conservatives, pro-Israel groups and gay rights organizations have raised objections to his views on Israel and Iran, as well as disparaging comments he made about a gay former diplomat.

Administration officials cautioned that Mr. Obama has not made a final decision or offered Mr. Hagel the job. But people on Capitol Hill who know Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, have said that all signs were pointing to his selection.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” last month, Mr. Obama defended Mr. Hagel from the criticism, saying that while he had not decided on a defense secretary, Mr. Hagel was a “patriot” and that nothing in his record would disqualify him for the job.

The president could announce the selection as early as Monday, officials said, after returning from a vacation in Hawaii. That would come days before a visit to Washington by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, during which he and Mr. Obama are expected to discuss options for American troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.

Mr. Hagel, should he be named by Mr. Obama, will most likely be comfortable with what Pentagon officials say is a White House desire to draw down the remaining 66,000 troops as quickly as conditions allow.

“One of the reasons we’re in trouble in Afghanistan is because we went well beyond our mission,” Mr. Hagel told Robert Nolan, an editor and television producer, in May 2012 for a PBS series on foreign policy. “And now, 12 years later, we’re not sure what our mission is.”

Critics faulted Mr. Hagel for referring to pro-Israel lobbying groups as the “Jewish lobby,” and said he offered inadequate support for Israel and was soft on Iran. He apologized last month for saying 14 years ago that President Bill Clinton’s nominee for ambassador to Luxembourg, James C. Hormel, was not qualified because he was “openly, aggressively gay.”

Just how bad a choice is Chuck Nagel?  He’s horrible.

In an article published on Christmas Eve in The Weekly Standard, titled, “The Hagel Thesis”, Bill Kristol wrote:

…Anti-Israel propagandists are thrilled. Stephen Walt, junior partner of the better-known Israel-hater John Mearsheimer, writes that if President Obama nominates Hagel, it will be “a smart move.” Why? Because, “unlike almost all of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill, he hasn’t been a complete doormat for the Israel lobby.” Indeed, a Hagel pick would “pay back Benjamin Netanyahu for all the ‘cooperation’ Obama received from him during the first term.” Furthermore, Walt writes approvingly, Hagel is “generally thought to be skeptical about the use of military force against Iran.”

Hagel certainly does have anti-Israel, pro-appeasement-of-Iran bona fides. While still a senator, Hagel said that “a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.” Hagel, one of only two senators who voted in 2001 against renewing the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, also voted in 2007 against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization and opposed the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act.

Hagel also has a record of consistent hostility to Israel over the last decade. He boasted in 2008 that, unlike his peers, he wasn’t intimidated by “the Jewish lobby.” The next year, he signed a letter urging President Obama to open direct negotiations with Hamas. Later in 2009, he revisited another of his longstanding foreign policy fixations​—​his belief in the good intentions of the Assad regime​—​and told a J Street conference, “I believe there is a real possibility of a shift in Syria’s strategic thinking and policies. .  .  . Syria wants to talk​—​at the highest levels​—​and everything is on the table.”

All of this helps explain why, when Hagel was appointed to an advisory board at the beginning of Obama’s first term, Ira Forman, Obama’s 2008 campaign Jewish outreach director and former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, acknowledged, “If [Hagel] was taking a policy role, we’d have real concerns.”

Well, secretary of defense is a policy role. President Obama should have real concerns about putting him there. Democratic senators should have real concerns about confirming Hagel if President Obama is foolish enough to nominate him. There are, after all, plenty of Obama-supporting potential nominees for secretary of defense who are qualified for the job. Some have already served in the Defense Department in Obama’s first term, like Deputy Secretary Ash Carter and former undersecretary Michelle Flournoy. The Weekly Standard would expect to differ with such nominees on many issues. But they wouldn’t be out on the fringes like Chuck Hagel.

Why is President Obama tempted by the prospect of nominating Hagel? Because Hagel was a Republican senator. The Obama political types think they’d get credit for bipartisanship by appointing Hagel. And they think they would avoid a confirmation fight because Hagel’s former GOP colleagues wouldn’t dare oppose him: senatorial courtesy, party solidarity, and all that.

Whether Hagel is nominated is above all a test for President Obama. Is he serious about having Israel’s back? Is he serious about preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons?

It’s a test as well for pro-Israel, anti-nuclear-Iran Democrats. Will they go along with a major policy role for a man they know shouldn’t be in one?

But a Hagel nomination is also a test for Republicans. Does senatorial clubbiness trump the good of the country? Do former party ties trump the importance of having a sensible and mainstream secretary of defense over the next four years?

NO, Bill…they don’t.

It is very apparent that Obama is rubbing our squishy GOP Establishments’ noses in it, with the nomination of this RINO Extraordinaire. 

It’s a win-win situation for ol’ Scooter. He’s got a Secretary of Defense who is as stupid about Foreign Policy as he is, and, one who shares the same ig’nant “Smart Power!” philosophy: 

Alienate our Allies. Embrace our Enemies.

If Boehner, McConnell, and the rest of the Moderate Republicans do not shout this abomination of a nomination down…quickly, they might as well register as Democrats, and get it over with.

Because, at this point, speaking as a member of the ignored Conservative Base, they are acting as if they have more in common with them than us, anyway.

Until He Comes,

KJ