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Supreme Court

Do read Andrew O’Hehir today:

According to numerous scholars who have weighed in since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend, historical and constitutional precedent indicates that the president of the United States is elected for a four-year term, and does not stop being president until he or she, um, actually leaves office. That’s a hot take on a controversial topic, I know! It’s nearly as confusing as the question of who was president at the time of the 9/11 attacks, which Marco Rubio seems to think took place during some extended Bill Clinton prequel to “The Hangover,” while George W. Bush wore funny costumes and did non-alcoholic Jell-O shots and kept forgetting he had taken the oath of office.

Spotted on Twitter: “Am I now allowed to argue that Senators up for reelection this year are lame ducks who don’t deserve a vote on SCOTUS nom?”

After news of the death of Antonin Scalia, even the professional pundits expressed no surprise that Republicans let not a nanosecond pass before they promised to obstruct whomever the President nominated.  As O’Hehir says, paralysis is the new norm. But I think they’re still clueless about what President Obama might do about it.

I keep reading opinion pieces — and not just by conservatives — that the President ought to nominate someone very safe and moderate. Are they not paying attention? At this point the President could nominate the corpse of Robert Bork and the Right would still call him unacceptable. Any nomination made by President Obama will be unacceptable to them, by virtue of being President Obama’s nomination.

So why self-compromise? And, I suspect, the President will not self-compromise. I think he’s gone past that now. He will nominate whomever he damn well pleases, and then he will sit back and let the Right tear itself apart over it.  Because some of them will notice eventually that obstructionism doesn’t always work in their favor.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Pablo  •  Feb 17, 2016 @12:30 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s allowable to nominate a corpse, even if it is Bork’s.

  2. joanr16  •  Feb 17, 2016 @12:31 pm

    Ugh, Orrin Hatch on NPR yesterday morning: “Get off my lawn, you Dems!” With the garden hose on full blast and everything.

    Hatch came right out and said the GOP should obstruct Obama’s nominee as revenge for Bork’s nomination being torpedoed 30 years ago and for the Anita Hill hearings (because, as we all know, Clarence Thomas never got on the Supreme Court and he totally deserves to be on the Supreme Court and we all agree by now that he never harassed Professor Hill while head of the EEOC)….

    Complete horridness. I pictured Hatch fulminating in an oatmeal-encrusted bib, with drool on his chin. How was Ted Kennedy ever friends with that guy?

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 17, 2016 @12:51 pm

    I’ll say it again, just to f*ck wid ’em, Obama should give the Senate Anita Hill’s name as one of the potential candidates!

    And then, he can submit another list of names for Clarence Thomas’ seat, since his head will have exploded the nano-second he sees her name on the list!

    WIN/WIN!!!

    FSM, I’m going to miss this smart, patient, and empathetic son of a (not) gun/(not) bitch, Obama!

    He drives the conservatives nuts by being calm and rational when they set their own hair on fire, and then run around, screaming, shrieking, and whining!

    Sadly, neither Hillary nor Bernie will have that same ability…
    Or, maybe they will! 🙂

  4. James F. Epperson  •  Feb 17, 2016 @1:02 pm

    I have read the suggestion that he should nominate a black woman (Loretta Lynch?) because of the political aspects of stonewalling even a vote on a qualified nominee.

  5. maha  •  Feb 17, 2016 @4:51 pm

    Loretta Lynch would be a brilliant choice, IMO.

  6. Stella  •  Feb 17, 2016 @1:07 pm

    I’ve been entertaining myself by imagining the response to a nomination of Bill Clinton.

  7. Tom_b  •  Feb 17, 2016 @1:10 pm

    Deceased Robert Bork would certainly do a far better job than the live Robert Bork would have.

  8. J.T.  •  Feb 17, 2016 @1:47 pm

    I think he’ll get pressure from the Clinton camp to nominate someone moderate, because while he’s done negotiating with himself, she has just started.

  9. grannyeagle  •  Feb 17, 2016 @2:40 pm

    From the comments, it looks like there are all kinds of possibilities. Wouldn’t it be hilarious and entertaining if Obama figured out a way he could be responsible yet at the same time mess with the repugs?

  10. Swami  •  Feb 17, 2016 @4:16 pm

    grannyeagle…Being responsible is messing with the Repugs. I think Obama should nominate Trey Gowdy, pointy head and all..The new and improved Jimmy Olsen.. Congressional Legal Beagle… I’ll get on it right away, chief”

  11. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 17, 2016 @5:09 pm

    Maha,
    Yup!
    Or, Erik Holder.

    Or, to really twist the MFing feckin’ eedjit’s knickers into “Gordian Knots,” nominate:
    HIMSELF!!!!!

    “AH, BWA-HA-ha-cough..-HA-HA-HAha”

  12. uncledad  •  Feb 17, 2016 @7:08 pm

    “could nominate the corpse of Robert Bork”

    Wasn’t Bork a corpse the first time? I keep hearing about all this precedent that a president should not nominate a supreme in his last year? It makes no sense but a wing-nut would be expected to object if all the sudden RBG decided to step down and the President wants to push through his pick. But the guy fucking died? Has a supreme ever died in a presidents last term and the president said oh just forget about it?

  13. Doug  •  Feb 17, 2016 @7:11 pm

    Seriously CUND Gulag What’s the prognosis in the ankle? I’m not the only one who wonders when you will be able to dance a jig. When you’re up to it, I think there will be occasion for it. But I am ever the optimist in health and elections.

  14. paradoctor  •  Feb 17, 2016 @11:49 pm

    I say that Obama should nominate a well-regarded well-qualified center-left judge. That in itself would be a progressive gain compared to Scalia. That won’t be your dream candidate, but it turns out that Obama has moderate dreams.

    When the R’s obstruct, use that against them in the general election. Then President Sanders or Clinton can appoint a left-winger for approval by a Democratic Senate.

    The threat of this might, just might, be used right now to peel off some R senators not facing election this year.

    I am assuming that the general electorate is center-left. So does Obama.

  15. paradoctor  •  Feb 17, 2016 @11:56 pm

    Of course the R’s won’t argue in good faith. That’s predictable; and predictable is controllable. The way you debate with a fool who argues in bad faith is to argue in good faith, with sound reason, but direct your persuasion not at the fool, but at the audience.
    They are looking at both of you, and are trying to tell who is more foolish. Be the less foolish one, and let the other fool ‘win’, in the other fool’s own absurd terms, but not in the watcher’s terms.

  16. Swami  •  Feb 18, 2016 @1:09 am

    I’m wondering about finding a candidate who would be willing to walk into a situation where they know they wouldn’t be given fair consideration, and that they would be treated as a political football. I know some of the Repugs shot from the hip with their comments about foiling attempts to fill the vacancy. And will reconsiderer once they evaluate the political costs. But there are some who firmly believe that thwarting an Obama nomination would be a badge of honor and would increase their conservative bona fides and capital.
    Can a nominee come through unscathed in their reputation and career if they agree to step into furnace?
    Cruz has announced on all that is sacred he’ll sandbag any attempt by Obama to fill Scalia’s seat.. He prides himself in being a zealot and he is eager to demonstrate to his Conservative Christian followers that he’s the modern day David.

  17. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 18, 2016 @10:26 am

    Doug,
    I’ve been out of my “Ankle Iron Maiden” for a couple of weeks now – YAAAAAAY! – and into a cast.

    My permanent brace will be delivered in 3 weeks, and then….
    And then….
    And then, PT torment… oy…
    And then…
    And then, I’LL BE ABLE TO WALK AND DRIVE!!!
    THANK YA, JAYZÒOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS!!!

  18. paradoctor  •  Feb 20, 2016 @4:45 pm

    I’ve changed my mind. The D’s can use R obstructionism against them in the general no matter what the nominee’s supposed politics are, which most voters don’t care about or can’t tell. So a well-qualified, well-spoken leftist will do fine.
    I still think the nominee will be a center-leftist, since that’s Obama’s politics.



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