Yesterday’s News, and Republicans in Disarray

Yesterday was some news day, huh?

Regarding the “no blanket immunity” decision, I understand that one of the reasons the decision took so long is that the three-judge panel who heard the case got the other judges on the DC. Circuit Court of Appeals to sign off on it. Otherwise Trump could have gotten a hearing in front of the full court, which would have taken several weeks. In effect, yesterday’s decision came from the full court. (I’ve read chunks of the decision now, and it’s interesting. Worth at least skimming through.)

I assume Trump’s lawyers won’t file an appeal with the SCOTUS until Monday. A rational SCOTUS would deny certiorariBut who knows what the actual SCOTUS will do.

Regarding the failed attempt to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, I understand one Republican House member who’d been a presumed yes turned out to be a no. This resulted in an unexpected tie. Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who had been in the hospital after a surgery, left the hospital and was wheelchaired into the House chamber to cast a no vote and break the tie. Then he went back to the hospital. Then in a procedural move another Republican switched to no, which gives them the option of bringing the vote up again. So we may not have heard the end of this.

One of the Republican no votes, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), wrote an op ed for the Wall Street Journal explaining his vote. The op ed is behind a paywall, but you can read chunks of it at Raw Story. Gallagher argues that incompetence and bad policy (his judgments, not mine) do not rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

“Impeachment not only would fail to resolve Mr. Biden’s border crisis,” Gallagher wrote, “but would also set a dangerous new precedent that would be used against future Republican administrations.” …

… “Creating a new, lower standard for impeachment, one without any clear limiting principle, wouldn’t secure the border or hold Mr. Biden accountable,” Gallagher concluded. “It would only pry open the Pandora’s box of perpetual impeachment.”

Well, yeah. See also In chaotic scene, Republicans argue with GOP lawmaker after ‘no’ vote on impeachment at the Washington Post.  After the failed impeachment vote, the House also failed to pass a stand-alone aid to Israel bill that Speaker Mike Johnson had promoted. Heh.

21 thoughts on “Yesterday’s News, and Republicans in Disarray

  1. "but would also set a dangerous new precedent that would be used against future Republican administrations.”  … shows way too much foresight for a MAGA!

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  2. Never mind shooting.

    tRUMP's gang of bumbling, moronic, MAGA minions can't even COUNT straight!

    At least "The Beverley Hillbillies'" Jethro Bodine could do "guzintas!"

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  3. It's no wonder why the Repugs are in disarry. Just gauge the caliber of some of their members. Real thinkers who know how to resolve complex issues and aren't afraid to put forth bills to address those issues. Just outfit guys like Jerry Nadler with a flack jacket and an M60 or BAR and ship them off for a six month tour in Ukraine. Common sense dictates that if they survived their tour they would be more determined than ever to increase aid for Ukraine.

    GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna wants to FORCE members of Congress to fight on the 'front lines' in Ukraine if they support the Schumer-backed $60BILLION taxpayer dollars in military support to counter Russia (msn.com)

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  4. Re the appeals court decision, the more I listen to the legal experts, the better I like the situation. One, they took a month but they put the issue on a fast track by forcing Trump to go straight to the Supremes by Monday. (Or it goes back to Chutkan.) Will the USSC hear the appeal? After a day of listening to smarter people than me (a low bar, I admit) it seems likely they will not. 

    Why? If they take the case, only to reject Trump's argument, the Supremes get the blame. They can turn it down and the final word is the well-crafted decision by the appeals court. If the Supremes take the case and reverse it, it will be the end of the nation (including the Supreme Court.) Nobody is predicting that. And here's where the talking heads say the appellate court got it right – there's nothing of substance to partially reverse. The decision didn't declare any and all decisions by a president are fair game for prosecution. They said that regarding the case before them, the actions for which Trump is charged were NOT official acts that might be protected. The J6 rally and the process of securing fake certifications was NOT part of Trump's duties and were election-related activities that might be crimes. So they appeals court didn't resolve with something so sweeping as "Any and all activities by an ex-president are subject to criminal review that would be decided by a potentially partisan jury." THAT might have provoked the USSC into action. They determined that what Trump is charged with was NOT covered by executive immunity. 

    I'm a strong believer in judicial cowardice. If the Supremes know that if they take the case, they will have to slap Trump down and piss off millions of MAGA cultists, they will just pass on the case, probably with nobody commenting why. Yeah, Trump will scream but they've turned Trump down before. It won't last for long – the judge in NY is poised to hand down a huge penalty for business fraud. The Supremes might time their decision to coincide so it mostly goes by MAGA. They can't handle more than one outrage at the same moment. 

    The thing I'm uncertain about is how quickly the Supremes will reject the request for an appeal. I'm hoping not enough to matter. If the NY criminal trial for hush money goes off as scheduled, (March 25) it may not finish until the start of May. Chutkin can't start the clock on the DC trial until the Supremes make a decision. End of May  for the DC J6 trial kickoff is doable if the USSC doesn't dick around. If the USSC sits on the request, there's the chance that GA can go forward instead.

    That's the other thing I've been watching. The "experts" seem to think that the complaint about Willis having an affair with Wade is much smoke with no fire. There's no law or rule (regarding lawyers in GA) that prohibits counsel on the same side from having a relationship while preparing for trial, There's no ethics violation. It looks like Wade (the lawyer working for Willis) took a huge pay cut to help on this case. The billable hours are high but the case is massive and they've delivered so far. Major players have taken guilty pleas and promised to testify against Trump truthfully. The best (or only) shot Trump had was if Willis and Wade lied about having a relationship and got caught. That hasn't happened so their credibility is intact. There's a hearing this month that (I hope) will resolve it. If Willis gets pulled, the whole GA prosecution is at risk.

    Tomorrow will be fascinating. The USSC will hear oral arguments from both sides re the CO disqualification based on the 14th Amendment. IMO, two Justices will side with Trump as a matter of reflex. All three liberal Justices should see that, based on a trove of evidence uncovered by the J6 Committee, Trump attempted an insurrection, not just in the violence of the day, but in an overall conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. So if there are three who would disqualify and two who would not, where will the other four come down? ONLY TWO would constitute a majority ready to uphold the right of states to disqualify Trump.

    The question from there is just how FAR the majority go in questioning Trump's overall eligibility – beyond Colorado and Maine. Would the majority introduce the question of whether Trump might not be allowed to take the oath of office and assume the presidency if he won in November?  OR will the USSC phrase a reversal on the basis that Trump has not been convicted – absent a guilty verdict, the USSC won't allow Trump to be removed. That's an implicit statement that the USSC WILL  pull Trump (rule Trump ineligible) if he's convicted in DC or GA. Trump may wish he'd just ignored Colorado after the Supremes rule.

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    • Good stuff, Doug.

      I watched a bunch of stuff this evening anticipating the SCOTUS hearing tomorrow.  I was pleased to notice that a number of "expert" commentators suggested that we shouldn't be shocked if the SCOTUS decides on the 14th amendment case in Colorado by establishing the basic constitutional law guidelines for applying Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, but in the current case refuse to overturn the Colorado State Supreme Court. 

      I won't be surprised if SCOTUS finds a way to make it impossible for anyone to disqualify him based on the 14th amendment, but I sensed some momentum in this notion that the Constitution establishes the individual states with the authority to run elections as they see fit, provided they don't break statutes, or violate specific provisions in their own state constitution.  One commentator pointed out two things: 1) There have been many presidential elections in history where one or more of the candidates was not on the ballot in every state; and nobody got all in a quiver about that.  2) The constitution and federal statutes guarantee most people the right to vote. Neither one guarantees anyone that they have a "right" to appear on the ballot in every state. And that the burden is on the candidate to demonstrate qualification in each state. 

      I believe their are amicus briefs presenting this argument, so can the SCOTUS just ignore that and act as if those true statements are false?  I will add another of my beefs about how people are analyzing this one: For people who are suggesting that SCOTUS will be loathe to make a ruling unpopular with 40% of the country (either side) at this time because we are too close to the Republican convention, I say this: political parties are not given special rights by the constitution. The parties chose the schedule for determining their party candidates. The Article III branch is under no obligation to subjugate its schedule to the schedule of political parties, given that political parties have no special powers in the constitution; and who is to say that the R party has any more right than the Green Party to have things work the way they want it to go? Political parties are associations which are constitutionally legitimate. But the fact that their existence is protected does not mean that they get to call the shots for the country. And finally, if the R party is going to complain about legitimate trials happening in the year leading up to an election, well then they should have been working to speed up the process since the indictments were handed down by Grand Juries. 

      I'm a senior citizen.  And I've known for a long long time how to sense that I'm being jerked around. I think more than 50% of the American population knows that the MAGA crowd is jerking us around.  The problem is that 35% of the population likes to see someone jerking the government around. All the while complaining that "Washington" can't get anything done, so "a pox on both houses".

        

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  5. I watched a few clips of the House GOP fiascos. One of the surprising subtexts is that the Democrats (Jaime Raskin) seemed to have found a way to get under MTG's skin, a delightful turning of the tables. I may be reading more than what's there, but I have a sense that the tables are turning on the MAGA crowd. Hope I'm right.

    I hope Gaetz' and MTG's effort to pass a resolution declaring Up is Down, or that Jan 6 was NOT an insurrection meets with all the success of their impeachment flop.

    Joyce Vance, in an email said that the earliest window of opportunity for Smith to appeal Aileen Cannon's rulings – and to plead for her recusal – opens next week, when she finally takes up the procedures for handling classified documents.

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  6. Reading that decision is like an other world experience. Professional, well-reasoned, impeccably referenced.  They put if all in order, with a historical perspective that includes quite a civics review and lesson.  

    It would only be considered a fun read by masochists, but a hard read that gives one understanding.  Trump would never read it or gain understanding, but it would give him some idea on what a president as a chief executive is supposed to do and not do if he did or could read and understand it.  I don't think our founding fathers ever expected we would ever elect a person with a mind like his.  They trusted the common man to have more sense than that.  Guess not.  

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  7. I watched about an hour of cable tee-vee Wednesday evening as I often do, about 15 minutes of Chris Hayes and about 45 minutes of Lawrence O'Donnell. They both played the same clip of Sen Lankford (GOP who negotiated the border), the clip was Lankford on the senate floor describing how a "popular" commentator told him if he pushed to pass an immigration bill during the presidential election he (the popular commentator) would work to destroy Lankford politically. My guess he's talking about Hannity or some other bobble-head at faux. Hayes and O'Donnell both the played the exact same clip (10 seconds or so) and both of them refused to even mention the "popular host" aspect of the story. They talked about Stump killing the bill (which is old news). I sat there and I couldn't believe it. That god damn fox news is the only reason we are in the situation we are in. Fox got Stump elected, Fox runs interference for any republican who plays their game, Fox News has destroyed the information system in this country fo the last twenty years and cowards like Chris Hayed and Lawrence O'Donnell refuse to talk about at all. Did the boss at msnbc meet with the boss at Fox and decide not  to report each other? I really think something like that has happened.

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    • I'll add my agreement with UncleDad re. Faux News. Just a couple of things to support the point.

      1) I view FauxNews as a couple of connected pernicious things.  In terms of its basic approach to content, it has been, from its inception the cable-news-era equivalent of what used to be the grocery store checkout line tabloids: gossip mongers with no ethical standards around truth; ie. gossip is attractive / engaging / amusing to readers, so we can make money by being a gossip monger. That's part one. Part two: The owner perceived an opportunity, in the cable news era, to capitalize on the chance to build a huge loyal viewership through gossip-mongering and then layer on top of that a propaganda function for a certain political faction in this country: the far right.  The one-two punch part of this is important, because there are many people in the population who are attracted to gossip like a moth to flame (remember middle school?), and who don't exercise enough self-awareness to recognize that part of it, and it is that same subset of the population that is susceptible to propaganda.  The participants in this blog are not in that group.  We easily recognize gossip vs truth and we constantly do self-checks against propaganda (most us even vs. leftist propaganda). So that's how I view FauxNews.

      2) I have a personal story about a member of my own extended family who I knew pretty well from my youth.  This person suffered emotional issues life long, may have suffered abuse of some kind at some point, had medical treatment for depression often, became born-again at one point and has recently been part of the cult. Over a period of years from the 1980's an into this century I have had occasion to periodically visit this person living in another state, to stay for a day or two before continuing to an annual convention event. As early as the '80s, I noticed that for all waking hours, the tv was on, tuned to the Fox channel.  All day long. This extended family member was intelligent from their youth, had a post grad degree and an occupation related to that education. How does such a person become part of the cult?  Even a huge fan of Glenn Beck before the year 2000? Propaganda can work because we are all imperfect as humans. And repetition is known to be effective.  The second part of this aspect is that when I arrived at the town hosting the convention each year, I would stay at a hotel/motel or 5 days, and in the lobby of that place, Faux channel was on the tv 24/7. Free propaganda dissemination, presumably not limited to that one hotel.

      I don't know for a fact, but I think that European democracies like France and Germany have governments that are far more assertive in communicating to their populations about propaganda that is circulating… if true, it is probably because they have had very active extreme right factions operating openly for many years, and they have had twentieth century direct experience in Germany Italy and Spain.

      Why is our Department of Homeland Security so cowardly about identifying for our citizenry the threat of anti-American propaganda in our own country?       

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  8. What does one do if the SCOTUS ignores the constitution.  They too take an oath to the constitution and to the rule of law, This case is clear.  No one has made any argument that holds water as to how Trump is eligible to hold office again.  The 14th was written and passed to prevent insurrectionists to ever try to break with the Union.  Trump did just that.  He tried in various ways to stay in office when he lost an election in fact.  He still tries to lie about the validity of the outcome.  He has never conceded and still wields great power.  

    What argument can one make that we should follow his leadership even if elected?  Would you follow Arnold Schwarzenegger if elected knowing he was not eligible?  Would an OK by the SCOTUS convince you otherwise?   NO.  No argument would do.  The law is the law, and Trump is an insurrectionist.  He has disqualified himself. He violated the constitution and ignorance of the law of the constitution is no excuse.

     

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    • It looks like the USSC decided that an insurrection to overthrow an election does not equal an insurrection to overthrow the government. There was a lot of fancy dancing around technicalities to find one that will satisfactorily excuse the decision.

      And I'm predicting that the USSC will reverse the CO decision. The question is on what grounds they will hang the conclusion.

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      • I really don't know how.  The states are in charge of elections for the most part.  Congress can waive disqualification but has no other specified role.  Colorado had due process regarding the definition of insurrection and made its ruling.  Is not the SCOTUS role here just to affirm CO correctly followed the US Constitution on this matter?  Nothing in the amendment specifies who is responsible for making the determination or how, but it is by the constitution up to the state to do that.

         

         

      • I agree, Doug – the far right ideologues are just looking for an excuse to keep Trump on the ballot and my dad used to tell a joke about how a guy went to his neighbor and asked if he could borrow his axe.  The neighbor said "Sorry, I have to make soup".  The guy, puzzled, said "What does making some soup have to do with loaning me your axe?", to which the neighbor said, "Well, I don't want to loan you my axe, and any excuse is a good excuse".

        They'll use some pretzel logic to justify it – but, in the end, they'll do what they want to do…logic and the Constitution be damned.

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        • They did not have pretzel logic when I studied it.  Is that not IOKIYAR?  They already have literalism and originalism, but both work against them here.  I say again, they too must adhere to the constitution and take an oath to defend and protect it.  I'd say they need a better how than that and they know it.  

          I am not alone here.  I just listened to a lawyer from the ACLU who explained more about the 14th amendment than I know and agreed CO acted in accordance with its mandate.  I am not a lawyer but ignorance of the law is no excuse.  The remedy of the 14th is a political one, one of disqualifying a person from holding public office.  It was obviously intended to curb those who would repeat holding office who supported an insurrection and who had violated their oath of office.  Trump and others did just that.  

          The lawyer said repeatedly that the provisions of the 14th amendment are "self-executing".  Maybe they won't let CO execute by themselves because they were not admitted to the Union until 1876 after the adoption of the XIV Amendment.  That would be a bit insane, a work of pretzel logic.

          Good joke though. Any humor appreciated.   

  9. I listened to the entire oral arguments hearing.  I listened to a lot of post hearing analysis.

    Right now, I'm discouraged. Not because I was expecting to hear more indicators that the SCOTUS will uphold the CO Supreme Court ruling. Rather, I came away from the whole experience with a sick feeling in my gut that this SCOTUS actually doesn't seem to understand their proper Constitutional role. In the same sense that TFG never understood, and still misunderstands, the role of the POTUS (in other words that the presidency is not the "Boss" of the entire government and of the country, as if he were a CEO of a private family company).

    The CO Supreme Court ruling has two parts if I'm not mistaken: a) That TFG is disqualified under section 3 of the XIV Amendment, and b) that therefore TFG may not be on the ballot in a party primary election.

    Today the justices seemed to be doing a lot of hand wringing because by the normal judicial process from lower courts to higher courts, they have been asked to clarify how the administrators of Presidential elections are to determine the applicability of Section 3 of the fourteenth amendment to any given person who wants to run for president/vice-president. All of that in the context that the individual states which are clearly granted the power to run elections as they see fit. And knowing that the various the states already have differing rules and often have differing ballots. All the SCOTUS needs to do is either a) clarify the rules under which any state can disqualify a potential candidate on the basis of the 14th amendment, or b) take on the burden of reviewing the lower court's ruling and either overturning it or making that judicial determination the final ruling on the question. 

    They do this all the time! In Heller, they had no problem establishing the final determination without any handwringing about the fact that the case came from a small jurisdiction, though a non-national appellate court and to them. Their decision on a case in one municipality is now the law of the land. That's their job.

    Why is the SCOTUS asking the litigant why Colorado should have the power to make the decision for the whole country.  Duh, that's why it's at the supreme court.  You review the decision and the process and either way, it applies to all states. The whole question of "Why should Colorado be able to make the determination for the entire country?" reflect either extreme stupidity among the justices or complete unwillingness to perform their function in this case. 

    Maybe they will surprise me, but I have my doubts at this time.   

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    • This entry above that begins with "I listened to the entire oral arguments hearing" is from me (WaryTale). I forgot to fill in the name and email before hitting the "Post" button. Many of you may have guessed from the rambling narrative in the post, but no intention to be anonymous here. 

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  10. "Two law professors pointed out in the Wall Street Journal that the 20th Amendment provides that, “if the President-elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President-elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified.”  This suggests that the court should judge qualifications only after the election. If Trump loses, the problem goes away, but if he wins the court will face a heavy burden."

    Underline mine.

    Quote from Salon: https://www.salon.com/2024/02/08/the-court-scrambling-to-save-face-may-delay-insurrection-ruling/

    As I said earlier, one can bet on the cowardice of the court. They may be betting the problem goes away if Trump loses the election. That may be assured if the courts get any of the three "major" criminal cases to a jury before the election. If that's the strategy of the Supremes, they will quickly affirm the appeals court ruling on immunity. That lands on their doorstep Monday. 

    One part of me understands that the J6 riot does not hold a candle to the Civil War. Over 600,000 people died over four years in the only war on US soil since the Revolution. It was the Civil War that triggered Congress to enact the 14th Amendment. Trump was not trying to defeat the US  government – he was trying to continue to rule over the government (regardless of the direction of the Constitution regarding the transfer of power after an election.) Trump conspired to exploit the one clause that might have tossed the election that Trump lost into the US House of Representatives and Trump broke the law in many ways to try to achieve that subterfuge of the Constitution. Tut the Supremes seem loathe to cite a disorganized riot at the US Capitol as an "insurrection." Perhaps they feel that to end Trumpism in the US, the courts must find Trump guilty and the electorate must deliver a firm rejection at the ballot box.

    But the Constitution says otherwise – it clearly intends to take to authority (power) away from any individual who has shown by their actions they don't actually respect the Constitution. The 14th Amendment clearly takes the choice AWAY from voters who might prefer a populist Confederate.  The Supremes (it seems) will delay the decision on qualification until AFTER the election but BEFORE the person takes office. Or maybe not act at all. But take no action today because somebody will be pissed if they act.

    I'm reminded of the mother recently convicted of four counts of manslaughter. She gave her underage son an AR-14. Despite repeated warnings that he was unstable, she didn't intervene by getting the kid to a doctor as the school begged. He murdered four people in school – Mom and dad didn't take away the gun (power) in time to preserve innocent lives. And the US Supreme Court is ignoring a populist who continues to demonstrate his contempt for the law. 

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  11. After posting last night my frustrations with the oral arguments, I then got even more discouraged.  A short aside:

    Many of you may have noticed my tendency to share my "worst case" thoughts.  I retired a while back after a 40 year career in software engineering, but mostly centered around design and development, and redesign/enhancement of human use software (as opposed to software that controls devices). The last 10-20 years of that, human factors design became a primary focus. But at any rate, any software development professional learns from hard experience that when designing and building software, you MUST anticipate anything and everything that could possibly happen. By that I mean that you have to understand that the human users will do all sorts of completely illogical or insane things, and you have to build in functions that deal with those crazy things safely, otherwise the software will crash and nobody can use it until it's fixed.  So for me pessimism is kind of a thorough thinking habit.

    At any rate, after posting late night (late) I even had an additional danger-alert period of time walking around my house consumed by worry.  The behavior of the court in the oral arguments yesterday eventually got me to the worst case: What if the right wing project that began decades ago with the Powell memo reached a critical tipping point during TFG's term, specifically with the packing of the court with FedSoc justices? And what if the puppeteers have looked at the flow of history and determined that now is the time to pull the trigger? Do they actually want another term for TFG so that when the oldest members of the current lineup pass away they can be replaced with more 40-year-old FedSoc judges?  Scared the hell out of me.  It fits with what we have seen in the so-called "conservative" movement which is actually radically anti-Constitutional. The Article III branch is the one branch that is not elected. Will they become the ruling part of our government? Are they already? Are they making law from the bench?

    Allright, that's really pessimistic. But for all of us who want to avoid oligarchy, autocracy, authoritarianism, dictatorship (whatever you want to call it), we must not be demoralized (which I was last night). But we must find ways to reduce the division in our country because the only path away from the edge of the abyss requires that everyone who wants government of, by and for the people is willing to set aside less important issues and come together electorally to recapture the the congress and make sure the presidency never again falls into the hands of team-feudalism. 

    Just had to get that off my chest.  I don't know how to do it. In 2020 I volunteered and did phone banking on election day, but that seems insufficient. I believe pretty deeply that the divide can only be countered by millions of individuals getting out of their routines to reach out and build bridges.  One at a time, but millions of people. The enemy of our country is not red or blue; the enemy of our country is the collection of forces that deliberately sow divisiveness in our society.  I don't know how to do it, but we need a movement that is dedicated to the core concept that I saw on television when Rachel Maddow and Liz Cheney sat that the same table and agreed to work together. That's the model.      

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