Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dead

Demosthenes wrote:
Garrcia wrote:

While the tea leaves seem to be saying there may be some short term gain in some Senate races for Republicans to not be so obstinate, there is also the long view of they would want what is percieved as a sure vote on the republican side of issues for the next 20-30 years.

Except, by shooting themselves in the foot in the short term, polling is starting to strongly suggest that doing so will hurt their ability to have any impact on that 20-30 year period with the court. They've literally set themselves up into an almost no win scenario. At this year, I'm thinking that this may be the GOP Senate's Kobiyashi Maru. Rather than maintaining control though, they're mostly just getting super angry. Definitely not Starfleet Command material.

Yes they are already in a "probably not going to win the presidency, but might hold onto the Senate" scenario. If they continue on this course they anger enough voters that they could lose both.

But even if they hold the Senate and lose the presidency they are setting themselves up for "the people's mandate" and going to end up with a much more liberal justice.

Obama is going to nominate someone much more moderate now than Bernie/Hillary would do next year. They should take what they can get.

Bloo Driver wrote:

We need a Justice that understands the original framers of the Constitution believed that America only extends a mile or two below the surface, and that citizens of the Underdark need to come in through the same process as any other immigrant.

bekkilyn wrote:

There's a rumor going around in some places that Trump is an illithid.

I guess Cruz isn't the only Republican candidate who wasn't born on American soil.

Demosthenes wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

New York Times: Senate Republicans Lose Their Minds on a Supreme Court Seat

In a statement dripping with sarcasm, Mr. McConnell said that Mr. Obama “has every right to nominate someone,” and “even if doing so will inevitably plunge our nation into another bitter and avoidable struggle, that is his right. Even if he never expects that nominee to actually be confirmed but rather to wield as an electoral cudgel, that is his right.”

I really enjoy/loathe the fact that McConnell thinks he's being super accusatory and clever with putting this all on Obama's shoulders, as if the House and Senate have absolutely no hand in how it would play out. Effectively, it's "We have already told him we will be completely unreasonable and ignore him, but I guess if he wants to try anyway, that's on him!"

blergh

What's scary/funny is that bit of theater probably convinced exactly who it was intended to. I'm sure there's plenty of folks out there who are frothing at the mouth that a President would dare to do his Constitutional duty and put forward a nominee.

Pretty much anyone that bought into the same asinine rhetoric when the discussion was the debt limit. You know, that Obama shut down the government.

jowner wrote:

I'm sure theres allot of centre/centre right voters who are still undecided but are extremely annoyed at congress blocks/senate blocks/budget rejections etc.

Is there concrete evidence this is true though? Congress has been blocking and dragging it's feet and has only been rewarded in terms of legislative gains. Traditionally, centrists don't really get fired up against one party or the other and tend to vote race-by-race.

Well Congress has had its lowest approval ratings ever the last couple years. Sadly people don't always get out and vote their disapproval. Usually the presidential election will get more people to the polls.

Stele wrote:

Well Congress has had its lowest approval ratings ever the last couple years. Sadly people don't always get out and vote their disapproval. Usually the presidential election will get more people to the polls.

I don't think those polls are showing that. I think they're showing a very consistent "I hate everybody in congress EXCEPT MY REP why are these are douche canoes getting in the way."

Anecdote: Amash remains VERY popular here, but boy do we hate Fred Upton.

Whether or not the American public punishes the GOP for this in November, I am not sure that the Republican congress has much of a choice in this matter irrespective of the Constitutionality of it. They have defined their existence around the singular mandate to oppose everything that Obama does. And in the execution of that mandate, there are no measures too extreme including shutting down the government, violating the constitution, or even undermining the foreign policy of the US government through unauthorized communication with other state leaders. Even incitements to violence and pandering to violent hate groups has been employed. The only thing they haven't tried yet appears to be a coup d'etat.

A precedent will be set and it will be an awful one, but I am somewhat confident that future generations will have the sense to see this Congress as the worst we have experienced since slavery and regard the precedent as one to avoid in the future. We should simply accept that these Congressional Republicans are willing to truck bomb the nation to make a point and just move on once we have voted them out. Wasting another breath on them is pointless.

What this all looks like is a sign that the Republican leadership in the Senate isn't confident of their control over their own party members. If they were concerned about an Obama nominee getting to the Supreme Court, they have the raw numbers to prevent that from happening. They could simply vote down his candidates until Obama leaves office. Instead of having this big row where they risk looking like they're refusing to do their job, they could put the blame on Obama for putting forward bad candidates. That they want to avoid a vote at all shows that they're not confident that all the Republicans in the Senate will support efforts to block any and all candidates. Outside of the Judiciary Committee, they must have enough members of the Senate willing to work toward a compromise, or they'd just let the candidates face a full vote. This is grandstanding and obstructionism that makes them look weak.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

What this all looks like is a sign that the Republican leadership in the Senate isn't confident of their control over their own party members. If they were concerned about an Obama nominee getting to the Supreme Court, they have the raw numbers to prevent that from happening. They could simply vote down his candidates until Obama leaves office. Instead of having this big row where they risk looking like they're refusing to do their job, they could put the blame on Obama for putting forward bad candidates. That they want to avoid a vote at all shows that they're not confident that all the Republicans in the Senate will support efforts to block any and all candidates. Outside of the Judiciary Committee, they must have enough members of the Senate willing to work toward a compromise, or they'd just let the candidates face a full vote. This is grandstanding and obstructionism that makes them look weak.

I think that's a fair assessment, but I don't agree with it. I think it's just a knee-jerk reaction now for the GOP leadership to say "Nope" to Obama no matter what. And they've been doing it so openly and constantly that they now don't even bother to be mildly coy about it.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
jowner wrote:

I'm sure theres allot of centre/centre right voters who are still undecided but are extremely annoyed at congress blocks/senate blocks/budget rejections etc.

Is there concrete evidence this is true though? Congress has been blocking and dragging it's feet and has only been rewarded in terms of legislative gains. Traditionally, centrists don't really get fired up against one party or the other and tend to vote race-by-race.

I don't have 538 magical demographic numbers but if Obama puts up a reasonable middle of the road judge and the GOP Senate blocks for the sake of blocking I don't see that playing out well for conservatives who sit near the middle.

Maybe they are tiny voting block that doesn't matter but I'd be willing to bet they are actually a decently sized group who are most importantly the type of voter who will vote either side depending on the climate.

Bloo Driver wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

What this all looks like is a sign that the Republican leadership in the Senate isn't confident of their control over their own party members. If they were concerned about an Obama nominee getting to the Supreme Court, they have the raw numbers to prevent that from happening. They could simply vote down his candidates until Obama leaves office. Instead of having this big row where they risk looking like they're refusing to do their job, they could put the blame on Obama for putting forward bad candidates. That they want to avoid a vote at all shows that they're not confident that all the Republicans in the Senate will support efforts to block any and all candidates. Outside of the Judiciary Committee, they must have enough members of the Senate willing to work toward a compromise, or they'd just let the candidates face a full vote. This is grandstanding and obstructionism that makes them look weak.

I think that's a fair assessment, but I don't agree with it. I think it's just a knee-jerk reaction now for the GOP leadership to say "Nope" to Obama no matter what. And they've been doing it so openly and constantly that they now don't even bother to be mildly coy about it.

I actually think it is a fair assessment. The Senate is split 54-46, so five Republicans would be enough to swing the vote enough for an appointment. If Sandoval didn't withdraw his name from consideration, the two Arizona races would have been hard to win if its Republican senators voted against him. Colorado, Nevada, and Florida also have races in heavily Hispanic electorates.

Bloo Driver wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

What this all looks like is a sign that the Republican leadership in the Senate isn't confident of their control over their own party members. If they were concerned about an Obama nominee getting to the Supreme Court, they have the raw numbers to prevent that from happening. They could simply vote down his candidates until Obama leaves office. Instead of having this big row where they risk looking like they're refusing to do their job, they could put the blame on Obama for putting forward bad candidates. That they want to avoid a vote at all shows that they're not confident that all the Republicans in the Senate will support efforts to block any and all candidates. Outside of the Judiciary Committee, they must have enough members of the Senate willing to work toward a compromise, or they'd just let the candidates face a full vote. This is grandstanding and obstructionism that makes them look weak.

I think that's a fair assessment, but I don't agree with it. I think it's just a knee-jerk reaction now for the GOP leadership to say "Nope" to Obama no matter what. And they've been doing it so openly and constantly that they now don't even bother to be mildly coy about it.

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Still probably better that broke now and not as some kinda 'gotcha' moment after being publicly nominated.

I think Obama will have a very hard time finding someone palatable to Republicans but willing to stick it in the eye of those same Republicans.

My good old R Senator up here in NH, Kelly Ayotte, is up for re-election this year. I went and looked, and sure enough, she's come out in favor of this "we want the people to be heard so LALALALALA" plan. Not shocking at all, since she's basically been a lockstep Republican for most of her stint in office. So I did the thing you're supposed to do, and I wrote her a letter expressing my displeasure.

Except that since I'm on vacation in Aruba, her website's contact form won't let me submit said letter, and there's no alternative to email it directly. Guess I'll have to wait until next week when I get back home.

I briefly considered posting it directly to her Facebook page, but I didn't really want to attract the kind of vitriol I likely would from the people who probably read her Facebook wall. Still thinking about it though.

Chaz wrote:

My good old R Senator up here in NH, Kelly Ayotte, is up for re-election this year. I went and looked, and sure enough, she's come out in favor of this "we want the people to be heard so LALALALALA" plan. Not shocking at all, since she's basically been a lockstep Republican for most of her stint in office. So I did the thing you're supposed to do, and I wrote her a letter expressing my displeasure.

Except that since I'm on vacation in Aruba, her website's contact form won't let me submit said letter, and there's no alternative to email it directly. Guess I'll have to wait until next week when I get back home.

I briefly considered posting it directly to her Facebook page, but I didn't really want to attract the kind of vitriol I likely would from the people who probably read her Facebook wall. Still thinking about it though.

Do the same thing I asked Portman. If Obama can't do one of his duties because it's an election year, why are you still doing your thing in your election year too?

That's exactly what I said in the letter. Let's all post our angry letters to our senators!

Ayotte's primary isn't until September, so I bet she can be counted on to take a hard line for the foreseeable future.

A short perspective from a former Scalia clerk. I've quoted the part I find astounding.

Antonin Scalia generally detested science. It threatened everything he believed in. He refused to join a recent Supreme Court opinion about DNA testing because it presented the details of textbook molecular biology as fact. He could not join because he did not know such things to be true, he said. (On the other hand, he knew all about the eighteenth century. History books were trustworthy; science books were not.) Scientists should be listened to only if they supported conservative causes, for example dubious studies purporting to demonstrate that same-sex parenting is harmful to children. Scientists were also good if they helped create technologies he liked, such as oil drills and deadly weapons.

His own weapon was the poison-barbed word, and the battleground was what he once labeled the Kulturkampf, the culture war. The enemy took many forms. Women’s rights. Racial justice. Economic equality. Environmental protection. The “homosexual agenda,” as he called it. Intellectuals and universities. The questioning of authority and privilege. Ambiguity. Foreignness. Social change. Climate research. The modern world, in all its beauty and complexity and fragility.

Most of all, the enemy was to be found in judges who believe decency and compassion are central to their jobs, not weaknesses to be extinguished. Who refuse to dehumanize people and treat them as pawns in some Manichean struggle of good versus evil, us versus them. Who decline to make their intelligence and verbal gifts into instruments of cruelty and persecution and infinite scorn.

That first paragraph... I mean, it's literally unbelievable that we have people in authority, much less Supreme Court judges, who think like that. It's horrifying, like something out of the 1930's in the Soviet Union. We are screwed if these folks continue in power, even moreso than we are already.

Robear wrote:

A short perspective from a former Scalia clerk. I've quoted the part I find astounding.

Antonin Scalia generally detested science. It threatened everything he believed in. He refused to join a recent Supreme Court opinion about DNA testing because it presented the details of textbook molecular biology as fact. He could not join because he did not know such things to be true, he said. (On the other hand, he knew all about the eighteenth century. History books were trustworthy; science books were not.) Scientists should be listened to only if they supported conservative causes, for example dubious studies purporting to demonstrate that same-sex parenting is harmful to children. Scientists were also good if they helped create technologies he liked, such as oil drills and deadly weapons.

His own weapon was the poison-barbed word, and the battleground was what he once labeled the Kulturkampf, the culture war. The enemy took many forms. Women’s rights. Racial justice. Economic equality. Environmental protection. The “homosexual agenda,” as he called it. Intellectuals and universities. The questioning of authority and privilege. Ambiguity. Foreignness. Social change. Climate research. The modern world, in all its beauty and complexity and fragility.

Most of all, the enemy was to be found in judges who believe decency and compassion are central to their jobs, not weaknesses to be extinguished. Who refuse to dehumanize people and treat them as pawns in some Manichean struggle of good versus evil, us versus them. Who decline to make their intelligence and verbal gifts into instruments of cruelty and persecution and infinite scorn.

That first paragraph... I mean, it's literally unbelievable that we have people in authority, much less Supreme Court judges, who think like that. It's horrifying, like something out of the 1930's in the Soviet Union. We are screwed if these folks continue in power, even moreso than we are already.

There are few things I can think of more damning to say about a jurist than that he was immune to evidence. This pretty much says as much and then some.

Apologists everywhere appear to be saying that his occasional good nature and eloquence somehow justified the fact that he abused his office and ruined the lives of millions. I, respectfully, dissent. I would rather he have been a raging asshat who regarded his office more seriously and went where the evidence led him.

There is such an amazing spectrum to his odiousness, it's honestly impressive. Weeks later, and there are still depths being gleaned. I doubt you could find two people who agree on what the vilest thing the man did or thought was. I'd have thought his ruling that it was constitutional to execute an innocent would have taken the cake.

That's the nicest thing I'm willing to say about him.

It was an interesting piece.

There is some good stuff in there, and I think it is worth mentioning.

I can attest to the many nice things people have said about the Justice. He was erudite and frighteningly smart. He said what he thought, not what was expedient. He was generous to friends and family. He loved his clerks and helped them get dream jobs. And we returned the favor by not thinking about what we were doing, then or afterward.

Not that is makes up for his other actions but it does give him a more nuanced picture.

farley3k wrote:

It was an interesting piece.

There is some good stuff in there, and I think it is worth mentioning.

I can attest to the many nice things people have said about the Justice. He was erudite and frighteningly smart. He said what he thought, not what was expedient. He was generous to friends and family. He loved his clerks and helped them get dream jobs. And we returned the favor by not thinking about what we were doing, then or afterward.

Not that is makes up for his other actions but it does give him a more nuanced picture.

It really doesn't, for me. He was perfectly willing to accept that those around him were human, but he had problems extending that beyond that immediate circle. Kind of just makes me hate him even more. He was clearly capable of empathy and care, but chose not to extend that beyond people he saw frequently.

Former boss Grassley has lost my respect

An open letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley:

Twenty-five years ago, when I was a freshman at George Washington University, I worked in your office on Capitol Hill. I doubt you remember me, but one does not forget working for their senator.

It was a time when despite differences, Republicans and Democrats somehow found a way to work together to achieve some, but not all, of their most important goals for the good of our nation. I saw you joking with your friends from across the aisle Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Pat Leahy, and Sen. Paul Simon. You and I spoke several times of your respect for the institution of the Senate, its responsibilities, and how seriously you took them. I counted you as a friend, and while we had our differences, you had my respect. I was proud of that service to you.

Feb. 23, when you stated once again that you would put politics ahead of your duties as a U.S. senator, my U.S. senator, you lost that respect and did great damage to that institution you spoke so highly of.

The institution of the Senate has managed to perform its constitutional obligations for well over 200 years. Every single nominee for the Supreme Court that has not withdrawn from consideration has received a vote within 125 days. Today, I feel nothing but shame for the fact that my senator, my former friend, will be bringing that unbroken history to an end.

— Ross Daniels, West Des Moines

*not me.

Paleocon wrote:

There are few things I can think of more damning to say about a jurist than that he was immune to evidence.

Like how the author spends the bulk of the piece laying blame for all the (legitimate) problems one woman's faced at Scalia's feet without tying any of them to a case he ruled on?

The article's garbage, even for Salon.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

There are few things I can think of more damning to say about a jurist than that he was immune to evidence.

Like how the author spends the bulk of the piece laying blame for all the (legitimate) problems one woman's faced at Scalia's feet without tying any of them to a case he ruled on?

The article's garbage, even for Salon.

It's without direct attribution, but it ties it to his opinion in Romer v. Evans; the article reads: "His own weapon was the poison-barbed word, and the battleground was what he once labeled the Kulturkampf," and Scalia's opinion in that case starts: "The Court has mistaken a Kulturkampf for a fit of spite."

Funny how when Scalia was a law professor, Black students always got the worst grades...

As president of the law school’s BALSA chapter, Hampton remembers challenging the school after students realized they were being treated differently because of their race—a claim the school first opposed on the basis of blind exam testing. In short, that grades couldn’t be handed out in a racist manner because the examiner couldn’t known any given student’s race. Arnim Johnson disputed this claim, saying that Scalia (and other professors) had full access to the university’s print shop, through which exams were filtered during the testing process, and that it would’ve been easy to discern which blue books belonged to which students. But Hampton also recalls an ominous remark by Scalia: “He made a statement once that he could tell—because he was such a linguist—that he could usually tell papers that were written by African Americans.” The school finally admitted that professors “had access to the [exam] blue book numbers and names,” but only so that they could award extra credit. “I said that’s bullsh*t,” Hampton remembered.
Robear wrote:

Funny how when Scalia was a law professor, Black students always got the worst grades...

As president of the law school’s BALSA chapter, Hampton remembers challenging the school after students realized they were being treated differently because of their race—a claim the school first opposed on the basis of blind exam testing. In short, that grades couldn’t be handed out in a racist manner because the examiner couldn’t known any given student’s race. Arnim Johnson disputed this claim, saying that Scalia (and other professors) had full access to the university’s print shop, through which exams were filtered during the testing process, and that it would’ve been easy to discern which blue books belonged to which students. But Hampton also recalls an ominous remark by Scalia: “He made a statement once that he could tell—because he was such a linguist—that he could usually tell papers that were written by African Americans.” The school finally admitted that professors “had access to the [exam] blue book numbers and names,” but only so that they could award extra credit. “I said that’s bullsh*t,” Hampton remembered.

I'm sure they would have gotten better grades if they'd been at a slower school.

If only affirmative action had not promoted them beyond their abilities... Tsk, tsk.