The Republican controlled Senate has made it official that, absent the zombie apocalypse or a biblical flood, there will be no hearings on *any* SCOTUS nominee submitted by President Obama. Only the most simple-minded and clueless among us will be surprised by this development. Josh Marshall said it best yesterday morning:
No alternative or dark explanations are required when it comes to Republican desires to dictate the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Control of the federal judiciary has been a transcendent goal of the conservative movement for two generations. And in the face of political and demographic change, the Republican Party has become increasingly dependent on the Supreme Court to entrench its political power through attacks on voting rights, unions, one person one vote and decisions like Citizens United, not to mention Bush v. Gore. So the stakes, on the merits, are vast. And yet the manner of the refusal to even entertain the nomination of a President with a year left in office is, as Lauren Fox notes in this story, simply a culmination of Republican efforts not simply to block Obama’s policies but to delegitimize, degrade and denigrate his presidency and the man himself.
Yeah, you right, Josh.
Speaking of clueless, let’s move on to one of the stupidest things I’ve read about the Supreme Court in quite some time It comes from two LSU academics, John Maxwell Hamilton and James E. Shelledy in an op-ed piece for the Advocate. They suggest-get ready for it-that President Obama appoint a political enemy to the court; namely Lindsey Graham or Chris Christie. It’s another attempt to recapture the good old days of bipartisanship that never really existed:
Obviously, Obama will face a contracted and bitter fight with his Supreme Court nomination. But maybe this is an opportunity to open a door to bipartisanship. Obama, who has decried partisanship, can name someone who does not favor the left any more than Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell would prefer to bolster the right.
And he can do it in a dramatic way that would be difficult for the Republican majority in the Senate to refuse confirmation. He could name not only one of their own but one of their own who has been in the race for the presidency — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Both men possess a compelling set of credentials for the job.
Both men, lawyers, do not belong to the far right of their parties. In their years of public service, they have established themselves as leaders in their party. But they have shown the ability to work with the other side.
The only reason they’re not on the far right of their party (singular not plural, both are Republicans) is that they’re marginally sane compared to the Insult Comedian or Tailgunner Ted. After all, this is a political party that considers Marcobot Rubiodroid moderate. Why? I’ll never know.
The Maxwell-Shelledy op-ed is quite simply one of the dumbest things I’ve read in quite some time. Essentially, they ask Barack Obama to ratify the delegitimization of his Presidency as well as a historic opportunity to push the court in his direction. I’m trying to avoid the clichés about ivory tower academics but these two gentlemen really need to get out more. Given the horrendous weather in the New Orleans metro area as I wrote this, one might even suggest that Professor S seek Shelledy from the storm of ridicule that this piece will surely inspire:
The only good thing about the Maxwell-Shelledy piece is its suggestion that POTUS appoint a non-judge. I’m on the record as favoring this approach but the custom is for one to appoint someone from your side of the political spectrum as opposed to Little Lindsey or Governor Asshole. FDR knew what he was getting with Senator Hugo Black. It’s true that Ike was peeved with Earl Warren but he let Herbert Brownell handle the nomination. Big mistake: the Attorney General was Tom Dewey’s right hand man and a well-known liberal on civil rights. It’s what happens when you have a President with neither political instincts nor experience. Of course, the GOP is hellbent on nominating someone with *much* less experience than General/President Eisenhower. Imagine the Insult Comedian nominating a Supreme. I bet Andrew Dice Clay is available…
President Obama should go ahead with his plan to nominate a qualified Center-Left lawyer and lob that hand grenade in Mitch McConnell’s lap. BOOM. Once again, it will show that they cannot be trusted to govern and could help the Dems retake the Senate. It couldn’t hurt.
It’s time for an antidote to the stupid; one of the best Scalia post-mortems from the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin:
Like Nick Carraway, Scalia “wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever.” The world didn’t coöperate. Scalia won a great deal more than he lost, and he and his allies succeeded in transforming American politics into a cash bazaar, with seats all but put up for bidding. But even though Scalia led a conservative majority on the Court for virtually his entire tenure, he never achieved his fondest hopes—thanks first to O’Connor and then to Kennedy. Roe v. Wade endures. Affirmative action survives. Obamacare lives. Gay rights are ascendant; the death penalty is not. (These positions are contingent, of course, and cases this year may weaken the Court’s resolve.) For all that Presidents shape the Court, the Justices rarely stray too far from public opinion. And, on the social issues where the Court has the final word, the real problem for Scalia’s heirs is that they are out of step with the rest of the nation. The public wants diversity, not intolerance; more marriages and fewer executions; less money in politics, not more. Justice Scalia’s views—passionately felt and pungently expressed though they were—now seem like so many boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
What’s not to love about an article that quotes The Great Gatsby?