Category Archives: Supreme Court

Invasion Of The Federalist Society Body Snatchers

Charlie Pierce has a theory that the Federalist Society has a lab where they grow GOP judicial nominees. It’s hard to argue the point that they’re pod people like the ones grown in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Btw, Philip Kaufman’s 1978 version is one of the few remakes I like. It’s more of a re-imagining. Besides, what’s not to like about a movie set in San Francisco with Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum. I do, however, still revere the 1956 Don Siegel directed original with Monty Clift’s bestie, Kevin McCarthy who should never be confused with the House Majority leader. End of film buff reverie.

Let’s get back to the matter at hand: pod person Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I skipped the fakakta dog and pony show staged by Trumpy’s new flack, Bill Shine. It was timed to boost the ratings of Shine’s pal, Sean Hannity. That Fox News meathead is now the most influential media type in the land. I feel as if I’ve died and gone to hell. At least the 8PM EST timing juiced up my girl Rachel Maddow’s ratings as well.

One deviation from the Federalist Society playbook is that Kavanaugh had a rough ride in his first confirmation process. He was nominated by George W Bush in 2003 and not confirmed until 2006. He’s been compared to two movie characters: Zelig by Chuck Schumer and Forrest Gump by Dick Durbin. Here’s why: Kavanaugh is a political animal who was involved in the Clinton impeachment, the 2000 Bush-Gore recount, and was a senior aide to George W Bush before moving to the Federalist Society greenhouse/lab and rehatching as a federal judge.

One serious problem Kavanaugh faces is that Senator Durbin believes that he lied at his confirmation hearing. Kavanaugh claimed that he was ignorant of some of the nastier practices of the Bush administration’s so-called war on terror. Unfortunately, lying is not disqualifying in the Trump era. Durbin is still on the judiciary committee and ready to call Kavanaugh out.

The more I look at Kavanaugh’s track record, the more I see why McConnell preferred another pod person. Kavanaugh’s paper trail is long, extensive, and contradictory. Senators have customarily been allowed to pour over the nominee’s documents, which in this instance could number up to a million because of Kavanaugh’s association with Ken Starr and Bush the younger. There are emails involved. That should give wingnuts a boner but it won’t because:

There seem to be two reasons why pod person Kavanaugh was selected in the face of opposition by social conservatives:

First, Team Trump schmoozed Justice Kennedy into retiring with the promise that his former law clerk would be his successor. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would join fellow Kennedy clerk Neil Gorsuch on the bench. There’s been some mutterings of a corrupt deal but this seems more like mentoring run amuck. You can tell that Trump out-sourced that part of the process because he’d have no problem betraying Kennedy. Stiffing people is what he does. Just ask his former chaffeur.

Second, I’m convinced that the president* selected pod person Kavanaugh because he views him as a human get-out-of-jail-free card. I’ll let girlfriend Dahlia Lithwick explain:

Over what I believe to be a surprisingly authentic warning from Mitch McConnell not to select Kavanaugh or Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat left by Anthony Kennedy, the president chose the guy who had the most to say about imperial presidents. This is not a surprise. Beyond the fact that Kennedy doubtless approved of Trump’s selection—Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch, clerked for Kennedy—the single greatest selling point for Kavanaugh had to have been the much-reported line from his 2009 Minnesota Law Review article, in which he wrote, “Even in the absence of congressionally conferred immunity, a serious constitutional question exists regarding whether a President can be criminally indicted and tried while in office.” A President Trump seeking justification to immunize himself from prosecution needed to look no farther than Kavanaugh’s caution in that same article that the indictment and trial of a president “would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas.”

Being a GOP pod person, Kavanaugh was for vigorously investigating presidents before he was against it. I suspect that had something to do with his days in the Beavis-Duce White House. Repeat after me:

I’m milking that meme for all it’s worth. It was originally supposed to be the featured image for a post centered on the IOKYAR-ness of this nominee. That was before I entered the Federalist Society lab/greenhouse and tripped over a pod.

The nomination of pod person  Kavanaugh provides opponents with more ammunition than any other potential nominee, which is the incompetent Trumper twist on the Federalist Society formula. I still expect the latest pod to be hatched at the Supreme Court after narrowly being confirmed. BUT the extent of Kavanaugh’s paper trail should slow things down considerably. I’m sure the Turtle has a few tricks stored in his shell but we saw with the failed ACA vote that Chinless Mitch is not infallible.

More importantly, Trump has given Democrats an issue gift for the election. Here’s girlfriend Dahlia again:

In short, this means that Trump didn’t just give Senate Democrats the talking point that Kavanaugh is an all-but-certain vote to erode or end Roe v. Wade. That statement, while true, could’ve been made about any of the judges on the president’s short list. In selecting Kavanaugh, Trump has given Democrats an additional talking point: The president picked a guy he hopes will hand him a get-out-of-jail-free card.

A pair of Democratic senators have already jumped on this bandwagon, with Jeff Merkley tweeting that the pick indicates Trump “is terrified of Robert Mueller” and Cory Booker stating that he “literally selected the one person who has a pretty good written record of saying, ‘Hey, if you’re a president under investigation, I don’t think you should be allowed to be under criminal investigation.’ ”

Whether this is true or not, or even supported in Kavanaugh’s extensive record, the fact is that Senate Democrats will be able to spend the summer arguing precisely what the president doesn’t want them to argue: that the Mueller probe is ongoing, that close Trump confederates have been indicted and other indictments are coming, that many of the legal questions surrounding the Mueller investigation may end up before the Supreme Court, and that the president may have hand-picked a judge solely for the possibility that he may vote to exonerate him.

Donald Trump always puts his own selfish interests ahead of the national interest. He’s done it again. He can’t even follow the Federalist Society script and nominate another Roberts or Gorsuch. Kavanaugh seems genial enough but he’s a flawed pod person who will make it easier for the Senate minority to slow things down. Thanks, Trumpy.

I’m not though throwing memes at you. Let’s pay a visit to the Federalist Society lab/greenhouse in glorious black and white.

Moderate Republicans Always Cave

The vote spread in the Senate is tantalizing. The GOP has a two vote margin, one if you don’t count John McCain. Defeating a Trump Supreme Court nominee seems doable IF the two Republican Senators who are on the record as pro-choice vote against a nominee. Don’t hold your breath: moderate Republicans always cave.

Yeah, I know, Collins and Murkowski voted against  ACA repeal but that’s an exception to the rule. Unless Trump picks a nominee as outlandish as his twitter feed, they’ll vote the party line. One reason I expect a smooth and genial Gorsuch/Roberts-type nominee is who vetted the potential Supremes for the Trumpers:

Leonard Leo — the anti-abortion Federalist Society executive vice president currently on leave to advise the President on Supreme Court nominees, and the originator of Trump’s campaign-era list of potential nominees — has been careful to note that names on the list have not taken a public stance on abortion.

“None of the people who are being talked about now in the public space in the media are people who have a clear position on Roe v. Wade,” he said, as quoted by the Washington Free Beacon.

The right has these things down to a science. They’ve been honing their craft since the Robert Bork was, well, borked by the Senate. They tend to pick nominees who are rational on the outside but stone cold wingnuts on the inside. It’s one reason they prefer to nominate federal judges because they’re not out there writing inflammatory articles. The Gorsuch nomination proved this is one area in which Trumpism hasn’t dumbed down the GOP.

Senator Collins is making reassuring noises about how she wouldn’t support a nominee who “demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade.” But she’s also convinced that neither Roberts nor Gorsuch would vote to overrule it. That naive notion seems to be based on her belief that they’re “nice guys” and that “nice” Neil Gorsuch wrote a book about stare decisis:

“I had a very long discussion with Justice Gorsuch in my office and he pointed out to me that he is a co-author of a whole book on precedent,” she said. “So someone who devotes that much time to writing a book on precedent, I think understands how important a principle that is in our judicial system.”

Collins is willing to be hoodwinked by private assurances when the Court overruled several longstanding precedents this term:

Liberals leading the charge against Mr. Trump’s potential picks quickly dismissed Ms. Collins’s remarks, suggesting that the senator was either being hoodwinked or knowingly obfuscating her position. They pointed to court decisions as recently as last week — when the justices overturned a four-decade-old precedent in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to deal a blow to organized labor — in which it reversed earlier rulings.

“This proves how flimsy Collins’ pro-Roe position is,” Brian Fallon, a longtime Democratic operative whose organization, Demand Justice, is helping organize opposition to potential nominees, wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning, referring to Ms. Collins’s comments on Mr. Gorsuch. “She is perfectly happy to let herself be suckered based on phony assurances about ‘precedent.’

Repeat after me: moderate Republicans always cave. The moderate to conservative red state Democratic Senators up for re-election this year have NO incentive to die on the SCOTUS hill unless Collins and Murkowski break with their party. It’s hard to imagine the most vulnerable Dem, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, voting against a conservative court pick in any event. He was elected because he ran in a presidential election year and had an appalling opponent. Conservative Democrats *usually* cave on Republican Supreme Court nominees, after all.

There is no path to defeat a Trump nominee unless Collins and Murkowski announce their opposition early and often. Otherwise the red state Democrats will cave since they’re already running scared. That, too, could hurt their campaigns by flattening out enthusiasm among liberals. There *are* red state liberals: I’m one of them

Of particular interest to me is how Alabama’s Doug Jones comes down on this issue. He has to run again in two years BUT he’s a rather learned lawyer who has surely thought about the implications of replacing Kennedy with a hardcore conservative. There’s no incentive for him to do the right thing if Collins and Murkowski cave.

The best case scenario is for the vote to be delayed until after the election. Given the nuking of the filibuster on SCOTUS votes, I’m not sure how this can be accomplished. I know for certain that Chinless Mitch does not give a shit about the so-called McConnell rule. He could care less about accusations of cynicism: he’s cynical and damn proud of it.

I agree with Larry Tribe and Cory Booker that Trump should not be allowed to appoint a Justice who might rule on issues involving the Mueller probe. I have my doubts that such considerations will move any GOP votes since some of them are working to destroy the investigation. Besides, a prospective nominee could theoretically defuse that issue by promising to recuse themselves. That’s only likely to happen if they think they’re going to lose. Here’s how Jessie Jackson might have phrased it in his prime: If you’re going to lose, defuse and recuse.

I remain committed to fighting the nomination, but Josh Marshall presented some contrary views at TPM that are worth considering. The one upside to the political corner Anthony Kennedy’s retirement has painted us into is that  GOP money is flowing from House to Senate races. That helps Democratic odds of retaking the House but the Senate was always trickier given the map.

Anything can happen and a few months is a lifetime in politics. But one should never forget: moderate Republicans always cave.

A Few More Thoughts About The Kennedy Retirement

I missed some important points when I wrote yesterday about Justice Kennedy’s exit, stage right.

First, we’ve gotten so used to phony libertarians like Senator Aqua Buddha and the Koch brothers that we don’t recognize the real deal. Anthony Kennedy is opposed to excessive government regulation in ALL AREAS. On the plus side, he’s championed gay rights and opposed the overruling of Roe v. Wade. On the minus side, he applies his libertarianism to economic and free speech questions and we end up with the Kennedy who supported this term’s awful rulings and Citizens United. He’s simply being consistent in favoring as limited a role for government as possible unless there’s a national security rationale as in the Muslim ban case.

Second, the impact of Kennedy’s exit, stage right, on the fate of the Mueller investigation is worrisome. The Supremes are likely to vote on various aspects of the investigation, which means that Trump has yet another serious conflict of interest:

We know that Chinless Mitch doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the niceties of the law. He believes in power, pure and simple. He clearly regards the McConnell Court as his most important legacy. Conservatives long ago honed in on the federal courts but whenever I urge people to vote based on Supreme Court nominations, I’m rewarded for my efforts with a glazed look.

As to the president* he’s a walking conflict of interest, so why would he care? He has important work to do: engaging in a cover-up in plain sight is difficult and a Gorsuch clone on the court would suit his purposes.

Finally, I wrote the first draft of this post before a remarkable piece appeared in the Failing New York Times about Team Trump’s successful effort to schmooze Justice Kennedy by shrewdly playing on the law clerk connection. The mere fact that they did something competent should send chills up and down our collective spines since Trump is an autocrat in search of an autocracy.

The money is passage is about Kennedy’s son, Justin, who has a longstanding business relationship with the Trumps:

But they had a connection, one Mr. Trump was quick to note in the moments after his first address to Congress in February 2017. As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr. Trump paused to chat with the justice.

“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”

Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.

One cannot expect Kennedy’s perorations about dignity and respect to trump crony capitalism. #sarcasm.

We’re really on our own now.

On Our Own Now: Justice Kennedy Exits, Stage Right

I planned to write about the McConnell Court after the appalling decision in the Muslim ban case, which featured an off-hand reversal of the infamous Korematsu ruling. I hadn’t planned to write about Anthony Kennedy but then the news cycle went berserk and my plans changed.

Liberal twitter was on suicide watch after Kennedy’s announcement. There was fear in the virtual air. Kennedy *was* a swing vote on some issues that matter to liberals: abortion, guns, and gay rights. BUT he was also a conservative Reagan appointee who voted with right-wing justices in 13 out of 13 5-4 decisions this term.

The great Dahlia Lithwick wrote one of the best pieces about Kennedy’s exit, stage right:

It was always more fan fiction than reality that Justice Anthony Kennedy was a moderate centrist. Democrats liked to soothe themselves with the story that Kennedy was a moderate because he’d provided the fifth vote to support continued affirmative action, reproductive rights, and gay rights and had strung the left along with the tantalizing promise of someday finding an unconstitutional political gerrymander. But we always knew that Kennedy was a conservative, indeed a very conservative conservative. Recall that in the famous study done in 2008 by Richard Posner and William Landes, “Four of the five most conservative justices to serve on the Supreme Court since the time of Franklin Roosevelt, including [John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito, are currently sitting on the bench today.” And Kennedy? He was ranked in that study as the 10th most conservative justice in the past century.

To the extent we wrote paeans to Kennedy, it was for his occasional defections in areas that materially affect the lives of millions of people—women, minorities, LGBTQ couples, voters, Guantanamo detainees. And to be sure, each of those votes was well worth it. But we knew that for each such vote, there was a Bush v. Gore, a Citizens United, a Shelby County.

Kennedy’s opinions this term reflected an exhaustion with the law and the court that shouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s 81 years old and ready to sit back and do whatever retired Supremes do. We should have never regarded him as a legal savior of sorts. We’re on our own now.

I am not optimistic about the chances of defeating Trump’s next nominee BUT it’s a battle well-worth waging. The filibuster was nuked for SCOTUS nominees during the Gorsuch confirmation process BUT the GOP majority is nominally 51-49 but actually 50-49 because of John McCain’s illness. I am not optimistic about rhetorically pro-choice Senators Collins and Murkowski voting NO since Republican moderates almost always cave. Jeff Flake has made noises about holding up judicial nominees until McConnell allows a vote on tariffs but it’s unclear if that would apply to Kennedy’s soon-to-be vacated seat. Besides, Flake has been all hat and no cattle in his opposition to the Orange menace. We’re on our own now.

Having said that, Senate Democrats owe their base a fierce fight over this nomination. The future of Roe v. Wade is at stake. Overruling that 45 year-old precedent will NOT automatically render abortion illegal nationally, BUT it would allow states to do so. I expect the Gret Stet of Louisiana to be one of the early entrants in the odious race to abolish abortion. Louisiana Republicans have been working over-time to make Democrat John Bel Edwards a one-term Governor and a Roe reversal would hand them a cudgel. Edwards is rhetorically  pro-life and, like Justice Kennedy, has supported restrictions. But Governor Edwards would have to deal with an enraged Democratic base if he signed a bill banning all abortions. I somehow doubt he views that prospect with anything but foreboding. He needs Gret Stet liberals if he is to be re-elected. It will be a major test of coalition politics here in my backyard. Stay tuned.

Kennedy’s exit-stage right-is a reminder to liberals that we should stop looking for saviors. There’s no deus ex machina that’s going to drop from the sky and save us from the Trumper horde. We have to do it ourselves at the ballot box. There remains an excellent chance to flip the House but control of the Senate is up in the air despite the GOP’s narrow margin. It’s a tough map for Democrats, which is why everyone needs to forget about 2020 and focus on state and congressional elections. We on our own now.

Like many, I had hoped that Anthony Kennedy’s personal qualities would make him loath to allow the loathsome Insult Comedian to appoint his successor. Kennedy is famous for using words like dignity and respect in his opinions. Ain’t nobody less dignified or more disrespectful than Donald Trump who has already made the Kennedy retirement about himself. Dahlia Lithwick, once again, summed up my feelings on this point:

Many of us predicted that Kennedy would not allow Trump to replace him with someone who would dismantle his legacy. We were wrong. Many of us believed that a lifelong devotee of dignity, civility, and the rule of law would not want his work tarnished by a president who routinely attacks individual judges and the very notion of an independent judiciary. We were wrong. That two of Anthony Kennedy’s last judicial acts included a letter that opened “My dear Mr. President” and a vote to grant that same president a virtual blank check on the national security front certainly suggests that nothing about a president who liesbullies, and destabilizes the rule of law was any kind of real impediment to Kennedy’s departure.

2018 is the most important off-year election in the history of the Republic. It’s a chance to check the wild excesses of the executive and legislative branches.  Organize and vote like your life depends on it.

We’re on our own now.

INSTANT UPDATE: In the least surprising development ever, Jeff Flake has announced that he won’t put a hold on a Supreme Court nominee.

We’re still on our own.

Job’s The Same Today

Fuck Gorsuch and just less than half of SCOTUS and McConnell and Ryan and everybody writing about “civility” and the millions of people who voted for Trump because he made them feel good about themselves and fuck the people screaming at the press at Trump rallies and goddamn, blast, confound and fuck every single person in this administration today.

Kick and I spent last night writing postcards to lawmakers over family detention and making plans with friends for another march this weekend, after marching last weekend, because there are fascists in power and we have weekends off work.

I told Kick, who is prone to internalizing everything and processing it as nightmares and also is four years old, that we were writing to the government because the government was not treating children fairly. Why? Because of the color of their skin, I said, citing our picture books about Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou.

(“When government does something we don’t like we ask them to change it,” I told her.

“Can I have a cookie when we get there?”

#WokeToddler is more like #HungryToddler and I can’t tell you how many protests I’ve bribed her through with food or the promise of a playground later.)

It didn’t feel like much, writing postcards. We made cards for the children in detention and she colored them. Especially today, it didn’t feel like much.

But we’re not on the barricades here, not all of us. Some of us are running office supplies and ice cream for the people who are. And some of us aren’t on the barricades today, but will be tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Nobody’s coming, so save yourselves, and the person to your left, and the person to your right.

Do not be daunted, says my childhood Bible from its box in my attic, by the enormity of the world’s misery. Do justly, now.

Job’s the same as it ever was. Save as many as you can. Feel free to post ideas about how/where to do that, in the comments.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Hesitation Waltz by Rene Magritte.

It’s been a frustrating week at Adrastos World HQ. Every time I think my pernicious and persistent cold is getting better, I backslide. I would have preferred to be really sick for a few days and then better. Make up your mind, cold.

In local news, the lame duck New Orleans City Council has been up to all sorts of mischief: voting to approve a new power plant for Entergy that won’t solve our blackout  problems and allowing taller buildings to be constructed alongside the Mother of Rivers.  I suspect that the presence of Mayor-elect Cantrell on the Council is one reason they feel free to take such votes. It does not bode well for those who hoped the incoming Mayor would be more neighborhood/citizen friendly. Score another win for real estate developers who are the worst people in the world. Exhibit A for this argument currently lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This week’s theme song is a tribute to Temptations singer Dennis Edwards who died earlier this month at the age of 74. Papa Was A Rolling Stone was written by Norman Whitfield and Barret Strong and was a monster hit in 1972. Here are two versions for your enjoyment: the Temps and David Lindley.

Now that I’ve dissed real estate developers and my stupid cold, it’s time to roll over to the break. I’m too enfeebled to jump.

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The Gorsuch Filibuster

I’m usually a big picture guy. I prefer not to get caught up in the emotions of the moment. It’s one of the things I respected and admired most about former President Obama. He wasn’t always right in his calculations but they were rational and reasonable. It’s why so many of us called him No Drama Obama. It was just as reassuring to have him in the White House as it is unnerving to have a 70-year-old toddler in his place.

That brings me to the Gorsuch nomination and how it should be dealt with. I have been known to be swayed in the past by arguments such as the ones posited yesterday in a NYT article. Those days, however, are long gone. I think Senate Democrats should filibuster the hell out of  Gorsuch regardless of whether it provokes the so-called nuclear option. Democrats tried being reasonable with the Garland nomination and that distinguished jurist was treated like a bum by Senate GOPers.  This is a stolen Supreme Court seat and those efforts should not be rewarded. Does anyone think they’ll respect us for being reasonable? They never have before.

Politically speaking, the Democratic base is the most engaged it has been since 2006 and 2008. In fact, it may be the most engaged it has been in my lifetime. Failure to filibuster would be deflating and perhaps even disheartening for the grass-roots activists who are energized by the egregious malakatude of the current administration*. Besides, their continued engagement is imperative if Republicans make another run at passing an even worse version of Trumpcare.

Furthermore, Gorsuch is a smug prick who declined to meet with four Democratic Senators who just happen to be women of color. One of whom, California’s Kamala Harris is a former San Francisco District Attorney and California Attorney General. That makes her a legal as well as a political superstar. She. of all people, should have been given the courtesy of a meeting with Gorsuch. I guess the Trumpers consider her, as an African-American woman, to be a two-time loser unworthy of professional courtesy. So much for Gorsuch’s gee whiz facade. He’s just another Republican asshole beneath all the gollies and goshes.

I am proud of Senator Schumer and the 40 Democratic Senators who plan to filibuster this goshdarn lousy nomination. It’s payback for Judge Garland and all the lies told by Republican Senators about what happened in 2016. It’s time to take a stand and, in a slogan used by former New Orleans Mayor Dutch Morial, keep the drive alive.

INSTANT UPDATE: Josh Marshall argues that the Supreme Court filibuster was effectively abolished in 2005. It’s another reason to stand firm on the Gorsuch nomination by golly.

Quote Of The Day: Goodness Gracious, Golly Gee, Gosh Gorsuch

I’m on the record as a Dahlia Lithwick fan. She outdid herself the other day in a piece about the Gorsuch confirmation hearings, by golly:

There is no good way out of this tangle for Judge Gorsuch. For at least some of us in the room, the two straight days of performative big-hearted Westernness is beginning to chafe. No amount of references to midcentury paddle-wielding nuns and boyish mutton-busting extravaganzas can cover for refusing to answer even the most basic questions about doctrine or precedent. And even though Gorsuch is extremely affable and warm, one can’t escape the growing sense that the nominee we are watching today was hatched in an underground Federalist Society lab, with spare body parts stolen from Atticus Finch, Richie Cunningham, and Snoopy. And at some point you want to gently remind him that 1950s television called and it wants its vocabulary back.

I can’t find the quote but Gore Vidal once lamented that right-wingers spoke like maiden aunts in 1930’s B-movies. I guess we should be relieved that they’ve moved forward in time to 1950’s teevee by golly.

I’ve only watched bits and pieces of the Gorsuch hearings. He’s following the 2005 Roberts script by being affable and saying absolutely nothing. It was annoying in 2005 but infuriating in 2017. The Garland nomination changed everything. Gorsuch’s protestations that he’s an non-political judge ring hollow as the GOP’s humbug threatens to smother the Capital in noxious fumes of hypocrisy.

As Gorsuch himself would surely say, this whole thing is a gosh darn shame.

Let Me Make This Easy for You, Democrats

No.

Really? Still? We’re still doing this? It’s 2017. We’re fully more than a decade past the time when Democrats, eager to take the high road and do the right thing and be patriotic and put country before party, sucked George W. Bush’s strap-on and were rewarded for their decency by having the war hero they nominated for president derided as a commie faggot peace-freak appeaser. We jus spent eight years in which a Democratic president gave weekly speeches about nonexistent well-meaning Republicans who just disagreed on policy while they howled outside his windows burning him in effigy. And we’re still gonna do the right thing?

WHY?

I mean it, God, why? So rich fucks like Richard Blumenthal can look at themselves in the mirror and talk to their reflections about how they tried, or something? So they can feel good about themselves? So they can say they did the “right thing” as defined by some centrist think tank as its members hump the status quo like their lives depend on it? So they don’t ruffle any feathers on the half-plucked chicken we’ve placed in the executive branch? So that maybe next time they’ll get a freebie? How stupid are these people?

Let me explain this for everybody, the fucking club of the most of them, that just got here on the last bus out of Idiotville. Let me tell you what will happen if Democrats hold hearings and confirm this guy. Let’s imagine they do that, and somehow we all survive the next four years and come out alive, and it’s a Democratic president in that chair the next time. And maybe Ruth Bader Ginsberg or one of the other 400-year-old people decides to pack it in. Let me lay out for you what happens next.

In payment for Democrats being so nice and good, and voting to confirm this suit filled with cockroaches to the highest court in the land, Republicans will make the next Democratic nominee into the biggest screaming pinko terrorist butt-buddy to ever walk the earth. They will portray that person, most likely a semi-conservative career prosecutor or the like, as a grave threat to the Republic and come up with endless rationales for delaying and finally denying his or her confirmation, and after they do that they’ll take victory laps at CPAC so the frog-fuckers who vote for them can shower them with praise for saving the land.

That will be your reward, Democrats, for “doing the right thing” by Republicans. Would that any of you were half as interested in doing the right thing by your constituents, or by America. Would that you felt as strongly about doing the right thing for us. Would that that kept you up at night.

Schmucks.

A.

Notorious RBG vs. The Insult Comedian

The latest. and oddest, campaign controversy is between two elderly New Yorkers:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s well-known candor was on display in her chambers late Monday, when she declined to retreat from her earlier criticism of Donald Trump and even elaborated on it.

“He is a faker,” she said of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, going point by point, as if presenting a legal brief. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she said. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

It reminded her of something her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, a prominent tax lawyer who died in 2010, would have said.

“‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’” Justice Ginsburg said, smiling ruefully.

There’s been much tut-tutting among pundits and law professors about Ginsburg’s comments in response to a questions from the media. They may be unusual but SCOTUS is an inherently political body. And it’s not like the Supremes have never gotten directly involved in Presidential elections. Anyone recall Bush v. Gore? You know, the case that elected George W Bush and changed the course of history. Then there was the time Justice Charles Evans Hughes resigned his seat to become the GOP nominee in 1916. I think Woodrow Wilson would have called that political. In fact, he did in the course of defeating Hughes.

The Insult Comedian with cotton candy piss hair’s response to RBG is typically unhinged:

Did the mean old octogenarian hurt the poor widdle rich kids’ feelings? Good. He was so butt-hurt that he forgot to say “so sad” and was sparing with the “verys” and exclamation points. Perhaps he’s the one who’s losing his mind. Nah, it was lost to his ego sometime in the 1980’s. At least the tweet wasn’t anti-Semitic, that’s real progress for the Donald.

This whole flap is most amusing. I wonder if anyone in the House will follow the example of sainted moderate Jerry Ford and try to impeach the Notorious RBG as he did with Bill Douglas. Of course, they’d have to admit to supporting Trump, which many of them are loath to do.

Despite all the huffing and puffing-most disappointingly by Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern who’s usually wiser than this-there’s no ethical violation here. The judicial code cited by RBG’s critics does not apply to the Supremes; whether or not that’s a good thing is for another day. Justice Ginsburg was asked a question and answered it in the blunt, direct manner for which she’s renown. If Chief Justice Roberts calls her on the carpet, I’d love to be a fly on the wall of his chambers:

Roberts: Why the hell did you say that, Ruthie, baby? (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t call her that but that’s how we’d say it in New Orleans.)

RBG: He’s a loudmouthed menace who makes Nino look sensible. Do you want him appointing half the Court? Surely, you’re not voting for this racist clown.

The key to understanding RBG’s comments is this: the next President could appoint up to five Justices if they serve two terms. That would be the most of any President since Eisenhower who picked well under the tutelage of Tom Dewey’s man, Herbert Brownell. There are no steady, well-informed hands on Team Trump. Just imagine the venerable ratfucker Roger Stone helping to pick Supremes. The mind reels.

Let’s raise a glass to the Notorious RBG who’s willing to take the heat to help prevent Trump from becoming the first Insult Comedian to be elected President. Never gonna happen, my friend.

 Since RBG mentioned New Zealand, I’ll give Neil Finn and Crowded House the last word. Btw, this song is *not* about Trump. He only thinks he’s God:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Better Things

Japser Johns flag

Flag by Jasper Johns.

It’s been a steamy and sweaty week in New Orleans. It’s what we expect in late June; expect but dislike. Yuck. I’ve been consumed with British politics all week and have tried my damnedest *not* to write about it too much at First Draft; to paraphrase an old song, we’re an American Blog. The intrigue and backstabbing is irresistible to a political junkie like me. The whole Boris Johnson-Michael Gove story is like something out of the original, and superior, British version of House of Cards. I wonder if the knife is still in BoJo’s back as a reminder not to trust your “wingman” but I guess that’s a Goven now. I’ll give the Guardian’s Marina Hyde the last word on Gove who turns out to be a Tyrion fanboy:

“In the notorious words of Michael Gove, “people in this country have had enough of experts” But have they had enough of expert shits?”

The column title is just as scathing: In the Tory laundry basket, Michael Gove is the dirtiest item. Marina should really stop mincing words.

The Labour leadership struggle has gotten rather Pythonesque. If they don’t work things out, Labour risks being branded as the neo-Silly Party. The Corbynites are as mathematically challenged as their American brethren and even more vitriolic. They’re adamant that 250k leadership votes for their Jeremy trumps the 9.3 million votes Labour received at the last general election. Holy Fuzzy Maths, Batman.

I hate to quote the lame duck Prime Minister as he limps out the door but he summed Corbyn up quite well at the last Prime Minister’s Questions:

“We all have to reflect on our role in the referendum campaign. I know the honourable gentleman says he put his back into it. All I’d say, I’d hate to see him when he’s not trying.”

<snip>

“It might be in my party’s interest for him to sit there. It’s not in the national interest. I would say – for heaven’s sake, man, go.”

Snap. Even a posh pigfucker is right some of the time. I guess that makes him sooey generis. I suspect that y’all only laughed at that one if you’re in a generis mood…

Enough talk of what the French used to call Perfidious Albion. Let’s move onto this week’s theme song, Better Things. It’s the closing track on the Kinks brilliant 1981 LP Give The People What They Want. The album starts off on a dark note, and gets progressively bleaker until the opening chords of Better Things signal that it’s safe to come out of hiding. It’s a signal we could all use in the wake of the Istanbul attack and the rest of this week’s news in bleak.

We begin our betterment with the original recording. It’s followed by a version Ray cut with Bruce Springsteen in 2012. Last and probably least is a rendition by Fountains Of Wayne. Actually, it’s a cracking version but I was possessed by the spirit of snark.

How Dar I forget this lovely 1997 cover by Ms. Williams:

Now that I’ve given the people what they want, it’s time for the break. See you on the other side.

Continue reading

The Troll In Chief

Gore Vidal once called Merica the land of the dull and the home of the literal. The master’s opinion has been confirmed by the reaction of some earnest folks to the President’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. I beg to differ. It’s a political masterstroke that has put the GOP majority in the Senate on the spot. Charlie Pierce, as usual, gets it:

So it’s a masterpiece of trolling from a guy who’s become very, very good at that. I understand the frustration of the president’s progressive supporters at the idea of a 60-ish white guy replacing a 70-ish dead white guy on the Supreme Court. (I would’ve preferred Jane Kelly from the Eighth Circuit, who already had heads exploding.) I’m sure there were several dozen more diverse, and clearly no-more-fcks-to-give, choices he could’ve made. But Garland’s work as a supervising DOJ attorney in the Oklahoma City bombing case intrigues me, and it is likely to light up the far distant precincts of wingnuttia as well. At the very least, he’s aware of the wildness loose in the country. He seems moderate and judicious and very unlikely to stray too far out of bounds from what this president and his supporters think a Supreme Court justice should be. His opinions on the appellate rights of criminal defendants could use some work, but he’s not likely to join with the likes of Samuel Alito to take an ax to things like the Miranda decision. He’s not a law’n’order guy. Tom Goldstein of the invaluable SCOTUSBlog put together a solid compendium of Garland’s record the last time his name arose to fill a vacancy on the Court, when Garland was passed over in favor of Justice Elena Kagan.

All of which is, for the moment, anyway, moot. This is a purely tactical move, and it’s an awfully good one. Right now, Republican senators are saying that they won’t even take one-on-one meetings with the guy, let alone give him a committee vote, let alone give him a confirmation vote in the Senate. This was precisely the reaction the president was hoping for, although he didn’t exactly have to be Nostradamus to make this play.

Judge Garland’s views seem quite similar to those of Justice Breyer, which is not a bad thing at all. He’s an eminent and distinguished lawyer who was on the shortlist when Elena Kagan was nominated. In normal times, his confirmation would be a slam dunk. As you may have noticed, these are not normal times. That’s why this ostensibly safe nomination is like throwing a hand grenade into Mitch McConnell’s lap. Kaboom.

After taking one to the chin, Chinless Mitch is whining about a fellow politician playing politics with the Supremes. Remember Rawnsley’s new rule of politics:  if you’re whingeing, you’re losing, and that’s what’s happening here. This nomination *is* about politics and the blue/swing state Senators who were elected in the Teabagger wave election of 2010. Come on down: Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and the seat Little Marco vacated in Florida. The 2016 Senate map for GOPers is just as daunting as the 2014 map was for Democrats. Democratic candidates are likely to win 5 of these seats, and could even run the board if the GOP Presidential nominee is a drag on the ticket as either the Insult Comedian or Tailgunner Ted may turn out to be.

President Obama has done something that is both responsible and deliciously devious. It’s a gambit that two of the most Machiavellian Democratic Presidents, FDR and LBJ would have admired. Well played, sir. Who’da thunk that Barack Obama would turn out to be a master troll? I used to think he was strictly an “eat your vegetables” kind of guy. I was wrong.

It’s uncertain how this will play out, but Senate Republicans have stumbled into a trap of their own making. For some reason, they didn’t expect the President would dare to make an appointment. That’s par for the course, they’re so consumed with their image of the fake Obama that they haven’t noticed that he’s out of fucks to give.

Hail to the Troll In Chief.

Supremely Stupid

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?

Please Speak Ill of the Dead

In the moments after Scalia’s death was announced, there were immediate exhortations — some of it concern trolling, some of it genuine appeal to courtesy — to not speak of the great damage he did to the lives of many as part of his public office. To think of his friends and family, and what they would like to hear said about him. To not speak ill of the dead.

And you know what? It does nobody any good to not speak ill of the dead, especially not the friends and family of the deceased.

When I die, I fully expect somebody to haul out every mean, nonsensical, jerkwaded thing I ever said and read it from a podium at my funeral.

(Which will not be a funeral, by the way, because Mr. A has strict instructions. But.)

I expect that people with whom I have interacted in various contexts will have various things they remember about me. I expect some of those things will be unflattering. I have fucked up some things in my life flatter than hammered shit. I have done stuff I’m not proud of. I have been intemperate, impatient, impractical and unkind, and that was mostly before 9 a.m. today.

Ask people not to speak of that, and not only are you asking them not to speak of me, you are asking them not to speak of themselves. You are asking them to forget their own experiences, their own lives, the way we pushed and changed and loved each other (and didn’t). It’s a silencing, and it’s a particularly mean and final one, because while you are listening to the Oration of the Sainted Dead, you are hearing what that person did to you denied and told that your very memories are an affront.

No one deserves to tell anyone how to remember anyone else. If I knew a man who ruined lives, who used a position of power against the already weak, does it matter that others knew him in another context? When we die, we are what we leave behind in the minds of others, all others. Everyone we touched.

If we are not prepared to face what that looks and sounds like, if we do not think we’ve earned as many good things said about as bad ones, then we need to live our lives differently than did Antonin Scalia, lest someone speak ill of us someday.

A.

 

Unsolicited Advice For The Post Scalia Era

I rarely agreed with Justice Antonin Scalia but he had a remarkably influential career, and was one of the dominant figures on the Supreme Court for the last thirty years. He served under three Chief Justices but was the Justice who pushed the court to the right and made originalism/textualism a factor in the nation’s jurisprudence. His opinions were noteworthy, not only for how wrong he was, but for the lively language he used. Clerks draft most of the opinions but Scalia’s dissents seemed to be written by the Justice himself. I must confess to enjoying some of his most scathing dissents, especially when he revived arcane phrases: jiggery-pokery was my personal favorite.

Now that I’ve praised Scalia, I’m glad that we’re burying him. There are a series of important cases that would have pushed the law even further to the right that now look like 4-4 draws. It will be interesting to see how the other Supremes handle these cases. They can put them on hold or allow the lower court rulings to stand. In either event, an eight person Supreme Court isn’t good for the country, which is one of many reasons to be glad the President plans to nominate a replacement some time soon.

It’s obvious that the GOP controlled Senate is going to either slow walk or put in the deep freeze any nomination put forward by President Obama. They’re hoping to win the 2016 election and put a Scalia clone on the court. Ordinarily, I’d give them a 50-50 shot at denying the Dems a third consecutive term but the wild rhetoric in the GOP primary race makes a loss more likely than not. Usually, the Republicans are slyer about calling their opponents liars, leaving the dirty work to surrogates. Slyness has gone by the wayside in the era of the Insult Comedian and Tailgunner Ted. They have the perfect stealth wingnut candidate in John Kasich but he’s not extreme enough for the current GOP; a scary thought given how far to Reagan’s right the Ohio Governor is.

The politics of this situation favor the Democrats. Once again, the Republicans are about to do something only their base could love in giving us an eight Justice court for a year.  It’s irresponsible and makes them look incapable of governing. Of course, their base doesn’t give a shit because they hate guvmint so much but it’s the sort of thing that will alienate Independents and sane Republicans.

You’re probably wondering when I was going to offer POTUS unsolicited advice. Here we go. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick has compiled a list of Supreme Court candidates and it’s a good one. BUT I have long thought that someone who is NOT a federal judge should be nominated. The Clinton administration has been under attack this year but its Supreme Court appointments were stellar: Ginsburg and Breyer. It was the one that got away that intrigues me. Bill Clinton wanted to nominate a politician to the court and zeroed in on his frenemy Mario Cuomo. But Cuomo was a classic New Yorker who didn’t want to live anywhere else and declined. Twas a pity.

Some of the most distinguished Justices in our history were never judges of any kind before becoming Supremes. The list is staggering: Frankfurter, Black, Douglas, Jackson, Brandeis, and Warren to name a few 20th Century examples. The Warren example was the key to Clinton’s thinking: he’d been California Attorney General, Governor, and Tom Dewey’s running mate in 1948. Warren’s personal and political skills helped unite a fractious court and produced a unanimous decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.

In addition to the Super Chief, there were two outstanding Chief Justices who had been senior Republican pols: Charles Evans Hughes and William Howard Taft. Hughes was the GOP’s 1916 nominee and later secretary of state. Taft, of course, was the 27th President. I’m not sure if there are any candidates of that stature that the sitting President could name but I have some unsolicited advice for the next Democratic President. There’s a man with a calm judicial temperament who used to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago and would become only the third African-American Justice in our history: Barack Obama.

I realize that’s very unlikely to happen, but I’ve been imbued with the trollish, puckish side of the late Justice Scalia and cannot help myself. We could do a lot worse and if the Republicans win the White House, we certainly will.

 

I’m Done With All Your Hillary and Bernie Feelings, Internet

TED CRUZ WANTS TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE.

Genuinely, I think he does. I think he wants to bring about the end times. I think he is living in a comic book and none of the rest of us are real to him.

Marco Rubio is six years old and he keeps thinking if he talks faster and louder it will make him sound smarter. Debate moderators ask him why his own people think he sucks, and he yells about his Lord and Savior.

Jeb Bush once ruined an entire family’s life just to make points with the Jesus freaks over Terri Schaivo, and the freaks are not even voting for him now. Like, think of that. You mortgage your soul for someone, and they’re like, “Ick, get away.”

I don’t know what to worry about more, that Donald Trump is gonna pick somebody for his VP that he has already publicly called a giant shitlord who will then sink him from within, or that he’s gonna choose a military dude like Petraeus. Then he’ll win, and quit, leaving us with a morally dyslexic G.I. Joe in charge.

ANY ONE OF THEM gets to appoint Supreme Court justices, as Sainted Dead Scalia reminded us last night, and Notorious RBG ain’t gonna live forever. If we make her deal with one more Republican president, she would be well within her rights to give the concept of existence on this planet the finger.

So if I read one more thinkpiece about ageism, sexism, Bernie-ism and who isn’t respecting who enough online, I will send this whole Internet to bed without supper. I have a Mom Voice now. I can do that.

I mean, dear God. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, writers. It’s not about you. It’s not about you, people who have time to be penning this or that for a publication that exists to explicate the zeitgeist or whatever. God damn, what is happening in this country right now during this political campaign, it is not about you.

Some of the things being said at and near Bernie’s fans remind me of how I was treated as a young person at my first paying gig: You’re only 22 so nothing you say is legit, like call us when you grow up. Some of the things being said at and near Hillary remind me viscerally of how I was treated the last time I asked for a raise at my job: You need to be nicer because that matters more than any other skill you have. 

Some of the things being said to younger and older voters are making me ragey and some of them are making me sad and you know what those feelings of mine, those deep and real feelings mean to a bunch of people in Flint, Mich. whose kids have been poisoned by lead in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ Two Thousand Sixteen?

FUCK.

ALL.

There was a Democratic debate Thursday night or during the Super Bowl or whenever, and two candidates on stage — a Jew and a woman, both the first of those groups to win major primaries — were discussing their responses to systemic racism. Systemic. Racism. They were discussing institutionalized hatred of black people and the dehumanization of them by the government.

Yes, later John Lewis and Bernie Sanders supporters snapped at each other on Twitter and yes, Hillary could not get away with having a prominent supporter who goes by “Killer Mike” because of sexism. But at that debate OUR PARTY HAD A GODDAMN DISCUSSION ABOUT FIXING RACISM.

The Republicans, at their debate last night, were fighting over who gets to hold the fire hoses and unleash the German Shepherds. 

And not for nothing, but a few weeks ago we had a sitting U.S. Goddamn President name of Barack Hussein Obama who spoke not tentatively, not neutrally, not cautiously but ADMIRINGLY of the courage of young gay men and women living their lives as full citizens of the United States. He PRAISED THEM. As role models not just to other gay people but to everybody, in front of a joint session of Congress, behind a fucking podium with a seal on it, to thunderous applause.

Later, at the Republican debate, a bunch of guys talked about if we could put Don’t Ask Don’t Tell back into effect somehow and make everybody forget if Gunny Highway likes dudes and stack the Supreme Court with people who will go around forcibly divorcing every gay married couple on earth.

The differences between Bernie and Hillary are real (see Kissinger, Henry and Dead, Why Isn’t He Yet) and explanations of them are welcome and necessary. But the constant online whining about behavior of campaign supporters towards one another and the over-identification with the candidates personally* is starting to feel like therapy for the comfortable commentator class. Maybe we’re forgetting that BEN CARSON DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE DEBT CEILING IS..

It is starting to remind me of 2003 when Yes Hippies Are Right But They Smell, or 2004 when Yes Democrats Are Right But The Midterms. I do not want to see President Trump elected so that all U.S. progressives can Suck On This for not supporting Bernie. I do not want somebody else’s kids to fight three more wars so We Can Learn Something This Time It Serves Us Right for not supporting Hillary. We who are here to type stuff into the Internet don’t get to write checks for other people’s asses to cash.

I am supposed to be freaking out right now because calling someone a Bernie Bro is reductive and mean and makes you less likely to vote Hillary? I will call you anything you WANT, okay? What do you want me to call you so we can get some work done? I am sorry I was born after Roe v Wade but I’ve had by conservative estimate 37 transvaginal ultrasounds, so if I give you a pin commemorating the fight to make abortion legal can we please elect Bernie to stick a probe up Scott Walker’s bunghole?

President Bernie, President Hillary, are not going to lead-poison our children to save a few bucks and then be all LET’S NOT TELL ANYBODY when they get a memo about the poisoning. They’re not going to make cracks about turning Syria into a glowstick and they’re not gonna slap their junk on Putin’s dinner table and they’re not gonna forget where China is or whatever it was Trump did last week. They’re not going to punish poor women by faux-investigating the only medical clinics that give a shit if those women live or die.

I want a woman president, maybe this woman. I want a non-Christian president, maybe this dude. I would rather have CLAIRE as president than any combination of any of the Republicans currently running and I’m sincerely afraid that we might not survive a couple of them. Far too many of the things I’m reading lately are forgetting that soon and very soon that will be the fight we’ll have to have.

At that point the therapy sessions will be over, and not a moment too soon. So work for your chosen candidate. But don’t confuse that work with the kind you need to do on your psyche, because the latter you can get done on your own goddamn time.

A.

*Call me, John Kerry, you are 8 feet tall and it still charms me senseless.

“Obsession” special – vaffanculo fool-o

OK folks – I’m calling for a pre-emptive strike on Freeperville.

Why?

Oh, I dunno – maybe that they have well and truly LOST THEIR FUCKING MINDS!

Senior U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia found dead at West Texas ranch
My San Antonio ^ | Updated 3:53 pm, Saturday, February 13, 2016 | Gary Martin

Posted on ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎55‎:‎56‎ ‎PM by Pan_Yan

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.

Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa. According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

U.S. District Judge Fred Biery said he was among those notified about Scalia’s death.

“I was told it was this morning,” Biery said of Scalia’s death. “It happened on a ranch out near Marfa. As far as the details, I think it’s pretty vague right now as to how,” he said. “My reaction is it’s really unfortunate with any death. And now, politically, in the presidential cycle we’re in my educated guess is nothing will happen before the next president is elected.”

1 posted on 2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎55‎:‎56‎ ‎PM by Pan_Yan

To be sure, the first few posts are devoted to hair-rending:

To: Pan_Yan

 

o dear god no the court will swing full lib now

2 posted on 2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎58‎:‎51‎ ‎PM by jneesy (rough seas make skillful sailors)

To: 20yearsofinternet

 

Damn! Can we delay Obama’s appointment, whomever it may be? Will the GOP even stand up THAT much?!

6 posted on 2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎4‎:‎02‎:‎06‎ ‎PM by austinaero

To: Pan_Yan

Complete shock.

8 posted on 2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎4‎:‎02‎:‎45‎ ‎PM by Jane Long (Go Trump, go! Make America Safe Again 🙂

Tears
.
And how many posts in do you think we’ll get before the batshit crazies arrive?
To: Pan_Yan

 

Who was there? Who had ties to the WH?

12 posted on 2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎4‎:‎03‎:‎11‎ ‎PM by Chickensoup (Leftism is the biggest killer of citizens in the world.)

Twelve posts.
Twelve.
Seven minutes after the  original post
To: Pan_Yan

 

Scalia is the man who started the investigation into Hillary.

13 posted on 2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎4‎:‎03‎:‎23‎ ‎PM by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto!)
I had no idea that Supreme Court justices started investigations. Would that be an investigation by the Secret Supreme Court Police (the SSCP)?
.
Oh? There’s no such thing?
To: Pan_Yan

 

Pelican Brief

31 posted on 2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎4‎:‎04‎:‎46‎ ‎PM by john316 (JOSHUA 24:15 …choose you this day whom ye will serve…)

pelican

 

The crazy (and the hair-tearing) continues after this brief (heh – get it?) intermission:

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Fuck Yeah, America

As expected the Supremes have legalized same-sex marriage in the entire country in a 5-4 vote. The majority opinion was written by Anthony Kennedy thereby cementing his place in history as the Gay Rights Justice. To those pundits who insisted that Kennedy was the “swing vote” in this case: You were wrong and I was right.

I cannot wait to hear the reaction here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. PBJ just shit his pants.

True Judicial Conservatism

I assume everyone has heard that the Supremes upheld the ACA insurance subsidies in a 6-3 vote. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority and Justice Kennedy joined as well. Justice Scalia, continuing in his role as the court’s Crow T. Robot, claimed that this transforms Obamacare into SCOTUS care. I must apologize to Croow: Scalia is more like his evil twin. He does, however, give good sarcasm even if he rarely makes logical sense. Jiggery-pokery, my ass.

King v. Burwell was a picayune challenge to important legislation based on a goofily literal interpretation of the statutory language. The court’s ruling is a victory for common sense and true judicial conservatism as well as judicial modesty. We’ve gotten so used to activist right wing judges that we forget that classic judicial conservatism defers to the people’s branches of government whenever possible. I’d like to thank Slate’s Jordan Weismann for quickly posting the money quote from the Chief’s opinion:

roberts

That, in a nutshell, is true judicial conservatism. The alternative to this ruling was chaos and millions of people losing their health care coverage. It’s a day to praise the Roberts Court, especially since the majority reduced Scalia to the role of a kid sitting in the back row throwing spitballs at his colleagues.

I cannot await for the vituperative eruption on the right. Let the freak out begin.

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