Monday, February 15, 2016

We, the People: We don't need no stinkin' Constitution

On Shabbat, as I am wont to do, I lay down to sneak in a quick nap around four o'clock. When I woke up about a half hour later, the whole world had changed. Antonin Scalia was dead. 

Unfortunately, Congress hadn't changed and it was still being run by Clowns who seem to be of the unfortunate opinion that The Constitution is optional. Members of the Clown Cavalcade are demanding the President not submit a nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, 
The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.
Are these people terminally stupid? No answer necessary. 

I am not enough of a Pollyanna to believe that everyone is going to play nice and get along. I understand there are enormous differences of opinion on how to run the country. I get it that the GOP has a different view on how government should operate in contrast to the version brought to you by the Democrats. But what I don't understand are the lies. I cannot fathom how Mitch McConnell or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio can just lie about the process of appointing a new Justice and how it works when you can just Google the damn thing and see a long list of data. Indisputable data. Not opinions. Cold, hard facts... like how a Supreme Court Justice is appointed and subsequently confirmed. This isn't hard, folks.

But here's the really dangerous part: McConnell, Cruz, and Rubio think no one is going to look. That we are all so ignorant that we don't know how to vet what they are saying. It's scary to think that there are people out there shouting, "Hooray!" for this bull-oney and never bothering to look to see if those statements are even remotely related to the truth. They think no one is going to read past:
We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect  Union...
They think no one is ever gonna bother finding out what comes next:
...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 
Well, guess again. A lot of us have at least a fair understanding of the document, enough to know that one of the Constitution duties of a President, lame-duck, on his way out, or roaring in, is to appoint a Supreme Court Justice when the need arises...even in recess:
Constitution of the United States, Article II Section 2 
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. 
 He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. 
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Not to appoint would be dereliction of duty....which is an impeachable offense. Gotcha? I don't think so. 

Justice Scalia may have been Notorious RBG's BFF, and he may have had a great legal mind, but he interpreted the Constitution as though we all still lived in the 18th century. But a lot has changed since the signers signed off on it in 1787. When they signed, women had no discernible political rights even if, by meeting the property requirements, they could vote in New Jersey. Native Americans had no rights whatsoever, and certainly not the slaves. Free blacks, however, could vote in 4 states. But our country isn't like this any more. Scalia's view of the Constitution was tempered by his Catholic faith. His is not a country most women would care to inhabit, including the ol' WP. 

Justice Scalia made conscientious decisions that deny women access to health care. He partnered in the proliferation of guns. He favored those with money to the exclusion of the working poor. Having a way with words is not enough. He was not a Justice for We, the People, he was a justice only for the class of people who agreed with him. If the GOP has its way, his replacement will be just as elitist as he was. His death has a profound impact on this court: it is now a 4-4 division...4 liberal, 4 conservative; this is a tied court. 

The make-up of the court right now is pretty interesting: 5 men, three women; 6 whites, 1 black, 1 Latina. Five are Roman Catholic, three are Jews. So, do you look for someone more diverse...or just a Protestant? Or, how about Sri Srinivasan? The guy is Hindu; he took his last oath of office on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. 

But that's not likely to happen. President Obama could nominate G-d for the new Supreme Court Justice, and the GOP will block the nomination. Leader McConnell's call to block any nomination smacks of disdain for the Constitution. If You, The Person of the United States are not completely disgusted and angry, you need to get out of your Barcalounger and take a walk outside. 

This is your country. The Supreme Court is what stands between you and a less-than-benevolent despot. The Supreme Court should be representative of all of We, the People. Their job is to make sure laws are sound and safe and don't discriminate. They are the ones who make sure the men and the women, the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Hindus and anyone can practice a religion. They are the ones who make sure equal rights are equal, and voters get to vote. 

Judge Srinivasan's hand on a Bhagavad Gita
I am hoping it will be Federal Judge Sri Srinivasan. He was confirmed as a Federal Judge 97 to 0. He will bring a new perspective to the court.  I am hoping that We, the People, stand up to the GOP, the press, to the Dems or anyone else who is trying to prevent good governance and with it, the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice. 

Get off your Barcaloungers, people! The moment has come. It's time to demand functional government. That doesn't mean 100% agreement; it means there are people running the show who actually care. Don't settle for less, and if they are trying to make you settle, show the suckers the door. 

Wifely Person Tip o'the Week
Disposing of books is not easy; no one wants them.
Does this tell you anything?


  1. [this comment has been restored to this blog post.]

    bob.hertz February 16, 2016 at 6:43 AM


  2. To repeat myself- Those McConnell Clown folks are a disgraceful, smarm-of harm-doers. I abhor their views and am embarrassed that I was not paying attention earlier. Never again. CU

  3. Votes matter. In Nov 2013 Harry Reid used a rare parliamentary move to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments could advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators (aka the nuclear option), rather than the 60-vote supermajority that had been the standard for nearly four decades. The US voters reacted by electing Repub senators in 2014 so that they held a majority of 54. You know if the Dems still held a majority in the senate that Obama would have appointed a far lefty like Sotomayor or Kagan or RBG and Reid would have done the same thing. Thank goodness for the foresightedness of the voters. Either Obama appoints a moderate and the Republicans fold or else the election decides the outcome. Elections matter. If I were a lefty I would gamble on winning in November.