Tag Archives: American Bar Association

Mrs. Bush embodies class and grace

I don’t know about anyone else, but I do have difficulty watching admired public figures struggling as they fall into “failing health.”

So it is with former first lady Barbara Bush, who lived in the White House with her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, from 1989 until 1993.

She is now at home in Houston. Mrs. Bush has declined any further medical treatment. She has requested “comfort care.” Her family has gathered around her.

Yes, it looks as though the end is near. More than likely.

My difficulty deals with watching this marvelous woman struggle to remain among us. The love story that unfolded in January 1945 when she and the young Navy aviator married. They now hold the presidential record for marital longevity.

Mrs. Bush always acquitted herself with class as well as with candor. Her children and grandchildren call her The Enforcer. No one put anything past this marvelous individual.

She made literacy her hallmark while serving as first lady. She read to children. She sought to imbue in our kids a love of literature. Mrs. Bush created a foundation to continue that work after her time as first lady had expired.

The world has joined in offering love and support for this iconic American political family that has been led by a matriarch who stood tall next to her husband — and her oldest son, George W.  Bush, who also ascended to the presidency.

Still, it is damn hard to watch this story unfold.

‘Ideological balance’ not a SCOTUS issue

Reuters News Agency has declared in a headline that Neil Gorsuch’s selection to the U.S. Supreme Court means the court’s “ideological balance” is at stake.

Excuse me for a moment while I clear my throat.

Cough, cough …

Um, no. It isn’t.

Judge Gorsuch has been tapped by Donald J. Trump to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. As my dear old Dad would say, “It’s six to one, half-dozen to the other.”

Gorsuch is a conservative. So was Scalia. And yet, progressive thinkers are all a-flutter  because Gorsuch, they say, according to Reuters, “that he is a pro-business, social conservative insufficiently independent of the president.”

Do they think Scalia would have been any different had he not died before Trump took office? Do they think Gorsuch is going to somehow become so persuasive in his opinions and writings that he is going to bring some progressive court justices to his side of an argument?

Let’s get a grip here.

Scalia was an iconic figure among judicial conservatives. It’s not yet clear whether Gorsuch will attain that kind of status if he gets confirmed to the Supreme Court.

My advice to Senate Democrats and their progressive allies in the judicial community is this: Save your ammunition for the day one of the high court’s liberal justices takes a hike.

Although I agree fully that Trump never should have been given the chance to replace Scalia. That task should have been fulfilled by his presidential predecessor, Barack Obama, who nominated an equally qualified jurist, Merrick Garland, to take his place on the high court. Senate Republicans played bald-faced politics, declaring that Obama didn’t have the right to appoint someone to the court; that task, they argued, belonged to the next president.

That’s utter horse manure. The GOP’s tactic worked. Trump got elected and now he has appointed a judicial conservative to the court — just as he pledged he would do.

As one who stands foursquare behind presidential prerogative on issues such as this, I recognize that elections have consequences.

One “consequence” of the 2016 election is that Trump has chosen a “well-qualified” jurist — in the words of the American Bar Association — to become the next Supreme Court justice. There is no “ideological balance” to discuss with this selection.

What about the next one? And what if it involves the departure of a liberal justice?

Well, that’s a different matter altogether.

SCOTUS pick gets major boost from ABA

As a firm believer in presidential prerogative, I feel compelled to say that the American Bar Association likely has given Donald J. Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court the boost he needs to take his seat.

The ABA has declared that U.S. District Judge Neil Gorsuch is “well qualified” to take his seat on the nation’s highest court.

Does this guarantee Gorsuch’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate? No, of course not. The Senate Judiciary Committee has to recommend his approval and the entire Senate has to vote to confirm the judge.

Gorsuch’s nomination is important for a couple of reasons.

First, he would take the seat vacated by the death one year ago of conservative judicial icon Antonin Scalia. The president told us he would select a conservative to the court if he were elected; Trump did what he pledged to do.

Is he my favorite judge? Would I have selected Gorsuch? No. But I am not the president. Neither is anyone else. That title belongs to Donald Trump.

He is qualified, though, to become a member of the Supreme Court.

Second, a Justice Gorsuch would not change the ideological balance on the court — presuming he follows through on his reputation as a “conservative jurist.” The court’s slim conservative majority remains intact with Gorsuch’s confirmation.

“The ABA’s ringing endorsement is no surprise given Judge Gorsuch’s sterling credentials and his distinguished decade-long record on the Tenth Circuit,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said. “Former Chairman [Patrick] Leahy and Minority Leader [Chuck] Schumer have called the ABA’s assessment the ‘gold standard’ in evaluating federal judicial nominations. In light of Judge Gorsuch’s impeccable record, it’s hard to imagine any other result from the ABA’s consideration.”

Every reader of this blog knows how much I detest Donald J. Trump. I cannot stand the sound of his voice, nor can I stand to watch him perform the duties of the office for which I continue to believe he is unfit to occupy. High Plains Blogger readers also know that I was enraged at Senate Republicans’ decision to block Barack Obama’s selection of Merrick Garland to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat.

But Donald Trump is the president of the United States. Just as I have argued for decades in favor of presidential prerogative, I also believe he has made a predictable choice to fill the nation’s high court.

Judge Gorsuch also is well-qualified. If the ABA provides such a decision, that’s good enough for me.

Now, as for Senate critics of Gorsuch, my advice would be for them to save their ammo for the fight that is sure to erupt when one of the liberal justices leaves the Supreme Court.