Tag Archives: RBG

Answer the question, Joe

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Democratic ticket seeking to defeat Donald Trump and Mike Pence, are performing a clumsy dodge when it comes to a simple, straightforward question.

It is this: Do you endorse a plan to add members to the U.S. Supreme Court in the event Judge Amy Coney Barrett gets confirmed to the seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Many progressives are alarmed at the addition of another conservative to the high court and they want to add at least two seats to the nine-member bench presumably with progressives/liberals to, um, provide some ideological balance.

The move might pick up steam if Democrats gain control of the U.S. Senate, which is looking more plausible each day we draw closer to the election.

Biden and Harris have danced all around the question about whether they back such an idea. For the record, I happen to oppose it. The court has been a nine-member body for more than 150 years and it should remain that way. Even the late Justice Ginsburg opposed the idea of “packing” the court.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence are raising a ruckus over Biden and Harris’s refusal to answer the question. To be candid, they do have a point. Biden said he will make that decision public “after the election.” Harris, when asked during her VP debate with Pence this past week, turned the discussion instead to the “packing” being done by Republicans who are filling lower-court bench seats.

Biden and Harris need not provide the Trumpkins with ammunition to fire at them down the stretch of this campaign.

Just answer the question. No matter what they decide, rest assured that the Democratic Party presidential ticket will continue to have my support. Honest. Really and truly.

Consequential? Yep!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Oh, how I hate saying this, but I must say it.

Donald Trump is facing the prospect of losing bigly in his bid for re-election to a second term as president. But — and we all know what happens when we say “but” — he might get the last laugh on all of us.

Even if Joe Biden beats Trump on Nov. 3, Donald Trump is likely to have been able to place three justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Their decisions fueled by right-wing ideology is going to shape many aspects of public policy even as Trump empties the drawers in the Oval Office and skedaddles back to Mar-a-Lago.

That’s what I call a “consequential” president.

I surely do not want him re-elected. I oppose his selection of Amy Coney Barrett to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the high court. I dislike Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, two previous Trump SCOTUS selections.

But it has been a good while any president has nominated more than two justices in his initial term. The last one was President Nixon. Of course, Nixon’s presidency crashed and burned too, but only after he was re-elected in a smashing landslide in 1972.

My hope is that Trump’s presidency ends after a single term. That would be very good news.

The bad news, though, is that he will have been able to nominate three justices to the Supreme Court. They’re all right-wingers and the latest nominee — Barrett — appears poised to undo many of the rights championed by the jurist she would succeed.

That is quite a consequence.

‘People’s voice’ is being ignored

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Senate Republicans argued four years ago when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to join the Supreme Court that the “people need to have a say” in who should join the court.

That was then. These days, Senate Republicans are saying something so very different. The people’s voice? The upcoming presidential election just 40 days from now? Pffftt!

Amy Coney Barrett has been nominated by Donald Trump to join the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died fewer than 50 days prior to the next presidential election; Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 several months before that year’s election.

We were going to get a new president in 2016, given that Obama couldn’t run for a third term. We well might get a new president this year. Do “the people” this time still deserve to have a say in who joins the high court? Of course we do!

That won’t happen, apparently.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is set to convene a hearing on Oct. 12. Barrett will sit before the committee and dodge question after question from senators. The committee will vote and likely will recommend she gets confirmed; it will be a partisan vote, with Republicans holding a majority of the committee.

Then the full Senate will vote. The entire body’s vote likely is going to be on a partisan basis as well. Barrett will be confirmed and will take her seat on the court.

What about the people’s voice? What in the name of fairness happened to that fervent call four years ago to give voters a say in who joins the court for the rest of his or her life?

It has been trampled by raw, rank and reprehensible political hypocrisy, led by the hypocrite in chief, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

We are living in a dangerous, perilous time.

Leave SCOTUS alone

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The battle that is fixin’ to explode over the nomination fight regarding the U.S. Supreme Court may include a skirmish I hope does not occur.

Shall the court expand from nine justices to some greater number, say 11 or 13? I believe that is unwise.

Senate Democrats are threatening to seek a court expansion if they gain control of the Senate after the Nov. 3 election. They want to add more progressive jurists to the high court in the event another conservative joins the court after Donald Trump nominates her and the Senate confirms his selection.

Don’t mistake my motives here. I do not want Trump to win a second term. I want voters to elect Joe Biden as president. I do not want this election decided by the Supreme Court. I want it decided cleanly, clearly and without equivocation by voters across the land.

What’s more, if this matter heads to the Supreme Court in a court challenge, I clearly do not want a court with a newly installed Trump nominee having a say on whether Donald Trump should remain in office. If I could define “conflict of interest,” such an occurrence would be Exhibit A in that definition.

I say all this while cautioning against taking drastic action to change one of our nation’s governmental bedrocks, the judicial branch of government. Granted, the U.S. Constitution does not specify that the Supreme Court must comprise nine justices. The number of justices has fluctuated between five and 10 but since 1869 the number has been set at nine.

President Roosevelt tried to enact a court-packing scheme when he took office, but that effort failed.

What’s more, none other than the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — whose death has prompted this monumental political fight — argued against adding to the justices serving on the court. She was a traditionalist.

So … am I. 

If the aim is to seek some sort of judicial balance on the court, then my own preference is to elect presidents who will ensure it. That is far better in my own mind that tinkering with the number of justices. What, for example, would prevent a more conservative Senate from adding even more justices if the Supreme Court tilts too far to the left? It never ends.

I doubt, moreover, that the founders would want one branch of government meddling so intrusively in the affairs of another branch of government.

Leave the Supreme Court alone.

McConnell: hypocrite in chief

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I will spare you the various and assorted nicknames that have been plastered onto U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

He stands before me now as the government’s premier hypocrite. The hypocrite to end all hypocrites. The man who gives hypocrisy a bad name.

I know that he’s far from alone in the hypocrite cabal. Government is full of them. And yes, both parties have their share of hypocrites.

However, the Kentucky Republican is relishing in his hypocrisy. The man who stiffed President Obama from filling a Supreme Court seat because he didn’t want to do in an election year is ramrodding a Donald Trump pending selection to probable confirmation … in an election year!

The difference? Obama is a Democrat; Trump is a Republican.

And yet the hypocrite in chief blames Democrats for “playing politics” with the federal judiciary. Excuse me while I puke!

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had the bad form to die less than 50 days prior to the next presidential election. That hasn’t stopped McConnell from unleashing his partisan hounds.  He vows to get a nominee confirmed before the election.

Oh, what about that presidential election year taboo? Well, that was then. Principle doesn’t apply when there is a partisan political advantage to be explored.

Dang, I almost wish I could move to Kentucky to campaign actively against this clown’s re-election. That won’t happen. I will have to rely on this blog to vent my rage at the way this guy manipulates the levers of power to his maximum political advantage.

Maybe I should admire how this guy can do this. I would, except that his ends all work at cross purposes with my own world view. I do not want Donald Trump to nominate a third justice to the Supreme Court. He is going to select some far right-wing ideologue … while pretending to agree with whatever judicial philosophy guides her.

And this is being brought to bear by the hypocrite in chief.

This, I suggest, gives us all the reason in the world to vote Donald Trump out of office.

Electoral consequences? Yep, we have ’em!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It has been said more times than I care to recall that “elections have consequences.”

That truism is playing out in real time as I write these few words.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has opened the door wide for the most unfit man ever to hold the office of president to nominate his third selection to the nation’s Supreme Court.

You want consequences? The court, if Trump’s nominee gets confirmed, will be locked in a solid 6 to 3 conservative majority possibly for a generation.

Yes, this is what we get when we elect someone with no moral compass, no ideological basis, no authentic sense of what justice really means to the nation’s highest office.

Trump says he’s going to nominate a woman to succeed Ginsburg.  I always am struck, by the way, at Trump’s use of platitudes to describe individuals. He calls Judge Amy Coney Barrett, one of the frontrunners to be nominated, as “fantastic,” that she’s a “brilliant lawyer,” that she’ll do a “great job.” What is missing in these platitudes is any sense that Trump knows anything of substance about the individuals he is considering.

How in the name of electoral power do we rectify what’s about to happen? I believe the first and perhaps last option is to ensure that Trump gets defeated, that Americans elect Joseph R. Biden as their next president. I know that electing Biden won’t undo the damage that Trump might inflict on our federal judiciary — given his penchant for heeding the advice of far-right-wing commentators and thinkers. Electing Biden does set the predicate for a longer-term repair of the damage that Trump will inflict.

Thus, the upcoming election — shall we say — has intense consequence on the future of our nation.

If you disbelieve the value of elections and the consequences they can produce, I present to you Exhibit A: Donald John Trump’s fluke victory in 2016.

Will POTUS pay respects to RBG?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s fair to ask: Is Donald Trump going to venture to the Capitol Building to pay his respects to the first woman ever to lie in repose in that structure?

Yes, that would be the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Trump has said that Justice Ginsburg led an “amazing life.”  So far, that’s the extent of his public comments on the passing of the judicial icon.

Make no mistake that politics plays a role here. Does Trump possibly anger the wacky MAGA base of supporters who fervently oppose virtually all the opinions that Ginsburg rendered during her 27 years on the high court simply by appearing next to RBG’s casket?

Hypocrisy rules!


By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The hypocrisy ringing throughout the halls of the nation’s Capitol Building is becoming the stuff of legend.

Four years ago, Republican U.S. senators said time and time again that no president should be allowed to fill a Supreme Court seat during an election year. They didn’t qualify the assertion. They didn’t stipulate presidents of any particular party.

They said no president, none, should move forward with selecting a justice when we have a presidential election on tap.

You will recall in early 2016 when Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly. President Barack Obama wanted to name a successor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “not so fast.” He slammed the brakes on a nomination.

GOP senators stepped up and said the same thing. No president should select someone for a lifetime during an election year.

Recall that Scalia died nearly 10 months before the 2016 presidential election. Now we have Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just 48 days prior to the next election.

Republican senators are ignoring their own assertion. They now want to rush a nomination forward before the Nov. 3 election.

What happened to the 2016 mantra of “giving the people a voice” in who should sit on the Supreme Court? Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida even went so far as to say he would make that demand when we have a Republican president. Hey, Marco, we have one now … bub! What say you these days about seating someone to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg? I know. It’s full steam ahead!

The people still deserve a voice before the Senate acts on Donald Trump’s expected nomination of someone to succeed the great Justice Ginsburg. If the Senate GOP thought it was true in 2016 when Barack Obama sought to fill a post vacated by Justice Scalia’s death, then it should hold to that philosophy now.

Right? Oh wait! The Party of Trump doesn’t believe in ethics, fairness, truth-telling and honor.

Now the election becomes extra meaningful

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As if the 2020 presidential election wasn’t consequential enough …

Then we get the sad news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, arguably the most iconic member of the highest court in the land.

Her death sets up a monumental battle of wills between progressives and conservatives, between the White House and Congress, between those who want to replace Donald Trump with Joe Biden and those who want to see Trump re-elected.

I am with the progressives, quite obviously.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who stonewalled President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, now vows to push through whomever Trump nominates.

Not so fast, say Senate Democrats. The rank hypocrisy, of course, of McConnell’s current position and his former stance regarding presidential prerogative is shameful in the extreme.

Conservatives will be energized by the thought of Trump appointing another right-winger to the court, thus putting progressive-leaning laws in jeopardy; Roe v. Wade comes immediately to mind. Progressives will be equally energize by the thought of flipping the Senate and the White House into Democratic control; one of the seats most prized by progressives, I hasten to add, happens to be McConnell’s seat in Kentucky.

It’s simply wouldn’t do, I suppose, for this to be a strictly huge choice between an incumbent who has failed to protect Americans while denigrating the office he occupies and a challenger with profound respect for the institutions of government … Trump vs. Biden.

Oh, no! Now we have control of the Senate to throw into the mix, which is going to determine whether the nation’s highest court retains some semblance of balance or veers into the right-wing ditch.

Justice Ginsburg’s plea at the end of her life rings loudly and clearly. It was her “fervent” hope that her replacement comes from a selection made by a new president of the United States. I join her in that call.