Tag Archives: US Supreme Court

McConnell wants what? Bipartisanship? For real?

I gave myself one of those proverbial forehead slaps when I heard this tidbit: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants there to be more “bipartisanship” in the next Congress.

Huh? He said what? This comes in the form of an op-ed column from the obstructionist in chief on Capitol Hill?

It took my breath away.

This is the fellow who said in 2010: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Uh, huh. He said that. The 2012 presidential election, of course, dashed Leader McConnell’s dream. President Obama won re-election.

Then came the congressional Republican caucuses singular effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They staged countless votes in the Senate and the House. They came up short. Who led the charge? Mitch did, that’s who.

And then we had the obstruction to end all obstructions in early 2016. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon on the court, died suddenly in Texas. Justice Scalia’s body had barely gotten cold when McConnell declared that President Obama would not get the chance to replace him.

Oh sure, the president can nominate someone, McConnell said, but Republicans were not going to move the nomination forward. Obama nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland — a supremely qualified man — only to watch his nomination wither and die. We had a presidential election to conclude and McConnell banked on the hope that a Republican would be elected. His gamble paid off with Donald Trump’s election.

Now the majority leader wants a more bipartisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill.

Pardon me while I bust out laughing.

The next Congress will be split. Democrats will control the House; Republicans will lead the Senate. Bipartisanship certainly is the preferred way to govern.

That such a call would come from the U.S. Senate’s leading obstructionist gives “gall” a bad name.

This just in from Kentucky: Kim Davis loses

Who, you might ask, is Kim Davis?

She is a Rowan County (Ky.) clerk who made a spectacle of herself when she declined to sign marriage licenses requested by same-sex couples. That was her reaction to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that made gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

Well, Davis has lost her bid for re-election.

Too bad? Actually, no. It isn’t.

Davis proclaimed that her religious beliefs precluded her from signing marriage license requests for gay couples. She had run initially as a Democrat; she switched parties, becoming a Republican. Her refusal to uphold her oath landed her in jail briefly. She came out and made a big show of it by standing alongside Baptist preacher (and former Arkansas governor) Mike Huckabee.

Here’s the deal, though. Davis’s oath of office demanded that she obey the U.S. Constitution. She declined to remain faithful to her oath. She then let deputy clerks sign those certificates to protect the boss from doing so.

She’ll be out of office by the time January rolls around. That’s fine. Hit the road, Mme. Clerk.

Trump seeks to amend Constitution with an executive order?

Hold on, Mr. President!

You used to excoriate your immediate predecessor, falsely, for over-using his executive order authority. Now you are considering a notion to issue an order to stop birthright citizenship to everyone who is born within the United States of America?

I do not believe you can do that, Mr. President. Your White House legal team is giving you bad advice. I feel confident saying such a thing even though I am no lawyer, nor do I purport to know “the best words” or surround myself with “the best people.”

I understand that you just don’t want all them “illegal aliens” giving birth in this country to babies who become immediate U.S. citizens. You want citizenship only for those who “merit” it.

Let’s take a quick look — shall we? — at the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Section 1 says it clearly: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

The amendment was proposed in Congress on June 13, 1866, a little more than a year after the Civil War.

Constitutional scholars say the amendment was a result of efforts granting full citizenship to African-Americans who only three years earlier were “emancipated” from their enslavement by President Lincoln.

Still, it’s written in the Constitution, that everyone born in this country is granted immediate citizenship upon birth.

Thus, I just don’t believe, Mr. President, that you can circumvent the Constitution with the kind of executive order you said was abused by former presidents.

If you do, sir, my sincere hope is that someone challenges it immediately and that it finds its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the conservative majority on the court — which has been buttressed by the recent confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh — stands by the document y’all have pledged to protect and defend, they’ll join their liberal colleagues in shutting down this unconstitutional effort.

This executive authority notion, Mr. President, is un-American.

Had it with all these Kavanaugh speeches

I hereby declare that I have had it up to here with all these speeches about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Where is “here”? Name it: my eyeballs, my armpits, the top of my noggin. Or, you can say “here” is my chinny-chin-chin.

We know what U.S. Senate Republicans think of Kavanaugh. They think he’s the best thing to happen to jurisprudence since pockets on shirts. Democrats believe the accusation that he sexually assaulted at least one woman in the 1980s and don’t want him anywhere near the highest court in the land.

Yet many of the 100 men and women who comprise the Senate are orating their pleasure/displeasure about the confirmation vote.

Spare me, ladies and gentlemen. Indeed, spare the rest of the country. We’ve heard it already. Multiple times! You’ve repeated yourselves.

Actually, all I’m hearing now is the equivalent of white noise.

Blah, blah, blah … and some more blah, blah. 

Kavanaugh isn’t my idea of a good choice for the Supreme Court. Then again, I have no direct say in who Donald J. Trump appoints to these posts. The president won’t listen to me. For that matter, he doesn’t listen to damn near anyone, believing that since he is the president of the United States, he is entitled to make whatever decision he feels like making.

True enough.

In the meantime, the Senate’s 100 members need to stop talking now about things we’ve heard already.

Here is why the FBI report on Kavanaugh should go public

The FBI investigation into whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied to the Senate during his testimony before the Judiciary Committee is heading to the Senate for its review.

It’s supposed to be for senators’ eyes only.

Hah! Don’t bet on it staying that way.

Republicans will leak the parts of the report that buttress Kavanaugh’s bid to join the nation’s highest court; Democrats will leak those parts that do damage to Kavanaugh.

My strong preference, quite obviously, is for the entire FBI finding to be made public. Send them to the rest of us, the bosses, the folks for whom the president works, for whom Congress works, for whom the Supreme Court works.

The FBI investigation was supposed to be “comprehensive,” according to Donald John Trump’s own words. It wasn’t. The FBI didn’t talk to Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in 1982. It didn’t talk, yet again, with Kavanaugh. It didn’t talk to two other women who have leveled accusations against Kavanaugh.

The report isn’t comprehensive. It is a perfunctory effort.

And now only the Senate will see it in detail, such as it is.

Do you believe senators will keep its contents secret? Neither do I.

We’re likely to hear what both sides want us to hear. It’s only going to inflame passions even more … as if we need more division in this country.

This is how you define ‘comprehensive’?

Let’s see how this plays out.

Donald J. Trump said he wants the FBI to conduct a “comprehensive” investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford and the allegation of sexual assault that Ford has leveled against Kavanaugh.

That’s good … so far.

Then we hear that the FBI isn’t going to talk to either of them. Kavanaugh, the president’s nominee to join the U.S. Supreme Court won’t be interviewed by the FBI. Ford gets a pass, too.

My question, then, is this: How “comprehensive” can an FBI investigation be when the agency doesn’t interview the two main principals in this on-going political drama?

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might cast a full vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court as early as Friday.

It appears that those of us who want a thorough and “comprehensive” probe are getting the bum’s rush.

‘Look at me when I talk to you!’

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake got a first-hand lesson today on the value of “constituent service.”

He walked into an elevator and was accosted by two women who just couldn’t understand why the Arizona Republican would support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

They pleaded with Flake to stand up for the victims of sexual assault, which Kavanaugh has been accused of committing by Christine Blasey Ford.

Flake then came back to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room and, prior to voting “yes” on recommending Kavanaugh’s confirmation by the entire Senate, asked for a one-week delay on the full Senate vote, pending the outcome of an FBI investigation into the allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.

Now, I don’t know if the women who scolded Flake were actual Arizona constituents; they likely weren’t.

But … the point is that these women had something important to say to the lame-duck Republican senator and one of them implored Flake to “Look at me when I talk to you!”

Flake did look at her and he seemingly listened to what she had to say.

The Senate has agreed to hold off for a week before voting on whether to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination. Donald Trump has issued an order to the FBI to conduct a limited investigation into the specific allegations leveled against the man he wants to seat on the nation’s highest court.

This is representative democracy at work!

Judge shows his partisan streak

I now believe that if Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be disqualified from serving on the U.S. Supreme Court, he demonstrated that reason with his impassioned denial of the accusation of a sexual assault.

He came off as a partisan. Kavanaugh managed to blame the assault on his character on those who were angry that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election and “left-wing” political activists who oppose him for his judicial philosophy.

I am scratching my head and am trying to remember when I’ve ever heard a Supreme Court nominee resort to that kind of attack.

Robert Bork didn’t assert partisan angst in 1987; Clarence Thomas didn’t blame Democrats for the troubles he encountered in 1991. The Senate rejected Bork’s nomination and barely approved Thomas’s selection to the high court.

Brett Kavanaugh, though, has just revealed his deep bias against Democrats and political progressive who, in his mind, are out to destroy his nomination to the nation’s highest court.

I already have stated my belief in the accusation brought by Christine Blasey Ford who contends that Kavanaugh assaulted her sexually when they were teenagers. But when Kavanaugh sat down in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his anger was palpable, as was his deep bias against those with political views that differ from his own.

Yes, I intended to keep an open mind with regard to Brett Kavanaugh. For the longest time I was able to meet that standard.

My formerly open mind has closed. I have heard enough, from Christine Ford and from Judge Kavanaugh. Moreover, I have seen enough from Kavanaugh to believe that he cannot interpret the U.S. Constitution dispassionately without regard to political motivations of those who might present cases before the Supreme Court.

Weird.

The accuser is believable

Christine Blasey Ford was a believable accuser today.

The question now, in my mind, is whether the man she accused of assaulting her when they were both teenagers should take a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

I don’t believe he should.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh defended himself vigorously today in testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He was angry at what he called a hit job by left-wing supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald J. Trump.

He cried a bit, too.

Kavanaugh has called his confirmation process “a national disgrace.”

It wasn’t pretty, this hearing today. Indeed, it was damn ugly. It was hideous.

But at the end of it, I came away believing the woman who has accused the Supreme Court nominee of a sexual assault.

This means the Senate panel that will recommend whether to confirm or reject Kavanaugh should vote “no” on this nomination.

I realize fully that my feelings on this matter won’t surprise regular readers of this blog. I wanted to watch the two principals face the Senate panel. I wanted to read their body language. I wanted to keep an open mind, and I believe I did.

My mind is now made up. Christine Ford made the case to my satisfaction. This American, yours truly, does not want Brett Kavanaugh to be granted a lifetime job in which he would interpret the constitutionality of federal laws.

I believe the president should look elsewhere.

Strangest Senate hearing in history? Yep, it sure is

Congratulations, my fellow Americans.

We likely are witnessing the most bizarre Senate confirmation hearing in the history of the republic.

Brett Kavanaugh is trying to protect his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court against an allegation by a college professor that he assaulted her when they were both in high school.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation vehemently; Christine Blasey Ford, the alleged victim, has just as vehemently asserted the veracity of the accusation she has leveled.

The weirdest part of this hearing has been the way the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted its questioning.

Republicans who support Kavanaugh didn’t question Ford directly. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley brought in a ringer, a sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona named Rachel Mitchell to speak on behalf of Republican senators. The panel’s Democratic members did question Ford directly.

When it was Kavanaugh’s turn to answer questions, he fielded them from senators from both parties.

I have drawn one conclusion from the tactic employed by the GOP side with regard to Ford. It is that the GOP senators — all of whom are men — don’t have the confidence to ask a female accuser intensely personal questions involving an alleged sex crime.

What might have spooked them? It must be that they couldn’t engage in a discussion without uttering something, anything that observers would deem offensive.

So they handed the heavy lift off to the prosecutor who, in my view, did a credible job on behalf of the Senate committee Republicans.

Still, it was downright weird to watch a surrogate do the work that should have been done by the men who comprise slightly more than one-half of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Indeed, this confirmation process is exhibiting signs that it is hurtling toward an equally weird conclusion.