"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

They Just Don't Get It

Sen. John McCain is still against filling Supreme Court vacancies -- if candidates are nominated by Democratic presidents:
"I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up," McCain said.

And then, of course, comes the "clarification":

"Senator McCain believes you can only judge people by their record and Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees," said McCain spokesperson Rachael Dean. "That being said, Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career."

One wonders if bullshit smells better in Arizona than in other places.

I really think it's time for the voters to retire McCain. Maybe he can get a gig co-hosting the 700 Club: two dotty old men telling people how to ruin their lives.

As Ian Millhiser points out at Think Progress, this is a very dangerous game:

The tactic that McCain is proposing is nothing less than an existential threat to the Supreme Court itself. Unlike elected officials, who wield legitimate power because they were elected by the people, federal judges cannot claim democratic legitimacy. Their legitimacy flows from their obedience to a written text and the knowledge that they were selected in a fair and constitutional process.

McCain, however, is effectively proposing that only Republicans should be allowed to choose Supreme Court justices. And, as McCain notes, two or even three more vacancies could open up on the Court during the next president’s term, as three current justices are quite elderly.

If those justices are replaced through the same legitimate process that every other justice has endured, then the Supreme Court retains the same legitimacy that it enjoyed before Scalia’s seat became vacant. But imagine a world where Scalia’s seat — and two others — remain vacant for five years because a Republican Senate refuses to confirm anyone named by the president.

What Millhiser doesn't mention is that eroding the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is in line with conservatives' attitudes toward the federal courts in general: they hate an independent judiciary because they can't control it. These are the people who railed against the Court's decision in Obergefell as "lawless" and "unconstitutional" (oxymorons if ever there were such). And these are also the people who created, first, the Tea Party, and now, Trump, who certainly has no discernible respect for the Constitution.

And most Americans think the Senate should just do its job, hold hearings, and vote. Senate Republicans are being viewed with a fair degree of cynicism on this:

A wide majority of Americans, moreover – more than seven in 10 – think Senate Republican leaders are refusing to hold hearings mostly for political reasons rather than because they think delay is best for the country. That view is shared by nine in 10 Democrats, three-quarters of independents and even a slim majority of Republicans.

Maybe Republicans should not be allowed to vote on Supreme Court nominees. Just leave it to the Democrats. Or maybe just not bother with a Senate vote at all.

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