Oh, now Democrats think senators should yield on court appointments?

Dear liberals crying partisanship and obstructionism: The ghost of Robert Bork would like a word with you.  (AP Photo / Charles Tasnadi)

Dear liberals crying partisanship and obstructionism: The ghost of Robert Bork would like a word with you. (AP Photo / Charles Tasnadi)

The cynicism on display in the aftermath of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death has been staggering. And I’m not talking about the Republicans.

From the party that gave us the term “Borking,” the party that refused to confirm Miguel Estrada to a federal appellate court because he had said too little about his political views and because he might give Republicans a hero in the Hispanic community, we get high dudgeon about the Senate’s responsibility to clear a path for the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court. We are talking about the nominee of a president, remember, who joined a filibuster of one of his predecessor’s nominees and who has had famously lukewarm relations even with members of Congress from his own party.

It is utterly fitting that this should happen in an administration that employs as vice president one Joe Biden, whose failures bookend the three-decade era that has brought us to this point. Biden led the charge against Robert Bork’s 1987 Supreme Court nomination — the scuttling of which is the only reason liberals can accurately say a Reagan appointee was confirmed in the lame-duck election year of 1988 — and he has been unable to succeed in the role of congressional fixer for the distant and disinterested President Obama. If Biden were to write a book about obstructionism regarding federal judicial appointments, he’d have to cast himself as one of the main characters.

No, the country should not be in the position of a standoff that could mean an unprecedented, two-year short-handedness on the nation’s highest court. The casualties of such a prolonged vacancy would be numerous, from the schoolchildren and educators who likely will remain hostage to overly political teachers’ unions to the Catholic nuns who may not win a reprieve from the Obamacare mandate to provide contraceptives in health-insurance plans, among others. But to pretend that the current episode of gridlock is a feature fully built and maintained by a year-old GOP majority is to be in denial of all that came before. Namely, the Democrats’ innovations in being the first group to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee (Bork) or an appeals court choice (Estrada) for purely, and nakedly, ideological and political reasons.

Could Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been craftier about refusing to seat a dyed-in-the-wool liberal justice to replace Scalia and thereby tip the court from more or less ideological equilibrium (four conservatives, four liberals and the independent-minded Anthony Kennedy)? Of course. He could have said something like, “The Senate will give the president’s nominee its due consideration,” and then upon receiving a liberal nominee said such person wasn’t due the Senate’s attentions. Are we really to pretend liberals would have been any more understanding in that scenario? The party that talked itself into opposing Bork because he was too transparently conservative and Estrada because he was too opaquely so? That party would have appreciated McConnell’s maneuvering more than his simply stating the result upfront?

Yeah, and Bernie Sanders is going to take a spot on a Wall Street firm’s board of directors after he loses the election.

Or are we instead to believe Obama really would have chosen a true compromise candidate? What, based on all those other compromises to which he’s agreed over the years?

(This is me waiting for someone to name such a compromise. Still waiting. Still waiting …)

It would indeed be pleasant to have a more agreeable process. It would be pleasant to have a president who was equally worried about the Constitution as he made illegal recess appointments or overstepped his own acknowledged limit of authority in granting quasi-legal status to certain illegal immigrants. It would be pleasant to have a president who was so concerned about proper relations with Congress that he had proposed a budget that could receive more than a handful of votes even in a divided Congress.

Instead, we’re left with the liberals’ pleasant fiction that none of their actions since 1987 have any bearing on what’s going on with the court vacancy today.

Reader Comments 0

57 comments
boyesss
boyesss

Bork got his hearing, Kyle. Period.

He got rejected, not because he didn't get a fair hearing, but because he had no honor.

Years earlier He was ordered by Richard Nixon to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. The reason he was in that position was because his two bosses refused to fire Cox because it was ILLEGAL, and THEY RESIGNED INSTEAD OF VIOLATING THE LAW (a federal judge also ruled the firing illegal the day after Bork followed Nixons order).

I for one am proud that Joe Biden led the cause against such a dishonorable man for the nations highest court.

If McConnell's stance today is because of that vote, then he has no honor.

As do all those who follow your logic.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

PEOPLE are tired of the naysayers!  Doesn't Trump's ascendency tell you that!  Washington as usual is what folks are fed up with!  And that starts with asinine plans like "we will not confirm" when no candidate has been put forward!  (Stuff) like this is what folks have become so angry about.

HeyThere
HeyThere

I hope one day we can get to the point where we say "I agree with this" or "I don't agree with this" rather than "Well look what the other side did 30 years ago!" Each party gives the other cover to behave badly when we take this attitude.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@HeyThere

I hope one day we can get to the point where what happens in Washington D.C. matters hardly at all to Americans.

Liberal fascist Democrats are just too unwilling to let folks fend for themselves.  I guess that just means they know their own party's voters well.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Relax, Democrats, we're just going to apply the Shumer-Reid-Obama doctrine to your SCOTUS appointments.

Obstruct, delay, filibuster.

lvg
lvg

@Lil_Barry_Bailout Worked pretty well to get the bigot Bork voted down. Instead Reagan sent up Kennedy who Dems approved in Reagan's last year. But GOP bible thumpers , ultra conservatives and tea heads hate Kennedy now for doing away with criminal laws outlawing sodomy between consenting adults (Georgia) and  enforcing rights of gays to marry. Same crazies now hate Roberts who W appointed. Of course Little Barry and this bunch of fascists doesn't believe in the Constitution and allowing that Black Socialist to appoint any justices. 

lvg
lvg

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @lvg So you no longer think obstructuing the President is the correct course of action on his nominee? I expect the right wing will cave in before this is over and realize they need to do what's best for the country and to h-ll with Cruz and the anarchy caucus.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Did you not read my posts on this thread?

Allowing Obama to have one of his appointees seated on Our Supreme Court would be a disaster. Our rights and freedoms are too important to allow that. No Real American wants to see them further weakened by a Constitution-shredding leftist-majority court.

lvg
lvg

@LilBarryBailout Ya having a right wing political hack who makes derogatory comments abouts Blacks would be your kind of Justice.

Caius
Caius

Scalia was a transformational Justice (using Justice Kagan's description) not only because he was conservative but because he changed the way the Court handled cases. It was Scalia who brought Oral Arguments totally into the decision making mix.  Scalia was not the first, nor will he be the last, to insist on reading the Constitution as written. But under Scalia a well argued brief became as important as a well written brief. 


And let's lay one idea aside.  Scalia was not opposed, in practice, of legislating from the bench, especially when he was the one legislating.  The New Haven firemen's case was the best example of "legislating" in decades.


Bottom line, Scalia will be missed. 



lvg
lvg

Only a White Southerner who leans to the right on everything would condemn Biden for  ensuring Bork's  views on civil rights got a full airing and expose Bork for being a fake moderate conservative. But yes the GOP  craves and depends on the White Southern vote and they need  proponents of their bigoted views on the Supreme Court.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@lvg

Why are you so angry?

And just to fix the statement you made out of hate, the GOP depends on the votes of Real Americans who work for a living and pay taxes.  Which is admittedly a dwindling group, thanks to Obama's deliberate efforts to impoverish people, destroy families, hassle businesses, and hook Democrats on welfare.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @lvg So the generations of poor people in Forsyth and other counties in Georgia who live in trailers and are on assistance and who vote republican are real Americans also? But dems in the same economic world are not? Really?


Whether you like it or not we are all real Americans!

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@RoadScholar @Lil_Barry_Bailout @lvg

Democrats for the most part stopped being Americans some decades ago, when they started voting in their self-interest instead of in the country's interest.

Openly rooting for America to lose and for our troops to be killed in Iraq simply to embarrass Our President Bush didn't help the cause, either.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @RoadScholar @lvg What? Just because "Democrats" see things differently and vote their conscious you contend they are not Americans? I thought freedom of speech (and thought and beliefs) was covered in the Constitution? Oh just like a con who throws up the Constitution as our foundation, except when the con does not agree with the application!


Were you with Trump when he say people in NJ cheering for the fall of the twin towers also? Rooting against our troops? The same troops who, when they died, the repubs would not show when returning home in coffins?


Do you ever get tired of making an a$$ of yourself? Lying?

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@RoadScholar @Lil_Barry_Bailout @lvg

Democrats don't vote their conscience, they vote for other peoples' money and to ensure their ability to snuff out any unborn children who result from their lack of ability to control themselves (or what they call "voting in their own interest").

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

As was mentioned in the last debate the Republicans have a less than stellar record when it comes to nominating SCOTUS justices. For that reason, even if they manage to slow-walk the process until after the election I have little confidence they'll get it right.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

As the proggies always say, "elections have consequences".   The Obama led progressives lost the Senate in 2014, he lost the House in 2010, and he has lost most of the state legislatures and governors.   Obama has been the best thing to ever happen to the GOP and to gun manufacturers.  He has to live with the loss of the Senate, so he might reflect more on his lack of any effort to work with the GOP in the past.  Had he kept the Senate he would be on cloud nine, but he failed.  Now live with that.  He did everything in his power to "bork" Samuel Alito, so he knows the game.  Now the shoe is on the other foot, deal with it.  Were GW Bush to have nominated someone at this point in his Presidency, the Dems would be in open rebellion.  


McConnell should have said the Senate is ready to receive the nomination and will act with the speed we deem appropriate.  The Constitution says nothing about speed of the process. 


Obama refuses to enforce laws which he disagrees with, such as immigration laws, even though the Constitution requires the President to use due diligence to enforce the laws of the US.  If Obama can deliberately ignore Constitutional requirements by making a bunch of snarky excuses, the Senate can defer from rapid action on Obama's nomination. 

lvg
lvg

Scalia  suggested Elena Kagan to Obama for a seat on the Court. 

I guess that does not count as a compromise.

gapeach101
gapeach101

When does the statue of limitations run on a presumed bad act?  It seems like the US is about to become the Hatfields vs. the McCoys. 

Are we only going to be able to have a full supreme court when the president and senate majority are the of the same party?  Could make for a might small court.

gapeach101
gapeach101

Seems to me, Scalia, the constitutionalist, would be appalled at the idea of the President not nominating a judge.  Isn't that what the constitution says to do?

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@gapeach101 I wonder how he would feel about the threats to not even consider that recommendation?

lvg
lvg

Ah yes let's throw out the Constitutional process for selection of Supreme Court Justices and ignore the words of Saint Ronald in 1988 when Kennedy's nomination was before the Senate and instead just get down to same old partisan politics the 
GOP has been playing for seven years and block all of Obama's judicial nominees. How fitting that all this partisan rhetoric occurs after the death of one of the most partisan Justices to sit on the Court in our lifetime.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@lvg

You Obama fanboys don't have standing to complain about anyone not respecting the "Constitutional process".

lvg
lvg

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @lvg So tell us please how many times Obama has been overturned in a final decision by the Supreme Court???

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @lvg Yes we do for the party who constantly flaunts the constitution, and then , when it does not agree with its goals, want to ignore it.

Caius
Caius

The Majority Leader could have played his hand a little better.

Lets move forward to August 2016; Trump has the nomination locked up except for the superdelegates. Clinton or Sanders, doesn't matter, has the Democratic nomination locked up.  Does anyone really want to wait and take the Supreme Court nominee either one of those three liberals will send to the Senate?  Not me. 


The Senate Republicans need to get with Obama and negotiate the best deal they can on a nominee.  It will not be a conservative but it need not be a liberal; it can be a "moderate" (like beauty, it is in the eyes of the beholder). 


And if the Democrats take control of the WH and the Senate with 51 votes and change the rules for Supreme Court nominees needing only a simple majority?  Are Republicans going to be happy with the new Supreme Court Justice?






JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

I don't expect the nominee to be confirmed, but I do expect the Senate to do their job and to do so with dignity.  McConnell never should have said what he did.  The body wasn't even cold, and he was already being petty and political.  The next time people say Obama is divisive, here is yet another reason to call bull.  It's been like this since the day he was inaugurated.


Secondly, He has said he will abdicate his duty to the Constitution and you are defending him?  He needs to do his job.  Call the vote and deny the confirmation.  He is basically setting the precedent that opposing Senates don't have to hold confirmation hearings of they don't want to.  Is that what you Constitutionalists want?

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

The hypocrisy by the Democrats (see Schumer) is what makes people sick of Washington.  That is why Trump and Sanders are doing well.  Why slippery talkers like Clinton, Rubio and Cruz can't gain more traction.  Why long time figures like Christie, Kasich and Bush have trouble getting any traction.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

The campaigns and candidates might not be similar, but the supporters are.

Wingnuts.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@xxxzzz Trump and Sanders campaign couldnt be more dissimilar.


Ill say again. Robert Bork got a vote. He lost


Will Obama's nominee get the same


Highly unlikely.


That is hypocrisy.



Gandolph
Gandolph

@xxxzzz So Sanders, who has spent a career in Washington, is now an outsider like Trump? I don't follow your logic.

Gandolph
Gandolph

@Hedley_Lammar It is widely accepted that Bork's nomination was torpedoed by Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy on a purely ideological basis because they had the power to do so, regardless of his qualifications. Your statement that "he got a vote" is shallow and your claim of hypocrisy even more so if you are trying to make a point that the current situation is the same.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

The truly sad thing about the last few decades of Supreme Court decisions is how politicized the Democrat-appointed justices have become.  There's almost never any deviation from the Democrat party's preferred outcome.

No wonder Americans have begun to lose faith in even this branch of the federal government.

Another institution corrupted by leftists.

lvg
lvg

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @Hedley_Lammar Yeah a white Southerner would be whining in a Southern paper about Robert Bork getting voted down for his views on integration.

" Bork was not rejected because of a liberal campaign of “brazen lies,” “smears” and “distortions”—as The Wall Street Journal claimed—but because, as one Reagan White House aide admitted, he was a “right-wing zealot,” hostile to abortion, civil rights, free speech, church-state separation and human rights.

 

Because Bork’s handlers, particularly Washington lawyer Lloyd Cutler, knew Bork couldn’t win if people knew what he was really like, they tried to package him as a “moderate conservative” in the mold of Justice John M. Harlan. It didn’t work. Bork had spoken out too much on too many issues to keep his real views secret.

And these views were extreme indeed:

Equality: Bork condemned the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause decisions that outlawed the poll tax (“a very small tax,” he called it); established the one-person, one-vote principle; abolished school segregation in the District of Columbia; barred courts from enforcing racially restrictive housing covenants; prevented a state from sterilizing certain criminals or interfering with the right to travel and prohibited discriminating against out-of-wedlock children. 


As late as June 1987, he declared, “I do think the Equal Protection clause probably should have been kept to things like race and ethnicity.”"""


http://www.thenation.com/article/bork-legacy/


I can see why Kyle would be upset about Bork getting canned by Joe Biden. Welcome to the good old South.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@xxxzzz @Hedley_Lammar @Lil_Barry_Bailout He was a strci Republican for sure.


Watched an interview he gave the other day and he was asked about torture.


He said he didn't have an opinion on it because the word did not appear in the constitution. He kept coming back to the word punishment. 


What a clown.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

What, based on all those other compromises to which he’s agreed over the years?


The Bush tax cuts say what ?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Did Bork receive an up or down vote ?


Yes he did. Obama most likely wont get that.


Case closed.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Lil_Barry_Bailout @Hedley_Lammar He will nominate someone soon.


They most likely will NOT receive a vote. 


Republicans seem set on playing the " it should be the next President not this one " card.


Hence my comment. 

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Hedley_Lammar @Lil_Barry_Bailout Advice and consent.  McConnell is advising Obama not to rush out a nominee because the Senate will not consent.  He did his job pretty promptly!