Isakson, Perdue putting a lot at risk in court fight

isakson-and-perdue

Our two U.S. senators, David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, have joined their Republican colleagues in refusing to even consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Despite Garland’s sterling legal and personal reputation, despite the high praise that he has earned in the past from influential Republicans as a moderate, non-activist judge, they refuse to give Garland the Southern courtesy of a meeting, let alone a hearing or confirmation vote.

It is an act of spite motivated by partisanship, but it is also much more than that. It could have consequences to our constitutional form of government that extend well beyond this election cycle or even the lifespans of those involved. It weakens the Senate, it weakens the courts and their assumption of impartiality and it weakens public confidence in government.

Under the Constitution, the Senate has the obligation to provide advice and consent regarding judicial nominations. When Republicans defend this refusal to act by pointing out that the Founders did not include a constitutional timetable by which that duty must be carried out, they’re technically right. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and others apparently assumed that those elected to the Senate would act in timely fashion in carrying out their duties, without the need for a deadline, and 227 years later, they have been proved wrong in that assumption.

You can decide for yourselves whether the blame for that goes to the Founders for their lack of imagination, or to those in the Senate today for their lack of backbone.

Either way, with this refusal to act, Senate Republicans will have denied the Supreme Court a ninth and often-deciding vote for more than a year. Major cases are already being denied resolution because of that refusal. But the real danger is the precedent being set: If the Senate can refuse to act for more than a year while waiting for a change of presidents, why not wait two years, or three?

With this refusal to act, we are now perilously close to a situation in which it will be impossible for a president and Senate of different parties to agree upon a Supreme Court justice, regardless of who it might be. That would represent a substantial breakdown of our constitutional system of government and the balance of power among its branches. As important as a Supreme Court appointment can be, it pales in significance to the damage being done here.

I can’t say that I’m disappointed by Perdue’s stance. He is a well-connected multi-millionaire from Sea Island who was appointed to the coveted Georgia Ports Authority by his governor/cousin who also happens to be his business partner in a trucking company serving those ports. Now, as a member of the “world’s most exclusive club” as a senator, he laughably describes himself as an “outsider” while conforming to the party line dictated to him.

Isakson’s case is different. I’ve covered him for more than 25 years, dating back to his days in the state Legislature. He is a thoughtful and decent man, with an instinct to do good. Under the Gold Dome, he was well-respected on both sides as someone who valued compromise and sought to make the institutions of government work.

That Isakson is rarely seen in Washington. And when history records that you pursued temporary partisan advantage at the price of permanent damage to the constitutional structure of our government, if you had a position of power and authority from which to speak but you fell silent because of peer pressure, if you failed to follow your conscience at a time when people of conscience were needed most … well, I hope you’re comfortable with that legacy.

Reader Comments 0

891 comments
DEBERGER
DEBERGER

My apologies.  I'm a geek and sounded like I was delivering a sermon.  Oops! 

DEBERGER
DEBERGER

Mr. Bookman, I love your editorials.  I've never written to the paper before, so this a first for me.  I feel so strongly about this issue, I had to write.  First let me say that I'm a 58-year-old retired female.  I'm neither lean too far to the left or too far to the right.  I'm a college-educated Southerner, homeowner, voter and history geek.


I wrote both Senator Isakson and Senator Purdue.  Another first for me.  Before I wrote them, I re-read the Constitution (guess I'm a geek).  I could find nothing there that supports the position taken by the most Republicans in the Senate.  In fact, the Constitutionally-given roll is to "advice and consent."  The role is not to delay.  If they don't support Judge Garland, they can always vote "Nay."  I respect the Senate Republicans who have met with him.  Obviously, they don't include our two Senators.


There are many reasons to admire Judge Garland, not the least of which are his prosecution in the Oklahoma City bombing and his Supreme Court internship.  He has a reputation for being brilliant, being a moderate liberal whose opinions rarely draw a dissent.


I have heard nothing from Senator Isakson.  The letter I received from Senator Purdue was obviously a form letter, neither very informative or at all acceptable. 


I'm alarmed that our justice system is being held hostage.  It is my fear that, if the nomination waits until after the presidential election, we will have a president with whom we disagree and whose nomination will be a tragedy.


Regards,

Denise Berger

lvg
lvg

Wait until SCOTUS has to decide if Canadian Rafael Cruz can be President and they are evenly split.

C_Casselberry
C_Casselberry

The problem for Isakson and Perdue is that the President is a negro.

William Tullis
William Tullis

Basically what they are concerned with is Obama's over reach and total disregard for the law and the constitution. He is hard bent on destroying the 2nd amendment and with this judge could probably do so. 

lvg
lvg

@William Tullis Yeah Obama thinks the preamble  to the second amendment is important because it was written by the founding authors. Can you imagine such nonsense?Must be because he is Black.

Jewel Anderson
Jewel Anderson

Spineless, gutless men afraid to do what is right!

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Only a Dem/Lib who knows the history of this issues, as Bookman certainly does, could complain about the current circumstances with a straight face.  I guess when the Dem/Libs are refusing to proceed (Biden's Rule) or are knee deep in character assassination during interminable hearings, they are "doing the nation a great service." When the Pub/Cons do it, the standards are suddenly different (but you think that Pub/Cons would be long used to the application of double standards by the Dem/Libs and the lame stream on everything by now). 


Along with other great pillars that comprise Liberal Values: Self Realized and Self proclaimed Special Enlightenment; Arrogance; Condescension; the Race Card, Double Standards, and Smugness, Hypocrisy also surely stands as a great pillar of Liberal values.


I agree that this is nonsense and it is not the intent of the Founding Fathers, but the hard ball politicization of this process all began with Ted Kennedy and a Dem/Lib Senate judiciary committee and the character assassination of the brilliant jurist, Robert Bork. And we all know what they did to him.  


And they tried the same thing with Clarence Thomas, and had he not been black, they would have succeeded in keeping him off of the court too. 


Because the "right to abortion" was cobbled together on the Supreme Court bench out of thin air, based on a "right to privacy" never mentioned in the US Constitution, the Dem/Libs have lived in constant fear ever since that some collection of justices  may dismantle it as easily as it was conjured up out of nothing - always a risk when major legislation comes from the Supreme Court and not from Congress. 


The bottom line is that the Dem/Libs hate pay back. They hate having to play by the rules that they create especially for the Pub/Cons, but never for themselves. The lame stream helps them to disguise and obfuscate things while they work hard to invoke the Double Standard, but this time it is not working.  And  they don't like it one little bit.

shelley09
shelley09

@Ficklefan And what do you say about the Benghazi hearings?  See them as  "knee deep in character assassination during interminable hearings"????  I don't see a double standard...

retiredfellow
retiredfellow

As expected, both of our Georgia senators are not doing their job. 


The Senate "Oath of Office" contains this sentence:

"and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God." 


These two and the rest of the senate republicans are not abiding by this Oath of Office when they make up excuses for not doing their duty.   Neither one of them has the dignity and responsibility to stand up for Georgians and the American People rather than the bigoted party they belong to.


Isakson needs to be retired by the People  this fall and Perdue needs the same when his term is up.

Georgians deserve much better than these two as Senators representing our State and the Nation. 

Jay Lee
Jay Lee

They're both weak. They can't stand up and do the right thing. No guts.

Norman Crandell
Norman Crandell

Isn't Isakson running for re-election? Then he shouldn't vote now, he should let the people decide. That's the argument isn't it?

Dumbmick
Dumbmick

Be careful what you wish for, since the Republicans have chosen to effectively block a SCOTUS nominee, widely viewed as a 'moderate' Judge and whom was confirmed resoundingly when nominated to the Appellate Court of DC....I am predicting that the Republicans in the Senate will regret that decision in November, when Hillary is elected as the first female POTUS (along with Democrat control of both Houses of Congress), and submits former President Obama as the next member of the SCOTUS, who will be confirmed with little opposition!

td1234
td1234

Election results sheets

JKToole
JKToole

@td1234 It is well documented history that the GOP gains when no one goes to the polls. Nothing new here.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

It must be dizzying for the Short Attention Span Theater crew

not knowing from day to day whether they're 'inde-pende-tarian' or Liberpublican this week.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Is Hillary ever going to win another caucus / primary?

Peachs
Peachs

@DownInAlbany until you fix the Trump thing it doesn't matter who we run on this side, a ham sandwich could beat what you are showing..


We show you Hils, and you see our hand and show us Trump, ain't America a great place to be unpopular!

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

To all the incredible Mensa member bloggers on this site-  please provide your net worth so I can answer the poll question asking my concern of income inequality.  After that please proceed with ignorant racial and demographic profiling. Cheers.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Cupofjoe 

If only I knew:

a) who claims to be a Mensa member here

b) why someone's personal net worth would be relevant to anything being discussed here

c) what "poll question asking my concern of income inequality" you're referring to

I'd be happy to help you with your request.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@Cupofjoe


Is there nothing you could find to do that would be a better use of your time?

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

@Cupofjoe ..now that you have completed the 'Have I overestimated my importance vs my self-importance' portion of the survey....

rimsky
rimsky

George Mason law school recently changed it's name to honor Antonin Scalia.  Guess what the acronym is "A$$oL".  I am not kidding.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

He drove around in a rusted-out, Bondo-covered VW bug with no working windshield wipers. Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment — and this is what his friends had to say about him.

This is what our Classilib thinks is a Bad Thing to have in one's distant past, if you hope to lead the United States of America. 


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@lvg @Visual_Cortex 

For some reason his hit-piece pull-quote reminded me of this, written about the Conservative Prime Minister of England between 1990 and 1997:


Here is a man who knows what it is like to be on the dole, who would rather eat beans on toast in a hole in the wall than go to Le Gavroche, an ultraexpensive French restaurant in Mayfair, for lunch. 

(per http://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/29/magazine/john-major-at-bat.html )

I guess our Classilib and his pals wouldn't have a man like that leading our country.

lvg
lvg

Stupid Party picks a fight with John Roberts claiming he has gone over to the dark side:


""""The confirmation process has gotten political precisely because the court itself has drifted from the constitutional text and rendered decisions based instead on policy preferences ... the chief justice is part of the problem," Grassley said.

"He would be well served to address the reality, not the perception, that too often there is little difference between the actions of the court and the actions of the political branches," Grassley added. "So, physician, heal thyself."
From CNN today
And Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas never ruled or gave speeches based on political interests?

Peachs
Peachs

@lvg the Supreme Court is the last vehicle of absolute truth left in America.  The problem is, so few, including the Congress, can follow the logic of the law, that they don't recognize either the truth or the law when they see it. 

Peachs
Peachs

@lvg Republicans remind me of the Amish, who send their youth out into the world, for a year of so, to decide if they really want to be Amish, and then they can come back if they want.  


They freed Roberts, with a life time appointment, to be who his intellect told him he needed to be, he never came back to the plow, and the GOP feels abandoned...

honested
honested

Now that the Senator from Canad has 'momentum', we need to supply him with a slogan that matches his policies.

Having attached himself to failed policies for budgeting (at least revenue collection), military adventurism, foreign policy, education, to name a few, a very descriptive slogan comes to mind:


Amplifying Failure!


Tax cuts keep all non-military services underfunded now?  Amplify It and make the failure spectacular.


Play with the idea.

Peachs
Peachs

@honested keep that milk from children, but thank God we didn't abort them. 

rimsky
rimsky

Pfizer and Allergen have called off their merger which would have made Pfizer a Ireland based company thereby lowering it's taxes.

Pfizer is (wasted) paying $400 mil to Allergen for the change of mind.  


honested
honested

@rimsky 

Well, at least the poor Pfizer shareholders have a gonad hold on prescription purchasers in the United States.

Otherwise, they would have had to think such a foolish idea through a little more carefully in the first place.

Peachs
Peachs

@ByteMe @rimsky a man grows crops on your fertile land, then takes them to a foreign land to cash in, so he doesn't have to honor the deal that gave him the crops in the first place, now that is how America works?

Peachs
Peachs

@rimsky which the health insurers will cover on the backs of their insured.  

ByteMe
ByteMe

@rimsky America wins again.  Just gotta keep the thumb on the scale to keep the playing field level.

shelley09
shelley09

@rimsky they called off the move, because the US said they could not move their home address there.  Since they couldn't do that, and hide from paying taxes, they cancelled the deal.

Southern_Gent
Southern_Gent

Jay, you are such a hypocrite!  Play Biden's speech from his days in the Senate when a vacancy happened on GWB's watch on your TV for the next week and maybe even you will will be ashamed of yourself!


lvg
lvg

@Southern_Gent And what did Biden and the Democrats do to prevent hearings and a vote on a nominee during "his days in the Senate"? And please explain why anyone should be ashamed of anything Biden actually did? Or is that beyond your comprehension?

Cherokee51
Cherokee51

@Southern_Gent

Absolutely.  But only if you play the whole speech, not just the part that Republicans have taken out of context.

Peachs
Peachs

@lvg @Southern_Gent I am convinced if you want to hide from anything, the US Congress is the perfect place to be. It is the darkest of dark holes, no one knows what goes on there. 

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Southern_Gent  What vacancy under GWB?  care to tell us which SCOTUS seats were left open for a year?

goat diddler
goat diddler

You mean the "Biden suggestion"???

We should give it the same amount of careful thought and consideration that it was given back then.