‘We have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions’

clarence-thomas-ap-640x480Justice Clarence Thomas, speaking to the Heritage Foundation Wednesday night, was asked about the refusal by Senate Republicans to allow a confirmation vote on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. (The unfilled vacancy has left the court split 4-4, unable to decide important cases without a ninth, tie-breaking vote.)

“This city is broken in some ways,” Thomas said, choosing to address the issue obliquely rather than directly. “At some point, we have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions.”

That does seem to be the plan, yes.

Garland’s nomination has been pending since back in March, with no action taken. Senate Republicans have tried to justify that refusal to “advise and consent” on the grounds that their refusal was temporary, until a newly elected president took office. Now, with the election of Hillary Clinton looking likely, they are screwing up the political courage to push that argument even farther.

A few hours before the comments by Thomas, Sen. Ted Cruz had suggested that if Clinton wins, he and his fellow Republicans might refuse to ever fill that vacant seat. If any additional vacancies emerged — three of the eight surviving justices are 78 or older — they would refuse to allow Clinton to fill those as well.

Earlier this month, Sen. John McCain had made a very similar threat.

“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 on a talk-radio show in Pennsylvania, where he was campaigning for Sen. Pat Toomey. “This is the strongest argument I can make to return Pat Toomey, so we can make sure there are not three places on the United States Supreme Court that will change this country for decades.”

McCain later backed off that stance, but clearly the notion of an all-out, long-term refusal to confirm Supreme Court nominations is gaining steam among conservatives. It’s no coincidence that recent articles in both National Review and at The Federalist, the house organ for the conservative legal movement, have attempted to give the notion a patina of legality and legitimacy.

In his piece at The Federalist, Cato Institute legal scholar Ilya Shapiro is pretty frank about how far this could go:

“As a matter of constitutional law, the Senate is fully within its powers to let the Supreme Court die out, literally. I’m not sure such a position is politically tenable — barring some extraordinary circumstance like overwhelming public opinion against the legitimacy of the sitting president — but it’s definitely constitutional.”

These are people who call themselves conservatives, mind you, people who like to claim a deep, abiding reverence for the Constitution and the system of republican government handed down to us by the founders. Yet here they claim the right to completely negate one of the key attributes of that system recognized for more than two centuries, the authority granted to the president to fill court vacancies. They refuse to allow that part of the Constitution to function because they fear what the normal functioning of the Constitution would bring.

And as Shapiro notes — “the Senate is fully within its powers to let the Supreme Court die out, literally” — their radical attack is not merely upon the executive branch, but upon the judiciary as well.

As I’ve argued before, this is not an isolated example, but instead must be viewed as part of a broad, perhaps even existential assault. For the past quarter century, the conservative movement has been working toward a conviction that if they cannot win control of government through the ballot box in order to work their will, they will use what control they do have to ensure that the institutions of government do not work at all, in any regard. It is secession by other means, a retreat into a virtual confederacy, with no compunction about the damage done in the process.

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1758 comments
FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Fresh linens on how much ObamaCares. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Someone asked below...what were China and Russia doing during Rwanda's genocide.

Russia? Nothing.

China? Provided weaponry. To which side, I don't know.

France, however, was helping the Hutu and was also providing weaponry.

When Romeo Dallaire, UNAMIR commander was given information surrounding a weapons cache held by the Hutu who were seeking mass extermination of Tutsi, he asked for permission from the U.N.'s DPKO to raid the cache.

The request was denied.

Makes me wonder why.

Mysteries and global intrigue... 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Also, as I was researching Fineman's credentials just a few minutes ago, I heard on MSNBC from the main actress of the recently released film about the mixed race couple in Virginia in the 1950s (who loved one another dearly and who simply wanted to live together, married, in their own home and raise their children together there). They were both jailed for short durations and had to take their case to the Supreme Court of the U. S. where they won.


Please see this new film if you did not grow up in the Jim Crow South.  I do not see how you could possibly understand how bad it was unless you do.  This took place in the relatively erudite state of Virginia in the 1950s.  Had this couple married and lived together openly in the Deep South during that same period, they may have been lynched, imo.


If you see this film, I think you will understand WHY I become so insistent, at times, that citizens look deeper and search harder for real spiritual truths, which are eternal, instead of accepting society's surface, given and non-questioning norms, simply because it is easier and safer to do so.  In other words, I keep insisting that people not accept stereotypical thinking and cliched thinking so that their spiritual and intellectual understanding will grow.


This film, I believe, will make my points in a non-didactic way and even in an elegant, moving, and poetic way.  I am sorry that I did not catch the name of the film but it is a true story and the mixed race actress who plays the wife was a very sensitive spokesperson for the film.  I predict Academy Award nominations coming from this film.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

I will give you one @td1234 , early voting is showing Trump winning in Iowa but what about the rest?  LOL


Early voting numbers show Clinton's strength in Arizona, other battlegrounds


More than 7.3 million Americans have already voted. Democrats have improved their positions in North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona compared to this point in 2012, according to a CNN analysis of the latest early voting statistics.  More than 7.3 million Americans have already voted. Democrats have improved their positions in North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona compared to this point in 2012, according to a CNN analysis of the latest early voting statistics.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Speaking of dancing, look at that fancy stepping by Hillary Clinton over the militant protests in North Dakota over the pipeline as she uncomfortably tries to run out the clock without saying anything at all: 

http://tinyurl.com/zlasbnc

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Donnie_Pinko 

One of those political statements that talks a lot, but doesn't say anything.

Clinton's campaign is probably wise to attempt to avoid any unforced errors in the next couple weeks.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

Could Trump's campaign finally be the trigger for Christian Evangelicals moving leftward politically?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@FIGMO2 @Nick_Danger 

IMO, "religious freedom" is code for "my freedom to discriminate". 

My feeling is that, as society accepts the recent changes in gay rights, that phrase will revert to its original meaning, and be of more concern to Muslims than Christians. 

And, I suspect the driving force will be how we, as Americans, treat the less fortunate.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Last evening I wrote on this blog that Howard Fine (sic), journalist, had given the most lucid and cogent argument in behalf of Bill Clinton and what happened at the Clinton Foundation that I had heard and I recommended that readers (esp. GH who had asked the question of me) find Howard Fineman's 5 minute argument on Chris Matthews' Show at 7 p.m. last evening.  If I get time during this coming weekend, I will scout out Fineman's words for myself and post them here.  They are well worth reading and understanding.


-----------------------------------------------


Here are journalist Howard Fineman's credentials:


Howard David Fineman (born November 17, 1948)[citation needed] is an American journalist who is global editorial director of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group.[1] Prior to his move to Huffington Post in October 2010, he was Newsweek's Chief Political Correspondent, Senior Editor and Deputy Washington Bureau Chief.

An award-winning writer, Fineman also is an NBC News analyst, contributing reports to the network and its cable affiliate MSNBC. He appears frequently on Hardball with Chris MatthewsThe Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, and The Rachel Maddow Show. The author of scores of Newsweek cover stories, Fineman's work has also appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The New Republic. His "Living Politics" column was posted weekly on Newsweek.com.[2] Fineman authored his first book in 2008, The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Define and Inspire Our Country.


Fineman holds a B.A. from Colgate University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and a member of Beta Theta Pi, an M.S. in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a J.D. from the University of Louisville School of Law. His legal education also included a year at the Georgetown University Law Center. He was also a recipient of both the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship for study in EuropeRussia and the Middle East.[

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@MaryElizabethSings 

Those names sounded so familiar! 

Then I realized that "Fine", "Fineman", and "Howard" were all last names used by The Three Stooges!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Are we still wallowing on the same sheets?

They're pillin', jay! Forming small balls of fluff.

TBS
TBS

I mentioned reggae earlier. Well how about a killer tune from the late great Peter Tosh

On a certain level this tune reminds me of DP... not in a bad way

I'm sure he will get the analogy especially if he knows about Tosh

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g7hOzAoK9bg

TBS
TBS

Good one

But Tosh would say either one fits that bill

Tosh had his issues but dude was a true revolutionary with his lyrics and what he stood for

Bad man... he lashed out with his music as good any imo

It was his sword

I'm a BM fan but Tosh to me was the man even though his career didn't obtain the BM hights

Might have been those lyrics

Lol

breckenridge
breckenridge

I am in agreement with Robert Gates and hundreds of other experienced republicans who think Trump is unqualified and unfit to serve as Commander In Chief.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@breckenridge 

You're with the right wing ex-heads of the military industrial complex, we get it.

To you it means something. To me it means zilch.

cdjr
cdjr

@breckenridge  May be true but Hillary as commander in chief? Will happen but what a f ing joke! Can you imagine having to salute her?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@breckenridge  I am in agreement with millions of Americans who think Hillary is corrupt and therefore unqualified to even serve as a dog catcher.

td1234
td1234

So we have AI (predicted the last 3 elections correctly) and a professor that has predicted every election correctly since 1984 saying Trump will win and you have Nate, Wang and other saying Hillary's probability of winning (notice they are not actually predicting the win) is extremely high. You have polls all over the place and changing dramatically from week to week. 


So who is right and who is wrong or should we all just wait and see what the outcome is going to be next Tuesday night. 

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser Would you like to present professional evidence that Trump is "insane" or are you just blowing again? 

td1234
td1234

@TBS I am not predicting anything because I have no idea on this election. I am saying that it appears even the experts really have no idea either. 

gadem
gadem

@DownInAlbany @StraightNoChaser @td1234 and Donald can't...a dollar always makes Donald holler. He's scamming the conservatives now, talking about he is going to spend $100 million on his campaign....wrong. He only gave inkind contribution of $30K....lol

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@td1234 

td, your "professor" does NOT say Trump will win. 

He said his method of analysis predicts it, but admits he believes it is incorrect this year. 

Your own sources contradict you.

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser @td1234 Hillary is more of a war hawk than Trump and she will have to show she has a pair if she is elected the first woman President. Please do tell us again how Trump is more likely to start a war? LOL

TBS
TBS

You predicting another inside straight?

td1234
td1234

@gadem Are you really that dumb to make such a statement? 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser She's safer and can't be baited by a tweet when carrying nuclear codes.  History shows how mad men rule and it's not pretty.  BTW, I noticed that you never answered when I asked you to tell us about the Trump corporation and it's financial ties in foreign countries.  You see td, for every monster that you say that Hillary is there are three more for Trump plus he's insane.

td1234
td1234

@honested Hillary will not last 4 years, if elected, she will either be impeached, disabled or die in office. 

HDB0329
HDB0329

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser ...really?? Trump is putting money in his pocket NOW from the campaign.....who knows how much he would steal from the country to put into his golf courses if he were Prez......

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @honested And what makes Trump's odds any better?  Because his scam is he's running as a republican with conservative values.  HA, ha now that's funny.  

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser You said "insane" not narcissistic. Where is your proof of insane? 


I cannot believe you even mentioned narcissistic with a straight face and not talk about Hillary after reading the Wiki emails. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@td1234 @TBS 

I guess if you reject all the evidence, you would have no idea who will win.

td1234
td1234

@OldEngineer @td1234 No the professor predicted Obama. The paper is trying to say despite his prediction the data set says his methods are incorrect. His prediction was correct. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @OldEngineer Based on change of power and again I say it does not matter this time around because Trump is a lunatic and because of the things that have come out of his trap.  His words have given a real clear insight into the fabric of who Donald Trump really is. He's unfit to be president.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser I added narcissist for punctuation.  Why do you think that a flawed candidate such as Hillary is beating him in the projections based on polling?  It's because Donald Trump is not fit to be president and why is that?  Because he is insane.

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

I'm predicting she'll last ALL 8 YEARS and accomplish great things for the American People while overturning Citizens United and strengthening Roe vs. Wade!!

honested
honested

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser 

On another note, will you begin radio silence on 11/09 or just launch straight into some 'impeach Hillary' nonsense?

HDB0329
HDB0329

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser ....Trump refuses to believe DNA evidence that exonerated the Central Park 5.....but maintains the belief that black men are always guilty of some crime.......


That's insanity to the utmost degree.....or did you starch your sheets again for the weekend???

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 The difference is that Donald Trump is stock raving mad and not fit to be president. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@cdjr 

  Sad!

I am so so saddy saddy sad sad sad that you haz sadz.