Justice Ginsburg's dying wish...

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

...and another unraveling system: In yesterday morning's Washington Post, Ann Hornaday lowered the boom on the frequent childishness of our failing liberal tribe.

That said, are mainstream journalists far behind? Last night, Senator Barasso appeared on The PBS NewsHour. He was charged with the task of defending the GOP's right to power ahead with a Supreme Court appointment at this particular time and under the circumstances his own party created four years ago.

Given what the GOP did (and said) in 2016, this should have been a hard case to make. But sad! Judy Woodruff's third question to Barasso was uttered exactly as shown:

BARASSO (9/22/20):  I think Judge Ginsburg was right when she was asked about this and said, the president is the president from the first day of the term to the last day of the term. She was very clear.

She was also clear on the kind of threats that Chuck Schumer is making now about expanding the size of the Supreme Court from nine to 11 or 13. Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, no, shouldn't do that. Nine is the right number.

And if the Democrats do the things that they're threatening to do, she said that would just politicize the court, and it shouldn't be done.

WOODRUFF: She also said, Senator, that her dying wish was to have this nomination wait until after the president, the next president is elected.

Gack! In fairness to Woodruff, a person might suspect that she was triggered by Barasso's context-free recitation of Ginsburg's past remarks.

That said, surely we all understand that a dying or retiring Justice doesn't get to set the rules for the selection of her successor.  And yet, childish references to Justice Ginsburg's "dying wish" have been all over liberal cable this week. Again and again, our floundering, unimpressive though self-impressed team just can't quite seem to grow up. 

Meanwhile, even as we play Peter Pan, our various American systems keep breaking down around us:

Coming soon, the Electoral College may select the losing candidate for the third time in six elections. Also, thanks to the growing strangeness of "Senate math," smaller red states (currently) tend to hold sway over larger blue states. The resulting political advantage can be seen in various ways. 

(It seemed to us that Kevin Drum was jumping through hoops in this recent post to suggest that this doesn't much matter.)

It's also true that, under current arrangements, Democrats will typically have to win more than 50 percent of the nationwide vote just to break even in the House. For an explanation, click this.

These systems are all creaking, in some cases rather badly. But none of our original systems have come to make less sense than the prevailing Supreme Court system. That's especially true now that the Court is a plainly political branch.

Did a lifetime appointment to the Court ever make sense? If so, it no longer does. 

Several Justices have perhaps overstayed Father or Mother Time's welcome in the past several decades. And now that the Court is so plainly political, the lifetime appointment encourages a certain type of president to search for the youngest possible ideologue to nominate for the Court. 

Why pick the youngest instead of the best? It extends the number of decades the ideologue will cast predictable partisan votes on the nation's highest court. (George Bush the elder had been urged to "pick young" when he picked Clarence Thomas.)

Now that the Court is a political branch, the lifetime appointment isn't the only problem with its traditional arrangements. Through coincidence of death or retirement, the right to select Justices has becomes a deeply ridiculous game of political chance.

In the current arrangement, an unpopular, disordered one-term president who never actually won an election is going to end up having named a full one-third of the Court.  If he finds a way to win while losing once again, he may name several additional Justices.

In the current circumstance, this has happened partly through chance and partly through the GOP's power grab in 2016. But it represents a ridiculous way to apportion a large nation's political power.

Our systems are breaking apart around us, but there's no particular sign we'll ever be able to fix them. One team is geared to power grabs, the other to dying wishes—and to the feel-good fun of the bobblehead dolls Hornaday angrily ridiculed.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our systems are failing fast. As we reveal ourselves as the party of twee and of perpetual high self-regard, is it likely that we liberals will find a way to stop this?

For extra credit only: Back in 2016, was it really Beau Biden's dying wish that Hillary had to be stopped? Was the dying wish really voiced with his last few nouns?

Where did Maureen Dowd's claim come from? Why did her newspaper print the unsourced claim in a major front-page news report?

Also, are you happy with what that alleged dying wish helped buy us? For our money, it was the shakiest sounding dying statement since Bob Woodward allegedly snuck into Georgetown Hospital, where he allegedly heard Bill Casey's dying reveal. 

As we said in the passage above, quite a few systems are failing around us or have perhaps already failed.


29 comments:

  1. "Coming soon, the Electoral College may select the losing candidate for the third time in six elections."

    Sorry to break it to you, dear Bob, but the candidate selected by the Electoral College is, in the US of A, the winning candidate.

    If it upsets you, dear Bob, you may want to move to a unitary state. There are plenty of those on this planet.

    "...an unpopular, disordered one-term president who never actually won an election..."

    Orange Man Bad much, dear Bob. Is dembottery your new passion? Sad.

    "Did a lifetime appointment to the Court ever make sense? If so, it no longer does."

    Why do you zombies care so much about "the Court", dear Bob? I mean, why does your cult orders you to care?

    Is it because your cult wants more and more federal laws, unpopular in various parts of the country, shoved down everyone's throat? Seems like the most plausible explanation. Think about it, dear Bob.

    ReplyDelete
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    2. The best news is you haven't fallen into groupthink yourself.

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  2. "Also, thanks to the growing strangeness of "Senate math," smaller red states (currently) tend to hold sway over larger blue states."

    All states have the same number of senators, whether red or blue.

    Somerby is lazy here and doesn't express himself very well. What he perhaps means is that the senate majority is composed of red states that have less population than the states in the blue minority. So, the majority is being ruled by a minority, population-wise because of the equivalence between populous and less populous states in the senate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that it's pretty clear from his statement. There's no need to elucidate on something that everyone understands.

      Delete
    2. Somerby should be held to his own standards.

      Delete
  3. "That's especially true now that the Court is a plainly political branch."

    The court is not a political branch simply because political parties have vied to put their own judges on the court. The primary allegiance of any judge is to the law, not politics. Hence the dismay when Roberts ruled against Republican wishes recently, something that has happened frequently over the course of the years. No party owns a judge (unless it is Clarence Thomas). The other members of the court exert a stronger influence, and the fact that judges are appointed for LIFE enables them to rule without worrying about threats and personal consequences, as intended. Somerby thinks that particular protection is outmoded -- just at the time when reprisals are most likely from people like Trump as his cronies.

    What planet is Somerby from that he doesn't understand basic facts about how the Supreme court works?

    ReplyDelete
  4. No liberal has been saying that the Republicans MUST hold off because Ginsburg had a dying wish, or that her final words were a legal dictate from the court itself. This is Somerby's attempt to make liberals sound foolish. It is not only lame, but it reveals the depth of his animosity toward liberals that he would make up shit like this. And yet he pretends that he himself is liberal. If you trust anything this man says, there is something wrong with you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "is it likely that we liberals will find a way to stop this?

    Somerby is not any part of "we".

    Our systems are not breaking apart. All is not lost. The sky is not falling. No need to run around with a dish towel on your head, Somerby. All WE liberals need to do is cast our votes. All of them.

    Once again, Somerby fails to point out the obvious. Biden is our antidote to Trump's misconduct and we are rallying behind him to retake the presidency, the Senate, to hold the House, and to correct the mistakes of Trump's administration. There is a blue wave building that no amount of Somerby nihilism can deter. Somerby is trying to raise doubts in our minds, but all we need to do now is VOTE for Biden. And don't forget about the down-ballot candidates. The repair of country can begin after Nov 3.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It makes me cringe when Somerby says anything about Justice Ginsburg. He has no respect for her (or any woman apparently) and he doesn't feel any sense of loss for her death. He should have the decency to shut up about her, since he obviously cannot say anything good about her. This is like when Trump posted nasty remarks about McCain when he had just died.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We have a bit of a conundrum. The constitution states that President shall fill supreme court vacancies with consent and advice of the senate. However, it does not state what happens when the senate refuses to provide its advice and consent. Does silence imply consent?
    Now we are facing an arms race. Let's say that Democrats win the senate, as appears to be somewhat likely. Let's say that Trump wins presidency, which is possible. Democrats can then refuse to fill any and all judicial vacancies until the next election. After all, there's no qualitative difference between a vacancy occurring 10 months before the election, as was the case when Scalia died; 10 months and one day; 11 months two years or four years. Short of clarifying the constitutional requirements we'll be stuck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the Democrats control the house and senate don’t expect that a Trump presidency will last four years. All the rancid shit that has been swept under the carpet by Barr and this clown’s enablers will be re-examined (as in the eight or so Benghazi hearings) and he will be gone.

      Delete
  8. “As we reveal ourselves as the party of twee and of perpetual high self-regard, is it likely that we liberals will find a way to stop this?”

    Not when you have people like Somerby calling themselves liberals and saying shit like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “Twee”? You all are about as twee as three-year-old on an eight hour bus trip.

      Delete
    2. Liberals actually think Wes Anderson is good.

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  11. From Democratic Underground:

    Source: The Guardian

    "Leaked chat logs show Portland-area pro-Trump activists planning and training for violence, sourcing arms and ammunition and even suggesting political assassinations ahead of a series of contentious rallies in the Oregon city, including one scheduled for this weekend."

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/23/oregon-portland-pro-trump-protests-violence-texts

    ReplyDelete
  12. From Palmer Report:

    "We’ve reached the stage of the election where Donald Trump no longer believes he has a realistic shot at winning, or even at keeping it close enough to successfully cheat. So he’s moved on to hurling scary nonsense at the wall about how he’s going to magically remain in power no matter what, in the hope of making you too discouraged to keep putting in the work required to finish him off.

    When Joe Biden was asked about Trump’s latest empty threat last night, he gave the perfect answer: “The United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.” If Biden wins, he’ll be sworn in on the Capitol steps with or without Trump’s participation. At that moment Trump will be trespassing if he’s still in the White House, and his own Secret Service agents would immediately drag him out."

    ReplyDelete
  13. From Lawyers, Guns & Money blog:

    "Here’s a fact scholars of media studies will marvel at some time in the unwritten future: The nation’s leading newspaper’s story on the president of the United States refusing to commit to engaging in a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election appeared on page 15 of that paper.

    Maybe if he had said that in a private hacked email that also featured a risotto recipe, instead of on live TV, it might have warranted a bit more prominent coverage.

    One thing we’ve discovered over the last four years is that the media operate under the axiom that something can’t be a scandal if it’s done right out in the open. Trump is openly saying he’s planning to steal the election via the Supreme Court, which is why it’s so important to fill RBG’s seat immediately, and that’s not a scandal. That’s Wednesday in America."

    This is what media criticism looks like.

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