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A Horse Named Stranger

US Politics: Weimar, Washington, Whining, Bush II

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5 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

WaPo reporter Robert Barnes has just pointed out something that hadn’t occurred to me.

Chief Justice Roberts has been a powerful figure on the Supreme Court, sitting at the pivot position with 4 justices more conservative than him and 4 more liberal than him. He could shape the court’s direction by moving from one side to the other.

If there are 5 conservative judges, Roberts loses control of the Court. He could vote with the more liberal side when he agrees with them and always be overruled. A SCOTUS that is out of control can’t be a good thing, can it?

And I’m watching Smerconish on CNN and he did a poll about whether or not hearings should be held or if the Senate should just ram through an appointment. Not surprisingly, the vote was 97 to 3. But, Marquette University Law School, as it happens, was conducting a national poll this asking what the Senate should do in the event Trump nominated a Justice, should the Senate hold hearings? The results were 67% for hold hearings v 32% for don’t hold hearings.

That 32% sounds like the hardcore bass only.

Not sure what people's opinions on this matter, electorally.  Maybe you get a few people who are really "respect the process" types who were going to vote for Trump stay home, but wouldn't they have walked years ago?  How many real undecideds are left waiting like cats in the adage for whom a SC justice procedural issues is what's going to keep them home or flip them?  

Edited by larrytheimp

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12 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Not sure what people's opinions on this matter, electorally.  Maybe you get a few people who are really "respect the process" types who were going to vote for Trump stay home, but wouldn't they have walked years ago?  How many real undecideds are left waiting like cats in the adage for whom a SC justice procedural issues is what's going to keep them home or flip them?  

My major point is along the lines of being careful of what you wish for. As I said, five conservative justices would undermine the power of the Chief Justice. This is a court that could go off into strange and bizarre directions.

As for the base supporting Trump’s move, if 67% of people want to see hearings being held, I would think that the intelligent thing would be to announce a candidate short list before the election but not go to a vote. After the election, win or loss, Trump could then just say fuck you and ram through his candidate.

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1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

Could not disagree more, unless you only mean winning fairly.

Yesterday I would have said the chances of Trump winning we're like 20 percent, 20 percent at Trump losing but somehow stealing the election, 60 Biden wins.  Now?  It's like 20/50/30.  

I feel like Biden needs to win the election on election night or he doesn't win at all.  PA, MI, WI and AZ won't be called on election night, so Biden needs to win 2 of 4 of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Texas.  Ugh.

I think that's a misread of the situation, and the threat being posed. The Supreme Court isn't going to order on November 4 that votes stop being tallied. And all the vote totals been recorded on election night haven't been certified anyway. The Supreme Court might mess around on the margins, order a recount to be stopped or a few weeks after the election order that votes stop being counted; but that was already the case and isn't a threat to Biden winning (unless things are razor close).

The threat is, and always, that Trump actively stop votes from being counted; and that would come from his more militant supporters. Not the Court.

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11 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

My major point is along the lines of being careful of what you wish for. As I said, five conservative justices would undermine the power of the Chief Justice. This is a court that could go off into strange and bizarre directions.

As for the base supporting Trump’s move, if 67% of people want to see hearings being held, I would think that the intelligent thing would be to announce a candidate short list before the election but not go to a vote. After the election, win or loss, Trump could then just say fuck you and ram through his candidate.

Why though?  What purpose would that serve?

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6 minutes ago, Fez said:

I think that's a misread of the situation, and the threat being posed. The Supreme Court isn't going to order on November 4 that votes stop being tallied. And all the vote totals been recorded on election night haven't been certified anyway. The Supreme Court might mess around on the margins, order a recount to be stopped or a few weeks after the election order that votes stop being counted; but that was already the case and isn't a threat to Biden winning (unless things are razor close).

The threat is, and always, that Trump actively stop votes from being counted; and that would come from his more militant supporters. Not the Court.

My worry is that this could alter the trajectory of the race, one which has been very favorable to Biden so far. Now, I don't think that will happen, but I was even more of an optimist before this occurred. This event definitely has me spooked.

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5 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

My worry is that this could alter the trajectory of the race, one which has been very favorable to Biden so far. Now, I don't think that will happen, but I was even more of an optimist before this occurred. This event definitely has me spooked.

Doubtful. It's far less consequential than the uncertainty of voting itself.   

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27 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Why though?  What purpose would that serve?

As a carrot of course. Trump is in tight races. If he wins the election, which by God he wants to win, his nomination sails through. If he loses the election, he’ll still try to ram through the nomination. If all of a sudden more senators grow a pair and refuse, he’s not to blame, and in any event he’s not president so once again, fuck you, it’s not my fault.

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4 hours ago, OnionAhaiReborn said:

Abolish the filibuster, pack the court, admit DC and Puerto Rico (if they want it) as states. Voters do not understand and will not punish these types of procedural power grabs, which is why Republicans always get away with them.

Other than completely abolishing the legislative filibuster, I agree.  Then again, I agreed 24 hours ago anyway.  I suppose now I agree..more intensely.

3 hours ago, mcbigski said:

Mostly pointless without the House.  They floated some proposals IIRC that were going no where in the House so Trump tried some phone and pen stuff. 

Uh, the Dem House was at about $3 trillion and the GOP Senate was at about $1 trillion.  Then Pelosi went down a trillion to try to forge a compromise.  What did the GOP do in response?  Went down to $500 billion.  This is entirely the GOP Senate's fault - it's not even really Trump's who's actually pushing for the GOP to accept more funding - not the Dem House.

2 hours ago, Maithanet said:

Yesterday I would have said the chances of Trump winning we're like 20 percent, 20 percent at Trump losing but somehow stealing the election, 60 Biden wins.  Now?  It's like 20/50/30.  

I think I'm somewhere in the middle between you and Fez.  The shift from Roberts to Gorsuch as the swing vote on any Trump challenges trying to bullshit his way to stay in office is very significant and worrisome, but I don't think it's a shift of 20 percent likelihood to 50 percent likelihood the court enables him to steal the election.  Instead of a 30 point bump I'd put it more at 15-20.

2 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

Has a Supreme Court Justice ever been removed? What would have to be the circumstances to do that?

Like Freshwater Spartan said they'd have to be impeached and convicted in the exact same process as the president.  Samuel Chase is the only SC justice to be impeached, but the Senate failed to convict.  In 1969 Abe Fortas resigned in a similar fashion to Nixon - if he didn't he likely would have been impeached and convicted.

2 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

Is the term-for-life thing in the Constitution?

I would be remiss if I didn't emphasize that supreme court justices DO NOT have life tenure.  Article III Section 1:

Quote

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour

What does that mean?  That's they have life tenure unless they're impeached/convicted.  But one of my old advisors was a courts scholar and former lawyer, and he'd always get so pissed off when people said SC justices had life tenure.  He was a very tightly wound guy who had a Napoleon complex, but he also really cared about his students - even the undergrads.

Anyway, this is why all the SC reforms messing with the justices' tenure are stupid.  Congress could try that, sure, but it would undoubtedly be ruled on by the courts.  And how would you rule on a law that is setting limits to your job tenure?

1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

Threaten to pack every federal court with liberal justices who will destroy all their attempts at voter suppression.

Yep, Congress has complete discretion on changing the complexion of the entire federal judiciary.  Packing the SC is political?  So what?  It was each of the 5 previous times Congress changed the composition of the SC as well.  Circuit Courts dominated by paleoconservative justices?  Create more circuit courts.  Don't like that a certain circuit court has jurisdiction over voting rights cases?  Strip them of that jurisdiction by creating a Voting Rights Review court that has jurisdictional supremacy on all such cases.  They can do a whole shitload of things, and the dams now done broke anyway.

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Mr. President Trump is a great and strong man who has made America great. The American people gave him a mandate to keep the courts conservative, and he's fulfilled that promise more truthfully than Nobama and Kameleona Harris. 

No more two-faces in government. Sleepy Joe wants school shooting survivors to vote! Stop them from making America not great!

Edited by Jace, Basilissa

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Packing the SC is thinking too small. Threaten to pack every federal court with liberal justices who will destroy all their attempts at voter suppression. And thus destroy their last thread to power.

First the Dems need to win everything to do that, and second they should do all this regardless of what happens next.

To sum up, the Dems have no leverage. 

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I see, somebody has made peace with their overlords.

I was already tempted to change the Thread title to: A country so Ruth-less, a place so hopeless.

But I think, I just leave it as a suggestion for the next thread starter.

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2 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

My worry is that this could alter the trajectory of the race, one which has been very favorable to Biden so far. Now, I don't think that will happen, but I was even more of an optimist before this occurred. This event definitely has me spooked.

I've felt like an elephant has been sitting on my chest since around 8pm last night.

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2 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

As a carrot of course. Trump is in tight races. If he wins the election, which by God he wants to win, his nomination sails through. If he loses the election, he’ll still try to ram through the nomination. If all of a sudden more senators grow a pair and refuse, he’s not to blame, and in any event he’s not president so once again, fuck you, it’s not my fault.

Why even release a list?  Everyone knows what's in there.  What's the carrot?  

I feel like of all the issues that could affect the election this isn't even in the top 10.  It doesn't require anyone to reconsider anything.  

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1 hour ago, Rippounet said:

First the Dems need to win everything to do that, and second they should do all this regardless of what happens next.

To sum up, the Dems have no leverage. 

The map is looking worse and worse for a Republican majority in the Senate, and only Republican incumbents up for reelection will suffer. Hard to picture that threat not spooking them given that they're powerless to do it themselves unless they capture the house and hold the Senate and WH, an outcome that seems unlikely.

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But if the threat works, you can't do what you threatened anyway. Well, you could, but the Dems probably wouldn't. And they should. Surely they know by now that Republicans have no sense of decency or fairplay anymore?

 

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13 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Hard to picture that threat not spooking them given that they're powerless to do it themselves unless they capture the house and hold the Senate and WH, an outcome that seems unlikely.

Not sure why you're so hung up on the "threat."  That threat definitely is not gonna stop the GOP from filling the seat.  Obviously Ripp's right, the Dems have no leverage and the only way to acquire leverage is to win the presidency and the Senate.  If they do that, then they just do it.  Don't see why it matters whether they threaten to do it beforehand or not.

9 minutes ago, Mindwalker said:

Well, you could, but the Dems probably wouldn't.

Oh I don't know about that.  After this, if the Dems win unified government, I strongly suspect they will pack the SC.  I have no idea if they'll make major alterations to the circuit courts or not - that issue hasn't really been discussed publicly - but they should.

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

I think I'm somewhere in the middle between you and Fez.  The shift from Roberts to Gorsuch as the swing vote on any Trump challenges trying to bullshit his way to stay in office is very significant and worrisome, but I don't think it's a shift of 20 percent likelihood to 50 percent likelihood the court enables him to steal the election.  Instead of a 30 point bump I'd put it more at 15-20.

I just don't see Gorsuch as that kind of hack. I see him as a true believer textualist, who'd happily dismantle the entire administrative state. But I don't see him overturning states' authority to conduct their own elections. Now maybe that means he'd go along with a state scheme to overturn the will of the voters; but I just don't see any of that kind of thing really happening.

Also, if you want to get really Machiavellian, there's a chance that Gorsuch wants the power that comes from being the swing justice; and therefore would want to see Breyer get replaced by a Democrat (he's not getting to write any more landmark pro-Native rights opinions if the Court is 7-2 Republican in a couple years; it'll be hard enough finding a Republican to go along with him at 6-3). Since the odds of Breyer getting to January 2025 aren't the best. 

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5 minutes ago, DMC said:

Oh I don't know about that.  After this, if the Dems win unified government, I strongly suspect they will pack the SC.  I have no idea if they'll make major alterations to the circuit courts or not - that issue hasn't really been discussed publicly - but they should.

Sounds good.

But what I meant was, they wouldn't use it as leverage/ threat, then get their way, then do it anyway. I think.

 

Edited by Mindwalker

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4 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

We all knew this was likely to happen, the fact that it happened 6 weeks before the election doesn't change that much I think.  Anyone who was voting on the court already had skin in the game.  

The court situation is entirely election dependant and this hasn't changed that.

I don't see it even making a difference in a Biden v Trump election case, even if Roberts flipped you'd have a 4-4 situation reaffirming a lower court ruling, sure there are scenarios where it could but this isn't the sky is falling moment everyone is making it out to be.  Pack the court, race to nuke the filibuster once you have united government, this was already the path forward.  

This is my view exactly; absolutely nothing has changed. Even if Ginsberg hadn't passed, she likely wouldn't have made it through another Trump term. The calculus hasn't changed and we still have to win. Now maybe some people will finally realize what's at stake.

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