Big Red Handle: pulled

The GOP said they’d do it.

The Demorats filibustered Judge Neil Gorsuch for SCOTUS. They didn’t have to. It was their decision.

So the GOP pulled the Big Red Handle.

John McCain thinks they’re “idiots” for having done so.

In the end, however, McCain voted in the same fashion as all the other Republicans in the senate.

From CNN.com (who says I’m not egalitarian?):

Senate GOP triggers nuclear option to break Democratic filibuster on Gorsuch

by Ashley Killough and Ted Barrett

Washington (CNN) The Senate Thursday triggered the so-called “nuclear option” that allowed Republicans to break a Democratic filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

The chamber is now expected to vote to confirm Gorsuch Friday. The controversial changes to Senate rules, made along partisan lines, allows filibusters of Supreme Court picks to be broken with only 51 votes rather than 60.

The actions on Thursday and Friday cap more than a year of tension over an empty Supreme Court seat, as both parties in the Senate are poised to take action leading to an outcome neither party wants.

It’s a situation loaded with nuance, procedural twists and Senate history — not to mention a spot on the nation’s highest court — and a standoff that reflects a peak in polarization following a deeply divisive presidential election.

The move came after Democrats blocked the nomination under the previous 60-vote threshold. Only four Democrats — Sens. Michael Bennet, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin — crossed party lines to side with the Republicans.

Subsequent party-line votes allowed the GOP majority to change the rules, leading up to the final vote breaking the filibuster. After the final vote was gaveled, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went down his row and gave high fives to Majority Whip John Cornyn and two aides.

Here, however, is a very interesting article from the NYT.com:

After Senate Filibuster’s Death, Somber Lawmakers Seek Path Forward

by Jennifer Steinhauer

WASHINGTON — The conventional Washington wisdom dictates that the end of the judicial filibuster is also the end of life as it is currently known in the Senate.

In truth, it may not make that much of a difference at all. In an unexpected way, it may well herald the beginning of a better era for the Senate.

The Senate Republicans’ successful effort on Thursday to end the 60-vote threshold to proceed with confirmation of Supreme Court nominees was really only the final step in a process set in motion by Democrats in 2013 when they removed that threshold for other nominees.

That set off a far bigger firestorm, and Republicans now have simply extended that precedent.

Republicans are quick to point out — and many Democrats privately agree — that had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the White House last year, and Democrats taken the Senate, a similar confrontation was likely in the other direction, and that Democrats may have needed to take the same step as Republicans took to confirm any Supreme Court nominee that Mrs. Clinton had chosen.

Color me gobsmacked, now, because the New York Times just allowed a bit of truth to creep out of an article. Yes, the Demorats would have done precisely the same thing had they been in power. Because of this, I have a sneaking suspicion that Jennifer Steinhauer may not quite have a loving, hallowed and lengthy work future at the Gray Lady.

If you wish to see how all the senators voted, please click here.

The move came after Democrats blocked the nomination under the previous 60-vote threshold. Only four Democrats — Sens. Michael Bennet, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin — crossed party lines to side with the Republicans.

Manchin described Thursday as a “very sad day,” saying the Supreme Court won’t have “have a check and balance” system in which the minority has input on future justices. He argued that senators will “rue the day that this happened.”

“They all know what goes around comes around,” Manchin told reporters. “I was just extremely sad.”

And yes, in a way it was extremely sad. But it was the Demorats who decided to filibuster what is fundamentally a good, honest, serviceable and dedicated individual like Judge Neil Gorsuch who has continued to maintain that he has and can remain independent in his opinions from the bench. He follows the law and allows it to inform and guide him. He does not, unlike Demorat/Leftist judges, attempt to create transformative new law out of thin air where precedent does not primarily exist.

Both sides blamed each other for the episode. Democrats blasted Republicans for using the workaround. Republicans, meanwhile, said they felt they had no other option because of the Democratic filibuster.

But the real truth comes next, from Orrin Hatch.

“For the life of me, I don’t understand why the Democrats made such a fuss about this (nominee),” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “They look stupid. The next one, I mean I expect Armageddon.”

CNN spoke to Senator Hatch on Thursday.

I feel compelled to repeat some things I’ve written before here on the blog and stated on my radio show — which is on tonight, by the way, the Bloviating Zeppelin’s Berserk Bobcat Saloon, at 8PM Pacific and 11PM Eastern tonight on the SHR Media Network. At the appropriate time click ON AIR to listen.

Republicans, on the other hand, argue Gorsuch answered more than 20 hours of questions and was abiding by what’s known as the “Ginsburg standard” so as not to show his cards on how he’d rule in cases that may come before him.

Hitting back against the argument that he’s extreme, Republicans say Gorsuch sided with the majority in 99% of his opinions as a federal judge in the past decade, and the GOP said that of the 2,700 cases he has ruled on, 97% were decided unanimously.

On Friday at 11:30 Eastern, the senate will vote up or down on Judge Neil Gorsuch. A majority vote will yield confirmation.

There will be Armageddon as Hatch suggests. I have it on good information there is a chance that, later this year, another opening on SCOTUS will occur. I believe that President Trump will deign to nominate an individual not unlike Judge Gorsuch. That will tend to move the court to the right. Further, as this is only 2017, there is every chance that between now and 2020 there will be another opening on SCOTUS and the opportunity for President Trump to nominate a person similar to Judge Gorsuch.

If this is true, and I believe it so, this may impact the US Supreme Court for, literally, decades to come.

So yes, the Demorats were rather stupid to filibuster Judge Gorsuch.

What will be the immediate result of this? Will the Demorats become even more obstructionist than they are now, considering there are over 1,000 vacancies still requiring installation in the Trump presidency?

Time will tell.

BZ

 

If it’s Friday it must be Gorsuch

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said this week that, by Friday, Judge Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed as a SCOTUS jurist to replace Antonin Scalia, who died a little over a year ago on February 13th of 2016 at the age of 79 whilst vacationing at a West Texas ranch.

First up, from the WSJ.com:

Next Up Thursday: Cloture Vote and Rule Change

The Senate is on the verge of a major rules change sparked by Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to be a Supreme Court justice, as Republicans and Democrats barrel toward a partisan showdown on the Senate floor over the future of the filibuster.

The first procedural vote on Judge Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, is expected Thursday morning—a vote where the GOP is expected to fall short. As a result, Senate Republicans are expected to use a procedural motion that would eliminate the filibuster for this and future Supreme Court nominations—expanding on changes that Democrats initiated in 2013.

What were the changes initiated in 2013 by then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? From the WSJ.com:

Reid, Democrats trigger ‘nuclear’ option; eliminate most filibusters on nominees

by Paul Kane

Senate Democrats took the dramatic step Thursday of eliminating filibusters for most nominations by presidents, a power play they said was necessary to fix a broken system but one that Republicans said will only rupture it further.

Democrats used a rare parliamentary move to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has been the standard for nearly four decades.

The immediate rationale for the move was to allow the confirmation of three picks by President Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — the most recent examples of what Democrats have long considered unreasonably partisan obstruction by Republicans.

Confirmation of three US DCA picks to the DC Circuit.

In the long term, the rule change represents a substantial power shift in a chamber that for more than two centuries has prided itself on affording more rights to the minority party than any other legislative body in the world. Now, a president whose party holds the majority in the Senate is virtually assured of having his nominees approved, with far less opportunity for political obstruction.

Reid said the chamber “must evolve” beyond parliamentary roadblocks. “The American people believe the Senate is broken, and I believe the American people are right,” he said, adding: “It’s time to get the Senate working again.”

Translated: it’s best for my party and my party is in charge therefore that’s what we are going to do.

Republicans said the way Democrats upended the rules will result in fallout for years. “It’s another raw exercise of political power to permit the majority to do anything it wants whenever it wants to do it,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), the GOP’s parliamentary expert, told reporters.

Republicans vowed to reciprocate if they reclaim the majority.

Thank you. History, meet schadenfreude. Shake hands and come out fighting.

“Democrats won’t be in power in perpetuity,” said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), a 27-year member. “This is a mistake — a big one for the long run. Maybe not for the short run. Short-term gains, but I think it changes the Senate tremendously in a bad way.”

Shelby was remarkably prescient.

From November 22nd, 2013.

Can anyone remotely say “goose and gander”? WSJ.com continues:

After the Senate Goes ‘Nuclear’ on Supreme Court Nominees, Will Legislation Be Next?

Republicans are expected Thursday to change the Senate’s rules to make it easier to confirm Supreme Court nominees. The move has aroused concern that legislation may be the next target.

The Senate, its occupants worry, is just one step away from acting a whole lot like the House if the party in the minority is no longer able to block legislation.

Right now, most bills need 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles in the Senate. Most of the time, Democrats and Republicans have to work together unless unless one party controls more than 60 seats in the chamber. Currently Republicans hold 52 seats. Both parties have tried to use the chamber’s procedural tools to their advantage, leading to more frequent standoffs.

Then Breitbart.com writes about the situation now.

Constitutional Option Unstoppable: John McCain and Lisa Murkowski Will Vote Yes

by Ken Klukowski

WASHINGTON,D.C.—Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced on the Senate floor Wednesday that they will not allow a filibuster of Neil Gorsuch, and will instead vote for the constitutional option to restore a simple-majority vote to confirm Supreme Court nominations, making that outcome now almost certain.

Really? And how will they manage to halt it?

Earlier during the day Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed that he had the 50 votes he needs—plus Vice President Mike Pence as a tie-breaker, if needed—to invoke the constitutional option and confirm President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee.

With his towering stature in the party, both in seniority and later as the 2008 presidential nominee, McCain was seen by some as the de facto chairman of the Gang of 14 effort in 2005 to save the option of filibustering judicial nominees in the future — but allowing through many of President George W. Bush’s nominees that were then being blocked by a Democratic filibuster. Ironically, that strategy’s architect was none other than Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who implemented it in 2003.

Do you see this? Do you see the wheels within wheels? On the other hand, this is McCain serving McCain and, simultaneously when it pleases him, doing the work of the GOP.

“The unprecedented nature of the Democrats’ filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee has left me in a difficult position,” the Arizona senator lamented on the state of affairs in 2017, and after surveying years of past practice in Senate confirmations.

“I’m left with no choice,” McCain declared. “I will vote to change the rules to allow Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority.”

The Nuclear Option. What is it?

That said, what is cloture?

“What if the Republicans become the majority again?” Inside baseball, but very important. Full circle. Should be no shock to anyone. But, zounds, a major shock to the Demorats who hadn’t fully anticipated that the Republicans — heretofore unpossessed of a spine — actually grew a modicum of one under a president who coiffed an orange dead cat on top of his head.

Again, more on the “nuclear option.”

Trent Lott coined the term. But here is a graphic.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has already approved Judge Neil Gorsuch.

One thing that I simply cannot understand. Please, someone attempt to explain to me, obviously, the advantage acquired by the Demorats in the filibustering of Judge Gorsuch. Because, once changed, the rule will allow the GOP to acquire another potential SCOTUS nominee during this term or another subsequent.

I have information to indicate there may likely be another SCOTUS vacancy extant somewhere in 2017. Then, between 2017 and 2020, my guess is that there will likely be another SCOTUS vacancy. That’s three.

By forcing a filibuster the Demorats will have, potentially, enabled the next three SCOTUS replacements. With luck they won’t be Left-leaning. This could be an unprecedented achievement in all of US history.

All under President Donald Trump.

Three Demorat Senators have had the guts to take a stand.

With 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats in the Senate, the GOP needs eight Democrats to join them to break a filibuster, which takes 60 votes.

So far, however, only three Democrats have come out saying they would support Gorsuch – Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

Who and what? Time will tell. These are my thoughts.

BZ

 

Hawaiian federal judge puts Trump’s travel ban on hold

With loving and enthused huzzahs from everyone on the Leftist bank.

From SacBee.com:

The Latest: Judge in Hawaii puts Trump’s travel ban on hold

by the Associated Press

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson issued his ruling Wednesday after hearing arguments on Hawaii’s request for a temporary restraining order involving the ban.

His ruling prevents the executive order from going into effect Thursday.

More than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban, and federal courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments Wednesday about whether it should be put into practice.

Hawaii argued that the ban discriminates on the basis of nationality and would prevent Hawaii residents from receiving visits from relatives in the six mostly Muslim countries covered by the ban.

The state also says the ban would harm its tourism industry and the ability to recruit foreign students and workers.

Roughly the same argument as before. Judges don’t seem to understand the law, as federal Judge Derrick Watson may be educated but fails to grasp the immediacy and plain text of 8 USC 1182, as well as Fiallo v. Bell, 430 U.S. 787. He also takes not into consideration the actions of Mr Obama in 2011 and 2015, as well as the immigration drought between roughly 1921/1924 to 1965.

8 USC 1182 states:

(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.

4:45 p.m.

A Justice Department attorney is arguing that there’s no need for a judge in Hawaii to issue an emergency restraining order against the revised travel ban issued by President Donald Trump.

Jeffrey Wall of the Office of the Solicitor General said during a hearing Wednesday that plaintiffs have said little about harm from the ban that was not speculative.

He said Hawaii is making generalized allegations.

Wall said if the judge is inclined to issue an injunction, it shouldn’t be nationwide and should be tailored to the claims raised by Hawaii.

There, of course, will be more.

BZ

 

Wisconsin judge interferes with 2nd Trump travel stay

But not nearly to the extent that did Judge Robart in Washington state, and with a fraction of the prior focus on President Trump’s second travel stay, Executive Order 13769 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States).

From Politico.com:

Revised Trump travel ban suffers first legal blow

by Josh Gerstein

Federal judge in Wisconsin blocks impact on Syrian family as other courts mull broader relief.

President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban executive order suffered its first legal setback Friday as a federal judge blocked the directive’s potential impact on the family of a Syrian refugee living in Wisconsin.

Madison-based U.S. District Court Judge William Conley issued a temporary retraining order at the request of the Syrian man, who is referred to as “John Doe” in court filings. The judge, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, said Trump’s new executive order cannot be used to delay the man’s effort to bring his wife and 3-year-old daughter from the wartorn country to the U.S., but is limited to the individuals involved in the case.

As you can see the effect is limited in scope and quite pointedly focuses on one Syrian man’s family.

Do not doubt, however, that every Leftist and sympathetic federal judge aren’t in deep talks at this very moment in an attempt to craft the perfect eliminatory argument.

The major differences between the first and second Trump EO:

  • Iraq is no longer included as a banned country as it will provide extra vetting;
  • Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia are still included in the travel stay;
  • Green Card holders may enter even if from the above listed countries;

Other differences include:

President Trump signed a new travel ban Monday that administration officials said they hope will end legal challenges over the matter by imposing a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations.

In addition, the nation’s refu­gee program will be suspended for 120 days, and the United States will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.

One the most significant unmentioned differences? The absence of national protests. Do we see a tiny crack in the Leftist/anarchist armor?

Judge Napolitano weighs in on President Trump’s second Executive Order:

Surely there will be more to come.

BZ

 

Seattle Judge Robart: won’t issue order against Trump’s new travel stay

[See background material here about President Trump’s first travel stay, with additional excellent insight from Byron York here.]

From the BBC.com:

Trump travel ban: Judge declines to reinstate ruling

A US judge has declined to issue an emergency order banning President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban.

The ruling came from Seattle district judge James Robart, the same judge who had issued the order that in effect halted implementation of the first ban.

Judge Robart said lawyers needed to file more extensive documentation.

The new 90-day ban on citizens of six mostly Muslim nations is due to come into effect on Thursday but has sparked legal action in a number of states.

What’s different this time around?

  • Iraq is no longer included as a banned country as it will provide extra vetting;
  • Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia are still included in the travel stay;
  • Green Card holders may enter even if from the above listed countries;

Leftist states are suing once again, of course, to include Maryland, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Washington.

One bit of information you likely did not hear, a video, regarding President Trump’s first travel stay, was from a US Marine recently serving in Iraq.

As you might expect, his video created quite a stir in February, because he dared to ask probably the most important question as yet unasked by the American Media Maggots. Sean Hannity had this response.

Also from FoxNews.com:

Lance Corporal Steven Gern, 42, who worked as a contractor in Iraq starting in 2005, posted his video on February 1, and told Fox News he was evacuated from Iraq the next day because of it.

In the video, Gern said he had spoken to a group of Iraqi men about the travel ban, without getting into specifics. “My simple question was, ‘As an American, if I went out in town right now, would I be welcome?’ And they instantly said, ‘Absolutely not, you would not be welcome.’ And I said, ‘OK, so what would happen if I went out of town?’ And they said the locals would snatch me up and kill me within an hour.”

He states the obvious when he says:

“The Iraqis, in general, have very little respect for any America –regardless of whether you’re a Marine, a contractor, or a civilian—they have very little respect for you,” Gern told Fox News. “The United States pumps more and more money and it’s not appreciated –why don’t we just take care of our own?”

Gern told Fox News he has not had contact with his company, and is concerned about losing his job after posting the video, but felt it was necessary.

The question then becomes: under what legal theory will President Trump’s travel stay be attacked this time? That said, kudos to the Trump administration for continuing their persistence regarding this extremely important issue.

BZ