The installation of Neil Gorsuch removes the confusion experienced by SCOTUS and the confounding issue of cases being returned to their originating DCAs. That is to say, if, during an opinion, SCOTUS had a 4-to-4 tie, the opinion of the lower court held.
This now at least gives the court the ability to reach majority decisions of 4/5, 5/4, a highly important difference.
Judge Gorsuch will be officially sworn in on Monday, April 10th.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Schumer: Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch nomination
by Robert Barnes, Ed O’Keefe and Ann E. Marimow
Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch ended Thursday on a confrontational note, with the body’s top Democrat vowing a filibuster that could complicate Gorsuch’s expected confirmation and ultimately upend the traditional approach to approving justices.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he will vote no on President Trump’s nominee and asked other Democrats to join him in blocking an up-or-down vote on Gorsuch.
In terms of the Senate, what does this mean for the nominee?
Under Senate rules, it requires 60 votes to overcome such an obstacle. Republicans eager to confirm Gorsuch before their Easter recess — and before the court concludes hearing the current term of cases next month — have only 52 senators.
As we well know, there are 100 members in the Senate, two from each state. Having 52 Senators is a technical majority and, of course, the vote is splitting entirely by party lines. You’ve of course heard of the term “nuclear option.” Here is its application.
Republicans have vowed Gorsuch will be confirmed even if it means overhauling the way justices have long been approved. Traditionally, senators can force the Senate to muster a supermajority just to bring up the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. If that is reached, the confirmation requires a simple majority.
It’s a strategic question for the Demorats. What tactics to use and, more importantly, when?
There are also competing views among Democrats about whether to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination — which could provoke the Republican majority to rewrite the rules — or instead avoid confrontation and preserve the filibuster threat for the future. Retaining the filibuster could force Trump to select a relatively moderate nominee if in the coming years he gets a chance to replace a second Supreme Court justice.
Then comes the specious argument from the Washington Post, showing its bias by not telling the full truth.
Among recent Supreme Court nominees the 60-vote threshold has not caused a problem. President Barack Obama’s choices of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan each received more than 60 votes. Samuel A. Alito Jr., chosen by President George W. Bush, was confirmed 58-42 in 2006, but 72 senators voted to defeat a possible filibuster and allow his confirmation vote to go forward. Indeed, only Alito — among the last 16 Supreme Court nominees — was forced to clear the supermajority hurdle to break a filibuster.
Historically, the Republicans have proven they lack the balls, the testosterone, the cajones, to do what needs to be done. But, in truth, what are the overarching objections Demorats have to Judge Neil Gorsuch?
First and foremost, Demorats are butt-hurt that they lacked the power to ram through Obama SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland last year, at the end of Obama’s second term. They wanted lame-duck input into a SCOTUS appointment. Apparently they forgot the Joe Biden Rule:
The downplaying of the significance of the Democratic obstructionism exposes just whose side the media are on. They previously flipped out when Republicans used the Joe Biden Rule to put off the hearing of Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. The Joe Biden Rule states that: If a vacancy opens up on the Supreme Court during a presidential election season, then the incoming President gets to fill the seat.
Then there was this question from the AMM in reference to the above video, at the latter portion of Barack Hussein Obama’s imperial presidency with regard to SCOTUS appointments.
The American Media Maggots would have you believe that a situation such as that of Garland had never occurred before in history. Historical Alzheimers? Purposeful? Intentional? I say yes.
Historically, many Supreme Court nominations made in a president’s final year in office have been rejected by the Senate. That started with John Quincy Adams and last occurred to Lyndon B. Johnson.
Then there are the words of Barack Hussein Obama himself.
We now know that the Biden Rule is acceptable for Demorats, unacceptable for Republicans (as utilized by Mitch McConnell).
I repeat: what are the major objections by the Demorats of Neil Gorsuch?
Because the left sees its power ebbing. Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, complained that “Judge Gorsuch’s record reveals [that] he holds radical views far outside the mainstream of American legal thought.” And ABC News reported that Obama’s former secretary of Labor, Tony Perez, said, “[s]imply put, a Justice Gorsuch on the Supreme Court is intolerable and it’s up to Democrats to block his nomination.”
Good to know. ABC = signing off on whatever Pelosi says. But again, specifically, what are the so-called “radical” views?
They state the obvious:
Trump’s nominee, despite a Columbia, Harvard Law and Oxford pedigree, is committed to deferring to the wisdom of our Constitution. That 1787 document clearly spells out a short list of what government may do, and concludes with a broad list of what government may not do. The original U.S. Constitution chains down and forbids governmental action not included in its list of 17 enumerated powers. If an action is not authorized by the original meaning of the Constitution’s text, then the government may not do it. Period. Such a view reflects deference to the accumulated wisdom of the founders of our republic.
Sounds bad to you? Sounds good to me. Like a feature, not a bug.
Judge Gorsuch’s view is that judges should only interpret law, not make it. Making law is reserved for elected officials, who can be held accountable. If politicians make a mistake, they can correct it by a later vote. Judicial self-restraint also vindicates the principle of prudence. A judge going rogue, ecstatically inventing a new “positive right,” causes societal upheaval. Conservatives view innovation with great skepticism.
Even worse, from the leftist view, Judge Gorsuch implicitly recognizes the natural law. The natural law says that some things are not up for deciding. Euthanasia, for example, is evil because of the intrinsic worth of each person. A positive law inventing a new right to euthanasia may not be made. This is a recognition that an objective right and wrong exists, and has existed, across all times and cultures. It was the basis for convicting Nazis after World War II, as their state-approved acts were inherently evil.
Judge Gorsuch’s views that judges should only judge, and Congress should legislate, is entirely mainstream despite what Demorats and Leftists say. Judicial restraint was followed in England and the United States for 700 years. The alternative view that whatever a judge thinks is best is no standard at all. It is the very definition of tyranny.
A far-sighted anti-federalist judge, writing under the pen name “Brutus,” noted: “there is no power above them that can control their decisions, or correct their errors.” Let that sink for a moment and rattle around your wheelhouse.
He correctly predicted in 1788 that we would gradually lose our liberties due to Supreme Court justices’ temptation to extend government power.
Our current Constitution frames government in terms of what it cannot do.
– The government cannot engage in unreasonable searches and seizures;
– The government cannot inflict cruel and unusual punishment
And therefore, the individual has a right to NOT be subject to various circumstances applied by the government.
Our current Constitution does not “guarantee” so-called “rights” to such things as housing, clothing, food, jobs — rights that place onus upon the federal government to obtain the resources from other citizens to pay for them.
Let me make this abundantly clear: “RIGHTS THAT PLACE ONUS UPON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO OBTAIN THE RESOURCES FROM OTHER CITIZENS TO PAY FOR THEM.”
Not by concession or acquiescence but by force.
Too many judges, federal and otherwise, believe it’s not about what the Constitution or various laws actually mean, it’s about what they mean.
The most recent egregious example is that of Hawaii’s Judge Watson who predicated his ruling on the Trump refugee stay not via the documents submitted and appearing before him, but instead upon words said outside the court by means of hearsay and of no pertinence at all to the very specific issue at hand before his court.
The documents. The words. The law.
Federal judges take and wield power not meant for them in order to impose their personal political views of how we all should conduct our lives. States cannot be independent or tailor their own changes. Oh no; one size must fit all and in all circumstances.
This is the bottom line:
Make no mitsake; the Demorats’ decision to filibuster is nothing more than political payback or revenge for McConnell daring to have an actual memory. Further, Schumer — the new Harry Reid for the Demorats — has to put on his Game Face in every national event now whether he believes in it or not because failure to do so will result in his immediate excommunication and loss of power. The DC Triumvirate:
My thanks to the SHR Media Network for allowing me to broadcast in their studio and over their air twice weekly, Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as appear on the Sack Heads Radio Show™ each Wednesday evening. My thanks are even more heartfelt due to the nature of the show I presented Thursday night which included examining, in-depth, the destructive, uncontrollable, unrepentant, irresponsible and authoritative nature of our federal government.
Thursday night we discussed:
Canada’s House of Commons passes anti-Islamophobia motion; will this religious motion apply equally to protestants and Jews?
Muslim Somali males in Minneapolis threaten to kidnap and rape women;
Tommy Robinson states the obvious to a Muslim advocate in London;
Rockville, MD superintendent in control of the school system where a 14-year-old girl was raped by an illegal alien believes parents are racist and xenophobic;
What is The Hammer?
House Intelligence Committee hearings with Comey, Gowdy, Nunes, FISA;
Rep Elise Stefanik reveals Director James Comey’s true nature;
Jason Chaffetz proves: the FBI doesn’t obey the law;
American privacy, LPR technology;
Government crisis of legitimacy; who watches the watchers?
Please join me, the Bloviating Zeppelin(on Twitter @BZep and on Gab.ai @BZep), every Tuesday and Thursday night on the SHR Media Network from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern and 8 PM to 10 PM Pacific, at the Berserk Bobcat Saloon — where the speech is free but the drinks are not.
As ever, thank you so kindly for listening, commenting, and interacting in the chat room or listening via podcast. Thanks also to Mary Brockman’s Biker Mafia in chat.
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