Neil Gorsuch confirmed as SCOTUS associate justice

From FoxNews.com:

Gorsuch sworn in as Supreme Court justice ahead of key cases

Justice Neil Gorsuch, vowing to be a “faithful servant” to the Constitution, was sworn in Monday to the Supreme Court, capping a grueling confirmation process and filling the seat once held by the late Antonin Scalia. 

The latest addition to the court was sworn in at a public ceremony in the Rose Garden. Justice Anthony Kennedy – Gorsuch’s former boss – administered the Judicial Oath, the second of two Gorsuch took.

“To the American people, I am humbled by the trust placed in me today,” Gorsuch said after taking the oath. “I will never forget to whom much is given to much will be expected, and I promise you that I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great nation.”

At the ceremony, President Trump called Gorsuch a man of “unmatched qualification” and “deeply devoted” to the Constitution.

“I have no doubt you will rise to the occasion, and the decisions you make will protect our Constitution today and for many generations of Americans to come,” he said.

The second of my two primary Trump Voting Factors has occurred. Antonin Scalia’s position on the US Supreme Court has been filled with a Scalia-like jurist.

The WashingtonPost.com writes:

Gorsuch will be put to work immediately. The court meets privately Thursday to consider cases for the next term. On the list is a plea that the court decide whether the Second Amendment grants a right to carry firearms outside the home. Another case asks whether businesses may refuse to provide wedding services to same-sex couples.

Next week, the court begins its last round of oral arguments for the term. Gorsuch, who in the past has defended the rights of religious objectors to laws they say violate their beliefs, could be the deciding vote in a major “separation of church and state” case from Missouri.

The timing is perfect and, for once, I have to tip my hat to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He persevered in terms of enacting the so-called “Joe Biden Rule” and held his mud against the firestorm that resulted from the Demorats. Let us review the rule:

McConnell took serious heat but kept on track. Further, he displayed spine in terms of activating the nuclear option in the face of the Demorat filibuster.

It is possible the court may reveal that it is deadlocked on several cases it has heard this term. The court, with four liberals nominated by Democratic presidents and four mostly conservative justices picked by Republicans, would schedule rehearings in those cases so Gorsuch could break the ties.

Moreover, one of the most important cases for the GOP and conservatives is just around the corner.

And in a matter of weeks, the court might be called upon to get involved in Trump’s second travel ban targeting refugees and people entering the United States from certain countries.

In some ways, Gorsuch is the prototypical justice. He is the 109th man among the 113 justices in the court’s history. All but two of the men were white. He is a favorite of the conservative legal establishment and has family roots in Republican politics.

Like five of his colleagues, Gorsuch attended Harvard Law School; the others went to Yale. He was hired as a Supreme Court clerk by fellow Coloradan Justice Byron White. Because White had retired by then, Gorsuch was loaned to Kennedy for the 1993-94 term.

He becomes the first former clerk to serve on the court alongside his boss.

GOP 1, Demorats and Leftists, 0.

BZ

 

54 to 45: Judge Gorsuch confirmed

Following a filibuster by the Demorats and the subsequent enabling of the “nuclear option” by the GOP on Thursday, Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed as the newest associate justice to the US Supreme Court on Friday, by a Senate vote of 54 to 45.

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.

BZ

 

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

 

BZ’s Berserk Bobcat Saloon, “The Aftermath,” Thursday, March 30th, 2017

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 more pointed thanks to Susan Katz Keating for agreeing to appear in the Saloon and for staying up as late as she did, in consideration of Eastern time after all.

SKK is an investigative journalist and popular blogger specializing in national security. A former Washington Times reporter, she is the author of Prisoners of Hope: Exploiting the POW/MIA Myth in America (Random House), and several books for young readers. A People magazine correspondent, she covers high profile stories, including the Virginia Tech and Ft. Hood shootings, and the SEAL assault on Osama bin Laden. Her work has appeared in Readers Digest, The New York Times, Air&Space, American Legion, VFW, Soldier of Fortune, and other publications. She has been cited in The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Salon, and other publications. She is a founding trustee for the National Museum of Americans in Wartime, and serves on the board of Cooking With the Troops. She briefly was in the U.S. Women’s Army Corps, where she earned her Expert rating on the M-16 rifle. She was editor of the Dixon Tribune newspaper in California. She was a director of the Travis AFB Museum, and served as restoration crew chief on a B-52. She belongs to the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

She is no stranger to controversy, standing with assurance and courage. SKK is one of a handful of actual journalists left in the nation whose articles I’d take to the bank. Further, she was most certainly a fan/chatroom favorite whom everyone would like to see back at the Saloon as soon as possible.

Thursday night we otherwise discussed:

  • Trump vows to kneecap Republicans over healthcare — is that really a good idea?
  • Happy Stories and Good Times — “is that a pistol in your poop?”
  • BZ vows never to unmask “1 Viewer” as it’s policy in the Saloon;
  • Two Demorats defect over to the “confirm Gorsuch” camp;
  • What is the future for SCOTUS openings and subsequent nominations?
  • Foreign Policy magazine says: Trump’s ISIS plan might be a big winner;
  • Chelsea Clinton vs house plants; she loses;
  • Jury nullification needs to come back to California in re the PP videos;
  • What’s the difference between immigrants and illegal aliens?
  • Washington Post continues to prove it is Fake News;
  • Sean Spicer reveals that President Trump consumes Russian salad dressing;
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is doing his damned job;
  • I continue to prove that Trey Gowdy rocks;

Listen to “BZ’s Berserk Bobcat Saloon, “The Aftermath,” Thursday, March 30th, 2017″ on Spreaker.

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. You’ve noticed, Mary, that people mostly don’t sit in your chair any more? They’re learning.

Want to listen to the Berserk Bobcat Saloon podcast archives? Go here.

BZ