Revolted Colonies

U.S. Politics and Culture

Category: Supreme Court

The Kegger Plays His Trump Card

Yesterday’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee predictably satisfied the expectations of political junkies, #metoo activists and garden-variety voyeurs. The crowd also experienced the rare surprise of the cool and collected Brett Kavanaugh putting on his angry Trump face for the galleries and the folks at home. Trump’s Justice in utero wasn’t going to go out without a Trumpian rant.

Kegger spent several days in White House captivity, mastering the Trump playbook. He roared about the Democrats’ chicanery, lamented that his days of teaching and coaching girls’ sports may be over, and raged that the coveted prize, a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court was being pulled out of his hands. He didn’t use the words “rigged” or “witch hunt,” and he wept and cursed his fate. Otherwise, it was unvarnished Trump-speak. Trump’s hand was up the Kegger’s back, moving his lips and waving his arms.

The Republican senators had hired Rachel Mitchell, an able and experienced sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona, to question accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in their stead. Mitchell took each majority members’ five-minute segment in the Ford questioning, and she was scheduled to do the same with the Kegger. However, chairman Grassley and his bloc, fortified by the nominee’s new-found belligerence, decided to take back the microphone.

First up, Lindsey Graham (R-NC) lay the groundwork for the rest of the afternoon. Turning away from the judge, he fixed his pole axe on his Democratic colleagues.

“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics and if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy!”

His target was his friend, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who bore the brunt of accusations that she held back Ford’s accusation until after Kavanaugh’s first hearing finished.
At long last, the combatants dismissed Ford and Kavanaugh, the proxies for the war between the statesmen. The Repubs were in high dudgeon over the Dems’ treatment of Kavanaugh, and the Dems were tacitly taking their revenge for their rivals’ dismissal of Merrick Garland in 2016 – and for a bagful of other indignities and slights.

The public got to see what kind of shit show we’ve enabled in the halls of government. Blame everybody — we’ve demanded winner-take-all politics, and now we have it. The Democrats led by former Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) set this in motion by eliminating the filibuster in connection with judicial appointments below the Supreme Court level This reduced the vote to a simple majority. When Mitch McConnell (R-TN) extended the rule to Supreme Court confirmation, the nuclear option, the stage was set for extreme appointees who did not require bipartisan support.

In 2016 Merrick Garland was put forward by Barack Obama, a centrist judge who previously had garnered the approval of both parties. He did this to dare the Republican house to gamble on the outcome of the presidential election.  McConnell, in complete control of the Senate, refused even to consider his nomination, rolling the dice that, if Clinton had won, he could always activate Garland’s nomination. With Trump in the White House and a Republican majority in the Senate, McConnell has been rolling sevens, judicially speaking. The Democrats, outmaneuvered, lament lifting the filibuster in the first place.

Dick Durbin (D-IL) had predicted in January that ending the filibuster would be the “end of the Senate,” as we know it. Yesterday, he lamented that his prediction had come true.

“It’s interesting, a Republican senator this morning in the gym raised the same question with me. And I said, ‘I think we’re learning our lesson here.’ That eliminating the filibuster on the Supreme Court at least, and maybe the other federal positions, has really created a much more political process. It is better for us to move toward with something that is bipartisan and try to find more moderate people to serve on our federal judiciary.”

Good luck with that. It’s a great aspiration but no one in this Senate presently will lead the institution out of its quagmire. So much needs to be unwound to return to lower-case d democracy in our politics. The Senate and House must reclaim their preeminent places in our government, and the imperial presidency, begun long before Trump, must be contained. These changes require the Supreme Court to recognize congressional primacy, and Brett Kavanaugh won’t let that happen — unless his puppeteer loses the White House.

Mr. Justice, Hulk Hogan

 

 

 

 
 
I know what you’re thinking: that’s crazy. Go ahead and laugh. Not only is the former professional wrestler eligible to sit on the Supreme Court, he is far from the worst possible choice.  Corey Lewandowski is also eligible, and let’s face it: Trump owes him huge.  The Senate is the only thing standing between Trump and the appointment of the guy from Duck Dynasty to the Bench. 
 
The Constitution does not specify qualifications for Justices such as age, education, profession, or native-born citizenship. A Justice does not have to be a lawyer or a law school graduate.– Supreme Court.gov FAQ.
 
It may be true that Hulk would have trouble with the legal analysis of the right of privacy, as falling under the penumbra of rights created by the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution. But who needs that? Hulk can follow the beginner’s prescript: write what you know.  All he has to do is say, “No way, Brother.”   We can look forward eagerly to Hulk’s pithy opinions.
 
Hogan, whose name is Terry Bollea, holds a judgment of $140 million against Gawker Entertainment for posting a sex movie of him and Heather Clem, ex-wife of Bubba the Love Sponge. Gawker is fighting the judgment.  If the case ever reaches the High Court, Hulk no doubt would recuse himself. 
 
This can only happen if Trump and the GOP run the table this fall. Trump and especially the Senate may take some heat for allowing a retired wrestler to be seated for life.  A filibuster-proof majority sure can ease the sting.
 
Hulk might be the best of the lot.  Trump has a long list of unemployed celebrity endorsers, and they can’t all be Ambassadors.  Gary Busey, for instance, hasn’t gotten much work lately.  His appointment would make oral arguments more lively.  Charlie Sheen’s presence in case conferences would change the Court’s internal dynamics. I assume RBG will not be attending the opera with him.  Trump is deeply indebted to Sarah Palin, and she would be a popular pick. But how will she know when to step down halfway through a lifetime appointment? 
 
Considering the possibilities, Trump’s appointment of his sister, Senior Circuit Judge Maryanne Barry, would give Nepotism a good name.

Ready, Aim, Notify!

The Second Amendment has been interpreted to give anyone the right to own weapons, ostensibly to protect one’s person and property.  That was the late Justice Scalia in the Heller case, a decision that is having unintended consequences.  Because the person now has a Constitutional Right to that gun, taking that right away becomes a constitutional issue.

Now, the Congress is having difficulty stopping sales to a person on the no fly list.   Senator Cornyn of Texas is advocating giving the purchaser so the FBI can check into it. Senator Feinstein of California, Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee advocates that the sale should be stopped, and the purchaser has a right to a hearing afterward.  The Feinstein proposal keeps the gun out of the purchaser’s hand, at least legally.

The problem comes when a homeowner sues over the waiting period, claiming that the waiting period defeats the right to bear arms when needed. If you get a gun because your home is under threat, then a 72 waiting period defeats the homeowner’s ability to get immediate protection.

If the Supreme Court reexamines the Second Amendment, finding that there is no individual right to own or buy a gun, this notice issue disappears.  I wonder if the NRA ever expected to find itself at odds with its own position on guns and advocating a waiting period.  Or that one of the leading Democratic Senators would be fighting for a non-judicial ban of the sale with the hearing to follow.

                                The AR-15, available at gun shops, gun shows and toy stores.

In some ways, the Heller case is a worse decision than Citizens United, that opened the floodgates of money into political campaigns. With an opening on the Supreme Court and the probability that Scalia’s replacement will join the Court’s left wing, you expect a fusillade of Second Amendment cases from the left,dissecting the terms of the amendment, drawing distinctions between keeping or owning,  defining what constitutes arms, etc, the kind of scrutiny and narrowing that the pro-choice movement has brought to Roe v. Wade litigation.  Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the Court would overrule the 2008 decision so soon after it was issued.  It would simplify the law enforcement issues, eliminate the need for a hearing and, most importantly, would correctly interpret the Constitution.

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