GorT is an optimist and tends to see the good in people and gives them the benefit of the doubt until such time as evidence presents itself that he should think otherwise. I’m tending to think that the vast majority of liberals are ignorant of history. Case in point, a liberal Facebook page posted an article about the Senate Republicans saying that they won’t meet with any nominee named by President Obama. Here are some of my favorite responses (I blurred the names and profile pics…but considered for a moment keeping them unfiltered as these were public posts):
Well, the current average polling shows President Obama’s approval rating at 43% and disapproval at 46%, while neither is a majority clearly he isn’t doing his job well enough to please the “MAJORITY of America, United States”*
This will be an ongoing theme: the President doesn’t get to just “pick” the Supreme Court Justices. He nominates one and they are appointed with the “advice and consent” of the Senate.
Nope, sorry, he doesn’t just get to “choose”
Clearly this guy is a Constitutional scholar. Wrong, dude. He has the ability to make a recess appointment which could last until the end of Congress’ next session (which would be late 2017). The Supreme Court recently clarified this rule (recess powers):
First, on the president’s side, the Court ruled that the recess appointment power applies when the Senate leaves town for a break in the middle of an annual sitting, or a break at the end of each annual session. Second, also on the president’s side, the decision declared that the president during a recess can fill a vacancy even if the opening occurred well before the recess began. Third, on the Senate’s side, the ruling made clear that it has to last more than three days, without saying how much more time must pass without the Senate out of town and doing nothing. Fourth, strongly on the Senate’s side, the decision left it largely up to the Senate to decide when it does take a recess, allowing it to avoid the formality of a recess by taking some legislative action, however minor or inconsequential and however few senators actually take part in some action. So could President Obama make a nominee during that recess? Only if the Senate is taking a recess lasting longer than three days, and does not come in from time to time during that recess to take some minimal legislative action. Both of those circumstances would be entirely within the Senate’s authority.
I’d like to see the basis for the suit. There is no Constitutional clause requiring the hearing or specifying a timeframe which the Senate must follow (unlike some of the budgetary deadlines, which this current President has ignored to the tune of eighteen times but his defenders seem to brush off as no big deal). If anything, an effort could be started to add such a clause to the Constitution but that would be a long process to get that amendment ratified.
Awesome, another Constitutional scholar! No, sorry, bzzzzt! If the Electoral College results in a tie, there is a process outlined and it doesn’t involve the Supreme Court. First, “the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President” and “the Senate shall choose the Vice-President” (from the 12th Amendment, ratified 1804). However, the twist is, “the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote” so all the representatives vote and the majority of votes in that group represents the state’s vote. Given that we have 50 states, the result could still be a tie. The 12th Amendment also covers this: “if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.” This was later adjusted by the 20th Amendment moving the start of the Congressional session from March to January. Ties in the Electoral College vote have happened:
- 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Jefferson won the settlement in the Electoral College as it was designed then which also prompted the 12th Amendment – enacted 4 years later.
- In 1824, there were four contenders, none of whom gained sufficient votes to win the Electoral College vote. The 12th Amendment process was followed giving John Quincy Adams the narrow win.
In the end, this ignorance (and there is equal ignorance on the conservative side about other areas of civics), is one we should correct. There should be a requirement of basic civics teachings in our high schools. A comprehensive education on our system of government, its parts, roles, and individual responsibilities. It is appalling (but fun) to listen to liberal complaints like this and take it apart with simple facts.
Of course, I’ve totally ignored the liberal efforts that mirror what the Senate Republicans are doing now:
- The 1960 Democrat-led Senate passed S.RES. 334, “Expressing the sense of the Senate that the president should not make recess appointments to the Supreme Court, except to prevent or end a breakdown in the administration of the Court’s business.”
- In 1992, Chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee Joe Biden (D-DE) said there should be a different standard for a Supreme Court vacancy “that would occur in the full throes of an election year.” The president should follow the example of “a majority of his predecessors” and delay naming a replacement, Mr. Biden said. If he goes forward before then, the Senate should wait to consider the nomination. “Some will criticize such a decision and say that it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the court in hopes that a Democrat will be permitted to fill it, but that would not be our intention,” Mr. Biden said at the time. “It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process. Otherwise, it seems to me,” he added, “we will be in deep trouble as an institution.”
- During a speech at a convention of the American Constitution Society in July 2007, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said if any new Supreme Court vacancies opened up, Democrats should not allow Bush the chance to fill it “except in extraordinary circumstances.” “We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” Schumer said, according to Politico. “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.” During the same speech, Schumer lamented that he hadn’t managed to block Bush’s prior Supreme Court nominations. When he made his remarks in 2007, Bush had about seven more months remaining in his presidential term than Obama has remaining in his.
* Does this guy write is address as “123 Mockingbird Lane, City, State, America, United States” ??
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