Monday’s Political Odds & Ends

Happy Presidents’ Day! Today is another one of those days in which there are several major stories out there that I want to comment about – so it’s another “Political Odds & Ends” day!

Today’s topics include:

  • Antonin Scalia & the Politics
  • Republican Presidential Debate
  • A Conservative Blog

Antonin Scalia:

Associate Justice at the U.S. Supreme Court Antonin Scalia died over the weekend. He was 79. He was appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan way back in 1986. The U.S. Senate confirmed him with a vote of 98–0 on September 17, 1986.

I loved reading Scalia’s opinions and hearing him speak about the issues.

Before Scalia’s body was even cold, the politics of replacing him took over.

Replacing Scalia may be the epic battle that divides the left and right even more (if that is possible).

All President Barack Obama needs to do is nominate someone and if the Republicans in the U.S. Senate don’t act on his nomination, they will look bad to the voters.

The Presidential term is four years, so Obama is very much within his right to nominate someone at the three year, one month mark of his second term. The Senate Republicans are very much within their right to not confirm Obama’s nomination.

The Senate Republicans will be taking the bigger risk if they don’t take a vote on Scalia’s replacement before next year.

I believe Obama should nominate someone and let the spineless Republican leader Mitch McConnell delay it. It will be over a year before the position is filled if they wait for a new President and new congress to get to it. Meanwhile, we could see several 4-4 opinions coming from the U.S. Supreme Court.

It could all backfire on the Republicans. They could lose the majority in the senate in and the Democrats could push through a more liberal person. The Obama Administration could nominate a minority for justice and if the Republicans block a vote, it could hurt them in the November election.

Scalia was confirmed in the senate with a vote of 98-0 back in 1986. That was back when the senate actually worked a little better. Even in 1993, the senate confirmed the very liberal Ruth Bader Ginsberg 96-3.

Some Republicans like U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both who want to be President, and Montana’s junior U.S. Senator, Steve Daines, say we don’t confirm Supreme Court Justices in an election year.

The Associated Press reported that Cruz said, “We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year.” The AP reported that Rubio said, “It has been over 80 years since a lame-duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice.”

Daines also told the Great Falls Tribune that a long-standing practice of not confirming new Supreme Court justices during a presidential election should be maintained.

In other words, the President should not do any work during his last year in office according to Cruz, Rubio, and Daines.

They should study their U.S. Supreme Court history a little more before opening their mouth.

The AP reported that Anthony Kennedy was confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 3, 1988, in the final year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, by a 97-0 vote. That was a presidential election year.

Republican Presidential Debate:

It was an embarrassing display by most of the Republican Presidential candidates Saturday night. It became nasty and they called each other names. Some called it a demolition derby.

You can read two different reports about the debate HERE and HERE.

About the only bright spot during the debate was John Kasich. He acted Presidential.

A Conservative Blog:

I found it interesting that a newspaper would promote a blog…

Great Falls Tribune reporter Phil Drake promoted a conservative Montana blog recently. Drake told his readers this weekend that a blog called “Republican Uprising” is “worth a look.” Read the column HERE.

I actually thought Drake would be promoting the Montana Watchdog blog…


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  1. I would occasionally meander over to Monforton’s blog but stopped once I saw that he was scrubbing posts he didn’t like. Pretty cowardly in my opinion.

    • Rick – Interesting. I guess if you don’t want someone to disagree with you, you should not be in the business of blogging. -JmB

  2. I’ll just add this grist to the mill.

    Watch for the name of Sri Srinivasan to be bandied about.

    • Doug – good info, thanks!

      As for Srinivasan, the Senate confirmed Srinivasan by a vote of 97–0 on May 23, 2013. He is highly qualified. If they deny a vote on him now for the SCOTUS, they would look pretty much like asses. The Democrats would pretty much have the talking points they need to win the White House and the Senate. No wonder that Congress has an approval rating of around 14%.

      Thanks again,


      • While the Republicans have have certainly hit a new low with the last debate… this is an issue that will die a slow death but die it will…

      • Barry – I want to see tasers used during debates to nail the candidates who go over their time limit. They could raise money for charity by selling raffle tickets to get someone to pull the trigger.
        Either that or have a cage match between the contestants. They seem to be more like reality show contestants than candidates recently.
        Thanks for you comments,


  3. I agree wholeheartedly Jackie, the GOP will screw this up because that is the way they roll and one has to conclude they are happy that way. Actual governance seems to be beyond them. At least we live in interesting times, though sometimes a little too interesting. I personally would like to see everyone take a step back and see if somehow this could be one of those moments where we, as a nation, could start healing and moving forward together instead creating more divisiveness but then again I also believe in the tooth fairy.

    • Kathy – Thanks for your comments. I’d like to see our elected officials work together too. -JmB

  4. One of the most important things to remember is that Cruz and Rubio and Daines are idiots. They do what the rich man paying their bills tells them to do.

    Idiot Daines is an especially sad case. Guy pays $1.5 million in salaries to his 44 workers, many of whom are veterans.

    When it comes to veterans living in Montana, however, Daines has no problem with the agonizingly long wait times at the VA for care, which are 25 to 40 days up in Kalispell.

    I called his office about this. Despite having 44 people on staff, I got an intern.

    Daines is bad for Montana.

    • Greg – Thanks for your comments. I think it’s hard for someone worth millions of dollars to represent & understand the hardships of those who are poor.-JmB

  5. Scalia-
    This is a big ado about nothing but wasted oxygen. Obama will do just as you recommend, he will nominate someone that couldn’t get confirmed and the Senate will sit on it…and by the way, precedent is just that, precedent for 80 years! Only the media will look to damage the Republican image, the people won’t really give a hoot. And that Republican image is so low now, that you have to reach up to touch bottom. The only way Obama can get what he wants is to have a Democrat win the election…

    • Barry – Good stuff – thanks. I think the GOP will screw this up. Hillary or Bernie may end up nominating the next Supreme Court judge and the senate will be controlled by the Dems because of the mess the GOP leadership makes of most things. After watching the GOP debate, Hillary or Bernie are probably looking pretty good to most voters! -Thanks again, -JmB

  6. “In other words, the President should not do any work during his last year in office according to Cruz, Rubio, and Daines.” Re-read your own document, because, in other words, that is not what they said. They said he shouldn’t appoint a new justice. Now, given the things that this president has done (and wants to do), I’d be ok with him not doing anything, but you should be a bit more accurate in interpreting your own reporting.

    Assuming you’re correct in the history of lame duck appointments, it seems Cruz and Rubio missed it — by 1. Once in 80+ years. Oops. But even that doesn’t invalidate Daines’ comment, referring to a “long standing practice.” That certainly seems accurate.

    You do yourself a disservice in the emotional, off-hand and (seemingly) biased “conclusions.”

    • James – Calm down Jimbo. I’m glad I could write something that made you get off the couch and into the game.

      I’m sure you must think there’s a conspiracy from the left happening with this issue somewhere.

      Wait and see – the GOP will screw this up because that’s the way they roll. That is my “conclusion.” -JmB

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