Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever. – William Howard Taft
Today I provide independent commentary about the following items for this edition of The Wednesday Read:
- Neil Gorsuch
- Sally Yates
- Anti-Sharia Bill
- Daines & Life
Last night President Donald Trump nominated Colorado federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. (WaPo) It was a big spectacle that was covered by all the networks. The President’s announcement even preempted Jeopardy here in Montana, which was not so good. When the President was introducing Gorsuch and his wife, he flubbed the lines saying, “…keeping another promise to the American people by nominating judge Neil Gorsuch of the United States Supreme Court to be of the United States Supreme Court.”
Poor Trump – reading from the teleprompter is hard for him.
Gorsuch is a solid pick for the conservatives. U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who was at the White House for the announcement, went a little far saying, “Neil Gorsuch has an established record as a mainstream judge who upholds the rule of law and doesn’t legislate from the bench.” I don’t think Gorsuch is that close to the “mainstream” no matter how many ways you look at his record.
Here are some additional thoughts about the Democrats and a possible filibuster of the Gorsuch nomination.
When conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, President Obama should have been the President who named his replacement. Obama did nominate Merrick Garland in March 2016, but the U.S. Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, did not even give Garland a hearing because it was the last year of Obama’s presidency. It was a crappy way to conduct business. It left a mark.
I wonder how far the “it’s too late in the term rule” goes back. Maybe it’s too late in the Trump presidency for him to nominate someone. I’m joking of course, but Obama had 10 months left in his term which was plenty of time to get his pick through the process. The big problem is Obama’s pick may have slanted the court to the left. Trump’s pick will keep it center-right like it has been for several years.
So if the Senate Democrats want to filibuster Trump’s pick or pull the fire alarm to prevent a vote, or lock the doors to the hearing room, I’m fine with that. They should make Trump and his supporters sweat a little. The bigger picture is the Democrats may want to conserve their wrath for the next vacancy. If a liberal Supreme Court Justice retires, then Trump’s pick could swing the Court further to the conservative side. That might be a better time for the Democrats to bring all hands on deck to fight it.
Sally Yates – You’re Fired:
When word came out that acting Attorney General Sally Yates had ordered Department of Justice lawyers not to defend the immigration order from President Trump, I knew her time was limited. (WaPo)
Presidents can fire appointees just like that. Yates, an Obama appointee, was in that position because Trump’s nominee had not been confirmed. It was far from a “Monday night massacre” as some called it.
The Attorney General, although appointed by the President, should always put enforcing the law and following the constitution above the President. Yates should have told the President that his order was wrong and tell him why it was wrong. If he wanted to continue with it, then she should have resigned if she felt that strongly about it. But she showed him up.
The language used by the White House to announce her firing was, to say the least, cheap:
The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.
Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.
It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.
Tonight, President Trump relieved Ms. Yates of her duties and subsequently named Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as Acting Attorney General until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate, where he is being wrongly held up by Democrat senators for strictly political reasons.
There will be others fired, you can bet on that. Other appointees in the Trump administration should be paying attention to what Trump did to Yates. It will probably get nasty if they show up the boss – even if they feel the law is on their side.
The Montana Legislature continues to entertain me and embarrass Montanans. The State Senate Judiciary committee recently passed a bill by a party-line vote that prohibits state courts from applying foreign law. (AP)
I hope the seven Republicans on the committee who voted for it feel safer tonight. Maybe someone can loan them a constitution to read.
The bill (Senate Bill 97) will now go before the full senate where it should be laughed out of Helena.
Daines & Life:
Just as typical as the sun rising and setting some conservative (usually a male) Republican introduces a bill to “protect life” each congress. U.S. Senator Steve Daines went one better this year – he “introduced two measures to protect life.” (Press)
He should raise a lot of money off that because you have to feed your base of supporters some red meat every so often to get that money flowing.
Daines even threw in the line “traffic human baby parts” which should garner him even more donations from the pro-life crowd.
He also went after Planned Parenthood. One bill will prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America or any of its affiliate organizations. I doubt Daines even knows what great services Planned Parenthood offers.
As for abortions – Daines probably agrees with me in that I hope there continues to be a decline in the number of abortions each year. I just don’t think he needs to try to legislate these private and very personal decisions.