Why Republicans should brace for a contested convention

2016_GOP_del.all

Delegate allocation map from FrontloadingHQ

Republican commentators have dismissed concerns over a contested convention with a hand-waving reference to “winner-take-all” primaries later in the calendar. Like so much of the rest of Republican reasoning, that confidence is built on a set of factual assumptions not born out in the world around us.

These are the reasons we can anticipate a contest at the convention to select the nominee.

1) Few delegates will be assigned in a true, statewide, winner-take-all contest.

Only eight states, delivering less than 400 of the necessary 1247 delegates needed for a majority, will be awarded in a winner-take-all fashion. One of them, Ohio, is a likely win for Kasich who is otherwise a delegate laggard. He is unlikely to drop out before that March 15th primary.

2) The system is only designed to select a winner if one candidate can consistently top 50%.

Most of the states that commentators describe as “winner-take-all” are in fact proportional unless one candidate tops 50%. That list of about 12 states includes some big ones, like Texas (155) and New York (95). Something remarkable and unpredictable would have to happen in the five weeks or so for someone to reach 50% just about anywhere.

3) Trump has a hard ceiling somewhere in the mid-thirties. So does every other GOP candidate.

Pollsters have made clear that Trump’s support dries up beyond about a third of GOP voters in almost every state. What they haven’t mentioned is that practically every other candidate experiences a similar, fairly low ceiling.

Cruz may actually top out a bit lower than Trump. Pollsters point to voters’ generally favorable image of Rubio. However, that only extends to their view of him as a person, not as a candidate.

Once negative campaigning focuses in on Rubio, his embrace of immigration reform will translate into a hard cap. That cap is made worse by Rubio’s general weakness as a candidate. He may be less annoying than Cruz and less revolting than Trump, but he’s not very good at this. We have a deeply divided Republican primary electorate, creating strong incentives to stay in the race for candidates in the top four or five.

4) A vast majority of delegates are ‘soft-pledged,’ meaning they shed their attachment to their assigned candidate after a failed first ballot.

Here’s where the Republican ‘Red Wedding Scenario’ gets its energy. Most GOP delegates are only locked into their selection if there is a clear winner. Soft-committed delegates are basically only committed if the convention doesn’t matter. After a first failed ballot, serious, involved, committed members of the Republican Party – the kind of people who become convention delegates – are set free from the yahoos who voted in the primaries. They get to pick the winner.

In 100 out of 100 potential runs of that scenario, Donald Trump fails to win the nomination. In fact, there is reason to expect that the nominee would be someone who wasn’t even a candidate in the primaries.

5) There are no brokers.

Note the vital difference between a ‘contested’ and a ‘brokered’ convention. Decades ago, before primaries played such a prominent role, powerful interests in the parties negotiated the convention outcome. This was a vital service, as 2500 people who don’t know each other will often have difficulty organizing themselves toward a sensible outcome without the help of some leadership. In a scenario like we face this year, a dozen or so leading figures should be able to help mediate an outcome prior to the convention, at least limiting the convention delegates to two or three reasonably options.

There are no authoritative figures inside the party with the credibility and influence it takes to bring potential rivals together. It will be an unpredictable, bare-knuckles fight. There is a chance that a contest on the convention floor could extend beyond the convention, with more than one claimant insisting that he was the winner in a disputed outcome that lands in the courts.

6) And a note about Rule 40.

Some have pointed out that Rule 40 would bar consideration of any potential nominee who failed to win a majority of the delegates in at least 8 states. Rule 40 doesn’t matter because the party gets to make the rules more or less on the fly, within the constraints of what is politically possible. If primary results dictate that Rule 40 becomes a problem, then the party will simply change it at the start of the convention.

The real difficulty here is that we have no political structure in place to allow the Republican Party to select its nominee in a convention. Over the past seventy years or so our conventions have evolved from a real political process to a pep rally focused on marketing a nominee who, for all intents and purposes, was selected before anyone cast a primary ballot.

Forcing the convention to perform the complex task of selecting the party’s nominee for the White House is like taking sailboat down a Class 5 rapid. In some ways, this kind of catastrophic institutional challenge might be just the medicine we need. Maybe we will recognize the cost of building an entire political platform on fantasies. Perhaps out of the wreckage of Cleveland we can build something more credible. Evolutionary forces have a way of imposing discipline when we fail to do it ourselves.

More resources:

From FrontloadingHQ: Map of Republican delegate allocation

From Green Papers: Detailed Republican allocation rules by state

From RealClearPolitics: A delegate allocation simulator. This tool misses the Congressional District breakdowns in some states and glosses over some other subtleties, but it is generally helpful.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016, Uncategorized
240 comments on “Why Republicans should brace for a contested convention
  1. 1mime says:

    I just read this and wanted you to see it. Among all the perverted reasons/excuses we are hearing from Republicans about the nomination for Justice Scalia’s replacement, this is pretty sad.

    From the Republican Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, comes this inane explanation as to his decision regarding the nomination process:

    “The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he hasn’t made a decision about whether to hold a confirmation hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
    I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decisions. … In other words, take it a step at a time,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters in Iowa, according to Radio Iowa.” (The Hill)

    Let me repeat: “I would wait until the nominee is made…..” Oh, so it really doesn’t have anything to do with O being a “lame duck”, or, that the people of America deserve to have a voice (since when!), rather, it has everything to do with “who” the appointee is.

    Amazing. I need to create a file of dumb remarks Republicans make regarding this issue to remind me why I am a Democrat.

  2. MassDem says:

    Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone!

    Justice Scalia- I’m sorry that this man, beloved by his friends and family, has died. I’m glad that as far as we know, he did not suffer. However, I will not miss the jurist at all. Originalism is a load of BS that we don’t need anyone on the highest court in our land espousing. I have long been disgusted by Scalia’s frankly repellent views on homosexuality, African-Americans, the meaning of money in politics, his misguided interpretation of the Second Amendment in Heller and so on. I don’t care if his opinions were beautifully written; crap served on a gold-plated tray is still crap.

    Just finished (finally!) watching the latest GOP debate.
    If Hillary wins the Dem nom, I am voting for her in the general.
    If it’s a left-wing kook versus a right-wing kook, I am going wth the left-wing kook.
    If in the extraordinarily unlikely possibility that it is Sanders versus Kasich, then I am going with Kasich. Yes, I know he is the worst for women, but stepping up my support for Planned Parenthood and increasing my advocacy for women’s issues in general is the price I’m willing to pay to elect someone who is sane and realistic, and who has meaningful experience. Fortunately, the prospect of having to make good on this promise is vanishingly small.😋

    Why did CBS allow that degree of “audience participation”? What is this, WWWF? No wonder the thing went off the rails so often. Maybe the candidates would say equally horrible things in the absence of booing, cheering etc., but I can’t help but feel the audience reactions are egging them on, especially Trump.

    And why is Rubio even running? This is the guy who has declared he hates being a Senator, and is frustrated by the lack of action in the Senate. If he thinks that being elected President offers him a fast track to getting anything accomplished, he’s delusional–everything will still have to go through that very slow-acting Senate. Pathetic.

    As far as the possibility of a brokered convention, there really is no way for the RNC or the DNC to control the process in this day and age. We the voters have been too long been fed the fiction that our “gut feelings” (which are actually our hidden biases) are somehow closer to the Truth than facts or reality. And that simple solutions with no net negative consequences exist for complex problems. And that there is a True Conservative or True Liberal who, if elected, will make all of our dreams come true & create Heaven on Earth, Amen. I’m just hoping that we DON’T end up with the candidate that we deserve, cuz that would probably be Mr. Reality Show Trump.

  3. rulezero says:

    Hilarious. The GOP is going to be caught between a rock and a hard place no matter what happens. If they decide to obstruct for a year, that will give Democrats plenty of ammunition to rail against their constitutionalism. If they decide to cave and confirm, their base will be furious at them. Fun times.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/battle-over-scalias-replacement-already-spilling-into-senate-races/2016/02/15/a36c9972-d414-11e5-be55-2cc3c1e4b76b_story.html

    • flypusher says:

      Realistically speaking, the chances of getting a replacement as conservative as Scalia are very small. The GOP is rolling the dice on this very small chance. They could cut their losses and agree to ask least give a fair hearing to a moderate, but they have locked themselves into that vicious cycle of appeasing the lunatic fringe of the base. They risk waking up the Dem base, because there are decisions on environmental regs, gay rights, unions, reproductive choices, and campaign finance at stake.

      I heard on the Diane Rehm show that the GOP declines having Senate hearings because they “don’t want a human face” on this. Well, that’s going to happen anyway. Obama will make a pick and that pick will be a person who is very qualified, and likeable, and probably a woman/person of color. Some of the names being floated are on record as already getting solid Senate approval for their current positions. The GOP is going to take damage from failing to act too. They seem to think this is the lesser of two evils; we’ll see if this pays off for them.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Although the DNC might be happy to put a human face on this issue, I suspect the President and the possible SC justice might not be as thrilled to make the person a political football.

        A serious jurist who really wants to be on the SC and who is qualified to be on the SC (whatever that means) is probably a little less likely to want to be the face of this football.

        I think they all now recognize that the SC is a political issue, but I also have a hunch most of the people on the real short list take themselves (and their duty) very seriously and would be hesitant to set themselves up for failure.

        I think Hillary and the DNC will pound on the issue, but I’m not convinced Obama will throw a real candidate under the bus for this. Conceivably, he could make a political show of it and nominate someone who has not real shot of being confirmed under any circumstances, but I’m not sure Obama trots out the number one person on his list.

      • flypusher says:

        Are you really throwing a nominee under the bus if the Senate won’t even hold a hearing?? If the next President is a Dem, what stops them from trotting the same nominee back out, especially if the Senate flips? And even if the GOP caves, holds the hearing, and votes no, what’s to stop HRC or Bernie from renominating this person for the next SCOTUS pick, which is very likely to happen again within for years? It seems far less risky than the stunt the GOP is pulling, and a potential Justice looking at the long game could be willing to accept a temporary setback for the team.

    • 1mime says:

      Place your bets now on the GOP confirming. I wouldn’t rule out a capitulation on holding hearings, but approval? Don’t see that happening. Would like to be wrong, but don’t think so.

      • flypusher says:

        I bet against confirmation. They could backtrack on holding the hearing, but then they get the double whammy of pissing off the dregs of the base and having to own their no votes on a qualified and likely centrist nominee. That’s what you get when you tip your hand before all the cards are even dealt. Christmas came early for some Dem Senate candidates, because that partisan idiot McConnell just handed them some 50 cal political ammo.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, Fly. I heard Maddow last night state that McConnell made the announcement that he would not allow a nomination hearing until 2017 within ONE hour of Scalia’s death. I haven’t seen this confirmed but that was scandalously close to the death announcement. Now, McConnell may have been notified before a public announcement was made, but it still was fast and sent a message that the nomination was more important than the person who died. Which, to him, it likely was.

      • 1mime says:

        I handled that statement poorly (Place your bets now on the GOP confirming). I certainly do not believe the GOP will confirm anyone O nominates. I was referring to the confirmation “process”. My bad. Apologies to all. Need to watch my stream of consciousness posting.

  4. 1mime says:

    Latest poll (SC) still shows Trump leading w/35 pt to Rubio/Cruz at 18.

    I’ve been thinking about Mr. Trump. Say he wins the nomination and the Presidency (bear with me here). The “Don” is many undesirable things, but he clearly is not stupid. He knows: the GOP establishment hates his guts. Were he to become President, this charlatan politician might just decide to be his own man….letting his true, inner self come out, and blow establishment Republicans away. Now, he is “mostly” conservative but he seems to have a progressive soft spot as well. Just sayin’, Trump might surprise a lot of people, including Democrats.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      So, it would seem you agree with what many have suspected from the start, that he’s actually a closet Democrat trolling the Republican Party?

      If he pulls this off and gets himself elected, we will just have to respect the voters’ decision and make the best of it. The good thing is the President doesn’t lead or work in a vacuum.

      • 1mime says:

        No, I don’t think Trump is a closet Democrat, I think he is a “convenient” Republican. Moving in the circles he does, his ties hew more closely to conservative principles. However, Trump prides himself on doing things “his” way which has often caused him to break away from the pack mentality. Certainly I think he has a more liberal view of marriage, and a conveniently liberal view of the importance of SS and Medicare. Beyond that, I don’t think anyone knows how he would govern but I suspect he would want to do it well.

    • johngalt says:

      That is, um, optimistic, to say the least.

  5. tuttabellamia says:

    I’m not too sure about the math here, but I could see Bush, Kasich, and Carson eventually dropping out and their supporters going to Rubio, thereby putting Rubio over the top. Could this scenario work?

    • flypusher says:

      Wouldn’t some of the Carson supporters go to Cruz, given his ardent wooing of the evangelical crowd?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        You would think so, except that Cruz recently got on the bad side of the Carson campaign during the Iowa caucuses by tricking some of Carson’s supporters into thinking that Carson had dropped out of the race and then getting them to give their votes to him (Cruz). At this stage, if I were a Carson supporter and he did really drop out, I would be furious at Cruz for what he did in Iowa and instead give my vote to Rubio (or maybe Trump).

      • flypusher says:

        That’s a logical reaction Tutta, but I honestly don’t see much logic in that crowd.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Can’t see Bush dropping out anytime soon. Hes still got a ton of cash, and with the likelihood of a brokered convention, he has no real incentive to not see this out, unless he starts getting humiliated in primary after primary

      • 1mime says:

        That “cash” may be in the form of pledges as opposed to hard deposits. Lifer can clarify, but it may be that the big PAC donors have built in stipulations that allow them to “call” their pledges. If I were in their shoes, that’s what I would do. These are sophisticated wealthy players and they know how to protect their investments.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I wonder if Bush “owes” it to the big money donors to stay in the race. As Trump once pointed out, he himself is using his own money, so he is beholden to no one.

        I wonder if things might get ugly from the donor side and we get that red wedding bloodbath predicted by Lifer.

      • vikinghou says:

        It’s worth noting that the present donor situation is a legacy of Scalia’s presence at the Supreme Court. Citizens United may end up hurting the GOP. Unintended consequences??

      • 1mime says:

        As is the Presidency of GW Bush. I heard a discussion on NPR about the SCOTUS decision to stop the vote recount in FL before the deadline that had been set. The scholars who were talking said that FL felt they would get the recount finished, but then SCOTUS stepped in and told them to stop. Accordingly, the court decided who the next POTUS was going to be. Nothing like a little friendly ruling to help things along, right?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Rubio goes into the convention with a majority of delegates.

      Does he go in with a plurality of them though? Also, no. Rubio’s most optimistic scenario is that Bush drops out after the both of them get walloped in Florida (my home state which awards its delegates as winner-take-all, mind you), but the chance of that are slim to none.

      To borrow Lifer’s phrase, the math is relentless. Rubio’s path to the nomination is virtually nonexistent, hence why you hear talk about him privately hoping for a contested convention in the, IMO, starry-eyed hopes that he can pull off an upset. Maybe he’s hoping for a VP slot?

      • 1mime says:

        Race tightening in NV, which was supposed to be Hillary’s Western “firewall”. She stayed an extra day, putting off her arrival in FL. Sanders reportedly has twice as many staffers on the ground and his drawing enthusiastic crowds. Hillary oh Hillary, whereforth art thou?

        http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/clinton-hillary-nevada-blowback-219295

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Who knows, y’know? We can cherry-pick this or that to infer what the political situation in Nevada is, but when you get right down to it, you’ve just gotta put in the ground work and hope for the best when the day comes.

        One thing I did notice that was of interest, and this says more about the primary at large than any one state, and that’s how Sanders’ people only seemed to have recently gotten involved in the state. That, I would think, is a serious problem going forward, particularly when you’re dealing with multi-state primaries like the ones on Super Tuesday. In a close race, that kind of last-minute tactic can prove fatal, particularly in a close race.

  6. Eljay says:

    From Google Analytics during the GOP debate:
    http://is.gd/Dh4Amw

    Top Trending South Carolina Question on Jeb Bush

    Is Jeb Bush related to George W. Bush?

    There are no words…..

  7. johngalt says:

    There is some interesting data in this recent CBS poll (taken last week of South Carolina voters). First – and mind you this is in SC – more respondents say they will vote in the Democratic primary (38%) than the GOP (35%). This is despite only 21% of the electorate describing themselves as liberal or very liberal. The percentage voting in the Dem primary was higher in every age group except the over-65s. There is also more certainty amongst Democrats, with 93% essentially having made up their minds, versus 77% of Republicans. Trump tops the right side at 42% (more than doubling Cruz), while Hillary (59%) tops the left. Only a quarter of likely Dem voters think HRC is untrustworthy. If you are a Democrat, you’ve got to like those numbers.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-south-carolina-still-solidly-for-donald-trump-hillary-clinton/

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      If those numbers hold, then SC is a virtual lock for Clinton and sets her up nicely for Super Tuesday, though I’d hope that that doesn’t mean she’ll overlook Nevada. Polling there has been notorious, but it’s an important state in the fall and deserves a robust campaign.

      • 1mime says:

        She’s not. She’s already spending time there. There are some smart people running H’s campaign and they would never take any state for granted.

      • vikinghou says:

        She’s even going to Elko! Have you ever been to Elko? Yikes. She’s definitely leaving no stone unturned.

      • 1mime says:

        Hillary’s working hard, just as Bernie is and all the GOP candidates are. That is a great aspect of America’s political process. Decorum and civility, not so much. Duration – too long. Too much money involved, definitely. Most candidates are improved by the opportunity to hear directly from ordinary people. The best candidates learn from these opportunities. I am concerned about the world’s image of our Democratic process. Especially the GOP debates and inflammatory statements. For a party that likes to project America as the leader of the world, one has to wonder if the world wants us as its leader given the message we are sending through copious media outlets.

      • 1mime says:

        Reportedly, Clinton and Sanders are running neck and neck in NV polls, with momentum on Sanders’ side.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Supposedly, polls in Nevada are notoriously unreliable. Even if that weren’t the case though, the sheer amount compared to what we got in the run-up to Iowa and New Hampshire is pathetically low, so I take what we do have with a grain of salt.

        Like I’ve said, who knows? Maybe Sanders will run away with Nevada or maybe Clinton will pull out a sizeable win. Ah well, makes for some decent excitement on Saturday. 🙂

  8. johngalt says:

    Back to the topic of this post. What Lifer outlines is a process by which the eventual GOP nominee doesn’t even have the support of the majority of his party. That is taking the anti-establishment trend to its logical extreme.

    • flypusher says:

      Judging from the nastiness of Saturday’s debate, I’m hard pressed to see how they avoid a schism. Trump would have every right to feel cheated if he goes in with the most delegates and someone who wasn’t even running like Ryan or Romney was the surprise nominee. Or even if if was an establishment guy like Jeb or Rubio.

      • vikinghou says:

        LOL fly, you beat me to it! Great minds think alike 😉

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Everyone knows that if Republicans try and pull a complete sucker punch, essentially hijacking the convention to nominate someone of their choosing, the base would go completely apeshit over it. It would be one of the most spectacular political spectacles of our time, because there would be no telling what would happen.

        But as Lifer’s said, there’s no incentive for them to do any of that. If it comes down to it, better to hand Congress and even the Supreme Court to the Democrats for a time so you can live to fight another day.

        Then again, this is the Republican Party that seems to relish indulging in short-term political warfare more than anything else, so I could be entirely mistaken. Who knows?

      • 1mime says:

        I’m telling you, Ryan, don’t count on this Repub group to even worry about what their base wants if they can find a way to keep their majorities in Congress and win the Presidency. Even if it means bringing in a surprise candidate. Lifer will have to weigh in on how that could happen (have I missed this explanation?), but this election is one of the most consequential in modern history. All stops will be pulled and nothing will be too extreme to try to save their bacon.

      • flypusher says:

        “But as Lifer’s said, there’s no incentive for them to do any of that. If it comes down to it, better to hand Congress and even the Supreme Court to the Democrats for a time so you can live to fight another day.”

        It is, but I don’t think the GOP is cabaple of long-term thinking right now. The SCOTUS brouhaha is a prime example. McConnell fired off the first political shot before engaging his brain when he declared that the Senate wasn’t going to even consider anyone Obama picked. That might make the rabid elements of the base happy in the short term, but he just limited the longer term options. Obama OTOH, can think long term, and I predict he’ll play these fools like a Stradivarius. The GOP is in a hole, and they’ve called for an auger.

      • lomamonster says:

        Could be Alfred E. if they don’t watch out!

    • vikinghou says:

      The ever increasing hostility and bitterness among the GOP candidates further reinforces my suspicion that we may witness a schism within the party during the convention. There is no current candidate who can unify the party. Also, I can’t think of anyone else in the GOP who could be drafted as a unifying nominee at the convention.

      In light of Scalia’s departure from the SCOTUS, I was thinking that GOP opposition to any nominee proposed by Obama would be a unifying factor. But upon further reflection, since the GOP nominees are unanimously opposed to an Obama appointment, this issue may not be relevant in the primary. There is no reason for them to argue about something they all agree on.

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, no, Viking, this is not about the GOP lack of agreement on a SCOTUS nominee, it’s ALL about using this as a fund-raising issue and to stir up their base – who need little provocation as we all can see. I gag every time I hear one of them assert “lame duck” status – as if, were the tables reversed, they wouldn’t jump on this thing on the principled basis that “the nation’s work must be done”!

        Don’t look for a reasonable basis here, Viking. It’s all BS and politics – and, hypocrisy.

      • vikinghou says:

        You’re right, mime. What I was trying to say is that the candidates won’t be using the SCOTUS issue to beat each other up, because they all agree.

        Also, I think the Dems can use this issue to stir up their base, particularly if the Senate refuses to consider anyone who Obama proposes to replace Scalia. Throughout this campaign, the Supreme Court has been at the top of my list of reasons why we cannot allow the GOP to take the White House. Scalia’s departure brings the issue into full relief.

      • 1mime says:

        Mine, as well, Viking. This will be an even more polarizing issue now that there is an “actual” vacancy, and, one for which the huge number of days would (and should) ordinarily prompt swift action. Those who posture are going to have to really spin this to make their argument, which of course, is no argument except when appealing to a base that boos moderators who fact-check candidates lies.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        You’re right about that viking, but Democrats need to MAKE that case. Winning the Supreme Court is like a one-size-fits-all glove for virtually every issue that’s near and dear to progressives and liberals alike: abortion rights, voting rights, campaign finance reform (or anti-corruption reform, as I prefer to see it), unions, gerrymandering, immigration, etc, etc.

        For this particular election cycle, it’s perhaps the strongest GOTV mechanism in all of politics and Democrats would be wise to ride it to the hilt and take it for all its worth. Take nothing for granted and see that every man and woman in this nation knows what’s at stake in November.

      • 1mime says:

        This kind of all out effort is going to require lots of money and big political machinery. Remember that when you get solicited to help. Like it or not, we (Dems) cannot compete with a message that people don’t hear or see. Pony up as best you can.

    • Crogged says:

      Exactly what is there to be so p*ssed about? Modernity?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        The end of white supremacy.

        Southern, uneducated white don’t mind being poor. What they absolutely cannot stand is being as poor as non whites.

        And they have nontime for all this pc “equality” bullshit when everybody knows blacks and Latinos are inferior to whites.

        Also, Jesus hates poor lazy moochers and thinks that taxing the wealthy is oppressive and an abomination.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s another scintillating tidbit from the NPR discussion on the 8-person court consequences. Cases that reach a tie would (or could) be remanded back to the courts from which they were appealed. Whatever disposition that court held (say in PP, TX 5th circuit ruled the state could shut them down), that would hold “for those states within the 5th circuit – iow, TX, LA, MS. The very same issue could arise in a different circuit and arrive at a different opinon. This “patchwork” of different legal decisions for same situations would produce a quagmire across the face of the nation. Normally, this would be exactly the kind of cases that SCOTUS would hear and resolve so that the law was uniform for the same issue. With a split supreme court, potentially, all lower court decisions could hold.

      How’s that for a big, fat, mess! Not only is the fabric of America’s political system in doubt, but so is our system of laws and jurisprudence. I guess those who advocate for states’ rights’ would be happy, but not many others.

      BTW, SCOTUS also has the option to hold “over” cases for a period of time. The problem is, NEVER has there potentially been so much time involved.

  9. Griffin says:

    WorldNetDaily is already getting cashing in on conspiracy theories about Scalia’s death (http://www.wnd.com/2016/02/urgent-calls-begin-for-scalia-autopsy/). Joke’s on them cause Alex Jones beat them to it, of course (http://crooksandliars.com/2016/02/alex-jones-was-antonin-scalia-murdered).

    It will be interesting to see the effect this will have on the Republican race. One would think this would force them to be more pragmatic, because whereas before it was “just” the White House at risk now they have to protect the Senate and with it the Supreme Court. You’d think this would be a massive boost for Rubio/Kasich/Bush, because even if they don’t win the election they might not lose the Senate majority for the GOP.

    On the other hand if more “official” Republican pundits or politicians start espousing conspiracy theories around Scalia’s death it could cause the base to feel even more threatened and radicalize them further. It will be interesting to see which way this pushes them. If they go that down the crazy road then I think the party that eventually replaces the GOP should be called the “Union Party”, it has a nice ring to it.

  10. objv says:

    “He was a jurist of captivating brilliance and wit, with a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh. The press referred to his ‘energetic fervor,’ ‘astringent intellect,’ ‘peppery prose,’ ‘acumen,’ and ‘affability,’ all apt descriptions. He was eminently quotable, his pungent opinions so clearly stated that his words never slipped from the reader’s grasp.”

    “From our years together at the D.C. Circuit, we were best buddies. We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation. Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots — the ‘applesauce’ and ‘argle bargle’ — and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion.”

    ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg on her “treasured friend” Antonin Scalia

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scalia-ginsburg-friendship_us_56bfb717e4b0b40245c6f436

    We can learn much from the Supreme Court Justices. Oddly enough, Scalia will probably be missed most by Ginsburg and Kagen.

    • objv says:

      “I admired Nino for his brilliance and erudition, his dedication and energy, and his peerless writing,” she said. “And I treasured Nino’s friendship: I will always remember, and greatly miss, his warmth, charm, and generosity.”

      ~Elena Kagen

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/david-axelrod-scalia-kagan_us_56c0c523e4b0c3c55051c8f1

    • 1mime says:

      Liberals are such nice people. So understanding. So tolerant. So forgiving.

      Nice of you to recognize that about Ginsburg and Kagen.

      (-: Just messin’ with you, Ob.

    • flypusher says:

      That’s touching, that such opposites can be good friends. I don’t begrudge Ginsberg and Kagan their choice or friends or their sense of loss. I won’t dispute Scalia’s intelligence or knowledge or even that he had a sense of humor. But I never cared for his philosophy, so I can’t say I’ll miss him.

      • 1mime says:

        For me, the overtly political statements and opinions that Scalia wrote and expanded upon publicly went beyond decorum for the highest court in the land. It clearly indicated that he would judge with a political framework first. I expect more from our justices in the highest court in the land. All of them – conservatives and liberals.

      • Doug says:

        Mime, could you please post a couple of what you consider his overtly political statements?

      • 1mime says:

        No I can’t. I don’t keep a log of comments. Rest assured, I am not making it up. Research him across a spectrum of media and you will find all the political quotes you need. I don’t have to justify my opinion of Justice Scalia’s partisan views, it is part of the public record.

        Your point?

      • Griffin says:

        Doug he was pretty infamous for it, but if you’d like to see some (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/supreme-court-justice-antonin-scalia-s-most-controversial-remarks-opinions-n518246)

        Personally I think he just liked to wind people up.

      • Doug says:

        That’s OK. After reading further down I believe it’s time for me to leave this blog. You guys have fun. I’m done here.

      • 1mime says:

        I wish you well, Doug. You added to the blog. Sorry it’s not a good fit for you.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        The Obergefell dissent was pretty disgraceful.

        Its one thing to disagree. Scalia used over the top rhetoric unfit for the SCOTUS and seemed to do his best to undermine the very legitimacy of the ruling, and thus, the court itself.

        His rhetoric seemed designed to encourage ppl to break the law and ignore the ruling.

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/09/24/scalia_on_supreme_court_gay_marriage_ruling_invalid_illegitimate.html

      • Griffin says:

        I can deal with people I like such as Bernie Sanders being called a total loon and all his followers being dismissed as idealistic moonbats but you can’t deal with criticism of a Catholic traditionalist who used the Supreme Court to push his authoritarian fringe views (which is what he accused everyone else of doing)? I thought liberals were supposed to be the whiny ones and conservatives were the tough guys who could stick it out.

      • texan5142 says:

        Stomps feet, grabs ball and goes home to pout. Conservative to the core.

      • objv says:

        “The world will be better off now that he’s dead. The world would have been better if it had happened sooner. Good riddance.”

        ~Lifer

        Mime, if Doug finds it repellant to rejoice at someone’s death and if this makes him a bad “fit” for this blog, I may be leaving soon as well. (Hold the applause, please.)

      • 1mime says:

        And, you directed this comment to me instead of Lifer who you quoted, because?

        Honestly, Ob, I wish you godspeed.

      • objv says:

        Doug, I will miss you. That is, if I stick around this popsicle stand much longer. 🙂

      • objv says:

        “Way to go, Lifer! Good riddance, indeed.”

        ~Mime

        It seemed that you were in agreement with Lifer.

      • 1mime says:

        I share his opinion of Scalia’s politics. I applaud Lifer’s honesty, hence “way to go”. I emphatically do not agree that justices at any court level should be so publicly political with their personal views. I do not agree that the Constitution is fixed; rather, I believe the Constitution is a living document that should provide a legal framework but be responsive to changing times through an appropriate legal process.

      • goplifer says:

        This country has fought wars to limit the reach of Scalia’s ideology abroad. Here he sat on the Supreme Court. No sympathy from me. Good riddance to a horrible era of jurisprudence. We will spend decades cleaning up his mess.

      • objv says:

        Mime, I have no problem with ideological differences. I have no problem with your last reply. However, I believe that Doug (and I) took issue with Lifer’s expression of naked hatred and your agreement with him.

        “The world will be better off now that he’s dead. The world would have been better if it had happened sooner. Good riddance.”

        What if someone here would say the same thing at Ginsburg’s death? She is equally polarizing. Yet, she and Scalia were friends and she mourns his passing. I do not think she would agree.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know what was motivated Lifer’s strong expression of feelings regarding Scalia, but I have great confidence in Lifer’s knowledge, experience and personal sense of decency. His views were deeply felt, that was obvious, and I applaud his honesty in expressing them, especially as a conservative. I strongly opposed Scalia’s blatant efforts to co-opt the Supreme Court process to make and influence law to further his own agenda. Scalia was incredibly inappropriate and insensitive in his public remarks, abandoning any and all judicial decorum and respect for the position he held and the institution he represented. I am glad he’s no longer on the court but I didn’t wish him dead. Just gone. He offended me professionally and personally and I will not miss him. In fact, I think he did great harm to the judicial process while he served.

        Maybe that will clarify why I was in agreement with the substance of Lifer’s comments.

      • 1mime says:

        As for your comment about Justice Ginsburg, I’d like you to substantiate what you said about her being as controversial as Justice Scalia.

      • objv says:

        Mime, you don’t think abortion or affirmative action is controversial? Good luck to you.

      • 1mime says:

        Of course affirmative action and abortion are controversial! However, a SC justice should demonstrate personal restraint in voicing their opinions AND in using them in a political context to frame a binding legal opinion. Ginsburg is a liberal, but she has been much, much more appropriate in “how” and “when” she stated her personal beliefs. Most important, Justice Ginsburg decides cases on the basis of case law and keeps personal politics outside her written opinions, something Justice Scalia is guilty of exploiting. I do not think this is appropriate for a SC justice and I believe Scalia used his position, longevity and personal views to influence outcomes he wanted rather than what the cases merited. If you take the time to read some of his opinions, especially his dissents on highly divisive, controversial issues, he takes things too far.

        Scalia never was selected by his peers to be Chief Justice, despite serving thirty years on the court. Neither was Ginsburg selected during her 23 years on the court. Her profile on the SC has always been discreet though she is noted for her frank, direct dissents, on the merits of a case as opposed to the political underpinnings.

        I agree with Lifer. Scalia’s tenure marked a very dark period of SC jurisprudence. Please take the time to read this recount of his tenure from WIK. Polorizing? He was the epitome of “polarizing”. I didn’t respect him personally or as a SC justice and I am glad he is no longer on the court. Surely, as thinking, rational people, we should all want our SC justices to leave their personal views outside the courtroom and rule on the basis of objective reasoning and case law. Scalia became arrogant in blending his personal views into decisions. I think that he was wrong to do so. Ginsburg has not abused the process as he did.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonin_Scalia#Judicial_performance

        Then read more about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg

      • objv says:

        Lifer, I understand that Scalia’s views were abhorrent to you, but wishing for the death of someone puts you in the same category as the trolls who said that Ginsburg should have died of cancer.

    • texan5142 says:

      Objv,

      What do you see in Cruz and how do you feel about the self described Christian telling so many lies and provable false statements?

      • flypusher says:

        I want Cruz to tell us which part of the Constitution says that a President can’t make a SCOTUS replacement in an election year.

      • 1mime says:

        I assume that your statement was “tongue in cheek”, Fly. It’s odd: for conservatives, the Constitution is a “fixed” document, until that no longer works well for them. Then, decisions that impact constitutional issues become malleable – and “principle” becomes paramount. “Their” principles, of course. It’s like their focus on “small government” until they need the force of government to compel their agenda.

        I abhor the hypocrisy of the Republican Party.

      • flypusher says:

        Actually Chuck Schumer has said that he would ask Teddy that to his face, and I hope he does. Cruz needs to be called out on that bullshit, continuously, forcefully, and unrelentingly.

      • objv says:

        Texan, could you clarify which horrible lies you are referring to? When you find something of the magnitude of “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” please get back to me with specifics.

        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/dec/12/lie-year-if-you-like-your-health-care-plan-keep-it/

      • Turtles Run says:

        objv – Yes, the President made that statement and as far as I can tell not one single plan was canceled because it followed the Grandfather provisions of Obamacare.. I could be wrong so please point to this mythical plan cancellation.

        Now did insurance plans decide on their own to cancel non-complaint policies sure they did, but unless you are trying to argue that the President should force private companies to carry policies they do not want what is exactly your point?

      • objv says:

        Turtles, Politifact has never been known for its conservative bias and they did a good job explaining why they gave Obama the “Pants on Fire” and “Lie of the Year” designations.

        Obama knew ahead of time that people were going to lose their policies, despite provisions for grandfathering. He went right on spouting the same lines knowing that millions would not be able to choose to keep their plans or their doctors.

    • johngalt says:

      “What’s not to like? Except her views on the law, of course.” Scalia on Ginsburg.

      “I love him, but sometimes I’d like to strangle him,” Ginsburg on Scalia.

      They were an odd couple, that’s for sure.

  11. Rob Ambrose says:

    Schumer brought up a good point on CNN today.

    When Kennedy was confirmed in 88, it was a 97-0 vote. In an election year.

    If Obama picks a moderate (which is likely), and the GOP senate doesnt confirm, the Dem candidate is going to have some serious firepower to use against the GOP, and the Dem track record of puttinf partisanship aside for Kennedy in an election year is going to really highlight the obstructionism of the GOP compared to the Dems.

    And if they confirm that pick, then we will have traded the most conservative member of SCOTUS for a moderate liberal.

    Either way, its win-win for the Dems.

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, think back to how few times Republicans have crossed the aisle to help Democrats, or, to preserve the appearance of national unity (SCOTUS). Republicans must laugh to themselves when Democrats put party aside and vote for “the good of the country”. I’ll give you another example. When Republicans under GWBush wanted to pass the Prescription Plan, Democrats were strongly opposed. They knew the drug companies were sticking it to the American people and the government (they lobbied and successfully got the law to stipulate that no price negotiations would be allowed). When it was obvious the GOP had the votes, Dems worked to make the bill the best they could. You will not see this kind of compromise and statesmanship coming from the right. It simply isn’t in their DNA. Not how they do business. If you have any doubt, think about how they tear each other to shreds in the debates. Ugly politics, Rob.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Arguably, this strategy of vowing not to confirm any nominee is like the Republicans giving themselves enough rope for a good clean political suicide depending on how the Democrats and a potential President Clinton decide to respond.

      If the GOP holds against a comparative moderate that they would have no reason to oppose other than politics, than why shouldn’t the Democrats bring all their weight to bear with a true blue liberal that would almost certainly strike down all the Republicans’ favorite rulings for the past many years: Heller, Citizens United, Hobby Lobby, etc, etc.

      Make them pay for their intransigence in a way that they might’ve gotten away with, at least partially, with a moderate nominee. It would only be what they deserve.

      • 1mime says:

        There were some interesting suggestions along the line you mentioned in tonight’s TV commentary. It was stated that AG Loretta Lynch would be a super nominee – qualified, recently vetted, knows everyone in Congress, solid record, Black, Female….It would please the Black community who feels O should have named one of the two prior SCOTUS nominees from their ranks, and, because of her high profile and respected career, it would really push the political maneuvering of the GOP wholly into public view and they would suffer from it.

        Only downside, she has done so well at Justice.

  12. WX Wall says:

    Goplifer-

    I’d love to get your opinion of Scalia. Away from all the partisan stuff, I’m curious if you thought he was a good justice.

    I’m not a lawyer, but as a citizen, I’m more of the “Constitution is a living, breathing document that changes with the times” camp rather than the “Constitution must be interpreted strictly” camp, but I can respect both views, and appreciate having them represented on the court to balance each other. But even within that framework, IMHO, Scalia was very inconsistent in applying those principles (what part of the Constitution allows the Fed government to override a State’s decision to recount election votes a-la Bush v Gore?) that, to me, crossed the line into politics. At the very least, I don’t think he’s as “brilliant” as conservatives think he was if he can’t apply his own ideas consistently (or explain why they don’t apply in a specific case). How did you view him?

    FWIW, all politics aside, my dream pick for the bench would be Richard Posner from Chicago (a conservative but brilliant jurist whom I would trust with constitutional questions regardless of his personal politics). Unfortunately, he’s too old in this era of trying to appoint 40 year old judges who’ll stay on for decades.

    P.S. As a strict constitutionalist, I’m sure Scalia would want Obama and the Senate to execute their clear constitutional duties and appoint a new judge ASAP. No better way to honor his memory than do what he would have wanted!

    • flypusher says:

      Posner is a judicial badass:

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/09/05/judge_richard_posner_s_gay_marriage_opinion_is_witty_moral_and_brilliant.html

      I’d love to see him on the SCOTUS, but sadly he would be considered too old.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Viking, my thoughts exactly.

        I admit I’m not a super close SCOTUS watcher, bit it seems to me Thomas was heavily influenced by Scalia.

        One wonders if in addition to replacing the most conservative justice with a moderate, the balance will further be tilted leftward by perhaps even a subtle leftward swing by Thomas.

        All in all, I feel like the future for America has considerably brigthened in the past 24 hrs.

        Scalia was a blight on the SCOTUS.

        I don’t begrudge any justice their personal political beliefs, but if you’re legal reasoning is all over the place with the only constant being that you consistently are supporting an extreme partisan goal (either on the right OR the left) then you are not worthy of the SCOTUS.

        With the exception of perhaps Thomas, the other Conservative justices at least seem to place priority on the legal arguments of each case, even if I don’t particularly agree with them most of the time.

      • 1mime says:

        I wouldn’t count on Thomas swinging left. He will follow the conservative lead as he has always done – which will probably be Justice Alito. As Chief Justice, Roberts cannot afford any appearance of influencing Thomas. Kennedy is considered a conservative but does “swing” with the liberal justices depending upon the issue. There’s really no one else for Thomas to follow other than Alito under these circumstances.

    • goplifer says:

      Reminds me of something David Frum said about the death of Andrew Breitbart: “A funeral is no place for the truth.”

      Scalia was a religious extremist and old-school racist paleo-conservative whose supposed commitment to the Constitution’s “original meaning” was a thin intellectual cover for an ideological campaign to take America and the world back to the 1800’s with everything that means for individual rights and liberty.

      I hated him and I won’t mourn him. The intellectual tradition he is a part of represents the nearest Americans will ever get to Fascism in the truly persistent, relatively successful style of mid-20th century Spain and Portugal. He was the most potent representation of one of the most powerfully noxious forces in modern American political life.

      The world will be better off now that he’s dead. The world would have been better if it had happened sooner. Good riddance.

      • 1mime says:

        Way to go, Lifer! Good riddance, indeed.

      • vikinghou says:

        Exactly. Now I’m wondering who’s going to tell Clarence Thomas how to vote.

      • flypusher says:

        I confess, I won’t miss Scalia one bit. Obama’s statements are intriguing. Very polite and respectful at face value, but could be interpreted another way. I’m reminded of a joke about having to provide a reference for someone who did crappy work, and saying ” you will be very fortunate to get this person to work for you.”

      • 1mime says:

        Ooh, good one, Fly! I did notice that O wasn’t wearing a tie….I’m sure conservatives will be all over him for this “breach” of decorum. Frankly, I don’t know how he didn’t gag on his message except that President Obama is a much bigger person than most would be under the same circumstances. He was gracious without being verbose. He said what had to be said and focused on the family.

      • texan5142 says:

        Tell us how you really feel Chris.

      • johngalt says:

        Really, Chris. Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel about Scalia 🙂

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I don’t believe in speaking ill of the dead, regardless of how reprehensible I may have found them to be in life, though I do share many others’ opinion in that I certainly won’t be missing Scalia’s voice on the Court.

        One interesting thing I found out that I didn’t know before. Scalia may well have had an influence in giving us Justice Kagan: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/14/opinions/david-axelrod-surprise-request-from-justice-scalia/index.html

      • Creigh says:

        “take the world back to the 1800s with everything that means for individual rights and liberties.” Right: giving the great and powerful the respect they deserve.

        I believe that one of the primary functions of government, perhaps the most basic, is shielding citizens from undue power. And it seems to me to be the special purview of the judiciary. A courtroom should be one place where the least among us stands as equal to the greatest power. Incidentally, Justice Alito is the worst offender here, just as was feared during his confirmation hearings.

        Also, while Scalia’s legal intelligence was considerable, i think his “originalism” philosophy turned out to be a little too convenient.

        And, as Griffin noted above, he seemed to enjoy yanking people’s chains. That’s not a good quality in a judge.

      • 1mime says:

        History is replete with people born with great intelligence which they used selfishly and destructively. Intelligence is a gift; how one lives their life is a choice.

        On the subject of “who” Obama might nominate, I believe that Obama, as a Constitutional scholar and as a very good man who believes in fair, deliberative decision-making, will elevate wisdom, moderation and competence over ideology. He understands the long game here. He also understands the importance of having a US Supreme Court that is respected for the fairness of their decisions for “all” people, not just liberal or conservative causes. This nomination offers an opportunity to lead our nation through principle rather than partisanship. Consistent with his other appointees, Obama will do the right thing for the right reasons. Those on either extreme who call for a partisan justice are wrong to do so, in my opinion. This court, the highest in the land, should stand above politics. I trust President Obama will use this reasoning in making his choice.

        Would that all nominees for our courts were made with this philosophy. Cases should be decided on their merits and case law, not party ideology. All decisions should be predictable and justifiable with no hint of political partisanship. After all, isn’t this part of the problem we are seeing today that is making our political process so dysfunctional? Shouldn’t governing “for the people” be based upon need and fairness? Obama has a legacy opportunity to once again, teach others that we as a nation are better than partisan politics. I trust him to do just that.

    • 1mime says:

      Per your point about Posner comes a suggestion for staggered SCOTUS terms from none other than Rick Perry. Good article on reasoning out why lifetime appointments don’t make sense in a rapidly changing world. Posner and Lawrence Tribe were mentioned as two lions of the legal world who could contribute mightily if their terms were shortened.

      http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/02/scalia-how-to-fix-supreme-court-vacancy-reform-213637

  13. goplifer says:

    Another note about the nomination.

    In case you are wondering how long characters like Bush, Kasich and Carson might hold on, in just over 4 weeks Republicans will have assigned more than half of the 2400+ convention delegates. Most of those will be in proportional races. No one has any incentive to stop playing.

    • 1mime says:

      “No one has any incentive to stop playing.”

      And, it makes such good theater. Given the FACT that each debate has been uglier than the last, with three to go, the Republican Party will be the laughing stock of the world.

      So undignified. So many half-truths. So personally insulting. As I said earlier, Republicans “eat their own” in the name of winning. Power corrupts.

      • 1mime says:

        David Frum’s commentary on the GOP debate and how it reflects upon the Republican Party:

        “Everything that was suppressed has been exposed, everything that went unsaid is being shouted aloud—and all before a jeering live audience, as angry itself as any of the angry men on the platform. Is this a functional political party? Is this an organization readying itself to govern? Or is it one more—most spectacular—show of self-evisceration by a party that has been bleeding on the inside for a decade and longer?”

        Lifer, take a bow.

    • flypusher says:

      Here’s a repeat of an old question for the forum-has Trump finally crossed the line? Yes, he did have a Twitter fight with Jeb over “W kept us safe”. But last night he said it to Jeb’s face. It’s one thing to make the dog-whistles audible. But he’s directly attacking some cherished delusions here.

      My prediction: He wins SC in spite of that.

      • 1mime says:

        I think Trump hurt himself badly in the debate. Whether his performance will impact his SC outcome I don’t know, but there are a lot of military families living in SC and I don’t think his antics go over well there.

      • flypusher says:

        If those military families still love W, they’re as delusional as Trump supporters.

        Trump spoke the truth here.

  14. flypusher says:

    Last night was my first chance to watch a GOP debate live (I had my beer and my popcorn and my iPad logged into Fark). That was quite a spectacle. Damn Trump for making me agree with him, but he was dead on about W and his FUBAR. And damn Dems for not saying this anywhere near enough for the past 12 years. I think Trump was also right about the audience being rigged to be pro-Bush.

    • flypusher says:

      Tred Cruz on Meet the Press saying we don’t do SCOTUS picks in an election year. What part of the Constitution is that in, oh great Constitutional scholar?

      I’m yelling “bullshit” at the TV. I want the mods in the next debate to grill Teddy over this. There is no precedent for what he claims. This is nothing but petty partisanship.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        He was wro g last night during the debate, but had an out since Kennedy was NOMINATED in 87 and confirmed in 88, so he could later say “sorry, got my dates mixed up”.

        To double down The next day though, is not smart. The current crop of GOP’ers is living in their own LA LA land and nobody calls them.on it.

        Fiorina with her whoppers about PP was one thing, since she was never a serious candidate. But Cruz needs to be called out.

        You can’t have a functioning democracy if we can’t even agree on basic, indisputable facts.

      • flypusher says:

        Teddy and his buddies have the right to their political opinions. The Senate can legally delay, delay, delay. I object to the gross hypocrisy of trying to dress up partisan political maneuvers in “precedent” or “Constitutionality”. Just be honest. Obama replacing Scalia is a huge political disadvantage for you, but it’s still his duty and his right to nominate someone. Cruz was being honest about his fears of certain rulings being overturned, but that’s playing partisan politics, not respecting the Constitution.

        Trump and Kasich are at least being honest here about how this is really just about politics. Anyone trying to invoke “precedent” needs to be loudly and repeatedly called out on that bullshit.

        Go Obama. Nominate someone good, and expose the GOP pettiness even more.

      • texan5142 says:

        Cruz is nothing but petty, what did you expect. Not one person on that stage is qualified to clean the tolit in the White House.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        That’s a good point.

        I don’t think anybody would blame any Republican for not wanting Obama to nominate someone. Its a huge political blow.

        But put that out as your opinion, not some constitutional precedent or other garbage like that.

      • 1mime says:

        More significantly, there is NO LAW requiring the President to defer nomination. THAT is the bottom line.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Exactly Mime.

        If there is no law, no precedent, and no particular reason for Obama to defer making a nomination, their argument basically boils down to they think Obama shouldn’t do it because it helps the Dems and hurts the GOP.

        Considering the unprecedented vitriol spewed his way by the Republican party over his administration, in what universe would he feel obligated to go out of hisbway to help them?

        It goes against basic human nature and behavior to expect your punching bag of 8 years to then turn around and disadvantage himself and his legacy in order to lend you a helping hand out of the goodness of his heart.

      • 1mime says:

        Besides the unalterable fact that the US Supreme Court has the nation’s business to conduct. That is their job. If this one fact alone were not enough, there is the 342 days which would be the longest stretch between a vacancy and a replacement. It’s all politics. And, I am so very tired of the charade. It doesn’t have anything to do with what’s best for America. There is absolutely no defense for the Republican position. These are the kind of tactics that make me have so little respect for the party.

      • flypusher says:

        To elaborate on a good point made in another forum- usually Justices retire, and they tend to time their retirement based on who’s in the White House, and where we are in the election cycle. Hence the scarcity of a vacant seat in an election year. But Scalia DIED, and that wasn’t planned. That is what is different, but it still doesn’t justify Teddy Cruz’s lame excuses.

      • 1mime says:

        Debate 101: If you make a half-truth and get caught, stick with it. You might just get away with it. Cruz, of all people, knows better. He’s a snake. Can you even imagine him as President standing for truth and principle?

        BTW – Happy Valentine’s Day All! Hope you are spending your day with someone special. (Why are valentines red? Couldn’t they be blue? Is this a conservative conspiracy? Hmmm (-:

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, we were yelling the same thing at the same time! Good thing we don’t live in the same neighborhood….on second thought, you had popcorn, I didn’t. Do you share? Three to go, you know? Just imagine how much more powerful “Bullshit” would be if we hollered it together! Ha!!! Think of all the popcorn we could throw at the TV! Think of how much better it would make us feel and how little it would change things.

  15. flypusher says:

    Possible SCOTUS nominees for Obama:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/2/13/10987836/obama-supreme-court-shortlist

    Sri Srinivasan looks especially interesting. He was approved 97-0 for his current appointment.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Yeah he really looks like the best choice to me.

      Known as a moderate, very quakified, already confirmed 97-0 by the Senate (which would prove very awkward for the GOP. what happened in the interim between the unanimous approval then and now? Either the Senate GOP’ers would be guilty of not taking their nomination duties seriously, or of politicizing the SCOTUS pick by refusing to confirm a clearly suitable candidate).

      Also the fact that hes a person of color is a nice bonus.

      • flypusher says:

        If the GOP was smart they would cut their losses and confirm this guy if he’s the nominee. If they stonewall, they are going to look extremely petty and likely hurt themselves in some of the Senate races. A moderate justice replacing Scalia is the best possible deal they can get.

        Saw a very amusing suggestion that both HRC and Bernie should promise to nominate Obama if the vacancy is still unfilled when Obama leaves office- basically hey GOP you can have Obama’s pick, and you can have Obama himself. That would be so damn funny.

        Lastly all this talk about there being precedent concerning not making SCOTUS picks during election years is pure crap. SCOTUS vacancies don’t happen that frequently, and a vacancy during an election year would be even rarer. You need some more data points before you can declare a trend. The Constitution is quite clear on this matter-it’s the President’s duty to pick and the Senate’s duty to vote yea or nay.

      • 1mime says:

        That was all about showcasing the erudite Cruz experience with SCOTUS….I wish the moderator had not crawfished. He made a good first point and he should have backed it up. If you’re going to call someone out, go all the way or don’t go there at all. We all know Cruz is an ass, and it is rewarding when someone can jerk his pitiful chain. Just do it with conviction.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Agree. There simply haven’t been any data points in statitisically significant numbers one way or the other.

        One thing there HAVE been lots of though is overall SCOTUS nominations.

        The average time from start to finish is 25 days to confirm or reject. The LONGEST is 125 days. Obama has 342 days left.

        These numbers support the fact that waiting until after Obamas term would be absolutely unprecedented, with no constitutional basis, and with absolutely no precedent or constitutional basis for NOT appointing a nom over such a long period. It all adds up to the basic fact that not only does Obama have the right to appoint a justice, he has the duty and responsibility to do so, even if he didn’t want too.

        As for Bernie/Hillary that would be a treat to watch, and also probably good strategy.

        Not only would it enrage Conservatives to an insane degree (and thus make them look dangerous and unpalatable to the millions of moderates/undecideds) but it will energize the Dem base (probably more then it would energize the GOP base forbthe simple reason that the GOP base is already very energized. Not much room to go anywhere from their end) who generally really like Obama.

        It also gives Bernie a really nice backdoor to slip quietly slip away from the seeming anti Obama plank that’s starting to creep into his platform (which I tend to think would be a big mistake to let fester).

        All in all, this whole thing just made an already fascinating election cycle 10 x more so.

      • 1mime says:

        Obama could nominate Pope Francis and Republicans wouldn’t take a vote. This is all about control, which I clearly understand, but it’s just too damn bad for Republicans that Scalia died when he did. If he had died 65 days before the election, the whole “lame ducky” thing would make more sense. He didn’t.

        Let’s extend this thought. If Republicans were holding the Presidency, Dems had control of the Congress, a liberal justice died 342 days before the new President is sworn in, does anyone here think they would give a rat’s you know what and observe the “lame duck” concept?

        Anyone?

    • 1mime says:

      Maybe so, but he’s very important lodged in the DC circuit court.

  16. Griffin says:

    This case can’t be real can it? An Oklahoma judge dismisses charges against a cop for molesting a four year old despite forensic evidence… and then sent the girl’s father to a year in prison for cursing out loud in court about it (technically he sentenced him to two seperate six month sentences). On top of all that no investigators or nurses were called in to testify, only the four year old was there to testify.

    http://thefreethoughtproject.com/judge-dismisses-child-sexual-assault-charges-cop-throws-dad-jail-year/

    • goplifer says:

      Judge dismisses one felony charge for lack of evidence, then ordered the officer to stand trial for the lesser molestation charge for which the evidence added up.

      During the exchange, redneck Okie father misunderstands the whole process, makes a giant stupid scene, finally shouting lewd insults at the judge while being removed from the room. Is found in contempt, repeatedly.

      Okie goes to pokie to cool off. Official sentence is six months, but a judge can send someone home when he feels like he’s made his point.

      Sounds like a mess, but that kind of shizzle happens a lot. It isn’t easy keeping a courtroom running. Seldom gets so thoroughly mishandled by press and social media though.

      http://www.mcalesternews.com/news/stites-bound-over-on-single-felony-father-of-child-jailed/article_8a0fd138-cea1-11e5-8e5e-bfe3592bded2.html

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Decorum in court should be kept at ll times, and the contempt of court judgement here is appropriate.

        I kinda feel like a week would be more appropriate. The point would be made that his outburst is unacceptable, while also taking into account that a parent whose 4 y/o daughter is being grilled in court after being sexually assaulted is probably not in the most rational state of mind, and perhaps should be cut a little slack.

      • 1mime says:

        If this was my three year old daughter, and I were sitting in that courtroom, and experienced what this father did, would any of us here be able to quietly sit there? A 3 year old child. A doctor should have been able to definitively determine if the child had been penetrated – which fact we don’t know. That doesn’t mean the child wasn’t molested, which is the “lesser” charge against the police officer/baby sitter. If my child or grandchild had been “touched” inappropriately I would want his head. This case could have been handled with greater sensitivity. The judge erred there.

        The justice process “worked”??? The father was unruly. He couldn’t contain himself when he felt his child was not receiving the justice she deserved. He was wrong to use profanity and disrupt the court, but, it doesn’t make the court hearing fair or the crime against the child “lesser” than if she had been raped. Once more, the victim is treated so badly.

        I don’t think any of us can judge because we weren’t there and we aren’t this father. Court decorum aside, this had to be an extremely difficult, volatile situation. Why didn’t the judge conduct the child’s testimony in chambers to protect her, if nothing else. Or clear the courtroom except of principle parties?

        Here’s a quote from one of the commentators that I think nails it: “Cussin’, must be taken very seriously in McAlester. Child abuse, not so much.”

      • Griffin says:

        Thank God it’s more complicated than it looked like. It sounded so outrageous that I was hoping this whole story was more of an outright internet hoax but this is still better than how it was originally reported.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s an update and a pertinent comment. The father appeared in Judge Sheets courtroom the next day and apologized for his outburst. He said, “I thought I could handle it but I couldn’t.” The judge dismissed the charges and released the father from custody.

        Again, I ask each of you with children or grandchildren of that age if you could sit in a courtroom and watch your 3 year old interrogated with the man charged with the molestation looking at them? Ask any child psychologist and they will tell you this should have been handled differently. Or, as an astute commentator pointed out:

        “The Judge needs to take a class in childhood trauma. This young of a child should never have had to sit and be stared at by her molester. No one has any idea if the molester threaten her while he molested her.The child could have been put into another room with a camera so the attorneys could ask the questions and the child need not have to see her molester. Next the Judge needs to understand any normal parent is going to be upset when they’re child has been violated in such a terrible way.” That’s the most important part of the comment.

        I’ve done some volunteer work with rape victims and the first thing you learn is how afraid they are of reprisal if they testify AND that their fear of having to testify and be abused again in the courtroom. We all know this happens. This was a 3 year old child. I will keep this name in my “tickle” file to follow and see when it is set for trial and what the outcome is. When little children are involved, greater sensitivity is mandatory. Any decent judge should not only know that but insist upon protecting the child in any way available within the constraints of the law. That was not done.

    • 1mime says:

      Griffin, that is horrible. Unbelievable. This is why I support the SPLC but sadly, they can’t be everywhere.

  17. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    For all the thoughtful political discussion surrounding Justice Scalia’s death, I’d like to take a moment to remember a man that, despite my obvious disagreements with, brought with him a colorful language that truly was his own and gave me many a chuckle over the years. In honor of Antonin Scalia, a look back at his most memorable quotes:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/best-antonin-scalia-quotes-219274

    • 1mime says:

      I applaud Justice Scalia’s many years of service. I acknowledge his legal contributions. I do not admire the way he abused the dignity of the Supreme Court in his later years.

  18. Rob Ambrose says:

    I missed the debate but apparently the GOP audience boo’s getting the facts right?

    Cruz was making the completely false comment about no president nominating a SCOTUS in 70 years when the moderators interrupted to tell him in fact St Ronnie nominated Kennedy with even less time left in his administration. When he said he just “wanted the audience to have all the facts” the audience boo’d him.

    I don’t know air what to make of it

    • Doug says:

      Kennedy was nominated in ’87. He was confirmed Feb. 3,1988.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Yes. Which, IMO, gives Cruz a way to backtrack with no harm, no foul. An understandable mistake to make.

        Theres no excuse for him to double down on it today though.

      • 1mime says:

        Nope. This is all smoke and mirrors. 65 days (Kennedy) vs 342 days (Scalia replacement) – no way is Cruz able to spin this. And that is all it is. No cover. Pure BS.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s the “rest of the story”, Doug. Kennedy was nominated on Nov. 30, 1987 and confirmed Feb. 3, 1988.

        That’s a 65 day turn-around. Obama has almost one year. This is about far more than simple appointments, the US Supreme Court has important cases pending. The nation’s work must be done.

    • 1mime says:

      Obviously, the crowd was there for the gore. They think any substantive question by a moderator smacks of “over-reach”.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Well, I happen to have it on good authority that Obama knows exactly what he’s doing.

        Did you not think Obama knows exactly what he’s doing? Because he knows EXACTLY what he’s doing.

    • Griffin says:

      Are we surprised? Whenever a hard-right activist dies there’s a conspiracy theory about it in those circles. We should be making bets about who the first AM radio host will be to endorse said conspiracy theory. Here’s some names:

      -Rush Limbaugh
      -Hugh Hewitt
      -Michael Savage
      -Glenn Beck
      -Neal Boortz
      -Ann Coulter

      Who will be the first of those listed to go full conspiracy theorist on this? Place your bets, place your bets right here ladies and gents! (I’m going with Michael Savage)

    • 1mime says:

      Two best points: (1) Obama did it, or had it done, in Texas….the loooong arm of injustice.
      (2) This will make Republicans look really bad.

      One point two: “The GOP’s blanket block of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee could backfire in a big way.Specific nominees have been blocked in the past. But what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his confreres are proposing is different, amounting to an usurpation of a presidential prerogative. Perhaps the threat to block all nominees, before the Senate even has a chance to weigh their qualifications, could be justified if we were closer to November, but in February it deprives the court of a ninth vote for at least 11 months. The president is elected to a four-year term, not a three-year term, and it’s his right to appoint Supreme Court justices. The Senate’s role, per the Constitution, is merely to “advise and consent.”
      If McConnell follows through with this threat, what is to stop a Democratic minority from issuing blanket bans on Republican nominees, should a Republican be elected president in the fall? (Harry Reid removed the filibuster for judicial appointees, but there is an exception for SCOTUS nominees.) If McConnell wants to turn “advise and consent” into a much stronger weapon, what’s to stop Democrats from using it? It seems entirely possible that we’re heading toward a constitutional crisis, at a time when the court is evenly divided 4-4 ideologically.”

      This “filibuster exception” for SCOTUS nominees? Don’t be surprised if Repubs change that rule. The constitution (small “c”) be damned. I mean, you only follow the Constitution when it works to your advantage, right?!

  19. flypusher says:

    This whole notion that Obama shouldn’t nominate a replacement because he’s a “lame duck” is total bullshit. It’s also the height of hypocrisy coming from people like Cruz who claim to champion the Constitution. It’s the right and the duty of the Prez to make picks, and there are no exception for it being an election year, or the fact that there is so much political turmoil, or because it’s to the disadvantage of conservatives.

    Just heard the possibility of a recess appointment. That would be very amusing.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Admittedly, the idea of Obama making a recess appointment to the flippin’ Supreme Court is something I hadn’t considered before, but apparently there is precedent for it. Eisenhower nominated Chief Justice Earl Warren to the Court via a recess, but there’s no way McConnell would ever give Obama such an opening if he had even the slightest bit of say in it.

      Frankly, I know next to nothing about the Senate’s recess procedures, but are there some recesses that even the Majority Leader can’t do anything about, perhaps for Easter or some other holiday?

      Even if that’s the case – and that’s a big if – I still don’t think the president would go for it; it would seem too much like a power play.

      • flypusher says:

        Here’s the thing, Obama has embraced the freedom of not having to concern himself with re-election or mid terms anymore. So it’s quite possible, especially if the GOP is stalling on a moderate nominee.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m telling you, Fly. They’ve been there, dealt with that when Harry Reid, the most procedurally astute Democratic leader up there, was unable to successfully end the “mock” session. I’m not big on Roberts Rules of Order but evidently it is technically possible. Whether O should try it anyway is another question. If there’s a tricky, legal way to get it done, I’ll bet the legal eagles are on it.

      • 1mime says:

        I referenced a tactic the GOP used to thwart O when he couldn’t get any of his nominees up for a vote. They used rotating members and claimed they were “in session” as there was always someone in chambers. Evidently it is technically legal even as it is wholly unethical…which, of course, would never bother a self-respectin’ Republican hell-bent on depriving a Democratic President of his right to recess appointments. That’s when the whole discussion came about for using a simple majority to confirm SCOTUS appointees. The Dems decided that was not a prudent move so they didn’t pass enabling procedural language and it didn’t happen. Same is true with the filibuster. This appointment is so critically important that I believe anything goes.

        I am glad O threw down the gauntlet that he “would” be sending a nominee for consideration shortly. Good.for.him. If the Republicans are going to play games, make ’em do it in the full sunlight. Surely it has to matter to some undecided voters enough to push them over to the Dems, or, at the very least, get the lead out and get out and vote.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s about damn time that Obama makes a power play against these arrogant people! He is President for another 11 months and this is his right and his duty. Go for the gold, O! Show ’em what u got!

    • 1mime says:

      If the shoe were on the other foot…..Republicans would be screaming bloody murder if Democrats refused to hold a vote on their judicial nominee.

      It’s all B.S.

      As for the “recess” appointment, don’t forget the little hocus pocus “staying in session” trick Republicans implemented the last time there was a threat of O using this tactic. It’s even more serious this time so I wouldn’t bet the house on this happening. As Lifer said – full embargo, any means necessary. As I said, “war”.

      Isn’t democracy wonderful? When it works? Watching it in all its rotten machinations? I kept fact-checking the statements being made by the GOP candidates to my husband who finally asked me why I watched the debates when they obviously disturbed me so. Good question. Three more GOP debates. Don’t know if I can stomach one more.

      I was very disappointed in the female representative from the WSJ. Very weak. The CBS rep (who was standing) did an excellent job.

      I’m going to loan my smoke alarm siren to the next debate host. Candidates pass the first polite buzzer, they get the screeching smoke alarm treatment. Wouldn’t that be fun!

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s the official detail on pro forma sessions…..Then, there’s still the filibuster….

      http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/fl/What-are-lsquoPro-Formarsquo-Sessions-in-Congress.htm

    • rightonrush says:

      Hell, the GOP didn’t even wait until Scalia’s body was cold before they started their Bullshit.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Hardly surprising, but still depressing nonetheless.

      • flypusher says:

        And some of them have the gall to complain about all the politicizing going on.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s because the old conservative Italian can’t do anything more to help them. It’s all about power. Can’t you just see the GOP leadership huddled in a small room trying to figure this one out? If it weren’t so serious, it would be funny.

  20. 1mime says:

    Watching the GOP debacle. Why do the Republicans eat their own? Even when Hillary and Sanders are sparring, it is not as personally ugly. If this is what turns on the GOP base, it’s akin to the old Roman Colosseum sports. It’s really disgraceful. I cannot imagine these debates being viewed across the world. What must people in other industrialized nations think of our political process. For shame.

    • lomamonster says:

      Yep, and Trump thinks that his base will tolerate his defense of Social Security even while he exhibits the most crass behavior about everything else…

  21. rulezero says:

    Two bits for the masses:

    Moderator factchecks Cruz mid-debate about appointing justices during the final year of a presidency – conservative audience boos moderator for being correct.

    HRC, unlike Bernie, has been repeatedly mentioning that one of the most important things this election year is the retirement and appointment of new justices for the SCOTUS. Now, we have Antonin Scalia turning the volume up to 11 on this issue. Expect much barking and gnashing of teeth over this issue.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Yeah this is pretty great news for Hillary.

      She just increased her appeal in the primary by ten fold due to the urgent need to win in November, thus making “electability” the main concern.

      And she also got a rather large club to beat over the head of the GOP candidate again and again and again in the general.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        In all seriousness, I don’t expect Sanders to just sit back and let Hillary take full advantage of this. Given that one of his chief criticisms is that he wouldn’t be able to push through any of his major initiatives through Congress – which he wouldn’t – then the Supreme Court is really his only achievable means of doing any of that. What better pitch to tell people than to get out and vote so you can have the Supreme Court finally overturn Citizens United?

        To be sure, that’s not an effective counter to Hillary’s electability argument, but it’s better than nothing.

      • 1mime says:

        Consider this, Ryan. O nominates a highly qualified Black jurist, such as U.S. Federal District Judge Carlton Reeves. The GOP digs in its heels. Claims “lame duck year” on SCOTUS appointment. Black community (rightfully) is enraged. One of their own, a highly qualified man, has been submitted and is being “played” for political purposes. Think that won’t help Hillary?

        As much as I hate to say it, most ordinary people don’t care that much about C.U. Why? They don’t follow politics (like we do) and they don’t donate. A far more significant rallying point that they “do” understand is how politics is used to stack the decks with more privileged people. They will get it and they won’t like it and Democrats (god willing) will use it like a hammer to drive home the fact that it’s all about politics and control. Sure, this will rally not only the GOP base but also its donors, making this one of the most expensive elections in history, but every now and then, an issue emerges that is larger than politics. That has in it a foundation of truth and speaks to the frustration and anger deep within people – even those who are most disengaged. This will be the time.

        Game on.

  22. Griffin says:

    Senate judiciary committee member Conn Carroll’s “thoughts” on replacing Scalia while Obama’s in office.

    Wait does the far-right actually think they’re probably going to win this election? If they were smarter now would be the time to cut a deal, though as I suggested below even a moderate would backfire on them.

    • 1mime says:

      They absolutely DO think they can win this election. Republicans have had 7 years to “cut deals” (or, as I’d prefer to label it – “compromise”) with President Obama and Democrats. With very few exceptions, it has not happened.

      Do not forget what happened in 2010, 12,14. If you underestimate the GOP, you will live to regret it. I have a healthy respect for their organizational ability, their financial backing, and their voter turnout. Beware thinking this is going to be easy. It isn’t and it will be close.

  23. Hainous says:

    Hi Chris,

    If Obama nominates a relatively boring Justice, do you think there’s a chance of a revolt of moderate Republicans in the Senate? If you’re Mark Kirk or Rob Portman or Kelly Ayotte, and you’re currently screwed come election time in a blue state, why wouldn’t you say something like – “Cruz and the Tea Party already shut down the government for 2 weeks and you saw how well it worked. How many times did they vote to repeal Obamacare? You saw how well that worked out. Now they’re threatening to screw up the Supreme Court for a year. I’ll approve this guy – the Tea Party can kiss my ass.”

    I can’t imagine a Red Wedding scenario really confining itself to the Presidential race.

  24. flypusher says:

    Here would be karma in action- Senate GOPers stall on approving Obama’s replacement for Scalia. HRC wins the election, has long enough coattails to flip the Senate, and nominates Obama as her 1st act as Prez.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      She did specifically mention she would consider it.

      Man, that would be something.

      He would actually make a good choice. He used to teach constitutional law. Hes very very smart.

      And he’s got a good 30 years left of life 🙂

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Much as I would enjoy watching Republicans tear their receding hair lines out over such a move, that would be too political by half and not exactly the best way for HRC to open the proverbial curtain on her presidency. There are plenty of other supremely qualified nominations to be had.

      • flypusher says:

        Yes, it would be very political. But AFAIC, the GOP burned that bridge long ago, when they openly declared that making Obama a one term President was their priority.

    • 1mime says:

      Now, there is an outcome worth praying for.

  25. Rob Ambrose says:

    So what specific major cases are coming up then?

    And in those, what was the lower court ruling?

  26. texan5142 says:

    This is big, how his death plays out in an election year is going to be quite interesting.

    • 1mime says:

      This one factor will probably make the 2016 election even more expensive, which is saying something since the Koch bros have already have committed to a billion dollars to, I’m (buy) won the election.

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry for poor grammar. Typing on phone….not very nimble on it. Hope the message came through. Think $$$$, lots and lots “more” $$$$. Each party is going to work this to get their donor base to ratchet up the dough. Since Republicans have several very wealthy individual donors plus some very well-funded PACs, they will have the advantage as they will have more money to spread around for basic needs plus this new dynamic.

  27. goplifer says:

    Senate will refuse to consider any Obama nominee. So the 2016 election becomes a race to replace the most rabidly conservative Supreme Court Justice.

    Gee, Sanders looks really attractive about now, right? Heeheeeheee

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Interesting. It should surely increase turnout on both sides. Probably a net positive for Dems, as turnout was going to be high for GOP anyways.

      I would imagine the law of diminishing returns will favor the Dems, no?

      I admit I’m not too familiar with the confirmation process. Is there a time limit? Can the Senate just indefinitely refuse to confirm?

    • Griffin says:

      You son of a… dang nabbit… you… (groans while checking box next to Clinton)

      It’s still truly shocking that someone who has been in politics for as long as Clinton has is such a God awful campaigner. Good candidate, but horrible campaigner.

    • texan5142 says:

      I am left dumbstruck on how this will go forward. Heeheeeheee indeed!

    • 1mime says:

      Are there no rules governing time frame for approval due to death of a sitting justice?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Even if not Mime, one would have to imagine a total stonewalling by the GOP Senate, especially if the noms are quite moderate, would provide ammo forbthe Dem candidate and potentially sway some undecideds?

      • 1mime says:

        Good point. People who are on the left or center are not going to like the blatant politics of not allowing O’s nominee to be voted on. Course the more probable course is they “skirt” the obvious by dragging out the hearings until after the election….Then they will meet the minimal test of allowing the process to work with absolutely no intention of letting it work.

      • Creigh says:

        I don’t think there’s a time limit, but 4-4 doesn’t do conservatives any big favors. 4-4 leaves the lower court ruling in place. On the other hand, Rs can always hope for a White House win. What kind of justice would Trump nominate?

    • goplifer says:

      There are no rules forcing the Senate to take up a President’s appointment. Convention would press on McConnell to take some action. He would probably go slow. Senate would decline whoever Obama nominated. By then it would be October or so.

      • 1mime says:

        Ah, but in declining whoever O nominates, the nominee themselves becomes a very important campaign topic….I can’t see any upside for the GOP other than to dig in their heels and pray they win the election. Which.could.happen.

    • n1cholas says:

      Especially attractive, considering he’ll beat any Republican candidate…particularly from a brokered GOP convention.

      Heeheeeehee indeed.

      • Griffin says:

        Yeh if Sanders backs down a bit from his more protectionist trade views (they would be moderated by a Democratic administration anyways) and started taking foreign policy more seriously he would probably beat any of the GOP candidates pretty handidly except maybe Kasich. His support for political reform is popular across party lines, and his position on public college would get young people and liberals to have very high turnout in voting. His strong support for Social Security could cause some elderly conservatives to not be such relilable voters for the GOP, and if he’s really lucky he could start slicing into their support with lower-middle class white guys who feel abandoned by the Republicans.

        But I don’t think anyone wants to risk it regardless, so the base is going to shift to Clinton for the safe bet of locking down the Supreme Court. I can predict all of the above but I can not say “I’m certain he will win”, because his campaign would be so unique and unpredictable until it actuallly happened. It’s something of a black swan event. He could win and take the House and Senate. He could also lose in a landslide. There are no chances with Clinton unless, being Hillary Clinton, she finds a way to screw it up.

      • n1cholas says:

        I’m fairly certain HRC is the nominee and will probably win. That said, I believe Sanders would win if the GOP goes and has a brokered convention.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Griffin: Based on the numbers that we’ve seen coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire, safe to say that the Sanders’ promise of extraordinary turnout have been exaggerated. To be fair though, voter registration in Nevada, compared to 2008 and 2012, is skyrocketing across the board, though that may just be because they have a marijuana initiative on the ballot this year.

        As for HRC, politically, you’re absolutely right in that this serves to bolster her argument as the electable candidate. As the Supreme Court goes, so goes the direction of the nation and the lives of millions of people. This is not the time to be betting on starry-eyed ideology.

      • 1mime says:

        Immigration is one of the cases, and that link to the SCOTUS nomination will surely mobilize the Hispanic vote, if nothing else does.

      • 1mime says:

        Creigh – A tie leaves the lower court ruling in place. Whether that’s a “good” thing depends upon the lower court ruling, and, of course, one’s position on the particular issue. I’m certain there will be tons of info pouring out about what cases will be impacted.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      In a presidential year where Republicans are overwhelmingly on the defensive for control of the Senate and where it looks like either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will be the nominee, you can practically hear conservatives’ collective hair on fire.

      It truly is breathtaking to think of just how much is at stake in 2016. Control of the White House, the judicial branch, the Senate, and now the fate of the Supreme Court literally hangs in the balance as well.

      Slice it however you want, this is THE definitive election of our generation. Slap on your hard hats, ladies and gentlemen, this is gonna be one helluva ride!

    • Didn’t look all that attractive to me in the first place.

  28. 1mime says:

    Just announced: Scalia found dead at TX ranch.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Holy hell. This is a potential game changer for America.

      Didn’t Cruz say just yesterday we were “one liberal judge away from judicial hell on Earth ?(I’m paraphrasing)

      Man, should be a show. Get ya popcorn

      • 1mime says:

        Over President’s Day holiday, no less. I’m curious about Scalia’s visit to TX….guess all this will come out in the press. May he rest in peace and may his successor be fair and balanced. I don’t even ask that he/she be liberal. Just.fair.and keep politics out of the Supreme Court arena. It denigrates the body and the process.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I agree Mime. I’m OK with a justice who has a track record applying the law fairly and justly over someone clearly liberal.

      • Griffin says:

        The Republicans are probably not going to want someone “fair and balanced” (unless it’s Fox News’ definition of those terms). They want someone on the far-right, otherwise they will still lose far more battles than they win. Someone who’s objective is still going to consistantly rule against the crazies, so even if the nominee is centrist they will be to the “far left” from the perspective of the GOP. I suppose there’s some hope because the Republican Senators are more moderate than their House counterparts, but I don’t think any of them want to risk being primaried.

  29. MassDem says:

    OMG Antonin Scalia has died. What ha-pens to pending cases on the Supreme Court?

  30. Griffin says:

    Is there any chance the Trump wins enough of a plurality of primary votes that the party wouldn’t want to dismiss the choice of such a large percentage of their members? Basically even without a majority his plurality is strong enough that the Party decides it has to line up behind him just to keep the GOP in one piece?

    • goplifer says:

      Trump loses a general, probably with less than 40% of the vote. Same with Cruz. No one in their right mind imagines that either would be competitive.

      If Clinton is the nominee, then maybe you figure screw it, let the baby have his bottle. But you also have to think about the House and Senate. Might be worth telling the Trumpists to pound sand in order to protect the Senate.

      And of course, if Sanders might be the Democratic nominee (Democrats don’t nominate until the following week) that changes everything. You deadlock the convention, releasing most of the delegates, tell the Trumpists to f’ck off, and pick someone, anyone, who has broad general election appeal.

      You have your eyes on a three or even four candidate race (Trump or Bloomberg possibly thrown in). Ryan/Rubio would have potential to flip seven or eight Blue States against Sanders. Who cares whether Trump wins Alabama and Wyoming. Despite all the noise, Trump’s voters are all Republicans already. You can afford to lose a few of the most rabid Trumpists in exchange for cracking open Blue States like PA, WI, MI, VA and NM.

      By the way, there is no scenario in which Trump actually takes the GOP nomination and the party doesn’t split. You get a split either way you go.

      Alienate Trump and you lose a lot of Republicans who believe in UFOs and live in their parents’ basements. Nominate Trump, and you get the high-profile defections of former Congressmen, Governors and Agency Secretaries, several former candidates refusing to endorse, and potentially dozens of the party’s candidates for the House and Senate openly stating that they won’t support him. Some of those people (look hard at Mark Kirk in IL) might actually state their intention to go Independent.

      So, I don’t suspect that Trump can level a credible threat at the party insiders.

  31. 1mime says:

    In your list of wild cards, Lifer, you don’t comment on Cruz being a spoiler by parsing law and process. Do you not see him as an outside threat? Of course, Cruz believes he’ll sweep enough significant states that he’ll meet the minimum delegate thresh hold, but if that doesn’t happen within the GOP rules, will he play by his own rules?

    • goplifer says:

      Cruz isn’t an outside threat. It’s unlikely under any scenario that he finishes lower than 2nd. Here’s what I expect at this point:

      Trump: @900, give or take 75 or so
      Cruz: @700, give or take 75 or so
      Rubio: @400
      Kasich: @250
      Bush: @100
      plus some dogs and cats

      This assumes that Kasich wins OH and Cruz wins FL, two of the largest W-T-A states.

      No one will strike a deal with Trump prior to the convention. No one will strike a deal with Cruz prior to the convention.

      All of the bottom three understand that they are far more popular with a collection of uncommitted convention delegates than they were with primary voters.

      Neither Trump nor Cruz will pass up a chance to fight to be on the top of the ticket.

      So it all drops into a bloody pile on the convention floor.

      • Stephen says:

        Seems Trump is strong in Florida. I think it is even money between Trump and Cruz there. Rubio and Bush have alienated many voters. I think one may take third place or a remote possibility of second place in Florida. If a radical like Trump or Cruz takes the nomination moderate Republicans are motivated to stay home or vote Democratic. If a more moderate like Kasich wins then the nut jobs are going to be convince that again the foot ball was taken away just before they kick and they are demotivated to stay home on election day. Regardless not good for the party. The polarization is not just Democrats and Republicans but in the Republican party itself. In this climate even Sanders could possible pull out a win. Only to be gridlocked as much as Obama has been in actually governing.

      • doug says:

        Hello,

        What would you say are the chances if you had to guess that Trump doesn’t get a majority of the delegates? He sure seems to have big ‘Mo (momentum) on his side. Secondly, you seem to think Cruz has a better shot of coming out on top than Trump if it goes to the convention. My understanding is that big donors are starting to cozy up to Trump over Cruz. What do you think Chris?

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