Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Some Signs GOP is Having Second Thoughts on SJC Obstruction

As has been noted by many, they have gone about this the wrong way. Look, it's not hard to understand why this is so tragic for conservatives.

They were on the cusp of really turning out some reactionary decisions on top of just recently striking down Obama's climate rules and gutting the Voting Rights Act and Citizen's United.

And suddenly this. With Scalia's demise all this has been put on hold, maybe permanently.

Still, they have handed it terribly. You don't telegraph that you simply won't vote for any pick. Maybe you end up not choosing any pick but you don't telegraph it.

Meanwhile, the conservative Roberts Court is no more. Roberts is still the Chief Justice but the ideologically conservative court is gone. Give Roberts credit at least for not one for ideological gamesmanship:

"Scalia's death came as the Supreme Court’s critics have been consistently accusing its conservative majority of judicial overreach, pointing to a pattern in which a right-leaning justice sends a hint that the court is ready to take a case targeting some particular precedent, which in turn prompts legal activists to rush to get a case like that to the court’s doorstep. Legislators in red states have meanwhile pushed the envelope in legislation -- with, for example, laws that restrict abortion access and voting rights -- on the assumption they’d face friendly terrain if challenges to the laws made it to the Supreme Court. That advantage is no longer a given. A split decision doesn’t give conservatives the types of wins they were betting on, blunting the effect of some of the cases liberals were fearing most this term."

“A 4-4 decision would not set a precedent and would result in basically a split decision that would basically allow the lower court ruling, whatever it was, to stand,” Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA, told TPM in the hours after Scalia's death was reported.

"It is reasonable to believe, then, that the Supreme Court will try to avoid a 4-4 split when it can by getting a majority of the eight justices to agree on some sort of a comprise that either makes a decision that is narrower, takes a more moderate course or sends the case back down to the lower court for further consideration. Chief Justice John Roberts can also opt to have certain cases reargued once a ninth justice is confirmed, though the calculus for that route is complicated by Senate Republicans’ vow to delay any nominations until after the 2017 inauguration."

"The upshot is that the monumental changes conservatives were hoping the court to make this term are far less likely."

“Chief Justice Roberts is as about good an institutionalist as we could have running the court right now on these issues. He cares very deeply about both his legacy and about the institution of the court while it is under duress,” said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford Law professor, in an interview with TPM. “He is not going to see this as an opportunity for ideological gaming. I think he recognizes how serious of a situation this is for the court and for the perception of the court in this country, so he is going to work with the justices to provide a sort of consensus route on how to deal with the current confusion.”

In any case, some important GOPers realize they may have gone too far in their immediate comments after Scalia's death.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley isn’t ready to say whether he’ll convene a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on President Obama’s nominee to fill the opening on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decisions,” Grassley told reporters this morning. “In other words, take it a step at a time.”

This is all they had to say initially.

"Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is trying to pre-empt criticism he and his party may face for refusing to move forward on President Barack Obama's expected Supreme Court nominee, arguing Tuesday that "doing nothing is also an action" and indicating a willingness to possibly vote on a candidate."

Johnson had initially been on Team Obstruction. Other GOpers are also making similar noises now.

"A GOP senator on the judiciary committee warned that Republicans risk looking "obstructionist" if they refuse to even consider a potential Supreme Court nominee from President Barack Obama."

"I think we fall into the trap, if we just simply say [no], sight unseen, we fall into the trap of being obstructionist," Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said in a radio interview Tuesday, first reported by ThinkProgress.

They certainly did fall into the trap. It makes it too easy for Dems to rip them.


  1. Mike, nice post. You might like this as well:

  2. I saw this and thought of another post-primary Trump campaign bumper sticker:

    Torture Works!
    Let's make the most of it.
    Trump 2016

    Or maybe:

    Make America Great Again!...
    ...with Torture
    Trump 2016

    Or how about:

    Torture is God's Gift to America!
    Torture will make us great again!
    Trump 2016

    or perhaps simply:

    Greatness Through Torture!
    Trump 2016

    The graphic could be a Jihadi's wives and kids burning to death in a cage with Donald's quote underneath in smaller print: "We'll go after their families"

    Post primary Mike... don't worry.

    1. What would Jesus do?
      Torture!!! (don't turn your back on Jesus)
      Trump 2016.

  3. LOL. Yet he and Cheney are not buddies. Jeb tried to accuse him of being Michael Moore after the debate