^ A nullification Senator : Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
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Watching the national political picture these days, I’m tempted to wonder if I’m living in an absurdist movie — Mel Brooks, maybe. Or a Marx Brothers slapstick. If it isn’t the vulgar bigotry of trump, it’s the laxative lack of a Ted Cruz. Or the master of walk back, Marco Rubio. One would guffaw and maybe throw a pie or two if this weren’t the actual nation we’re watching being pied.
Now comes the matter of a Supreme Court vacancy. I have written of it once already. In that story I opined as to what sort of jurist I would like to see : someone who has not already been a judge, so that the Court can benefit from a variety of legal experience.
I seem to have missed the point, however. From all that I read and listen to, filling the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia’s death is a matter of political campaign, not of Constitutional process. Evidently the President, so the noise has it, must not perform his Constitutional duty, of nominating a Justice, because — wait for this — it’s the last year of his term, and the last year of his term doesn’t count ? This is an argument more invalid than rotten excrement.
I don’t know about you, but to me, the Constitution stands above bullshit arguments. Its prescriptions say what they say, whether it serves your personal interests or not, or those of the donors who pimp you for their private benefit. In the matter of nominations to office, the Constitution does NOT say that in the last year of a President’s term he holds different powers then before it, or that his powers change because a political party other than his holds a Congressional majority.
To assert otherwise is rank dishonesty. It isn’t worth a cup of warm spit.
President Obama : do your job. Nominate whom you think best to appoint. You’re the President. Do it.
And now to the Senators who are charged with giving the President “advice and c9onsent” as to his nomination, and who now say that they refuse to give it. Where does the Constitution say, or imply, that the Senate can refuse even to give advice or vote consent ? The very presence of the word “consent” implies, perforce, an act in which said consent is given, or refused.
In other words, the power to grant consent, or not, does NOT extend to telling the President that no matter who he nominates, it won’t be consented to. This is a matter of good faith dealing. The Constitution is a pact, an executed, written agreement. No agreement has any validity in law if done without good faith dealing by every party to it. Either we have a good faith Constitution, or we don’t.
If we don’t have a good faith Constitution, best that we know that now, and accept the anarchy that must surely follow. The rise of trump makes clear that many Americans think the Constitution — and its great and noble provisions, for which hundreds of thousands of us have died — is a bad faith instrument. But that is to be expected. Many who stand outside the system do so for a reason. Those who are elected to stand within it have no such excuse.
For a Senator to game us all — to say stuff that everybody recognizes as bullshit —= is nothing less than rank rebellion. It may not be secession, as was done by 13 Southern states in 1861, but it is nullification.
It is bullshit to say that the President cannot have a consent vote on his Supreme Court nominee because “the voters need to weigh in on who is chosen.” The Constitution nowhere says, or implies, that nominations to office must wait upon the next election.
It is bullshit to say this because everyone knows that what the Senators of nullification are really about is filling that vacancy with a nominee whose politics they support and because everybody knows that the nullification Senators have stood against almost everything the current President has sought to do, no matter what or who suffers.
This nullification is worse than bullshit, because everybody knows that if it is successful, in the future when there is a Republican President and a Democratic Senate, the same nullification will be wielded, thereby rendering the relevant section of Article 2 of tghe Constitution moot. That, too me, is rebellion.
Little wonder that voters who stand outside the system think it a fraud, rigged, fake. After all, if those within the system can get away with nullification, how is the system NOT merely a paper wall of movie set illusion ?
The only way the nullification Senators can avoid this consequence of their rebellion is to set it aside. Hold hearings on the President’s nominee and then vote. That’s what the Constitution assumes that the Senators will do.
And let me add, on a personal note,m that they had better have a darn good reason, other than not liking the nominee’s politics, for not consenting to his or her confirmation, if that is what they intend to do.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere