In an ideal world, both sides agree on Scalia’s replacement

February 19, 2016
Roger Freberg

Roger Freberg

OPINION by ROGER FREBERG

I think if you lived in a hole or an island without power you may not have heard of the death of Antonin Scalia. The reactions have been immediate and passionate, ranging from sadness due to the loss of a last vestige of the “good times” of President Reagan to the hateful bitterness of those who celebrate the death of an anti-Christ who dared to admire the Constitution.

For one side, fears about the outcomes of choosing Scalia’s successor include the end of civilization as we know it or at a minimum, the end of a constitutional government. Threats to freedom of speech (1st amendment) and the right to bear arms (2nd amendment) have not been trivial in the last seven years. This side advocates for Congress to do nothing until the new president takes office, with the desperate hope that the new president will be more likely than the current one to nominate someone who respects the Constitution.

The other side believes that a “correct thinking” justice could solidify legal abortion, gay rights, open borders and the ability to continue legislating from the bench. They advocate that President Obama has every right to a Justice of his own choosing. According to this viewpoint, it is Congress that is overstepping its authority if it does not confirm the president’s choice. Allow me to refer to that scrap of paper which few on this side respect:

The Constitution states in Article II Section 2 that the President “shall nominate, and by the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint … judges of the Supreme Court.” The Senate has reviewed in total 160 nominations and confirmed 124 of them.

Outside of the political posturing, the facts are fairly simple. The president can nominate anyone of his choosing–maybe even you or me? However, the president’s choice has to survive the vetting of a committee or two and a vote of the Senate. The Senate has been contrary at times and has turned down those whom they feel are unacceptable for one reason or another.

Personally, I think they have a bias against candidates with facial hair, be they a man or a woman. The rejected candidates are spoken of as getting “Borked” after Robert Bork, nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1987 but rejected by a Democrat-controlled Senate. There have been more recent rejections and attempts to reject as well.

Back in 2007, Senator Schumer stated that he would block any nominations of then-President Bush, who had 1 ½ years left in his term. Schumer referred to his attempt to filibuster the Alito nomination as one of his biggest “failures.” Schumer was joined in his efforts to stop Alito by then-Senator Barack Obama. Today, Senator Schumer and President Obama want to see a quick and speedy approval. My, how times have changed.

Besides Bork, Republicans still remember the harsh treatment of Justice Clarence Thomas during the hearings. Things could get brutal. On the other hand, some Republicans in Congress have surprisingly and suddenly cratered to unseen pressures in recent years, so this might not be the fight we expect.

In an ideal world, we might ask our leaders to agree on a nominee who is respectful of the Constitution, who takes a humble approach to the words and intent of the Founding Fathers, and who would work to reassure all Americans that their rights will be protected. Public trust in the federal government is at an all-time low, and the right person could help rebuild a sense of safety from government intrusions. This should not be an “I win—you lose” moment, but rather a win—win.

What I loved about Antonin Scalia

In the jockeying for position that has become modern politics, we should not lose sight of the contributions of the man. We should take a moment to share our condolences with his family and friends. His experience and achievements are impressive. Probably what I enjoyed about Scalia most was his sense of humor and his ability to skewer the self-important. He made you chuckle at his targets. Obamacare had aspects he described as “pure applesauce.” He chided the court for inventing new minorities. Other favorite quotes speak to his innate insight into politics and the human condition: “Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity.”

There is no doubt he was a conservative, as his positions on abortion and religion are quite clear. But he also took positions that those who see conservatives as simple-minded might find surprising. He supported the right to burn the flag and crosses, and he argued in favor of due process for Guantanamo detainees.

He was called a bit “wonkish” for his adherence to the Constitution; however, his position helped keep the others from drifting too far afield. There is always a great temptation among the supremes to legislate from the bench, which according to the law of the land remains (at least for now) the responsibility of another branch (and no, I don’t mean the famous “executive pen”).

Justice Ruth Ginsburg said of Scalia, “from our years together on the DC Circuit we were best buddies.” Clearly they were very different worlds, one liberal and one conservative, but they found common ground in a friendship. She remarked at how his written opinion could subtly alter the final ruling.

Antonin Scalia offered a perspective needed on the Supreme Court. Regardless of the nature of his replacement, he will be missed.


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mkaney

I’d love to say I gave your piece a fair shake but by the second paragraph I remembered you are one of those conservative “constitutionalists” who love the document when it supports your views but completely ignores it on things like 4th amendment issues.


miles archer

clap:::clap:::clap


mkaney

I wonder how many people disliked my comment because their brain interpreted it as a liberal criticizing conservatism when that could not be further from the truth. I am absolutely a constitutionalist, a conservative, and a free market proponent…. I’m just consistent.


TWEEKSBALMER

And mentally bankrupt.


Ted Slanders

Antonin Scalia was a Catholic. For most true Christians, we could stop right here, because we know that Catholics are NOT Christians because they go directly against the Judeo-Christian bible with their Satanically written Douay–Rheims Bible.


As if the Catholic pedophile “coverups” over the years weren’t enough, Antonin Scalia was associated with a Catholic church that covered up said pedophile acts by their priests, bishops, and church officials.


Here’s a simple way to assess Scalia’s current pope’s performance regarding the churches pedophile coverup scandals:


1 Name one complicit church official anywhere who has been disciplined by the pope relative to pedophile abuse.


2 Name one child-molesting cleric anywhere who has been exposed by the pope.


3 Name one step taken by the pope to deter future pedophile coverups.


You can’t, because the total number is ZERO! Again, WWJD?


One can only wonder why Antonin Scalia didn’t use his Supreme Court influence with pope Francis in totally going after the churches pedophile alumni, in the same vein as Francis did with the US congress upon immigration. Quid pro Quo?


Subjectively, its hard to look up to Antonin Scalia, because he held his hell bound Bronze and Iron Age pedophile coverup Catholic Church in high esteem while making decisions upon matters of the United States.


Then, one wonders why the Catholic Church is declining in great numbers as we go into the 21st Century, where logic and reason are finally taking over after two millenniums.


To true Christians, Antonin Scalia is burning in the fiery sulfur lakes of hell for making the wrong decision about which division of Christianity he chose. Our ever loving and forgiving Jesus states that “they shall be gathered together and hurled into a furnace of fire where there will be uncontrollable wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42, 50)


SloHeadInTheSand

And Google Anita Hill while you’re at it.


rogerfreberg

Oh pleases…


Vagabond

Citizens United. “We spend more money on cosmetics that presidential elections” Scalia.

That’s what this man thought of your vote.


JTKirk

How dim-minded you are! The remark, which is TRUE, illuminates how little WE think of our own vote. Citizens United was a landmark win for Free Speech, which you apparently want to limit. Our elections should get MORE of our attention and MORE of our money. After all, the only reason big donors have influence is because the average person donates nothing.


Citizens United protects labor union and environmental group donations as well.


miles archer

Two reasons to ditch Citizens United immediately:


In relation to politics, MORE money NEVER solves anything in the end.


We have to stop allowing foreign entities to backdoor their way into buying an American election under the guise of “freedom of speech”.


In MY America sir, you don’t quantify freedom of speech by the size of your donation…the FREEDOM of speech IS free to our citizens and not up for the highest bidder.


That is…until Citizens United…


Slosum

Excellent point Miles. And Hillary’s “backdoor” is the biggest of all.


bobfromsanluis

The Constitution states in Article II Section 2 that the President “shall nominate, and by the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint … judges of the Supreme Court.”


“Both” sides have rejected candidates that have been nominated before, and, one time, one Senator (Schumer) threatened to block a nominee; Senator Schumer was not the Majority Leader at the time, and there was not a move by the majority of Democratic Senators behind his attempt.


So far, Republicans have been overwhelmingly supporting the notion that President Obama should not even bother nominating a candidate for the position that is open; the two situations are in no way equal by any stretch of the imagination.


What ever happened to the Republican mantra of having an “up or down vote”? President Obama will be following the letter of the document when he nominates a candidate for the SC; will the Republican leadership do their duty and follow the letter of the Constitution and call for an “up or down” vote? Anything else is obstruction, period.


Robert1

Pot calling the kettle black —


Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.)


In 2007, 16 months before the election, Schumer delivered a speech at the American Constitution Society in which he declared that Senate Democrats should adopt a presumption against allowing President George W. Bush to fill another seat on the Supreme Court. (Here’s the video.) From the text of his speech on the ACS website:l


bobfromsanluis

Um, did you not read my comment, fully?


{“Both” sides have rejected candidates that have been nominated before, and, one time, one Senator (Schumer) threatened to block a nominee; Senator Schumer was not the Majority Leader at the time, and there was not a move by the majority of Democratic Senators behind his attempt.}


There is no link in your comment to anything, perhaps you’d like to try that again?


And please answer my question about Republicans hammering on and on about an “up or down” vote; shouldn’t President Obama’s nominee (whoever that will be) be entitled to an up or down vote, meaning that the nomination isn’t stalled in some subcommittee or filibustered ?


Rambunctious

nuota con i pesci……bye America!


winedude

Although I felt bad for the family, news of Scalia’s demise put a smile on my face that hadn’t been as wide since March 1, 2012. On that date the miserable Andrew Breitbart and the phony sheriff’s spokesman Rob Bryn met the same demise.


The “good times” of the Ronald Reagan era existed mostly if you had money and were white. Otherwise, a pretty crappy eight years in my mind…


The Constitution was written by men long since dead, most over 200 years. What was relevant in 1789 may not have so much relevancy in 2016.


Pelican1

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.


hijinks

Even though everybody knew what he was, when Scalia was approved it was by a 98-0 Senate vote, meaning Democrats voted approval out of respect for the president’s appointment powers once finding Scalia “competent.” Today, the shoe’s on the other foot, and all Reps can do is stop things.


Mike

Does the name Robert Bork mean anything to you? If not you can Google it.


JTKirk

As they should. Thieves should be stopped.


rogerfreberg

Actually, the Democrats fought anyone who had a conservative track record… that they left a ‘paper trail’ of their rulings.


Prior to Scalia, the Senate had come off a rather nasty battle over William Rehnquist, who was approved. When Scalia came up, he had no lengthly rulings on controversial subjects… so there was nothing to pick on. Democrats make no such pretense anymore. The fight wasn’t in them to block someone who had no targets on his back… and they moved on. It had nothing to do with his perceived competence by Democrats.


Today it is lovely to watch the questions trying to determine the ideological basis for someones arguments… such as “how would you have ruled on…” or “How might you rule on the upcoming….”.


hijinks

Guys, your responses are really lame. Guess you just can’t do better. 98-0 for a controversial appointment. Things have changed. Bork has nothing to do with it. “Stopping thieves” is really odd — what in the world are you even talking about JTK? Roger, out to lunch with only part of the meal.


Scalia 98-0. Fact. Kennedy 97-0. Fact. You don’t get those sorts of respect for the constitutional appointment process when one party is determined to be against everything the other party is for. Even if it means doing a flip-flop (Obamacare is a Republican plan, guys, did you know that?) America is doomed by Republican obstinance, stupidity, denial of facts, determination to bring down the whole house of cards if they think that will gain votes. Always thinking ahead to the next election instead of governing. Very sad.


Robert1

Pot calling the kettle black —


Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.)


In 2007, 16 months before the election, Schumer delivered a speech at the American Constitution Society in which he declared that Senate Democrats should adopt a presumption against allowing President George W. Bush to fill another seat on the Supreme Court. (Here’s the video.) From the text of his speech on the ACS website:l