Tag Archives: Antonin Scalia

Is There Anything Ted Cruz Doesn’t Lie About (cont.)?

Red loves his frequent emails from Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas).  The one this morning contained some real whoppers revealing that our Cubo-Canadian senator is either a constitutional ignoramus or liar.  Red goes with liar.

Our Founding Fathers designed the Constitution to act as chains to bind the mischief of government (actually we all know it was written to empower the government to actually accomplish stuff after the disastrous gridlock caused by the Articles of Confederation – but pish!) and protect the liberties endowed to us by our Creator (forgetting to include a single reference to God or a Creator must have been an oversight – and that whole thing about “no religious test ever being required as a qualification to any office or public trust”  – well that’s just words). Today, with a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court, those liberties hang in the balance (you know scales of justice and all that). The sanctity of life (except for executing possibly innocent bad guys and I have no problemo with that), marriage (gay cows are out the barn already), religious liberty (aka an excuse to exercise their bigotry to some), and the Second Amendment (how horrible if I can’t make machine gun bacon anymore) are at risk.

The American people must have a voice in deciding the next Supreme Court Justice (I forget exactly where that is in the Constitution), and accordingly, I will continue to fulfill my constitutional duty (other than actually bothering to show up to do the job I was elected to do) by advising that the Senate should not consider any replacement nominated by President Obama (or in other words – ignore my constitutional duty to advise and consent). 

“Justice Scalia was a lion of the law (he literally loved to stalk, kill and eat plaintiff’s lawyers),” said Sen. Cruz. “He was someone I knew for 20 years (although he didn’t remember me working for the Court). He was brilliant. He was principled. He singlehandedly changed the course of American law (Yes, he actually won many 1-8 decisions just by the sheer force of his personality). I’ve said before, like Ronald Reagan was to the presidency (except that we all know he couldn’t get elected dog catcher in today’s GOP), so Justice Scalia was to the Supreme Court (well, except for that whole being senile at the end part). For 80 years it has been the practice that the Senate has not confirmed any nomination made during an election year, and we shouldn’t make an exception now (notice how I have subtly changed that argument to get around the fact that Anthony Kennedy was confirmed 97-0 in the last year of Reagan’s presidency, but I am guessing you aren’t paying very close attention to that fact or the 15 other Supreme Court Justices who were confirmed in an election year going all the way back to George Washington – the founding fathers were really morons to let that happen).

Republicans Face Dilemma on Supreme Court Vacancy

Harold Cook at Letters from Texas does an excellent job of explaining the dilemma the GOP-controlled Senate faces in attempting to obstruct Pres. Obama from filling the vacancy resulting from Justice Scalia’s death.  In Red’s view to the extent that they are counting on Donald Trump winning the Presidency and nominating the next Scalia, they are playing a losing hand.

Is There Anything Ted Cruz Doesn’t Lie About (cont.)?

Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) has determined that the Senate should refuse to engage in its Constitutional role in confirming a nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.  In support of this obstructionism, the Tea Party stalwart declared that the decision should be left for the next president. “We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court Justices in an election year.”  Interesting, but as usual completely false.

President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice Anthony Kennedy to a vacant Supreme Court seat in November of 1987. Kennedy’s nomination received bipartisan support and he was confirmed in a 97-0 vote by the Senate in February 1988.   Red and others (but apparently not the Junior Senator from Texas and self-styled always smartest man in the room) remember that 1988 was an election year and that February of 1988 was less than a year before Reagan left office.  One wonders what Ronnie would think of bald-faced liar like Cruz.

And since Cruz fancies himself as an originalist and or strict constructionist, it might be interesting to look back at other Supreme Court justices who were confirmed in election years.

Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth – appointed by Washington – confirmed March 4, 1796

Justice Samuel Chase – appointed by Washington – confirmed January 26, 1796

Justice Alfred Moore – appointed by Adams – confirmed April 21, 1800

Justice William Johnson – appointed by Jefferson – confirmed May 7, 1804

Justice Roger Taney – appointed by Jackson – confirmed March 15, 1836

Justice Philip P. Barbour – appointed by Jackson – confirmed March 15, 1836

Justice Lucius Lamar – appointed by Cleveland – confirmed January 15, 1888

Chief Justice Melville Fuller – appointed by Cleveland – confirmed July 20, 1888

Justice George Shiras – appointed by Harrison – confirmed July 26, 1892

Justice Mahlon Pitney – appointed by Taft – confirmed March 13, 1912

Justice Louis Brandeis – appointed by Wilson – confirmed Jun 1, 1916

Justice John Clarke – appointed by Wilson – confirmed July 24, 1916

Justice Benjamin Cardozo – appointed by Roosevelt – confirmed March 1, 1932

Justice Frank Murphy – appointed by Roosevelt – confirmed January 16, 1940

It appears that Sen. Cruz and his ilk have little or no appreciation for the considerable precedent of the Senate actually doing its job and putting aside election year politics to act on Supreme Court nominations. But what else would you expect?




What Happens Next at the Supreme Court?

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia may deadlock several critical Texas cases now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Red would argue that the most important is Evenwel v. Abbott  a case in which the justices heard arguments last year.   The case involves a diabolical plan by ultra right-wing conservatives to take control of state elections through the Court rather than through free and fair elections.  In a twist of the “One Man One Vote” doctrine, the plaintiffs have argued that their voting power is limited by the way Texas draws its state legislative districts.  The claim is that districts for state representatives and senators should be based on the number of eligible voters in each district and not on population.

This would be in direct contrast to Congressional districts which are required to be based on population by the Constitution. The Evenwel case specifically challenges Texas Senate districts.  A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would allow states to draw districts using eligible voters and exclude children, legal and undocumented aliens, persons who have had voting privileges suspended and others.  This would result in a massive shift of representation away from urban areas to more conservative rural and small town districts.

A decision in that case is pending, but if the justices don’t want to rule on a case in which review has already been granted, they can announce that the cert petition was “improvidently granted,” which means lower court ruling holds.  Another alternative, would be to hold over the case until a new justice is appointed at which time they can rehear oral arguments.  No one knows the fate of this case yet, but it is probably the most important case that the Court will decide this year.