Supreme Court

Shrink the Supreme Court?

A GOP proposal to deny Clinton's appointment choices may backfire.

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Supreme Court
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When you can't win a fair contest, you have a few choices. You can gracefully accept the loss. You can try to do better the next time. Or you can flip the board over and stomp away.

Sen. Ted Cruz and some other Republicans are set on the latter course. Since the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the GOP-controlled Senate has refused to vote on the nominee to replace him, Merrick Garland. Republicans argued that because the vacancy occurred in an election year, the seat should not be filled until 2017. "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Now, however, some Republicans think the American people should take a long walk off a short pier. With a likely Hillary Clinton victory looming, these senators vow to spurn anyone she might choose for the court, as many times as they have to.

"If Hillary Clinton becomes president," Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., promised, "I'm going to do everything I can do to make sure that four years from now, we've still got an opening on the Supreme Court." Cruz said, "There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices."

There is also a historical precedent for trying to change the number of justices to achieve outcomes desired by one political party. But it's not what you would call an auspicious one.

In 1937, fresh off a landslide re-election, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was unhappy with the court, which had struck down several New Deal initiatives. In his first term, he hadn't been able to appoint a single justice. He saw little chance of getting to put his stamp on it.

But Roosevelt was not resigned to letting mere Supreme Court justices impede his ambitions for a more powerful federal government. Because he couldn't get rid of the conservative justices, he came up with another idea: add more seats, which he would gladly fill. He proposed to expand the court by one justice for each sitting justice who was over age 70, to as many as 15 members.

As historian David Kennedy notes in Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, Roosevelt insisted the change would equip the court better to deal with an evolving nation, since older justices might "avoid an examination of complicated and changed conditions."

True, he acknowledged, the court had been made up of nine justices since 1869, but that was no reason to keep the number there. Earlier, it had been set lower or higher. But Roosevelt's plan was so transparently dishonest and political that it blew up in his face.

He not only failed but alienated many voters and gave credence to the Republican claim that he was a dictator in the making. "Roosevelt was proposing to fiddle with one of the most respected and immutable American institutions, one designed by the Founders and enshrined in national mythology as the ballast whose unshifting weight could be counted upon to steady the ship of state," wrote Kennedy.

Cruz, Burr and other Senate Republicans ought to heed that infamous episode. There is nothing sacred about the number nine. But changing the size of the court in an attempt to influence how it decides future cases would be a cynical assault on the judiciary and republican government—as it was seen to be in 1937.

To say that a duly elected president should be endlessly resisted on Supreme Court nominations is to insult the electorate that chose the president. One tradition that makes our system of government work is that while the Senate advises and consents on judicial nominations, it does not presume to choose nominees. Another is that it does not treat Supreme Court vacancies as opportunities for mischief and manipulation.

Intractable obstruction invites Democrats to respond in kind, upending conventions for their short-term advantage. Should they gain control of the Senate, they could jettison the filibuster rule—a product of custom, not the Constitution—to allow Supreme Court nominations to proceed to a vote without the approval of 60 members. On what principle could Republicans object?

If you don't like the Supreme Court nominations a president makes, the appropriate remedy is to win the next election and install a president whose choices will suit you better. And if you don't win, remember that the health of democracy depends not on the winners accepting the results but on the losers.

© Copyright 2016 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Drawers getting a bit moist yet, Steve?

    1. You know it. He’s freaking out as much or more than the asshole Weigel is while he furiously trolls us under three different handles at once.

  2. Trumpublicans will be completely discredited when Hillary wins. They will have no moral authority in Congress. Yes their strategy will backfire spectacularly. Hopefully conservatives will take over and hold Hillary in check for a few years. But they must be willing to consider her nominations. They will regret not taking the vote on Garland when they had the chance.

    1. Garland would be considered a sane choice any other time.

      1. Nice to see you answering your own posts, shreek. You better be careful and not get your logins mixed up this time.

        1. We’re in the home stretch of a tight race now, and desperate times call for desperate JournoList measures!

          1. reporters typically have a wider forum to influence policy discussions then the comment board at Reason. wasnt that the whole thing that got Journolist in hot water?

      2. Which is unfortunate. He’s the worst kind of moderate – agrees with the right on L&O and civil liberties and with the left on guns, economic regulation, political speech, etc.

        He’d end up being worse than Breyer, which is the lowest bar I can think of. Fuck Garland.

    2. They can still confirm him after the election…

    3. You haven’t figured out that the establishment types, in power, are not Trump supporters? It is the establishment types that are stirring the crap, the way I see it!

  3. People who count their chickens before they hatch are often sadly disappointed.

    1. ‘ol Stevie has yet to do an article on Congress wise decision to block Garland so Trump can nominate a justice after winning the election next week.

      I foresee Chapman sadly disappointed with the lack of chicks that voted for his hen from hell.

  4. Hey, look at that, Chapman wants to roll over and show Hillary his belly, how shocking.

    1. That’s how I read it. Stop resisting!

    2. And is continuing the Chapman/Dalmia pattern of hiding his article behind a “Reason Staff” post. Does anyone actually read these things, or do we just come for MST3K-style mocking?

      1. Didn’t read…brought popcorn.

        1. ^This. *Munches popcorn.

        2. Who brought the Good & Plentys?

    3. Yep. An organization that gets funding from the Koch’s should be scared to death of Hillary’s potential nominees…

      Do you really think Hillary’s admin will let you call yourselves journalists instead of corporate shills? Suuure….

  5. It rather depends on the nominee, doesn’t it?

    If she sends lefty totalitarian bootlickers, one after the other, then yes, they should all be rejected.

    If she sends plausible MOR types, that’s a different story.

    1. Obama already did that.

      1. Merrick Garland is Obama’s hand picked pro gun control guy. I know you like that Tony, because you’re not smart at all.

        1. Obama is pro gun-control. He’s president. He gets to pick.

          But do go on defending the unprecedented constitutional crisis the Republicans are causing. I’ve got money riding on it.

          1. Yeah, the Democrats aren’t the ones trying to destroy a constitutional amendment.

          2. “He gets to pick.”

            And Congress gets to consent but do go on ignoring the actual words of the document

            1. Tony doesn’t like that part or any other parts that keep his master from being a dictator.

              1. “Ka-ching.”

                Hey man, take it up with the document

          3. “I’ve got money riding on it”

            LOL. What does a post get you now? 10 cents or 15? You’ll drink up your day’s pay by noon. At least we won’t have to see more of your inane drivel after that. Isn’t it about time you call the president and ask for a drone strike on libertarians or something? You’re boring me, Tony.

            1. I’m wagering that more than 50% of the posts will be defending the newly invented tradition “Only Republicans get to appoint supreme court justices.” And so far I’m doing better than even I expected.

              You people are such small-minded shits it’s embarrassing.

              1. “newly invented tradition”

                ERMAGERD!!

                ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE NEVER EXERCISED THEIR CONSTITUTIONALLY GIVEN POWERS!!!

                ER

                MA

                GERD!!!!

                1. “Only Republicans get to appoint supreme court justices.”

                  Hence the fillibustering of forgotten appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

                  McConnell’s stance wrt Garland is hardly unprecedented, even in Congress’s recent, substantially deferential history. It’s just that, unlike Biden who first broached the idea, this Senate actually had the opportunity to do so.

                  The lesson here, like when the R’s hope to do to D nominees what the Democrat leadership did to Bork, Thomas, and a raft of Bush judges, is that it doesn’t matter what principle is in play – the Democrats are always right and the Republicans are always wrong, even if they both provide the same answer.

                  1. You don’t *have* to defend every shitty thing Republicans do, you know.

                    1. And you don’t have to call everyone who disagrees with you a closet Republican.

                    2. And by far the majority here, not only do not defend everything the GOP does, but in fact, the GOP gets criticized here just as much as Democrats. Stop projecting your bias on others, shithead.

                    3. In the articles? Yes. In the comments? not even close. I hate having to take Tony’s side.

                    4. I hate having to take Tony’s side.

                      It’s hard having to agree with a brainless Democratic Underground troll on absolutely everything, but we all admire your resolve in doing so.

                    5. But you do *have* to defend every shitty thing Democrats do.

                    6. Says the guy with the knee-jerk defense of everything democrat?

                    7. I *am* a Democrat.

                    8. Then why are you here, looking for “real libertarians”?

                    9. We already knew you were brain damaged Tony, you didn’t have to say it out loud.

                    10. I say this with all due respect, fuck Democrats!!

              2. The Senate’s confirmation process is a check and balance to Executive branch tyranny.

                The Founding Fathers were so much smarter than all you progressives and that pesky constitution foiled you on so many occasions. Drat!

                Luckily, Trump will win next week and Garland will be rejected for the anti-constitution person that he is.

          4. Hey Tony, elections have consequences (psssst that’s a Barry quote)….2014….you are little slow so I will elaborate. The election resulted in a majority of Republicans which means they get to exercise their power. Be sure to tell your boy, Obungler. I was using “boy” for his white DNA. So nobody start getting uppity.

          5. defending the unprecedented constitutional crisis the Republicans are causing

            Exercising the Constitutional prerogatives of divided government is a Constitutional crisis?

            Unprecedented? Not even.

            http://thefederalist.com/2016/…..-nominees/

            1. Are we even pretending that you wouldn’t be throwing a bloody fit if the POTUS and senate had their Rs and Ds switched?

              1. Are we even pretending you have mind reading powers?

              2. Are we pretending that you have any attachment to the rule of law?

              3. You might have a point if you can comb through the archives and find anyone here throwing a fit about the Dems blocking Bush’s appointee’s.

                Of course, if you were honest you’d admit that the Constitution doesn’t require there to be 9 justices.

            2. On the narrow question of whether the Senate can reject a nominee? Sorry, no bloody fit there, regardless.

              Now, whether they should reject a given nominee on the merits? Totally different question.

          6. “unprecedented constitutional crisis ”

            ERMAGERD! A COURT WITH AN ABRITRARY NUMBER OF MEMBERS HAS TO GET BY WITH A DIFFERENT ARBITRARY NUMBER OF MEMBERS!! !!

            ER

            MA

            GERD!!! !!

            1. Why, changing the number of SC justices, and the existence of an even number of them is totally unprecedented! However will the Republic survive with only eight of them? Nine is the optimum number. It is known.

              1. It only takes one judge to defer to the executive. Let’s stop pissing money away on the other 8.

              2. If there aren’t nine, can we still call them the Nazgul?

                1. +1 Hobbit and Spear-Maiden

                  -1 Nazgul

                  1. Sweet!

              3. However will the Republic survive with only eight of them? Nine is the optimum number. It is known.

                I know this is sarc, but I kinda like 8 better than 9. That way, the “down the middle” issues are split 50/50 and no precedent is set.

                1. It undermines Rule of Law when the 9th Circuit (known Taxifornia progressive supporters) gets to push unconstitutional liberal law for other states within that circuit. At least having a decision by the Supreme Court allows the rule/law to be overturned, congress to make new law or pass a Constitutional Amendment.

  6. “Sen. Ted Cruz and some other Republicans are set on the latter course. ”

    Yeah it’s not like they have Advise and Consent powers or anything?

    1. Except that they aren’t advising and consenting. They’re categorically refusing to hold hearings. I have no problem with anyone voting down Garland if they don’t like him, but it’s an abdication of responsibility not to hold hearings in the first place for a nominee who clearly is otherwise constitutionally eligible for the position.

      1. They are waiting until Trump is elected.

  7. One tradition that makes our system of government work is that while the Senate advises and consents on judicial nominations, it does not presume to choose nominees.

    Ah yes, the Senate never opposes the President’s choice, right – it says “consent” right there? It’s certainly not incumbent upon the President to compromise and present a candidate acceptable to the Senate majority – that’s how it works?

    Fucking hell, this is like Suderman/Welch government shutdown articles. Is this some secret anarchist creation program? Cause it’s working on me, I’ll admit.

    1. It does not choose nominees, (technically) true.

      However, rejecting a nominee is not “choosing a nominee”, so this sentence is a giant non sequitur.

      If, by “choosing a nominee”, you mean, “approving a nominee”, you need to revisit your understanding of the English language.

      1. Tony’s understanding of the meaning of, “Consent,” (and actually, most Lefty Partisan types) is perfectly congruent with Brock Turner’s understanding of the word, “Consent.”

        Except when a Troomp accuser is somehow involved.

        1. Tony at least is just a troll.

          It’s Chapman’s understanding of “consent” that puzzles me.

          1. Chapman’s understanding of, “Consent,” is of more the, “Implied Consent,” variety. Like when you are pulled over by the cops, of course you consent to search of your vehicle and person by proxy of voluntarily pulling over upon command.

            1. Chapmand understanding of Consent is “bow for your progressive overlords, cosmotarian!!”

  8. It’s absolutely important if you don’t want a far left majority on the court who will dismantle the 2nd amendment piece by piece and then start whittling away the first.

    Anyway, no need to worry about it, the GOP will fold like lawn chairs in a wind storm.

    1. Garland will be on the court well before xmas.

      1. Not when Trump wins….a Christmas without Garland will make the tree even more beautiful.

      2. Nope, he will be withdrawn before they can confirm or reject him (face it, if he permitted a hearing, he’s in), for a much more Ruthie B. flavoured nominee. Who will no doubt be confirmed by a feckless Senate, in the interest of quid pro quo, SOP, and the appearance of compromise and, “Bipartisanship.”

          1. You know in your heat that Cytotoxic is the optimal choice.

            1. A Florida Man is in heat? Get outta town!

              1. Both environmentally and physiologically!

  9. “Only Republicans get to appoint SC Justices.”

    I bet that >50% of the comments here will essentially agree with this statement. Any takers?

    1. Why would someone who so disdains the Constitution care about the Supreme Court?

      1. Because he wants scotus picks who will help dismantle that dusty old thing.

        1. Just to repair the damage Scalia did.

          1. Scalia didn’t pen the bill of rights, Tony.

            1. But he did rewrite the 2nd Amendment.

                1. Any honest person would conclude that he invented a new interpretation of the 2A. It happens to be a new interpretation you like, thus it’s one with the constitution and God. I understand.

                  1. “Any honest person would conclude that he invented a new interpretation of the 2A”

                    Now tell us what you think.

                  2. Tony|11.3.16 @ 12:45PM|#

                    Any honest person would conclude that he invented a new interpretation of the 2A. It happens to be a new interpretation you like, thus it’s one with the constitution and God. I understand.

                    He was appointed by a president that won an election, so by your own logic you should shut the fuck up about it.

              1. Honest question Tony: How many stupid pills do you take a day?

                1. Those aren’t stupid pills, they’re nails!

                2. I don’t know how many it is, but I’m sure he exceeds the maximum effective dosage.

                3. Tony rejects pharmaceutical solutions in favor of simply repeating leftist mantras until the mind empties. Like a Buddhist but less silent.

              2. The SCOTUS doesn’t do enough to protect the 2nd Amendment.

                There shall be NO restrictions on arms.

                The more scared the government and progressives are of this the better. You should be scared.
                Keep killing people and ignoring the Constitution and see people fight back.

                Every Socialist’s fear.

      2. Because when you get slightly annoyed by his stupid shit, he wins.

        And when you your time responding, he wins even more.

        Content of whatever he writes only has value in the number of people it annoys and makes waste their time responding.

        1. Responses are ok as long as they contain a sharp barb (the more humiliating the better) and do not just expose his idiocy.

          1. As long as you understand you are giving him pleasure. Responses mean nothing. In his mind, he said “Dance, monkeys!” and monkeys did dance.
            I’m more of a “starve them out” man. No feedback means they have to escalate stupidity more and more, going back to actually being entertaining.

            Note: does not apply to Tony, since that handle already won all of H&R posting with his “Hillary told a few fibs. Fiorina’s lies got people killed” post.

            1. “As long as you understand you are giving him pleasure”

              I don’t care about him either way, bit I do know I enjoy taking him down.

              What I don’t enjoy is nagging assholes like you who insist on haranguing me for it.

            2. Hahaha, that one’s right up there with admitting he would have his political adversaries lined up and executed given the chance.

          2. Why expose his idiocy? Who are you giving information too? Why not just post a link for newbies explaining his learning disability? You’re not informing him because being informed isn’t what he does. To humiliate him would require him to have pride or the capacity for self-knowledge.

            1. Everyone has the right to say whatever.

              When I skimmed Reason to sign up, it was clear who the dipshit progressives are. You folks tear them new asses and it keeps their untrue and/or ridiculous comments from going unchallenged.

              Most forums would ban you all for standing up against progtards, so wear it as a badge of honor.

    2. “Any takers?”

      Your mom?

    3. You should warm up before swinging so vigorously at that strawman. You might pull a muscle.

  10. When you can’t win a fair contest, you have a few choices. You can gracefully accept the loss. You can try to do better the next time. Or you can flip the board over and stomp away.

    Go fuck yourself.

    It is perfectly moral and ethical to refuse to consent when the opposition boldly states they intend to fuck over everything you hold near and dear.

    1. Yep. It’s called Checks and Balances.

      1. So we didn’t have checks and balances before the Republicans invented the new principle that “no Democrat gets to appoint anyone to the Supreme Court” just a couple weeks ago?

        Well, thank god!

        1. Checks and balances have mostly given way to deference. So I think it’s about time they were recognized again. No matter who does it.

          1. How is “Only Republicans get to appoint judges” balanced?

            1. Checks and balances refers to the branches, not the parties.

              1. And up until a few weeks ago it meant that the senate would not confirm someone unacceptably radical, but otherwise would abide by the wishes of the voting public and thus the president.

                1. Unless, you’re Bob Bork.

                2. Senators are elected officials too, and are expected to abide by the wishes of their voting public, i.e. the state that elected them.

                  1. And it’s rational for Republicans to oppose a Democratic president’s appointees in this day and age. One might say it’s also rational, in a psychopathic sort of way, for McConnell to oppose any hypothetical nominee by a Democratic president. Clearly respecting the outcome of elections has been long off the table.

                    So no bitching when Democrats play hardball back.

                    1. You won’t hear any such bitching from me. You can’t know this, but I opposed just about everything George W. Bush did. I think he and Cheney should be in adjoining cells in some dark dank prison.

                      I didn’t have that view because I’m a Democrat, because I’m not. I don’t view HRC the way I do because I’m a Republican, because I’m not. I’m a libertarian, one who believes that the power of the federal government and of the presidency is dangerously large with fewer restraints with each passing day. Regardless of which party controls it.

                      You don’t seem to realize that you’re laying the groundwork for the next Bush. So when he gets to power, you’ll sit around and cluelessly bitch “how could this have happened?”.

                    2. I agree that the presidency is too powerful. My political worldview acknowledges that the Republican and Democratic parties happen to have wildly different approaches to maintaining the stability of our nation-state. The reasons for that are deep and dark and will keep scholars busy for ages. That is, if Republicans stay out of power and the literal end of the human species is prevented.

                    3. Counting on the Republicans staying out of power is a very crappy bet.

                    4. You are a dnc weasel, nothing more.

      2. “Checks and Balances” is archaic language written by those stupid old white men in wigs who owned slaves. The current term is “rubberstamp”. Anytime the Congress doesn’t instantly agree with everything the President wants, that’s called a “Constitutional Crisis”, because they failed in their duty to “rubberstamp”.

      3. and/or revolution!

    2. You mean like DACA? Obamacare? It’s all about the compromise, right?

    3. The thing is, the contest that matters here isn’t the Presidential race. Its the Senate races.

      So, if the Reps win those races, who has lost the contest, and who is trying to flip the board and walk away?

      The system is designed to force the Pres to make nominations that are acceptable to the Senate. Bloviating about how the President failing to make such nominations is the fault of the Senate is, well, bizarre.

      1. The system is designed to force the Pres to make nominations that are acceptable to the Senate.

        One of the most satisfying moments in life is following the rules exactly the way they are written to achieve a goal that your opponent can’t stand.

        Winning the Senate determines who will sit on the Supreme Court in the future.

    4. Are you suggesting it is immoral or unethical to flip the board over and stomp away from a game when the opposition is about to sink your battleship?

  11. I’m sure the left would cheer if a Democrat Senate vowed to block every nomination by a Republican president.

    Principals, not principles.

    1. And there’s absolutely no question you’d shit yourself in the midst of the world’s biggest tantrum.

      Republicans, not Democrats.

    2. Let us know when they have done so.

      1. Go back about 10 years…

        1. Really? Every nominee rejected? Try again.

            1. And here I thought the article was about the Supreme Court. Funny that.

            2. By the way, since you bring up all federal appointees, you might enjoy this analysis of Pressents first term appointments. Numbers are fairly close all along, with Obama worse off in some categories. And his numbers only got worse in the second term. Enjoy!

              http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43058.pdf

              And now, back to question at hand about blocking every single SC nominee a President might appoint….

              1. Congress has, been given the power to do so.

                End of discussion.

                1. And SCOTUS has the power to turn the 2nd Amendment into mushy pulp.

                  End of discussion, right?

                  1. Nope.

                    My rights exist independent of any court decisions.

                    The document is the source of Congress and the courts power.

                    That’s your civics lesson for today, you’re welcome.

                    1. No they don’t.

                    2. “Tony|11.3.16 @ 1:17PM|#

                      No they don’t.”

                      Lol I’ll take my victory lap now.

                    3. Spock once asked, “What does God need with a starship?”

                      In that vein, why do your rights need a 2nd Amendment?

                    4. “In that vein, why do your rights need a 2nd Amendment?”

                      Do you even Constitution?

                      / victory lapping you

                    5. Are you celebrating turning “constitution” into a verb or what?

                    6. That, and getting you to ask a question that definitively proves you don’t understand the subject you’re discussing.

                      / victory lapping you again

                    7. I’m to understand that I’m a moron because I don’t agree that rights exists somewhere “out there” in the cosmos and that you and only you get to say what they are, n’est-ce pas?

                    8. You’re a moron because you can’t grok the 9th amendment and its impact on the rest of the document. I’ll give you a pass here considering your history, but the fact that the Esteemed Legal Minds that hold the final say over interpreting the document have also forgotten about it is the great tragedy of our age.

                    9. First, man you’re quoting the worst Star Trek movie?

                      Second, the right to keep and bear arms is a natural, God given right. The second amendment only explains that.

                      What people in black robes think of that doesn’t mean shit to me.

                      This is what libertarians believe.

                      Assholes who think the government grants us rights are our enemies….

                    10. “No they don’t.”

                      Since this part of the discussion involves the BOR, I suggest you actually ream the.

                      Nowhere in the BOR does it say that the particular rights are granted. It says the Gov’t may not infringe on these rights. The BOR recognizes that these are natural rights not granted by anybody.

                      In fact, off the top of my head, I can’t think of any part of the Constitution that says the Gov’t grants the citizens particular rights or powers. It only restricts or limits the Gov’t power to act.

                    11. ream the = “read them” Review before posting.

                    12. I would add to this excellent advice that Tony also read Article 1 Section 8 and see exactly what powers the Congress rightfully has. The list is far shorter than he might imagine, and nowhere does it say that the Congress can ban guns.

                    13. So is it the piece of paper or the words printed on them that manifested rights in the cosmos?

                    14. The paper just acknowledges that our human rights are inalienable.

                      The paper is supposed to remind the government of that fact.

                      You’d think someone reading a libertarian web site would get that.

                      If you don’t understand this, go read slate or salon….

                    15. The Constitution just puts government politicians and bureaucrats on notice what Americans will tolerate and what we won’t.

                      If you violate the posted limits, expect Americans to do something about it. it has happened before and it will happen again.

    3. Of course. Remember how Comey was a national hero back in June, but now he’s de debil?

      1. That is why I say watch the Democrats reaction to determine how genuine the threat to Democrats is. If they flip out and foam at the mouth, Liberty has a small victory. If they praise the bureaucrat, Liberty is still slipping away.

    4. And remind me of when a “Democrat Senate” blocked every nomination by a Republican president? Because I seem to recall, for example, that the Democrats controlled the Senate for most of Reagan and George H.W. Bush’s administrations and yet they still got virtually all their nominees approved….

  12. I gotta say that this is an issue where the Sudermanian complaint, “Well where’s your plan, GOP?” applies.

    The GOP should stop talking about blocking nominees and start offering lists of acceptable nominees. Even if they’re all conservative or libertarian candidates that no Democrat would vote on. At least try to look like you’re willing to play ball and want to fill the vacancy.

    1. Just like nobody cares that the GOP has offered healthcare reform plans, nobody would care that they offered (“advise”, remember?) lists of acceptable nominees.

    2. The only acceptable nominee for Democrats is one who will work tirelessly to help end the 2nd amendment. It’s a one issue thing for them. Until that’s done. Then the first is on the chopping block. But dummies like Tony won’t care as long as his team is in power and there only restricting speech he doesn’t like. Then when the GOP gets back into power and starts restricting speech that Tony likes, he’ll sit down in his mum’s basement floor and throw a baby tantrum, exactly like he’s doing now.

      1. Unless, of course, we can get to the point where only the Democrats win elections, then it’s all good, right?

  13. Oh boy. Now is the chance for all the commenters her to prove their team red Nina bona fides.

    1. Adhering to the Constituton “prove(s) their team red Nina bona fides.”

      Now all your posts make sense.

    2. Thank you for proving once again that you are an unprincipled hack.

    3. Heh, so you admit then that Libertarians And Republicans hold our constitutional rights sacrosanct and Democrats are totalitarian shit heads…

      1. “Libertarians And Republicans”? Better slow down there, sparky. Those are two very different things.

  14. To say that a duly elected president should be endlessly resisted on Supreme Court nominations is to insult the electorate that chose the president.

    Um, no. The Senate would be fully within their authority to deny any and all Supreme Court appointees presented by the president. The president does not have the authority or right to get his/her nominees approved just because he/she won an election. Anything less makes the president a dictator. Let’s try to pretend we understand the doc that created the federal gov’t, Chapman.

    1. Why isn’t demanding that the Senate automatically approve nominees an insult to the electorate that chose the Senate?

      1. Why are you wasting everyone’s time playing dumb Team Red shill?

        1. So, applying the same standards across the board is “Team Red shilling”?

          1. This is by far the longest the Senate has ever gone without giving a nominee a hearing. This is the first time they’ve ever articulated the principle “Only Republicans get to nominate justices.” What “same standards” are you referring to?

            You don’t *have* to defend Republicans, you know.

            1. You have forgotten, “The Biden Rule,” already?

              1. It’s different when they do it!

              2. Thanks, doc. I had a vague recollection the Dems had done precisely what the Reps are doing now, but couldn’t dredge it up.

            2. It’s Constitutional powers all the way down!

  15. With a likely Hillary Clinton victory looming,

    THEM POLLS IS SKEWED!

    (half-wit Bratfart reader)

    1. Pay your bet.

    2. Tulpa is busy today.

    3. (half-wit Bratfart reader)

      Puh-leaze, your credibility around here is so shot that you can’t possibly invent insults that bring your opponents down within a nautical mile of your less-than-worthless reputation. You might as well change handles again and try to avoid getting sniffed out, because your current one engenders pity more than anything. Pity that somebody can lack even the tiniest amount of self-awareness to their own reputation while slinging mud at others.

  16. And if you don’t win, remember that the health of democracy depends not on the winners accepting the results but on the losers.

    The US is NOT a “democracy”. It is a “Constitutional Republic”. I propose the health of the Republic depends on adherence the Constitution’s that created the federal gov’t and the govt’s of the several States, with the branches of said govt’s utilizing only and all authority granted to them in said Constitution’s.

    1. Of course the US is a republic. It is a democratic republic that can change any law at any time should enough people vote to do so.

      Feel better now? You shouldn’t.

      1. democratic republic

        Let me help you. The term “democratic republic” is incorrect because of what “republic” translates to. Ie. “Representative Democracy”. You wouldn’t say “democratic representative democracy” would you? It’s redundant.

        can change any law at any time should enough people vote to do so.

        Wrong again. And this happens to be the reason that the US is a Constitutional Republic. Ie a “Constitutional Representative Democracy”. The founders rightly feared “democracy” (mob-rule) and sought to create a system in which the gov’t could not deny human rights of the minority by a simple majority vote. I know the US system of gov’t generally gets in the way of you totalitarian enablers, but it was meant to. And yes, the powers of the gov’t can be changed. The docs that created the State and Federal gov’ts have an amendment process written into them.

      2. democratic republic

        Let me help you. The term “democratic republic” is incorrect because of what “republic” translates to. Ie. “Representative Democracy”. You wouldn’t say “democratic representative democracy” would you? It’s redundant.

        can change any law at any time should enough people vote to do so.

        Wrong again. And this happens to be the reason that the US is a Constitutional Republic. Ie a “Constitutional Representative Democracy”. The founders rightly feared “democracy” (mob-rule) and sought to create a system in which the gov’t could not deny human rights of the minority by a simple majority vote. I know the US system of gov’t generally gets in the way of you totalitarian enablers, but it was meant to. And yes, the powers of the gov’t can be changed. The docs that created the State and Federal gov’ts have an amendment process written into them.

        1. No – “Constitutional Republic” is the redundant phrase.

          Everyone knows this is no pure democracy but we do have a “democratic” element.

          1. I’ll rephrase:

            republic=representative democracy===>democratic republic=democratic representative democracy (redundant)

            The US gov’t was designed to prevent mob-rule (democracy) so that the human rights of the minority could not be denied by a simple “majority vote” (democracy). A constitution was written that created the gov’t and granted it authority. The US is a representative-democracy (ie “republic”) created by a document called a constitution===> the US is a Constitutional Republic. I know you totalitarian enablers don’t like it. You want mob-rule so you try to twist the language to confuse people or get them to associate non-similar things. It’s quite dishonest.

          2. I love how your response to being proven definitively wrong is

            “Nu uh!!!”

            Now, pay your fucking bet deadbeat.

          3. “Constitutional Republic” is the redundant phrase.

            How so? You can have a constitution without a republic, and a republic without a constitution. Doesn’t seem redundant to me at all to specify that you have a republic pursuant to a constitution.

            1. +1 See just about any remaining monarchy outside of asia for examples

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  18. It’s all posturing. They’ll give in. They always do.

      1. I honestly don’t think they will be given the chance. They will withdraw him Harriet Myers style for someone more reliably Ruthie B.

    1. Here’s what’s going to happen. Democrats will take a majority in the Senate. President Hillary will appoint someone more liberal than Garland, who will be confirmed with or without the nuclear option, depending on whether Republicans want to continue shitting themselves on C-Span.

      Republicans will have completely lost everything they were trying to accomplish and then some. They’re not called the Stupid Party by accident.

      1. And then Utopia Comrades!
        /swills victory gin

      2. Here you are on solider ground, providing the election goes as you predict (and I do see that as possible). Often I’m baffled by the GOP’s idea of strategy. I sometimes wonder if they’re trying to lose, or if the whole thing is just some big joke perpetrated on us in a bipartisan fashion. I can easily see all of them getting together in a downtown D.C. bar and just laughing their asses off about how “those suckers still think we’re fighting each other!”

        1. Gerrymandering gives them a guaranteed majority in the House, but in order to keep their individual seats, which represent districts filled only with fire-breathing rightwingers, they have to agree with the fat men on talk radio that Democrats are Pure Evil. Remember when Chris Christie was roasted over an open pit for touching the president once?

          It’s all horribly destructive to democratic order and basic human decency. But that won’t stop independent-minded nonpartisan free-spirit libertarians from defending everything they do, of course.

          1. Trump was right. Elections are rigged. I never thought Tony was a Trump admirer. Well, you all saw it. Tony loves Trump.

            1. House elections certainly are rigged. Nobody disagrees with that.

              1. A Trump apologist!

              2. House elections certainly are rigged. Nobody disagrees with that.

                “When our party wins, it’s the glorious will of the people. When the opposition party wins, it’s counter-revolutionary subterfuge!”

                Predictable bullshit from a predictable bullshitter.

          2. The Democrats play their own role in gerrymandering. For instance, if you create an artificial district that includes primarily minority voters in the hopes of putting more minorities in Congress, you’ll likely get that result, but now you’ve also separated white voters off by themselves without any significant minority input. The result of that is predictable.

          3. Right, it’s against “democratic order” to exercise Constitutional prerogatives, but it’s not against “democratic order” to imply that the one of the two major parties could only win by trickery.

            Face it, sockpuppet, at the present moment your party is not the majority party. It happens. It’s called democracy. Stop whining.

      3. So what are you bitching about then? You get your desired outcome.

        1. I’m bitching that there are so few real libertarians to talk to.

          1. Tulpa should be floating around under some new handle. Shreek is here. AmSoc should be around shortly, and I think I saw JackAss upthread. Sounds like you have plenty of trolls “real libertarians” to talk to.

            1. Real libertarians worship the absolute power of the state, Trshmnstr. Obviously a TEAM RED shill like you wouldn’t know that.

            2. Talking to people I agree with isn’t much fun. Talking to real right-wingers is also not fun because they are vile racist cretins. You guys are among the smarter right-wingers on the Internet, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could be a step better and actually be libertarians, since this is a libertarian forum?

              No libertarian should feel the compulsive need to defend every shitty conniving thing Mitch McConnell dreams up in his stupid evil turtle head. Or am I wrong about that?

              1. No libertarian should feel the compulsive need to repeat every single talking point of the Democratic Party, but here we are.

                Why don’t you stop shilling and you’ll stop being called out for being a shill?

              2. No libertarian should feel the compulsive need to defend every shitty conniving thing Mitch McConnell dreams up in his stupid evil turtle head. Or am I wrong about that?

                I don’t think too many people are defending his rejection of all hypothetical nominees. Maybe I missed it, but whatever. I think this whole thing is stupid and petty, and all the pants-shitting from the left is worthy of being made fun of. At the end of the day, the GOP will get what’s coming to them if they decide to go full-on Stupid Party and just not confirm any nominee until an R is elected president.

                1. Yeah, it’s one fucking thing to say this is a smart or stupid idea, and whether it should be done as a matter of politics. It’s another thing entirely to describe it as some sort of constitutional crisis. It’s not.

              3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Chart

                Learn it. Maybe you’ll finally stop trying to call us “right-wingers”.

                1. Right winger is as right winger does.

          2. I do so greatly love when leftists take it upon themselves to define what a “real” libertarian is. Conservatives too, for that matter.

            1. I also like how these definitions almost never have any connection to libertarianism.

              You’re a “phony libertarian” if you point out that the State Department blocking the Keystone XL pipeline connection to Canada had nothing to do with eminent domain.

              You’re a “phony libertarian” if you point out that the FBI and Congress investigating a government official’s misconduct is not a Fourth Amendment violation.

              You’re a “phony libertarian” if you point out that the use of eminent domain by local governments doesn’t justify the FCC regulating the Internet.

              You’re a “phony libertarian” if you point out that there is no Constitutional requirement to vote on a President’s nominees in some particular timeframe.

              etc.

    2. Yeah…like, um, aren’t they saying this in an election year? I wish SCOTUS didn’t have as much influence over our lives (remember “don’t make a federal case about it” when we were kids?), but here we are.

  19. It takes an an epic-dipshit like Steve Chapman to interpret the checks & balances that built into our system of government as a source of “Intractable obstruction”.

    What kind of libertarian, no matter how squishy, whines that that Democracy demands ‘more cooperation’ in allowing the exercise of Federal power?

    “Obstruction” should be seen as a desirable status-quo – particularly since it accurately reflects a country that splits nearly 50/50 on many major political issues of the day. Contra Chapman’s near-fascist assertion that “Losers” of elections must politely stand aside and accept the full brunt of whatever program their opposition demands, merely winning the presidency is no mandate to steamroll over congress and the courts.

    For decades the supreme court has been characterized by a very-tenuous balance between conservative and liberal jurists; a dramatic change to that balance in favor of the left would provide an opening for activists to gut large swaths of the constitution, with the main focus being the erosion of individual and economic liberties.

    Cheerleading in favor of this possible outcome is one of the dumbest fucking things anyone has ever written for a libertarian magazine.

    1. It wasn’t written for a libertarian magazine.

      1. its how they describe themselves.

        even if you insist that Reason is at best some sort of squishy cosmotarian-lite thing, Chapman’s argument is still a giant turd in that punchbowl.

        1. It was written for the Chicago Tribune.

          1. technically-correct is the best kind of correct.

            Change “written for” to “published by”

    2. Chapman is Reason’s Weld.

      1. You win the netz.

  20. ‘Editor’s Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. ‘
    That would be an easier task if the actual articles were not written by disingenuous fuck-wits.

  21. Properly vetting, and rejecting if necessary, an individual nominee is the correct approach for the Senate. In fact, if HRC does win, I really hope the Senate stays republican, if for no other reason than to keep her in check.

    However declaring, before the election even takes place, that you’re going to oppose out of hand any nominee, is just childish, and a dereliction of duty.

    1. I agree, dumb strategy. They should have given O guidelines on the kind of judge they would approve. You get a decent judge and O gets to add another check to his legacy.

      1. Agreed. When the Senate and Pres are opposing parties, it’s probably the most sane and useful strategy and the best that can be hoped for. This level of obstructionism for its own sake might get you some press, but it doesn’t help the nation one bit.

        1. Hi Tulpa.

        2. When the Senate and Pres are opposing parties, it’s probably the most sane and useful strategy and the best that can be hoped for.

          Plus, its precisely what the Constitution calls for: “advise” AND “consent”.

    2. Congress has every right to say an office they have defined shall be left vacant. The only office that arguably must be filled is that of Chief Justice, being explicitly defined in the Constitution.

      There is no dereliction of duty because there is no duty. It may be politically “irresponsible”, in the sense of having these same tactics used against them or one of their own party’s Presidents, but that is a different matter.

  22. You know technically because the Constitution doesn’t require a minimum number the Senate could get rid of the SC completely by never approving any nominee and letting the ones there die off.

    1. But who would tell trannys where to pee?!?

      1. Crusty has a place for ’em.

        /ewwww

  23. Before any nominee is confirmed, Congress should rush through a Constitutional amendment setting future USSC terms at twelve years. That would ensure that older nominees at the peak of their wisdom get fair consideration, and somewhat reduce the partisan stakes.

    1. Constitutional amendments can’t really be rushed.

      1. Sometimes amendments can be rushed, if there is a broad consensus. The 21st amendment, ending Prohibition, was ratified by the States within 10 months.

        1. Yes, but is there such a broad consensus in favor of Supreme Court term limits?

        2. This made me laugh. When there are running gunbattles in the street between Federa apelate judges, people are smugging truck loads of case law books from canada, and every other home ic loning a Supreme Court Justice in their bath tub, this comment mentioning the 21st amendment would not be stupid.

    2. Term limits are good. I think even better would be to take the appointment of supreme court justices out of the hands of the executive. Direct elections seem like a reasonable approach.

  24. If President Hillary faces a Republican Senate, an obvious compromise would be a package of two nominees, one chosen by conservatives to replace Scania, and one chosen by progressives to replace a resigning or deceased progressive justice.

  25. Interesting logic…

    A GOP proposal to deny Clinton’s appointment choices may backfire.

    He [FDR] not only failed but alienated many voters and gave credence to the Republican claim that he was a dictator in the making.

    But FDR was re-elected twice more. He may not have gotten his extra robed reds, but the people didn’t hold it against him.

    1. People love a good tyrant. FDR & lincoln were the great american despots.

  26. Bottom line: Cruz and his people should say that they’d be happy to confirm constitutional originalists, who support the *entire* Bill of Rights (including the parts Hillary finds inconvenient, like the First, Second, Sixth and Tenth), and who will trample underfoot the abomination known as Roe v. Wade, then of course the Senate should confirm them.

    Otherwise the Senate should force the Supreme Court to make do with whatever holdovers it has.

    1. There’s no reason to compromise by confirming a judge who will adhere to at least part of the constitution, on alternate weeks.

      If Hillary doesn’t send up a judge who is fully qualified, and fully prepared to defend the Constitution – the actual constitution, not the “living” version which accommodates the left wing of the Democratic Party – then the Senate shouldn’t confirm. If that means the Supreme Court has to operate with fewer members, boo hoo, they’re one of the few courts in the country which can actually control its own docket, so they can reduce the number of cases they hear if their current caseload is too much work.

      1. hey which part of the constitution bans abortion? I was looking for it but I couldnt find it and you sound like a constitutional scholar so maybe you could help me out? I even looked in the bible (god’s constitution) and couldnt find it in there?!?! I did find a lot of stuff about eating seafood so maybe we should be talking more about the People Vs Red lobster?!?!!

  27. Holy shit the lefty trolls are getting desperate. Every one of our beloved TEAM BLUE retards has, at one point or another, espoused the principle of might-makes-right, and that “elections have consequences.” And now they’re pitching a bitch fit because Garland is getting Borked. Delicious.

    1. Picture this. Trump is president but Democrats take the senate majority. Trump appoints Ted Nugent or whoever to the SC. Democrats say nope, not gonna ever even hold a hearing. How do you respond? Be honest.

      1. I’d say that losing Ted Nugent is the price the voters paid for voting for Democrats.

        1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump did appoint Ted Nugent. It ticks all of the Trump boxes: outlandish, big ask guaranteed to be rejected, paces the possible conversation, guaranteed to make the chattering classes’ heads explode, etc.

          1. and fucking retarded. dont forget the fucking retarded checkbox.

      2. It’s their prerogative to do so, but if it’s not a presidential election year then it’s not a fair comparison. Were you at all intellectually honest you might understand that.

        1. nowhere in the constitution are different rules laid out for election years. why is this relevant?

      3. I don’t give a shit about whether Trump gets his nominees through or not. The Democrats can pull any cards the Republicans can pull, and vice versa. It’s not a goddamn Constitutional apocalypse for Congress to ignore nominees to offices Congress created/enumerated in the first place.

        1. Congress did not create the supreme court. And despite the apparent loophole, I don’t think the constitution intended for it to be possible for Congress to destroy it via neglect.

          But then all democratic systems, no matter how perfect, require a modicum of gentlemanly decency in order to function. That would be what you guys are all arguing against.

      4. Well shit, it wouldn’t be a surprise.

        The Dems have done this many times before. And the compliant media would stand by and cheer.

  28. ‘When you can’t win a fair contest, you have a few choices. You can gracefully accept the loss. You can try to do better the next time. Or you can flip the board over and stomp away.’

    Winning a majority in the senate is now the equivalent of flipping the board over and stomping away, who knew?
    I’m so glad Reason employs Chapman to explain the intricacies of the American political system.

    1. When you can’t win a fair contest,

      Assumes facts not in evidence.

  29. Tony, AmSock, Butt-plug, AddicksonMyth and all the other shills are out in full force this week. Your corrupt masters must be really scared. *readies tear collecting bottle

    1. ^Thanks Mike M. for the names.

    2. I’d get a surfboard.

      1. LOL. I’m by no means a Trump fan and will revel in all the fucking gnashing of teeth by the progs and prog-lites. Especially including the 4th estate.

  30. Instead of openly threatening to refuse any and all of her potential nominations, how’s about evaluating each one and approving/rejecting that one on their own merits? And be specific as to WHY each one is rejected. That puts the onus back on her to submit valid nominations. Send the message to her that we will not seat a corrupt, prejudiced, radical, judge on that or any other Federal level court. Then when THE PEOPLE begin to scream and rant “we need the court vacancies filled” the Senators can stand up with backbone and say precisely WHY those vacances remain. Take her muck and fling it right back into her face. After a while, SOMEONE will get a clue……

    1. There are no SC vacancies because there is no requirement for 9 Justices.

  31. You don’t get much worse, from a libertarian standpoint, than Garland. One can hope Hillary will nominate justices like Sonya Sotomayor who at least respects some enshrined civil liberties. I wouldn’t even oppose a Justice Obama, I don’t think. He’d for sure be better than Garland.

    So anyway, I’m glad the senate is holding up Garland (whose nomination was a political stunt anyway). I do hope they will get back to the business of the Senate once the new president is coronated.

    1. Garland is a douchebag for sure but the guy with a fucking kill-list for the last 8 years thats included American kids would be a better SC judge? Take it down a notch, guy.

  32. To say that a duly elected president should be endlessly resisted on Supreme Court nominations is to insult the electorate that chose the president.

    But what about the duly-elected Senate? What about their electorate?

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  37. The real question is why we shouldn’t simply directly elect SCOTUS justices and limit their terms to 6 or 12 years, instead of the current partisan process that results in lifetime appointments based on short-term political considerations

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