Same song, second verse. On May 27 of last year I wrote about Sonia Sotomayor and named her as a Supreme Court justice well before the vote took place. Since that proved to be a no-brainer decision, thought I would just repeat the process in what is proving to be an annual event for the President, the nomination of a new member of the Supreme Court.
Today was the first day of the hearings, the most pro forma day I guess. What have we learned? Can’t use the experience line that was used last year so the refreshing change is the phrase de jour. Senator Feinstein calls her brilliant and the President calls the arguments against her “thin gruel ,” whatever that is.
The President also rejected the contention that he was remaking the court to suit himself, citing two interesting names who support Ms Kagan’s nomination. This is almost funny. One is Ted Olson, who one thinks would know better. The other is Kenneth Starr, yep that Kenneth Starr. Bet Bill Clinton freaked when he heard that name from his past.
So, we can could call it a dog and pony show except I like dogs too much. Or we could use Rush’s label. It will be the ” don’t ask, don’t tell” hearings. Better yet, call off the hearings, have the vote and get it over with. Might save some money that way. Still, it would be great if someone like Ann Coulter or even George Will were providing questions. Nice try Sen Sessions.
The President has announced his nominee for the Supreme Court seat of the retiring John Paul Stevens. What a shock, he has picked another woman and thus according to him this will make the court look more like the country than ever before. But would Solictor General Elena Kagan actually do that? Perhaps we should take a closer look.
Now, upfront we should note that these descriptions are not meant as criticisms of the nominee, but as observations in light of what the President said. Ms Kagan is Jewish which will mean the Court would have 6 Catholics and 3 Jews. She is single and in fact has never been married. Unlike Justice Sotomayor whose humble upbringing was repaetedly stressed, Ms Kagan is the polar opposite. She is, as the New York Times puts it, “a creature of Manhattan’s liberal, intellectual Upper West Side; hardly a typical upbringing. She served on the faculty of the Chicago University Law School with guess who? Yep, Barack H Obama. How about that for irony or wonder if this is fulflling a long range goal since Kagan was on the nominee short list last time around.
So, maybe the Court will not really look more like America but just seem to . What is interesting is somethinmg that Rush brings up. Not sure if I agree wholeheatedly but it sounds very plausible. He maintains that Obama is in fact nominating himself. It has been noted that they served on the law school faculty together and it seems that her record or lack of same mirrors that of the President before he was elected. She has as her judicial hero the late Thurgood Marshall and adheres very strongly to his philosophy that the Court should exist almost solely for the benefit of the “despised and disadvantaged,” whomever the Court perceives those to be. She is reputed to be post partisan, a consensus builder, as was the president. Perhaps more telling is how she views the Constitution. And how is that? Kinda hard to say, given the paucity of the written record. But, hazarding a guess, I would use the words living and changing in there somewhere along with oh, maybe the framers didn’t really do all that great a job but we have surely improved it.
But, in all lilklihood, she will be confirmed even if all Republicans vote no, which they will not. But what will be interesting is if the topic of same-sex marriage comes up. Ms Kagan is actually on the record here. And her view is not that of the typical liberal. That just might liven up the proceedings a bit.
Our 34th president, native of Texas, grew up in Kansas and spent his latter years on his Gettysburg farm,appropriate for a general, huh? Just finished an excellent bio on Ike by author Stephen E Ambrose. In actuality, it was not a true bio since it focused on Eisenhower’s two terms as president and the eight years following. But there were plenty of allusions to the WWII years and the interim between 1945 and his election.
It was a unique read for me since Eisenhower was the first president I remember, although not hardly at all as a child. We were a quite non political household other than my mom being quite anti Republican. It was an odd feeling reading about events that took place during my childhood but of which I was totally oblivious.
Anyway, the book was a fascinating read in several areas. Deficit spending seemed to be Eisenhower’s bete noire, quite ironic for a career military man. He seemed in a constant struggle to keep military spending under control, often maintaining he knew better the needs of the military than did the Joint Chiefs.
I have read much that indicates he was a do-nothing president, charges that were even voiced during his time in office. I came across with a much different impression. There were a significant number of foreign policy crises, none of which lead to war, although a number could have had they not been handled well.
To name a few. There was the Suez crisis of 1956 involving Britain, France and Israel, an ongoing struggle with the Soviet Union ( sometimes below the surface but always there ; ‘U-2 flights, atomic weapons etc ), Quemoy and Matsu( islands off China coast) , Korea, Berlin, and so on. I came with an excellent impression of Eisenhower’s calmness during these crises since oftentimes all his advisers were pushing for war to one degree or another.
All the while he continued our nuclear buildup; an exercise that was slowed a bit from time to time by efforts at disarmament. The failure to achieve meaningful results here was quite disappointing to Eisenhower.
Things were also intriguing on the political/domestic fronts. Eisenhower was rather apolitical and both parties, Truman in particular, tried to get him on their ticket. He worked reasonably well with the Democrats, not always so well with his own party. It was amusing to read his thoughts on occasion about forming a third-party. He was always quite popular, but never could bring the Republican party along for the ride.
Ironically, one of the strongest parts of the book for me does not show Eisenhower at his best. This made the book much more balanced and not just a tome on Eisenhower’s greatness. The civil rights movement was picking up steam in the 1950′s, particularly in the area of education. The Supreme Court decision of 1954 on Brown vs Topeka being a case in point. Ike seemed to drag his feet in this area, not showing the leadership that he showed in other areas. His southern sympathies seemed to carry more weight than they should have . Consequently, progress was glacial, although he did send troops into Little Rock, albeit with great reluctance.
A couple of observations. Eisenhower is quite well known for his warning about the “military-industrial complex.” There are at least a couple of other areas in which he turned out to be ahead of his time. He was quite concerned about the growing dependence on imported oil and even imposed some quotas. The other area actually concerns an individual. Nixon was his vice-president for both terms although he often damned him with faint praise nd seemed always on the hunt for someone better, even in the 1960 election. There must have been something worrisome there that later blossomed into a mess.
A great president? I don’t know but his stock rose as a result of Ambrose’s work; fair and balanced to coin a phrase.
We evilllllllllll Republicans are at it again. According to 1st term Florida congressman, Alan Grayson (landslide Alan 52-48% winner), Republicans want people to die. That is the Republican health care plan, he says. Either don’t get sick or get sick and die quickly. He quotes from a study that says some 40-45 thousand people die annually from lack of good health care. How in the world does someone verify such a number? Don’t know that you can but if the numbers suite your purposes you use them as Rep Elijah Cummings did today in an interview on MSNBC.
And just wait, there is much, much more. Many people are familiar with Garrison Keilor of Prairie Home Companion. He has been in declining health in recent years due to a stroke but has apparently not mellowed in his old age which isn’t all that old, just 67. Shucks,almost 40% of the Senate is at least that age or older. Keep that figure in mind.
Mr Keilor is rather crotchety about the state of political doings, specifically health care but encompassing other issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the Supreme Court.etc. Another expert preparing to sound forth, so here it comes.
He heard Minnesota Governor tim Pawlenty critiquing the education speech and apparently lost it. Keillor says in regard to republicans, “One starts to wonder if the country wouldn’t be better off without them and if Republicans should be cut out of the health-care system entirely and simply provide with aspirin and hand sanitizer.Thirty two percent of the population identifies with the Republicans , and if we cut off health-care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.”
Thanks to the Chicago Tribune for publishing that uplifting article. Kinda makes yo wonder how many people agree with him and just haven’t said it aloud. You know of course, what a one party political system looks like. I think you could look at several examples; Russia, China, etc.
For the icing on te cake he went on to say these words. “Old men shouldn’t be allowed to doze off at the switch and muck up the works for the young who will have try to repair the damage. Get over yourselves. Your replacements have arrived,and you should tink about them now and then. Enough with the shrieking. Pass health-care reform.”
Wonder who is dozing at the switch? Is it Byrd, Spector, Lautenberg, Feinstein? All are in the old category to which he refers.
Just hope that no one with real power believes like he does. At my age, I need a bi tmore than aspirin and hand sanitizer, don’t you?
Realizing that the above title could apply to myriads of things, I have narrowed it down to just a single unusual(for me ) combination. These two things are Paris Hilton and the 9th U S District Court of Appeals . Yep, I too wondered how these two could be connected. Throw in Hallmark and an interesting mishmash exists.
Some might remember a television show from a couple of years ago named “The Simple Life.” The show featured Ms Hilton and Nicole Richie in a “reality show” that featured the two socialites doing actual low paying manual labor jobs. Alas, I never saw the show which lasted for 53 episodes and was based on Green Acres from years ago. I watched that show and was quite fond of Arnold(the pig) Ziffel.
Anyway, Ms Hilton portrayed a waitress in that series as one of her jobs. Hallmark, as it is wont to do came up with a greeting card parodying( so they say) that character. The card shows a waitress with Ms Hilton’s face serving a platter of food. The card’s caption has her saying ” That’s hot.” That is also a sort of trademark Hilton phrase.
Ms Hilton’s lawsuit was filed in 2007 and basically said that Hallmark was using her image without permission and was an unauthorized rip-off. The court has agreed and allowed the essence of the lawsuit to continue.
Many things intrigue me about this. Just a few for consideration. Why can’t these parties just settle the doggone thing? Two years and counting, come on. Why did the suite ever make it as high as an appeals court? These are the courts just below the Supreme Court. But wait, this court is based in San Francisco and perhaps showbiz stuff is right up its judicial alley, whether it likes it or not.
Finally, not to trivialize a lawsuit like this, but it just seems than there would be more important things for the court. Paging Judge Judy?
Perhaps I am jumping the gun a bit, but I really don’t think so. Short of Judge Sotomayor withdrawing or the President changing his mind and nominating himself( he is a constitutional law scholar, you know) . I believe she is a virtual lock for the court. Whether that is good or bad for the high court and/or the country is something that time will tell us. What I would like to focus on instead are some of the comments that have been made in the brief time since her nomination was announced. Many have spoken from the President to the nominee herself.
Mr. Obama said that she arrives at the high court with more experience than anyone now serving there. Unnamed aides expanded that to include the last century. There have only been 110 justices and the last century would include such names as Thurgood Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes , Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter .
Our friend Charles Schumer , D, NY said that Republicans would oppose her at their “own peril” adding that the confirmation hearings would be more a referendum on the Republicans, huh?
Carlos Ortiz is the chairman of the Supreme Court Committee in the Hispanic National Bar Association. He typified her as a brilliant but humble and ordinary person. He went on to say that it is his belief that Hispanics and all Americans and people around the world would have greater pride in and respect for the United States than ever before. Sounds almost like a comment made about the President, does it not?
Perhaps the most prophetic comment comes from Jonah Goldberg at the National Review Online. He called Obama’s move a brilliant bit of political strategy. He picked ” the most left-leaning Hispanic possible/ confirm-able”. And he thus dares Republicans to vote against her and risk being typecast as anti- Hispanic.
As a close, I will share a prediction made about the nominee in 1997 by El Rushbo. On September 30, 1997 he urged Republicans to block her nomination as she was extremely liberal and was on a “rocket -ship to the Supreme Court. Looks like that ship is about to land.
Periodically but unpredictably there comes an opportunity for a sitting President to have an impact long after his term of office is over. All Presidents do not get this opportunity, some only get it once , other get multiple opportunities. And one tried to create his own opportunity( remember packing the Court?) to influence the future. Yep, we speak of nominating a person to the U S Supreme Court. Mr. Obama now has the chance, early in his term, to make his mark on history. Thanks to Justice David Souter, who is retiring of his own volition, the Court will have a new justice; perhaps by October.
The new justice will be #111 which was an interesting thing to learn, meaning there in considerable overlap on appointments. For example, there are currently 2 justices appointed by Reagan, Clinton, Bush 41, Bush 43 and one by Ford. When the new justice is seated, as a group they will have been nominated by 6 different presidents.
But enough trivia, on to the juicy stuff . Who will be the nominee? The guesses are flying as are the hints and suggestions, both specific and general. Senator Leahy, D, VT wants someone representative of America. There are not enough women or minorities for his preferences. Senator Shelby, R, AL says that even though Obama ( and Biden and Hilary) were against Justices Alito and Roberts, there will be no payback(yeah, right!)
So, a justice who looks like America. Can anyone satisfy the criteria sufficiently knowing they cannot meet all the stipulations. Leahy went on to say that he did not think Obama would select an ideologue while Senator Hatch, R , UT said the choice would likely be a pro-abortion liberal- very possible. Senator Spector(what party is he? ) PA also weighs in on the side of variety, seeming to favor a female Hispanic. He whose opinion will count the most says that he wants someone with a sharp, independent mind. Does that open up the possibilities? Yes, indeed.
Using that phrase as a qualifier, allow m eto toss out some names based primarily on that phrase. No endorsements intended. Feel free to suggest your own, either by comment or on your own.
- Rush Limbaugh
- Hilary Clinton
- Bill Clinton
- The Oprah
- Ann Coulter
- Michele Obama
- Skipper(the penguin)
- Sean Penn
- Jesse Jackson
- George Clooney
- Brad Pitt
- Hugo Chavez (oops, not a citizen)
- Rudy Guliani
- Barbra Streisand
- Saul Alinsky (oops, deceased)
- Sonia Sotomayor
Remember his real keys, identity politics and/or income redistribution. See also how much backbone the Republicans have.
We are all somewhat familiar with the founding fathers concept of checks and balances. That is, the three branches of the federal government(executive, legislative and judicial) act as restraints on each other. It doesn’t always work or work perfectly but over the long haul, it has served us rather well.
Now, we have a developing situation, you might say. It’s not a pack the court move, as FDR attempted. Rather, you might call it an attempt to intimidate the court. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid(D) Nevada has roundly criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for allegedly misleading the Senate during his confirmation hearings in 2005. Roberts is said to have not told the truth( lied) about being a conservative rather than the moderate he pretended to be. Reid says that we are stuck with these two young men ( the other Samuel Alito) for the time being. This attack comes just days after Rep Barney Frank(D) Ma accused justice Antonin Scalia of being homophobic.
What it appears is that these two powerful legislators are attempting to influence the votes of sitting justices. Wonder if they are brazen enough to try to introduce term limits for members of the high court? Anything is possible with the power that has accrues to these folks in Congress.
Just when you think things are going to settle down with that wackiest of political animals, known as the Democrat Party,they seem to top even themselves. Gov Blago, defying Democrats from Springfield to Washington and beyond, has picked a replacement for Obama and interestingly enough an african-american. Roland Burris is apparently as qualified if not more so than anyone else that could have been picked . but the Dingy one, Majority Leader Reid,has said that Mr Burris will not be seated ( wanna bet on that one ) allegedly because he is tainted by being appointed by Gov. Let’s Sell A Senate Seat .
This is so cool to watch these folks go at each other and it’s hard to narrow down my delight with it all. In 1968, these Democrats tried to not seat one of their own, Adam Clayton Powell, and had their hand slapped by the Supreme Court. So, here they go again.And, by the way, if Mr Burris is tainted by association would that not mean that Obama could be considered tainted by a few of his associations ? Nahh . And is this the same Sen Reid who has the gall to anoint Bush as our worst president ever?
And, lest we forget, the New York soap opera rolls or roils on with an appointed governor about to appoint a senator. Another one for the books and the new administration and new Congress have yet to officially begin.Can you say,CIA Director Leon Panetta ? Looks like a bumpy road ahead for Team Democrat.
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