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12 minutes ago, Gritzblitz 2.0 said:

That's my point. By anyone's estimation, her ideology is quite liberal. Why didn't the GOP oppose her confirmation more if ideology is a legitimate reason to oppose a judicial nominee? 

I think the problem is that the data shows that justices get more liberal with age. Dems already have Kagan and Sotomayor as "young" strongly liberal justices. Add another "young" liberal justices and you got 3 solidly liberal justices who are just going to get more liberal for the next 15-20 years. And if the worst case for Republicans happens( HRC becomes President), then we could see Breyer, Ginsburg, and/or Kennedy replaced with more liberal justices, but even replacing two with moderate justices would lean the court in dems favor for another 15 or so years. Republicans do not want to lose the court system. Roberts is already in the center-right area. 10 years from now, he could be center- left like Kennedy.

 

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http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/supreme-court-justices-get-more-liberal-as-they-get-older/

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2 hours ago, Gritzblitz 2.0 said:

That's my point. By anyone's estimation, her ideology is quite liberal. Why didn't the GOP oppose her confirmation more if ideology is a legitimate reason to oppose a judicial nominee? 

Because back then, only one side was ideologically trying to block nominees.

Sorry to everyone that I don't have time for point-by-point responses (and sorry to Gritzblitz that I am using this response as a springboard for unrelated thoughts), but I have an interesting proposal.  What if President Obama appointed Scalia's biggest nemesis in the lower courts to the position -- Richard Posner? There are a couple of deferential benefits to this.  First, he is a Republican appointee and quite conservative, though he disagrees with Scalia's view of the Constitution and notably several of his rulings.  He's likely to appreciate stare decisis, which makes him unlikely to undo settled precedent whether it is on abortion or gun control or same-sex marriage (he authored some key rulings prior to Obergfell that indicated same-sex marriage was a constitutional right).  And he's 77, so he won't be on the Court for 30 years.  It would be an interesting way to punt the issue, and politically for President Obama, it would put the Republicans on their heels.  Because if Posner was nominated by Bush 10 years ago, he'd have been confirmed no matter who he was replacing.

I doubt the President will do it.  And if he does I doubt they'll confirm him.  And Posner may have no interest whatsoever.  But that would be an interesting play by the White House.  If they don't confirm him, it gives the Democrats political capital going into the election.  If they do, all the Democrats have to do is keep winning Presidential elections and they'll get to replace him anyway.  Or win the Senate and use that power to force a more moderate nominee from a Republican President.  Or filibuster.  Or whatever.  It seems to me this would punt the issue in a way that helps Democrats more than Republicans.

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7 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

 

Does it hurt to be so wrong about everything???

If not it should

I'm not sure he's wrong about this.  Now, "far leftist" may be open to interpretation, and Posner isn't really a moderate so much as he's more leftist on some issues conservatives care deeply about (including gun control, abortion and same sex marriage) and rightist on other issues liberals care deeply about (such as privacy rights, recording of police and antitrust laws).  Frankly, he's a nightmare for me, a Burger or Rehnquist type "law and order" conservative who will trade privacy for security in any instance other than one involving the killing of a child by its mother.  

But I don't think there is any way the President will actually do what I suggested.

I do think it's an interesting idea though.  And I'd wager that if you asked any liberal if they would trade the last 30 years with Scalia for 30 years with Posner making those decisions, they'd take that deal in a heartbeat.  The problem is, there is nothing that requires the President to be deferential, and I think this is where DH hits the nail on the head -- this president is not known for his deference.  I think he's going to nominate whoever the **** he wants to, as is his right, and I think the Republicans are going to oppose whoever he nominates, as is their right, and I think the world will keep right on turning.

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1 hour ago, JDaveG said:

I'm not sure he's wrong about this.  Now, "far leftist" may be open to interpretation, and Posner isn't really a moderate so much as he's more leftist on some issues conservatives care deeply about (including gun control, abortion and same sex marriage) and rightist on other issues liberals care deeply about (such as privacy rights, recording of police and antitrust laws).  Frankly, he's a nightmare for me, a Burger or Rehnquist type "law and order" conservative who will trade privacy for security in any instance other than one involving the killing of a child by its mother.  

But I don't think there is any way the President will actually do what I suggested.

I do think it's an interesting idea though.  And I'd wager that if you asked any liberal if they would trade the last 30 years with Scalia for 30 years with Posner making those decisions, they'd take that deal in a heartbeat.  The problem is, there is nothing that requires the President to be deferential, and I think this is where DH hits the nail on the head -- this president is not known for his deference.  I think he's going to nominate whoever the **** he wants to, as is his right, and I think the Republicans are going to oppose whoever he nominates, as is their right, and I think the world will keep right on turning.

I am talking specifically about the light that he is trying to paint president.

You may not agree with him but he has been FAR more to the center than people on the right has painted him. He has supported bipartisan plans only for the Republicans to squash them for the sole reason of him supporting them.

 

Now he is certainly no Angel.... And he has had his moments of defiance when it comes to his relationship with congress but he overall HAS been more moderate than he is given credit for. 

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1 hour ago, falconsd56 said:

I am talking specifically about the light that he is trying to paint president.

You may not agree with him but he has been FAR more to the center than people on the right has painted him. He has supported bipartisan plans only for the Republicans to squash them for the sole reason of him supporting them.

 

Now he is certainly no Angel.... And he has had his moments of defiance when it comes to his relationship with congress but he overall HAS been more moderate than he is given credit for. 

There's no doubt about that.  

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Its always been hard for me to really understand where many in the GOP leadership are coming from with this partisanship accusations against the president when it was many of these same names vowing to block Obama and make him a one term president before he even took the oath of office back in the Fall of 08'. It just makes them come off as petty and playing a political game when they later say the president doesn't work with them. It's that attitude that leads to stupid little gotcha moments amongst themselves like when Christie embraced Obama after Sandy it was used as a scarlet letter against his campaign for months he probably couldn't have done much worse if it had been Kim Jong un or the Ayatollah. 

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So at least one major conservative group is being honest about their position on a Scalia replacement.  As the executive director of FreedomWorks said:

“It’s the most honest,” Levey said. ”The very fact that people on our side feel very strongly that there shouldn’t be a hearing before we know the nominee is because it’s not really about the nominee. ... Frankly, the real objection here is to Obama.”

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/outside-groups-scotus-nom-fight?utm_content=bufferbaaa1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

If any Republican senator is thinking about defecting from the GOP’s tough line on blocking a Supreme Court nomination until next year, then let them be warned. Outside conservative groups are preparing to go to war over who should get to pick a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly over the weekend, and they don’t want to see even a hearing considering the nominee President Obama has vowed to put forward.

“The strategy that makes the most sense is to say that there should not be any consideration of this nominee,” Curt Levey, executive director of the FreedomWorks Foundation, said in an interview with TPM. "It would be irrelevant to have a hearing because it’s the situation: the fact that it’s an election year, the fact that his policies are before the court, the fact that the court is so finely balanced at the moment.”

The pressure he and other groups are putting on lawmakers comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a statement almost immediately after Scalia’s death, signaling that Republicans would delay the confirmation process, regardless of the nominee, until after a new president has been inaugurated.

“It’s not about any one particular nominee,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the conservative legal organization Judicial Crisis Network, told TPM. “We know exactly the kind of person [Obama] is going to appoint. Getting into those details is just a silly distraction.”

For both sides of the political divide, the stakes could not be higher.

“We’ve known this was coming for while. We set aside resources for this fight because everyone knows the next president is likely to have maybe three nominations to make,” Severino said. She wouldn’t go into details about her group’s next moves when it comes to halting the Obama nominee, but said “we’re totally prepared for it,” including financing the effort.

One key choice for Republican lawmakers is whether to go through the motions of considering a nominee -- though hearings and other vetting -- before blocking them in a vote, or whether GOP leaders should refuse to even begin the process in the first place. McConnell’s statement, which was quickly followed by statements made by other Republican leaders echoing his logic, suggested they were planning for a full stonewall -- no hearings, no nothing

Outside conservative groups with influence on Capitol Hill -- and particularly those that inhabit its far-right flank -- were quick to cement the line McConnell drew.

“Senator McConnell is right, under no circumstance should the Republican Senate majority confirm a Supreme Court nominee as Americans are in the midst of picking the next president,” Michael Needham -- the head of Heritage Action, the lobby arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation -- said in a statement posted Monday.

The Family Research Council is also advocating that Senate refuse to take up any nominee Obama submits.

“The Senate is under no obligation to consider them,” Travis Weber, the director of the FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, said in an interview with TPM. “President Obama can nominate people until his heart’s content and they have no obligation to look at them one way or another, given the gravity of the moment.”

Some reports have suggested that some Republicans are already wavering on McConnell’s tough line, pointing to comments made by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), but legal activists dismissed that analysis as overstated.

“The headlines about the fracturing are more wishful thinking than anything else,” Severino said. “If you really look at the full statements, I think it’s remarkable how the Republican senators are speaking with one voice on this issue.”

According Levey, FreedomWorks is preparing to target senators who look like they’ll back down from the fight, while bolstering those who hold to McConnell’s tough initial line.

He said his group sent out an alert to its activists across the country Monday evening that resulted in 14,000 emails to McConnell’s office, and that, aside from email pressure, they are planning events in senators’ home states.

Levey also threatened to primary senators who don't toe the line.

“In some cases where there are potential primary opponents, we might consider supporting a primary opponent if the senator did not do the right thing,” Levey said.

As Rory Cooper, a GOP strategist, wrote on Medium, part of the strategy of denying the Obama administration even a hearing is to prevent the media from focusing on the person instead of the process, and in effect, starving the story of oxygen.

But the outside groups pushing the tactic also argued it’s a more principled approach to blocking a nominee that Republicans will inevitably block in a vote anyway.

“It’s the most honest,” Levey said. ”The very fact that people on our side feel very strongly that there shouldn’t be a hearing before we know the nominee is because it’s not really about the nominee. ... Frankly, the real objection here is to Obama.”

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Abdul Kallon's Nomination for 11th Circuit Draws Praise, but Not From Home State Senators

Katheryn Hayes Tucker, Daily Report

February 12, 2016    | 1 Comments

Abdul Kallon Abdul Kallon

President Barack Obama's choice Thursday for a new federal appellate court judge from Alabama drew cheers from legal, civil rights and justice advocacy groups, but ran into political trouble before the day was over.

Alabama Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby issued a joint statement Thursday night suggesting they will not support the president's nomination of U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon of the Northern District of Alabama to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Throughout the process of meeting with the White House on filling judicial vacancies, we negotiated in good faith to find nominees that will serve our state well. While we thought progress had been made, apparently the White House was never interested in good faith negotiations, and it is too late now," the senators said in a statement.

Sessions and Shelby both supported Kallon when he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a district court judge in 2009. Indeed, several groups praising the nomination noted Kallon's unanimous support in the U.S. Senate back then as well as his performance since.

Outside the Senate, the nomination was greeted with relief at the prospects of filling a position that has been vacant since 2013, a symptom of what has been called a nationwide judicial vacancy crisis. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has called the vacancies and resulting backlog a "judicial emergency." Supporters also noted that if confirmed, Kallon would become the first African-American from Alabama to serve on the Eleventh Circuit Court.

Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama urged Sewell and Shelby to support the nomination. "The selection of this nation's federal judges should not be a partisan issue, but rather we all benefit when candidates are considered based on their qualification, abilities, and character," Sewell said. "For the same reasons they supported Judge Kallon's confirmation in 2009, the Alabama senators should once again support this highly qualified jurist whose integrity, brilliance and judicial temperament has earned him the praise and respect of his judicial colleagues and members of the Alabama bar."

Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, cited Kallon's unanimous confirmation in 2009 in a statement urging Sessions and Shelby to support the nomination.

"We applaud the nomination of Judge Kallon. His impeccable credentials—as a federal law clerk, an attorney in private practice, and as a federal district judge who was confirmed unanimously—make him an ideal candidate to fill this important and long-standing vacancy," Zirkin said.

She quoted Sessions praising Kallon in 2009 for his "impressive accolades" and saying his colleagues "all speak universally very highly of his integrity and judgment and legal ability."

Marge Baker, executive vice president at People For the American Way, also urged the senators to confirm Kallon. "In addition to being an historic nominee, Judge Kallon's confirmation will fill a judicial emergency that's been empty since 2013," Baker said. "This nomination is an excellent opportunity for the Senate to show that it can move past partisanship and gridlock in order to keep our courts working."

National Bar Association President Benjamin Crump went so far as to call the president's nomination "righteous" and said it would "change the course of history for the citizens of Alabama and this great nation, a step toward achieving greater equality in our legal system and society."

Kyle Barry, director of justice programs at the Alliance for Justice, called the nomination "historic" for a court that for too long has "lacked the diversity of the people it serves."

The Eleventh Circuit, comprised of Alabama, Florida and Georgia, has the highest percentage of African-American residents of any circuit in the country, the alliance said. Yet Kallon would be the first African-American from Alabama on the Eleventh Circuit, and only the third African-American ever to serve on the court. "In fact, the Eleventh Circuit has the same number of African-American judges now—one—that it had at its creation over 30 years ago," Barry said.

Kallon was born in 1969 in the West African nation of Sierra Leone, and immigrated to the United States in 1980 when he was 11, according to the president's announcement of the nomination.

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Sandra Day O'Connor: Obama should name Scalia's replacement

By Eric Bradner, CNN

Updated 6:01 AM ET, Thu February 18, 2016 | Video Source: CNN

Story highlights

  • Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says President Barack Obama should name Antonin Scalia's replacement
  • She noted that it's unusual to for a Supreme Court opening to exist in an election year
 

Washington (CNN)Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says President Barack Obama should name Antonin Scalia's replacement.

O'Connor, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan who became the court's swing vote until she retired from the bench in 2006, broke with Republicans who say they plan to block Obama's nominee, and want his successor to name the next justice.

"I don't agree (with Republicans)," O'Connor said in an interview with Phoenix-based Fox affiliate KSAZ. "We need somebody in there to do the job and just get on with it."

She noted that it's unusual to for a Supreme Court opening to exist in an election year, saying that the proximity to the presidential race "creates too much talk around the thing that isn't necessary."

She said Obama should name a replacement for Scalia, an influential conservative member of the nation's high court who was found dead Saturday at age 79.

"Well you just have to pick the best person you can under these circumstances, as the appointing authority must do. And it's an important position and one we care about as a nation, as a people," O'Connor said. "And I wish the president well as he makes choices and goes down that line -- it's hard."

Sitting Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, speaking at Yale University Wednesday, did not comment on Scalia's replacement, but did open the event with a call for a moment of silence.

"I'd like to have maybe 15 seconds of silence for Justice Scalia who was a good friend, and really a life force at the court. It's going to be a grayer place without him," Breyer said, adding he was "a decent man who has made an enormous impression. We're all sad at this moment."

At CNN's Republican presidential town hall in South Carolina, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he respected O'Connor but thought the next administration should choose Scalia's replacement.

"The Supreme Court can function with eight justices," he said. "This is going to be an issue in the campaign."

Rival GOP candidate Ted Cruz said nominating someone now wouldn't "be fair to the nominee."

"I think that hearing would end up very politicized," the Texas senator said. "I think this is a matter of policy -- that during a lame-duck period, we should not be confirming a Supreme Court nomination."

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/17/politics/sandra-day-oconnor-obama-scalia-replacement/

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"I think that hearing would end up very politicized," the Texas senator said. "I think this is a matter of policy -- that during a lame-duck period, we should not be confirming a Supreme Court nomination."

I love this rationale.  "We are going to make this very politicized, therefore Obama shouldn't appoint anyone." 

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3 minutes ago, Leon Troutsky said:

 

I love this rationale.  "We are going to make this very politicized, therefore Obama shouldn't appoint anyone." 

"Even though we've politicized this from the moment Scalia's death was reported it is Obama's fault for politicizing this by even considering to nominate someone!"

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1 hour ago, mdrake34 said:

Sandra Day O'Connor: Obama should name Scalia's replacement

By Eric Bradner, CNN

Updated 6:01 AM ET, Thu February 18, 2016 | Video Source: CNN

Story highlights

  • Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says President Barack Obama should name Antonin Scalia's replacement
  • She noted that it's unusual to for a Supreme Court opening to exist in an election year
 

Washington (CNN)Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says President Barack Obama should name Antonin Scalia's replacement.

O'Connor, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan who became the court's swing vote until she retired from the bench in 2006, broke with Republicans who say they plan to block Obama's nominee, and want his successor to name the next justice.

"I don't agree (with Republicans)," O'Connor said in an interview with Phoenix-based Fox affiliate KSAZ. "We need somebody in there to do the job and just get on with it."

She noted that it's unusual to for a Supreme Court opening to exist in an election year, saying that the proximity to the presidential race "creates too much talk around the thing that isn't necessary."

She said Obama should name a replacement for Scalia, an influential conservative member of the nation's high court who was found dead Saturday at age 79.

"Well you just have to pick the best person you can under these circumstances, as the appointing authority must do. And it's an important position and one we care about as a nation, as a people," O'Connor said. "And I wish the president well as he makes choices and goes down that line -- it's hard."

Sitting Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, speaking at Yale University Wednesday, did not comment on Scalia's replacement, but did open the event with a call for a moment of silence.

"I'd like to have maybe 15 seconds of silence for Justice Scalia who was a good friend, and really a life force at the court. It's going to be a grayer place without him," Breyer said, adding he was "a decent man who has made an enormous impression. We're all sad at this moment."

At CNN's Republican presidential town hall in South Carolina, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he respected O'Connor but thought the next administration should choose Scalia's replacement.

"The Supreme Court can function with eight justices," he said. "This is going to be an issue in the campaign."

Rival GOP candidate Ted Cruz said nominating someone now wouldn't "be fair to the nominee."

"I think that hearing would end up very politicized," the Texas senator said. "I think this is a matter of policy -- that during a lame-duck period, we should not be confirming a Supreme Court nomination."

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/17/politics/sandra-day-oconnor-obama-scalia-replacement/

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UNPRECEDENTED.  (Pause).

"It is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of the majority of his predecessors and not, and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.

The senate too, Mr. President, must consider how it would respond to a Supreme Court vacancy that would occur in the full throes of an election year. It is my view that if the president goes the way of Presidents Fillmore and Johnson and presses an election year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until ever, until after the political campaign season is over.

And I sadly predict, Mr. President, that this is going to be one of the bitterest, dirtiest presidential campaigns we will have seen in modern times. 

I’m sure, Mr. President, after having uttered these words, some, some will criticize such a decision and say that it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the court in hopes that a Democrat will be committed to fill it. But that would not be our intention, Mr. President, if that were the course we were to choose as a senate to not consider holding the hearings until after the election. Instead it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process. Otherwise, it seems to me Mr. President, we will be in deep trouble as an institution."

-- Joe Biden, 1992.

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2 hours ago, JDaveG said:

UNPRECEDENTED.  (Pause).

"It is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of the majority of his predecessors and not, and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.

The senate too, Mr. President, must consider how it would respond to a Supreme Court vacancy that would occur in the full throes of an election year. It is my view that if the president goes the way of Presidents Fillmore and Johnson and presses an election year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until ever, until after the political campaign season is over.

And I sadly predict, Mr. President, that this is going to be one of the bitterest, dirtiest presidential campaigns we will have seen in modern times. 

I’m sure, Mr. President, after having uttered these words, some, some will criticize such a decision and say that it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the court in hopes that a Democrat will be committed to fill it. But that would not be our intention, Mr. President, if that were the course we were to choose as a senate to not consider holding the hearings until after the election. Instead it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process. Otherwise, it seems to me Mr. President, we will be in deep trouble as an institution."

-- Joe Biden, 1992.

Two things.  First, that was in late June, two months before the presidential conventions.  This is the middle of February.  

Second, three days later Biden also said this:

 

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New poll out by the Pew Research Center:

"In thinking about how the Senate should deal with the Supreme Court vacancy, which of the following statements comes closer to your view? Do you think the Senate should hold hearings and vote on whomever President Obama nominates, or not hold hearings until the next president selects a nominee?"

Hold hearings and vote: 56%

Wait for the next president: 38%

Even 29% of Republicans say that the Senate should hold hearings and vote on Obama's nominee.

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5 minutes ago, Leon Troutsky said:

New poll out by the Pew Research Center:

"In thinking about how the Senate should deal with the Supreme Court vacancy, which of the following statements comes closer to your view? Do you think the Senate should hold hearings and vote on whomever President Obama nominates, or not hold hearings until the next president selects a nominee?"

Hold hearings and vote: 56%

Wait for the next president: 38%

Even 29% of Republicans say that the Senate should hold hearings and vote on Obama's nominee.

That might be a little misleading . . . 100% of the 29% of Republicans calling for a vote likely want the vote to be "NO!"

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