RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg: What’s Next?

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

I rarely do hot takes on big breaking political stories, but I felt I can’t ignore the untimely death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020).

She’s most recently been known for her stinging dissents and has been the Court’s most consistently reliable progressive..

But before she was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, she shaped the practice of American civil rights litigation, especially during the 1970s, Ginsburg did for gender rights roughly what Thurgood Mashall had previously done for race.

In the blogging world, sometimes timeliness must trump all, so a few thoughts.

Mitch McConnell has already promised his own hot take, a quick Senate conformation vote on Trump’s possible nominee of a replacement. I’m not going to speculate on possible candidates at this point, but for those of you who are interested in that kind of thing,  I will post the NY Posts’s take – a Republican wishlist if I ever saw one, Here’s who might succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Trump must announce an appointee soon enough, and if he has a prayer of quick confirmation, especially if he’s aiming to do so before the election.

Biden has said the confirmation vote should come in the next administration;I guess he’s banking on a Democratic win.

Recall that in a similar situation, when Scalia, the Court’s then most prominent conservative, died in February 2016, Republicans delayed throughout the final  year of the last administration and refused to confirm the ‘compromise’ candidate of Merrick Garland, saying confirmation should follow the November 2016 election results, Alas, Garland was middle of the road enough so  that his nomination didn’t enthuse progressive Democratic. Yet nor were Republicans fooled either (see Doing Time: Prison, Law Schools, and the Membership of the US Supreme Court).

Garland’s nomination never came to a vote, thus leaving Trump to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s empty seat with conservative Neil Gorsuch early in his term, and following with the confirmation of fellow conservative Brett Kananaugh for centrist Justin Anthony Kennedy. Neither of these replacements materially changed the ideological balance of the court.

By contrast, replacing Ginsburg with a judicial conservative would cement the rightward lean of the Court, setting it in stone for a generation  (unless Democrats are willing to consider some Court expansion plan or mandatory retirement, and have votes to do so – although there remain formidable Constitutional challenges).

Now it seems the same arguments about waiting for the election results should prevail, and even moreso with 3rd November general election less than seven weeks away, whereas  the Garland mess played out over the better part of a year.

Not so fast.

McConnell says this time is different. As the last situation was one of divided government, with Democrats holding the White House, and Republicans the Senate. Whereas this time, both branches are in Republican hands.

Well, all I can say is: it’s an argument. Not a particularly good one, but an argument.

Republicans will clearly try to force through a candidate. That would mean that if successful, Trump would have been able to confirm three justices during his first term.

Does McConnell have enough time to force through a confirmation? According to Politico, What’s next in the Senate’s colossal Supreme Court fight:

Yes, if he has the votes.

Since 1975, the Congressional Research Service estimates that it’s taken an average of 40 days for a Supreme Court nominee simply to get a hearing, let alone win the support of the Judiciary Committee and full Senate. But that timetable isn’t etched in marble; it’s up to GOP leadership.

The nominee has to be approved by the Judiciary Committee before reaching the floor, and Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, working closely with McConnell, can tailor a schedule to their liking. There’s also nothing to stop Republicans from voting on a Supreme Court nomination after the election in a lame duck session. The real deadline may be when the next Senate convenes on Jan. 3, 2021.

Practical Considerations

Will Republicans be able to do this? The filibuster is gone. That means they need only a simple majority for confirmation. With the current make-up of the Senate 53-47, can they get there? Especially since if they get to a 50-50 vote VP Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote.

Unclear. But they will certainly try.

Will Democrats be able to block a nomination?

What tools do they have at their disposal?  With no filibuster available, as it was eliminated to push through the Gorsuch nomination, it looks like with only their own Democratic votes they will not be able to do so, and will require support from at least some Republicans.

Again, according to Politico::

Democrats can raise objections about a potential nominee, raise hell in confirmation hearings and on the floor of the Senate, but ultimately, the committee and McConnell will decide when the key votes occur.

Who are those wavering Republicans?

Let’s begin with following tweet from Harvard constitutional law icon Laurence Tribe. Alas, the good professor has been suffering from a bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome since November 2016. Yet I think he’s still sound on confirmation issues. And recall, he was largely responsible back in 1987 for derailing the nomination of Yale law professor and Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. An act for which Republicans never forgave him and which probably scuppered any chance he might otherwise have had to serve on the Supreme Court.

Politico adds the following possibilities to Tribe’s list:

Other GOP senators to keep an eye on are incumbents who face potentially tough races and may want to boost their bipartisan credibility, such as Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Joni Ernst of Iowa. But these senators have also stuck close to Trump and may not want to upset his supporters. McSally already announced her support for holding a vote on Trump’s nominee.

Court Has Already Moved Far to the Right

Now, Democrats don’t want you to know this. But over the last couple of decades, even some of their nominees have helped push the Court to the right, on a variety of issues, such  police procedural questions, various business-friendly decisions – such as class action limitations and caps on punitive damages – and civil liberties, search and seizure,  and mandatory sentencing issues.

Even moreso than when the leadership knifed Bernie to appoint Biden, this election will now shape us between team Red and team Blue. The alternative would be to embracing the position  of casting a pox on both these oligarchic houses, essentially one business party with two wings.

As Caitlin Johnstone explains in RBG Death Means Two-Headed Uniparty Will Threaten Americans With Removal Of Civil Rights:

The opportunistic galvanization process has already begun before Ginsburg’s body is even cold, with liberal influencers calling Democrats to rally to a November win for “the notorious RBG” and Trump supporters dropping their faux anti-establishment schtick and metamorphosing into a bunch of mini-Mitch McConnells. Leftists are being shrieked at by mainstream Dems that they need to fall in line and support Biden or they’re personally responsible for every civil right that is taken away by Ginsburg’s replacement.

I’m not here to tell Americans how to vote in November. I’d just like to quickly point out once again that an establishment which threatens to remove your civil rights if you don’t support it is an establishment that doesn’t deserve to exist.

Of course it doesn’t look like that’s what’s happening if you subscribe to the mainstream consensus perspective that America’s political system has two separate and oppositional parties. If that is your viewpoint, you will see one bad party trying to take away people’s civil liberties and one good party trying to stop them.

If however you recognize that America has two parties that are owned and operated by a single oligarchic class which has more or less the same overarching goal as far as ordinary people are concerned, it looks completely different.

If you understand that America has a two-headed one-party system designed to shrink the spectrum of acceptable debate down to arguments about how oligarchic agendas should be facilitated rather than if they should, what you see is a single entity threatening to take away your civil liberties if you don’t support it. A single establishment threatening to punch you with its right hand if you don’t let it punch you with its left.

Johnstone asks what is the correct stance to follow in this situation? I’m not so sure.

But I believe that there are plenty of arguments the commentariat can come up with. So I turn the issue over to you, dear readers, for discussion.

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175 comments

    1. Steve

      See Calder v. Bull, 3 USC 386. Cannot speak for anyone else, the constitution died that day. Very hard, unless intentional- think an Upton Sinclair quote, to not understand the plain meaning of a very short sentence regarding retroactivity. Bunk and Utter nonsense to think it’s criminal law only as the Court held. The holding in Marbury “it’s the constitution we are expounding”. 200+ years of expounding.

      Reply
  1. WobblyTelomeres

    1. I think that McConnell will rush Barrett through tout de suite. Expect abbreviated hearings.
    2. Will Thomas retire to his RV? If so, expect another to be rushed through.
    3. Obama’s dream of a Supreme Court appointment is gone.

    Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    America needed this development like a hole in the head. So here is one thing. With the CARES Act the Democrats and Progressives voted in lockstep with the Republicans to pass it 96-0. So this time round, will there be an actual battle in the Senate or will an appropriate number of Democrats vote to affirm the Republican choice to make it a comfortable majority, even if their vote are not really needed. Heard that McConnell was actually facing a serious challenger so you wonder if this will effect his calculations here.

    Reply
    1. Oh

      Watch the DimRats make a lot of noise and then fold like a cheap tent. You’re not too far off in saying that the ‘Rats will give the ‘Pigs a comfortable majority.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        It’s hard to understand how McConnell, who is clearly a first class a-hole, can be so far ahead in polls or for that matter win at all, ever. People in Kentucky really think that guy represents their interests? I just don’t get it.

        Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Kentucky is like most segregated states. The whites blame all their ills on the blacks in Louisville. In Michigan, Detroit. In Georgia, Atlanta. In Alabama, Montgomery and Birmingham. In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. And so on. The pejoratives, “radical left”, “socialism”, “Pelosi”, “liberal”, “big government”, “Washington”, “takers”, are all shorthand for racism.

          It is all they have heard since infancy.

          Reply
          1. Darius

            Maybe I’m abusing what I heard on the Trillbillies, but I understand that most Kentuckians can’t stand Mitch. But the Democrats are such a lame bunch of centrist neoliberals that many Kentuckians see politics as something that doesn’t relate to them or that they can do anything about. They’re not going to cross the street just to vote for McGrath or Biden.

            Reply
          2. tongorad

            I guess we have to just wait for “the whites” to become woke or die off, huh? That’s not going to happen because liberals have nothing else but ID politics and smug condescension – keeping their powder dry on policies that actually benefit working people. In other words, if the bad, bad racist “whites” didn’t exist, liberals would have to invent them.

            Reply
          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            When I say “Pelosi is an economic traitor who supported NAFTA” . . . is that a shorthand for being racist? In your opinion?

            Reply
  3. Louis Fyne

    Pure egotism to pass on the chance to cement one’s legacy by passing the torch to a new generation of jurists when (nominally) Dems. wholly controlled DC in 2009-10.

    Yes, this will be a hot take that is an inflammatory opinion among Team RBG, but it’s a harsh reality that honest intellectually historians should address.

    Reply
    1. CarlH

      This was my first reaction. Anger at RBG for not stepping down when the opportunity was there and anger at Obama for well, everything.

      Reply
      1. Bleh

        In a way.. the years of effective Republican unity and the very tight-knit blanket they sew might finally flip the DNC ideologues to operate less sloppy in the years to come… (I.e. leave ideologues from Bush admin in the White House)

        Reply
        1. Kurtismayfield

          That is a feature, not a bug. Remember who the DNC’s true enemy is. They are fine with the Republicans getting what they want.

          Reply
      2. Pavel

        Ditto.

        Hubris on the part of RBG (I gather she wanted HRC to appoint her successor) and typical spinelessness on the part of Obama for caving in to her desires.

        Separately, why should anyone think they should hold such a key post after the age of 80?

        Sorry to be harsh so soon after her passing. But all the Dems clutching their pearls right now are neglecting this lapse on both their parts. And don’t get me started on Biden and Clarence Thomas.

        Reply
        1. Sue inSoCal

          I have felt this way as well. This timing couldn’t have been worse. I couldn’t imagine why RBG would continue to work teetering with the massive health issues. I have been castigated for this view. (Don’t get me started on Bill Clinton not stepping down and handing the whole pile of crap over to Gore after “I did not…” you know the rest.) Timing is everything.

          Reply
      1. polecat

        ISTR Supreme Ginsberg (amongst others …) recorded stating that, AFTER the Donald won ’16 .. she was seriously contemplating moving to New Zealand, or pick X location .. because .. “TRUMP!”!

        She did not …. as did many supposed ‘progressives who professed such! .. Why not that supposed commitment?

        Reply
    2. William Hunter Duncan

      Yes, egotism. But in defense of RBG, after Obama won, I remember a distinct feeling among Dems that his win meant the Republican cause was dead and the future was all Liberal, in that “the arc of the future tends toward justice” way.

      Except this caused Dems to take the future for granted, even in the face of Obama’s neoliberal betrayal of working people, and inevitably they got Trumped.

      Probably Republicans will put up a good neoliberal/neoconservative hybrid so Senate Dems can put up a good kabuki show without compromising the general elitist trend of the court, while mollifying Liberals. As for the idea of letting rioters and looters raze parts of the city as some kind of prevention of creeping conservative fascism, that just suggests Liberals are out of ideas and have no tactical sense. Burning the house down to prevent rodents, as it were.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        >But in defense of RBG,

        But that’s still not a defense. When you are 80 it is well past time to hand the reins to somebody else. If there isn’t a reasonable number of “young’uns” (like 60 year olds, sigh) you can believe in that is your fault.

        You did not lead, you did not culture, you did not bring people to your viewpoint.

        Reply
    3. David in Santa Cruz

      Amen!

      RBG was an egomaniacal jerk — just read Watters v Wachovia Bank (especially JP Stevens powerful dissent) if you want to understand her arrogant Manhattanite-elites-know-best world-view that was the legal genesis of “Too Big to Jail.” She should have stepped-down when Obama had a fighting chance of pushing a nominee through. She knew that her health was failing.

      Progressives and Liberals need to stop clinging to the destructive notion that an institution run by unelected and unaccountable elites should “make” the laws in a democracy.

      That being said, I respected RBG for her work as a lawyer to promote women’s rights, and am saddened that she has passed. I’m glad that Jerri-Lynn is focusing on the succession issues — because I suspect that Trump’s hope is to throw shade on the election result and to be anointed by the Supreme Court à-la Bush v Gore.

      Reply
        1. Kurtismayfield

          Liberals want an Aristocracy.. progressives want Social Democracy. That is the divide that will never be breached.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            amen.
            but it may be helpful to consider how they got there.
            out here(not a representative sample), the national and local response to 911 and the wars invigorated them for a time, in spite of the local gop’s asininity.( i was the only one who got strangled, however)
            but all the wars were over after obama, as was racism and economic problems and scary constitutional violations and even war crimes.
            so the job was done, and well.
            so into their hillforts they went(hilltop ranchion=’ranch mansion”)
            venturing out now and again, but less and less as the teabillies found their collective johnson and started waving it around.
            so they stayed in their hillforts, and refused to go into the barrio..let alone the white barrio(!)…or to make a peep at all.
            now you can’t find them with a geiger counter.
            they wait in their hillforts for an Arthur to come forth and lead us out of the darkness.
            “if only…”, they pine, gazing out the window at the long sunset…
            all the while, living in mortal fear that Uncle R. D. will one day learn that they are secretly ‘pinko’s'(sic)

            useless.
            go around them.

            Reply
      1. polecat

        That assuming Obama MADE the ‘fighting’ chance to put someone who actually, truly .. worked for greater ameristan!! But no, he didn’t, and here … we … ARE!!!!!

        *DEMONcrats – F#CK THEM ALL!

        * this in no way give the re pub lic an*s a pass …

        Reply
    4. RepubAnon

      How about all the folks during the 2016 election who thought that any mention of the effect of Trump and McConnell packing the judiciary were “fearmongering” – and that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would nominate the same types of judges.

      Still think that way? Any change of heart?

      On a side note – if Trump gets re-elected, and Barr brings back the old “clear and present danger” standard for freedom of speech – anyone criticizing his actions risks getting arrested for “incitement to insurrection.” Don’t believe me? Check out what happened to Eugene Debs:

      Debs was again the Socialist Party candidate for president in 1908, 1912, and 1920 (he refused the nomination in 1916). His highest popular vote total came in 1920, when he received about 915,000 votes. Ironically, he was in prison at the time, serving a sentence for having criticized the U.S. government’s prosecution of persons charged with violation of the 1917 Espionage Act.

      (Emphasis added). Source: Brittanica.com Eugene V Debs (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Eugene-V-Debs)

      Note that Eugene Debs got sent to prison for criticizing the federal government’s actions… we didn’t really have freedom of speech until the Warren Court’s rulings in the 1960s. A right-wing court can bring back the bad old days of “someone hearing your speech might be incited to commit a crime, so you can be arrested for saying that…” with a 5-4 decision…

      Reply
      1. David in Santa Cruz

        The court didn’t draw-up the Espionage Act, Congress did. The court simply held it to be constitutional. Congress makes the laws.

        Since the time of Debs and the Red Scares, universal suffrage has changed what Congress can pass as law, if voters would/could simply organize rather than hoping for some unelected elite to set things right.

        Reply
  4. yoghurt

    Power is about making others follow rules and breaking them yourself. McConnell is all about power. (And so are establishment Dems when it comes to primarying sitting congressmen, selecting candidates &c.)

    Reply
    1. Lee

      The article seems to be saying that using Senate rules to engage in delaying tactics can block a Trump appointment. I’m not so sure about that.

      I have a better idea. Just buy the requisite number of Republican votes with some of those copious donations flowing into Dem coffers since RBG’s death (see mine above). Or better yet, make them a promise that they can run unopposed next time around.

      Reply
    2. voteforno6

      I like the idea of grinding the Senate to a halt. It doesn’t take much – just one Senator to refuse unanimous consent, I think. If Schumer is worried about people calling them obstructionists, then so be it. I get the sense that the base of the Democratic Party is not going to be very receptive to whiny excuses from Schumer on why he didn’t do everything possible to stop this. If McConnell rams through an appointment before the next Congress is seated, I think that it’s almost guaranteed that Schumer is going to face a primary challenge.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Only under the rules. The only Constitutional limit is 50+VP in a shared setting. The rest is simply a gentlemen’s agreement. They could meet on the Moon or join the same Zoom meeting.

        Reply
      1. Pat

        Part of the kabuki.

        Right up there with Reid letting Senate conventions slow confirmation of Obama’s nominees. McConnell consistently wields what power he has whether in the majority or not. Democrats consistently yield it and then blame their ineffectiveness on the big bad Republicans.

        Reply
  5. flora

    RGB was a petite, fiercely liberal jurist. Scalia was a big, bluff, fiercely conservative jurist. And they were best of friends. Their political and philosophical positions didn’t get in the way of respect and friendship. That’s a wonderful thing to remember, especially as the MSM tries to drive us into near warring camps.

    RIP Justice Ginsberg.

    Reply
    1. Fireship

      How wonderful that the elites are all so pally-wally. Gosh who wudda thunk. Personally, I won’t be so cordial to anyone who denies me and my family healthcare, education or a dignified existence.

      Reply
    2. josh

      For RBG and Scalia, their political and philosophical positions were mere abstractions. The rest of us do not have that luxury.

      Reply
      1. flora

        To all above: I understand. However, keeping us proles divided and attacking each other makes it so much easier for the oligarchic parties to stay in control. Old empire stuff: “this tribe” vs “that tribe”, a “this religion” vs “that religion”, keep the focus away from where real power lies. (pun intended) Meanwhile, the energy used to attack sideways doesn’t hurt the nabob and the nabobs stay in control. ;)

        Reply
        1. flora

          See Matt Taibbi’s latest post

          ‘Summary of “Hate Inc: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another” ‘

          I’ve worked in the press for thirty years. In my lifetime the core commercial strategy of the news business has changed radically. At the national level, companies have moved from trying to attract one big audience to trying to capture and retain multiple small audiences.

          Fundamentally, this means the press has gone from selling a vision of reality they perceive to be acceptable to a broad mean, to selling division. For technological, commercial, and political reasons this instinct has become more exaggerated with time, snowballing toward the dysfunctional state we’re in today.

          https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-post-objectivity-era-00f

          It’s profitable for the MSM and makes it easier for national pols to ignore ‘small fragmented groups’ and focus mostly on their large donors.

          Reply
            1. EoH

              I would consider the consensus rejection of anti-monopoly rules, and the Neoliberal’s successful program to convince everyone that the only harm monopolies might do is to raise prices to consumers. As if vampires only harm were to increase the price of garlic.

              Reply
    3. Cuibono

      Oh yeah, wonderful. Gives me goosebumps actually thinking of the two of them vacationing together…
      a finer example of the two headed one party system never existed

      Reply
          1. flora

            Ah, but I think I’m not really qualified to discern who amongst us is ‘evil’.

            And the MSM makes huge bucks feeding narrowly catagorized viewers their own narrow anger and prejudices. The ‘news’ is a ‘product’ now, designed to make money for networks, it’s not a public service. (Fairwell, Fairness Doctrine, we hardly knew ye.)

            Reply
            1. flora

              adding, from the longer subsciber’s post:

              As the show becomes more hyped and dramatic, you might get more eyes, but you’ll lose belief, which is essential to the enterprise. Once the audience begins to sense there’s a false element to a news show, forget about the ethical issues involved: as a commercial product, it starts to lose utility. People will just watch soap operas or cop shows instead.

              Reply
                  1. Cuibono

                    And the friendship of the Obamas and Bush: all good right? Shows that “Their political and philosophical positions didn’t get in the way of respect and friendship.”

                    Reply
                    1. Pat

                      No because in each case it was all intellectual. Scalia couldn’t deny Ginsburg the chance to get an adequate education. Bush and Obama weren’t sending each other’s children into war or making sure those kids would never live as well as their parents or grandparents did because sending the jobs to another country would be a good investment for their cronies.

                      It is very simple to be respectful and convivial if the consequences of your choices have the same effect on your life as a rousing game of Monopoly or The Game of Life. You just put the thimble and the hotels, the car block and the pegs back in the box and go on as if nothing had changed.

                      For the rest of us, not so much. We will seek out the third job because two aren’t enough, forego healthcare because we cannot afford it, forget about retiring even as our bodies fall apart, and wave our children off to endless war because if they get back in one piece they might only have to have two jobs..

  6. lyman alpha blob

    The Republicans dithered and delayed to prevent Obama from making an appointment that was his to make. Obama didn’t put up much of a fight, and I believe that was because the Democrat party as a whole took it for granted that Clinton would win. (Why Obama didn’t still fight harder to have his own appointee rather than one of Clinton’s choosing is a question I have no answer to, because I do believe there is some real animosity between those two camps.)

    So couldn’t the Democrats employ the same tactics that were used against them prior to the Gorsuch appointment? While they certainly could, my guess is they won’t, because they never act to prevent the worst of Republican sponsored excess, with the reason being they don’t really disagree with those excesses as much as they’d prefer the public to think. Which is why the Middle East has been a dystopia for 20 years, everything we do is under surveillance, and large parts of the world are on fire due to our unwillingness to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, etc, etc, etc. Bipartisan efforts all, despite the token opposition.

    There may be some appeals to Senate Republicans to not go along, with Susan Collins being a prime target. She is trailing her Democrat challenger in the polls by double digits last I heard, and her opponent has been hammering her in TV ads for approving Kavanaugh. I don’t think that will save her though, because any votes she might pick up in Maine District 1 (the liberal district) for bucking Trump’s nominee would be offset by those she’s lose in the much more conservative District 2. And as much as Susie C’s PR department likes to claim she’s a moderate who maybe just might one of these days possibly vote with the Democrats, she is an extremely reliable Republican vote after all the hemming and hawing to make it seem like she’s the deciding Senate vote on everything. I think Susie is toast no matter what she does, so she might as well vote with the party on this one unless she was really planning on “spending more time with her family” anyway and doesn’t mind becoming a Republican persona non grata.

    My prediction is we’ll here a lot of kayfabe-ish mewling from the Democrat party about whoever the new nominee is being a Russian plant shortly before that nominee’s confirmation in the next few weeks to the satisfaction of the oligarchs who own both parties.

    Reply
    1. John k

      Obama didn’t fight harder bc he wasn’t willing to exert himself… plus, he saw her as next pres, why alienate her? He would only stir himself for something really important, like kicking Bernie to the curb. I wonder if Schumer helped gang up on him…

      Reply
      1. ChrisAtRU

        “He would only stir himself for something really important, like kicking Bernie to the curb.”

        #Exactly

        His political will and capital were best deployed to maintain the status quo …

        Reply
    2. Darius

      McConnell abolished the filibuster when Trump became president so he would have a free hand in appointing Supreme Court justices.

      Reply
  7. timbers

    “A basic principle of the law – and of everyday fairness – is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.” – Barack Obama just now.

    Bipartisanship will solve all are problems. After all, the rich are getting richer, so why does anything else matter? I’m sure Mitch heard what Obama said and will respond accordingly.

    Reply
      1. Duck1

        “A basic principle of power–and of everyday business–is that there are no consistent rules (unless means based) and we use power for what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”

        FIFY 0bama

        Reply
      1. flora

        I give W credit for at least one thing: When his second term in office was over he left office and stopped publicly speaking on politics and trying to obviously meddle in ongoing DC dramas, as was the tradition for ex-presidents. O is acting, I dunno, insecure about his legacy? Like Tony Blair? /heh

        Reply
  8. antidlc

    Or Schumer and the Senate Dems could grind the Senate to a halt:

    https://jacobinmag.com/2020/09/chuck-schumer-trump-scotus-ruth-bader-ginsburg

    he Senate runs on the unanimous consent system — which basically means that to do its most basic business, all senators must consent. In this situation, Senate Democrats have the power to use that system to grind everything to a halt.

    They can refuse to grant unanimous consent for the smallest things.

    They can force the reading of entire bills aloud.

    Highly doubtful this will happen, imo.

    Reply
  9. Samuel Conner

    The thought occurs that it might be in DJT’s political interest to delay nominating RBG’s replacement, in the interest of keeping the election stakes high for the parts of his base that care a great deal about this. Given that there is unlikely to be major legislative policy progress with a divided Congress in 2021 and beyond, the principal “promise” DJT can make is “if elected, I will appoint this kind of SC judge.” He loses that ‘selling point’ if his nominee is appointed in time to be confirmed before inauguration day 2021.

    A delayed nomination would, of course, also raise the stakes for D voters, but it seems to me that DJT depends on his base’s enthusiasm a lot more than JB does, and an earlier nomination/confirmation would reduce the incentive for many R base voters (I’m thinking primarily of the pro-life single-issue voters among evangelicals and catholics) to make the effort of voting in the midst of the pandemic.

    Reply
    1. Ian Ollmann

      He might also be thinking that the election will be decided by the Supreme Court. Then, if he loses, there is his future convictions on various matters of wrong doing, which might go to the Supreme Court.

      I suspect someone in his office has already done the legwork of identifying a suitable loyalist should such an opportunity emerge, and he will be only too happy to follow through. It is not every day that the accused gets to hand pick 3 of his jurors with no oversight from the opposing side.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        But, but Scalia said in 2000 that Gore v Bush was a one time only act. He promised!

        As for RBG, could her most important decision while on the court have been not quitting when the Dems had the chance? If so it would be an ironic legacy for someone who was reportedly hanging on until Trump was gone. Some Repubs have been saying that once they have a conservative majority that Roe v Wade is gone. Any chance of that?

        Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          “Well, there goes Roe v Wade” was my first thought. As a former clinic escort, I can imagine the celebration. Easily.

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          1. CitizenSissy

            Wobbly, thank you for your service. I have a sneaking suspicion that many Republican apparatchiks really, truly don’t want Roe v. Wade overturned. While that would delight the evangelical base, Rs could kiss the suburbs goodbye, and would make women’s political activity that arose from Trump’s election and the Women’s March look like amateur hour. RBG’s (RIP) death is energizing the base, but it’s the base they don’t want energized.

            Reply
            1. neo-realist

              I think the GOPers may be fine with overturning Roe v Wade. They probably believe that they can keep enough of the suburban vote by continuing to act as faux defenders of small government (protecting their tax dollars from “takers”) and producers of a robust stock market for their kids college and trust funds, while the evangelical vote and donations will be theirs for life. They witnessed the pink hat demonstrations and figured, we can withstand that, even if they end up seeing a much larger version of it post Roe v. Wade reversal. Trump, being the guy who likes to break china, will leap at the chance to be the President who knocks out a sacred “left” court ruling.

              I can see a fierce abortion underground movement coming in the near future.

              Reply
              1. Starry Gordon

                The ruling class does not want fierce underground movements of any kind. Lessons learned in one movement can be applied to others. Tribal conflict is supposed to be a tool of management; not a threat to it. The r.c. gains nothing by overturning Roe v. Wade and they can probably discourage Trump from doing so and throwing the fat in the fire, much as he might like to.

                Reply
          2. fresno dan

            WobblyTelomeres
            September 19, 2020 at 1:11 pm
            Thank you for being a clinic escort.
            I don’t know if some dems are thinking that if they lose, and Roe versus Wade is overturned, this will FINALLY be the bridge too far and republicans will suffer for it and democrats prosper.
            I have my doubts. The richer will continue to have access to abortion, despite their physical location (i.e., red versus blue state). There is no evidence that the richer have any concern for the poorer, e.g., health care, income inequality, etcetera. Blue states will continue to have legal abortion and red states won’t. This is America – and if you have money the laws do very little to constrain you, and if you don’t have money, the laws do very little to help you.

            Reply
          3. Amfortas the hippie

            that takes balls, so hat tipped.
            i kind of accidentally ended up running an underground railroad from north houston exurb to the PP clinic south of downtown in high school.
            townies considered it sedition, i considered it an honor.
            it did not make me popular with the local powers when it finally came out.
            contributed to my eventual outlawry.

            guess we’ll hafta do it all over again…and not just Roe, but due process, various non-2nd amendment rights, habeas….

            Reply
      2. Basil Pesto

        Then, if he loses, there is his future convictions on various matters of wrong doing, which might go to the Supreme Court.

        You’ll have to be more specific, I think.

        That raises the interesting hypothetical question though: if a president appears in a case before the supreme court after office (which I strongly doubt would happen with Trump), and he nominated one or more of the justices on the bench, would they have to recuse themselves?

        Reply
    2. Skip Intro

      Trump has a needle to thread, can he fire up his base without exciting the dem base? I’m betting he names ultraconservative hispanic woman.
      Live by idpol, die by idpol.

      Reply
  10. Off The Street

    The electorate will get a crash course in judicial matters, starting with the Supreme Court nominee process.

    Expect that there will also surface some discussion about DOJ staffing and turnover. That became quite politicized in 44’s reign with the barely-concealed ACLU vs. Federalist Society slates. There is some inertia built into that DOJ staffing, as decisions on and by personnel don’t happen overnight.

    Visualize a type of pendulum swinging ominously over whatever pit you seek.

    In any event, the gloves came off all around DC some time ago. Now naked power and aggression will be on display for that electorate.

    Reply
  11. Fresh Cream

    I think the republicans insisting on nominating and confirm a SC judge right before the election after what happened with Scalia’s replacement is the only thing that can get me to vote for Biden. Come on there has to be a point somewhere where you say “no mas”.

    Obama didn’t fight at all for his appointment that is true so I have to consider that the democrats won’t fight this time either. In that case cancel the above statement.

    Reply
    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      That and climate change. Despite my distaste, I will vote for Biden in November because of these 2 issues. I expect we will have another right wing, pro death penalty, anti-abortion justice on the SCOTUS before he might take office however. The high court as constituted by the end of this year will thwart freedom from fear and want for most Americans for the next ~30 years.

      And that’s not counting the fact that Biden seems to be working to lose, and will likely succeed in doing so.

      Reply
      1. John k

        I wouldn’t pick Biden, or dems in general, on GW. He and Hillary both support fracking, arguably the worst fossil production bc of methane leaks, far worse than co2. And then the gas gets burned, so you get both. Is he campaigning on cutting fossil subsidies? If he was, would you believe him?
        Just another area that dems pretend to care about. The only important thing is money… they’re Happily raking it in with Ginsberg’s death.

        Reply
  12. AnonyMouse

    The Republican terror of demographic and social shifts working against them will mean they will stop at nothing to leverage their power now.

    First the “norms”, the customs, the by-laws get broken and disregarded.

    Each side has their own alternate universe of grievances that justify escalation, narratives that justify the next trampling of norms.

    Division, gridlock, intransigence and the impossibility of compromise mean that material problems aren’t solved – and the system is seen to be incapable of addressing these problems and fixing these issues.

    Then violence enters the political system. It’s already happening, around the edges. “Don’t quote laws to men who have swords!”

    And then the grievances become about the violence. And no forces are capable of ratcheting that down.

    We saw this in the Roman Republic. We’re witnessing this in the American Republic. Violence seems inevitable.

    The outcome might be fascism.

    Part of me wonders if it might not be better for the Union to break up at long last. The US can jettison much of the far-right element and allow it to become a backwater. Constitutional reform can finally come for the rest. Its elections can be contested between what are now the two wings of the Democratic party. People might have to leave the new American caliphate, but they can do so knowing that their new home will guarantee at least some degree of liberty for them. The major issue is the nukes and who gets them.

    Reply
    1. Keith Howard

      I agree that the US constitutional/governmental structure is a failure. Its only effective function is that of a Doomsday Machine. Under the circumstances of unlimited $ democracy, immense concentration of wealth & power in a few hands, and structural over-representation of small states, fundamental reform appears to me to be out of the question. Some other form/mechanism of governance is already taking over. We should be trying to figure out how to influence that development.

      Reply
      1. John

        The structure is a failure or the people in government at this moment lack the political, personal, and moral backbone to work within the structure. DJT is amoral and has done much to worry the structure like a dog with a bone. McConnell et al have panted in his wake to do his bidding and gobble the scraps; the “opposition” flails.

        Reply
    2. a different chris

      >The US can jettison much of the far-right element

      Living in Pennsylvania, aka “Philly and Pittsburgh with Alabama in the middle”, I would have to question how we would do that. NY is similar in truth, Ohio… probably Michigan and etc.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah.
        would we go house to house?
        have neighborhood sized polities?
        that’s actually what i expect, once the smoke clears from the Burnings, but it ain’t gonna happen in any kind of civilised fashion.
        that ship long ago sailed.

        Reply
    3. Hepativore

      Actually, the demographic shifts might be working more in Republicans favor than people think. This is because Republicans might continue on with a strategy of appealing to blacks, hispanics, and latinos who tend towards social conservatism and religiosity, particularly older individuals in these demographics. Traditionally, many non-white voters are wary of the Republican party and for good reason. However, assuming that demographic shifts will automatically favor the Democrats might be a bit optimistic. This is especially true when establishment Democrats are perfectly willing to ignore anybody that does not fit their preconceived notion of their base i.e. the coastal, upper-middle class, suburban white voter. In fact, Democrats have actually vilified party members who have attempted to expand their perceived base in the last four years as they are smeared as catering to deplorables.

      Anyway, the sad thing is that even if Republicans do not pick Ginsburg’s replacement before the election and they lose, the Biden administration would probably give us another “moderate” conservative, corporate-friendly justice like John Roberts. I would not put it past a Biden appointee to be amenable to overturning Roe vs. Wade as Biden has openly stated to how much he looks forward to working with the Republicans including having them in his cabinet.

      Reply
      1. neo-realist

        If Biden gets a shot at a SC judge, I don’t believe the base, particularly the female demographic, would allow a nominee who is amenable to overturning Roe. Heck, by the time Biden gets a shot at an appointment, Roe might be fait accompli. Nor would the base approve one like Roberts that is hostile to voting rights for POC. At the very least he or she would support the proto corporate imperatives.

        Reply
    4. Shiloh1

      I’d be good with a pre-Bismarck Holy Roman Empire arrangement. All 50 state legislatures vote to split from the federal government in D.C. and mostly go their separate ways. I would envision subsequent breaking up of some of the former states themselves into smaller pieces, however.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        while scary as hell, after watching those around me, i really think that that’s the most sunny outcome we can hope for.
        i doubt it will be so smooth and easy.

        Reply
  13. Keith Howard

    I wonder whether someone can elucidate what Quorum will be required for the US Senate to act on a SCOTUS nomination. Customary delays (scheduling Judiciary Com hearing, production of records, courtesy visits, etc.) may not occur if McConnell/Graham find them inconvenient. But if there is in fact a quorum requirement, and some Senator (Romney?) will call for a quorum, the Ds might act in unanimity for once (imagining a miracle, I know) and stay off the floor. Rs who are, or claim to be, uncomfortable with Trump/McC’s tactics could also absent themselves, preventing a vote from being held. This query is just for my personal curiosity. Even if the possibility exists, nothing of the kind will occur, because no Republican Senator has as much conscience as a dog, and the Ds will find it safer to temporize, waffle, and run away.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      Would anyone have standing to object if the rules for what constitutes a quorum were changed “on the fly?”

      This has the feel of late Imperial Rome, IMO.

      Reply
  14. Alex morfesis

    SCOTUS has always been political and somehow, in the times before the civil Rights obtained mostly by the blood, toil, sweat, and death of mostly “cis” black man in America in the 50’s and 60’s…back before the “short term” humanization of the US Constitution…SCOTUS was not indicative of the general demographics of the nation..

    and yet we loved forward…

    Republicans pushing thru a nominee…any nominee…will probably bring out a massive turn out against the Republicans…

    To rush through a nominee would suggest the Republicans expect to lose control of the White House and the Senate.

    Reply
    1. TBellT

      I can’t see this being a boon for anyone besides Republicans. Democrats are already at peak enthusiasm over the message “Removing Trump is the last chance for democracy”, this just reiterates that message.

      However, 2000-2014 R base types who might have distaste with Trump’s behavior have to be thinking “hey gorsuch sided the libs over the transgender discrim lawsuit and kavanaugh sided with Roberts and the rest over planned parenthood, our work isn’t done”. Notice the Lincoln Project hasn’t said anything, I doubt they’ll switch. But it’s certainly going to strengthen the resolve of former “never trumpers” like Cruz, Eric Erickson and Glenn Beck, who have been saying “i want trump to win” but haven’t really been marshalling support for him.

      Maybe the math still doesn’t work because Trump has lost too many marginal voters but getting that last sliver of R’s to consolidate still helps him.

      Reply
  15. H

    4 months almost to the day for the process. (Jan 20)
    How long should it take?
    The minority can & should squabble but the process will work as designed.
    Ageing judges should have the wisdom to step down at an opportune time, thus eliminating
    the “too old” problem, & as a counter to a future presidents’ appointment power, by being replaced
    by a young judge of of like mind for 30-40 years.

    Reply
  16. Peter Pan

    What if POTUS, the disrupter in chief, nominated Sen. Kamala Harris to be the next SCJ on the recommendation of SecTreas Mnuchin? Then have Republican Senate leaders all commend POTUS for his selection, for reaching across the aisle, highlighting all her negatives as positives for Republicans & showing they want a female POC as SCJ .

    This is the perfect cynical choice for POTUS to send the democrats into a tizzy.

    Reply
    1. John k

      She would immediately decline, gambling on nov win.
      I like better conservative Hispanic female – is there one such? As suggested above. That would gets some dem’s heads exploding.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Barbara Lagos, Cuban American from Florida, appointed by trump last year to appeals court.
        Should firm up Fl, a must win state, plus have some appeal to Hispanics, granted they’re not uniform.

        Reply
        1. marym

          As a DeSantis appointee on the FL Supreme Court she participated in the decision to lift the injunction against requiring people with felony convictions to pay (unspecified and sometimes unknowable) fines and fees before being allowed to vote.

          Then, as a Trump appointee to the federal appeals court, didn’t recuse herself from participating in the decision to overturn the ruling that the (unspecified and sometimes unknowable) fines and fees had to be paid.

          https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article245664660.html
          https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/07/supreme-court-florida-felons-poll-tax.html

          Reply
    2. Glen

      Trump should just go ahead and nominate Koch Industries.

      “Corporations are people…”

      And allow corporate sponsors to put logos on the judicial robes so we know who is who in the zoo.

      Reply
  17. chuck roast

    One must look towards the great American political philosophers for guidance in this case. We need to cut through the sanctimonious palaver, cynical posturing and personal skewering for a clear-eyed view of how to proceed. Harvard pedigrees and complex machinations only serve to obscure a true understanding of the way forward. In these instances where hoity-toity matters of law and justice come into question, we the great unwashed, should consult the man who is far more intimate with justice than many of us. A man who had seen any number of courtrooms. A man who had been the victim of many procedures, objections, motions and judicial rulings in these chambers. A man who once set himself on fire for…but I digress…that man would of course be Richard Prior Esq.

    Mr. Prior Esq. had been known to say, “Yeah, I went down to the courthouse for justice, and that’s what I got…just us.” I rest my case.

    Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      After making a movie at a prison and talking to the inmates there, Prior also said “Thank God we got penitentiaries”:

      “But WHY did you kill everybody in the house?”

      “Well…they was home…”

      Reply
  18. ProNewerDeal

    The Fed poli-trick-ians have no urgency with the COVID health & economic ongoing crisis. covid19-projections has the 7-day average death on Sep19 at 799, eg we have a Sep11 death toll amount every 4 days. The last I heard the House &/or the Senate were on “recess”/vacation to campaign.

    No urgency to crush or reduce the curve to reduce deaths & longhaul (up to disability-causing) patients, after it has been empirically demonstrated how it done, by the approach of either somewhat social democratic nations like Canada (6-wk lockdown with temporary UBI & universal masks) or communist nations like Cuba. No urgency to help significant amount of USians now facing hunger or eviction risk.

    However, I expect the Rs, especially Mcconnell to show extreme urgency as if it were the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Ds may also show urgency in fighting the Mcconnell Turtle Team, if their owners/funders ask their puppets Schumer/Pelosi/0bama/JoeTheBiden/Harris to do so.

    What an oligarchy of backassward morals & priorities.

    How about Schumer & Pelosi declare NO federal judicial nominee evaluation/confirmation process starts UNTIL the weekly prevalence declines to under 50 new COVID cases/100K population in EACH of the 51 states/DC.

    Reply
  19. jake

    Oh, dear. When Caitlin Johnstone insists after Trump that she’s not telling anyone how to vote, but that there’s still no difference between the parties, and this very article would seem to be animated by a mostly unacknowledged terror of the consequences of yet another Trump appointment (does anyone seriously believe there’s nothing more to lose?), you have to wonder if this is really the “left” — or just the spectator sport of folks who have given up and expect everyone else to do the same, otherwise you’re an unprincipled liberal tool.

    Noam Chomsky is voting for Biden, and isn’t apologizing. He views this election existentially — like, you know, literally, survival of the species. Chomsky the naive hysteric? He answers emails, so by all means explain to him there’s no real difference between the parties, and see what he has to say.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      I mean, Noam has been doing ‘Vote Blue No Matter Who’ for multiple elections now, so forgive me if I don’t believe him that this is a ‘survival of the species’ election. Pretty sure he’s been saying something like that for multiple elections.

      Reply
      1. jake

        Trump, and the prospect of four more Trump years, hasn’t convinced you that there’s any merit to Chomsky’s position? You really believe Hillary would have been just as bad?

        Of course, pie in the sky is delicious — for those whose livelihoods and well-being don’t depend on election outcomes.

        Reply
        1. CarlH

          Ah, the “privilege” talking point. I doubt the people here are going to fall for or countenance MSNBC talking points. Daily Kos is more that speed.

          Reply
          1. jake

            “People here”? I wonder what that means….

            I can’t answer for either MSNBC or Daily Kos, but if you’ve compared the last four years of Obama and the next four of Trump, and have concluded there’s no significant difference between the parties on, say, civil rights, labor, environment, taxation, law enforcement and domestic policy generally, I’d love to see the evidence.

            In foreign policy, it’s no more murderous under Trump than Obama, so I’ll give you that.

            Reply
              1. jake

                And that’s your reason for staying home on election day? I had no idea the “people here” were/are active revolutionaries.

                “Privilege” indeed. What a fantasy life. Those still living the real one tend to want to vote.

                Reply
                1. CarlH

                  I never said I wasn’t voting. You evaded my questions. How do you think we got Trump and what do you think will follow another failure of a Dem admin like Obama’s? Do you think the Repubs and Trump are our only problem or do you think that maybe, just maybe the Dems are just as complicit? Remember that epic fight when Obama and the Dems went to the mat with McConnell and the Repubs over Merrick Garland? They really threw the kitchen sink at them! Oh wait, that never happened at all. And you bring up fantasies.

                  Reply
                  1. jake

                    Yes, Obama’s main legacy is Trump. Who said otherwise?

                    But we’re talking about the next election and Bernie Sanders isn’t running. Neither is Noam Chomsky. Unless it’s your view that there’s no difference between the parties or you want to punish Democrats in perpetuity, without regard to public policy consequences, where’s the high principle?

                    I’m not here to debate the virtue of Democrats, past or even present. If under current circumstances your choice is difficult or morally fraught, I give up.

                    Reply
                    1. CarlH

                      I’m done with the lesser evil voting. They both got us to this place and I view the whole thing as the equivalent of professional wrestling. Neither party has the interests of the bottom 90% in mind. Neither party will do anything to stem Global Warming, the power of corporations, or the forever wars, in fact, Biden is arguably much more hawkish (ditto with Hillary and Obama). Neither will do anything but transfer more wealth to Wall Street and the top 1%. If you have evidence otherwise, please present it.

                    2. neo-realist

                      At the least, in a Biden Administration, progressives can continue to organize as well as run and win down ticket elections. The noise coming out of the Trump administration in recent months is to totally wipe out the ability of progressives to agitate for change and power (if not wipe them off the face of the country)-enabling their vigilante supporters to go after progressive protestors, upping the level of police state violence against the likes of BLM, using legal maneuvers like the RICO statues to imprison and impoverish progressive organizers, and signing off on hard right judges in the courts to uphold voter suppression tactics and limits on civil liberties. Biden won’t go that far. These moves would be a Bush/Cheney wet dream. But Trump will go there.

                      I get the tweedle dee tweedle dum argument, but I think Trump goes much farther into the authoritarian realm than any President in recent history.

                      With a Trump re-election–Palmer Raids on steroids for lefties.

                    3. Amfortas the hippie

                      aside from the usual venn diagram of consistency of action and desire between the “Two” parties, there’s another consistency i like to keep in mind.
                      over the last 40 years or more, the steady decline in measures of the things that matter to actual human beings.
                      from wages to college to healthcare to the freedom to speak in private, or be unobserved.
                      reasonable access to the legal system, life expectancy, infant frelling mortality, voter turnout, voter suppression, and on and on and on til the cows come a’wanderin’ home.
                      all of this has gotten worse in my lifetime.
                      and the “opposition” party either didn’t see it, didn’t care about it, or helped it get that way.
                      polling and pew surveys galore and over time indicate widespread approval for remedying much of this, and yet it’s thumbs on the scales again to foist some ancient neoliberal hack upon us.
                      forked tongued perfidy and betrayal is what the “mainstream” democratic party represents to me…so no…i don’t trust them any more than i trust the gop or trump…who, despite his raging id, is an idiot weathervane..
                      we’ve been heading to this spot for all my life, and neither my nor anybody else’s warnings were entertained.
                      fie.
                      again, i’ll vote green, if it’s on the ballot, otherwise i’ll submit the shreds of my ballot(we still do paper out here)
                      i am not yet required to vote for anybody’s preferred parasite.
                      flea vs tick is not a “contest”.

            1. Wyatt Powell

              Im not voting for a propped up corpse that will be replaced by an id-pol neoliberals wet dream (e.g. Harris). Sorry jake your “lesser of two evils” argument isnt gonna hold water here. We are too old, too cynical, too beaten down to fall for that bulls**t for a 5th, 6th and 7th time.

              Reply
              1. jake

                I’m glad you said it, and not me. You’re too old, too cynical and doubtless too comfortable — so much so, you’re willing to throw everyone else under the bus to satisfy an emotional craving.

                You really can’t see the difference between a center-right party with progressive elements and increasingly susceptible to progressive pressure, and a far right-wing party with no counterpart in the industrialized world, and which repudiates everything from essential public health measures to the science of global warming?

                And all this “no lesser evil for me” stuff from the politically inactive? Your life has really been one of uncompromising righteousness, with wonders to show for it?

                And again, that strange “here” as in “the people here”. Meaning what? You’re all too sophisticated to vote Democratic? You like the results when Repubs are in power? Trump forever, because I don’t care any more or I’m too smart for mass market politics?

                Good luck to “the people here”. When you move the colony to Mars and get your perfect government, let me know.

                Reply
                1. Acacia

                  So Wyatt Powell is now throwing everybody else under the bus all by himself, but the Democrat party that you support hasn’t thrown anybody under the bus? That’s some funny logic, right there. Or… oh, I don’t know… thinly veiled vote shaming?

                  Reply
                2. DanB

                  I’ve read all your comments here, Jake. You keep putting words in other commenter’s mouths; and you convey an air of newcomer superiority.

                  Reply
                3. CarlH

                  Jake, you should ask yourself why you are so worked up and full of empathy for the victims of Trump but totally blind to the those of Obama, Clinton, Biden, and their Dem collaborators?

                  Reply
        2. Kurtismayfield

          You really are going for the “Elections have consequences” angle. Ok I will ask. What consequences have the DNC felt after losing in 2016? Have they made any changes to their tactics? Are they campaigning in those battleground states that Clinton lost?

          Reply
          1. Glen

            They yell “VOTE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT”, and get really nasty.

            But don’t worry – they assure Wall St in private that nothing will fundamentally change.

            Reply
          2. neo-realist

            Biden has been in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Harris has at least been in Wisconsin (Milwaukee from what I understand).

            Reply
        3. apleb

          Please tell me where Trump is in any way worse than the criminals in chief before him.
          He has murdered less people by starting less wars. He has the same neoliberal stance as all of them. He just isn’t bad as a political person, he’s just a stinker with the personality of one. Hardly alone in Washington.
          The only thing you can say, he did a typical republican tax break for the rich trickle down tax change. That’s about it.

          Mrs. Clinton instead was a known foreign policy hawk and a pure psychopath “we came, we saw, he died *hysteric laughter*”. This would have led to more murders, but since few USians would have been murdered, I can understand why USians don’t care about that point.
          She serves the exact same masters however and would do broadly the same politics with different window dressing.

          The only ones whose livelihood depend on election outcomes are election advisors, strategists and other parasites. There is no difference between oligarchic servitor #1 vs. oligarchic servitor #2. Kang and Kodos, both will slaughter and eat you just the same.

          Reply
        4. Acacia

          Chomsky has done good work, but in recent years he really sounds like he’s spent too long inside the bubble of liberal academia. He thinks it’s “existential” because that’s the current groupthink up in the ivory tower.

          As for Hillary, all indications are that she would have started another ground war for sure — Syria and Iran come to mind —, so she wouldn’t have been “just as bad” as Trump, probably she would have been worse.

          Reply
        5. drumlin woodchuckles

          Hillary would have caused a thermonuclear war with Russia. Which would have been worse.
          That’s what I voted for Trump to prevent. To prevent the final Democrat War which would kill us all. And so far its been working.

          Reply
    2. Chris

      The commentariat: And what are you wearing Jake from State Farm?

      Jake: Just MSNBC talking points and some meggings.

      The commentariat: he sounds horrible!

      Me: well, he used the no true Scotsman fallacy, appeals to emotion, appeals to authority, and didn’t address any concerns or points made in the article, so yeah, end game liberal tool. It’s not a great look.

      Reply
      1. jake

        God help me, but I have never — repeat, never — watched MSNBC.

        The bubble you folks you inhabit is something to marvel at. Good luck voting green or sitting this one out. There’s rhetorical appeal in saying you’ll get what you deserve, but unfortunately most of the rest of us — everyone outside this bubble — gets it as well.

        If Trump loses and actually leaves office, maybe you can get on his next TV show and explain why he’s no worse than Obama. That should be deeply satisfying, and no need to look at the real world, just endless self-indulgence, the joys of callow despair.

        Reply
        1. Acacia

          And good luck convincing more people to vote Democrat by shaming and insulting them — it worked so well in 2016, after all.

          Reply
        2. chris

          Fascinating.

          First, no one here is saying that Trump’s no worse than Obama. People on here have said that he’s no worse than Clinton and that Biden is unlikely to be any better. The net effect will be the same because the forces behind our government are the same regardless of who is in the White House. The donors, the industry, the intelligence apparatus, they’re not changing with this election and they’re the main source of our problems as a country over the last 20 years and even before that.

          Second, I think what so many people on here don’t understand – in our “bubble” since you like that term – is why people like you care so much when the net effect of what people see is the same. Millions of people have lost their housing and their jobs and their healthcare under the last several administrations regardless of who was elected. Thousands have bankers have been saved from crises they caused regardless of who was elected. The life and livelihoods of countless people in the minority throughout the world have been made worse regardless of who was in the White House. So why do you care who is in the Oval office if it won’t change what actually happens to people?

          Third, I’m heartened to hear you don’t enjoy paying for cable propaganda. But you’re parroting all their talking points. Can you say one thing that Biden has said he’ll do that will actually be an improvement over Trump? Because Biden has said that he won’t change things, he supports franking, hell go along with Democrat plans to keep Trump’s tax cuts, and he’s made statements indicating we would be in more wars if he was president. Biden was also for the Hyde amendment and other abortion limiting policies prior to his latest run for office so I wouldn’t consider him a champion for women’s rights. He’s also publically stated multiple times he’s against Medicare for All so even if he is sincere in his recent conversion there’s no way many women to pay for those services. It’s perfectly rational to listen to the statements of a person running for office who has repeatedly said that nothing will change and conclude that they are no better an option than the current elected official. It is insane to think that electing someone who promises to not change things will result in different policies! What you get with Biden is Not Trump. But you will still have all of what Trump did. So why not take the little power we have left as voting citizens and teach the Democrat party that you need to appeal to voters with more than fear and donor approved platitudes?

          Reply
  20. TBellT

    I realized I may have embraced full nihilism yesterday. All my lib friends and family freaking out in the group texts, and I’m just over here laughing. How do you pick this as the point when “things are really bad and we are nearing the precipice”, over any other point over the last 40 years. It all feels so performative.

    Feels like at some point the wheels of time reach an RPM that braking isn’t going to work, and maybe we passed that 20 years ago when democracy was overruled and we started a war that showed the cracking power in our empire. Maybe I just pick that point because it’s when I start forming opinions about politics but how do you overcome the weight of history?

    The R’s are going to implement a plan that gives them a set of upside rewards under various election scenarios, the elected D’s will muster some limp response to quell their incensed PMC base but it will be for naught just like the USPS and “CARES Act Pt 2”. I’m not going to act in this play that we’re doing for 100th time, I’ll just watch.

    Reply
    1. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

      I watched Koyaanisqatsi a couple of months ago, and thought to myself, “Oh, so we were already forked 70 years ago.” Watching the media latch onto this like having the Rs control another supreme pick is the very very end of things that can be tolerated; well, I have a dark humor about it. You know, considering that there are larger things, bleak and scary things, that are unraveling and unwinding here and there if you are paying attention. Lives. Livelihoods. Businesses. Incomes. Supply chains. Social safety nets. Economies. Ecologies. Species. Climates. Arable land masses. Water supplies. Lifespans. Options.

      But by all means, yes, let’s relitigate what RBG said to BHO back in the whatever. And talk about how Mitch is a meanie. I can’t do this stuff anymore, either. I’m not sure I can even watch.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Koyaanisqatsi
        +100
        i got all 3 on dvd, and when the boys were little and less busy and easier to tie to a chair, we used to have film festivals.
        They really liked Italian post war realism(esp. Amarcord) and Kirusawa(sp-2)…( basically the entire criterion collection, back when netflix still had such stuff)
        those 3 were difficult to watch with kids…but i glean that making reference to them works well for getting certain seriousnesses across.
        both immediately said “Life out of Balance”.
        collapse is not an Event, but a Process.

        Reply
  21. Bob Goodwin

    One thing nobody is mentioning is that the supreme court battle is changing the subject from Covid-19, and that is unambiguously good for Trump. Expect him to play this as hard as he can.

    Reply
  22. Richard H Caldwell

    This will not be a popular thing to say, but she should have resigned in 2009, when Obama could have easily appointed a far-younger (and healthier) replacement. I just knew she would die at the worst possible time, despite her narcissistic and egotistical proclaimations about her expected longevity, particularly in light of her health profile. WTF was she thinking? 20:20 hindsight, yes; not popular, probably, but true nonetheless.

    The Federalist Society was awash in champagne last night; they have won hands-down, totally, utterly after 40 years of relentlessly pushing for Supreme Court dominance. 6 to 3? A wipeout. Watch Mitch M. waltz to approval of the most-disgusting Federalist Society-approved troll candidate you can possibly imagine. Probably with Joe Manchin as the deciding vote. I’m thinkiing by next Friday, just to stick it to the Ds. Can’t they at least pretend they want power? Disgusting…

    Reply
  23. Glen

    200,000 dead Americans
    60 million Americans out of work
    30 million Americans getting evicted
    30 million Americans struggling for food
    100,000 American small businesses gone forever
    10+ largest wildfires ever in America, tens of thousands lose everything
    Record windstorms in middle America wreck havoc
    Record number of hurricanes expected to hit America

    SCOTUS justice dies – Just an hour after Ginsburg’s death was announced, the GOP leader Mitch McConnell said he would be moving forward as soon as Trump does.

    Nice to know your priorities. Too bad it’s not America.

    Reply
  24. polecat

    You’all realize … don’t you ……… that, in the really BiG Picture .. that history of the longgggg kind, will just grind all of us contemporaries, into paste .. right?

    Reply
  25. George Stubbs

    I like Ms. Schofield’s posts, but “Trump Derangement Symptom” has never been convincing. It’s accessorized ad hominem (identify a mental/emotional flaw and give it a name). I read Prof. Tribe when I can get him, and I’ve never seen anything that merits any label suggesting hysteria.

    If Trump isn’t evil, then there’s no such thing as evil. I submit, among the mountains of evidence, Jake Johnson’s post in today’s Naked Capitalism on the bullying of public health professionals to support a re-elect message (just one among many outrageous bonehead moves on the pandemic). I submit also the general Trump/Republican policy of eviscerating environmental law and science, and jump-starting spring break for polluters, whose work leads to tens of thousands of premature deaths every year and god knows how many millions of kids suffering from impaired intellectual, emotional, and physical development. All this done with a selfish, callous, smug disregard of humanity. What more do you want to call something what it is?

    Reply
  26. Richard H Caldwell

    This will not be a popular thing to say, but she should have resigned in 2009, when Obama could have easily appointed a far-younger replacement. I just knew she would die at the worst possible time, despite her egotistical proclaimations about her expected longevity, particularly in light of her health profile. 20:20 hindsight, yes; not popular,probably, but true nonetheless.

    The Federal Society is awash in champagne tonight; they have won hands-down, totally, utterly after 40 years of relentlessly pushing for Supreme Court dominance. 6 to 3? A wipeout. Watch Mitch waltz to approval for the most-disgusting Federalist Society approved candidate you can possibly imagine. Probably with Joe Manchin’s deciding vote. Disgusting… I’m moving to hard liqour for the rest of the evening.

    Reply
  27. notabanker

    The cake we’re eating is Neoliberal. You all can argue about whether the frosting should be vanilla or chocolate. I’m certainly not joining in on any accolades to a member of an institution that think Corporations have more rights than citizens.

    Reply
  28. larry

    “McConnell says this time is different. As the last situation was one of divided government, with Democrats holding the White House, and Republicans the Senate. Whereas this time, both branches are in Republican hands.”

    McConnell is lying. The House is currently in Democratic hands. They are in the majority. The present situation is also one of divided government. At the last count, the Dems had 232 seats, >50%, and the Repubs had 198 seats, c.45%. That looks divided to me, even taking into account non-voting seats which still leaves the Dems in control. Coalitions are involved here in voting, so maybe he is being economical with the actualite. Pelosi, a Dem, is Speaker of the House. How could that be if the Repubs controlled the House? The Senate distribution is narrower, with the Repubs in control even discounting the two independents.

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      The House is indeed Democratic. But the Senate must confirm a Supreme Court justice, And that branch us Republican.

      As I said above, not much of an argument.

      Reply
  29. herman_sampson

    Why not wait until after election day to pick successor? T uses the delay to energize his base and if he loses the popular vote names supreme court nominee and Mitch rushes him/her through senate before electoral pre-k meets, T still has supreme court to install him like W.

    Reply
    1. Tony Wright

      As a non American this thread is utterly depressing.
      The Democrats, for all their shortcomings, did not attempt to deny science (read climate change, covid19 epidemiology), did not provoke social division, and did not cosy up to Putin or Kim the way Trump has. Nor did they completely screw the budget with ridiculous tax cuts for the rich.
      Folding your arms and refusing to vote because the least worst party/candidate is flawed simply hands more power to the worst.
      And the rest of the world suffers as a consequence.
      Or to misquote the late great Lowell George:
      “Life is a Perfect Imperfection”.

      Reply
      1. Tony Wright

        And further to the above, I doubt that the Democrats actually want to win in 2020 as, once again they would be inheriting a seriously GOP poisoned chalice (2008 stupid expensive wars and a recession, 2020 a completely mismanaged Covid pandemic, social division the worst since 1860, and a completely screwed economy – trust me, there is a long way to go down yet).
        I mean, Trump has f…..d up so badly that a half trained drover’s dog could beat him (to revive a well worn Australian cliche)
        It is much easier to tut tut and shake your head in opposition than it is to do the hard yards of effective governance.
        So over to you Xi & Co. The US is defaulting on leadership.
        And the planet is going to hell while liberals and progressives argue. Nero reincarnated.

        Reply
  30. Matthew G. Saroff

    Those Republican Senators who say that it should wait until after the next inauguration will flip on the issue when it comes time to address it in a lame duck session, particularly Senator Collins.

    Reply
  31. Dwight

    After 30 years of inaction on global warming by US, I’m not sure that recognizing or repudiating the science matters much in the big picture. Thinking it matters is itself a repudiation of the science, a soft denialism as others have aptly said here. Byrd-Hagel 96-0 in 1997 was when we told the world we weren’t going to act at any meaningful scale. Maybe we never could have stopped it, since we essentially eat oil and would starve without it.

    Reply
  32. A. N. Mouse

    What are the odds that Pelosi has the stomach to use the single biggest legislative weapon that she has, the most powerful arrow in her “quiver” as she called it, the one that could slay the mighty Smaug more surely than a guardsman’s black arrow? Will Pelosi refuse to pass any sort of budget or continuing resolution?

    Spending bills originate in the House, and though Pelosi (and Schumer) unfortunately traded away all leverage on debt ceiling, there is still the basic budget. No budget and no continuing resolution then no working government.

    Reply

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