Q. Has the issue of Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court turned a mite political?
A. You could say that. You could also say that flight simulation wind- tunnels are tough on comb- overs.
Q. How long after the first Italian US Supreme Court Justice’s death did it take to get ugly?
A. Within minutes of the discovery of the body, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to keep the seat vacant until after the November presidential election. Probably took longer for a family of five to order dessert at Applebee’s.
Q. Is he alone?
A. No, every Republican in North America echoed his sentiments, especially the 6 remaining GOP POTUS candidates who see this as a big red flag to wave at supporters. And since unemployment is below 5% and gas around 2 bucks a gallon, they can use all the issues they can get.
Q. What about the Democrats?
A. Same thing- only different. Both Bernie and Hillary want President Obama to immediately nominate someone they can use to rally the base. Preferably a single- mother lesbian Hispanic with a limp and agoraphobia.
Q. So we're playing Hardball here.
A. We sidled way past Hardball in 2009. This is 9- inch steel Ball- Bearing Ball.
Q. What is the make- up of the remaining court?
A. 1 justice appointed by Reagan, 1 by GHW Bush, 2 by GW Bush, 2 by Clinton and 2 by Obama. 4 Republicans & 4 Democrats. 5 are Roman Catholics and 3 Jewish. Although most decisions will depend on which side of the bed Anthony Kennedy wakes up.
Q. What was McConnell’s rationale?
A. Let the people decide which way the court swings with their choice of president.
Q. Didn’t the people already decide when they voted for Obama the last 2 elections?
A. When Democrats speak, Mitch McConnell doesn’t hear well.
Q. Does this mean a presidential term lasts only 3 years?
A. Not only that, once this precedent is set, the next Senate could embargo midterm years as well, then the months of May through August since Congress is in recess and not too close to holidays or weekends; until a Commander- in- Chief is only allowed to nominate a SCOTUS replacement on a Wednesday in the third week of September of odd numbered years.
Q. Can the court function with only 8 members?
A. Yes. They’ve done it before. In 1790 they started out with 6 and each decision required a two- thirds majority, which today would make agreeing on a lunch schedule difficult.
Q. Isn’t Antonin Scalia the guy who said, “The only good Constitution is a dead Constitution?”
A. You nailed it. The irony is this strict Originalist would be appalled at his death being used for political purposes. Ain’t life odd?
Q. I’ll ask the questions. If Republicans stymie another Obama nominee, will it be viewed as more obstructionism?
A. Hasn’t hurt them so far. Of course a series of 4- 4 ties would focus attention on the vacancy like blood on snow.
Q. Could Obama nominate himself?
A. Yeah. That’s what Republicans want. HIM shaping law in a lifetime appointment. That and scorpions duct- taped to their underwear.
Q. Might this lead to a further breakdown in bipartisan relations?
A. As my daddy used to say: “Can’t kill what’s already dead.”
Copyright © 2016, Will Durst.
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