Thursday, December 8, 2016

Demand Vote on Merrick Garland - JANUARY 3rd, 2017

Democrats have one last chance to return some checks and balances into our American political system before the Trump vandals arrival with their determination to dismantle much of American's most valued protections and advances. Think I'm exaggerating? Then you haven't been paying attention to who Trump's filling his Cabinet with (and here).

Senate Republicans pulled a historically unprecedented stunt to simply deny (the across the board highly regarded moderate) Merrick Garland a hearing for the past year. On January 3rd, while the Senate is temporarily in Democratic hands, please vote to confirm Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump and his oligarch pals already have grand plans in store for a right-wing reactionary Supreme Court.  Are We The People going to simply sit by and acquiesce to these belligerent political bullies?  When are we going to grow some backbone and fight back - reasoned, rational, but firm!    

The Republican Congress have made clear they want to lock up the Supreme Court with a packed house of right wing reactionaries - ready to put the seal on Koch's Transformation of America's Democracy into the Corporation of Amerika - and yes, our democracy is in precisely this serious an existential crisis - the likes of which America hasn't experienced since the civil war.  

DailyKos is circulating a petition that I'm featuring in this post along with information and quotes from a number of article that offer greater detail for the curious.  

By David Dayen | November 16, 2016 |

By Maya Parthasarathy |  December 7, 2016 |

By Alan Rapport  |  AUG. 19, 2016 | Washington DC |

Commentary by Mark Kende | June 21, 2016 |

Michael Bowman  |  March 30, 2016 | VOA 

FYI  - This is for keeps - America, it's your move.  Democracy Use It Or Lose It !
Trump's 21 potential court nominees are overwhelmingly white, male and from red states
Richard Wolf | USA TODAY | December 2, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump's 21 potential nominees to the Supreme Court -- the people he has said he will choose from, not just to replace Justice Antonin Scalia but for any other seats that fall vacant -- are straight out of conservative central casting.


Sign the petition to Joe Biden and Senate Democrats: Confirm Merrick Garland to Supreme Court on January 3

Senate Republicans refused to give President Obama’s pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Scalia even the courtesy of a hearing. It was disrespectful, and historically unprecedented. But there is still something we can do to get Merrick Garland confirmed before Obama leaves office.

At 12:00 noon on January 3, 2017 (according to the Constitution), the terms of 34 U.S. Senators will expire. At that point, the Senate will briefly consist of 66 sitting senators—until Vice President Joe Biden, in his capacity as Senate president, begins swearing in the senators-elect.

Before Biden begins the proceedings, he has a chance to preside over a Senate that consists of 34 Democrats, 2 independents who caucus with Democrats and 30 Republicans—as the remaining Senators are in limbo of being newly sworn in. At this point, Democrats could ask to finish Senate business as it pertains to President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

For the past year, Republicans have claimed that the "American people" should decide the fate of that Supreme Court seat. Hillary Clinton got 2.7 million more votes than Donald Trump, and more Americans voted Democratic in the U.S. Senate races. Democrats are entirely justified to make this move, and it's the only way to guarantee that Garland will be confirmed.

Senate Democrats pulling off this move must be willing to proceed over the very loud, but still out-of-order objections from Republicans. That’s to say nothing of the Republican sore feelings that would come from Democrats winning the right to fill the SCOTUS seat the entire nation knew belonged to President Obama. But it's the right thing to do.

Now is the time. Sign the petition to Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats: confirm Judge Merrick Garland on January 3rd.

Vice President Biden and Senate Democrats


Our Message to Vice President Biden and Senate Democrats :
Senate Republicans pulled a historically unprecedented stunt to simply deny Merrick Garland a hearing for the past year. On January 3rd, while the Senate is temporarily in Democratic hands, please vote to confirm Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Obama Can and Should Put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court

The outgoing president has one final trump card—and he should play it.
BY DAVID DAYEN | November 16, 2016 |

Come January, President Barack Obama will be consigned to the sidelines as Donald Trump occupies the Oval Office and begins the work of dismantling his legacy. But there is one action that Obama could take on January 3, 2017 that could hold off some of the worst potential abuses of a Trump administration for up to a year. Obama can appoint his nominee Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on that date, in between the two sessions of Congress.

Based on everything we know about Obama’s temperament and politics, he won’t resort to this. But given how Republicans relentlessly obstructed his efforts for eight years, he would be completely justified in playing one final trump card. And there’s a cost to ignoring that card. The fact that Democrats prefer to maintain governance norms, even while Republicans break them time and again, inescapably pushes the policymaking apparatus of the country to the right.

Here’s how it would work. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states, “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.” This has been used for Supreme Court vacancies before—William Brennan began his Court tenure with a recess appointment in 1956. Any appointments made in this fashion expire at the end of the next Senate session. So a Garland appointment on January 3 would last until December 2017, the end of the first session of the 115th Congress.

Why January 3? Because the president’s recess appointment powers were significantly constrained by a 2014 Supreme Court ruling. In a 9-0 decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, the Court said the president cannot appoint individuals to fill vacancies if the Senate holds “pro forma” sessions every three days. Though these sessions, common since 2011, merely gavel in and gavel out the Senate chamber, they have the practical effect of keeping the Senate active, therefore blocking the recess appointment power. 

But even the Court’s most conservative members acknowledged that a president can make recess appointments during “inter-session” recesses—such as the break between the first and second year of a Congress, or the break between outgoing or incoming Congresses. There simply has to be an end point there, as a metaphysical matter. Theodore Roosevelt once used a short inter-session recess to make hundreds of appointments. … (link to complete story)

Can Merrick Garland Still Become Supreme Court Justice? Democrats Have A Few Loopholes At Their Disposal

By MAYA PARTHASARATHY |  December 7, 2016 |

President Obama's pick for U.S. Supreme Court justice may very well have waited the better part of year just to be replaced by a nominee chosen by President-elect Donald Trump. But can Merrick Garland still become a Supreme Court justice? Technically it's possible, but judging by the state of the Senate, Garland's chances are extremely slim.
Garland has waited for his confirmation to the Supreme Court for more than eight months, which is more than double the time of his longest-suffering predecessor. 

And, in that time, Garland has not been hearing cases due to the possibility of having to hear those cases while serving on the Supreme Court. 

Many Republicans insisted that lame duck presidents should not be appointing justices, despite the fact that one-third of U.S. presidents have done exactly that. Even Trump insisted during a February primary debate that Senate Republicans should block Obama's nominee, saying, "It's called delay, delay, delay!”

Still, there are a couple of ways Obama could possibly push a Garland confirmation through. Supreme Court justices serve for life, but there is an impermanent option that would get Garland on the court for close to a year. As David Dayen at the New Republic suggested, Obama could appoint Garland on Jan. 3, during the brief time period when Congress is not in session. The president technically has the constitutional power to “fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.” But due to a 2014 Supreme Court ruling, Garland’s appointment would only last until December of 2017. Additionally, this would allow Trump to fill Garland's vacant D.C. Circuit Court position, a trade-off which Democrats could see as unfavorable to their party.  … (link to complete article)

As Donald Trump Falters, Democrats Plan to Press Fight for Supreme Court
By Alan Rapport  |  AUG. 19, 2016 | Washington DC |

Emboldened by their electoral prospects in November, Democrats are planning to redouble their efforts to make the fate of the Supreme Court a signature election issue, with the Democratic leader in the Senate threatening to stall Republican legislative priorities if no action is taken on the confirmation of Judge Merrick B. Garland.

The Senate has been stuck in a stalemate since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February left a vacancy on the bench. Republicans have refused to hold confirmation hearings on President Obama’s nominee, insisting that the next president should make the choice. But with Donald J. Trump’s poll numbers sliding, the Democratic leadership sees an opening to derail Republicans who are facing re-election by blaming them for the delay.

“We’re not going to back off,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic minority leader, said in an interview this week. “There will be things we are going to do to draw more attention to this.”  …(link to the complete story)

(Turned out to be more empty words - this is why we need an informed and engaged citizenry to voice our support and encouragement to those few politicians courageous enough do the right thing, but who don’t have the public support to power their case forward.)

Why the Senate Should Vote on Merrick Garland’s Nomination Now
Commentary by  Mark Kende | JUNE 21, 2016

A 4-4 split means that there is no uniform rule of law.

Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to rule on three monumental constitutional cases involving affirmative action, abortion, and immigration, which could affect millions of people. 

But the Supreme Court may not really be able to decide these cases, as it only has eight justices after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. And Chuck Grassley, a U.S. senator from Iowa, has been undermining separation of powers and obstructing American democracy for over 80 days. By refusing to hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee to a vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat, Senator Grassley has essentially shut down part of the government, diminishing the judiciary and the president at the same time. He should reverse course.

Even some members of his Republican Party think so, such as Ken Starr, as do many Americans of both parties, according to recent polls.

Senator Grassley, a virtually life-long politician and non-lawyer, is chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. … (link for the complete story)

Democrats Keep Pressure on Garland Supreme Court Nomination
Michael Bowman  |  March 30, 2016 | VOA 

… Breaking rank
The meetings came one day after Senator Mark Kirk became the first Republican to meet with Garland. Kirk bucked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans by calling for full consideration of the nomination. Most Republicans are unswayed.

"Considering a nominee in the midst of a toxic presidential election would be irresponsible. Doing so would only further inject a circus atmosphere into an already politicized confirmation process,” Hatch added.  

Oh what grand words Senator Hatch - I wonder if the Senator remembers we live in a democracy that is supposed to have heathy checks and balances?

America it’s your move.  Write your Representatives, share good news stories with them.  While Trump and Republican say delay, delay, delay, we should be pushing, pushing, pushing to see to it that Merrick Garland

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