Democrats. Filibuster Gorsuch. Period.

It’s an odd moment for me. Antonin Scalia, believe it or not, died almost a year ago. You know, he died when Barack Obama was still president, still had almost a year to go. Tonight I watched that Orange Asshole, pretending to be the legitimate successor to President Obama, ineptly and embarrassingly nominate a Supreme Court justice—a nomination stolen from our first African-American president—and all I could think of was Jill F-cking Stein. How weird is that?

Excuse me, if that language offends you. I’m sorry. But I have always been honest on this blog. My feelings are pretty much out there most of the time. And I have nothing but contempt not only for Jill Stein and her Russian-aided candidacy, but for all of those on the left who voted for her, knowing she had no chance of winning and that their vote would heJill Stein by Gage Skidmore.jpglp the Orange Asshole, and bring us to this day. This day.

Long after Stein is dead and buried—and her pro-Tr-mp legacy is sealed in history—Judge Neil Gorsuch will, if he is confirmed and his life expectancy plays out, be ruling against everything those of us who lean left—including those of us who want a country that is more than a asylum for right-wing Christian biblical bigotry—hold dear.

And, goddammit, I can’t help but think, tonight of all nights, that it is people like Jill Stein (and others I could name but won’t bother to)—pretending to be such advanced, progressive thinkers—who have helped make future reactionary rulings on the Supreme Court a real possibility.

The only thing we can hope is that Democrats in the Senate will abandon some kind of previously-reported stupid strategy to let this nomination go through without a filibuster—are you listening, Claire McCaskill?—for fear that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate will do away with the filibuster forever for Supreme Court nominations.

Call their bluff, Democrats. Grow a damned spine. There are hints Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Senate Democrats are going to demand 60 votes for his confirmation, the ghost of a still-living Judge Merrick Garland haunting their political souls. That’s great news, if it holds up. For once, Democrats should play the game the other side plays without fear. Republicans won’t always have the Senate. If they use the so-called nuclear option and end the filibuster, so be it. This is not the end of American politics unless, God forbid, the Orange Asshole gets us all killed before midnight tomorrow or some other day. If we survive Tr-mp’s stupidity, if we survive the Holy War some of his closest advisers are waiting to wage, we will eventually get back control of the government, including the Senate.

I say again to Senate Democrats: Filibuster this nomination and demand a centrist nominee, if for no other reason, out of respect for the first African-American president who was treated like three-fifths of a person and a president, when he was denied his right to fill this seat on the Court.

We don’t need a young version of Antonin Scalia—no matter how “respectable” and “conventional” Gorsuch might be presented to us by pundits on TV—to entertain Court watchers with his writing and terrorize the rest of us with his rulings. I want to share with you a glowing review of Neil Gorsuch from a right-wing lawyer who directs a reactionary group called the Ethics & Public Policy Center, a group whose mission is “dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy.”

That lawyer and director, Edward Whelan, writing for the conservative extremist publication, National Review, said he expects Gorsuch “to be an eminently worthy successor” to Antonin Scalia because he is a “dedicated originalist and textualist” whose many talents promise to give him an “outsized influence on future generations of lawyers.” Whelan reminds us that Gorsuch was a “National Review Online contributor” before he became a judge. In that capacity, Gorsuch wrote in 2005:

American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education.”

Those are not the words of a respectable and conventional nominee. Those are the words of a Scalia extremist. And the only people who have a chance of stopping Neil Gorsuch from becoming a Supreme Court justice are Senate Democrats. And if they want to be on the right side of history, if they truly want to be part of the movement that will eventually sweep away Trumpism and its poisonous GOP enablers some fine day, they will fight like hell to make sure Neil Gorsuch never takes a seat on the Supreme Court.

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18 Comments

  1. I am really aggravated with the Democratic Party and Senator McCaskill. I wrote her when Bush nominated John Roberts and Samuel Alito urging her to oppose them, but she voted for their confirmation The result of her vote, as well as other Democratic votes, was the Citizens United decision and corporate-friendly decisions that hurt American workers. While Schumer and a few others threaten a filibuster, I fear that they will do as they did in the past and roll over and vote for confirmation of the Scalia clone.

    I am getting so tired of Congressional Democrats and the Democratic National Committee. They wring their hands and complain about fascist-style legislation and nominations but do nothing. They are a pathetic bunch. While Schumer’s threats of a filibuster on the Gorsuch nomination is encouraging, I am not holding my breath. Judging by past actions, they will probably roll over and do nothing.

    If Democrats do nothing on the Supreme Court nomination and continue to confirm Trump’s bunch of self-serving, fascist billionaire assholes to his cabinet, I will leave the party. I hope many others feel the same way I do. In spite of the huge turnouts of the women’s march and protests against the immigration reform and the Obamacare repeal, Democrats continue to do little (with a few exceptions–Elizabeth Warren, Seth Moulton, Keith Ellison, and a few others). They are a pathetic bunch.

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    • King Beauregard

       /  February 1, 2017

      Elections have consequences. I don’t blame the Democrats for being in a bind of the voters’ making.

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    • Jim,

      I know how you feel. Here’s my problem with your understandable reaction to what we are seeing: the Democratic Party, flaws and all, is the only institution available to fight the real horrors we see—and those on the horizon. I don’t mind a bit handing out severe criticism to any Democrat who refuses to participate in a filibuster of Gorsuch. Every single one of them should so participate, including Claire McCaskill. Republicans literally stole that seat. But let’s don’t kid ourselves. Mitch McConnell can go nuclear and destroy the filibuster tomorrow and there isn’t a damn thing Democrats can do about it. As I write, he is being encouraged to do so by Tr-mp.

      If you want to blame anyone (besides Republicans) for this disaster, blame those rank-and-file Democrats who didn’t bother to vote in November. Blame those Democrats who voted for a third party, particularly those who arrogantly wasted their vote on a creep like Jill Stein. Blame apathetic people who didn’t bother to register to vote at all, even after seeing on their screens the horror of Agent Orange. It is the fault of voters that Jason Kander is not a U.S. Senator right now. The same with Russ Feingold. And on and on.

      If we say we are going to leave the party, rather than keep working within the party to make it better (by, if nothing else, contacting our leadership), let’s make sure everyone understands what that means: we are surrendering to Trumpism. It’s pretty much that simple. Leaving the Democratic Party, as temporarily satisfying as that might feel, only means that in the end the other side will win every battle and, eventually, the whole damn war.

      Duane

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  2. King Beauregard

     /  February 1, 2017

    If I were legally entitled to select three Neo-Nazis and punch each of them in the head, I think I’d punch Jill Stein three times. Her voters could use some of the same treatment too.

    Jill Stein was playing presidential candidate out of ego. Her supporters voted for her out of ego. Well, we’re paying the price for their narcissism.

    (This is where Jill Stein supporters protest “well there are any number of things that kept Hillary from winning”. That’s true, but you idiots are one of them, and as legitimate a target as any.)

    Now we’ve finally reached the point that Hillary supporters, Noam Chomsky, and basically everyone with a brain was warning about: Trump is going to be able to nominate Supreme Court justices, and even if the Democrats press him to offer moderate nominees, they’re still going to be vastly worse than what Hillary would have. We hit a fork in the road in November, chose the Trump path, and now that’s the road we’re committed to. There are no takebacks or do-overs.

    And the Democrats … the Democrats are simply not empowered to do the job that voters are charged with, which is to say, to decide who will represent us — mostly Republicans. You can’t say that the Democrats just need to Democrat better; our country runs on numbers, and the voters didn’t give them the numbers. This is on the voters, as intelligent people foresaw.

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    • It’s nice to know someone who shares my, uh, distaste for Jill Stein and her obnoxious and arrogant and, really, stupid followers. For months and months I tried to warn the few people I had access to, on this blog and in my personal life. I stopped using “Drumpf” when I realized so long ago that he was a serious threat to the values and ideals that separate America from other places in the world. I warned and warned and warned. I tried emotion. I tried logic. I used every tool I could. I even quoted Noam Chomsky, for God’s sake. I don’t know how many times I pointed out to skeptical Democrats and Democratic-leaning people the danger of Tr-mp picking Scalia’s successor. But even losing the Court for more than a generation didn’t matter to some “Democrats.”

      You are, of course, right about the numbers and the position Democrats in Congress find themselves in. Nothing can be done about that and, to be honest, if McConnell ends the filibuster once and for all (as Tr-mp is now encouraging him to do), nothing can be done to stop anything of consequence. All we will have left is the hope that, next time, two years from now and then four, anti-Tr-mpers will mobilize where it counts: at polling places. The obvious problem, though, is that by then so much damage will have been done that it is hard to imagine how it could all be set right again, at least in my lifetime.

      I want to be hopeful. I want to be optimistic. But we both know things are as bleak as can be. All the things I cherish about America are under siege. The country is being transformed into something I cannot, in good conscience, respect. The goddamned Russians influenced our election and fewer and fewer people, especially people in the press these days, seem to care about that. My patriotism is waning with every broadcast of a Tr-mp press event, where right-wing extremists, theocratic maniacs, greedy business people, etc., have a seat at the table right next to Agent Orange. And I guess that’s why I want to keep fighting, even when the fighting seems pointless. To not fight means to surrender to those extremists and theocrats and quasi-fascist bastards.

      In short, if the America I have loved goes down, it will go down with me kicking and screaming until the bitter end.

      Duane

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      • King Beauregard

         /  February 1, 2017

        I have to be the bearer of bad news for something I foresee. There are Lefties currently calling for a filibuster for however long it takes — years, if need be — but here’s the thing. A filibuster brings the entire Senate docket to a halt, so filibustering a Supreme Court nominee means halting that issue AND EVERY OTHER ISSUE AFTER IT. When it comes time to, say, passing a budget, the Democrats are going to have to end their filibuster. And guess whom the god damn idiot Left is going to blame?

        Once again, we are going to be the victims of the Left being as unrealistic as they are counterproductive. And, this mess is still their fault for not stopping Trump when it would have been easy.

        Honest talk, we’ve reached a point where the only way to stop the Republicans will likely require violence. We’ve already just about exhausted about all political means, and unless the Republicans suddenly start caring about protests, they’re going to keep on doing what they’re doing. In 2018 we might be able to oust some Republicans but that won’t stop the harm the Republicans cause between now and January 2019. I will say here and now that I am not advocating violence, nor do I own any weapons other than a bow I made out of some PVC pipe. I’m just calling it like I see it.

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        • Well, I appreciate you calling it like you see it, but we can’t advocate violence, as you acknowledge. Let’s take that off the table and talk about what we can do.

          First, the loud mouths on the far left need to be called out before they do any more damage to our chances of getting back control of the instruments of government. We have to keep persuadable people, those who tend to be sympathetic to our vision, from being captured by unrealistic expectations and ridiculous criticisms coming from fanatics on the left who would rather throw bricks than build a decent and civilized and liberal house with them. I’m sick of them and have been since even before the beginning of the Clinton campaign. They are insufferable. But we can’t alienate those who might find the “revolutionary” message of the far left attractive. We’ve got to keep them from, in a phrase, being radicalized in the Jill Stein sense. We need them to win in places like the rust belt, since we are stuck with the Electoral College.

          Second, there is some evidence out there that the groundswell of reaction to the Obamacare repeal, as well as reaction from those concerned about voting rights and reproductive rights, is encouraging others to join the movement of resistance against Tr-mpism. Just unanecdotally, I know many people who were never politically active who are now itching to get into the fight or already have. Time will tell whether the disparate groups involved in opposing Tr-mp will meld into something more politically effective, but it is a hopeful sign.

          In the meantime, as you say there is much damage that likely will be done before any movement can coalesce to slow it down, much less stop it. There is a one-year or so window that GOP leaders know is open to get all of the radical things done they want done, and they are willing to ignore blatant constitutional and other offenses by Tr-mp to get them done with is signature attached. I have no doubt they will do their damndest, despite the whirlwind of scandals surrounding the Tr-mp administration, to move their agenda through Congress as quickly as possible. And through reconciliation, they can get a lot done without worrying about Democrats in the Senate. So, the best I think we can hope for is some kind of major fuckup by Tr-mp, something that will require the complete attention of Congress such that their domestic agenda is put on hold. But we also must hope that such a fuckup doesn’t get us all killed.

          Unfortunately, that is the quality of hope these days.

          Duane

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          • King Beauregard

             /  February 11, 2017

            I am pleasantly surprised to see that the size and vitriol of the protests against Trump are making Republicans VERY itchy; things are changing quickly. (Good Lord, Trump hasn’t been in power for even a month now.) I hadn’t foreseen how angry people would get over DeVos, but maybe I should have: people want good schools for their kids, DeVos is a threat to their kids, that automatically makes things personal. And once people are inclined to be critical about one thing, that opens the door to the rest.

            It’s funny to me. I doubt folks could name Obama’s Secretary of Education, or what policies he or she favored, or what exactly DeVos believes in for that matter. All they know is “DeVos is bad”, and they heard it from liberals, and they believe it.

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            • I would say with DeVos the situation is different from the “normal” one you describe. With her, most people are very aware of her open hostility to public schools, even if they don’t necessarily understand that her hostility is based on her view that education should be “Christianized.” This leads me to what I have found and what you suggest with your “opens the door to the rest” observation: people don’t often respond viscerally to policy discussions or data points or any substantive presentation of the facts; their gut gets involved when something they value is so obviously threatened, whether it be a loved one or a loved thing or, in the case of what we are seeing, a loved country. Democrats, as they repopulate their people infrastructure and design their message going forward, need to keep that in mind. As much as a rationalist as I am, I am convinced that we will win the fight through the gut.

              Duane

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  3. Gorsuch reminds me of another intellectual elevated to prominence in government after having grown up in an academic bubble, Condoleezza Rice. As secretary of state, she proved worse than feckless by failing to understand the cultural forces at work before the disastrous second Iraq war. Mere intelligence is not enough for governance, it requires wisdom, something that can only come from life experiences like those of the governed.

    One indication that Gorsuch may lack such is that he “is a proponent of is a proponent of originalism, the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted as perceived at the time of enactment, and of textualism, the idea that statutes should be interpreted literally, without considering the legislative history and underlying purpose of the law.” Thus, I submit that there are more reasons to oppose his nomination than mere politics. If Democrats fail to understand this, the politicization of the Supreme Court will become even more extreme.

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    • I agree there are more reasons to oppose him than politics. We don’t need another Scalia. But I submit that the politics of the matter are most important in this case, mainly because this is, in fact, a stolen seat from the Democrats. And Democrats can’t let that stand without a nasty fight. If McConnell invokes the nuclear option, so be it. That will come back to haunt Republicans eventually, even though I may not live to see it. But it will.

      Having said that, I fear Democrats will not go down fighting on this guy. There is already signs they are happy with his “independence,” as expressed in his rather mild criticism, spoken behind closed doors, of Tr-mp’s stupid remarks about that federal judge. You tell me, though, what judge who aspires to be on the Court does not value the independence of the judicary? I found the news reports yesterday appalling, in terms of how much credit Gorsuch got for daring to “criticize” Tr-mp and assert his independence. And Democrats were among those giving him credit for, essentially, saying the obvious. If we have fallen that low in our party, as far as what we expect of Supreme Court justices nominated by the other side, then we are in real trouble.

      Duane

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  4. King Beauregard skrev:

    Honest talk, we’ve reached a point where the only way to stop the Republicans will likely require violence. We’ve already just about exhausted about all political means, and unless the Republicans suddenly start caring about protests, they’re going to keep on doing what they’re doing. In 2018 we might be able to oust some Republicans but that won’t stop the harm the Republicans cause between now and January 2019. I will say here and now that I am not advocating violence, nor do I own any weapons other than a bow I made out of some PVC pipe. I’m just calling it like I see it.

    I don’t own anything that’s primarily intended as a weapon, and I’m not advocating violence, because I’m no good at it. I can only quote the words of the Martyr Slain at the Triple Underpass, spoken 55 years ago next month:

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

    The Republican Party has done everything in its power to make peaceful revolution impossible. They may have managed to make violent revolution as impossible as it is inevitable, through the continual application of that most insidious of all drugs, television. I hope we are not about to find out whether they have succeeded.

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    • Anonymous

       /  February 2, 2017

      Austin & King,

      Firearms are so Republican, I have the original “Anarchists Cookbook” with bombs, booby traps, i.e.d.s and poisons. The psychotropic tea made from morning glory seeds would have a tea partier thinking he was Alice in Wonderland. Autism is sometimes treated with amphetimine to calm the subject, thus Trump on acid might reveal the anti-Christ beneath the orange coating. Recipes available upon request…

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      • King Beauregard

         /  February 2, 2017

        Thanks, but I was sincere about not advocating violence. I figure the best thing I can do is side with private groups that help out the needy, like the black Baptist church down the road a little bit. A lot of people are going to know some hardship, I think, and I am less about attacking the enemy than picking up the pieces.

        That, and yelling at dumbfuck Lefties. Hey dumbfuck Lefties who refused to vote for Shrillary, are you still feeling proud of yourselves? Go take a long winter swim in the Flint River. They say that, if you stay under for a full ten minutes without breathing, you gain super powers!

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        • Anonymous

           /  February 2, 2017

          King,

          Hope your right about the violence, but more and more Trumpists are attacking Muslims and blacks. You can’t stand by and let that happen. You must respond in kind. Besides, I’m getting tied of being called a snowflake.

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          • King Beauregard

             /  February 2, 2017

            I am persuaded that it works something like this. Blacks and other marginalized groups try to plant gardens; wannabe fascists try to stomp those gardens out. My best role, as a straight white guy of Christian extraction (i.e. a Lottery Winner in this culture), is to protect those gardens from white a-holes.

            That is my best role when the government has taken a role for the tyrannical. Also probably my best role when the government is reasonably good — there’s only so much that can be accomplished through good government.

            And if I have to take up arms to protect gardens, well, I have a Home Depot gift card and I can always turn to Jörg Sprave for inspiration:

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    • Austin,

      We are not yet at the point where peaceful revolution is impossible. There is growing of resistance out there and it is, for the most part, being treated with governmental tolerance and is starting to be heard in the halls of power (albeit it is still only a whisper in the ears of Republicans).

      You wrote, “that most insidious of all drugs, television.” I wish you would elaborate on this, as I have my own notions about it. But I would be interested in what you had in mind, whether it is the popularity of reality show madness or right-wing propaganda or both, or something else altogether.

      Thanks,

      Duane

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  5. Well, it’s all over but the shouting. That is, the election is over but the shouting is getting louder and louder. The Dems in Congress are impotent, so their only alternative, it seems to me, is to continuously and loudly challenge the Republicans to evacuate their dedication to American values; e.g., their patriotism. To that end, I just posted this on Facebook:

    “OK. Who’s got the key to the locker where all the Republicans’ balls and backbones are being held? Come on now. We desperately need those organs of courage to be returned.”

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