Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Biden Rule: When The Wingtip Is On The Other Foot

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:  Merrick, I kinda fubar-ed your nomination.

CHIEF JUDGE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS MERRICK GARLAND:  Yeah, ya did Joe. For totes reals.

BIDEN:  The damned Internet is forever ya know and they dug up that C-SPAN video of me saying, “Action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee…Otherwise we will be in deep trouble as an institution, stuck in a bitter fight, no matter how good a person is nominated by the president.”

JUDGE GARLAND:  Yeah, believe me, I remember it well and let’s not forget that time when the doofus standing on the other side of me filibustered the nomination of Justice Alito.  Why do you think I almost broke down in tears a minute ago?  You guys doomed me.  It’s as if the Sweet Meteor of Death swooped down and destroyed my chances.

BIDEN:  He said he regrets that.  Come on man, can I buy you a nice ice cream cone to make you feel better?

GARLAND:  You really are an idiot aren’t you?
Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University penned a piece for USA Today in which he noted, “Our political system seems poised to answer the question of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. The unstoppable force, Obama, insists that his nominee to replace the late justice Antonin Scalia be given a hearing and a vote. The immovable object is the Republican Senate, which is equally determined to prevent both. Who will prevail?”

A moderate could easily change the results in cases of unions forcing non-union members to pay dues; states crafting districts under standards governing one person, one vote; exempting religious organizations from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate; allowing universities to consider race in admissions; and exempting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Garland will be viewed with suspicion over gun rights. In 2007, a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit ruled against the city's handgun ban in Parker v. District of Columbia. In an unsuccessful move for a rehearing by the full court, Garland voted with three other judges to reconsider and was presumed to oppose the panel decision. The case went on to the Supreme Court and became known as District of Columbia v. Heller, the historic ruling recognizing the individual right to bear arms. For conservatives, Heller is gospel and Garland seems like a non-believer.

Turley postulates, “In the end, the only thing worse for the GOP in barring a vote might be allowing a vote that would literally wipe out core political issues ranging from abortion to affirmative action. A Republican senator can survive a role in obstructing a nominee but would unlikely survive a role in facilitating the loss of gun rights.”

Republicans have presented an impressive unified front against any hearing for the nominee.  However, five GOP Senators whose seats are considered endangered, Ron Johnson (WI), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Mark Kirk (IL), Rob Portman (OH) and Pat Toomey (PA) appear to be waffling. 

Hey, Chuck Schumer, life's a bitch when the wingtip is on the other foot isn't it buddy?

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