A pre-boomer retires, a post-boomer probably comes next

It has been a big week in news about the Supreme Court. A huge week in fact. Not just its decisions, but its direction. The thing is, according to BoomerCafé co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs in this Boomer Opinion piece, none of it should have happened.

A friend sent me an email today that is circulating among conservatives, saying that while “there’s no shooting,” the Democrats are waging “a civil war.” Its hypothesis? That Democrats “don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win.” That “when you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.” That the Mueller investigation “is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election.” It even shamelessly cites “the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice.”

My response amounted to three words: Think Merrick Garland.

Merrick Garland is the Chief United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has served on that court since 1997.

Baby boomer Garland, for those with a short memory (such as every Republican who takes pride in the conservative direction of the Supreme Court), is the federal judge nominated to the Court by Trump’s predecessor, President Obama (another boomer), after the death of Antonin Scalia (definitely pre-boomer). Nominated, if you need to be told, in keeping with the Constitutional requirement that the president “shall nominate … Judges of the supreme Court.” Nominated, if you need to be reminded, ten months before the end of Obama’s term

But because Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (another pre-boomer) shamelessly held up the nomination because, as he put it, Obama shouldn’t be able to “pack the court,” progressive Merrick Garland still sits on the United States Court of Appeals in Washington DC. Conservative Neil Gorsuch (not even old enough to be a boomer) sits on the High Court.

Am I litigating an old grievance? Yes. But with a purpose. For with the three sweeping decisions by the Court just this week, and then the news that with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy (way before boomer), Trump (the oldest boomer) now gets to name a second consistently conservative nominee, the state of the nation takes a troublesome turn. Already because of this week’s decisions, Trump’s hate-driven travel ban will keep immigrants from fleeing their dangerous homelands for ours, anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” won’t have to tell the truth to expectant mothers about their ultimate goals, and labor unions, along with the whole principle of collective bargaining, are weakened.

What other destructive decisions come next?

Greg Dobbs

Had Republicans three years ago followed the rules, none of this would have happened. Yet they didn’t, which is why Mitch McConnell is being given credit by his party for the week’s precedent-shattering Supreme Court decisions. Which is why he is parading in the party’s plaudits. But which also is why his amoral maneuver to pack the Court his way deserves re-litigation. To remind people, these changes in the nation’s once proud course are built on an illegitimate foundation.

McConnell started this pathetic mess in 2015 by saying in a statement only an hour after Scalia’s death was announced, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.” Newsflash: “The American people” had re-elected Barack Obama to his second term in 2012 (making him the last president to win both the popular and electoral college votes). I’d guess they knew it was for the full four years. And if they didn’t know, the Constitution laid out the president’s prerogatives in black and white: “He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years.”

What could we conclude at the time? That the Republicans, sometimes sworn defenders of the Constitution as the written law of the land, other times believe in some kind of unwritten law when the Constitution’s clarity doesn’t comfort them.

What’s more, McConnell once wrote, “The President is presumably elected by the people to carry out a program and altering the ideological direction of the Supreme Court would seem to be perfectly legitimate part of a presidential platform.” Caveat: he wrote that back when the president was a Republican. How forgetful he became. How convenient.

It’s important to be reminded of all this. Not that it changes anything today. But it could influence Americans to make fundamental changes tomorrow. Even those who love what’s happening might heed the words of the man whose death led to this whole travesty: Justice Scalia himself. He wrote, the year before he died, “Ours is a government of laws and not of men.”

If the “men” of the Republican Party had let the law do its work, we would be a different nation today. At least in principle, even Scalia would have approved. But we’re not. Because the Republicans waged a civil war, not the Democrats.

Think Merrick Garland.

Greg’s book about the wacky ways of a foreign correspondent, Life in the Wrong Lane, is available from Amazon.

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6 Comments

  1. I am not a neocon. I am not a republican. I, just for the record, am a ‘non-democrat.’ I’m a non-democrat because the democrat party, the party of my parents and my young adult years, does not exist anymore. It has been taken over, or morphed into something more like a socialist party on steroids.

    In your piece, you say that ‘some say that,’ “Democrats “don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win.” That… the Mueller investigation “is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election.” And also that, there was an “… attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice.”

    Well, actually, I think all the above is true. The democrats, the leaders, saw Trump’s election as unacceptable. They have never accepted it. They fantasize about impeachment. We even have had a real illegal attempt by Obama’s weaponized FBI and Judicial Department, to ‘stop Trump.’ Mueller’s investigation is obviously an attempt to ‘get Trump.’ It has gone on since Trump was elected and has of yet produced no evidence of Trump/Russia collusion, while much evidence of Clinton/Russia collusion and FBI (paying for the Steele dossier)/Russia collusion has surfaced. And, finally, yes there was some idiot, a democrat loyalist, who went to a Congressional baseball game with a gun, to kill Republicans. The guy’s affiliation with the democrat party, and his intention to shoot republicans is NOT disputed.

    And, in conclusion, there is a cultural war going on. Obama and the democrats waged one for eight years. Evidence of this cultural war surfaced early with Fast and Furious, the Obama/Holder scandal that put ‘assault’ weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, in the hopes that when they used them, there would be further outcry to ban ‘assault’ weapons. Well they did use them, on American border guards. More evidence of the culture war surfaced when Obama weaponized Doris Meissner and the Internal Revenue Service and they started harassing Republican and conservative voting groups. Obama also weaponized the EPA to go after a famous guitar manufacturer who unfortunately, donated money to conservative causes.

    So, as far as a culture war is concerned, yeah, we got one. And now for the first time, we have a president who’s fighting back. Hence all the ‘dump Trump’ hate.

    So far, the culture war has, with the exception of the aforementioned shooting, and others) remained on the media and social network battlefield. Let’s hope it stays there. But I don’t think it will when the rhetoric keeps being anted up day by day.

    1. I love how Republicans conveniently forget how they spent two-and-a-half years and 52 hearings investigating Benghazi. They came up with nothing except trying to damage Hillary Clinton. After the November 2016, Trey Goudy and his fellow Republicans just gave up on Benghazi.

      Republicans also spent SIX years investigating the Clintons’ failed Whitewater land deal in Arkansas in the 1990s. Not only did the Clintons lose $100,00 of their own money, but Whitewater happened in the 1980s–BEFORE Bill Clinton was elected president. The Republicans didn’t give up until the stumbled on a spot on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress. Lewinsky herself later said she wasn’t sure if that spot was ranch dressing or semen. So, the Republicans spent $35 million tax dollars investigating what might have been a ranch dressing spot.

      The Mueller investigation is NOT about bringing down Trump. It’s about getting to the bottom of how our election was influenced by Russia. Why does Donald Trump LOVE Vladimir Putin and show disdain for Canada and our other allies? Why did so many people on Trump’s campaign have so many ties to Russia? Ties that have been confessed to and documented with provable evidence.

      By the way, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein and James Comey are ALL life-long registered Republicans. But, Republicans conveniently forget that. Also, 20 criminal indictments, 5 guilty pleas, and 2 people in jail–all related to Trump’s campaign–is no witch hunt. Every one of those criminal indictments, guilty pleas, and jail sentences were all processed legally according to our sacred Constitution and rules of law.

      I truly wish that Donald J. Trump loved America, our Constitution, and our sacred institutions as much or more than he loves Russia. Follow the money.

  2. Everything Paul said is correct. The Democrat of my youth and career is no more. It is a party I don’t even recognize. Now led by a Group of individuals they are as wacko as the wacko in the White House. I am glad I am old but feel sad for my children and grandchildren.

  3. Greg. Unlike you to leave out the middle of the statement, especially given how important it is to the point you’re making. The Constitutional requirement is that the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court…” No Senate consent, no appointment. Separation of Powers Doctrine.

    Trump’s hate-driven travel ban will keep immigrants from fleeing their dangerous homelands for ours? Not to mention the terrorists sneaking in with them, same way they got into Europe? Not hate-driven, but driven by a need to protect the country from unknowable and unvettable people who want nothing more than the chance to kill us. We have enough home-grown wackos working on that without importing more.

    As far as packing the courts, remember, if you will, who initiated the “nuclear option”. Wasn’t conservatives, thank you Harry Reid… Democratic Senators Schumer and Coons are both on record as regretting that manuever now.

    “altering the ideological direction of the Supreme Court would seem to be perfectly legitimate part of a presidential platform.” Again, doesn’t happen without the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate. Separation of Powers under a government of laws.

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