Gorsuch nomination in danger, and other news

As my CNN news bulletins tell me, Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court justice is in serious danger. Gorsuch needs 60 “yes” votes in the Senate for confirmation, and there are only 52 Republicans. Further, several key Democrats, including Chuck Schumer, have already said they’ll vote no on Gorsuch. So did Bernie Sanders.

My view? Given that the Republicans unconscionably and reprehensibly held up the nomination of Merrick Garland until after the election, this is not only payback, but payback that’s warranted since Gorsuch himself will tilt the court to the right for many years to come.  Although I don’t like stalling the legislative process, like holding up budgets, in this case I think it’s justified. The Democrats should stick together and vote “no” on every one of Trump’s choices until he nominates a centrist to the court. Until then, the Court can proceed with eight members, which is fine by me.

And I note with approval that the “TrumpCare” bill, which will render millions more Americans unable to afford healthcare, appears deeply mired in Congress, with Republicans unable to agree on it. The conservative Republican Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives wants an extreme version of the bill that doesn’t appeal to mainstream Republicans (if that’s not an oxymoron), but won’t approve a bill that the mainstream GOP wants. No Democrat will vote for the bill. The passage of the bill, then, is stalled by an internecine war between “mainstream” and conservative Republicans.

What the Republicans are doing is madness. Their only goal is to undo Obama’s Affordable Healthcare bill—simply because it was enacted by Obama. They have no credible replacement, and the government’s own nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that under the Republican bill, 24 million fewer Americans will have healthcare than under Obama’s present plan. That is a lot of sickness, death, and disease—all to get back at Obama. In other words, Republicans, to make a political point, are willing to let many Americans die.


  1. BobTerrace
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    They need to vote on Garland before Gorsuch.

  2. Dave
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    “…under the Republican bill, 24 fewer Americans will have healthcare than under Obama’s present plan.”

    That doesn’t sound like much of a change! (I assume you mean 24 million).

  3. Stephen Barnard
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I can’t tell which outcome will be worse for the Republicans: passing the bill, or not passing the bill.

    Even if it passes to has no chance in the Senate. I predict the House will pass the bill in a party-line vote, then hand off the hot potato to the Senate, so they can claim they kept their promise and blame the Senate for the bill’s failure.

    • eric
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      I agree, IMO the House will pass something. What the Senate bill ends up looking like, and what the reconciliation bill ends up looking like, will still be anybody’s guess. So while the House bill’s craziness is concerning, it probably isn’t the end of the world.

      I also think Gorsuch will be confirmed, though the timeline on that one is likely to be longer than ‘this week.’

      • eric
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Well, I will have to say I was wrong…for this week. But I think the house will still pass a ‘repeal-obamacare’ bill fairly soon. The end of this week was Ryan’s deadline, but there is no reason to think they can’t continue to try and pass a similar bill.

  4. bluemaas
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Quite an interesting historical read … … thus !


    • Randy schenck
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      The one that jumps out for me is Jackson nomination of Roger Taney. He certainly did his part to start the civil war and make some of the worst decisions ever. Dred Scott was probably the worst decision and even caused another justice to resign from the court.

  5. Kevin
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Who will replace Gorsuch? Gorsuch 2.0? Or worse, Ghost-of-Scalia-Holy-See-Wannabe?

    There are millions of people in America who love, or at least find Gorsuch acceptable. Better time spent imparting critical thinking skills to these people.

  6. Historian
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the Democrats should filibuster Gorsuch because it would be payback for Merrick Garland and Gorsuch would be Scalia-like right winger on the court. I don’t think the Republicans can get 60 votes to confirm him. Some say, right wingers I suspect, that if the Democrats filibuster the Republicans will go “nuclear’ and end the filibuster rule regarding Supreme Court nominees. I say, so what? Either way – without the Democrats filibustering or the nuclear option – Gorsuch gets confirmed as will any future Trump nominees for the Supreme Court. At least, with the filibuster ended, when the Democrats retake the Senate sometime in the future, they won’t have the filibuster to block a Democratic president’s nominees. Also, there is no guarantee that the Republicans will go nuclear. There are several Republican senators who consider the filibuster sacrosanct. My conclusion is that the Democrats have little to lose invoking the filibuster. They will show their base that the party has finally gotten some backbone and will not cave to another of the endless Republican threats.

    At this time it is unclear whether Trumpcare will pass the House. The far right-wing “freedom caucus” is making extreme demands on Paul Ryan. Even if it should pass the House, the bill will likely die in the Senate. Obamacare may live another day. Trumpcare’s failure will be a great embarrassment for the current president, who really doesn’t care an iota for what is in the bill. All he wants is the bill to pass so he can declare he got another win. Trumpcare is hardly a health bill at all. It is more a tax cut bill for the very rich. It seems that even some of Trump’s supporters see this.

  7. Randy schenck
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I see nothing in this post that I can disagree with. So much for the art of the deal. Trump is finding he cannot threaten a bunch of politicians and his credibility is zero. Notice also that his chip off the old block, jr. stuck his foot in his mouth concerning the mayor of London. Apparently just like the old man.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      I just googled that. Apparently idiocy is hereditary. To be precise, Trump Jr appears to be just as big a fucking idiot as his father. 😦


  8. eric
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    In other words, Republicans, to make a political point, are willing to let many Americans die.

    Not just willing, eager. Ryan stated publicly that it has been a dream of his since college to reduce availability to medicare. For our non-American readers, that’s the program that provides health care to our poorest citizens, many of our oldest citizens, people so disabled they can’t work, and the children of people who can’t afford health insurance. These are the people Ryan has dreamed of taking health care away from since his college days.

    ‘Uncaring’ can barely be seen in the rearview mirror. We’re into ‘actively malicious’ territory now.

    • Historian
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      I think you mean medicaid, not medicare.

      • eric
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Err, yes. But it was also Medicaid that Ryan talked about. I just mistyped. 🙂

      • Randy schenck
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes but Paul Ryan famously put forward a plan to privatize Medicare as well. He was once all in for that but found few with the stomach for it. He is beyond bad.

        And I would just remind all that Medicaid is what finances just about 100% of the nursing homes in America. Without Medicaid and title 19 you can die in the streets unless you have kids who will take care of you while you die.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          So, ObamaCare is an expansion of Medicaid? The names are confusing to me as a foreigner.

          • GBJames
            Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

            It includes an optional expansion of Medicaid. Some states (mostly led by brain-dead Republican ideologues) declined the option. Because, well…

          • Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            One way to remember the difference between Medicaid and Medicare is that “-aid” with a “d” is for the destitute, while “-care” with an “e” is for the elderly. That’s a bit of an oversimplification, but it helps.

            • HaggisForBrains
              Posted March 24, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

              Thank you, that helps. Up until today I was unaware that there were two different types of US medical care.

              • GBJames
                Posted March 24, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

                There’s those, then there’s also employer-offered insurance. And then there are the healthcare exchanges that the ACA created.

                Because single payer systems are socialism, doncha know.

              • Posted March 27, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

                There’s way more than two. Those are two of the three government run systems (the third is the VA for veterans). Private insurance is completely separate, and is usually, but not always, linked to employment. It’s a mess.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Oh, but they are soooo concerned about unborn babies!!

      • Elizabeth
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Except that they are unwilling to provide pre-natal care.

        • Pali
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          Or post-natal care, particularly if it comes in the form of support to poor people.

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        Actually, they only pretend to care about them.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

      The conservative approach to health care at least since Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol: “If they would rather die,’’ said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

      American and the world are faced with huge environmental and geopolitical problems, demanding the utmost in creative thinking, resolution, and hard work. So, what’s the first priority of the new republican majority in congress? To deprive 20 million people of health insurance.

  9. David Duncan
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Gorsuch is probably to the left of Scalia, if so the court will become more centerist if he is confirmed. He was confirmed by voice vote in the Senate in 2006, so why are the Democrats playing hardball now. Democrat presidents have replaced “conservatives” with liberals in the past, so what’s wrong with the reverse?

    As to the ACA, a number of my conservative and libertarian friends are against it, as well as the proposed Republican replacements. I’ve heard many horror stories about increased premiums and increased deductibles.

    If the Democrats try to block Gorsuch (as they did with lower court appointments by Bush) the Republicans will just use the nuclear option.

    • eric
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      He was confirmed by voice vote in the Senate in 2006, so why are the Democrats playing hardball now.

      Payback over Garland’s shoddy treatment, I expect. Your question “what’s wrong with the reverse” misses the obvious point that Republicans did not allow the reverse – they did not allow a Democratic president to replace Scalia with a centrist.

      I would disagree, however, that a voice vote in 2006 is relevant. 11 years is a long time; a judge can make a lot of good and bad decisions in that time, or get into personal trouble, etc. It is IMO perfectly reasonable to think that someone vetted in 2006 should be re-vetted in 2017 before being approved. Heck, most executive agency branches re-vet their secure personnel every 5 years or less.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        I would be in favor of some mechanism for vetting presidential candidates. I’m not sure how that could be structured, but it should be an analysis of a candidates fitness to serve. A candidate with a severe heart condition liable to failure within 4 years would be blocked. A person who’s personality and intelligence made him likely to be severely incompetent would likewise be disqualified. Need I say more?

        • eric
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          The argument is that the election process is the most severe vetting needed.

          As one congresscritter said to me: “500,000 people reviewed my record and awarded me my position. How many people sat on your PhD defense – four?”

          • rickflick
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            I guess I just don’t trust 40% of voters. They seem clueless. Maybe a smaller number of more choosy choosers would make me happy. But which choosers, I couldn’t tell you.

            • HaggisForBrains
              Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

              Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who chooses the choosers?

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            The flaw in that argument – if I may indulge – is that the 500,000 people do not each hold elected office, while the thesis defense positions degree holders against an individual who is seeking that degree. Completely different scenarios – but a predictable argument from a politician.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      From articles I read, Gorsuch is to the right of Scalia; very far right.

      • Kevin
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        It does appear that’s true:


        However, Scalia believed the Dark Lord walked among us…a true Medieval Man.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        I’ve watched some of his hearings and some commentary and I’ve concluded that, not only is he Scalia-like in his conservatism, but he seems to have a mental block involving the application of law to facts which biases him against those who are in dire need and in favor of those who’s risk is negligible. In other words, he searches for the narrowest interpretation of the law as if to challenge the congress to rewrite it.

        One of Gorsuch’s narrow decisions was used in a case before the SCOTUS which was just overturned involving state responsibility to provide education for a disabled student:

        “Gorsuch’s interpretation was pursuant to which a school district satisfies federal law, and does not need to reimburse the cost of private education, so long as it provides educational benefits to disabled students that are ‘more than de minimis.’ ”

        In Wednesday’s opinion, the Supreme Court stressed that more was required by the federal statute.

        There seem to be a significant number of these kinds of decisions from Gorsuch. I find this not too promising.

  10. busterggi
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    This brings out the supervillain in me, I have to work on not maniaically laughing outloud.

  11. Heather Hastie
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    There have been plenty of threats that the nuclear option for Supreme Court nominations will in invoked. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

    Judge Garland should have at least had a hearing. 293 days. That’s how long he languished, which is more than twice as long as any other nominee. Disgraceful.

    And even if you don’t think Gorsuch is extreme now, he’s the youngest nominee ever. In 30 years there’ll be no doubt about his extreme conservatism and unsuitability for the post in the modern world.

    The Family Research Council have come out in support of Gorsuch. The revolting Tony Perkins has said how he’ll help them enact their agenda. That would be disastrous.

    On Fox News they’re painting Gorsuch as a centrist that the Dems can’t find any problems with, so they should just get on and confirm him.

    • eric
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      In 30 years there’ll be no doubt about his extreme conservatism and unsuitability for the post in the modern world.

      Oh, you never know. A statistical trend doesn’t necessarily dictate the leanings of any particular judge, but at least one possible reason why conservatives go to such great lengths to vet their nominees for ideological purity is that conservative supreme court justices don’t tend to stay ideologically pure when you give them a lifetime appointment to the bench.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        That’s true. Let’s hope it happens this time too.

    • Historian
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      “And even if you don’t think Gorsuch is extreme now, he’s the youngest nominee ever.”

      Not true. According to Wikipedia, “the youngest justice ever appointed was Joseph Story, 32 at the time of his appointment in 1812.” Gorsuch is 49.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the info. 🙂

  12. Jacob
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    What made you change your mind? Previously you wrote:

    “But, mindful of l’affaire Merrick, Senate Democrats will be putting up a fight on this one. I’d say that they shouldn’t do that, as it’s just as obstructionist as we have accused Republicans of being.

    What happened to Merrick Garland was reprehensible, but we can’t compensate for that by going after Gorsuch. Time to suck it up, for that’s all we can do.”

    • Craw
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Filibustering Gorsuch is folly. He is a very qualified candidate, and there will be no support from moderates for stopping him. It gives the GOP a chance to kill the super-majority rule on a popular nominee, and then use it later for a much more divisive one.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Your reasoning probably sounds just fine to the republicans. I think Trump deserves all the pay back he can get.

      • Historian
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        I distinguish between qualified and credentialed. Gorsuch has the credentials to be on the Supreme Court, i.e., law degree and experience. To declare somebody qualified is a matter of opinion. To be qualified for a position a person needs to demonstrate that he/she carries out the duties in a proper manner. I contend that for those who vigorously disagree with Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy he is not qualified. Would you want a surgeon to operate on you who has graduated from Harvard Medical School, but is known to have botched many surgeries? Credentials are not all that important.

        As I explain in comment #6, the smart move is for Democrats to filibuster. I don’t think Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would announce a filibuster unless he was sure that it would prevail.

        • Craw
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          You say qualified is a matter of opinion but your analogy is about botched operations. A little consistency would be nice.

          Filibustering Gorsuch is an own-goal. Watch and see.

          • Historian
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            Where people get their degrees does not necessarily indicate that they can perform their jobs well. If a surgeon botches one out of ten operations then would you say he is qualified to do that job? Probably most would say no, but it is a matter of opinion. Likewise, if a person believes that a judge consistently rules mistakenly then that person would not consider the judge qualified do his job. Other people, with a judicial philosophy more consistent with that of a judge, would say he is qualified. This is why in the business world people are not hired simply because they have a degree from a prestigious institution. One employer may consider the applicant qualified, another may not.

            I have always found it absurd that until recent decades a nominee for the Supreme Court was determined to be qualified if he was well credentialed. I could not understand how senators could vote to confirm a judge who would make rulings totally inconsistent with what they believed in. It is true that some justices turned out to have a judicial philosophy, as reflected in court opinions, contrary to expectations. But, this has not been the case over the last few decades.

            Supreme Court decisions are often as or more important than most legislation. It baffles me how a senator could vote for a judicial nominee who believes things that the senator finds abhorrent.

        • mordacious1
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          I would think that a, as you put it, botched surgery, in the judicial sense, would be having a case overturned on appeal. This would be a senior panel of jurists telling you that you were wrong. AFAIK, Judge Gorsuch has never had SCOTUS overturn one of his written decisions (someone above commented that he very recently had one overturned, but I’m too lazy to track it down). He was on the 10th Circuit for 10 years, so that’s a pretty good record. I would say then, that he’s qualified in the normal sense of the word, and also qualified using your analogy.

      • Harrison
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Invoking the nuclear option is something that many wanted Senate Dems to do and which they refused because:

        1) Opponents can use it to campaign against them.

        2) As soon as they’re not the majority, it can screw them over.

        This applies to Republicans as well and they know it. Maybe they’ll still judge the short-term gain to be worth it. But it’s not risk-free.

        • David Duncan
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          On the other hand a group of moderates from both parties might form a new Gang of 14.

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s unhealthy to view it as “payback”. But they’ve all been manipulated into this position. I view it as a statement that they want a Garland-like nominee like is suppose led to be there.

    I’ve also read about the origins of the Supreme Court after thinking that it was bad to have one seat empty – turns out that as much as I don’t like it the court works with eight, and it wasn’t always as many as nine.

  14. Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I worry that the Republicans will repeal Obamacare and then blame the Dems for not approving the replacement.

    • Elizabeth
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      The NYT found an OCB analysis that showed that slightly MORE people would have access to health care if the ACA was simply repealed than if it was repealed and replaced with the AHCA. In other words, repealing Obamacare is better for America than replacing it with the Republican plan.

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        I like this article on the AHCA.

        Best line: “Under the GOP’s bill, the more help you need, the less you get.”

        If the aliens come down to kidnap one human being, my vote is for Paul Ryan.

        • Martin X
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

          But then they’d decide they need to destroy humanity for the sake of the galaxy.

          • busterggi
            Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

            And they’d probably be correct.

  15. Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m not so sure that they won’t take the nuclear option. And the next guy might be worse than Gorsuch. But I guess we ought to make them show their hand anyway and reject him. Anyone who votes for him will engender their own protests among what I call the “anti-T(rump) party.”

    • Harrison
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      “The next guy might be worse than Gorsuch.”

      I don’t think Trump is allowed to nominate himself though and in any case couldn’t serve as Justice and President simultaneously.

  16. Curt Nelson
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that Trump is likely to get impeached, either because he helped Russia skew the election or because his taxes will come out and reveal extremely unethical behavior. He’s a much lamer duck than Obama was when he nominated Garland.

    So no Trump nominee should be accepted until the Russia investigations clear him and his taxes show no serious wrongdoing.

  17. GBJames
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Somehow the death panels that we were warned against escaped the Affordable Care Act and became the Republican Party.

  18. ploubere
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. I just wish the dems had fought harder for a Garland hearing last year, but they were so sure Hillary would win that they didn’t try.

  19. Mike Cracraft
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    There is an upside to Trumpcare. If it passes,
    millions of Trump supporters get screwed and
    the Dems could very well take control of Congress in the mid term elections. Trump would go ballistic.

    • GBJames
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Then there’s the downside. Many millions of non-Trump supporters will also be screwed.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      That’s not usually what happens. Using the past couple decades (+) as an example, what would happen is that the Republican Party Machine would propagandize the shit out of it. They’d have a significant percentage of the voters that typically vote conservative believing that some how it is the fault of those evil liberals.

      That is exactly how we have arrived at a Trump presidency. It is just nuts to me how blind so many people are that they can’t see that the RPM lies outrageously and constantly. That all the evils the RPM accuses Democratic politicians of are outright lies or exaggerations while as soon as the Republicans themselves have the ability to do what they want they perpetrate those very same evils in spades. There are comments right here in this thread in which people are regurgitating RPM alternative history.

  20. bluemaas
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    If a smile is needed, then of The Bros of just a wee bit o’YesterYear, my favored one is

    Joe: “I showed Trump the drone strike controls in your top left drawer.”

    Barack: “Wha’?! That’s an etch – a – sketch, Joe.”

    Joe: “Yup.”

    And a second, pretty good ‘ne, too,

    Joe: “I left him a poem. Ya’ know, Vice Presidential tradition.”

    Barack: “Joe, that’s not a tradi … … ”

    Joe: “Roses are yuge, violets are bigly.
    I hope these four years go by very quickly.”

    Barack: “O Joe, that was beautiful !”

    ‘nd more, if still needed ! http://www.buzzfeed.com/robinedds/wave-at-the-people-joe?utm_term=.aszdg4P0X#.nn7XWYM2k


  21. Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    this election has never been about “what can you do for me?” but rather is all about “what can you do TO those I hate?”.

    And they are willing to suffer greatly for the pleasure.

  22. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    It is unclear whether mainstream Republican is actually an oxymoron or just and endangered species. With fellows like George Will (a mn-strm Rep if ever there was one) jumping ship, it seems a vanishing sight.

    Throughout the 21st century, I kept wondering if the Republican party can get any worse, and it keeps getting worse. When they adopted the Southern strategy (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy) in the 1950s and 60s, they ceased in any meaningful way to be the “party of Lincoln”.

    Jerry Coyne is entirely correct when he says “Their only goal is to undo Obama’s Affordable Healthcare bill—simply because it was enacted by Obama.”

    A secular amen to that!!

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Note on word usage:

      The other day Jerry Coyne said he was giving some assertion a “metaphorical” amen.

      But “amen” simply means “let it be so” or “it is so”, so I don’t think it needs to be declared “metaphorical” to be used in a secular way.

      When Sam Harris wants a secular usage for the word “spirituality” or Carl Sagan and Christopher Hitchens want a secular usage for “numinous” you sort of DO need to declare you are using these words metaphorically, given that “numen” refers to a divine power, etc.

      But I don’t think a declaration of metaphorical intent is necessary to use “amen” in a secular sense. One can just say “secular amen”.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Funny. I always thought AMEN was the same as I’m I right? I determined this while watching a SDA Pastor giving a talk. He seemed to use the terms interchangeably. Sometimes it would be – amen, followed by, A’m I Right?

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        How about Make it so?

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Another mainstream Republican defects to Democrats.


      • Randy schenck
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Yes, a republican in Hawaii is about as rare as a shirt with one color.

  23. tubby
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    You forgot that Ryan wants the ACA gone because if the poor have something then they can’t pull themselves up from their bootstraps or something, preventing them from having souls. I think. His comments were garbled. Except the part about how knocking the poor off healthcare has been his wet dream since college.

    And I apologize if I get caught in moderation Mordor, PCC. I am using a new VPN.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      ” . . . then they can’t pull themselves up from their bootstraps or something.”

      I wonder if the honorable Mr. Ryan thought that his presidential running mate was a “self-made” man who pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.

  24. Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    The Republicans will change the rules so a 50 vote win will be expected.

  25. Mark Reaume
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth Warren via twitter:

    “Neil Gorsuch is up for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court from a President whose campaign is under FBI investigation.”

    “But is the Senate really going to pretend there’s no cloud over realDonaldTrump & move on w/ the Gorsuch nomination like things are normal?”

    “The FBI Director testified realDonaldTrump’s campaign is under investigation for collusion w/ Russia. Lifetime court appointments can wait.”

    There is an argument to be made that isn’t of the tit-for-tat variety.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      What a poorly written article and the comments are straight out of a klan rally. What a waste of time.

  26. dale
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    The Republican’s in the senate will just change the rules and eliminate the 60 vote filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees.

  27. Rick Graham
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    This post will not age well. CNN? Really?

    If the Dems wish to die on the Gorsuch hill (replacement of conservative with conservative). The Republicans will use the Harry Reid Option. The Dems will have no fight when RBG goes. And Breyer. And perhaps Kennedy. 2024 is a long way off.

    Repealing Obamacare? The Republicans are not repealing it because it is *Obama’s* legacy. It is being repealed because it is not free market. It’s a failing crapulous mass. BTW it took the Dems more than a year to pass it with 60 Senators and 235 House members. Be patient.

    I am getting the popcorn ready for the perp walks of leaking Obama administration officials.

    • Harrison
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Funny that the thing they choose to replace Obamacare is virtually identical in structure but worse. Republicans who are against it are calling it Obamacare 2.0.

      7 years and they couldn’t come up with anything? But then if Obamacare is so obviously awful why replace it with anything? Might it be that they know that throwing a few million voters off of their insurance won’t play well at the polls and simply have NO ideas that are actually an improvement on the current system?

      Of course there are plenty of options better than Obamacare. Trouble is they’re all things Republicans wouldn’t touch with a 500 ft. pole, like single-payer.

      • Posted March 24, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        It seems to me that they did not expect to win and are now unprepared for the job of a ruling party, and improvising.

        • busterggi
          Posted March 24, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          Worst. Comedy. Night. at. the. Improv. Ever.

        • rickflick
          Posted March 24, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          Not expecting to win is not really an excuse for being unable to govern. They’ve had the last 8 years to plan their moves. What happened? Just now news is breaking that the GOP has canceled the vote on their health insurance plan, something they touted endlessly. A big, big fail. The fact is most Americans support the idea of insurance support. The GOP line reflects the fact that they are out of touch with regular Americans. The GOP members of congress are afraid they will be ejected without a parachute if they support an ideological pipe dream.

  28. Dan
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    From what I read, Gorsuch is a smart conservative that is less politically motivated like Scalia. He will probably be another Clarence Thomas. Which is bad for the left.

    But I think his temperament is a good fit for the SCOTUS. I would choose him over any other conservative in Trump’s shortlist. Even some liberal law profs are saying he’s levelheaded and fair.

    It seems his opposition is just sourgraping over Garland. And I can understand that. But I think Trump did the left a bit of a favor cause Gorsuch is the least bad choice that he could’ve made.

    • nicky
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      The least bad choice he could have made? With due respect, that is B.S.
      The best choice he could have made was Garland, showing Mitch and others who’s boss. 😆

  29. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Frankly I spend much less time worrying about a supreme court justice at this time and a lot more about things like the Affordable Care Act and what is planned after that. Nothing for anyone but the rich and worn out. If this so-called American Care thing goes down as it should, Trumps next couple of ideas are also dead. Way too much time and worry about 9 Judges who do not make the laws or spend the money. Besides, there is little that the masses can do about that, but plenty they could be doing about this so-called President. After what Congressman Nunne or whatever his name is did yesterday, I think Trump is in deep and the Russian connections will appear. Even the clown from Arizona is asking for outside investigation. Judges will be small potatoes when it all comes down.

    Focus on the Executive and the Legislature – you know, the people that are elected and live and die in the political fight and stop wasting energy on something we have little effect on.

  30. Lee
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    “What the Republicans are doing is madness. Their only goal is to undo Obama’s Affordable Healthcare bill—simply because it was enacted by Obama.”

    I respectfully disagree. The ultimate goal seems to be, as in everything else, to cut taxes on the wealthy. There is method in this apparent madness.


  31. nicky
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    As Randall Schenk noted, focus on Executive and Legislature.
    I think that following the ‘Indivisible’ strategy, the one that teabaggers used, is our (wel, your) only chance to have an impact. Not marches, especially when led by odious -even more odious than Trump himself- sharia proponents like Sarsour


  32. mordacious1
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    My requirements for SCOTUS nominees:

    Be well-educated. Gorsuch went to Columbia, Harvard Law and received a PhD from Oxford. Can we demand anything more? I think not.

    Don’t be a political hack. Gorsuch, from all accounts is not such. He certainly leans conservative, but he’s being appointed by a Republican, so…

    Don’t have a screw loose. This was Scalia’s problem Smart guy, but only 5 cans in his six pack.

    Don’t be rigid. Listen to arguments from both sides, then apply the law. The only area where I see Judge Gorsuch being rigid, is his adherence to the law as it is written. That may not be a bad thing (Dear Senator Franken: Want better legal decisions? Write better laws).

    My view is that the Dems should vote to seat Judge Gorsuch. Acting like a toddler just makes them look silly. Yes, I realize that the other side does it. So what? The Liberals used to be the educated, rational, thoughtful, mature ones. What happened to that? Now they just want to throw their toys out of the pram because they saw the other kid do it. Shameful.

    Considering the other clowns that Trump could have nominated, this guy isn’t half bad. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Republicans end up hating him (you heard it here first).

    • Historian
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      “Listen to arguments from both sides, then apply the law.”

      Statements like this annoy me greatly. You make it seem that the “law” is some clearly definable entity that all reasonable people should agree to in its interpretation. If this were the case, all reasonable judges would come to the same conclusion on a legal issue. This, of course, rarely happens in controversial cases. Important Supreme Court cases have been decided 5-4. Who are not applying the law correctly, the 5 or the 4? If rendering judicial decisions were simply the case of applying easy to interpret law then we would no longer need judges. A sophistical computer program could do the job.

      No, the law is often vague, ambiguous and contradictory. This is why two different judges looking at the same facts in the same case can come to radically different conclusions. In terms of Supreme Court cases, and, indeed, lower court cases, judicial philosophy often determines how a judge will rule. Judicial philosophies differ widely among Supreme Court judges, from those who are “originalists” to those who believe in a “living constitution.” As I have noted in earlier comments, it makes no sense for a senator to vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee whose judicial philosophy, i.e., understanding of the Constitution, is radically different from that of the senator’s.

      Let’s end the charade that a nominee should be confirmed simply because he/she graduated from a good law school (by the way, being a law school graduate is not a constitutional required for a person to sit on the bench) and seems to be a reasonable person. In reality, senators should vote for a nominee whose opinions are likely to be similar to their own. This was not always the case, but it is now, and is the only view that makes sense.

      • mordacious1
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 12:08 am | Permalink

        Go ahead and be annoyed. What you’re describing is the difference between those who feel judges should apply the law and those who feel they should make the law. Yes, two different judges may see a case differently, but in the contentious cases, it’s usually because one side is “reaching” to apply a particular law to a situation…or they are interpreting the law beyond the original intent in order to fill a gap where the law hasn’t kept up with the faster paced progression of society. Roe v Wade is an example. There’s no way that the formaters of the 14th Amendment in 1868 meant that it should cover abortions…or gay marriage. What should have happened in a perfect world, is that a new law should have been written to cover these situations, but since that would never happen, the Court dealt with it as best they could. This is a horrible way to make law though. That’s why we’re still fighting over Roe almost 50 years later. I’m not saying that Roe (or Obergefell) is bad, just that they would have less controversy and more permanence had the laws been produced in the legislative body (where laws are supposed to be made) rather than the judicial. Judges at the federal level are appointed, not elected and therefore don’t necessarily reflect the will of the people.

        We are always happy when a case like Roe or Obergefell or Brown v Board get decided, because it matches our view of how things should be. But what happens when the Court is packed with Trump appointees and THEY start making laws? We won’t be happy then, I guarantee it.

        • GBJames
          Posted March 24, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          “…feel judges should apply the law and those who feel they should make the law.”

          This old trope is very, very, weary. It wants to die. We should allow it to go gracefully into that good night.

          Judging is almost always about making a call in non-obvious situations. If it was any different we would need no judges. All that would be needed is a library of legislative acts and a look-up automaton. And it would make no difference at all which automaton was selected for the position.

        • Randy schenck
          Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          What I was describing is where you and me, the public, the voter, should be spending their time and energies. Going through histories of the supreme court or tons of dialogue on who will be the next Judge is a total waste of time. Do you select the judge, no. Do you vote for the judge, no. The only control you have is who you vote for in the congress and for president. If you want to act the constitutional lawyer, go ahead.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      “Can we demand anything more? I think not.”

      Well, I wouldn’t “demand” it, but, it would be to his credit to have more than a thimble-full of sweaty manual labor experience so as to have some empathy for and credibility with the “working class.”

  33. Scote
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    “As my CNN news bulletins tell me, Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court justice is in serious danger. ”

    I doubt the nomination is even remotely in danger. The Republicans *do not* need 60 votes to confirm him, they only need 51(50 senators plus Pence) because that’s how many votes they need to overturn the 60 vote rule.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 5:13 am | Permalink

      Paraphrased as:
      Q: How do you know when Donald Trump’s lying?
      A: He opens his mouth and noises come out.


    • Dan
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      Right, because we can trust the SJW rag when they claim to be for truth.

      • GBJames
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        We don’t need to “trust the SJW rag”. We have the Orange Wonder’s own words. On display daily.

      • jeremy pereira
        Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        The article links to the original transcript from Time magazine. You can go through it to decide for yourself whether the redactions are fair.

  34. Posted March 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    “In other words, Republicans, to make a political point, are willing to let many Americans die.”

    In the Twilight Zone episode “I, of Newton”, Sherman Hemsley is an unfortunate man caught in a literally hellish game. He accidentally squanders one of the few questions that he is allowed. Ron Glass (as the demon) smirks as he takes it away.

    “But that’s not fair!” the man cries.

    “Of course it’s not fair,” the demon replies. “We’re evil. Look it up.”

    • Filippo
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      I thoroughly enjoyed Ron Glass as “Preacher Book” on “Firefly.”

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