1. Vivec says

    As much as it would please my lizard brain to cheer the passing of an odious bigot, I have to say that I’d much have preferred he retire and live a long harmless life afterwards.

  2. illdoittomorrow says

    From the linked article:

    [Ted] Cruz added: “As liberals and conservatives alike would agree, through his powerful and persuasive opinions, Justice Scalia fundamentally changed how courts interpret the constitution and statutes, returning the focus to the original meaning of the text after decades of judicial activism.”

    I wonder how hard that asshole had to hold back laughter when he said it.

  3. jonmelbourne says

    Oh wow, I really didn’t expect Obama to get another appointment. Lets hope he makes it a good one.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    Please tell me a Kansas farmhouse occupied by a homosexual icon and a small terrier fell on him!

  5. tulse says

    I really didn’t expect Obama to get another appointment

    It’s an interesting calculus for the Republicans. On the one hand, they could wait out Obama in hopes of getting a Republican in the White House who can make the appointment. On the other hand, the election could also swing the Senate back to the Democrats, and with both a Dem president and Dem Senate, they could appoint a real progressive.

  6. bittys says

    I keep picturing this sequence of events:

    1. The Rebpublican led senate continues its pattern of obstructionism, and refuses to confirm anyone that Obama nominates
    2. The Democrats win the Presidency again
    3. The incoming President names a recently unemployed constitutional scholar by the name of Barack Obama to the supreme court
    4. Republican heads everywhere explode

  7. says

    First thing that came to mind was “This is the best thing he;s ever done for the court.”

    While I won’t “celebrate” perse, I am going to reserve the right to not feel any sadness or grief. This odious bigot had a direct hand in making life worse for millions of Americans, and now he won’t be able to anymore.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    To paraphrase H.L. Mencken: “Has it been duly marked by historians that Antonin Scalia’s last secular act on this globe of sin was to catch flies?”

  9. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    “One of earth’s nethermost terrors perished forever, and if there be a hell it had received at last the demon soul of an unhallowed thing.” -H. P. Lovecraft

    Huh, 11 comments in and no masturbatory, superstitious displays of piety and other-cheek-turning yet.

  10. Tethys says

    Please tell me a Kansas farmhouse occupied by a homosexual icon and a small terrier fell on him!

    I have that song running through my head too. Hi hoooooe, hi hoe hi hoe.

  11. unclefrogy says

    the question for the republicans going forward will be do they want to make the appointment of a new justice an election issue. Will delaying the appointment work in their favor or will in work in the democrats favor?
    Will Obama nominate someone who will easily when conformation due to their reasonable (conservative ) credentials or will he nominate someone more liberal?
    just my first thoughts
    more fun!!
    uncle frogy

  12. dannysichel says

    ” This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable.” – Antonin Scalia.

  13. unclefrogy says

    I think that the question really is a political one when it comes down to it not a legal one.
    Cruz shut the government down but it was not that wise of a political decision
    too much negative fallout
    uncle frogy

  14. Stardrake says

    bittys @ 10:

    My wife suggested an even better (as in, more conservaturd head-popping) sequence: Replace the word “Barack” in your scenario with “Michelle”…..

  15. Johnny Vector says

    …aaaand, off we go. With Ted Cruz leading the way, the call has already started up that it would be unfair to let Obama nominate a replacement. Cruz: “Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement.”

    That didn’t take long.

  16. Ragutis says

    Can the Republicans really leave a seat vacant until next January? Is the SC allowed to make rulings with only 8 members?

  17. illdoittomorrow says

    dannysichel at 19: Keep that quote handy. conservatives everywhere are already falling over themselves, lying through their teeth about Scalia. The passage you quoted ought to be read to them each time they open their mouths.

  18. millssg99 says

    “Now Clarence Thomas won’t know how to vote.”

    Maybe but Sotomayor follows Kagan and Kagan follows Ginsberg more than Thomas follows Scalia. But of course that is different.

  19. Scientismist says

    Scalia once wrote that it was a shame that government officials were no longer chosen through trial by combat, as that process led people to understand that government is chosen by and speaks for God. Maybe Ted Cruz can lead a push to change the Constitution so his replacement is chosen by dueling with gavels at 2 paces..? Scalia would have liked that.

  20. throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor says

    The longest it’s ever taken to confirm a SC nominee was about 130 days, if I’m remembering right. There are over 300 days left in Obama’s presidency. We’ll either see a new record or another conservative justice.

  21. Matt Cramp says

    Republicans are already stating they’re going to block anyone Obama nominates; Democrats are going to force the vote.

    It’s funny how much this election is going to come down to the influence of aggrieved white people who’ve been systematically lied to by their pastors and their leaders for decades.

    (I think it’s tacky to celebrate tragedy, so I’m not going to cheer Scalia’s death. For many people, though, the power he abused influenced and created many tragedies; it’s not right to celebrate his ‘achievements’ either.)

  22. says

    The Senate is controlled by Republicans. That means that they control the tempo of the vetting process as well as the confirmation of nominees.

    The Obama administration probably has a short list of nominees ready. If one of those nominees has already been vetted for another high profile job, Jeh Johnson, for example, as Secretary of Homeland Security, then there is some hope of shortening the vetting process. Johnson is a lawyer with a lot of experience, including General Counsel of the Department of Defense.

    What I expect from Republicans is all-out, hair-on-fire, panic mode, during which the Republican presidential candidates and every whacko in the USA does everything they can to keep any Obama nominee from being confirmed. They will fight dirty. They will shut down the government if they think that will help.

    Whackos will come out of the woodwork to shout that now is their chance to reverse the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, and to reverse Roe v. Wade.

  23. robro says

    Sure Republicans will block an Obama appointment…they can’t stop him from nominating. What happens if they loose the election, which seems likely at this point? OMG…now it’s a Clinton…or Jesus Christ that socialist Sanders! Smart move on their part. They might wish there was a moderate, black man making that appointment. And while their busy being obstructionists, perhaps they’ll piss off enough people that they loose their majority in the House and/or Senate. I have a feeling that some leveler heads among Republicans in Washington will say “wait a minuter” but then, they’ve already lost control of their party.

  24. says

    David Nir wrote about what Democrats could do to force action on a Supreme Court nomination.

    In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Republicans abandoned any pretense at decorum and immediately began issuing pronouncements as to how and when Scalia’s seat should be filled—namely, not by Barack Obama. […]

    There’s no law or Senate rule that can compel Mitch McConnell, the GOP majority leader, to allow a vote to proceed on anyone Obama might nominate. McConnell could choose to wait as long as he likes—indeed, he can wait until Republicans control both the White House and the Senate at the same time. And if that situation doesn’t obtain in 2017, he could delay confirmation hearings until 2021, or 2025—whenever the red stars finally align.

    Could “political pressure” move McConnell any more quickly? Unlikely. Republicans don’t care what the traditional media says about them—hell, they love to claim the press is their enemy—so even if a thousand newspaper editorial boards exhorted McConnell to move forward on a nomination, he’d just shrug his shoulders. And it’s even less likely that any Republican senator would find him or herself threatened for re-election because of GOP recalcitrance. […]

    But there is one force in this universe McConnell does have to respect, and that’s the nuclear option. In 2013, when Senate Democrats eliminated the use of filibusters for most presidential appointments, they still kept them in place for Supreme Court nominations. Therefore, even if Republicans lose both the Senate and the White House this November, they could still filibuster any Supreme Court pick that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders might put forward in 2017.

    And that’s why Chuck Schumer, who will replace Harry Reid as leader of the Senate Democrats next year, has to be willing to go full thermonuclear and end the filibuster once and for all if Democrats retake the chamber. In that scenario, a Democratic president could nominate whomever he or she likes, and the Democratic-controlled Senate could confirm that person, with as few as 50 votes since the vice president would break ties. […]

    But McConnell has to fear the possibility of losing his majority leader’s gavel—the Senate playing field doesn’t favor the GOP this year. And if he also fears Schumer will get rid of the filibuster even for Supreme Court nominations, then he’ll be motivated allow Obama to name a replacement for Scalia now. This way, McConnell would have more leverage. […] McConnell’s smart enough to know what the better choice is, and that’s acting now.

    But to push him into action, Schumer has to prove he’s ready to enter the launch codes and press the big red button.

    McConnell already said that President Obama should do nothing, that he should not pick a nominee, that we should wait until the new president is sworn in.

  25. says

    Marco Rubio: Next president “must nominate a justice who will continue Justice Scalia’s unwavering belief in the founding principles.”

    Mitch Mconnell: “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

    Ben Carson: “[…] It is imperative that the Senate not allow President Obama to diminish his legacy by trying to nominate an individual who would carry on his wishes to subvert the will of the People […] I call on the Senate to stop any attempts to fill this crucial seat until We The People elect a strong Constitutionalist this November. […]”

  26. carlie says

    Someone on twitter counted 17 justices who were appointed during an election year, including current sitting justice Anthony Kennedy (who spanned the gap from Nov-Feb, but took office in Feb of that election year). It’s not like this is a new thing, or that it’s common practice for sitting presidents to abdicate their jobs for an entire quarter of their term. I also saw something that said the longest confirmation ever took 185 days, much less than the time Obama has left in office.

  27. carlie says

    OH SNAP:
    Seen on twitter: “Apparently, the GOP thinks that black presidents only get 3/5 of a term.”

  28. says

    In theory Barack Obama could nominate someone who’s a Bush appointee but has otherwise distinguished themselves for level-headed decisions– someone like John E. Jones III, the Federal appellate judge who decided Kitzmiller, just for instance, was a Bush appointee and famously well-connected to the Tom Ridge machine. No one can call him a lib.

    Then all of the senate races this November, the Dems run on the platform that Republicans are incompetent and unable to hold an up or down vote, even for a Republican judge. Best case you get a much less conservative vote than Scalia and you pickup some senate seats.

  29. screechymonkey says


    Is there really nothing in the books preventing an indefinite obstruction for a confirmation?

    Nothing other than public pressure and Republican integrity. (Insert your own joke here.) As throwaway points out @30, this would be a long time for Republicans to “run out the clock” by historical standards, but of course we’re in a brave new world of partisan hackery.


    Is the SC allowed to make rulings with only 8 members?

    As has been pointed out, yes it can. (Under current law, any six justices constitute a quorum.)

    Based on past practice, any decisions that are 4-4 will be held and set for re-argument once a successor is appointed if that appears likely to happen.

    Remember that the constitution doesn’t even fix the number of justices on the Court. It varied a fair bit during the 19th century, but ever since FDR’s “court-packing” plan was threatened in the 30s, it’s stayed at nine.

  30. Kengi says

    Scalia was on a hunting trip in Texas when this happened. Texas can be a dangerous place for lawyers in their late 70’s to be on hunting trips.

    Does anybody know the whereabouts of Dick Cheney last night?

  31. says

    Full McConnell quote:

    The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.

    Senator Chuck Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair: [blah, blah], “standard practice” to not confirm a Supreme Court Justice during an election year. “It only makes sense” to wait [blah, blah]. By the way, Justice Kennedy was confirmed during an election year, so Grassley is spouting pseudo facts.

    Minority Leader Harry Reid: “It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat,” Reid said. “Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”

  32. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    From what I can see from the historical data, a vote will be held. Unless the rethugs find a smoking gun (like Bork and his “there is no right to privacy in the original constitution”), the rethugs will be seen as totally obstructionist if they vote the candidate down on party lines, showing their party is without any honesty, integrity, or ability to govern effectively. Which will kill them in close battles down the ballot.

  33. says


    Does anybody know the whereabouts of Dick Cheney last night?

    I know he’s not allowed near Louisiana or Washington state, his soul interferes with LIGO.

  34. Ice Swimmer says

    Lynna @ 37

    So Republicans don’t want Obama to follow the lead of Founding Father John Adams, who appointed John Marshall (who more or less made Supreme Court into a powerful branch of government) to the Supreme Court as one of his last acts during the lame duck session in 1801.

  35. says

    Josh Marshall predicted Republican obstructionism:

    As I noted in my post below, immediately after hearing of Justice Scalia’s death, I had doubts that Republicans could resist the urge from their party’s extremists to refuse to vote on a Supreme Court nomination this year.

    As we’ve seen from threatened debt defaults, routine government shutdowns and even the cooked up impeachment of a President going on two decades ago, there simply isn’t any institutionalist juice left in the GOP to resist yet another norm-violating power grab. And the truth is they’ve paid no price for the various other examples. Indeed, it is a sign of how far we’ve come that even mainstream Court watchers like SCOTUSBlog treated it as a given that Senate Republicans would take this course.

    Right out of the gate, conservatives were insisting that Republicans not allow President Obama to nominate another Justice to the High Court. And just moments ago, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would not allows such a vote to be held. So, in essence, this debate over whether to keep this seat vacant for likely as long as a year and a half lasted about an hour.

  36. says

    […]President Obama of course has the power to nominate a successor, with the consent of the Senate. In the ordinary course, because the opening was unexpected, the nomination would not be forthcoming for a couple of months and then the confirmation process would take several more months.

    Theoretically, that process could conclude before the November election. But realistically, it cannot absent essentially a consensus nominee – and probably not even then, given the stakes. A Democratic president would replace a leading conservative vote on a closely divided Court. The Republican Senate will not permit such a consequential nomination – which would radically shift the balance of ideological power on the Court – to go forward. […]

  37. jaybee says

    Republicans are going to cry foul that letting Obama nominate 3 supreme court justices would be excessive and letting one president have that much influence clearly is not good for the country. But they will fail to mention this:

    Nixon got four justices on the supreme court (even with his shortened presidency)
    Ford got to seat one justice.
    Carter didn’t have an opportunity to seat anyone.
    Reagan got four justices seated.
    George HW Bush seated two.

    So if you are keeping score, that is 11 justices in a row chosen by Republican presidents, and zero for democrats. And to further illustrate how far politics as drifted (well, yanked) to the right, many of those justices by the end of their time on the court were considered to be liberals.

    So, yeah, letting Obama pick three isn’t really something unprecedented.

  38. firstapproximation says

    I know he’s not allowed near Louisiana or Washington state, his soul interferes with LIGO.

    Not Cheney’s soul (he has none), but his evil aura. Physicists don’t really understand why, but it really fucks up the spacetime in his vicinity.

  39. robro says

    Interesting that Rubio and Carson appeal to ideological constancy. No president is required to nominate a justice who will continue the ideological bent of the previous justice. As is well known, Thurgood Marshall, one of the leading liberals ever on the court, was succeeded by Clarence Thomas. Enough said.

  40. tomh says

    With the Senate in recess until February 22nd, Obama could just appoint someone next week who would serve until the end of the year. Then we could see how the election comes out. Ike appointed Brennan on a recess appointment, so it’s been done before.

  41. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    During a retrospective of Scalia, reporting his demise, they showed a clip of him talking about the role of justices. to act on laws, as written, not to invent new laws.” Totally misrepresenting the role of the Supreme Court. The SCotUS puts laws on trial, not defendants. Ruling a law unconstitutional, negates it, does not create a new one. Just adds a precedent to judge all other laws by.
    recently was asked a hypothetical: could Hillary nominate Obama as a Justice to replace the next opening of the Court? The question was whether Obama was qualified to be nominated (Hilary was just shorthand).
    If a Rethug becomes prez, the question would be moot.
    It is kinda spooky that this opening has occurred so soon and from the demise of the most hated member (IMO) of the scotus.
    RIP (where the P is abbreviation for Perpetual Agony)

  42. taraskan says

    RE: Dick Cheney, the article did say he spent the yesterday quail hunting…

    A long arduous day of quail hunting or cover up? Going with 50/50.

  43. says


    With the Senate in recess until February 22nd, Obama could just appoint someone next week who would serve until the end of the year.

    The senate is in pro-forma session; someone shows up, gavels it in and out. They did this specifically so Obama can’t make recess appointments, and the courts have ruled that pro-forma session is enough of a session to halt recess appointments.

  44. says

    Senator McConnell said something quite different in 2005:

    The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules. They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation. In effect, they would take away the power to nominate from the President and grant it to a minority of 41 Senators.

    The Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote. I know that some of our colleagues wish that restoration of this principle were not required. But it is a measured step that my friends on the other side of the aisle have unfortunately made necessary. For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s “advise and consent” responsibilities to “advise and obstruct.”


    How the worm has turned.

  45. psanity says

    Antonin Scalia is actually the only person in the whole world I’ve ever wished with all my heart would be hit by a truck. He has done so much damage in the world, and on purpose.

    So, I guess there’s more evidence prayer doesn’t work.

    I don’t feel like celebrating. I suppose he has family who loved him. And I expect the next few months of the unending political nightmare this country has become will be just extra excruciating.

  46. says

    President Obama spoke about Scalia’s death. He praised Scalia for giving 30 years of his life to public service on the Court, and he offered condolences to Scalia’s wife and family.

    President Obama also said that he will fulfill his constitutional duty to nominate a successor, and that he expected the Senate to do their constitutional duty to vet the nominee and then proceed to a timely vote.

  47. pita says

    For all the shit everyone can and should give Scalia for his backwards opinions on like 99% of things, the man wrote some excellent defendant-friendly criminal procedure decisions, especially on search and seizure. He turned mandatory sentencing laws into guidelines. He ruined everything else he touched, so on balance him not being on the court anymore is a plus, but it’s not correct to say that he didn’t do anything good.

    Is it too soon to nominate Warren tho.

  48. carlie says

    In the ordinary course, because the opening was unexpected, the nomination would not be forthcoming for a couple of months and then the confirmation process would take several more months.

    Given the ages of the justices, I would be shocked if there wasn’t already a list of top candidates for replacement that Obama’s been sitting on.

  49. says

    Nominate Anita Hill! – You heard it here first!
    (See, ’cause then Thomas has a massive heart attack and Obama gets to make 2 nominations…)

    @22 Wow, I was wondering who would be the first to play the fear card this week. I was betting on either him or Hillary. I think Hill will lead into her electability argument with that. I know that’s not particularly fair, but Hillary’s campaign is kind of lacking in a real emotional moment, this might work for her. (If you play into the whole Hillary-Mind/Bernie-Heart of the party idea).

    Back to the issue at hand, though. I think Richard Posner would probably be the best possible nominee. I know we actually need another woman to make the court more representative, but we also need a palatable nominee. Posner’s a Reagan appointee, he’s been drifting to the left since, but he’s highly cited by just about every court and isn’t real controversial except to die hard conservatives.

  50. John Morales says

    Matt @32,

    I think it’s tacky to celebrate tragedy, so I’m not going to cheer Scalia’s death

    I’m not really singling you out [so, sorry], but yours is the best example hitherto of that particular sentiment.

    (You’re as much as saying that, did you not see it as tacky, you would)

  51. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re Warren:
    I too would dissuade her from being nominated. (I think) She is much better on the proactive side (crafting new legislation), rather than re-active (nullifying bad legislation)

  52. Becca Stareyes says

    I suspect if the Republicans try to delay, and the Democratic candidate wins in November (especially if the balance in the Senate shifts), they’ll suddenly find time to clear their schedule. Of course, if I were Obama at that point, I’d pick my favorite candidate and say ‘well, gentlemen and ladies, it’s either my choice or the mystery candidate President-elect Sanders/Clinton has waiting. Do you really want to drag this on any longer given how much you have obviously annoyed American voters?’.

    I mean, Hillary seems to be the Republican feminist boogeyman at this point, and Sanders is a self-identified socialist. Suddenly Obama might look like the better option. (Also, I doubt Obama could appoint himself to the Court, and maybe mentioning that the President-elect had talked to him about it and he hasn’t said no yet…)

    Of course, the Republican Congress seems to think actually showing they can compromise to do their jobs is some fatal weakness…

  53. says

    @69 Posner is quite old, he’s 76. This is a grim thing to say but he might only sit for 5 years ; Roberts was 50 when he was elevated, and it’s paid incredible dividends to Republicans and will continue to do so.

    @71 If not Warren’s mind is needed in the senate, her vote surely is.

  54. pita says

    @71, 74
    I somewhat agree that Warren is a better voice in the Senate, but for self-serving reasons I am going to stick with Warren to replace Scalia. I just really love bankruptcy law and SCOTUS’s bk opinions are always a little… completely terrible.

  55. says

    slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) #71 –

    re Warren:
    I too would dissuade her from being nominated. (I think) She is much better on the proactive side (crafting new legislation), rather than re-active (nullifying bad legislation)

    I’m hoping – and betting – that Sanders chooses her as his running mate. She can be trusted to make the SEC, EPA and others do their jobs. And if Sanders should happen to die (his age has to be addressed), she can be trusted to continue the same mission.

  56. Menyambal says

    Hmm. Maybe Obama could nominate one of the current presidential candidates.

    Obama should nominate somebody. Expecting him to pass on it is silly.

    Given how wrong Scalia was on the Second Amendment, I shouldn’t be surprised to see what kind of fans he has.

  57. Bob Foster says

    Justice William Rehnquist died in office on September 3, 2005. On September 29, 2005 John Roberts was appointed his successor. It took the Senate less than a month to confirm him. Think the current Senate will act as quickly?

  58. Al Dente says

    Obama has said previously that when he leaves the White House he wants to move out of Washington. So I doubt he’ll want to be a Supreme Court Justice. William Howard Taft was the only President who later became a Supreme Court Justice, actually Chief Justice.

  59. says

    I’m betting that the Senate not only won’t confirm any nominees, but also that the Republicans, having found that the Democrats are unwilling to take any sort of action to rein them in, will continue to block any nomination, if necessary via actual talk-continuously-until-the-other-side-gives-up filibuster, if the next presidency. The Democrats, having discovered in the last 8 years that it’s a lot easier to be a Congressman when you can blame the Republicans for not getting anything done, will make excuses to avoid stopping them, so that they can continue to coast along collecting donations from the rich while making excuses to everyone else. (That, after all, is what the DLC’s New Democrats have always dreamed of doing — with the Republicans in a majority, they don’t even have to pretend they care about the base any more.) And the country will gradually adjust to the idea that there are only 8 justices, until another one dies or retires. And another. And another, which will put the court below its mandated quorum; we will then see whether the right wing (which apparently includes many Democrats) would rather let someone moderately left of Scalia (the only kind of nominee DLC Democrats will make — the chances that Obama would even suggest anyone genuinely left of center are roughly the same as the chances that Hillary Clinton will concede the race to Bernie Sanders tomorrow) onto the bench, or whether it’s more in their interests to simply shut down the Supreme Court. If the TPP is ratified, corporations will have enough power to essentially override national governments at will, so it might be better for the Republicans to cripple the court.

  60. Tethys says

    President Obama also said that he will fulfill his constitutional duty to nominate a successor, and that he expected the Senate to do their constitutional duty to vet the nominee and then proceed to a timely vote.

    Excellent move Mr. President. Cast Scalia as a dedicated public servant. Continue to emphasis how failing to carry out your responsibilities as potus would be a dereliction of duty and unpatriotic.

  61. Pierce R. Butler says

    If the remaining court splits 4-4, the cases in question revert to the decision of whichever lower court heard it before.

    Mother Jones has an interesting summary of six pending major cases: they (i.e., staff reporter Stephanie Mencimer) project wins for labor & districting reform, losses for immigrants, a win and a loss for abortion rights.

  62. says

    I’ve been getting a lot of flack from slackjawed, pious-appearing yokels for supposedly celebrating that Scalia is dead.

    What they don’t get is this: I’m celebrating not so much his death as the fact that a) he can’t hurt us any longer and b) this is giving the GOP collective apoplexy.

    Some people can do such inhuman, harmful, dangerous shit that they don’t deserve “respect” any longer, not even in death. Scalia is one of these. All this “best legal mind in a generation” horse hockey is missing something important: high INT and low WIS do not a good civil servant make. Scalia was the embodiment of Lawful Evil with a scepter.

    All that “best legal mind in a generation” means is that he was exceptionally good at sliming and weaselling his way around the plain meaning and the spirit of the law, [i]all the while insisting at the top of his overburdened lungs that he was doing the precise opposite.[/i] “Excellent legal mind” is a backhanded complement in much the same way as “you are an excellent salesman” is.

    tl;dr: Good riddance and may he rot in the Hell he loved with such pornographic passion.

  63. says

    Marissa van Eck @86:

    What they don’t get is this: I’m celebrating not so much his death as the fact that a) he can’t hurt us any longer […]

    I haven’t gotten any myself, but I’m seeing it all over Facebook. Several of the gay sites have gay people commenting about how we, of all people, should be better. That to celebrate or applaud the death of Scalia makes someone a bad person somehow. And I’m like “no, it doesn’t”. Antonin Scalia was a man with a good deal of power and influence in this country, and he very often didn’t use his power in service to the citizens of this country. Very often, he used it to harm people. With him gone, there’s one less bigot in the world to shame LGBT people and treat us like scum and one less person to talk about how it’s A-OK to execute innocent people, The world is better off without him.

    I would not, however, say any of that to his grieving family or friends, bc that would be an assholish thing to do.

  64. says

    @#86, Marissa van Eck

    I’ve been getting a lot of flack from slackjawed, pious-appearing yokels for supposedly celebrating that Scalia is dead.

    Tell them: “If you can guarantee that all the harm he did while alive ended with his death, I will retract all my statements, send the family a wreath, and go into mourning for a year. But you can’t. The damage he did will never really go away. There are untold thousands of dead Americans and a million dead Iraqis because of the man he installed in the White House, and they aren’t going to come back to life no matter how hard you try to wave you hands and pretend that it’s all okay now.”

  65. rpjohnston says

    There’s the old canard about going back in time to kill Hitler. Can’t hang with t-rexes till that’s taken care of. We’re comfortable with the idea that truly awful, EVIL people need to die, even by unnatural causes if necessary. I see no problem extending that sentiment beyond Hitler. Just because he murdered and persecuted people through the legal system, cultural influence and degrees of separation instead of SS and prison camps doesn’t absolve Scalia of all the pain and misery his decisions caused.

    Good riddance and may our future be ever so much brighter.

  66. screechymonkey says

    Bob Foster @79

    Justice William Rehnquist died in office on September 3, 2005. On September 29, 2005 John Roberts was appointed his successor. It took the Senate less than a month to confirm him. Think the current Senate will act as quickly?

    You’re cherrypicking an unfair example, though. At the time of Rehnquist’s death, Roberts had already been nominated back in July to replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. And while I don’t think the actual hearings had begun yet, a lot of the preliminary work (document production, etc.) was.

    Of course, even taking the entire July – November time frame (or, for that matter, the time between Alito’s nomination as O’Connor’s “new” replacement in November 2005 to January 2006) shows that there’s more than enough time to confirm an Obama nominee before the next election.

  67. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    That to celebrate or applaud the death of Scalia makes someone a bad person somehow. And I’m like “no, it doesn’t”.

    Reminds me of shitty superhero storylines. “If you kill this remorseless, genocidal lunatic you’ll be no better than he is for killing scores of innocent people.”

  68. Nick Gotts says

    I’m very glad he’s not in a position to make crucial legal decisions (or indeed, any legal decisions) any more. How that came about is of minor interest.

  69. NYC atheist says

    Yeah, that never made sense to me either. Killing Darth Vader somehow makes you evil, never mind all the lives you save by doing so.

  70. blf says

    The conservatives are going to explode…

    Judging by the amount of spittle, fragments of twisted panties, and other sorts of shrapnel-from-loonies, I wonder how long they can keep up exploding in suicide tempter tantrums. Sooner or later, they are simply going to run out of gullible eejits.

  71. blf says

    Why bother with Darth Vader, who is fictional? Mr Lucas is the über-villian for unleasing such dross on helpless world. Multiple times. Remorselessly.

  72. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    I’m pretty sure the Conservatives are in a lose-lose position. If they make this an issue, and if Democrats can drum up the voters by emphasizing how important the SC is, then voter turnout will be higher. That’s always a bad thing, c.e. sunlight/bacteria.

    It was always one of the arguments some people turned to when wagging fingers at independent voters: “You mustn’t vote third party! The next president may not be all you want, but they are also going to pick the next nominees!”

    Well that’s an actuality now. We’ll see how that plays out. I mean, they will literally have to push the button knowing that if the Republicans gain the White House, they are pushing the button for a conservative justice.

    This is juicy indeed.

  73. Mobius says


    I must say I was thinking the same thing, the Republicans are going to go crazy trying to deep six the nomination.

    It could, however, backfire on them. It might just be noticed by the middle ground politically just how obstructionist the Republicans have become and end up losing them the Senate, and possibly even the House. Particularly if Obama picks someone popular that is just a tad left of center.

    As for Ted Cruz’s statement…”Persuasive??? And in just what fantasy world do you live, Ted?”

  74. Artor says

    Marissa van Eck #86
    Scalia wasn’t Lawful Evil, he only pretended to be. He was clearly Neutral Evil, as he twisted the law to mean whatever he wanted it to mean in the moment.

  75. EvoMonkey says

    Obama should nominate himself. Of course the Senate would never conform him as it stands now. But it would be entertaining to see the reactions from McConnell and all the the other GOP presidential incompetent candidates.

  76. goaded says


    Is there really nothing in the books preventing an indefinite obstruction for a confirmation?

    Yes, it’s called letting the children get their way until they get kicked out for being children.

  77. says

    18 Supreme Court justices have been confirmed by the Senate during presidential election years. Here are some of the most recent:
    Anthony Kennedy
    Frank Murphy
    Benjamin Cardozo
    Louis Brandeis
    John Clarke

  78. says

    Lies the Republican Presidential candidates told during the debate last night:

    TED CRUZ: “We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year.”

    MARCO RUBIO: “It has been over 80 years since a lame-duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice.”

    THE FACTS: Cruz is wrong. Rubio is in the ballpark.

    Anthony Kennedy was confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 3, 1988, in the final year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, by a 97-0 vote. That was a presidential election year.

    Presidents don’t appoint justices to the high court; they nominate them for Senate confirmation. Kennedy was nominated in 1987 and confirmed the next year. That makes Rubio closer to correct.

    Rubio and other Republicans argued that President Barack Obama, as a lame duck, should not fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia but leave it to the next president — which they hope will be one of them.

    But the example of Kennedy, who is still on the court, shows that presidents in their last year aren’t always powerless in shaping the court — and not shy about trying. […]


  79. Vivec says

    I was listening to the debate highlights in the car, and from what I heard, the debate moderator almost immediately called out Cruz on that one, and the audience booed.

  80. Vivec says

    Yeah here it is.

    JOHN DICKERSON (MODERATOR): So Senator Cruz, the Constitution says the president shall appoint with advice and consent from the Senate, just to clear that up. So he has the constitutional power. But you don’t think he should. Where do you set that date if you’re president? Does it begin in an election year, in December, November, September? And once you set the date, when you’re president, will you abide by that date?

    TED CRUZ: Well, we have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year. And let me say–

    DICKERSON: I’m sorry to interrupt, were any appointed in an election year or, is that just there were 80 years–

    CRUZ: 80 years of not confirming. For example, L.B.J., nominated Abe Fortas. Fortas did not get confirmed. He was defeated.

    DICKERSON: But Kennedy was confirmed in ’88.

    CRUZ: No, Kennedy was confirmed in ’87.

    DICKERSON: He was appointed in 87 — That’s the question, is it appointing or confirming? What’s the difference?

    CRUZ: In this case it’s both. But if I could answer the question–

    DICKERSON: Sorry, I want to get the facts straight for the audience. But I apologize.

    From here

  81. goaded says

    @36 Lynna, OM (quoting)

    But there is one force in this universe McConnell does have to respect, and that’s the nuclear option.

    Disposing of the filibuster is the most dangerous move possible. It is certain that the Democrats will be in the minority in the future, and it would allow the majority to make bad laws and appointments. By all means make the minority stand up and defend their position for hours on end (they can’t), but getting rid of the possibility is suicide.

  82. AstroLad says

    Marissa @86
    I wish I could have written that. I have the rage, but not the eloquence.

    Vicar @89
    “If you can guarantee that all the harm he did while alive ended with his death…” Keep that loaded in both barrels.

    Antonin Scalia was a disaster as a Supreme Court Justice, and a disgusting excuse for a human being. I’m far from a saint, but it will be my everlasting shame to admit sharing genus Homo with that excrement. 30 years of (dis)service? He died 40 years too late.

    I want to see the autopsy report. I predict that the ME will find a slug-being or reptilian from a bad sci-fi movie masquerading as a human.

    The Democrats need to grow some backbone and start ball-kicking Cruz, Mconnell et al. every time they blow another fart about blocking the nomination process. Kick’em twice for every lie about precedent.

  83. screechymonkey says

    Lynna @105,

    The other misleading thing in Rubio’s remark is that “lame duck” traditionally refers to the period between the presidential election and Inauguration Day. To claim that the entire final year of a presidential term is a “lame duck” period is a bit of a stretch of the term.

  84. JoeBuddha says

    “I did not attend the funeral, but I sent a nice note saying I approved of it…” – ???

  85. throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor says

    AstroLad @109:


    Just a gentle reminder that it’s generally frowned upon around here to use gendered violent metaphors.

  86. says

    Hillary Clinton’s comments regarding appointing a replacement for Justice Scalia:

    The longest successful confirmation process in the last four decades was Clarence Thomas, and that took roughly 100 days. There are 340 days until the next president takes office, so there is plenty of time.

    Well then some might say, “Well yes, but this is an election year.” Okay, but the confirmation for Justice Kennedy took place in 1988. That was an election year, and he was confirmed 97-0.

    So, as a presidential candidate, a former law professor, a recovering lawyer—and, frankly a citizen—to hear comments like those of Leader Mitch McConnell this evening is very disappointing. It is totally out of step with our history and our constitutional principles.

  87. says

    The editors of Salon weigh in on replacing Scalia, and on Scalia’s legacy:

    It’s ironic, to say the least, that the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, a man known for the legal doctrine of “originalism,” would immediately lead the majority leader of the Senate to declare that no nominee to replace him would be confirmed until a new president is inaugurated in a year’s time.

    The founders would very likely scratch their heads in wonder at Mitch McConnell’s odd statement that “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice, therefore this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” They would likely point out that the American people did have a voice in that decision in 2012, when they voted for Barack Obama for a four year term. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says after three years the president is no longer authorized to nominate Supreme Court Justices. […]

    What’s startling about McConnell’s statement is the fact that he said it so openly. It’s another example of the reckless disregard of political norms, traditions and the rule of law by the modern GOP. In the old days, they would have at least paid lip service to the idea that a president is obligated to nominate Supreme Court justices and the Senate is obligated to fulfill its advise-and-consent role. Sure, they would delay the nomination, but to just announce upfront that they have no intention of following the usual procedure is a new thing. They don’t even pretend to care about preserving the integrity of the institution.

    Last night in the GOP debate, all the candidates backed up McConnell. It would seem they too believe that even the pretense of normal constitutional processes is no longer necessary. This will be good to keep in mind as they bray incessantly about President Obama’s use of executive orders as if they were acts of treason. (By the way, his use of Executive Orders is right in line with all modern presidents, including Republicans.) […]

    The article goes on to discuss Bush v. Gore in detail, including the fact that Scalia claimed over and over that the decision was 7-2, when in fact there were four dissenting opinions.

  88. says

    What Ruth Bader Ginsburg said about Justice Scalia:

    Toward the end of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, tenor Scalia and soprano Ginsburg sing a duet: “We are different, we are one,” different in our interpretation of written texts, one in our reverence for the Constitution and the institution we serve.

    From our years together at the D.C. Circuit, we were best buddies. We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation. Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots-the “applesauce” and “argle bargle”-and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion.

    He was a jurist of captivating brilliance and wit, with a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh. The press referred to his “energetic fervor,” “astringent intellect,” “peppery prose,” “acumen,” and “affability,” all apt descriptions. He was eminently quotable, his pungent opinions so clearly stated that his words never slipped from the reader’s grasp.

    Justice Scalia once described as the peak of his days on the bench an evening at the Opera Ball when he joined two Washington National Opera tenors at the piano for a medley of songs. He called it the famous Three Tenors performance. He was, indeed, a magnificent performer. It was my great good fortune to have known him as working colleague and treasured friend.

    What Justice Scalia said about Justice Ginsburg:

    She likes opera, and she’s a very nice person. What’s not to like? Except her views on the law.

    Slate link.

    Statements from other justices are also posted at the Slate link.

  89. dianne says

    If the Republicans manage to block the confirmation of Obama’s choice for Supreme Court and a Democrat is elected president, his or her choice for the next nominee is obvious: Barack Hussein Obama, former law professor.

  90. says

    Actually, his advanced age was one of the reasons I considered Posner. Yes, he’s already said he wasn’t interested in being nominated, but that was several years ago. Someone might actually make a good case for him to consider this as a retirement. Plus, while he’s got liberal opinions on abortion and gay rights, he also is fairly conservative on some business decisions. The fact that he will likely not be on the bench for 20-30 years makes him more palatable to the Republican establishment, along with his pro-business views. He also has a more conservative bent on national security, privacy, and anti-trust. I predict that there would be a lot of big-pharma dollars behind any candidate that openly supported Posner, just because of his views on patent and copyright law. If the Rockefeller Republicans still existed, you could easily point to Posner as one of them.

    Basically, if a Republican candidate is already facing a primary challenge from Ted Cruz’s evangelicals and Donald Trump’s tea partiers, this is a harder choice to find fault with because you’re already not getting those votes. If you’re running in an open primary state, (not Utah), you’d also likely pull in some more conservative Dems or moderate independents to vote for you, too.

  91. Menyambal says

    Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life. The only time we get to celebrate an awful judge leaving the court happens to coincide with their death. I didn’t make the rules, and I didn’t want Scalia to die, I just wanted him out of the Supreme Court. I am not happy that he died, I am happy that his term ended.

  92. says

    Kengi, sigaba, firstapproximation (@44, 47, 53)

    Does anybody know the whereabouts of Dick Cheney last night?

    I know he’s not allowed near Louisiana or Washington state, his soul interferes with LIGO.

    Not Cheney’s soul (he has none), but his evil aura. Physicists don’t really understand why, but it really fucks up the spacetime in his vicinity.

    And there we have it — Cheney’s a demon.

  93. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life. The only time we get to celebrate an awful judge leaving the court happens to coincide with their death.

    Unless they resign (see O’Conner, Stevens , Souter). Granted Scalia wasn’t likely to ever resign.

  94. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    It was already established above that Obama has no interest in sticking around Washington. In any case, I suspect (and hope) that their next move will be dictated by Michelle’s career interests.

  95. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    (Apologies for the triple post.) Matrim, The Vicar, others, Democrats are a minority in the Senate. The have no control over the process. They can’t keep Republicans from holding up an appointment, they can’t go nuclear. The only thing they can do really is try to shame the Republicans into action, but shame is a concept beyond the grasp of the modern GOP.

  96. says

    @#122, What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym:

    Matrim, The Vicar, others, Democrats are a minority in the Senate

    Polls strongly suggest that the reason the Democrats are a minority in the Senate is that nobody believes, these days, that they are actually serious about opposing bad policy. The thing which kills turnout for the Democrats is not that people prefer Republicans, but that the Democrats have either given up trying or are actively assisting the Republicans, depending on whether you believe they are incompetent or malevolent.

    When Barack Obama dismantles his social media platform which had successfully engaged and motivated young voters in order to promote the main Democratic fundraising and publicity machine (which is mostly corporate-sponsored), young voters conclude — I suspect rightly — that Obama was merely using them to get into office, and they lose enthusiasm. When Hillary Clinton takes millions from the banks in “speaking fees” and then announces that she believes that the Too Big To Fail banks are not big enough to warrant government intrusion, even though they’re bigger than they were when they caused the crash of 2008, people conclude — I suspect rightly — that she is for sale to the highest bidder. When Barack Obama continues to compromise positions across the board throughout his first two years in office ostensibly to try to garner Republican support, when it was clear after the first two weeks to everyone who reads a newspaper or watches TV that the Republicans were going to refuse to do anything at all with him, people conclude — I suspect rightly — that Obama is unwilling to fight for them. When the news comes out that Hillary Clinton overrode the rest of the cabinet to force through the bombing of Libya which had such disastrous consequences, and then gloated about the bombing in press conferences until the disastrous nature became obvious, people conclude — I suspect rightly — that she is a war-monger as bad as Bush.

    Many Democrats claim that all of this is false perception. In a sense, that is irrelevant, because whether the perception is true or not, it definitely exists and it has a real effect on turnout. The Republican bench in every one of the last 4 presidential elections has been laughable; 40 years ago, none of these clowns would have lasted 10 minutes. They are only even remotely viable because voter turnout is so low. The perception must be fought if the Democratic Party is to remain a viable party — those white Baby Boomers who Hillary Clinton is appealing to almost exclusively are already no more than a plurality of the voting public, if that, and they’re gradually going to shrink to a minority and then vanish over the next several decades. The Democratic Party needs to show groups other than the white Baby Boomers that they (the Democrats) actually have their (those groups) interests in mind.

    To do this will require taking stands, including some which they know they cannot win. When Bernie Sanders pulled that filibuster back in 2010 to try and stop Congress from making the Bush tax cuts for the rich permanent, the Democrats in Congress rolled their eyes — but that kind of thing is what gave him the traction to run for President as an outsider to the party and, at the very least, put the establishment candidate in danger of losing the nomination. The Democrats have gotten a name for giving up, and to counter that, they’re going to have to take action.

    It would be nice if they took action by actually filibustering the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is a major disaster of a treaty (go read the Wikipedia article if you aren’t aware of it already — see how the sections on criticism and contention are larger than the rest of the article?) but since most of them appear to be wholly-owned corporate puppets at this point — the result of decades of DLC influence on candidate choice, for which you can thank the Clintons — that is not realistically going to happen. Nevertheless, they need to start taking stands, and what’s more they had better be stands on issues which are important to the young. (I say this as someone over the median age, incidentally.)

    See, the Republicans appeal mostly to demographics which are shrinking, and will almost certainly become a definite minority soon — people who belong to far-right versions of Christianity, and white racists whose bigotry overrides all other considerations when considering policy. But although those demographics are shrinking, they aren’t going to vanish. There are young far-right Christians, and young fanatical racists. The Democrats theoretically appeal — possibly in a weak way — to everyone else, but they have managed to lower turnout so much that their own consistent supporters are also a shrinking group, and unlike the Republicans, the Democratic Party’s key demographic is scheduled to vanish eventually. Increasing turnout is the single most important thing the party can do, and the single best way to do it is high-profile stands for good policy. The Hillary Clinton dismissal of even the idea of seriously trying to enact good policy is long-term political suicide for the whole party.

  97. dianne says

    @121 What a Maroon: To my shame, I have absolutely no idea what Michelle Obama’s career interests are. I agree that her career should come first from now on. OTOH, I wouldn’t take Barack’s desire to leave Washington as an absolute. Clinton wasn’t going to run for president ever again after 2008 either.

  98. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    When you say:

    I’m betting that the Senate not only won’t confirm any nominees, but also that the Republicans, having found that the Democrats are unwilling to take any sort of action to rein them in, will continue to block any nomination, if necessary via actual talk-continuously-until-the-other-side-gives-up filibuster, if the next presidency. The Democrats, having

    what specific actions do you suggest Senate Democrats take?

  99. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    I don’t know specifically what Michelle Obama’s career goals are, but she was a talented and successful lawyer before she set it aside for her husband’s ambitions. I just suspect (admittedly without any evidence) that they had a pact–8 years in the White House and then her career takes precedence.

  100. dianne says

    Makes sense to me, what a maroon. I hope Barack lives up to his promise better than Bill did. Is Michelle Obama a constitutional lawyer? Maybe she could be the nominee. Heck, she could be Barack’s nominee, though I suspect that would have an even lower chance of success than anyone else he could nominate. (Sorry. Having trouble letting go of the idea of an Obama on the Supreme Court. Perhaps it’s time for me to move on. Oh, I’ve got it: President Sanders nominates Clinton for the role! She’s already proven that she can answer ridiculous questions from the senate for hours on end without losing her cool or failing to adult. Why not?)

  101. says

    Jeb Bush said some more stupid stuff about choosing a replacement for Justice Scalia. This is in addition to the stupid stuff he said during the debate on Saturday night.

    It’s up to Mitch McConnell in the Senate. I’m not a senator. I’m not running for the United States Senate. If he’s going to take that path, I’ll respect that completely. What shouldn’t happen in a election year, a president in a very divisive kind of time, should [not] nominate someone and have it be passed. There shouldn’t be deference to the executive.

    I am taking a position. If there is an up-or-down vote, it should be rejected based on the history of how President Obama selects judges. If there’s no vote, that’s fine too.

    What I’m saying is there shouldn’t be — an Obama justice should not be appointed in an election year. Let this be an important part of the election process because there’s a lot riding on this.

    Cross posted from the Moments of Political Madness thread.

  102. says

    Alex Jones thinks President Obama murdered Justice Scalia, and he thinks that Obama plans to murder Trump next.

    Jones is a powerful voice on the extreme rightwing. Expect this latest conspiracy theory to gain a foothold, and then metastasize. I mean, it makes perfect sense, right (sarcasm).

    […] You just get used to this, Scalia found, it’s natural, nothing going on here, he just died naturally. And you’re like, “Whoa. Red flag.” Then you realize, Obama is one vote away from being able to ban guns, open the borders and actually have the court engage in its agenda and now Scalia dies. I mean, this is hard core […]


  103. says

    Elizabeth Warren responded to Republicans:

    Abandoning their Senate duties would also prove that all the Republican talk about loving the Constitution is just that – empty talk.

  104. says

    @#125, What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym

    what specific actions do you suggest Senate Democrats take?

    As I said before: the Democratic Party has decided that they’re not going to pick fights they aren’t sure of winning, and this is a mistake. (And before you come back with “do you want them to start picking fights they’re sure to lose?”, let me clarify: they have given up fighting on issues where the the result is not guaranteed to be a win, and that includes issues where they might have had full or partial success if they had been willing to fight, but because the outcome was in doubt they caved.)

    To counter this, they need to start fighting. In practice this means:
    1. Actually read every bill the Republicans actually propose, find the ways it’s going to screw over the public, and publicize that information as hard as possible. Being quiet and gentlemanly about this stuff is a dead end. Just to give a concrete example: Obama admitted in a speech — after the ACA passed, naturally — that single-payer was the only sane way to manage national healthcare. The sane thing to have done, if you accept that statement, would have been to shout that from every platform the Democrats possessed for months in advance — put it on the lips of every supporter, make the pundits talk about it, shove the facts in their faces as soundbites. If the Republicans were against it, it should have been their job to prove it wouldn’t work, not the Democrats’ job to prove that it would. But instead, the Democrats just kept mum. (Of course, that’s because the Democrats in general and Obama in particular had already sabotaged any sort of public plan — but if you’re going to take their word for it, that they were actually trying instead of putting up political theater, then failing to hammer on the idea at every possible opportunity in public was an obvious failure which should not have been permitted.)
    2. Actual filibusters. The Republicans are going to keep putting garbage bills out for consideration, and since the Democrats are compromised — thanks in large part to the Clintons, don’t forget! — by having a bunch of corporatists in the party who will support Republican garbage under the right conditions, if the Democratic leadership really wants to demonstrate that it is on the side of the voters, not moneyed interests, it has to take hard stances against bad policy, and yes, that means actually taking the floor and making the Republicans twiddle their thumbs. If the Democrats are actually on the side of good policy, as you seem to believe, then this should not actually be difficult, although it will require actual work as opposed to just sitting around. But as Sanders demonstrated in 2010, a filibuster which is forced to actually play out into a multi-hour speech is a fantastic opportunity to explain to the voters why you’re doing what you’re doing and what is at stake. The ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a great opportunity to do this, if the Democrats are actually even remotely progressive. If they fail to stop the TPP, it will be because they are not. And that, in turn, is an indictment of the policy the Clintons and their friends were upholding for decades, and fairly obviously continue to uphold. (Don’t look for Hillary Clinton to help with filibustering the TPP, though — although she finally bowed to voter preferences and turned against it, she’s been talking it up for a long time — 45 positive mentions of it in public speeches over the last few years.)
    3. A mini-plan to repeat: A. Write bills which are short, simple, and have small-but-populist (and preferably anti-corporatist, if we’re trying to shed the perception that the Democrats are just Republicans colored blue) goals. B. Publicize the content of said bills. C. Submit them to be voted on. D. If the Republicans refuse to let them reach the floor, publicize the fact, as loud as you can. Tell the press “we submitted a bill whose only purpose was to do [X populist goal], and the Republicans wouldn’t even let us vote on it”. If it gets to the floor and does not pass, again tell the press the Republicans killed this specific thing. If it passes, hey, the Democrats can chalk up a victory, and tell the press “we did it, we managed to pass [X]”. These big omnibus bills with a million features touching a million different aspects of policy mean that every bill is ambiguous; Democrats trying to do the right thing by voting for, say, relief for farmers, end up voting for private prisons, which really does help tar all Democrats with a regressive brush.
    4. Go after the banks. Now. As much as you possibly can, and at every opportunity. If the only thing keeping this from happening is Republican control — which is a lie, because the Democrats didn’t do anything when they had a majority in both houses, but we’ll ignore that for a moment — then make it clear that this is the case. Breaking the banking industry down is an enormously popular goal; even now, when the 2008 crash has faded from the headlines, support across the voting public for some kind of punitive action still hovers in the 75%+ range across the entire political spectrum. You could almost certainly beat “establishment Republican” candidates in Tea Party districts by running anti-bank Democrats, but to do this you have to make anti-bank Democrats plausible first.
    5. Specific recommendation: push as hard as possible to kill the F-35 fighter, and demand a thorough audit of all the processes which permitted it to keep going through budget after budget. If possible penalize the contractors who overpromised and overcharged.
    6. Get a team of people together who are loyal to the Democratic Party but not to any particular personality (or at least not to any particular personality they will be working with) and put them on permanent audit duty. Any time there is any kind of scandal or procedural flaw against any candidate, have them pick through the operations of every Democratic politician. If they find anyone doing the same thing, that person is stopped — either they lose all support from the party in a very public way, or they are forced to stop whatever it is which is wrong, depending on what the problem is. Any time the Democrats get caught doing the same stupid things the Republicans do, it tarnishes the party in the eyes of Independents. Sarah Palin got caught using a private e-mail for government business in 2008; Hillary Clinton had no business doing the same thing a few years later. (Indeed, although Clinton supporters want to dismiss the e-mail thing as bullshit, it is the only genuine scandal which was uncovered as part of the whole Benghazi stupidity; it shows that Clinton thinks that laws and regulations don’t apply to her, and that the public is too stupid to care about real security rules.) That sort of thing must stop.
    7. The Republicans have demonstrated that negotiation is not something they’re interested in. If and when the Democrats take control again, all negotiations must be hard-line. The Obama tactic during the first two years of his administration of “well, we know they won’t go for [X thing we want] so we won’t even ask for it” was pure foolishness, as was the matching tactic of “they didn’t go for our watered-down deal, so even though we have the votes on our own side to pass something they’d like even less, let’s water it down some more and hope they’ll go for it”. If Democrats regain Congress, the Republicans should only be even permitted to contribute if they first demonstrate that they are willing to act in good faith. Letting them set the discourse when they had a majority did a lot to convince voters not to bother coming out in the 2010 midterms.
    8. From now on, anyone who says “but if we do that, the Republicans will claim we’re [communist/terrorist sympathizers/anti-Christian/whatever other nonsense]” should be ignored and, if possible, quietly booted from any decision-making position they may hold. Anyone who has been paying attention to the media for the last couple of decades knows that the Republicans already accuse every Democrat of being all of that and worse. Accepting bad policy to try and avoid Republican slander is an automatic failure; the slander will come anyway and then you’ve compromised and accepted bad policy, which destroys public faith in your ability to govern.
    9. Oh, yeah: any Democrat who helps the Republicans sabotage campaign finance reform, at any point, should be tossed out of the party as quickly and publicly as possible. That includes big contributions from industry.

    That’s just off the top of my head. Note that I never said, anywhere, that the Democrats can get a whole lot of stuff done in the next year. They spent too much of the last 30 years actively throwing away the support of the people who could have been their base to have a whole lot of wiggle-room now. The tactic for the next year is: prove that you actually can resist the right wing. Personally, I don’t think the Democrats as currently constituted can do it because they aren’t actually interested in resisting the right wing. When the DLC’s “New Democrats” took over the party, they hopelessly compromised it. But people like you keep claiming that isn’t true, and that the Democrats are actually interested in good public policy. Well, if you want the public at large to believe that, you’re going to have to prove it, and that’s going to take a lot of very exhausting work. It’s for you to do, not me, because you are trying to keep the party viable.

  105. unclefrogy says

    Vicar if that is not written into the next democratic party platform it should be!
    I do not personally believe that Mrs. Clinton has ever changed her stance on any issue because contributions I think some of her ideas are conservative and pro-business she is liberal on many social issues but not on other issues like banking, Wall Street, security or the environment not particularly liberal or progressive
    she has not taken a bribe she already thinks that way
    uncle frogy

  106. jamiejag says

    @132, unclefroggy

    Regardless of Sec. Clinton’s ability to resist pressure from big contributors and lobbyists, she’s giving cover to those who are only too happy to provide ‘services’ to the highest bidders.

  107. says

    @#125, What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym (again)

    Some more ideas which have occurred to me:
    10. The Democratic Party should adopt an official policy of “no more regime change”. They’ve been kinda-sorta-halfway-there except, sadly, for the people they put in the top positions, for years now. The idea that we have the right to choose the governments of other countries is something that Kissinger thought was a great idea, and led to all kinds of disasters. Let’s stop it now, before we are forced to stop it by our declining budget and loss of technological superiority, so that when the next would-be ruler of the world (probably China, but possibly someone else) wants to do the same thing we can argue with them without being utter hypocrites. (And yes, this means no more saber-rattling with China, as Obama has started to do, and no more monkeying with Syria or the Ukraine. The only way we could possibly rid Syria of horrible would-be dictators would be to nuke them, which would harm a lot of innocents, and the party we’ve been propping up in the Ukraine is a bunch of neo-Nazis and embezzlers whose only “virtue” is that — because nobody else will support them — they are loyal to us. We should have learned our lesson by now; that’s a recipe for disaster.) As a part of this policy, if and when the Democratic Party is back in power, start shutting overseas bases. We have 130 of them, which is more than 16 times the total number held by all other countries in the world. Even if you accept that they are necessary, they can’t possibly be necessary in such large numbers, and they cost a huge amount every year. Furthermore, having so many bases is a constant temptation to politicians who want to start wars — the support is already there. If we want to hamper the next Bush (or, let’s face it, the next Obama or Clinton) then we need to make sure that going the next war isn’t already halfway set up in advance.
    11. Obama asked for (and got from the Republicans in Congress) a trillion dollars over a long period to refurbish our nuclear weapons and build new ones. Stop that. Don’t spend that money, or at least spend it on decommissioning the ones which are getting unstable. Keeping such a huge nuclear arsenal is a terrible idea on every level.
    12. The Clinton campaign has slammed the Sanders campaign over reparations for slavery. This was dishonest, because the official stance of the Clinton campaign is indistinguishable on the subject in any meaningful respect. If the Democratic Party is going to try for reparations for descendants of slaves — and there is an unanswerable ethical argument for doing so, in my opinions, even if there is also a very good pragmatic argument for doing economic reforms for several years first — then the whole party should agree on that and work towards it. Trying to use it as a “gotcha” item is dishonest unless the issue has real traction within the party. If it’s just “tell us, nominee, if you could wave a wand and make there be reparations, would you do it?” then the whole question is meaningless. If the Democratic Party as a whole isn’t going to make that a promise, then I think they should have the courage of their convictions, and that black people who would be effected by the question have a right to know whether they’re being jerked around.
    13. Same goes for the whole school-to-prison pipeline. Are the Democrats in favor of “three strikes” sentencing policy? Are they in favor of federal housing policy which forbids former prison inmates from living in subsidized housing, and which permits whole families to be ejected if they harbor a family member who has been in prison? (If not, they will be repudiating Hillary Clinton, who was a big proponent of those policies.) People of color in the U.S. have given a lot of support to the Democrats over the years, and have been treated shamefully. The very least they deserve is to be told honestly whether the Democratic Party intends to ever take them seriously. (And, again, note that the Clintons deliberately avoided mentioning minorities in Bill’s presidential campaign, and this was hailed as “refreshing” by the DLC’s New Democrats.)
    14. Make a serious push to undo the ridiculous pension funding requirement on the Post Office. Also: at the moment, Congress sets postal rates. Either officially pass that authority to the Post Office itself, so the prices can track market values, or else officially raise commercial postal rates to be much closer to ordinary citizen rates; the Postal Service is being hammered by having to deliver all that junk mail at below cost. (Oh, and also: the rates on “last mile” delivery services contracted to carriers like FedEx and UPS should be doubled, at a minimum. Those services pocket (relatively) huge fees for delivery and then basically pop things in the mail at rates below the cost of transport, thanks to Congress undermining the Post Office. Doing this will raise delivery charges for commercial services, but if the USPS goes bankrupt through this exploitation, then the commercial services will have to take on the “last mile” duties themselves, and their prices will go even higher than they would in response to paying a fair price. Fixing this problem is purely pragmatic, because it is serious and only exists thanks to Republican hatred of the Postal Workers’ Union.)
    15. Something specific to push for on the banking front: the derivatives market is apparently now “worth” (if you accept market values) more than the quoted monetary value of every concrete, real-world asset on the entire planet, including real estate and intellectual property. If this market crashes, there is no realistic way to bail it out — even if you owned all the assets in the world, you couldn’t refund all that “value”. Any institution which trades in derivatives, or derivative-backed securities, or acts as a holding company for any institution which does so, or is the fellow holding of a holding company which also holds an institution which does so, should automatically lose any sort of federal insurance, and it should be made legal for insurance companies to rewrite policies to refuse payouts to such institutions as well. Make this something which takes effect in 2 years, to give a window for financial institutions to get out of the market if they want. (Hitting ’em in the pocketbook is the only way to stop financial institutions from doing this.) Pass this, and publicize heavily the list of institutions which are no longer going to be FDIC-insured, and what this means to ordinary account holders.

    @#132, unclefroggy:

    Basically, the official stance of Hillary Clinton (and her supporters) is: “yes, Clinton has stood for a lot of very bad things for much of her career, but that’s okay because she is nothing but a cipher, a puppet who has no internal values or ethics and will stand for whatever is most expedient. She needs your support to win, so as of the beginning of her campaign she will support your values, even though she has spent years actually taking action in opposition to them.” That’s horrifying, although I suppose it’s still better than just straight up saying “Clinton thinks you’re a bunch of suckers who will fall for lies about her stances on the issues”, which is the only other possible thing they could say in the face of the evidence.

    I hate Bernie Sanders’ history on guns. But I can think of at least three arguments I could present to Sanders to appeal to his stated ethics, which have been very consistent, to try and sway him to my point of view, and I think he would at least give them serious attention. Furthermore, I think he would be willing to sign gun control bills if the rest of the party took action — particularly since practically all of his supporters want that.

    I hate Hillary Clinton’s history on military intervention. And I can’t think of any argument I could present to her which would be likely to have any traction, other than “I won’t vote for you if you keep this up”. And that argument will immediately lose force the minute she even wins the nomination, let alone the election. And I don’t think she would be willing to drop that tactic if the rest of the party took action; she was already the driving force in the cabinet when it came to Libya, overriding the objections of the others.

  108. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    I don’t disagree with most of what you say here, though none of it answers my question. But you more or less addressed it in the other Scalia thread (basically, the Senate Democrats can do nothing; the ball’s in Obama’s court to nominate a true progressive and let the goppers do their worst). So ok.

    One small point where I actually have a bit of insider information:

    the Postal Service is being hammered by having to deliver all that junk mail at below cost.

    My wife in her previous position worked on the online application for junk mail. It’s actually a good deal for the postal service because bulk mailers have to stamp and sort all of that mail before delivering it to the post office (that is why it’s called pre-sorted), so it actually saves a lot of cost for the postal service.

    You’re right about the pensions, though.

  109. says

    @#135, What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym

    My wife in her previous position worked on the online application for junk mail. It’s actually a good deal for the postal service because bulk mailers have to stamp and sort all of that mail before delivering it to the post office (that is why it’s called pre-sorted), so it actually saves a lot of cost for the postal service.

    According to one of the local mail carriers (possibly a former local mail carrier — I haven’t seen him on my route for a while, not that I’m exactly watching out the window every day) the rates have deliberately been kept so far behind inflation by Congress that the junk mail rates are still at a loss. But if that’s wrong, okay.

    (On the other hand, raising those rates would either assist the USPS to make up those budget shortfalls or else cut down on junk mail, or more probably both. I’d be willing to support that.)

    (Also: the “last mile” delivery thing seems to have been confirmed by USPS officials — Congress requires the USPS to give UPS and FedEx a good deal when it comes to putting packages into your mailbox, one which actually means people who aren’t shipping packages are subsidizing those who are, while the commercial companies pocket the profits. And then there’s the whole “okay, we’re going to start hiring ununionized workers without benefits because we don’t have the budget to compensate people properly for the amount of work we’re going to force them to do” issue…)