Obama’s Supremely Bad Nominee

President Barack Obama (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

At the White House this morning, President Obama announced his nominee for the Supreme Court — Judge Merrick Garland of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The media are dutifully attempting to spin Garland as a “centrist” or a “consensus choice.” Consider this headline from the Los Angeles Times: “It’s Going To Be Hard For Conservatives To Oppose The Careful, Moderate Merrick Garland.”

Don’t be fooled, my friends. Barack Obama was never going to nominate a moderate to the Supreme Court. It won’t be hard at all to oppose Merrick Garland.

There was considerable concern in recent days among far-left activists that Obama might nominate Garland. After all, they kept hearing about how moderate he was, and they really want a dedicated liberal.

With that in mind, consider these soothing words from the radical blog Think Progress: “To be clear, Garland’s record does not suggest that he would join the Court’s right flank if confirmed to the Supreme Court. He would likely vote much more often than not with the Supreme Court’s liberals.”

I agree completely. Here’s what we know about Judge Garland that big media won’t tell you:

  • Garland clerked for Justice William Brennan, described by the New York Times as “a towering figure in modern law who embodied the liberal vision of the Constitution as an engine of social and political change.” Brennan was a leading advocate of abortion and affirmative action. He was a fierce opponent of the death penalty and bitterly resisted efforts of the Reagan Administration to bolster the conservative legal philosophy of originalism.
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Rubio Pounds Trump on Judges (VIDEO)

Marco Rubio, when asked about the religious liberty fight between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, chose not pick up on the religious liberty theme, but he did very effectively reinforce Cruz’s central charge that Trump cannot be trusted on judges:

The next president of the United States has to be someone that you can trust and believe in to appoint someone just as good as Scalia — plus there may be at least two other vacancies. So you ask Mr. Trump to respond and say that he would, and he says that he would. But the bottom line is, if you look at his record over the last 25 or 30 years, on issue after issue, he has not been on our side.

Now, if he’s changed, we’re always looking for converts into the conservative movement. But the bottom line is that, if  you don’t have a record there to look at and say, ‘I feel at peace that when Donald Trump is president of the United States, he’s going to be firmly on our side on these issues.’

In fact, very recently, he was still defending Planned Parenthood. He says he’s not going to take sides in the Palestinians versus Israel. These are concerning things.

And so, yes, I have a doubt about whether Donald Trump, if he becomes president, will replace Justice Scalia with someone just like Justice Scalia.

Thanks Sen. Rubio!

I know I am hypersensitive on this stuff because I’ve watched for years as GOP politicians decide to cave rather than to fight on anything the Left decides is “antigay.” Rubio suddenly bringing in Israel into the Scalia debate was particularly odd. Continue Reading

Will GOP Senators Hold Firm to Let Voters Determine Scalia’s Replacement?

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

As Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral services take place this weekend, the political clash over his Supreme Court seat is heating up.

Thursday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley penned a joint op-ed in The Washington Post laying down a bright line: “It is today the American people, rather than a lame-duck president whose priorities and policies they just rejected in the most-recent national election, who should be afforded the opportunity to replace Justice Scalia.”

This comes in the wake of a grassroots movement spearheaded by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, #NoHearingsNoVotes, also highlighted by the Post.

Hewitt’s strategy emphasizes the need not only to reject any Obama nominee but to do so as a matter of principle in order to let the people decide whether to flip Scalia’s vote, because a Democrat replacement for Scalia would be the deciding vote on issues ranging from partial-birth abortion and gun confiscation to religious liberty and issue advocacy around elections.

Hewitt explains in a direct call to activists on YouTube that because the principle of letting the people’s voice be heard on such monumental civil rights matters is the winning message, the identity of the nominee is irrelevant. Thus there should not be hearings, which in any event would be a pointless fiasco on which Democrats would try to capitalize.

The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative court advocacy group, announced an initial outlay of $1 million of ad buys in swing states encouraging senators to flatly declare no nomination will move forward so that the people will have a voice on that issue when they vote for president in November. Continue Reading

Why I Wept for Justice Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

I did not expect it to happen, watching the flag-draped casket carrying the husk of Justice Antonin Scalia up the long marble steps of the Supreme Court this morning, but I wept.

I did not know Justice Scalia except slightly, and I do not cry easily or often.

Something inside me was stirred by the simple things. How ponderous the casket was, carried by those eight strong men slowly up the steps — the simple, heavy physicality of death we too often cover up and elide.

Then there was the sudden access to the ceremonious, to the symbolic — how rare that is in contemporary life: “How but in custom and in ceremony / Are innocence and beauty born?” Yeats asked.

Hearing the news anchors fall silent for once, out of respect to the moment, was part of it: We in the chattering class chatter and fight and bicker incessantly. How seldom we rise above it in postmodern American life. I am so hungry, like so many others, for what I can still remember as the norm in American life: the time when we recognized, together, that there are things bigger than politics, bigger than the things that divide us, and at moments like this.

[…]

Read the full article at National Review.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Cruz: Do You Trust Trump to Appoint the Next Supreme Court Justice?

As we move to our nation’s date with destiny — to Trump or not to Trump — Ted Cruz is using the life issue to make the case that Donald Trump can’t be trusted to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, a champion for life, marriage, religious liberty — and that pesky Second Amendment:

Trump is upset that Cruz called Trump’s sister a “radical pro-abortion extremist” judge and seems unaware that she struck down a partial-birth abortion bill in New Jersey, really not long after he said on national TV that he would not ban partial-birth abortion because he was (then) totally pro-choice.

Meanwhile, the media in the person of CNN’s Erin Burnett continues its trope that being pro-life is a political problem for Republicans, asking John Kasich if he’s willing to lose the election by signing a bill defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio. (Yes he is, apparently, except that defunding Planned Parenthood is not as unpopular as CNN thinks.)

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

After Justice Scalia’s Passing, Republicans Need a Unified Message

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Republicans have a winning message on the replacement of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and all the candidates need to get on board.

It’s a two part message. Let the people decide in November, because President Obama’s (or Hillary’s) appointee would radicalize the country.

The Senate is exercising its constitutional duty to withhold consent by holding no hearings or votes, so that it can preserve the people’s right to vote on the court’s direction this November.

And what they are voting on is a specific set of issues: a court that would impose partial-birth abortion, delete the Second Amendment, and rubber stamp Democratic presidents’ executive orders if Justice Scalia is replaced by a liberal.

Democrats think they can make this a winning message for them by highlighting Republican obstructionism. They are right — if Republicans stray from their message.

But if Republicans go on offense, it is a loser for Democrats in the fall. The Senate is doing what the people elected them to do in 2014 — put a check on President Obama’s radical executive excesses and protect the people’s right to decide on any transformative changes. It’s no longer hypothetical what those changes are: because Scalia could represent the Court’s swing vote, we might as well write on the November ballot alongside the Democrats’ names, partial-birth abortion, gun confiscation, and lawless Democratic executive orders thwarting the people’s representatives.

Senate Republicans, presidential candidates, and grassroots activists all need to be on the same page with these themes. Continue Reading

Justice Scalia: Supreme Court Is a “Threat to Democracy”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (photo credit: United States Mission Geneva via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia just leveled his most scathing remarks to date on the Court for its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges earlier this summer.  In a speech at Rhodes College, Scalia claimed the court is getting further away from interpreting the Constitution and closer to imposing its own desires as law:

“Saying that the Constitution requires practice, which is contrary to the religious beliefs of many of our citizens,” Scalia said – “I don’t know how you can get more extreme than that.”

Scalia described the Obergefell v. Hodges decision as the “furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants.” He rhetorically asked, “Do you really want your judges to rewrite the Constitution?”

Scalia also noted that the Supreme Court is “terribly unrepresentative” of America and called out past justices for making decisions that are ultimately dictating moral behavior to the public:

“What is it that I learned at Harvard Law School that makes me peculiarly qualified to determine such profound moral and ethical questions as whether there should be a right to abortion, whether there should be same-sex marriage, whether there should be a right to suicide?” Scalia asked. “It has nothing to do with the law.”

This isn’t the first time Scalia has criticized judicial overreach.  In his dissenting opinion in Obergefell, Scalia stated, “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.”

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles In Action. Continue Reading

Top Five Zingers in Scalia’s Same-Sex Marriage Dissent

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (photo credit: Stephen Masker via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to redefine marriage across the nation to include same-sex unions.  Justice Antonin Scalia was one of the dissenting justices.  Here are the top five zingers from his blistering dissent:

5. “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. . . This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.” Zing!

4. “A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.” Zing!

Photo credit: Joshua Pinho

3. “[T]he Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful law­yers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single South-westerner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination. Continue Reading