The Last Decision of the Supreme Court

When Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died, everyone knew it would be a battle to nominate someone to replace him. They expected President Obama to nominate a liberal justice who would meet significant resistance from the Republican-led Senate. People thought Obama would then follow with a more moderate nominee and the Republicans would capitulate and narrowly accept the nomination. No one thought that three years after Scalia’s death, the Supreme Court would also be dead.
Scalia’s death was not expected. There were three older justices on the Court.  He looked to be in good health; nevertheless, immediately after his death each party began to maneuver for an advantage.
The very next day Obama promised he would nominate someone in a few weeks. Within hours, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced there will be neither a vote nor hearings until after the election.  Although McConnell’s rhetoric was unsurprising, it was unnecessary. The Republicans could have said nothing and just allowed the nomination to stall.
The presidential election moved forward. There were some interesting primary vote outcomes, but in the end it was Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. Trump selected Mark Cuban as his running mate, claiming he liked his entrepreneurial spirit, his enthusiasm, and most importantly his participation on the CNBC show Shark Tank. Trump said, “Mark Cuban is the type of person that ‘Tells it like it is’ and goes on to own whatever he says rather than shrinking away and apologizing whenever the mainstream media attacks him. I see a lot of myself in him.” Journalists wonder if Trump sees ‘starring in a reality show’ as a requirement to be part of his administration.
Years later journalists, academics, and analysts are still pondering how Trump won.
Immediately following the election, the Senate Democrats declared they would not allow any person nominated by Trump to receive a vote. There would be filibuster after filibuster. The Senate Republicans threatened to invoke the ‘Nuclear Option’ and end the filibuster once and for all.
A week after inauguration, Trump nominated Judith Sheindlin to replace Scalia. That’s right, Judge Judy. Trump declared, “She is the type of person that ‘Tells it like it is’ and goes on to own whatever she says rather than shrinking away and apologizing whenever the mainstream media attacks her. I see a lot of myself in her. And she’s from Brooklyn! She’s tough.”
The worst fears have come true; participation in a reality TV show puts you first on the A-list for jobs in the Trump Administration. Charles Krauthammer thanked God Howard Cosell was dead. Cosell originated ‘Tell it like it is’ and he grew up in Brooklyn.  Trump would have made Cosell the Secretary of State.”
The nominees of the Cabinet are horrendous. Just one example, Kim Kardashian is named Secretary of the Interior.  Misinterpreting Interior for Interior Design, she spent all her time redecorating the federal buildings. She started with the Lincoln Monument and hired Banksy to add some color to the statue of Lincoln.
The Democrats cannot stop laughing at Trump’s choice to replace Scalia. The Republicans refuse to fight for the nominee.  The Democrats do not have to filibuster to stop the nomination.
Trump responded, “Screw all of you.”
Fortunately US citizens received a valuable civics lesson on the Supreme Court and its history. They learn that the original court had only SIX justices. The Founding Fathers wanted a two-thirds majority (at least 4-2) for the Court to override congressional legislation or decisions affecting the States. The court grew over time due to the expansion of the Circuit Courts that expanded as the nation expanded. It reached TEN justices during the civil war. But was reduced to the current NINE justices in 1869.
The Court spends the next year unable to issue a decision of any significance. The tally for every major decision was a 4-4 tie. There was not much change in 2018, as Trump refused to name another nominee.
Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy were vacationing together in Minnesota during the Christmas holidays and both died while ice fishing. As they hauled in a yuge (sic) fish, the ice collapsed beneath them and both died from drowning. (The Oxford English Dictionary added the word YUGE in 2016 based on the constant usage by Trump and Bernie Sanders.  Its definition is “something much larger than HUGE.”)
Trump is unmoved by their deaths and does not nominate anyone else to fill the now three vacant seats.
The justices are still deadlocked (3-3) and the Supreme Court is unable to issue any significant decisions.
And then, on March 15, 2019, while celebrating her 86th birthday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies. And with her death, so died the Supreme Court. Again, the US citizens received a valuable civics lesson. The Supreme Court can only meet when there is a quorum. When there were six justices, a quorum was four. Today a quorum requires six justices.
The third branch of government is now gone. The US is now unchecked and unbalanced.
Political historians are now blaming Ed Meese for this predicament. Back in 1985 Meese laid out in his speech before the American Bar Association, of reshaping the Court around one coherent jurisprudence of original intention. He started the politicization of the Supreme Court. What neither Republicans nor Democrats could achieve through the ballot box could be achieved by stacking the Court with political puppets. And both parties are guilty.
The constitutional check on President Trump is absent. Trump requested a new census (before the decennial) in 2019 claiming the Constitution was approved in 1789 and the Census has been one year late ever since. The Census shows that there are 270 electoral votes in the Manhattan Trump Tower alone. Accordingly, he is re-elected in 2020 winning 270 electoral votes.
Just my opinion. I may be wrong.

The Beginning of the End

Happy Mini Tuesday! Or Titanic Tuesday, Terrible Tuesday, or Trump Tuesday depending on whom you ask. Five big primaries today: Illinois, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Missouri.

The RepublicansMini Tuesday

By now, everyone has finally stopped thinking this is funny. Besides the beating of protestors, the direct calls by Trump to do so, the endorsements from prominent white supremacists, the assault of journalists by his campaign staff, the pledge of allegiance to him, the loosely veiled locker room misogyny, the self-proclaimed superior intelligence only weak minds and insecure souls are capable of, Donald Trump has taught us all the true scope of ugliness that was boiling just below the surface in American politics. I knew it was there, though I thought it was lesser than.

I don’t know if he actually thinks he’ll be able to pivot away from these scenes and his current followers come time for the general election, but many life-long Republicans are deeply disturbed by what is happening and will be hard to bring back into a party they do not recognize. Trump is making them ask, “Am I a Republican, or is he?”

These are just a couple ads Republican groups are currently airing against Trump:

The Grand Old Party is falling apart at the seams.

For the Never Trump movement to successfully block his nomination, the team of anti-Trump candidates will need to slip through a series of rapidly closing doors. That starts tonight in Ohio and ends June 7th in California. Trump’s innate iconoclasm and sublime, even majestic, contrarianism has yet to fool a majority of GOP primary voters in any state, which until now have mostly yielded delegates pseudo-proportionally. However, starting today a series of winner-take-all (or winner-take-most) states come down the pike, and Trump will disproportionately haul in delegates in the states he wins. Meaning, he may never earn 50% (or even 40%) of primary votes, but still collect a majority of delegates.

It’s worth noting that every four years people start fantasizing about a contested, even brokered, convention on either side. Usually that’s nothing more than a few journalists praying for political theatre. Not this year. Cleveland is ordering riot gear to prepare for what people are beginning to predict to be a repeat of the 1968 Democratic Convention, when Humphrey was handed the nomination without winning a single primary, the city of Chicago was thrown into chaos, and America collectively decided to vote for Nixon.

If Rubio loses Florida tonight, which appears likely, his career is as dead as Nixon’s in 1962, except there are no longer any second acts in politics. If he does lose Florida, does he drop out? If Rubio drops out of the race, then his delegates are no longer bound to him at the convention, and some would surely be bought by Trump. Rubio will either limp on, “suspend” campaigning, or auction off his delegates to Cruz and Kasich.

The real battle tonight will be in Ohio, the other winner-take-all state, with 66 delegates up for grabs. Not as big a prize as Florida, but big enough to keep the Never Trump movement limping along if Kasich can win the state he governs. Rubio has gone as far as to suggest his supporters should vote for Kasich. This is both an attempt to stop Trump and justify what would have been a single digit performance anyway. Similar to Rubio in Florida, Kasich either wins Ohio or it’s over. If they both lose, Cruz will go it alone and try Arizona one-on-one next week.

The Democrats

All of the Democratic contests proportionally allocate delegates, so there’s no possibility that Sanders will squeak out a victory somewhere and get a large boost to his math. Hillary may lose her home state of Illinois, maybe even Missouri and Ohio, but she’ll still walk away tonight with more delegates than Sanders, because of large wins in Florida and North Carolina. The Sanders folks are learning what has been burned into the memories of the Clinton camp:  supper delegates might be meaningless, but pledged delegates matter more than victories or even votes.

Mini Tuesday

As everyone looks to the ides of March and Mini-Tuesday, when the big-ticket contests of Ohio, Florida, and Illinois will accelerate the nomination process, let us not forget that today will shape that event.

The Democratic Party goes to the polls in Michigan and Mississippi, where Hillary Clinton is expected to win and dominate, respectively. Clinton will win more delegates than Sanders by the end of the night, making Sanders supporters post even more irrelevant images of the remaining contests on my Facebook feed and causing them to further squint at the delegate math. Michigan is tailor-made for Bernie’s protectionist message and the first test of his Rust Belt appeal. If there does exist some pro-Sanders John Henry voting block, as his campaign has insisted, Sanders should win Michigan going away.

Speaking of desperate, Marco Rubio needs to win the Hawaii Caucuses today, not a strong second or a solid third, but a win. Little Marco might not survive another 3rd place victory speech. The Republicans are also voting in Michigan and Mississippi, where Trump is favored. Anyone who’s ever been to Mississippi, even if that means locking your doors and driving at high speed, knows Trump will dominate there. The state slogan is “High School or Less.” Cruz has been campaigning heavily throughout the state, not to try and win, but to prevent Trump from hitting 50% of the vote in any congressional district, which is the winner-take-all threshold for the three delegates in each. Michigan will be more interesting, as it is the first contest to really test the local strength of John Kasich. Trump’s performance in Michigan will determine the resolve of the Never Trump movement going forward into Mini-Tuesday. Republicans in Idaho also vote in a closed primary, which should be a tight race between Cruz and Trump.

For the anti-Trump forces to have any viability, Trump must not start winning states with a majority of the vote, as a typical front-runner would at this stage in the primaries. That would directly undercut the Never Trump argument for stealing the nomination.

Trump to skip CPAC

His campaign released a statement saying that Trump would rather be in “Witchita, Kanasas [sic] for a major rally on Saturday prior to Caucus.” Witchita Kanasas sounds like a pretty fun card game.