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Rich writes: "As the president pointed out Tuesday, it's laughable that conservatives who claim to be strict constitutionalists in the Scalia vein want to defy the Constitution by declaring that a president has no right to fill a Supreme Court vacancy during his final year in office."

Antonin Scalia. (photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
Antonin Scalia. (photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images)


Scalia's Death and the Republican Party of Strict Obstructionism

By Frank Rich, New York Magazine

18 February 16

 

Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. This week: the GOP's attempt to block Obama's Supreme Court nominee, W. stumps for Jeb!, and Grammy highlights.

itch McConnell's pledge to block any Supreme Court nominee to succeed Antonin Scalia is finding what appears to be near-unanimous support from Senate Republicans, but others speculate that President Obama may use the fight to increase Democratic turnout at the polls this fall. What are the risks of McConnell's strategy?

Excuse me, but if we are talking about the politics of this brawl, it’s a no-brainer. Obama, a lame duck who will not be on the ballot in November, has nothing to lose by standing on principle and carrying out a president’s duty to submit a nominee to the Senate. The GOP, by contrast, has a lot to lose come Election Day — including control of the Senate. Though a Times front-page headline this morning reads “Court Path Is Littered With Pitfalls, for Obama and the G.O.P.,” the only potential pitfalls it actually identifies are all for the GOP.

Still, before we get to the politics of the Scalia vacancy, please let’s talk about the bigger picture. The constitutional picture, if we must be grand about it.

As the president pointed out Tuesday, it’s laughable that conservatives who claim to be strict constitutionalists in the Scalia vein want to defy the Constitution by declaring that a president has no right to fill a Supreme Court vacancy during his final year in office. As the Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell has pointed out, the GOP has taken the position that the first year of a president’s term also does not officially count — that’s the logic by which its presidential field (Donald Trump excepted) keeps insisting that President Bush “kept us safe” despite the fact that 9/11 occurred eight months into his presidency. Then again, the radical right that now rules the GOP, for all its protestations of strict fidelity to the Founding Fathers, has been as hostile to the federal government during the Obama years as the secessionists who embraced the ideology of John C. Calhoun to foment the Civil War. Republicans in Congress have held up countless judicial appointments and Executive-branch appointments, denying American governance the essential tools of personnel in top-tier jobs; they have balked at the routine fiscal task of raising the debt ceiling; they have shut down the government altogether when they couldn’t get their way. Today’s secessionist insurgency has reached such an extreme that both Republican senators from the Dixie stronghold of Alabama, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, have blocked the elevation of Abdul Kallon to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (where he would be the first African-American from Alabama to serve) even though they both backed him for his current post as a U.S. District judge.

Which brings us to the politics. Rob Portman of Ohio is one of seven incumbent Republican senators up for reelection this year in states that Obama won in the 2012 election. After Scalia’s death, he tweeted that it was “the best thing for the country” to “trust the American people to weigh in on who should make a lifetime appointment.” He refuses to acknowledge that the American people did weigh in on who should make that appointment when they voted in the last presidential election and the one before that. But like a true nullifier of the Calhoun persuasion, he simply denies the legitimacy of elections, laws, and a president he doesn’t like. Does he not think this will not be noticed by his own constituents when they return to the polls this fall?

What’s more, Obama could inflict more damage on Portman and other vulnerable Senate incumbents — and on the GOP’s national ticket — by nominating a qualified justice who by definition will further highlight the party’s knee-jerk hostility toward immigrants, women, black people, gay individuals, and Hispanics. James Hohmann of the Post cites the potential nominee Monica Márquez, the first Latina and first openly gay justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast proposes Tino Cuellar, an associate justice in the California Supreme Court who was born in Mexico and became a naturalized citizen before earning degrees at Harvard, Yale Law, and Stanford. Cuellar’s wife, Lucy Koh, is another contender: America’s first female Korean-American district judge, confirmed by a 90-to-0 vote in the Senate when Obama nominated her for the post in 2010 but sure to be rejected now by the same Republican senators who voted for her then.

How exactly does this end well for the GOP in an election year? By refusing to act on the Scalia vacancy, the party will once again brand itself as the party of obstructionism, government dysfunction, and animosity toward the growing majority of Americans who do not fit its predominantly white male demographic.

After Donald Trump's attacks about his presidency were met with boos from the South Carolina audience at last weekend's debate, George W. Bush has started campaigning with Jeb in the state. Can W. help his brother's ailing campaign?

It is not exactly a promising sign that no sooner did W. exit the rally stage in South Carolina than Jeb! let loose with the most bizarre tweet of the political season: a photo of a gun with his name engraved on it, carrying the one-word caption “America.” It was read and ridiculed widely in the Twitter realm as a subliminal suicide note. (“You’re so low energy you couldn’t even pull the trigger lol” was one characteristic response.)

I don’t think anything can save Jeb!’s campaign. But Trump’s attacks on W., for both ignoring intelligence that warned of an imminent Al Qaeda attack in the summer of 2001 and for sending America to war on the pretext of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, is a major turning point in this century’s national-security debate. It has been a given — not just in conservative circles, but in the political culture at large — that no one calling himself a Republican could survive politically if he or she derided Bush’s competence at “keeping us safe” or blasted him for waging a reckless (and failed) war premised on jingoistic propaganda and hyped intelligence. As recently as just a few weeks ago, GOP candidates like Chris Christie and Marco Rubio were trying to outdo each other in boasting of their fealty to Bush-Cheneyism in foreign policy. But now we have the front-runner for the Republican nomination not only violating this sacred bit of conservative political correctness but bellowing it at the top of his lungs, repeatedly. If he pays no price for this breach of party etiquette — indeed, if he wins the primary this Saturday in South Carolina, a conservative state distinguished by its large component of military and retired military voters — the neocon scripture that has defined GOP orthodoxy for 15 years will have finally reached its expiration date. No wonder Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer express apoplexy daily about Trump.

By the way, let’s note that George W. Bush said this in arguing for his brother and against Trump in South Carolina: “Strength is not empty rhetoric. It is not bluster. It is not theatrics.” Far from helping Jeb!’s chances, this posturing probably hurt him. All it does is remind you that W. was the one who patented empty rhetoric (“the axis of evil”), bluster (he declared he’d get bin Laden “dead or alive” and succeeded at neither), and theatrics (“Mission Accomplished”) in pursuit of one of the greatest foreign-policy calamities in the history of the Republic.

The Grammys now announce more than 90 percent of their awards at the preshow webcast, ceding the televised ceremony mostly to performances. Is this a better way to do an awards show? The bar is pretty low, heaven knows. I’m in favor of anything that cuts down on the undying rituals of show-business awards shows, starting with the cutesy-poo special material read by hosts and presenters off teleprompters and the increasingly canned and generic thank-you filibusters from the winners. An awards show that leaves out the awards themselves is an innovative effort to be cherished. But what made this year’s Grammys notable had nothing to do with that.

In a month that soon will bring us the notorious all-white Oscars, the Grammys thrust its audience into the actual culture of the America we are living in now. While hardly ignoring the achievements of white artists (Taylor Swift, after all, was the big winner), the show was in essence defined by two rap performances that could be honestly described as hair-raising, a nearly unheard-of phenomenon these days on any awards show.

One was a live performance, beamed in from the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, of the opening number of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton. So much has been written about this show that I’ll stick to a single point: Part of what makes this work so moving, that has won it fans as politically antithetical as the Obamas and the Cheneys, is that in form and content it pumps hope into the American dream that an orphaned immigrant with everything stacked against him (a “Founding Father without a father”) could come to these shores and have a shot at accomplishing great things for both himself and his adopted country.

The other Grammy highlight, Kendrick Lamar’s riveting performance of his songs “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright,” was an alternately anguished and angry vision of what happens when the American dream is betrayed: a cri de coeur stretching from Africa to Compton and encompassing both the murder of innocent black men like Trayvon Martin (“set us back another 400 years”) and the mass incarceration of so many others. Lamar’s last line implicitly calls for “conversation for the entire nation that is bigger than us.” How one might wish. Both his art and Miranda’s make the conversation in our politics during this fraught presidential year seem tragically small.

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+54 # tswhiskers 2016-02-18 13:58
I'd say that "strict construction" of the Constitution is probably dead or at least it's going to be quiescent for a while. We are seeing that strict construction is now a byword for hypocrisy among the GOP. The one good thing that Trump has accomplished is to call out Cruz et al for their hypocrisy and dishonesty. The media have been carefully noting the appalling lack of manners and statemanship among the GOP candidates as well. Thanks to the frank language used by Trump and Bernie, the country and Congress are forced to face some of the ugly truths that have usually been carefully hidden during presidential elections. We are far removed now from H.W. Bush's flag burning platform in the '92 election. Elections are now scarier and more exciting than they've ever been in my memory. Now no one has an excuse to avoid voting; now we are discussing the issues that REALLY matter.
 
 
+66 # Barbara K 2016-02-18 14:07
What we need to do is to DUMP THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. WE CAN DO MUCH BETTER.
They are drowning themselves with their nutty ideas, don't let them take us with them.

..
 
 
+74 # ChrisCurrie 2016-02-18 14:34
Antonin Scalia’s DISASTROUS Legacy

Our Republicans want to delay the replacement of Antonin Scalia, so that they could (if a Republicans gets elected President) replace Antonin Scalia with another politically corrupt (corporately sponsored) bold-faced liar like Antonin Scalia. Antonin Scalia liked to claim that he was “defending a strict adherence to the plain text of the United States Constitution” which was a WHOPPING BIG BOLD-FACED LIE! There is NOTHING in the present United States Constitution that can HONESTLY be interpreted that "corporations are people" or that "money equals speech." But Antonin Scalia fundamentally AMENDED the United States Constitution by DISHONESTLY and UNCONSTITUTIONA LLY ruling that those two lies were true, thereby BYPASSING the rules set forth in the United States Constitution for implementing amendments to the United States Constitution. Scalia and his fellow Republican "Justices" SHOULD have been impeached and removed from office for so GROSSLY VIOLATING both of their US Supreme Court Oaths of Office, but our corporately sponsored Republicans in Congress rejoiced over those highly deceptive rulings in accordance with the wishes of their corporate sponsors.

The corrupt and highly dishonest conduct of the other four Republican US Supreme Court "Justices" and their corrupt counterparts in the US Congress WILL become a major political issue in this year's Presidential election season!
 
 
+30 # mh1224jst 2016-02-18 21:11
Here, here! Of course, even as absurd as those two ideas are, if we accept for sake of argument that money = speech and corporations are entitled to the rights intended for people, how does it follow that limits cannot be set on spending and advertising in election campaigns? Why should one group of "people" have the loudest voices, drowning everyone else out? Of course, that was the intent, wasn't it -- to subvert democracy. Otherwise these strained arguments would never have been conceived.
 
 
+13 # Nominae 2016-02-18 22:02
Quoting mh1224jst:
Here, here! Of course, even as absurd as those two ideas are, if we accept for sake of argument that money = speech and corporations are entitled to the rights intended for people, how does it follow that limits cannot be set on spending and advertising in election campaigns? Why should one group of "people" have the loudest voices, drowning everyone else out? Of course, that was the intent, wasn't it -- to subvert democracy. Otherwise these strained arguments would never have been conceived.


Right ON !! I think that we can safely observe that you have *nailed* it.

Kudos, and thank you.
 
 
+14 # Cassandra2012 2016-02-19 14:44
Anyone remember Thurgood Marshall and how the corrupt Repugs pushed through 'their equally good black' replacement, the mute Opus Dei clone = Scalia-slave (with his $limy wife) Clarence Thomas?

I suggest nominating Anita Hill. Now wouldn't that just get Thomas' 'knickers in a twist?! An elegant piece of irony.
 
 
+4 # Hooligan 2016-02-21 02:33
I couldn't agree more!Until this happened I had been looking for a bumper sticker saying, "Impeach the Supreme Court Five!"...Alito & the rest of them also perjured themselves during their Congressional hearings by saying they would respect (stare decisis?) which says that as a rule you don't just come in & overrule everything that's been decided law for years (e.g. The Voting Rights Act.) It should be an extremely rare case to overturn laws.They also have taken cases that they had no business deciding, such as Bush vs. Gore when the State Court who had jurisdiction had ruled on what was a STATE MATTER. They just didn't like the outcome so they took it anyway. Yes, like you my LACK of RESPECT for him & the other 4 knows no bounds.
 
 
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+10 # diamondmarge7 2016-02-18 15:20
When the hoopla surrounding a Supreme Court justice dies down, we still have to support BERNIE for President. Have you done all you can to give him leverage @ what is sure to have lots of hoopla itself: the national Democrat Convention? DWSchultz will have elevated her dirty tricks re superdelegates to a higher [or lower,depending on semantics]art form.
Please give BERNIE ammunition/leve rage/influence @ said Convention: thousands, mebbe millions of PLEDGEES: I will vote/write in BERNIE, or, if I can't do that, I'll vote Green. www.citizensagainstplutocracy.org Just do it!
 
 
+2 # Hooligan 2016-02-21 02:39
I'd like to suggest we start a Facebook or Twitter petition NOW to the Dem. Party telling them that we want their UNDEMOCRATIC Super Delegate System GONE. NOW before the Convention.
 
 
+38 # Anne Frank 2016-02-18 15:21
It disgusts me that "liberals" buy the big lie that "conservatives" like Scalia or Rhenquist, et. al., for that matter, are "strict constructionist s" of the constitution. They have ever been eager to trash the constitution when it stood in the way of their oligarchical, authoritarian agenda--from "stop and frisk" without probable cause to "corporations are people."
 
 
+23 # MidwestDick 2016-02-18 17:02
Strict construction means that when interpreting the constitution, they are not bound by stare decisis, that is precedent, and are free to interpret the law in accordance with what they feel the original text was supposed to mean.
It's kind of like Rush's book "The Way It Oughta Be", where he declares his right to pull facts out of his ass when needed to buttress his arguments because that's the way things ought to be.
 
 
+33 # angryspittle 2016-02-18 15:34
I am so fucking sick an tired of the goddamn hypocrisy of the GOP I could spit nails.
 
 
-64 # skylinefirepest 2016-02-18 16:17
Angryspittle, what hypocrisy?? Do you mean Chuckie refusing a vote? Or obumma being an obstructionist? You mean that you don't remember the liberals of history doing the same thing? Shame on you for your language and your lack of facing the truth as pertains to your precious group of liberal obstructionists !
 
 
+19 # ericlipps 2016-02-18 21:11
Quoting skylinefirepest:
Angryspittle, what hypocrisy?? Do you mean Chuckie refusing a vote? Or obumma being an obstructionist? You mean that you don't remember the liberals of history doing the same thing? Shame on you for your language and your lack of facing the truth as pertains to your precious group of liberal obstructionists!

I notice that people like you tend to think it's terrible when liberals stand in the way of confirming a Republican president's nominees, but see nothing wrong with conservatives obstructing those of a Democratic president.

And by the way, knock off the name-calling. It just make you look angry and stupid, an unattractive combination.
 
 
+10 # Cassandra2012 2016-02-19 14:48
Yes, and using obnoxious, childish pseudo-insults like "Obumma" only make their users look even more ignorant.
 
 
+2 # bardphile 2016-02-18 16:19
I hear you. But I think the more appropriate target for nail spitting is not hypocrisy, but policy (ie, betraying the interests of the 99%, including their own nominal constituency, in the service of their 1% masters.) Consider this: Do we want Obama to actually fill the vacancy, knowing that only a far-right pick can be confirmed by the Republican Senate? Or do we want him to say what he's saying now--Constituti onal duty, etc.--and nominate a judicial progressive who would defend Roe and overturn Citizens United if the opportunity reaches the court but could never be confirmed--ther eby isolating the Republicans nationally and increasing turnout in November? The latter, I would hope. But that's saying you want one thing and really wanting another--hypocr isy, in other words, albeit of a much gentler kind than McConnell, Fox News, et al have displayed. Both sides know what the stakes are, and both, in differing degrees, are being hypocritical.
 
 
+6 # punditalia 2016-02-19 03:31
Good argument. Continuing in that vein, the most important thing the Court may have to address in the near future, along with reversing Citizen's United, will be the determination of the constitutionali ty of TPP. Through ISDS provisions TPP disenfranchises citizens everywhere and ends American sovereignty. It would appear to be at least as unconstitutiona l as the idea of money equaling speech, but Obama supports it and may get it approved during the lame duck session. Will he appoint a judge who will strike it down? He can make his nomination but the country may be better off if the the appointment awaits a new and better Senate.
 
 
+1 # Hooligan 2016-02-21 02:46
Quoting bardphile:
I hear you. But I think the more appropriate target for nail spitting is not hypocrisy, but policy (ie, betraying the interests of the 99%, including their own nominal constituency, in the service of their 1% masters.) Consider this: Do we want Obama to actually fill the vacancy, knowing that only a far-right pick can be confirmed by the Republican Senate? Or do we want him to say what he's saying now--Constitutional duty, etc.--and nominate a judicial progressive who would defend Roe and overturn Citizens United if the opportunity reaches the court but could never be confirmed--thereby isolating the Republicans nationally and increasing turnout in November? The latter, I would hope. But that's saying you want one thing and really wanting another--hypocrisy, in other words, albeit of a much gentler kind than McConnell, Fox News, et al have displayed. Both sides know what the stakes are, and both, in differing degrees, are being hypocritical.

I want Obama to nominate a 100% Progressive Liberal because that's what he should do & that's what we need. He just needs the guts to do it. Why do I NEVER see the Rethugs nominating a moderate or a middle of the roader. They nominate people to right of Atilla the Hun each time. Why the hell don't we do that? We have every right to. If they are defeated by a Rethug. Congress nominate them after the election when hopefully we have a Dem. majority.(Hopef ully on Bernie's coattails.)
 
 
+3 # vilstef 2016-02-20 00:14
Quoting angryspittle:
I am so fucking sick an tired of the goddamn hypocrisy of the GOP I could spit nails.


There's enough goddamn hypocrisy to drown every power hungry moron in DC. Perhaps 2016 is the year of the flood.
 
 
+32 # Nell H 2016-02-18 16:16
without Scalia there, the Court may actually be more reasonable. Remember Citizens United. An 8-member court without Scalia is a definite improvement.
 
 
+32 # Nominae 2016-02-18 16:37
Quoting Nell H:
without Scalia there, the Court may actually be more reasonable. Remember Citizens United. An 8-member court without Scalia is a definite improvement.


Absolutely !

ANY Supreme Court without Scalia can at least be considered "a good start" !
 
 
+9 # Hypatia 2016-02-18 17:04
Sadly, no. The balance of this year's cases will likely be argued before an 8 member court — and 4-4 votes let the lower court decision stand. We have some nasty lower court decisions coming up fast.
 
 
+16 # Nominae 2016-02-18 21:18
Quoting Hypatia:
Sadly, no. The balance of this year's cases will likely be argued before an 8 member court — and 4-4 votes let the lower court decision stand. We have some nasty lower court decisions coming up fast.


I heartily take your well-considered point, and I do not argue that we would not benefit from a full compliment on the Court.

I say only that we do not now, nor have we *ever* needed the Curse to American Jurisprudence that has BEEN the lifetime career of Antonin Scalia.

Even if all upcoming cases were being decided only *by* the four "conservative" (read: "Ideologue") judges remaining, we are STILL better off without Nero "Lead Poisoning" Scalia !

That was the gist of my comment above. With Scalia gone, that's one Ideologue Jurist down - four to go.

But, of course, you and I can always differ in opinion, and in basic character assessment as well.

I remember Scalia as the main-force moron who blessed us with "Corporations are people" and "Money Is Speech", with Citizens United, with ..... well, you get the idea.

Had he remained, any *sensible* progressive case soon to come before the Court would *still* have crashed and burned with the same old interminable obstructionist 5-4 Vote progressives have had shoved down their throats for so many years up *until* the time that this cantankerous old codger croaked anyway.
 
 
+8 # Cassandra2012 2016-02-19 14:52
And when confronted with his clearly ugly partisan, manipulated decision in Gore vs. Bush (which essentially STOLE the election from those who voted and "SELECTED" Bush), all Scalia could say was 'oh, let it go already'....

Democracy was not high on Scalia's list of goods.
 
 
+6 # spenel334 2016-02-19 22:34
Certainly Scalia made a purely political decision in the Gore v. Bush election, as did the other Republicans. But in fact the Republicans had already stolen the election, in which Bush never should have been leading Gore and therefore allow the Repubs to stop the ballot counting with those figures. So many ballots ended up in the 'swamps', and so many citizens were denied the right to vote for no honest reason, that there appeared to be a close race that lead to cheating opportunities.
In fact Gore won and the supreme Court never should have had the chance to get involved. And to top it all off, this voting chicanery, thanks to the quintessential sociopath Karl Rove and his minions, is still going on, only moreso
 
 
0 # Hooligan 2016-02-21 02:53
Quoting Cassandra2012:
And when confronted with his clearly ugly partisan, manipulated decision in Gore vs. Bush (which essentially STOLE the election from those who voted and "SELECTED" Bush), all Scalia could say was 'oh, let it go already'....

Democracy was not high on Scalia's list of goods.

LITERALLY. Scalia and the GOP do NOT want our government to be Democratic. They want rule by & for the wealthy elites. Some of them have even admitted that in print.
 
 
+3 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-02-19 11:59
The difference is that WITH Scalia, the decision would probably be to uphold those lower court decisions and THAT would be the Supreme Court ruling.

WITHOUT Scalia, a tie would not AFFIRM the lower court decisions, only leave them in place. Thus, if/when Sanders is elected and the Senate gains a Democrat majority, the cases can be reconsidered and ruled upon.
 
 
-4 # davehaze 2016-02-18 18:39
The only important topic Sanders once more ignored.
 
 
+1 # jamiemcg 2016-02-20 07:00
Sanders is not the only important topic. A very important topic, yes, but the only important topic, no. The absolute tunnel vision that many Sanders AND Clinton supports have is most disconcerting. Here are a couple of lessons we should have learned over the last seven years. Control of the Senate and the House is actually more important than holding the Presidency. Adhering to absolute principals - cutting off your nose to spite your face - rather than dealing with the realities of the "sausage making" that governance is accomplishes nothing. (I cite as my reference the current "do-nothing, know-nothing, NO-everything" Republican party.) My way or the highway is a good way to accomplish nothing. Threats to refuse to vote or to throw your vote away in quixotic fervor will only lead to a Republican victory in November - not just in the presidency but in all the down ballot elections, as well. It is not enough just to vote, we must vote smart, vote strategically.
 
 
+16 # JJS 2016-02-18 19:52
Scalia is dead. There is a Goddess!
 
 
+1 # Shorey13 2016-02-18 22:55
Down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass. Can it get any more bizarre? Of course. It can and it will.
 
 
+12 # Salus Populi 2016-02-19 04:05
It's a good day for Thomas to recommit himself to always following Scalia's lead.

Personally, I think Obama should appoint a fiery progressive in the mold of William Brennan to begin to restore the balance of the Court. Assuming that the Dems carry the White House and the Senate this fall -- at least for the sake of argument -- if the Senate this year turns down such a person, the name can be resubmitted next year.

The one thing I am sick of is that since Reagan, every Democratic president has felt compelled to nominate tepid centrists, and many Democratic Senators have felt that it is their "duty" to approve every one of the ever-more reactionary, authoritarian, corporatist, fascistic, etc., troglodytes that the Republicans offer up. O'Connor [iirc], Scalia and Kennedy were all unanimously approved; Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Rehnquist got Dem support in the Senate; and Patrick Leahy *bragged* during Schrubb's tenancy about how many of his [almost all reactionary] district and appeals judges the Dems had approved.

Meanwhile, both Clinton and Obama found that massive numbers of their nominees were bottled up without hearings, until Reid finally had to use the "nuclear option" to get them approved. This was so even though Clinton "vetted" his lists through the far-Reicht Sen. Orrin Hatch before deciding to submit them: Thus both Ginsberg and Breyer were barely left of center, and Obama did no better.

The two libs Souter and Stevens were both Repubs nominees.
 
 
+8 # Cassandra2012 2016-02-19 14:55
"The two libs Souter and Stevens were both Repubs nominees."

Ah, but that was when Repubs were really Repubs., and not our current version of the Tealiban.
 
 
+3 # dusty64 2016-02-19 23:10
It is possible, with Scalia gone, that at least one of the remaining conservative Justices will act less conservatively now that fear does not color judgement.

5L-3C decisions are at least POSSIBLE.
 
 
0 # SusanT136 2016-02-21 11:32
RE: Grammys - 65% - 75% of the "performances" are lip synched - singers & band - or sung to tracks - fakery at its best. I'm sick of the "establishment" - just as in the Oscars, mostly older, rich white guys - telling us all what's great, & presenting it in the most fake way possible.

I personally think Kendrik Lamar's music & performance were overrated. I admire his tackling problems like mass incarceration, prison "slave" labor & the murder of young blacks by the police, but I don't find him or his lyrics compelling compared to old school political rappers like Public Enemy & Rage Against the Machine.

I've been curious about Hamilton, but was disappointed by the one number. Disclaimer - I don't really like musicals because they seem so contrived. Astonishingly, Kelly Rippa claims her son learned most of what he knows about revolutionary history from this show. Sad commentary on our educational system. Plus Aaron Burr is played by a black actor. Really?

IMHO, one of the best moments in the show was when Tori Kelly & James Bey performed together. No big visual sets to distract if the music wasn't that great, no lip synching - they played & sang with emotion AND musicianship. There were probably other good moments, but I turned off at the Hollywood Vampires performance, which sounded old & lame to me.

Like most awards shows, every year there's more posing & less music. i guess it's healthy that at least the nominees aren't as white bread as the Oscars.
 

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