Monday July 9, 2018
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- Tonight, the President is scheduled to announce his second (but maybe not final) pick to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States.
- This nominee will be put forward for a vote in the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Justice Anthony Kennedy who resigned a couple of weeks ago.
- This is all about me, of course, in that my cell phone will begin ringing off its digital hook beginning tomorrow morning.
- Because my cell number is only one digit different from the office number of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) who represents a district in the far northern area of the state. Places like Plattsburg and Watertown.
- When people call me by mistake during non-campaign times, I gently tell them that no, this is not Represenative Sefanic's office, that they dialed wrong, and here's how to fix it. Generally they apologize, thank me, and that's that.
- During campaign times "CALL YOUR SENATOR AND TELL THEM …" I get bored with the calls and yearn for the standard spam calls offering to cut my credit card interest I half, or to fix my car for damned-near free.
- Not only do these people dial wrong, but they have the whole procedure wrong. It is the Senate - and the Senate alone - that the Constitution grants, in Article II, Section 2, the power to consent to Presidential nominations to high office, including the nation's highest court.
- Note that this is Article II - the Executive Article - not Article I - the Legislative Article - in which this power to the Senate is granted.
[The President] shall … shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court . . .
- During the period after Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland (in March 2016) to replace Justice Atonin Scalia who had died (in February 2016), you may remember that Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell famously refused to allow Garland's nomination to move forward one angstrom.
- McConnell's reasoning was that 2016 was a Presidential election year and the selection of a Justice of the Supreme Court was of such import that the people should have a say - and by virtue of picking the next President they did have a say.
- They said: "We don't want Hillary Clinton picking Supreme Court nominees."
- Democrats are now claiming "HYPOCRISY IN DEMOCRACY" (I just made that up) and are demanding that what is being called the "McConnell Rule" be employed in 2018 and await the results of the mid-term elections this Fall.
- I didn't agree with McConnell in 2016 and I don't agree with the Ds now. The Ds never complained much when Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev) was the Majority Leader and ran the place like Al Capone ran the Chicago mob.
- Granted this was the equivalent of a three-cushion bank shot inasmuch as the people don't vote directly for Supreme Court nominees, nor do they vote directly for Presidents of the United States, but they do vote directly for members of the United States Senate.
- That last, only since 1913 when the 17th Amendment was adopted allowing the direct election of U.S. Senators.
- Prior to this, Article I, Section 3 proclaimed
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
- For anyone who treats the original language of the U.S. Constitution as if it were carved by Holy finger in stone, that was a pretty big change from what the Founding Fathers thought the nature of the U.S. Senate would or should be.
- Fact is, both the indirect election of Senators (through the state legislatures) and the indirect election of the President (through the Electoral College) showed a striking lack of confidence in the average voter.
- The Republican majority in the U.S. Senate is a paper-thin: 51-49. But, it is unlikely (as I type this) that Sen. John McCain (D-Ariz) will be physically able to vote whenever this comes to the floor, so effectively the margin is 50-49.
- The Vice President can vote to break a tie, but he can't vote to create a tie. Article I Section 3:
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
- So, don't call Rep. Stefanik. And don't call me. Call your Senator: (202) 224-3121.
- Thus endeth the lesson.
- On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to Rep. Elise Stefanic's official web page, to Article II and to the 17th Amendment as well as to the definition of an angstrom.
- The Mullfoto is a pretty good one in the never-ending license place series.
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