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Gaming the Courts

Not Political? OK

Justice Breyer just announced his retirement. He claims that the SCOTUS isn’t a political entity:

“It is wrong to think of the court as another political institution,” he said in an April speech at Harvard Law School. “And it is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians.”

He added, justices “are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment.”

OK. Pull the other leg, it has bells on it. The Supreme Court is, and always has been, a political entity. Breyer is retiring at this particular point in time because there is a Democrat in the White House, and the Democrats hold a razor thin edge in the Senate. They rolled the dice in 2016 and lost that bet, so they aren’t likely to do it again.

The left is still salty because the Senate wouldn’t allow Obama to replace Scalia with a leftist, thus cementing a hard left SCOTUS for decades.

The Democrats could have selected Scalia’s replacement in 2016, and the accusation is that the Republicans wouldn’t allow his selectee to be voted upon. That is pure BS. The Obama administration could have had Scalia’s replacement in 2016. All they had to do was offer a replacement that was not a hard core leftist. Had the Democrats offered a more centrist candidate, the Republicans would have likely approved. The Republican Senate would have approved a left leaning centrist, rather than wait to see the hard core leftist that HRC was going to nominate.

But Obama didn’t do that. Why not?

Because everyone who mattered was absolutely convinced that Hillary was going to be the next President. Her victory was a guarantee. The Democrats believed it so much, they decided to stick to the extremist pick on the theory that HRC was going to ram through a leftist candidate to replace Scalia and swing the court to the left.

Instead, the Republicans got to install Gorsuch. That was bad enough from their point of view, but still didn’t swing the court to the left.

The real damage came because Ginsberg decided to hold out for the HRC presidency that never materialized. RBG could have retired in 2016 and been replaced by an Obama selectee, but chose not to. Why did she do that? 

Ginsberg wanted to be in the history books after retiring during a Hillary Clinton Presidency, so she could become the first female Justice to be replaced by the first female President. 

That big mistake became the decision that threw SCOTUS firmly to the right by giving President Trump a recently unheard of three SCOTUS picks. The last President who got to do that was Ronald Reagan.

Everyone who mattered thought that Hillary was going to be the next President. The Democrats believed it so much, they decided to stick to the extremist pick on the theory that HRC was going to ram through a leftist candidate to replace Scalia and swing the court to the left. They didn’t need to pick a moderate SCOTUS candidate. If the Senate didn’t confirm Obama’s pick, HRC would get the pick. RBG didn’t need to retire while Obama was in the Oval office, HRC would pick her replacement.

They bet on an HRC victory. Trump’s victory destroyed all of that, and this set up to make the SCOTUS a conservative court for the next 20 years.

The retirement of Breyer won’t change that.


Interesting trivia:

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt got eight of his nominees on the Supreme Court in six years while in office. There was also Dwight Eisenhower, William Taft and Ulysses Grant, each of whom got five nominees on the court.

Nixon, Truman, Harding, Harrison, and Cleveland each got four picks.

Reagan, Hoover, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Trump each got three.

Obama, both Bushes, Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, and Hayes each picked two for the high court.

Ford, Coolidge, McKinley, and Garfield each only picked one justice.

16 replies on “Not Political? OK”

I do not see this court as currently composed as leaning conservative. They still approve of mandated shots for medical workers.

On the interesting trivia – some of the presidents from way back probably got more picks simply because people died younger and more often. Today, we can pickle a justice and keep him on animatronics for years, kind of like we do with Biden.

Also, the Dems learned another lesson. If a justice is gonna retire, don’t wait until the last year of the presidency. Do it early enough that the opposing party can’t say “let’s wait until the election is over”.

And that wise latina whatever should be tried for treason – or at least kicked off the bench for not even understanding the basic structure and purpose of our govt system.

All that is necessary for removing a SCOTUS Justice is for Congress to impeach and try them for ‘bad acting’ – ie: Not acting to interpret and uphold the law in a clear an impartial manner.
I’m pretty sure that clearly partisan decisions and/or clearly demonstrating ignorance of the underlying law (ie – US Constitution) would also suffice. Otherwise, they’ve got a job until they decide to retire, or die in office.

Technically, yes you’re correct. Has it ever been done? And how much squalling and crying will we hear if it ever gets tried? Nope, they’re in there for life until we start hanging decorations from lampposts.

There’s a story that Breyer was kicked out that seems plausible. It gels with most of what you’re saying.

He was apparently waiting to retire until a liberal administration was there, to better assure that a left wing justice replaced him and the Powers in Charge decided to retire him now. The whole point is to make the confirmation hearings for the replacement The Big Story during the run-up to the midterm elections. 24/7 coverage of how the evil Republicans tormented their nominee.

“President Franklin Delano Roosevelt got eight of his nominees on the Supreme Court during his six years in office.”

Six year???

It should say “President Franklin Delano Roosevelt got eight of his nominees on the Supreme Court in six years while in office

Isn’t his resignation effective at the end of the current SCOTUS session ? When does the current SCOTUS session end ? I thought it was in October…

Comrade Breyer will be honored in the CPUSA hall to remember meritorious service for burning it all down by any means necessary.
Uncanny. Just reading a hypothetical scenario page where Jo Jo Brandon resigns due to some illness and Hillary Cankles sneaks in while the Kamal goes to SCROTUS.

“The left is still salty because the Senate wouldn’t allow Obama to replace Scalia with a leftist…” Yeah, they got extra pissed because they realized they’d gone through all the trouble to have him killed for nothing.

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