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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Senate Republicans pushed the country further down the rabbit hole of political extremism Thursday by changing the voting rules to put a far-right justice in a hijacked Supreme Court seat, cementing a conservative high court majority for years. The final formal vote is expected Friday.

The Republicans did it by repealing the only power a minority party has to block judicial appointments and legislation—the Senate’s filibuster rule, which says 60 votes are needed to end debate and vote. The Republicans could not get enough Democrats to clear that threshold for Neil Gorsuch’s high court confirmation, so they took steps to repeal the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees, positioning the 100-member body’s 52 Republicans to confirm Gorsuch by a simple majority.

The consequences will be felt immediately and for decades. The Supreme Court returns to a conservative majority, where on the most contentious issues there likely will be votes to deny reproductive rights, undo government regulation of business, ignore climate science and allow corporate evasions of societal responsibility. The GOP strategy was simple. Led by Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the Republicans refused to act on President Obama’s court nominee, Merrick Garland. They wagered they could delay until after 2016’s election and perhaps cement a right-wing court.

The stage was set for this judicial coup on Thursday, when Republicans, who could only get 55 votes to end the Democratic filibuster, began the procedural march to repealing that rule for Supreme Court nominations in preparation for Friday’s confirmation by a simple majority.

What transpired this week reverberates beyond the historic loss of a left-of-center Supreme Court majority, a swing in that body’s temperament that occurs only every few decades. In the Senate itself, the hollowing of the filibuster rule, which still remains in effect for legislation—and thus is the only power Senate Democrats still hold—means that its tradition of being forced to compromise is further withering under hardball, winner-take-all tactics.

Speaking before the vote, the Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, rued the Court would be seen as an even more partisan and politicized body with this appointment, and wondered aloud how long the filibuster rule blocking extremist legislation would survive.

“Instead of the Senate forcing us to change, senators have decided to change the Senate, and I worry a great deal about what that means for our future,” Schumer said. “Today’s vote is a cautionary tale about how unbridled partisan escalation can ultimately overwhelm our basic inclinations to work together and frustrate our efforts to pull back.”

Republicans, of course, blamed Democrats for ripping up the filibuster for judicial nominations. They pointed to 2013, when the body had a Democratic majority that revoked the filibuster to seat dozens of lower district and appeals court judges appointed by President Obama. The Democrats acted because McConnell refused to allow the seating of Obama’s appointees. A few Republican senators pointed the finger of blame even further back, citing Democratic opposition to President George W. Bush’s nominees, including a 2006 deal where only half were seated. Thus, in their minds, Republicans were only continuing what the Democrats had started.

Sen. Christopher Coons, D-DE, said this circle of blame was idiotic and deeply damaging. He told the Senate it was a mistake in 2013 for the Democrats to yank the filibuster rule for lower federal court appointments. But those misgivings and pleas for the Senate to retain its requirement to compromise sufficiently to clear 60-vote thresholds were not persuasive.

“We simply do not trust each other anymore,” Coons lamented. “What past mistakes can we own up to?”

Such calls for reason and seeing history with clear eyes didn’t hold. Not in a GOP that since Obama’s election in 2008 has done everything it can to change the rules in state and federal elections, as well as in judicial confirmations, to tilt the likely results to their partisan benefit. On the judicial front, the GOP’s obstructionist tactics continued after 2014, when it regained the Senate majority. It refused to act on more than 50 Obama nominees and Merrick Garland. President Trump is now poised to appoint the most federal court judges since the 1950s.

The loss of the U.S. Supreme Court to right-wingers has been coming ever since Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election. As damaging as that will be for years on every issue that matters to progressives, what the Senate did this week poses another danger. It’s made the structure of American government more susceptible to political extremism. It’s part of a Republican-led progression that has changed the rules over how elections are waged to their side’s advantage, and has embraced anything-goes attacks under the banner of partisan loyalty and ideology.

If American democracy is dying a death of 1,000 cuts, this week’s Senate action is one of the bigger wounds—right up there with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that unleashed new billionaire-driven political machines, and the Supreme Court’s 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the crowning achievement of the Civil Rights Movement.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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37 responses to “Republicans Have Just Handed America An Extreme Right-Wing Supreme Court That Will Divide the Country More Than Ever”

  1. Just A Citizen says:

    Author is short on historical knowledge but long on hyperbole.

    If this court is “right wing” then I say we need to move even farther to the right. What is it about a SCOTUS that adheres to the Constitution that scares Progressives and Modern Liberals?

    Are you afraid that if your ideas were forced to the public arena they would lose? If you are so sure your ideology is correct and the majority share it, then why not try amending the Constitution instead of using judges to make new laws on your behalf?

    • You’re short on a lot of things, noble patrician. But if you must remain “regressive”, and eschew progress, then by all means, remain a philistine.

      • Just A Citizen says:

        Still spouting empty rhetoric I see.

        Your progressive ideology is the true regressive position. Making humans slave to the Govt. monolith is not liberating in the least.

        • Still ignorant as ever, I see. What is empty about your acting like a philistine? If you can show progress in your attitude, and maturity in your thoughts and expressions, then “empty rhetoric” will begin to make sense to you.
          If rhetoric is too much for your cognitive abilities, I suggest you stay with the comic strips. The funnies are short, light on substance, humorous, and should give you a better sense of well-being.
          “Government monolith”? What madness gripped your mind to come up with that irrelevant comment? Read the article again, survey the landscape over the past several decades, and get back to me with a revised and sane assessment of how our government has rapidly devolved since the GOP decided on all out war on America since 2008.

          • Frank Wilson says:

            I have a hard time siding with one who cannot discuss issues, but rather takes to throwing insults. That’s a major reason why Trump won the election. The elites constantly pointed out that the “college educated” voters supported HRC. As if that means their vote is worth more.

          • The reason Trump won is because people like yourself no longer have ethical values. For you, Trump’s “pu___y grabbing is a non-issue, his habitual lying doesn’t phase you because you’re OK with that. On top of all that, you approve of the nationalist racist odor exuding from Trump.
            If that’s your thing, so be it, and if you’re a genuine nativist and harbor racist sentiments—again that’s your privilege. But you’re out of step with God, and you have yet to appreciate and apprehend the Vision of Baha’u’llah. A Vision that is inclusive and brooks no hate for humankind regardless of their race, ethnicity, and Religion.
            And I have a hard time siding with anyone who can’t understand the essential qualities, based on the criteria I mention above.

            Good day, Frank.

  2. Gary John says:

    It used to be extreme Left.

    3 of the 8 Supreme Court justices used to be pro non-White immigration Jews.

    Multiculturalism IS extremism. Increasing diversity leads to decreasing social trust, democracy, and freedom.

    The author probably thinks races are interchangeable! LMAO

    What evidence to Whites have that the US will be safer, wealthier and more united if or when Whites become a US minority? None.

    Many Whites are funding and celebrating themselves being outbred and displaced by non Whites. INSANITY.

    • Mama Bear says:

      What is insanity is thinking that the white race is somehow superior and elite. We are not. We never have been. We are clearly in lower positions with regard to intelligence and education, strength and overall brain power. The only place white is superior is in your imagination. You are one sad sack of rocks.

    • Gary, you need mental health treatment—ASAP. You chose the perfect icon.
      Thanks for sharing your bile with us. If this is your idea of a joke, then the jokes on you, pal.

      INSANITY? Insanity is an “African” whose ancestors left Africa in the 2nd wave out of Africa about 50,000 years ago, entered what is now called Europe, had a change in skin color to better produce Vitamin D from decreased sunlight at higher latitudes, and now has the temerity to exalt himself over others because of his new “coating”. Kind of a “reverse Joseph”, whose older brothers were envious of the new garment given to Joseph by his father. You recall that they sold him into slavery, Joseph later became a ruler, and forgave his jealous brothers.

      And here you are today, infatuated with your light-colored outer integument. How depraved and degenerate.

      • Mama Bear says:

        wow…very well said, Aaron. He is just another of the impotent white males who have nothing except their skin tone to show for their years on earth.

        • Thank you. You, I, and others have so much work to do. Extremism is nourished by bigotry, fear, and hate, and Gary is more than well-fed. It is truly mystifying as to the dynamics of skin color perception and human behavior, and even more so why our white male brothers, of all the people on the planet, feel compelled to act as Mark, Steve Bannon, Trump, and David Duke do.

          • Mama Bear says:

            Could it be as simple as they have nothing else, have achieved nothing else, have no ambition to achieve anything, cannot see beyond their noses and join with other lazy non-thinking white males and pretend they are superior?

          • idamag says:

            Now, that they have turned our government into a sewer, people like gary comes oozing up from the bottom of the defilement.

          • Mama Bear says:

            Very good description!

      • idamag says:

        Even the Bible explains God’s wisdom in protective coloring. In Songs of Solomon, it says, “Look not upon me because I am Black. I am Black because the sun has looked upon me.

        • I’ve lately(past few decades now) been very interested in examining and reflecting on the various metaphors and imagery used in the Bible. But I would say that my quest on an intellectual basis began when reading a book in the Baha’i library at the Baha’i School in Eliot, Maine, in the late 70’s. I and other Baha’is were invited to work as a pair, one Baha’i of European descent with a Baha’i of African descent. The topic and theme for the summer was Race Unity and discussing the scourge of racism and thinking of new ways to inform our friends and neighbors.
          The book I picked up to get some ideas was entitles “Race and Color in Islam”. It was my very first exposure to the problem of racism that plagued the Muslim community—an image contrary to what a lot of Black Americans who had converted to Islam hadn’t known.
          Muslims have the same problems correctly interpreting the metaphor of the the “Curse of Noah” as Jews and Christians have; plus, certain Muslim scholars over the past centuries handed down erroneous interpretations of “Black”, “White”, “Ham”, “Cain and Abel”, the purpose of slavery, etc.
          I could go on citing specific texts from questionable Hadiths, but I’ll end right here for now.

      • Gary John says:

        What evidence do whites have that races are interchangeable? None.

        You are obviously pro white genocide.

        • “Gary, since you insist on being immature, and show no interest in exercising depth of understanding, any response to you is like talking with a toddler about Relativity.

        • Also, Gary—Your infantile concern about white genocide is totally incompatible to the reality and meaning of being human. Like so many other dim-witted and mentally lethargic people, there is but one Race—The human Race. You’ve allowed yourself to indulge in the myth and fantasy that humans are fundamentally different, and that because of skin color, we are to see ourselves as distinct species according to our outer covering. What a shallow and Cave Man understanding of humanity.

          Therefore, to reacquaint you with who you are, how you are related to all humanity, and what is expected of you as a human, you need to reflect on the following simple yet powerful quote, which by the way anticipated that science would some day affirm what Baha’u’llah reiterated. A reiteration of the very same theme by what previous Messengers before Him said, in different ways.

          “O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.”

          As you can see, this aphorism shreds any and all racialist sentiments and similar myths about humanity which you and your ilk still foolishly cling to. Myths which are the products of limited, vain, and obscure thoughts

          • Gary John says:

            One race, eh? What are anti-genocide laws? Why can’t Whites, Jews, and Blacks gain minority recognition in China? How come forensic anthropologists can tell the race of a victim by examining bone, blood or saliva samples? On, and on, and on.

            Rave is FAR more than skin color difference. Get a real education, not a watered down, Marxist one.

          • Gary, your rants clearly indicate a total breakdown in your mental faculties. Either you were raised by wolves or your parents never took the trouble with teaching you basic spiritual concepts. If you’re smarter than I, then you would have implicitly understood everything I posted. But, alas, you failed to exercise your potential—what a waste of of the mind God gave you. And to insist of your “whiteness” is another sign of an aggressive spiritual morbidity overtaking you.

            Your fantasy and obsession with skin color is simply a juvenile response and shows no ability to understand the concepts of science AND Religion.

            Get an education? As I’ve already alluded to, there is much you still remain ignorant of, including basic science, and an ignorance of what population geneticists and molecular biologists have already clearly established. That is, that all humanity derived from a common location in South east Africa, and as “Modern Humans, 50,000 years ago, began to fan out across Africa, up into the Levant, into Europe, Asia, and over to the Americas. At higher latitudes, skin color changes had to occur to adapt to less direct sunlight. I could go on, but you shouldn’t be so lazy. Read about these things on your own, and you want have to keep showing the world how woefully ill-educated you are.

            Now that Science has caught up with Baha’u’lllah(Arabic for “The Glory of God”), Jesus, Muhammad, and others have already stated, overtly and by metaphors.

    • 788eddie says:

      Dear Gary John,

      Here’s a little piece of information to help your miserable life outlook be just a little more miserable; the gene that expresses what we call “Caucasian” appears to be a recessive gene. Have you ever noticed that when someone who is white marries and has offspring with someone of another race, the offspring are invariable not white?

      As time passes, Caucasians will invariably become more and more a minority.

      Sweet dreams, Gary.

      • Mama Bear says:

        It is actually evolution in process. Survival of the “fittest” is not survival of whitest. As time continues white will continue to diminish because it is apparently not “the fittest”. Could it be that is why uneducated unintelligent white supremacist do not believe in evolution?

        • idamag says:

          The so-called Black people, I know, have beautiful skin. The colors range from golden oak to mahogany. Compare that with sickly pinkish white.

          • Mama Bear says:

            I have a nephew who has red hair and his skin is so white we kid him that he was born with a toe tag “do not expose to direct sunlight”. His wife is Haitian. Their children have the most beautiful mocha colored skin I have ever seen. Funny, though, no one I know thinks he is better in any way than his wife.

      • Gary John says:

        Study history. Whites are waking up. Not all whites are willing to fund and celebrate their own ethnic displacement.

        You might appeal to collective suicide. I don’t.

        • 788eddie says:

          Hey Gary, I’m a WASP, and I don’t want to have anything to do with you.

          You’re the best argument for post-natal abortion that I’ve seen in a long while.

    • Dapper Dan says:

      You are a very vile person just like the Fake President we’re stuck with. You make me ashamed to be white and your deplorable racism is a malignant cancer on a civilized society. The pigmentation of a persons skin does not determine superiority over another person. Whatever you do please do not procreate and pass your BS racist views to the next generation. Regrettably its people like you that’s starting a new Civil War which you’ll lose again

      • idamag says:

        When the only thing that makes a diptin proud is the color of his or her skin, they haven’t produced much for the good of society. The amount of melanin in their skin is not something they accomplished. Malignancy is the correct word for them. Those of them I have met are low I.Q. boring as hell to anyone with a triple digit I.Q. A pox on them all.

      • Gary John says:

        Why do you pretend diversity is a strength and race is just skin color difference? To seize the moral high ground and avoid being called a racist.

        What evidence do whites have that the US will be safer, wealthier and more united if or when whites become a US minority? None.

        What evidence do whites have that races are interchangeable? None.

        Your ideology is an extreme threat to social stability, peace, social trust, freedom, and democracy.

        You assume good intentions are more important than results. You forgot the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

        People are tribal by nature.
        Blood is thicker than water.
        Good fences make good neighbors.

        • Dapper Dan says:

          You are among those that have created such hate and division in our society that we now have such hate towards others that don’t match their rigid ideology of race superiority. Your kind of hate will not be tolerated in a civilized society. If your not part of the solution your part of the problem. Now feel free to spew your venomous hateful garbage over at Breitbart and Infowars

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  4. idamag says:

    For 8 years, I tried to heal the division between Republicans and Democrats, but now, the Republicans are so disgusting and so against democracy, I am against them. I am not happy with the Democrats because they seem to think that somewhere in the Republican Party is a spark of decency. Wake up, Democrats, the republican party has been taken over by uber right wing fascists. The Senate is led by someone who was voted in by people who get their first pair of shoes on their wedding day when Sally sue loraine marries bubby III, her double cousin. These people are dangerous to democracy and I am going to be proud to be on the opposite side of the back country yoemen.

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  5. itsfun says:

    The new justice is a firm believer in the Constitution. He will not try to make laws. He will follow the Constitution as it is written, not as some on the left want it ignored.

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