Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.
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Justice Stephen Breyer is reportedly planning to retire, giving President Joe Biden his first chance to appoint someone to the Supreme Court. But without waiting for either to formally announce their plans, Senate Republicans are already smearing potential nominees and resorting to racist dog whistle attacks.
"Moment of truth for Joe Biden. Will this deeply unpopular & divisive president finally reject the radical elements of his party and nominate someone who loves America and believes in the Constitution?" tweeted Sen. Josh Hawley on Wednesday. "Or will he continue to tear apart this country w/ a woke activist?"
Hawley has frequently used the term "woke" as a racist dog whistle to dismiss those who work to combat systemic racism. His latest use of the term comes after the 2020 presidential campaign, during which Biden promised to appoint the first Black woman to the high court.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, released a statement that predicted, "The Democrats know they will lose the Senate majority in 2022. I predict that [Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer and whoever is running the White House will force all Democrats to obey and walk the plank in support of a radical liberal with extremist views." He later added he would oppose anyone he thought would be an "activist judge."
Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said in a statement: "I will not stand by as President Biden attempts to fill our courts with activist judges who are beholden to progressive interests. I look forward to thoroughly vetting the nominee to see if they are a person of high character who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not make law from the bench."
"When you take a look at his nominees for all these other positions, they are radical — and I mean radical — leftists, and I fear that's what he's going to do here for the Supreme Court," Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told reporters.
After former President Donald Trump explicitly promised during his campaign only to nominate to the Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, during his term in office Senate Republicans rammed through three far-right nominees — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Now Senate Republicans are demanding that Biden appoint a moderate.
"There will be pressure from the left to replace Justice Breyer with a partisan who will legislate from the bench," said Texas Sen. John Cornyn. "Instead President Biden should honor the Justice's legacy & nominate an experienced jurist who respects the current structure and limited role of the Supreme Court."
"Joe Biden has failed to be the moderate president he sold to the American people and many of his radical nominees have not reflected American values in any way," wrote Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall. "I call on the President to remember his inauguration pledge of unity and nominate a replacement who will uphold the Constitution and reflect pride in our great nation."
Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who is seeking the GOP nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, tweeted, "The US Senate is our last line of defense against radical leftist SCOTUS justices. This isn't the time to send a squishy establishment RINO to Washington to sit back and sing kumbaya with Democrats and allow Joe Biden to appoint another justice like Kagan or Sotomayor."
But due to a 2017 rule change by Senate Republicans, any potential Biden pick would need only a simple majority of senators' votes to be confirmed. With 50 Democrats in the Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris able to break ties as president of the chamber, if the majority sticks together, the GOP will not be able to do anything but complain.
Given the six Republican-appointed justices on the nine-member Court, who are generally hostile to workers, consumers, voting rights, campaign finance reform, reproductive choice, and the separation of church and state, Breyer's replacement will face a challenging work environment.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told the New York Times that he didn't think the new justice would make much difference. "Replacing one liberal with another liberal, that's just running in place."
In a press release, Rakim H. D. Brooks, president of the progressive advocacy group Alliance for Justice, noted the significance of Biden's potential pick.
"We are overcome with joy that President Biden will now have a historic opportunity to nominate the nation's first Black woman to a seat on the Supreme Court," he wrote. "We are confident that this nominee will have a demonstrated commitment to equal justice and will protect the rights of all Americans, and we are well prepared for the fight ahead to ensure her speedy confirmation."
Reprinted with permission from American Independent
Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock has proved once again that his reputation is warranted. He’s a fundraising giant. He has outraised his GOP opponent, Herschel Walker, by almost double in the last quarter of 2021, with donations averaging at $43.
According to Warnock’s campaign, the senator raked in $9.8 million to the retired NFL star’s $54.4 million in the same three-month period ending on Dec. 31.
Warnock’s latest haul will give him a hefty $23 million cash on hand for a reelection battle that could decide control the U.S. Senate. His campaign says he acquired the contributions from 130,000 donors from October to December.
As Reverend Warnock continues to fight for hardworking Georgia families, the enthusiasm behind Reverend Warnock's campaign continues to grow,” Warnock’s campaign manager Quentin Fulks said in a statement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“After driving another record-breaking fundraising haul, our strong network of grassroots support is fired up to send Reverend Warnock back to the Senate to fight for Georgia,” Fulks added.
The state’s first Black senator and Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor is seeking a full six-year term, but given Georgia’s divided political landscape, Warnock is far from being a shoo-in.
Walker has been knighted by former twice-impeached former President Donald Trump and racist, vote suppressing Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which, so far, has worked in his favor—hand in hand with the fact that he’s beloved in Georgia.
According to Fox Business, a super PAC supporting Walker, 34N22, spent more than $50,000 on a billboard campaign attacking Warnock. The billboards target inflation and gas prices, while a third reads, "Crime is killing Atlanta."
But all the attacks on Warnock in the world aren’t going to undo Herschel’s own history, not to mention his recent mistakes while campaigning.
In December, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein called out Walker for saying he “graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice,” a lie found on his Amazon author site, his Speaker Booking Agency page, and his New Georgia Encyclopedia entry, AJC reported.
Now, here’s the thing: Not everyone cares whether a senate candidate is a college graduate, but I would suspect most care if you lie about it.
Walker also has a very dark history of mental health issues. Again, not a big deal, unless you have a history of domestic violence.
According to public records reviewed by Associated Press, Walker repeatedly threatened ex-wife Cindy Grossman during his divorce. In 2005, Grossman secured a protective order against him, alleging violence and controlling behavior, AP reports.
In an interview with ABC News, Grossman said Walker held a gun to her head, saying, “I’m going to blow your f---ing brains out.” She filed for divorce in 2001, citing “physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior.”
In October, Walker fumbled again when he was forced to cancel a planned fundraiser after the host was discovered to have a swastika as her profile pic.
The event was co-hosted by dubious figure Bettina Sofia Viviano-Langlais—a film producer, proud birther, and president and owner of Accelerate Entertainment, which offers a very short slate of very bad movies.
Viviano-Langlais not only produces crap entertainment, but she’s also a vehement right-wing anti-vaxxer. This brings me to my next embarrassing Walker tidbit.
The Daily Beast found an Aug. 2020 interview where Walker told right-wing talk show host Glenn Beck about the new FDA-approved “spray” that kills COVID on contact.
“I probably shouldn’t tell you,” Walker says, adding “Do you know right now, I have something that [you can bring] into a building, that will clean you of COVID, as you walk through this, this dry mist?”
Even Beck looked suspicious, but Walker rambled on.
“As you walk through the door, it will kill any COVID on your body,” he continues. He leans in and adds, “EPA-, FDA-approved,” then continues: “When you leave—it will kill the virus as you leave, this here product,” Walker says. He adds that he has a second unspecified miracle product, a “spray” possibly indicated for use after the dry mist treatment.
“They don’t want to talk about that. They don’t want to hear about that,” Walker says. “And I’m serious.”
Walker is up against at least three other Republican primary candidates for Warnock’s seat, including the state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, a Navy veteran; former bank executive, Latham Saddler; and construction company owner, Kelvin King.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos