Monday, February 15, 2016

It's a Question of Legitimacy

It was only an hour after reports had confirmed that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was dead that Mitch McConnell declared “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president." Of course that statement completely ignores the fact that almost 66 million people had used their voice to elect President Barack Obama to a four year term back in 2012. But it wasn't long before people like Sen. Grassley - chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee - and all of the Republican presidential candidates weighed in to agree with McConnell.

As I watched all this unfold on Saturday night, this is the tweet that captured it for me:
The word "before" is carrying a lot of weight in that statement. It wasn't long before much of the media had bought the underlying premise. Notice the word "technically."
What this means is that Republicans are not even going to wait and question President Obama's nominee on the merits. They are directly challenging his legitimacy to nominate anyone. That goes to the heart of a case they have been making for seven years now (starting with the whole "birther movement"). It is what Doug Muder referred to as the Confederate worldview.
The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries…
The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change.
It is also reminiscent of Grover Norquist's response back in 2003 when talking about how the GOP would handle a Democratic presidency in the "permanent Republican majority." He said, "We will make it so that a Democrat cannot govern as a Democrat.”

That is what we are seeing played out right now with respect to a nomination to the Supreme Court. Republicans are questioning the very legitimacy of our current President to perform his Constitutional duties. That's because the social order is changing (both in terms of cultural issues and demographics) and, for them, any form of resistance is justified.

Both Democrats and the media need to be clear about what is happening. Regardless of how often Republicans try to don the mantle of defending the Constitution, they are in the midst of attempting to undermine our democratic processes.


  1. They will never accept the legitimacy of a President who isn't one of them.

  2. They will never accept the legitimacy of a President who isn't one of them.

  3. Not trying to be a troublemaker, but just wondering what you think of the points below from a different POV? Help me understand this post in light of the following.

    1-Not just the right of the President, but as the constitution states, "by and with the advice and consent" of the Senate. So they are involved in the process as much as the president.
    "He shall have Power, ... by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States,.."

    2-While President Obama did, by the will of the people, win the election in 2012, so to did the people decide that they prefer a divided government and elected a congress and senate to balance the power of both.

    3-If this denial by the Senate is an example of the "Confederate worldview", does that not also extend to Sen Schumer and those democrats that proposed the same thing for Bush's nomination back in 2007? And I believe that then Senator Obama agreed with this lack of action.

    4-Going back to Nixon, there have been 5 Republican SCOTUS nominees that were rejected or forced to withdraw by the Senate. That is almost 1/3 of the total nominees!! And conversely, no Democratic SCOTUS nominee has been rejected or forced to withdraw. How does that fit your paradigm of Republicans and this "Confederate worldview". While Republicans have not liked the politics and worldview of these liberal justices, they have not rejected them like Democrats have done to the likes of Bork and others.

    Both parties are looking out for their chance for wins and both are being hypocritical in this discussion. The Democrates are not full of integrity and honesty here in the least, and neither are the Republicans. Bottom line is it takes both the President AND the Senate to put a new judge on the court. It is not the sole right of the President, and the people did elect both.