Democrats should hold confirmation hearings and approve President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, in a respectful, timely way. In other words, they ought to act in the way Republicans should have acted with President Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland. How Liberals and Progressives respond to this nomination will show whether their ongoing protests and anger are truly principled or are just aimless expressions of emotion.
Most every action Trump has taken since becoming President has been abnormal, irresponsible, immoral, incompetent, or counter-productive. He is, in my opinion entirely unfit for the office of President, and has not the moral, intellectual, nor executive substance that this office requires. Yet I am in the electoral minority. Donald J. Trump is the President now, and even if he does not treat the Presidency with the respect and dignity it deserves, the rest of us should.
All of the Opinion pieces I’ve seen so far that have argued for Democratic obstruction of the Gorsuch nomination, do so on two primary grounds: the Republican travesty of blocking Obama’s pick for the past year, and the Conservatism of Gorsuch. Both of these reasons come up short.
U.S. foreign policy as it pertains to ISIS should reflect the reality of what ISIS is: a social movement for which the best course for absolute defeat is a “bottom-up” approach, rather than just “top-down”.
On Monday, the Supreme Court gave a shocking decision to not rule on gay marriage decisions in five states. Some could see this as a defeat for gay marriage, prolonging the costs and time it takes to move the process forward state-by-state.
On the other hand, though, most commentators and gay marriage proponents saw this as giving tacit approval to gay marriage by the Court. And in fact, this does seem to be the case. Unlike most other Supreme Court decisions, it doesn’t take a majority for the Court to agree to hear a case–it only takes four votes. This means that at least a super-majority of the justices did not feel the need to provide oversight to the decisions.
And this is important to remember. The Supreme Court is not intended to be a court in the usual sense. It is an appeals court. It oversees the federal appeals courts’ decisions and only acts when they think the appeals courts are either contradicting one another or are going in an extremely wrong direction. In other words, they are there to clarify when there’s ambiguity, not create out of thin air.
Today, the Supreme Court found unconstitutional Arizona’s law requiring extra ID when registering to vote, saying that States can’t regulate federal elections to that degree, because that is under the authority of Congress, not the States.
Admittedly, I wish the legal reasoning was more specifically on the principal of extra voting requirements rather than just a Federal vs. State’s rights issue. Technically, the basis of this decision would still allow for federal election committees to create a national Voter ID requirement for registration, the prospect of which I’m not excited about.
And, it also need to be pointed out that this case was not about the state laws requiring people to present Voter ID on election day, but rather just when they register to vote. But either way, this is a small win for America today.
To date, this is the post I am most ashamed of ever having written on this blog. It perpetuates power dynamics and long-held ways of thinking that add to problems and ignore their structures. This post participates in a system of injustice and “not listening”. It’s a profound exercise in missing the point in these issues. I keep it up as a reminder to myself and others of how wrong-headed and dumb I can be. I’m sorry for these words, and I’m grateful for your grace.
I find myself in an awkward time in our current news cycle. As part of the most talked-about news items of late, we have birth-control (and by extension, abortion), racial tensions over the death of Trayvon Martin, gay marriage being approved and some states and vetoed in others, the health care law going before the Supreme Court, and a Philadelphia ban on the public feeding of the homeless.
Is it possible for me, as a (relatively) middle-class white Protestant male, to communicate opinions about these topics if I don’t share the same sentiments as most others?
Well, to be more accurate, we had already lost even before we protested.
Remember last Wednesday, when we all rallied around and lifted our unified voice in defiance to politicians that were trying to pass bills that would restrict internet freedom and innovation? We were trying to tell the government they shouldn’t have the power to unilaterally–and at their own whim and discretion–take down entire websites because of the sole actions of their users.
Remember how within the day of our protest, congressional websites were going down from all the traffic and sponsors of the bills were jumping ship? It was beautiful, wasn’t it?
And then we woke up the next morning to this.
Less than 24-hours after the largest internet protest in history, news broke that the largest file-sharing site in the world, Megaupload, had been seized by U.S. Government officials and it’s founders and owners were being arrested and charged with piracy and copyright infringement.
[NOTE: If you don’t have much time to spare, I would strongly recommend not reading the rest of my post and instead reading these analyses done by the Cato Institute and Glenn Greenwald. They are both excellent in explaining the subtleties of the issue and convincing in their outline of its dangerous precedents.]
Here’s a quote from the bill, already voted upon and passed by Congress (the excerpt is shortened for readability, emphasis mine):
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled…That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States…or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty;…whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor….
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States,…then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.