Court plaster Archives

October 12, 2005

Not so strange bedfellows

Michael Scherer, over at Salon magazine, is chortling about the flak Bush is getting from his True Believers over the Miers nomination. He writes:

"With only 44 seats in the Senate, Democrats have the ability to carp and grandstand, but they have no real power to defeat a nominee, barring the nomination of an ideological zealot who would rally support for a filibuster. Rather, it is the Republican senators and the right-wing special interests who have the power to defeat the president's nominee."

Indeed. And no doubt some of Bush's normally reliable Republican Senators will bolt -- with a wink from the White House, and an eye on the poor bait-and-switched fetus fans in the gallery. These poor fuddled folk will thus continue to believe that they have paladins ready to break a lance in their behalf within the Republican party.

But Bush will still get Miers through, because the Democrats will help him out. Every Republican who takes his stand in the anti-abortion Alamo will find his place taken by an obliging Democrat, who will be quite prepared to explain to his or her vote for Miers on the grounds of lesser-evillism -- I mean, hey, think what an ogre Georgie might have nominated! So the Dems cover George's ass, and he covers theirs.

In fact there will be no nose-holding on the Democratic side of the Senate floor; Miers absolutely represents the bipartisan consensus. You can count on her to be sedulously sympathetic to large corporations, and in particular to be a downright Robespierre in the intellectual-property Reign of Terror; you can count on her to approve when they take away whatever pathetic shreds of civil liberty we still have, in the name of national security; and you can count on her to leave the abortion business alone. These are matters on which Senate Republicans and Democrats are in complete agreement, and the solons will find a way to slide her skinny rump onto the Supreme Bench and come out of it with every one of 'em smelling like a rose.

Footnote: It's pretty hilarious to see how flummoxed and dead-in-the-water the "progressive" sector of the Democratic Party is on this nomination. has been reduced to putting up a form on their website plaintively asking whether anybody out there knows anything about her.

January 8, 2006

Roll over. Play dead. Good donkey.

Thus Reuters:
Ethan Siegal of The Washington Exchange, a private firm that tracks Congress for institutional investors, predicted "Senate Democrats will put up a fight and play to their liberal base, and then watch Alito be confirmed."
Sounds like Ethan got it right. Not that I mind too much. The Supreme Court is a fundamentally undemocratic institution, and so it seems only fitting that it should be a deeply reactionary one. The tendency of liberals to pin their hopes and fears on the Supremes reflects what I see as the anti-democratic, Hamiltonian character of liberal thinking -- one of the reasons why liberalism, as an outlook, can never expect to command a mass following.

January 15, 2006

The Democrats' family jewel

As predicted, the Senate Democrats failed to deploy the fabled filibuster to stop the Alito nomination -- even though every "progressive" web site in the land assured us that the somewhat Don-Knottsian jurist was second cousin to the Antichrist. Join me in the Wayback Machine for a quick trip to May of last year, when we were being assured, by institutions like The Nation magazine, that the sky would fall if the all-holy filibuster were allowed to go the way of the stegosaur.

Even at the time, the filibuster seemed a somewhat unlikely palladium to defend -- a thunderbolt wielded in the party's heroic age by such Olympians as Theodore Bilbo, to preserve fine old American values like lynching.

One thing you've gotta say for the Democratic Party: it's always good for a laugh. After all the hysteria, after the October Surprise that pickled the filibuster like a foetus in formaldehyde, it turns out that the filibuster is too precious to risk using it.

So there it is, hanging above the mantelpiece, like great-granddad's Klan hood, a family heirloom. Every so often the Democrats can take a look at it and sigh, Ah, there were giants in the earth in those days.

January 19, 2006

Dems: We'll tell you we told you so

Here's the new Democratic strategy on Judge Alito, according to the New York Times: no filibuster -- let the guy squeak through -- but vote against him so we can use him as a campaign issue. In other words, they won't deploy the one weapon they've got -- that precious heirloom, the filibuster -- but they will want to come back to us, in '06 and '08 and for as long as Alito bestrides the bench, and claim they were against him.

I love the Democrats on the Supreme Court. It's always their summum supplicium, or rather their ultima ratio, when they tell us we have to vote for 'em no matter how sold out they are. I almost hope Alito turns out to be every bit as bad as they say he is, or worse. Then maybe people will stop being so afraid of the Supreme Court, and find some other means to defend their rights and interests. A panel of nine elderly lawyers never was very good casting for this part anyway.

The tiredness of Democratic thinking on this subject matches the tiredness of the strategy. My new favorite senator, Max "kiss your job goodbye" Baucus, solemnly gave this as his reason for opposing Alito: "I don't know if he's sufficiently mainstream." Really now, when you're reduced to deploying concepts like "mainstream," you're past terminal and well into decomposition.

July 1, 2006

Again with the nine old men

Here's Bob Kuttner, grub street tribune and stentorian jackass, playing lesser evil huckster bird. First he scares the be-jeebes out of the googoo rubes with this warble:
The rule of law now hangs by a thread. It depends on the health of an increasingly frail 86-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens, and the willingness of the Court's inconstant swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, to side with the Constitution.
Then after showing the tattered remnant of our personal freedoms under bushisaurus rex, he closes with the Orthrian donks-to-the-rescue pitch:
Only when Bush and his allies are soundly repudiated at the polls can we rest a little easier.
"Rest a little easier" -- geeeez, please! Even say it happens like he implies, and we get a respite, a pause, a rest stop on the railroad to hell -- how soon before it's back in motion, maybe with a donkey at the throttle?

I suspect i'm not the only person tired of the musty old joke about "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..." The donks don't kill wall streets sharks, they just relieve 'em for a few innings, long enough to get their fast ball back.

January 1, 2007

More Ford dribble

Speaking of the Ford legacy, read the passage below -- its by Miracle Max's nerdlinger "answer man" sidekick, Barkey Bark:


...appointing John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court.... Stevens has been the unequivocal leader of the liberal wing of the Court.... I simply hope that he hangs on until at least Bush is out of the White House.... I thank the late President Ford for having appointed him.

Please! The "liberal wing" of a star chamber?

This is the basis of much lesser-evilism, isn't it? i call it "the five Earls fantasy" -- Earl as in Earl Warren, the former kommandante of Kalifornia during the Japanese concentration kamp era, who by appointment morphed into the master of all deliberate speed.

Yes give us five Earls on the court, by all means and in perpetuity. Hell, after 35 more years of that, by now we'd all be higher then park pigeons, and prolly fucking George Jetson's daughter in the ear, too, just for kicks, arnd carving up that damn son of his for lunch meat -- or vice versa. "Free to be me" courtesy of the eternal Warren court.

Of course, the Fed's worse even than the Supreme Court, and Ford gave Greenspan his start in public life -- remember Whip Inflation Now?

Rule of boomer professional-class yuppery: we need a highest court that can at will thwart the booboisie idiocy of our white yokel majority. When the hicks and grease spots try to block my life-style's self-realization -- bango jango, "sorry, that's unconstitutional, you lowly porch pigs."

March 20, 2008

Closure = foreclosure

Just got this bit of handwringing in the email:

Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 03:00:37 -0400
From: Stop Foreclosures and Evictions 
Subject: Nat'l Protest on Foreclosures
To: flugennock 

The Ad Hoc National Network to Stop Foreclosures & ,Evictions

Bailout people before banks! 
You'd think these people would've read that LA Times article about how the banks are crapping themselves because the social stigma's disappearing from foreclosures. More and more people have gone into it, and decided it's actually in their best interest to go into foreclosure because you basically get to live in the house free for a year and save up some cash while the proceedings grind on... and, because it stiffs the banks, deliberately letting your house go into foreclosure might actually be a new and innovative form of civil disobedience...

...not to mention the fact that I'm having a really hard time summoning up any sympathy for all these people who signed onto the ARMs so they could have the cushy McMansion with the cathedral ceiling in the living room and the granite countertops in the kitchen.

The other day, when I accidentally saw ten minutes of CNN, they were running a profile of a two-earner couple who are now living at a public campsite after losing their big cushy house, featuring the wife wistfully talking about the granite countertops, and whining about how the bank hustled her and her husband into signing onto the ARM and how they were "lied to" by the bank.

Seems like the only time CNN and the like try to show any sympathy for "homeowners", it's these lily-white couples who went for the bamboozle because they somehow thought they were entitled to the big cushy pad. There's little concern for the millions of people who'll never be able to afford the illusion of owning their own home...uh, that is, what we call "homeownership." These folk are lucky to even be able to afford rent on a decent apartment anywhere in this goddamn' country anymore.

May 17, 2009

The Big Bench

Where to begin? David Souter announced his resignation from the Supreme Court. Sounds good to have a republican appointee retiring during a democratic administration, but all is not what it seems.

"I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded, and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time.

As I make this decision, I intend to consult with members of both parties across the political spectrum."

Well, f_ _ k me. I'm sorry to have dropped the old F bomb twice in one day, but I have had enough. When we speak out against the democratic party we are always told to remember the power of judicial appointments. It is terribly important for a democratic president to be able to put his stamp on the judiciary.

OK, if that is the only great thing about a democratic president, why should I be happy that he is planning to consult republicans about his choice? Obama has a 68% approval rating and the republican party has a paltry 21% approval rating. If he can't fight for a liberal on the court what the hell can he fight for?

Limits on the judicial role? What does that mean? It sounds very right wing to me, but then again so does Obama.

Freedom Rider

One of the names I keep coming across is Cass Sunstein, the celebrity professor and tireless promoter of "libertarian paternalism". We'd be better off if Souter stayed.

June 10, 2009


I usually don't pay much attention to the Supreme Court -- unlike my dear good liberal neighbors, who love it deeply. To my way of thinking, the Court was designed to be a reactionary institution, and if it behaves like one, blame the Founding Fathers. So I hope for little from it, and fear little from a reactionary president's ability to appoint Thomases and Scalias, vile though these reptiles undoubtedly are.

But I was pleased by Obie's nomination of Ms Sotomayor to replace Mr Souter -- one bland corporate centrist in place of another, keeping the existing complexion of the court intact.

It would be difficult to find a more perfect illustration of the Ratchet Effect. The Republicans have spent the last thirty years or so moving the Court back to its natural position on the Right. And when Mr Hope and Change gets an opportunity, quite early in his tenure, to nominate a justice, what does he do?

He carefully keeps the court where the Republicans left it.

July 13, 2009


"We were kept in the dark. That's something that should never, ever happen again," said Feinstein.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he agreed with Feinstein that the CIA should keep Congress informed. But Cornyn said the new assertion "looks to me suspiciously like an attempt to provide political cover" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats. Pelosi has accused the CIA of lying to her in 2002 about its use of waterboarding, or simulated drowning, which many people, including Obama, consider torture.

There's too much conscious and unconscious dishonesty in the article to go through it bit by bit. So I thought it best to offer kudos to John Cornyn who, for the first time in his adult life, has made an accurate and apparently thoughtful observation. The Democratic investigation into the CIA torture program, which doesn't have a chance of accomplishing anything positive, does indeed look suspiciously like an attempt to provide political cover to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats. It's spiteful, too, and likely to trickle out in an embarrassing, wet, squishy and inconclusive way.

The best thing to do would be summon Pelosi to testify under oath. She has the right to defend herself against the accusations. It's intolerable, is what it is, for her to have this cloud of opprobrium hovering over her head. If necessary, grant her partial immunity and encourage her to sing in exchange for a reduced sentence. But for God's sake give the poor Speaker a chance to clear her good name!

April 12, 2010

Impossible, surely....

... Surely? She must be even crazier than Rehnquist, judging -- no pun intended -- by that outfit.

Still, I'm hoping. Anything that tends to make the Supreme Court more ridiculous than it already is has my vote.

I wanted to include a picture of Clarence Thomas, but all the ones I could find were just too cruel.

About Court plaster

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the Court plaster category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Clinton walks again is the previous category.

Crackpot realism, Obama section is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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