TPM reporter Emine Yücel wrote a piece that shed some light on an issue we discussed here the other day vis-à-vis Dianne Feinstein’s absence on the Judiciary Committee and how Repubs are using it to keep Biden’s judicial picks from moving on to confirmation.
Feinstein offered to step aside temporarily, but Repubs balked and hinted they’d leverage their ability to gum up the works to force Dems to choose someone terrible, like Kyrsten Sinema.
I figured this was a flex aimed at blocking a temporary appointment and that if Feinstein resigned, the Dems would get to choose her replacement without Repub interference. Not so, according to Jon Tester:
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) set off alarm bells around the Capitol on Wednesday when he told Politico that there’s a strong possibility Senate Republicans would refuse to fill the vacancy on the Judiciary Committee even if Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) were to resign. A senior aide to a Democratic senator said Tester’s comments generated intense speculation around the Capitol…
However, top Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans have since confirmed they would not go that far. The reason for their reluctance is that blocking a replacement for a retiring senator would be a dramatic break from precedent.
Would that be a “dramatic break from precedent” like robbing President Obama of a SCOTUS pick after Scalia took a dirt nap, allegedly on the grounds that the presidential election was coming up a year later? And then turning around and ramming through an extremist nominated by Trump when Americans were already voting in an election that would kick Trump to the curb?
The article explains that GOP committee members Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn made mouth noises about following precedent and filling the vacancy if Feinstein resigns, but nobody in their right mind would trust either of those grinning, hypocritical vipers. Looks like Feinstein really is the indispensable woman she imagines herself to be, at least for the next year and change.
The more I learn about the arcane rules and customs of the U.S. Senate, the more surprised I am our government has more or less puttered along for 230-plus years without collapsing in a heap of total and irrevocable dysfunction. “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” my ass — it’s a complete shit-show!
If there were a vengeful God, both Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn would be struck by lightning for saying ANYTHING about following precedent, those lying liars. In fact, neither one of them would have been alive to make those absurd comments because they would have been blasted into ashes years ago.
ghost of SAIFTF
the evidence is in, and Sensible Centrists are where fucking fascists go to launder their extremism. cant be showing up with bloodstains. bad for business. usually.
The rules matter less than people’s willingness to make things work. As long as the large majority of people want the system to work, it’s possible to make even a pretty broken system work. If a substantial minority wants to break things, they can probably find the holes and pain points in just about any system. Yes, a really well designed system will mean you need a larger, meaner minority to really break things, but the biggest difference is that willingness.
The Moar You Know
I always recommend to anyone Robert Caro’s book #3 of his biography of LBJ, “Master of the Senate”, less for what it has to tell you about LBJ (there’s a total of four books and one still to come, hopefully) but for the absolutely exhaustive detail about how the United States Senate actually works (hasn’t changed much since the 1960s).
It was a body formulated deliberately from its inception to not get anything done or allow anything to change.
It is amazing we got this far with all the morons we have had over the centuries in Congress.
The great thing about puttering along for 230-plus years without collapsing in a heap of total and irrevocable dysfunction?
We — us very lucky people — get to be the witnesses (and, in very bit parts, participants in) the collapse.
@Roger Moore: I agree that people’s willingness to make things work is critical, but is it more important than the rules? I’m unconvinced on that point. The baked-in rules that structure the U.S. Senate disconnect votes from legislation by privileging land masses over human beings. That undermines democracy right out of the gate.
Sure, it’s worse now that we have a full-time vandal party that actively sabotages the government. But the rules suck too because they empower the saboteurs to an irrational and anti-democratic degree.
Our paper kept out of the DiFi issue as long as they could (Sacramento!) but finally weighed in this week. They’re not wrong: it’s time. Past time.
Good lord. Why does this shit have to be subject to a filibuster?
Threaten the nuclear option. Even Manchin should (I know, I know) be persuadable that basic things like this shouldn’t be subject to filibuster if it’s going to be abused. If 50 Democrats say they’ll blow up the filibuster for the resolution to organize the Senate committees if Feinstein resigns and Republicans try to block her replacement, then the fuckers will back down. Or the filibuster takes another well-deserved hit.
But in the interim, why can’t DiFi, who is a multi-millionaire, rent a lovely apartment near Capitol Hill and have herself wheeled in for critical votes? Why does she have to be completely checked out in California, unless she’s basically gone, in which case she just needs to resign no matter what the Republicans are threatening?
My department got shit canned today. Mostly my fault, I got lippy. But I run the IT security desk, it’s my job to keep you out of issues. So if I am pitching a fit you have a problem and I’m trying to save your stupid ass. Have a few new leads so should have a new job in a month.
Lucky for me cleared IT people are highly in demand here. And telling a recruiter you told someone to piss up a tree because they made a non ethical demand is not held against you.
They can still piss up a tree. I’m not covering up their shit. And their stupid fucking asses didn’t make me sign an NDA or offer me a package so I can sue them into the ground. I’m also not bound to stay silent about what they did so good luck jerks!
Is shingles contagious? Maybe Feinstein should show up and give Lindsey a big old hug and a kiss on the mouth.
Yeah… It’s kind of crazy that people cite the United States Constitution’s 230-year streak and just assume, rather than a possible sign that the system you’re operating under might be seriously missing out on most of 230 years of societal evolution.
I mean, imagine boasting “oh yeah, my office has been using the same computers since 1950!” Really? Have your computers been adapted to floppy disks yet, or is that still a bit advanced for them?
Yeesh, I am sorry. Wish you the best of luck finding a better employer.
@eversor: Sic ’em! (Also an EFG fuck ’em.)
Hope you stick the landing. It’s always excruciating to work at a place headed in the exact wrong direction. I know.
@trollhattan: I’m glad they lauded Feinstein while calling for her to pack it in. It’s easy to get impatient with the situation and crap on Feinstein for not retiring earlier — not without justice, IMO — but she really was a trailblazer.
Given this latest info though, maybe Dems are better off hoping Feinstein can hang in there and return to work. I sure as hell don’t trust Repubs to keep their word.
I agree. The supporters of these people who stay on too long don’t do them any favors. She’s had a very good public career. Why she wants to ruin a whole legacy by not letting go is beyond me.
The seats really aren’t about them. They seem to forget that.
If Feinstein retires, and Newsom names a Democrat to replace her (which he will), can Dems appoint a new member to the Judiciary Committee? This would be different than merely replacing her on the Judiciary Committee while she still served out her term. What arcane rule would/could the GOP cook up to prevent a new committee member if Feinstein really gave up her Senate seat?
I get tired of it being made so personal. She’s a public servant and no one, no one, is irreplaceable. If she wants that kind of deference she could have worked in the private sector and started her own company. The seat doesn’t belong to her and being a trailblazer doesn’t mean you get to harm the whole political project on your belated way out the door. All her supposed admirers can now watch her destroy her own life’s work. With friends like those…
That’s what I was wondering-is there any way to get her to DC, have her vote on the judicial nominees (which doesn’t require much) and then retire after those votes? If she cannot even manage that, then yes, time to step down now.
And I hope in the future that 80-90 year olds aren’t put on such critical committees.
@Baud: Very contagious.
Isn’t Grassley on Judiciary? Why doesn’t he get sick? He’s old.
Ro Khanna is like a shark smelling blood in the water. He needs to shut up, and I think only Katie Porter declared her candidacy before Feinstein announced her retirement. Adam Schiff was patient and respectful about the matter.
There is a third candidate, the excellent Barbara Lee, but the complaint against her is that she is pretty old too.
I don’t live there any more so, alas, I can no longer vote in California. I know who I’d give my vote to, of the three.
RBG’s “my final wish is that I not be replaced until the election is over” was just… This isn’t a seat at your country club, damn it. In a very real sense, it’s not even your seat. It’s a public office that tragically, the bad guys have every right (you could reasonably argue every obligation) to fill as quickly as possible.
It’s my specialty. Might as well change my name to Corrigan.
It’s harder than it looks. Much, much harder. McConnell is a special kind of demon.
Democrats keep getting surprised when the Repubs pull yet another dirty trick to fuck us over. Surely, they wouldn’t blow off YET ANOTHER long-established normal courtesy to stop us doing a thing!
It’s total fucking war here and we’re still bringing a tea set to a gun fight.Cripes.
Looks like Feinstein really is the indispensable woman she imagines herself to be, at least for the next year and change.
Depends. If she actually can come back in time and vote, then true. But if she can’t or won’t, then she should resign, because the worst that could happen is what’s gonna happen in her absence anyway.
@eversor: They fired their IT security department?!? Do they depend on their systems at all, for anything? Like, any sort of contact with the outside world, or any data, or processing of it, on their customers or suppliers or personnel or accounting? (Yes it’s a rhetorical question: who doesn’t?) If so, do they have the slightest idea the gigantic risks they are running, starting back then? OMFG.
I don’t think I’d bother suing them unless it’s for a huge gob of money: it probably won’t be worth the headache, and if this is how they run the place, they may not be in business long enough to pay anything out anyway! And in any case, there may not be a more in-demand profession right now than IT security, except maybe certain nursing skills. Hell, take your whole team with you; a team that has already worked together has added value.
According to the TPM article, the appointment of senators to committees are typically agreed to by unanimous consent at the beginning of each new Congress. A replacement would have to be done through a new resolution. Though unprecedented, senators could technically refuse a resolution and block filling an empty committee seat.
@John Revolta: I’m going to let this play out before starting the usual Dem bashing that the Internet is famous for.
@Frankensteinbeck: And that demon was back in the Senate this week. Drat.
Democrats should be going after Thomas hammer and tongs. And pushing as many new judges onto the bench as possible.
With plenty of respect for her past, the Honorable Sen. Feinstein needs to retire promptly. And yes, I understand that procedurally there is little that can officially be done. But if very cautious Rep. Dean Phillips of MN can respectfully call for her retirement, then c’mon, the water is safe for a critical mass of calls to fete her into here sunset time.
@opiejeanne: Ro Khanna’s a jerk.
@trollhattan: I had my first Shingrix shot Monday. I’m happy to report the only problem was a sore spot at the injection site. I haven’t been in a hurry to get Shingrix since I’d had the earlier shot, Zostavax.
Why the hell hasn’t Sen Feinstein had a shingles shot? Zostavax has been available since 2006.
Don’t get me started. And the months of denials by her fans that she coud have stepped down timely and let Obama appoint a replacement.
Obama. The most gifted Democratic politician in 50 years knew exactly what would happen:
@tobie: Not without Repub cooperation, unless all the senators quoted have it wrong. Graham and Cornyn pinkie-swear they’ll allow Dems to replace Feinstein if she resigns, but they can’t be trusted.
@Betty Cracker: Plus, you’d still need 7 more Republicans.
I was already pissed but then I looked back through her life and found that her first cancer diagnosis was in 1999. And she insisted on hanging on until 2021.
I don’t even know what the words are for that level of hubris.
@Kay: Oh please, do you really think the outcome would have been any different after Yertle the Turtle wouldn’t let Obama’s nomination for the SC come up for a vote? We didn’t have the majority in the Senate until after she had died.
@VFX Lurker: Me too. They’ve done well working with what they had, and they’ve accomplished a lot.
Shingles is a nasty disease and maybe she’s too sick to be moved right now. It may even kill her.
@Old School: Fine. She resigns, is replaced by Newsom and her replacement sworn in. If they are not seated, then the Democrats yeet a Republican off the committee through majority vote and restore the Democrats to majority status on that committee.
@Baud: I’m not known for doing this. But sometimes………. I mean, tell me it ain’t true!
@schrodingers_cat: deleted. I’m wrong
Not without 60 votes I believe.
That’s not true. Republicans regained the Senate in 2014, so were a majority in 2015. That’s why Leahy and then Obama met with her and tried to convince her to retire. They knew we would lose the senate and Obama would lose the chance to appoint her replacement.
Literally in the post you’re responding to: Obama raised this issue in 2013, before the 2014 midterms, when we still controlled the Senate, precisely because of the 2014 midterms, because he didn’t want us to end up with our back to the wall after they took back the chamber.
We had the Senate from 2008 to 2014, and plenty of people at her level were already raising the alarms back then. The idea that RBG’s responsibility to retire only kicked in in 2014 is convenient, but wrong.
@RaflW: Dean Phillips has a gadfly, grandstanding side. He said last year that Democrats needed to move on from Joe Biden, that he’s too old. Biden is old, but there are a lot of advantages to incumbency, not the least of which is avoiding a divisive and expensive primary.
I think people must have told Phillips to shut up, because he shut up.
Personally, I think public calls for Senator Feinstein to resign serve no purpose but to attract attention to the politicians making the calls, and score points among the “Do Something” crowd.
If Feinstein resigns from outside pressure, it will come privately from Senators like Patty Murray, and from Governor Newsom. And of course, President Biden. That will come soon, and I think Feinstein will do the right thing.
Sort of. It looks like it transfers as chickenpox.
It’s kind of tragic. They’re going to erase everything she did on the court. Again- with “fans” like hers she didn’t need enemies.
I’m poking about a couple defense contracts my friends work on to show up at and do the IT job. It’s six figures pay and solid work so who knows. Plus my friends know me well enough that I can tell them to go get fucked and they won’t care. Though I should probably make less of a habbit of telling people to get bent. Or you know, stay with my Navy brothers, where telling someone to get fucked is met with laughter.
Where I was screwed up so massively it leaked PII (social security numbers and medical records) that I had to hold a meeting and then I got canned. I don’t know how this happens as PII is a huge IT issue but oh well. Then they didn’t make me sign an NDA and when we were all frog marched out I mentioned this and that I was not legally bound to stay silent, cause I didn’t sign shit, and they should pay us and make us sign off, and they freaked out.
Unlucky for them I have a military budy who went to law school and works a top 3 firm. So I have sushi with exactly the person to contact to cause a fucking shit show for them.
They were also too stupid to cut off all our access before hauling us all down so god knows what happened.
It was all moronic!
If Ginsberg had resigned, the swing vote moves from Kavanaugh to Roberts. Roe would still have been overruled, but more incrementally. It’s too bad people were manipulated into thinking that they could take Hillary for granted in 2016 and also that the GOP gained seats in the Senate in 2018 when we had a wave in the House. But maybe we’ve learned some lessons. Maybe.
Because people in power must bever be held responsible for their decisions- instead all power rests with the voters, who, incidentally, have the least individual power.
I just don’t know where this thinking ends. Is there any set of circumstances where an adult politician is responsible for his or her actions. or is all voters?
We raised a few warnings about various things and got push back on them. I promptly told those objecting where to shove it. My objective is strictly protecting PII and banking information along with some classified things. I do not, and will not, answer to other parties. This is stated in my job description. My job was entirely protect private data for legal, ethical, and national security issues.
I like my job. I love my job. I’m a computer geek at heart. I got started in this by crashing the middle school computer lab with Doom 2 Death Match. I learned Linux and Unix by age 14. So I don’t take shit from people.
They fucked up and leaked PII and then shit canned us and blamed us. As nobody had to sign an NDA and the associated go away payment they are on the hook. Which means I can, and will, sue the hell out of them just to cause a scene. And I know just the friend to call for it! Who might be busy with work, but will get a blast out of nuking assholes into the ground.
@Kay: Yes, the power in a democracy rests with the voters. Our voters have struggled with accepting that idea, which is the biggest reason for all of our problems.*
I’m also not going to castigate someone for not predicting their death six years in advance.
* The GOP understands this, hence voter suppression.
I guess I would make a fine distinction between the rules privileging some positions and the system actually being broken. Yes, it’s bad that the rules are set up to privilege sparsely populated states at the expense of densely populated ones, but that has always been true. What is really different now is that even the positions privileged by those rules can’t get anything done. The Senate can’t do basic things like passing a budget and approving (or rejecting) nominees. That’s because the Republican party has been taken over by nihilists who want to burn the whole system to the ground. That’s the difference between an unjust but functioning system and a truly broken one.
And, again, your view was not shared by President Obama and Senator Leahy. They believed appointing a younger liberal justice was worthwhile and mattered and they’re pretty good at politics! If they believed all was lost anyway and it would just be “incremental” why did they work so hard to try to appoint someone else?
@Kelly: She might have had Zostavax. My doc said, on prescribing Shingrix which was in stock a year ago, something like “Yeah, Zostavax doesn’t work that well.”
@Kay: I don’t know how hard they worked. The reporting printed upthread just said they suggested the possibility to her. So what? It’s not a surprise that Obama and Leahy would want to mark their legacy by appointing her replacement.
She was ill since 1999. When she announced she was no longer receiving cancer treatment everyone knew she was no longer receiving it because there was nothing further anyone could do. Hence, Obama and Leahy’s pleas.
@Kay: Why don’t you hate on Justice Marshall too? He could have hung on and we wouldn’t have Thomas.
@Kelly: Like birth control, Shingrix isn’t 100% effective. I imagine that she got the shots but was in the unlucky % that gets it anyway.
The Moar You Know
@Kelly: I had zero problem with the first one. I seriously thought about calling an ambulance for about a half hour, four hours after I’d had my second. I was flat on my ass for two days. I’m glad I did it, though. I have family members who’ve had the shingles. The nicest description was “like being stabbed in the face for six weeks straight”
Feinstein should stay on forever, whether she can do the job or not. You can tell Democratic voters they didn’t get judges because we were busy protecting a “trailblazer” who no longer comes to work.
@Kay: Well, she’s already retiring so “forever” is out of the picture. And I am more than happy to “blackmail” voters by talking about the importance of judges and justices.
Huh. Just saw this on WaPo, which I missed yesterday:
Glad that long overdue conversation will finally happen!
Not really. Shingles is the result of reactivating a dormant chickenpox infection. So you can give someone chickenpox, which might eventually lead to shingles, but you can’t give them singles directly. I would assume Graham had chickenpox when he was younger, so he is at risk of developing shingles, but there’s no guaranteed trigger.
@WaterGirl: I forget that everyone reacts a little differently to medicines. I’m one of those fortunate folk where everything works with minimal side effects.
@Betty Cracker: Also
@eversor: lol well if there’s entertainment value in it, then by all means!
I remember when I was called ageist here for saying 85 year olds shouldn’t be running for additional Senate terms.
With age comes wisdom…to a point. Past that point with age comes rapid physical and cognitive decline.
One thing that should be said here: yesterday Judiciary approved six nominees to move out on to the floor for votes. There are 24 nominees on the floor currently. The senate has already confirmed 21 nominees this year.
Not having the 11-10 majority is bad, and will block a few really good nominees. However, volume matters too, and things have been moving through reasonably well.
(and Graham is a weasel, but he has very quietly voted to advance the vast majority of Dem nominees out of committee since 2021)
Also, we’d rather have this happen with a 51-49 majority than a 50-50 split.
Finally; Biden nominated some one for the open fifth circuit seat with the(I believe) support of Cruz and Cornyn. It won’t fix the lawless joke that court has become, but it will improves the odds a bit for the good guys. (And the last appointee from Biden to the Fifth circuit sailed through last year)
@Fake Irishman: Thanks, I was wondering about the numbers.
@Baud: RBG’s plan to just live forever after two bouts of cancer was really solid and well thought.
Judges are important but not important enough to replace the senator who no longer comes to work.
That’s our message to voters, I guess.
@Fake Irishman: Good to know there’s not complete blockage — thanks!
I believe Durbin did note that the Dems on the committee would like to look into Clarence Thomas’s corruption but can’t do that until they have a majority again, so that sucks.
@Cacti: I’m not going to continue argue about RBG. People who want to hate her should just hate her. It’s their prerogative.
@Kay: Voters should just stay home until the Prince Charming party comes to woo them. They shouldn’t have to settle.
yeah, trading Marshall for Thomas was were the tipping began to happen. If he’d thought the Dems had a chance in 1992, he may have tried to hang on. John Paul Stevens safely retiring at 90 was the one we got lucky on.
O’Conner was unlucky. She was trying not to retire around Rehnquist, and made the decision to step down to take care of her husband who was suffering from dementia but could still be at home. Then Rehnquist died and her husband declined very quickly and needed to go to a nursing home.
She was a partisan Republican, but that court looks a lot different now if she’s on it in 2009-2014 (no citizens United, no Shelby, ACA mediciaid expansion to all states, no hobby lobby, no Hudson and it’s union busting progeny etc)
I’m rapidly coming around to age limits and honestly I feel like they did it to themselves. I would prefer they make reasonable, reality-based decisions themselves. but since that seems to be off the table- let’s get some rules.
wikipedia keeps nearly real-time tabs on it. Just google search Biden judges. Ballotpedia and the ACS also have tallies and updates.
@Fake Irishman: Thanks.
No problem, and you’re right about the lack of sopena power, it sucks.
@Baud: RBG’s hubris fucked the country. This is objectively indisputable at this point.
We may get a reciprocal situation with Clarence Thomas. The only way he leaves that seat is if he dies- not a moment before. I think Republicans are starting to get an inkling too- he’s going nowhere, no matter his physical or cognitive health.
IMO, this is the real sticking point. The last thing the Republicans want is for anyone to start looking too closely at Supreme Court ethics. They’ve caught Thomas with his hand in the cookie jar, but I’m guessing some other justices have cookie crumbs all over their robes. They know how important the Supreme Court is to all their plans, so they really don’t want multiple conservative justices mired in ethical scandals.
@Kay: We had a reciprocal situation with Scalia. Kudos to GOP voters for taking the initiative and not kvetching about it.
@Kay: I can’t imagine Clarence leaving any way but feet first.
@Chris: So she lasted 22 years after her diagnosis and would have been replaced by Biden if she’d made it just another 3 months? And that is your definition of hubris?
Joseph Patrick Lurker
As horrible as the Republican party is today, the reason that we’re in this mess is because Diane Feinstein is a selfish fucking asshole. If she truly gave a damn about this country, she would have retired 6 years ago. Fuck Feinstein and all of these geriatric assholes in the House and Senate who want to cling to their seats right up until they drop dead. We need term limits for members of Congress and also need to set an age limit. It’s time to destroy this goddamn motherfucking gerontocracy.
The Senate has run mostly on a “gentlemen’s agreement” largely outside of the actual senate rules. Like any civilization most of what people do daily are not governed by rules, but by social understanding. Those unspoken agreements broke down before the civil war as the stakes became higher and they are breaking down now as the old south with its fascist enablers reasserts itself.
Just, as an example, there is no explicit rule in the Constitution that the Senate has to take a vote on a president’s Supreme Court nominee, but it certainly is implicit in a civilized reading of the Constitution. McConnell broke that unspoken rule and stole a seat on the Supreme Court.
You cannot write a rule to cover every contingency. At some point we all must count on social, and in this case, congressional mores to get things done. And they are breaking down.
@Kay: When the Constitution was written, the average life expectancy was 38. I don’t think the founders ever envisioned the US government as a gerontocracy.
@Geminid: To be fair, I would probably also join the crowd of people saying we should move on from Joe Biden and that he should retire immediately if he came. Down with shingles and spent three months in the hospital while the entire executive branch was paralyzed without him.
No, rolling the dice for 22 years when you had a solid 6 in which you could retire is my definition of hubris.
But you knew that already, of course.
@Kay: True. But the same thing is going to happen to anthony kennedy. And all of the legal principles associated with him are going to be overturned by 2 of his law clerks, one of whom replaced him.
@Citizen Alan: We have an amendment that prevents Executive Branch paralysis in the event the president is incapacitated.
It’s too soon to say if the Judiciary Committee will suffer from a long term paralysis.
@Old School: Thanks for the explanation. Our best hope then is that Feinstein can get to DC and, if nothing else, turn up for votes and then leave.
I think the Harlan Crow buy offs might be a long term plan to get him off. Do the big shrine in his home town, tons of lavishly paid speaking fees. put him on boards, ect. EEEASE him out of there and pick a 40 year old wingnut.
When they were begging Breyer to retire they had to really brainstorm a package he might accept- they knew he liked France so it included some easy job in France but I don’t think he took it.
Something horrible has happened to our federal judges. They seem to think they are royalty. I blame lawyers. We really exaggerated the brilliance and indispensible nature of these people. There are a lot of smart lawyers. Not hard to find replacements.
@Baud: I always suspected that Marshall stepped down when he did because Bush senior was riding on a 97% approval rating after the end of the Gulf war,. And everyone assumed he would be reelected. That’s why so many of the big names from the late eighties Democratic Party set out the 1992 election and Bill Clinton came out of nowhere to take it.
“Boomski and Kaboomski,” a short play in two acts. As we see Russia bomb Russia the first thought is “Not so bad, lucky for that car it didn’t hit directly while they were passing,” but we’re not done.
That number is misleading because so many very young people died of various diseases that are now treatable or preventable. Once you made it past 30, your life expectancy was pretty long. Look at the ages of our founding fathers. Most, except those shot in a duel, lived fairly long lives.
@Joseph Patrick Lurker:
I disagree about term and age limits. Age limits are a bad idea just because different people age differently. Some people are still fit for office when they’re 80; some are too old when they’re 60. Term limits are even worse, because they put a limit on how experienced legislators can get, even though legislating is a job where experience is incredibly important. Practical experience says that term limits wind up taking power from our elected officials and giving it to unelected, unaccountable lobbyists, staffers, and bureaucrats.
What we need is to get over our reluctance to talk about aging. People need to be able to say someone who’s 85 years old and showing signs of massively slowing down shouldn’t be elected to a 6 year term without getting shouted down.
@Citizen Alan: Yes, but that was not the case with Biden. The commenter refered to Dean Phillips’s caution, and I said he’s not neccesarily cautious in such matters. He is on policy
But he is one of the 40 Dems who flipped Republican seats in 2018, so I’m basically on his side.
@Roger Moore: Did Feinstein’s opponent last time bring that up?
If we’re going to talk about incapacity, we should talk about incapacity, not age. Once you start talking about age, people will start to think in terms of a number rather than looking at the individual.
The hubris was with the voters who couldn’t be arsed to vote for Democratic candidates for President knowing damn well that the Courts are always in play.
@Roger Moore: @Joseph Patrick Lurker: Term limits all but ensure seats will be bought. Every cycle lobbyists would settle on a favorite candidate and fund them to the hilt to get them elected to serve their interests. Experience & record wouldn’t count for naught in a term-limited govt. It’s a preposterous idea. I don’t know why it keeps coming back. I guess it fits with the sentiment, “They’re all crooks.
ETA: I’m talking about term limits for elected office. I haven’t thought about what this would mean for judicial appointments. Influence peddling a la Federalist Society would likely go through the roof.
Steve in the ATL
@patrick II: Not really. Making it much past your 60s was no guarantee even for those who survived to adulthood. Of the 56 signers of the declaration of independence, 24 died prior to age 70. And they were the upper class of their day.
That number is meaningless, because it includes very high child mortality. It was perfectly normal for someone who reached adulthood to live into their 70s or 80s. Ben Franklin was 81 when he participated in the Constitutional Convention.
It’s so much more dignified it one handles it oneself rather than waiting for it to become “an issue”. It only becomes undignified or disrespectful when it just isn’t grappled with. You have to deal. If you won’t, people will do it for you and some people aren’t nice and have ulterior motives.
It’s always presented as this issue of dignity or control and it’s actually the way to NOT have those things because you’re forcing others to make the decision you won’t make.
is Marketingese for shit-show.
I remember McConnell holding Scalia’s seat on the Court open for a year with some disingenuous nonsense about the will of the people and not seating a replacement justice in an election year. Oddly enough, the entirety of the liberal media went along with this. Four years later, of course, the same situation obtained, and Amy Coney Handmaiden was seated in two weeks. McConnell’s rationale shifted to the sacrosanct need to have a full roster on the court, and the seating of a justice while the White House and the Senate were controlled by the same party overrode his previous nonsense rationale. The media once again followed that whiplash logic with nary a peep.
I would assert that since the Senate and the White House are both in the hands of the same party, and because it’s not an election year, that Sen. Schumer should just name a replacement Democratic Senator to Judiciary, and start confirming judges like the country’s future depended on it. As we’ve seen, once a judge is confirmed, it’s well-nigh impossible to remove them, regardless of any anomalies in the process. Let the Republicans yowl, and remind the media of their craven acquiescence to McConnell’s shenanigans.
@Roger Moore: Not meaningless at all. Over 40% of the men who signed the declaration of independence didn’t make it to 70.
@Steve in the ATL:
Oh, God, yes. What lawyers have done to Supreme Court justices….I knew it was over the top even in law school, so at the beginning of my own brainwashing into The Brilliance Of Our Jurists. It didn’t stick, thank God. Justice Roberts was the smartest lawyer in the history of the world until Alito, who was even smarter.
IMO, assuming facts very much not in evidence: why would Congressional (mainly Senate) Republicans care a flying fart about SC Justices’ “ethics”? Their main (sole) expectation out of SCOTUS is to get judicial approval of their political/ideological agenda (and destruction of any legal bars to that agenda). Period.
It’s the votes/decision that matter: if the Justices that sign off on them are “honest” or “crooked” is an irrelevancy, at best: as long the SC is an “independent” branch of government the GOPers aren’t going to care squat.
I think that 76 should be the unofficial retirement age for most offices. In the next primary I probably will not vote for a candidate older than that. President excepted. In the general election I will vote for the Democrat, no matter the age.
Agree with you on term limits. And of course in California, term limits for many political offices has resulted in a system in which politicians play a game of musical chairs. There are agreements about which office a termed out politician will next try for, and candidates for their old seats are sometimes former staffers or family members.
The senate was the restraining body of the founders. It was intended to be of people of power in the senate so that the status quo of who was in charge would always be restricted from the common man. Joe Manchin would be not an unreasonable sample of this. Theoretically he’s on the liberal, fix the world side, but that’s not what he does. He’s old school, never change anything that’s working for the upper class monied fellas. Which is what he actually is. Monied and conservative, no matter the D behind his name.
Who is doing all this secret taping of Republicans and can we do more of it?
Paul in KY
@Baud: In hindsight, he probably should have.
Steve in the ATL
@Kay: I can’t wait for the first justice who got his JD at Cooley!
I’m just tired of these people – any of them – getting to decide. They already decide what’s law and what isn’t, they shouldn’t be able to pick their successor (even if they fuck up and die first) too.
The seat on the court is not their property (well, it shouldn’t be).
@sdhays: Whatever system you have, either the judge or someone else is going to decide when the judge should step down. Even if you have term limits, there’s nothing to stop a judge from retiring early to allow the president to pick a successor.
@Paul in KY: I propose we replace foresight with hindsight in all of our decisionmaking.
Great idea. They’ll never do it but I, for one, would love it.
@Steve in the ATL:
I think our new young prosecutor, Rachel, went to Cooley. I don’t research them the way I used to because- who cares? We’ll either get along or not. This is about ME. Oh, and clients, whatever. I like her- she’s reasonable.
From a pure political perspective: Abe Fortas resignation, Marshall not retiring sooner, RGB the same really hurt and has lead to the current situation for better or worse. Whether they should have done the opposite is a different question. From a purely political impact today, things would have been different. Republicans operate from the political and here we are.
Sonia Sotomayor is 68 (turning 69 in June.) Elena Kagan is 62 (turning 63 in a week – Happy early Birthday EK!). Ketanji Brown Jackson is 52 (turning 53) in September.
Should any of them retire this term?
@Roger Moore: Except being a senator is not like other jobs where you can just slide someone else in temporarily in the event someone is out long term; you are a representative for a large population of people and you need to be able to sit on committees and vote. A senator who is 80+ and still relatively healthy can go work somewhere else (they have lots of connections); there isn’t a reason for them to keep running for office. Personally, I don’t think having an age limit of say 70 (to be elected) is that out of line.
How about presidents who are 80+ and still relatively healthy? Should they run for re-election?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
as recently as the 90s, the Republican caucus included people like William Roth and Jim Jeffords. John Warner was considered a moderate-conservative. Alan Simpson could do a passable imitation of a libertarian. William Cohen resigned to serve in Clinton’s cabinet
Jim, Foolish Literalist
When Thurgood Marshall retired, the Republicans had controlled the White House for three terms
Chris Murphy was asked about this and he deflected to MIA Senate Republicans and men, but also said that he doesn’t think she should be replaced.
What he didn’t say is that he is one of the Senators Republicans will talk to.
I’m of the opinion that republicans will not respect precedent and they will stop Democrats from seating a replacement.
When I hear Durbin and Murphy calling for her to resign then I’ll pay attention. I doubt that would ever happen though. Durbin would be more likely to negotiate the whole deal and when it’s well and truly settled Feinstein would announce it herself.
In addition to cognitive impairments other than Alzheimer’s and as a side effect from other ailments and medication. I’m a fairly healthy spry 68 but I’d be lying if I said I felt or thought the same as I did even 10 years ago on almost every level.
It has been identified that Senator Feinstein suffers from cognitive issues and she’s currently battling a debilitating disease long term. She may very well live until 100 but that doesn’t address that she has been unable to perform her job functions and it is unknown if she can in the future.
A much loved mentor of mine had a massive heart attack at work while he was in his 60’s. He had memory loss and never fully recovered but insisted on going to the office every day…his family couldn’t keep him from driving and his partners couldn’t ask him to retire. I saw him slip further and further away from his prodigious abilities and it will always bring me to tears that his whole person was so tied to the law firm he founded that he couldn’t back away no matter what. The last 3 years of his life was him realizing what he lost.
@Steve in the ATL:
We had a Toledo attorney in once for a probate case- city slicker! – and he was being funny about a rural district that was in the news because it had poisoned water. It is a bad district – just dirt poor. I was trying to get across to him with my facial expressions that he should stop, but he was on a roll and was ignoring me. Judges high school. That’s her district. She said “oh, are you a SNOB?”
@Roger Moore: I don’t need this on Friday afternoon!
The key point, IMO, is that it should be up to voters to determine if an elected official is too old to serve rather than a rigid set of rules. For that to work, though, we need to have it be socially acceptable to include age and infirmity as part of the discussion of qualification for office. I think we would all be better off if it were considered OK to do this.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yeah, the problem there was actually the opposite: unbeknownst to Marshall, what was called “the Republican lock on the White House” was just a year from being ended by Clinton. Had Marshall realized this, I feel certain he’d have done anything he could to hold on.
But, recall: Bush was riding those astronomical post-Gulf War approval ratings, and no one was suggesting GOP hegemony of the presidency was near an end. So, we ended up with 3 decades and counting of a vengeful, backward Justice — now further revealed as fully corrupt. Life hasn’t been especially kind to Democrats when it comes to the Supreme Court.
That is up to Joe (just like running again was Feinstein’s choice) for now; and as others have noted, there is a VP who can step in in the event of incapacity. But yes, honestly, if age limits are ever instigated for senators, then that should also apply to the house and presidency.
@raven: Depressing, huh? I come here to be cheered up and they’re just talking about being old.
Won’t link, but we can all be thankful that Breyer retired.
@Roger Moore: Okay, but how will voters determine that? Not everyone running for office is going to be so open about their medical conditions, and it’s not like all voters pay a lot of attention to candidates anyway. Having an upper age limit for office seems reasonable, much like there is already a lower age limit to be elected to office. And as in the case of dementia, someone can seem relatively fine at year 1 but really go downhill by year 5 (senate term).
@Joseph Patrick Lurker:
There are a LOT of people with agency in these situations. And I know all too well about geriatric senators!
@Baud: Hahaha, “man of integrity”
@Geminid: I’m not very interested in what a Minnesota Congressman has to say about Diane Feinstein. Now, if Dean Phillips wants to talk about good ways to catch walleye, I’m all ears.
Can we fight about Eagleton stepping down next?
Mr. Bemused Senior
@Baud @zhena gogolia: [ I come here to be cheered up]
This one is irresistable…
@schrodingers_cat: so that’s why she’s sitting in Pacific Heights.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Found this the other day on YT. Zoomer humor meets Columbo
Worth noting that concerns about Feinstein’s cognitive ability were already an open secret months before the 2022 elections. But her Dem colleagues still thought it appropriate to pretend everything was fine and give her a seat on the Judiciary Committee.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Cute! You cheered me up.
@Baud: I don’t think Feinstein’s opponent in the 2018 primary brought up age or incapacity. California has a top-two system for primaries. So, Feinstein’s opponent in the general was another Democrat: Kevin de Leon. And the California Democratic Party actually endorsed de Leon for the general. But Feinstein still won by over 8 points. So, really, we have the voters of California to blame. I was living there at the time and I think I voted for Feinstein. Oh fuck, it’s my fault.
Twitter once muzzled Russian and Chinese state propaganda. That’s over now
*Trick question; answer is everybody who has been paying the least attention.
This is five years old and I just discovered it, but I think it’s brilliant. A satire whose target is completely unclear.
The Onion, “Trump Voter Feels Betrayed By President After Reading 800 Pages Of Queer Feminist Theory”:
Friday afternoon. Hello jackals. I am getting a little nervous about what the Supremes might serve up in a few hours.
We will prevail in the long run, but who know what the next few months and years will bring.
@Eljai: I forgive you.
Things are never so simple. Seniority influences people’s votes. As it should.
@Tom Q.: we have agency and if enough voters demand, we can cut off the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction
Stay from the SC pending appeal- but didn’t dismiss.
@Princess Leia: Good news, right?
WOuld have been better if it had been thrown out! But yes, good. Thomas and Alito dissented.
It was never going to be thrown out on a stay.
Thomas and Alito are the worst.
@Princess Leia: Men of integrity.
Supreme Court issues stay.
@Princess Leia: No restrictions, so better than the appeals court stay.
They really are.
@Princess Leia: That would never happen procedurally.
That’s a very good point.
I’m with de Gaulle
“The graveyards are full of indispensable men”
Thomas didn’t explain himself. Alito’s opinion is petulant.
Sigh of relief. For now.
I am not a lawyer…so that was a hope from my fantasy life.
Oh, Thank you for clarifying!! Yay!
Pre–weekend WTF story.
@Scout211: But still figuring out how to ban abortion without upending the entire pharmaceutical industry.
David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch
@gwangung: This. As Thomas-Harlan Crow demonstrates, this court is bought and paid for and they won’t upset their paymasters by setting a precedent that allows a single judge to ban a multi billion dollar drug like OxyContin.
@David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch: Yep. That might make a marvelous campaign issue for Democrats, too.
@Omnes Omnibus: Alito’s disingenuous claptrap shines through yet again.
“The FDA could have just gone back to treating the drug as it did 22 years ago, no harm, no foul.”
“The FDA did things that Congress didn’t specifically say that it could do.”
“And anyway, the FDA could just do what it wants with the generic and it’s no big deal.”
He’s not even trying to construct a sensible argument. He still just wants to give RWNJs everywhere whatever they want, and break the ability of the Executive to use expertise and practicality to implement the laws that Congress has passed. Instead, he wants to be a Super Legislator and rewrite all the laws he doesn’t like.
He, and the rest of the RWNJs, needs to stay in his lane.
@Baud: One might think that he thought Sonia was picking on him, and that he didn’t like that even one tiny little bit.
These are the committees Feinstein sits on or chairs after 30 years of seniority:
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee on Defense
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development (Chair)[a]
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Committee on the Judiciary[b]
Subcommittee on the Constitution (Chair)
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism
Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action and Federal Rights
Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law[c]
Committee on Rules and Administration[d]
Select Committee on Intelligence[e]
These are the committees that Alex Padilla is on after two years in the Senate:
Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety (Chairman)
Committee on the Budget
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee on Rules and Administration
Our system of government is premised in large part on the idea that if a politician serves his or her constituent well enough to get reelected, they deserve to accumulate more power to use for the benefit of those constituents. Obviously, it often doesn’t work that way in practice, but keeping a Senator or Congressman who is clearly in decline in office even to the point that their faculties degrade is an unfortunate but hardly unexpected consequence of the system working the way it was intended. Thad Cochran (who’d been on Appropriations since Noah came out of the Ark) came closer to loosing his senate seat due to being insufficiently racist for GOP primary voters than he did from showing clear signs of dementia.
@Kay: Back in the eighties I knew a number of lawyers from Cooley and they were mostly okay. One of them was school leaver from UK who enlisted in the US Army, went to Vietnam, came back and went to community college, eventually Cooley, and he was utterly grateful fot the US giving him opportunities in life. He ‘s a big deal in the Kent County criminal defense bar last I heard.
@Kay: US senators have such monumental egos, they all want to die in office. See, eg, John Fucking McCain.
I’m still mad at that motherfucker. He purposely delayed resigning – even though he knew his death was weeks away – in order to block the people of Arizona from choosing his replacement.
Feinstein can get stuffed.
@Citizen Alan: Marshall died only 4 days after Clinton was inaugurated, and over a year after he had retired. I expect he was pretty ill at the end, and find it hard to blame him for retiring when it looked like Bush was a shoo-in for re-election.
@Baud: He and Feinstein are the same age – he was born in September 1933, she was born in June 1933.
I’d be willing to bet my entire life savings that Democrats will not hesitate to allow Republicans to seat his replacement on the judiciary committee.
I’m running out of teeth to spit.
Fact not in evidence.
I think Souter had the right idea retiring at 70.
We are more likely than not to lose the Senate in 2024, and given how American politics is going, unlikely to regain it for many years (would normally lose more seats in 2026, difficult post-second term election in 2028, then this cycle hell-map recurs in 2030, then we’ve *still* got to win which doesn’t happen every time). Very plausibly, it could be almost 10 years before we could confirm another Democratic justice.
So yes, I think Sotomayor should retire this cycle and perhaps even Kagan. Doesn’t have to be *this* year; it’s not like with Breyer where delaying to 2021 risked losing the Senate to a heart attack in a red state Democratic Senator.
One of the reasons, in addition to gerrymandering, that Florida’s legislature is so cravenly pathetic is term limits. The IQ of the legislature took a nose-dive when term limits were implemented.
James E Powell
@Steve in the ATL:
I would settle for one who went to a law school that had the word State in its name.
@Old School: we don’t have the Senate so no.
@Betty Cracker: She shouldn’t. No one wants to say it publicly , but she’s suffering from severe cognitive decline that’s not going to get any better. Her staff is propping her up and it’s ghoulish and awful. In the meantime, the largest state in the union, one that’s already badly served in terms of representation in the current Congressional structure, has one (1) senator for 39 million people.
Feinstein has been a trailblazer. I’ve voted for her in every election she’s run in since 2004, when I moved here. But she’s not able to do her job, and she hasn’t been for a long time. She shouldn’t have run in 2018, but people convinced her that she’s indispensable. No one is. She’s hurting Biden’s agenda and she needs to retire gracefully before her legacy is futher tarnished.
@karen marie: You left out the “I think Feinstein will do the right thing.” And I was talking about a situation where Gavin Newsom, Joe Biden and Senators like Patty Murray told Senator Feinstein it was time for her to resign.
I could dunk all day on people if I chose to disregard context.
@eversor: Even if you signed an NDA, you have a right to make a report to the police, and to the appropriate level of the legislature in most non-communist countries (certain states in the US may differ)