The Justice vacancy

Most people think that I am “right wing.”  However, I prefer to identify myself as a “Jackson Democrat,” i.e. a follower of the former Washington Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson (1912-1983), who was a hawk on foreign policy but a liberal on domestic policy.  In that respect I oppose Pres. Obama for his lack of projection of American power for good in the world, for not supporting America’s allies and caving in to the pressure of dictators, including Russia under Putin, and for leaving a power vacuum in the Middle East.

On the other hand, I support Obama and others in their aims to introduce fairer health care in the USA, as well as other domestic programs that should not be a welfare state, but should ensure that no-one is starving.  Such programs should not exceed the State’s ability to pay for them from legitimate taxes.  Therefore, I support the right of Obama to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia who died last week.  In this respect, I assume I am different from many of my colleagues who would argue that Obama should not make this appointment since he is a lame duck president and should leave it to his successor, who they hope will be a conservative Republican.

Scalia was an ultra-conservative Catholic, who narrowly defined the constitution and opposed abortion and supported gun rights and everything that is very conservative.  I think we need a change from this after his 30 years on the bench (he was appointed by Pres. Ronald Reagan).  The problem with a liberal Obama appointee is that the Congress that must approve the appointment is Republican-dominated and will simply refuse it or delay it until it becomes impossible.  Yet, if Obama were to propose a middle of the road candidate and the Republicans could bring themselves to accept him/her then that would be the best of both worlds.  But, not likely to happen.

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One thought on “The Justice vacancy

  1. Hi Jack, I agree with much of what you say here, but would like to add that this is the way the system is supposed to work. The President nominates and the Senate confirms.  Obama has been a lame duck since the 2012 election, so I don’t deny him the opportunity to nominate a justice to replace Scalia. The Senate has a similar opportunity to reject any nominee they don’t like.  The 2012 election included a Republican majority in the Senate. If Obama can nominate a candidate who is acceptable to moderate Republicans, I suspect the nomination could be confirmed, as these Republicans may not be optimistic about gaining the White House in the next election. I also suspect that Obama will claim to do so, but will nominate a candidate unacceptable to even moderate Republicans.  An ironic twist here is that if there is no justice appointed until the next President takes office, Hillary could well nominate Obama. He might have figured this out and so wouldn’t mind not getting his candidate confirmed.  Bob PS – Many of us who oppose Obamacare, very much want some kind of universal health care. The big question is how to do it while preserving quality care that is available to most. While Obamacare has some good features, it also contains some perverse incentives (e.g., the individual mandated insurance coverage) that are leading to rapidly rising premiums and narrow coverage health groups (i.e., very limited choice of doctors). I can think of several ways to offer universal health care that would not have these negative side-effects. 

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