Senator Hatch fails the US Supreme Court

I respectfully disagree with the comments of Senator Orrin Hatch.  On March 28, in an Oped piece in the New York Times, Senator Orrin Hatch attempted to justify the refusal of US Senate Republicans to comply with the duties of the US Senate regarding the nominee of a US Supreme Court Justice.  Ultimately, the reason was politics, pure and simple.  Usually, Senator Orrin Hatch is above such political expediency, but not today.  Senator Hatch has provided political article to spread blame anywhere but squarely where it should be.  And, he has sold out his decades of protection of the US Justice System, the integrity of the US Supreme Court, and is participating in creating a new precedent that will surely be part of the complex disintegration of the US Senate.28hatch-web-master675

In grand fashion, Sen Orrin Hatch eloquently blames the reasons for Senate Republican’s refusal to fulfill their participation in the US Supreme Court nominee process on Obama overreach, the greatness of Scalia, and the political minefield that republicans want to avoid to protect the sensibilities of American citizens from especially during such “a toxic national election”.  He writes an opinion that at its core is quite simply an regurgitated political piece, only providing excuses, providing no balance, not once even mentioning the very terrible behavior of Republicans to attack Anita Hill to their chronic opposition to any fair minded judge in the decades of “tit for tat”.  In fact, Senator Hatch outlines only the grievances of republicans against democrats since the 1980s.  It is 2016, Orrin, get over it.

US Senate Republicans refusal to do its work is a grievance against America.  Refusal to even meet with the US Supreme Court nominee should be considered an act of treason.  Yet, this action by US Senate Republicans only proves that US Senate Republicans provide only lip service to their duties, rather than honestly feel compelled to fulfill their duties under the US Constitution.

It is well known that any judge who has any written articles of moderation or progressive wisdom to address legal harm are met with hostility. It is the Republicans own lust for those with antiquated knowledge to subvert democracy that resulted in the infamous Citizens United, leaving America trapped in a swirl of money, deception, disengagement of its voters, gerrymandering run amok, etc.

Senator Orrin Hatch, as any grandpa would, attempts to patronize the reader, letting us know that it is for our own good.  Senator Hatch, let me outline the reasons why your decision to not fulfill your duties as a Senator cause great harm to America.

This political posturing threatens democracy and this very institution, the US Senate. In its failure to perform its duties, Senate Republican hasten the demise of our system of democracy by this precedent and make vulnerable the US Supreme Court and its own institution for further oligarchy control and potentially led by a narcissist, xenophobic, fascist bully.

It is imperative that before this election cycle’s national election is conducted, a full complement of US Supreme Court justices be on the bench. The Supreme Court is one of the few institutions to provide oversight and act in a leadership capacity in rendering important decisions during any national crisis regarding the election in November. Do we not remember Bush v Gore? And, it would be a travesty of monumental proportions were the result to be a tie.

Republicans call out Democrats suggesting the terrible toxicity of the current national primaries is the main concern. They are protesting that postponing the confirmation hearings is to keep a lid on national politics. Let me be clear, it certainly is. And, without a Supreme Court with 9 judges on the bench, you can be sure the Republicans will be able to play politics.

This open US Supreme Court seat is the only reason that will attract many members of the Republican party to vote in this election cycle if Donald Trump is the nominee. Without the open US Supreme Court position, the Republicans could lose the US Senate and potentially the US House due to lack of interest in the Presidential Nominee or their outright disgust with him.

Further, an open seat provides advantage to Republican US Senators in negotiating any power exchange when a new administration is elected, while causing laws in different areas of the country to be determined by area, creating havoc and further fanning flames of discord and destruction that could be avoided if there were nine votes, rather than eight. While many in business cases have started to enter settlements without a US Supreme Court that was super friendly with big business, this system certainly deserves nine court justices, not eight, to address the weighty impacts that this court reviews.

In refusing to provide consent until after an election, the precedent provides the party in power of the US Senate to weaken our Executive Branch, hinder further any future decision or duty being pursued by the US President, until a distant national vote. If this is the new standard, why have the US Senate in session today?   They can go home until November, as well. If they are not going to do the most important work, specifically duties outlined in the US Constitution, why should they be doing any other work based on the same decision.

This precedent gives the majority party the power to “elect” not to perform its duties until such future time as it is politically prudent, or for a limited time, until after a national election.  This gives added meaning to the term “lame duck”.   Especially as each national election cycle seems to start earlier and earlier and the time grows shorter between election campaign time periods. This precedent, whether used by either party corrupts and threatens the balance of powers between the executive and the legislative.

Yet, because this political argument involves the appointment of a nominee to the US Supreme Court, this political game now imperils the judiciary where the executive or legislative branches regularly file suit to press for political advantage.   In this case, to address the refusal of the US Senate to comply with their duties under the US Constitution would cause irreparable harm to the Judicial System and the esteem in which most Americans hold the US Supreme Court to be the most judicious and fair in the world.

Lastly, in breaking with the traditions of the US Senate to sit a committee to affirm a presidential nominee to the US Supreme Court, republicans continue the toxic attacks on our most cherished institutions where “we the people” must go as a last attempt to make change against those more powerful, wealthier, or simply wrong. It is a terribly slow institution that just made its work that much harder to get accomplished for the people.

Senator Orrin Hatch used to be above politics. Whether I agreed with Senator Hatch, there always was a powerful and wise purpose he served to protect the US Senate as an institution.  Clearly politics in the US Senate has corrupted one of its most respected arbiters for Justice.  Senator Orrin Hatch has lost his integrity, his wisdom, and my respect.  I am certain the death of the institution itself is near.

It is a sad day.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Often, as I review history, I notice that the evolution towards fairness or resolution of issues is a positive and self-sustaining strategy to better results for the people for which it is intended.

In nearly every revolution in politics, someone loses, usually with great costs to many, and often the results are bloody, contradictory, with a winner who no longer feels empathy for those who did not always support the winner’s efforts.

This difference, evolution vs revolution, seems to be the choice we are being asked to make within both Democratic and the Republican parties.

As someone who craves peace and considers the words spoken by those who wish to serve, I worry when certain words are used. This year, I worry as an American because many words of division and radical change, which to me represent the more dangerous roads, are being spoken from the left and the right.

I hope the more moderate leaders among us soon find their voices and their passion. I hope those with influence and wisdom will step forward and become the people that will support them. Whenever America veers too far either way, usually too far right, it is at great costs to our individual Liberty.

Please consider these words. I simply ask that you hear what words are being spoken. What words incite rather than inspire are disconcerting. Words of division rather than of unity. Words of control over freedom.

What makes America great is not our most extreme views and not our military power. What makes America great is that we allow others to be different from ourselves. We appreciate creativity and uniqueness. We do not force others to our will but ask people from all faiths to respect others. And, we are merciful to those who lose, who are fearful, who are working through their own weaknesses.

Extremism makes America weak. Please do not be seduced by the easy fixes proposed by the extremes. It is likely not without additional costs not mentioned. Whether it is a promise of a big wall or a big program covering all, it forces compliance of some. And, that is the true threat to a great America.

Correct the Course of Police Militarization

“When communities experience fear, harassment and brutality simply because of who they are or how they look, we are failing as a nation. In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country.”  These are the first words from Human Rights Campaign and 58 others organizations within the LGBT Community in response to the tragic killing of Michael Brown, a black man headed to college by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Enough is enough. All Americans must stand up and demand that the police departments of our nation stand down. We do not require the police to be come further militarized. They must be vigilant, but should not leap to shoot and kill, but to pacify and arrest.  They must remember they are in place to protect and serve both the person perceived under attack as well as the attacker.  They are to be an organization where victims can run and where victimizers can be contained until Justice can be engaged.  The organization must be a place of safety not the perpetrators of death and destruction.

For the sake of our freedom we must demand that police end their evolution toward military tactics, racial profiling and executing without due process.  For if we do not, America will become not a land of freedom, but a police state where freedoms are crushed.

America’s LGBT community supports family of Michael Brown, with 58 groups joining letter