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Law is politics, part infinity


I just about tossed my Peruvian beaver milk latte this morning when reading Neal Katyal’s plea to Senate Democrats to unanimously confirm Neal Gorsuch.

Katyal’s argument is that Gorsuch is a real smart guy who went to all the best schools (like Neal Katyal), and that he’s not a hack, but rather a principled jurist:

Last week, The Denver Post encouraged the president to nominate Judge Gorsuch in part because “a justice who does his best to interpret the Constitution or statute and apply the law of the land without prejudice could go far to restore faith in the highest court of the land.”

I couldn’t agree more. Right about now, the public could use some reassurance that no matter how chaotic our politics become, the members of the Supreme Court will uphold the oath they must take: to “administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.” I am confident Neil Gorsuch will live up to that promise.

Gorsuch may well be a principled jurist (given that he teaches regularly here at the CU law school I should make clear that I don’t know him either personally or professionally).  But his avowed principles are bad ones.

Gorsuch is a passionate acolyte of Antonin Scalia’s reactionary view of the role of the federal courts in American politics.  Now as Scott points out, Scalia was not merely reactionary: he was also a hypocrite, as he was quite willing to drop any pretense to maintaining his theoretical commitments if, despite the considerable interpretive flexibility they normally afforded, they on occasion still produced a result he found politically uncongenial.

As Scott has also noted on several occasions, Clarence Thomas was and remains less hackish than Scalia: Thomas actually sticks to his avowed jurisprudential principles with far more consistency than Scalia ever did.  Though he doesn’t come right out and say it,  Katyal’s argument adds up to the claim that progressives should confirm Gorsuch because he’s like Thomas: a reactionary jurist who usually doesn’t jettison his reactionary interpretive methods on those occasions when those methods happen to fail to produce reactionary results.

This is, especially under the circumstances (Merrick Garland, Donald Trump, fascism a go-go etc.), a horrible argument.  Voting for Gorsuch because because he’s, ex hypothesi, principled, without regard to what those principles actually are, is nonsensical. It’s no different than arguing that liberals ought to support Paul Ryan’s crusade to destroy what remains of the welfare state, because that crusade is based on a principled belief in the philosophy of Ayn Rand, as opposed to a hackish desire to advance his own political fortunes.

There was a time in American politics when a vague cross-institutional consensus held that presidents should get to pick Supreme Court justices whose legal-political views reflected the president’s own, subject to fairly loose constraints in regard to technical competence, personal corruption, and ideological extremism.  Those days are long gone.

Katyal is perfectly well aware of that of course, and his op-ed is a transparent attempt to curry favor with hypothetical marginal senatorial votes, should his own SCOTUS ship come in a few years from now.  (This is not a fantastical calculation on his part.  The qualifications for getting nominated have become so absurdly narrow that there literally only a few dozen people at any one time who are as a practical matter eligible, and he’s one of them).

Gorsuch’s nomination is a political act, which should be opposed for political reasons.  Blather about “principles” and “brilliance” and “temperament” just obscures the actual situation we are now in.


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  • Vance Maverick

    Worth correcting the spelling of Katyal’s name, passim.

    • Thom

      Ah, fuck it, it is alt-spelling.

    • Paul Campos

      That’s what happens when you toss your latte.


  • Slothrop2

    Seems like you are against the law, or something.

    • Dennis Orphen

      In fascist amerika the law is against you.

      • N__B

        I fought the law and the law curb-stomped me.

        • liberalrob

          Then waterboarded me and sent me to Gitmo.

          • guthrie

            Frankly, AMerica could use Judge Dredd right now.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Joe’s a good cop but he’s a fascist. I’m leaning toward Johnny Alpha, one of the strontium dogs (You Can Not Hide From The Mutant!).

              What am I saying? This is a job for Mike (‘Hold the Armani’)Fallon, The Accident Man. I hear he’s working for our side now, after his fling with the lefty bird.

              • guthrie

                I’d really like “The authority”, at least the original series.
                I don’t think Judge Dredd is a fascist though; megacity one might be a it of a dictatorship, and the law rigidly enforced with ott penalties, but the law is generally enforced equally, and there isn’t much corruption, unlike all known fascist states. He doesn’t single anyone out because of their skin colour or anything. That’s what would be so much fun, watching him arrest republicans for breaking the law all the time. They’d be dragged away screaming “you can’t arrest us, we’re in charge here”.

                • rhino

                  Yeah, Dredd’s problem is lack of compassion, not fascism.

                  What we need is Clint Eastwood’s Preacher from Pale Rider. Now there was an avenging angel of justice… ‘Nothing like a nice piece of hickory’.

                  Such a shame Clint’s an asshole.

  • Timurid

    Off topic… but I have a student who wants me to write him a law school recommendation letter. I know the basics of how screwed up the law job market is, and I have told him as much. Can any of you recommend a few law blogs that offer more specifics and insight? Preferably something not too shrill and alarmist (i.e. not whatever that blog is that leads every article with a photo of an overflowing urinal).

    • Paul Campos

      Top Law Schools is actually pretty good these days.

      He could also buy my book.


    • Abbey Bartlet

      He should go work in whatever field he’s interested in for a few years. It will 1) give him a better sense of if he wants to do it and 2) networking networking networking.

    • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

      Have him go to Law School Transparency and look at the job prospects and debt loads of the graduates of the schools he is looking at. Also, remind him that GPA/LSAT range of most schools is fairly narrow, and everyone starts out as a gunner — in other words, he should really look at the outcomes for the lower end of the grads at those schools, because it really could be him (no matter how successful his academic career has been so far).

      Another small but good website is jdunderground. Compared to Top Law Schools, it has mostly lawyers or ex-lawyers, so a different perspective.

    • rmichaelnwu

      Not about the job market, but about law school in general. Somewhere Wayne C. Booth, the long-time professor of English at the University of Chicago, writes (and I haven’t been able to find where) about how distressed he always was when one of his students decided to go to law school. He had observed many fine students, fine people, who would lose their humanity after attending law school.
      Obviously that isn’t always the case (hell, Studs Terkel went to law school!), but it happens more often than one would like.

  • Funkhauser

    As someone pointed out on Twitter, Katyal has pending litigation before the Court, representing Bristol Myers-Squibb. Not disclosed in NYT op-ed.

    • Once again, FTMFNYT.

    • Joe_JP

      If “transparent attempt to curry favor” is involved here, probably as much for this sort of reason than hope it will get him appointed to SCOTUS. Not sure he is likely at the top of the list there. Maybe, to a lower court slot.

      Anyway, if this was a normal situation w/o Garland, the “legal-political views reflected the president’s own” norm would still have bite for me, watered down by a need to compromise to address who controls the Senate. I might be a bit more idealistic there than some. But, that isn’t the case.

      • Yes, this is my thought – he figures Gorsuch is likely to be confirmed, so sees no % in associating his name with an effort likely to earn him retaliation.

        I would suck up the Gorsuch nom were it not for Garland. As it stands, I wish for every GOP Senator to die in a fire.

        • Joe_JP

          Did one of the cats finally take Twitter away from you?

          • I’m trying to take February off. Current politics is making me angry and intolerant. Last night I was purging every known Republican from my follows.

        • David Hunt

          Not every one. We’d want enough left to form a quorum. Then they could hold a vote on Garland and confirm him.

          Okay. Idle point of curiosity. Obama’s nomination of Garland was never withdrawn to my knowledge. Does it have any legal validity or did it expire with the last Congress?

          • Expired with the last Congress, to my understanding.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Along with our democratic republic.

              • Procopius

                Our “democratic republic” expired about the time Mark Hanna put William McKinley in the White House and we became open about our imperial ambitions. Remember that Augustus did not allow people to address him as “imperator.” He was always “principus.” I’ve thought for several years we are a few breaths away from referring to our President as First Citizen. The Senate will be inheritable. The House will be appointed. The President will issue lists of proscription soon after being inaugurated. See Trump. SOCOM will be the new Praetorian Guard.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            ALL nominations (for any position, not just SCOTUS) expire when the Congressional term ends.

            Just as all pending bills which were never voted on, etc.

    • Phil Perspective

      And with that op-ed, Katyal has killed any hope of ever being nominated for the Supreme Court by a Democrat. Trump will never nominate him because he has Obama cooties.

  • Crusty

    Shorter Neal Katyal-

    You’re gonna like this guy. He’s all right. He’s a goodfella. He’s one of us.

    • Murr

      I was thinking more along the lines of “Walter Sobchak school of legal philosophy evaluation”:

      Say what you want about the tenets of Originalism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

  • Abbey Bartlet
    • Just_Dropping_By

      When did Graham ever claim he might oppose Sessions? According to this piece, Graham was already saying positive things about Sessions last November: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/jeff-sessions-attorney-general-confirmation-231602

    • mds

      Yeah, Graham was kissing up to Sessions really hard during the hearings. He was never going to be a “no” vote over scurrilous, substanceless charges of racism, oh dear me, no.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      After Labor Day? Tsk tsk.

    • leftwingfox

      Happy Black History Month all!

      Time to relive it.

      • muddy

        There’s a time travel show on NBC, TImeless. The inventor scientist character is black, and he exclaims early on that it’s ridiculous for them to send him back in time on that account.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          There’s a reason straight time travel seems to be largely a white male fantasy.

          • Doctor Who addressed this when Martha was a companion, too, though IIRC the only story where it was a major plot element was “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood”.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Yeah, that was some, uh, interesting handwaving in “Shakespeare”.

              • Yeah, the show hasn’t exactly been consistently great at dealing with the social implications of its premises, though when it does deal with them adequately it’s one of the best shows on television at doing so. “The Woman Who Lived” did a pretty good job addressing the misogyny Ashildr faced at various times in history without whacking the viewer over the head with it, while other episodes under Moffat’s tenure have glossed over the implications. (It probably helps that Catherine Tregenna wrote “The Woman Who Lived”.) The same goes for Davies’ tenure. A lot of it seems to depend on the writer, since most (all?) of the showrunners to date have had their blind spots.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  And that of course wasn’t straight time travel. (As few things are in DW.)

                • I think that’s one of the things I most love about the show: things are rarely as simple as they seem at first glance. Some people have complained about this, particularly under Moffat, but I feel it’s one of the show’s most realistic aspects. Things in real life are rarely simple, either.

                • LeeEsq

                  Doctor Who also has inconsistencies caused by color blind casting. You had the Black French nobleman who the viewer was supposed to treat as being indistinguishable from other French nobleman in one David Tenant episode. In a latter episode, you had two Black actors that were supposed to see as a father-daughter Venetian nobles rather than Black.

                  Its hard to be consistent about the racial implications of time travel when you have color blind casting.

          • econoclast

            You forget the most important time travel story of all: Dave Chappelle’s “Time Haters” sketch.

          • LeeEsq

            Straight white women seem to like time travelling to, at least if its to the Scottish highlands. ;).

            Historical fiction has many of the same problems as time traveling fiction. People thought differently in the past and accepted things as normal that many modern people would find repellant like a lot of cruelty towards animals used to be good rollicking fun. When your writing historical fiction if you make your protagonists too modern in their thinking than the entire thing comes off more as a fantasy and if you make them too of the time than they seem unrealistic.

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        This statement from Blithering Butthole has literally made us all dumber. Not by being exposed to it, no; I mean its mere existence has now collectively dropped our IQs.

        • liberalrob

          And how could he forget to mention George Washington Carver without whose innovative genius we would not be able to enjoy the PB&J sandwich that is the future staple of our lives?

          In honor of Brent Musberger’s upcoming swan dive into the dustbin of history, I once again present this:

          NFL Today: Black Pride

        • Lurking Canadian

          Holy fucking Christ. That sounds like the speech given in response to a book report assignment by a third grade student. A badly prepared third grade student.

          And your countrymen chose to trade in Obama for this gomer? Digby’s right. It would be funny except it’s fucking tragic.

          • MyNameIsZweig

            And your countrymen chose to trade in Obama for this gomer?

            No, actually. Only a minority of them chose to do that. Most of us wanted something else.

  • sleepyirv

    I don’t see why Paul, making a perfectly rational argument, sometimes feels the need to accuse the opposition of having insane motivations. Neal Katyai cannot plausibly believe this will help his Supreme Court case. As a person who clerked for Breyer and served in Democratic administrations, his case is dead in the water for any Republican President appointment. And sticking his neck out for some conservative doesn’t seem like the best way to win over a hypothetical future Democrat President. I would say his best hope was keeping his mouth shut for the next four years and hope a Democrat wins and appoints him to an appellate court (I don’t see why he would expect he could skip this step like Kagan, who had a strong supporter in Obama).

    Perhaps Katyai really believes all this, but there is no reason to think he adopted what seems to be an insanely stupid strategy. It seems far more likely that he’s making argument because he actually believes it. Besides, I don’t see the purpose of saying he’s arguing in bad faith instead of saying he’s being wildly naive.

  • efgoldman

    There was a time in American politics when a vague cross-institutional consensus held that presidents should get to pick Supreme Court justices whose legal-political views reflected the president’s own, subject to fairly loose constraints

    Some of us are old enough to remember a chief justice who had never been a judge at any level. He did pretty well. He served with another justice who was appointed directly out of the senate, and another who had been on the SEC, but never a judge.
    The Warren court (the other two were Douglas and Harlan) did OK by the country.
    IANAL, but it seems to me that only naming justices from the appeals court benches has done nothing to improve jurisprudence.
    Of course, those were the days when most Republicans were still human beings.

    • Joe_JP

      Black came out of the Senate, not Harlan.

    • lunaticllama

      I love the history of Charles Evans Hughes. Governor of New York -> Associate Justice of SCOTUS -> Leaves to run for President (loses in 1916 election to Wilson) -> Secretary of State under Harding -> Chief Justice of SCOTUS in 1930. He is the last justice (associate or chief) on the Supreme Court to step down to run for political office. I agree and wish that a greater variety of people could plausibly be nominated to the Supreme Court.

      • That and that they could come from more than just two or three Universities.

        • N__B

          I look forward to our first Infilaw-trained Justice.

        • Colin Day

          James F. Byrnes didn’t attend law school.

      • Colin Day

        James F. Byrnes stepped down to run the Office of Economic Stabilization during World War II. He later got elected as Governor of South Carolina.

  • Dilan Esper

    I’m really, really sick of the debates about judicial philosophy. Nobody cares about judicial philosophy. They care about the results of cases. There are liberals like Jack Balkin who label themselves originalists who would be just fine. There are libertarians like Ilya Somin who label themselves originalists and who would get some stuff right and some stuff wrong. And there are lots of conservatives who call themselves originalists and who will get lots of stuff wrong.

    These fights are about the results of cases. Gorsuch is too far to the right. For Democrats to vote for a Republican justice, it would need to be a Kennedy or an O’Connor who isn’t as far to the right.

    • cpinva

      “I’m really, really sick of the debates about judicial philosophy. Nobody cares about judicial philosophy.”

      so, does someone have a gun in your back, forcing you to pay attention? no, didn’t think so. yes, some people do care about a nominee’s “judicial philosophy” or, a more appropriate term “history”. why? simply put, “They care about the results of cases.” a nominee’s case history (which tends to be consistent), can give you a pretty good idea of how they would lean in future cases they might face on the court.

      • Dilan Esper

        I don’t think anyone truly cares about judicial philosophy.

        Republicans would confirm a right-wing judge who rejected originalism and textualism.

        Democrats would confirm a left-wing judge who styled herself an originalist and textualist.

        I mean, actual judicial philosophy (not stupid labels) is a real topic in jurisprudential scholarship. For instance, there are debates about whether a judge should announce broad rules or only decide the case in front of him.

        But those discussions pale in importance compared to the substantive stakes, and in any event nobody wants to talk about them. They want to discuss the tired labels which mean nothing.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Republicans would confirm a right-wing judge who rejected originalism and textualism.

          Cf. Alito, who has never had any pretense of giving a shit about grand interpretive theories.

        • MDrew

          The tired labels used in these contexts (politics of the judiciary) do mean things. Just nothing to do with genuine legal philosophy. They’re labels for bundles of political commitments. Nothing more, nothing less. But that’s a meaning.

      • Crusty

        I think Dilan’s point, also noted by Paul in the OP with reference to Scott, that you are completely missing, is that we can know every single thing we want about someone’s judicial philosophy. The minute a judicial philosophy backs a conservative judge into voting to uphold abortion rights, they will explain why your understanding of their philosophy is wrong. The minute a republican nominated judge has to vote to expand voting rights to disenfranchised minorities, the judicial philosophy that would compel that vote will be out the window.

    • John F

      I don’t think anyone truly cares about judicial philosophy.

      Oh, there are some people, mostly law professors and a few historians… Litigants of course don’t care, judges pretend to care…

      • DrDick

        judges pretend to care

        That is the nut right there. Nobody really cares about that and very few actually adhere to any consistent philosophy.

        • Dilan Esper

          I think they care more in less politically charged cases.

          But the actual important philosophies really aren’t the ones people discuss. Originalism is totally malleable. So is strict constructionism.

          But there are actually philosophies that do matter, somewhat. Deciding narrowly versus deciding broadly. Rules versus balancing tests. Trying to get a 5 vote majority versus concurring or dissenting separately and not moderating your views. Following precedent.

          They pale in importance to ideology, but to the extent they matter, they are rarely discussed very much anyway. Instead we have this stupid discussion about interpreting the law as written versus a living Constitution every time.

          • LFC

            In a way it’s even worse than that w.r.t. the Senate hearings themselves, where questions about a nominee’s philosophy or overall approach often elicit completely banal and empty responses, such as “fidelity to the law” (Sotomayor) or being an “umpire” (Roberts).

            What nominee is not in favor of “fidelity to the law”? The hearings have become useless rubbish in this respect.

            • Dilan Esper

              That’s the thing. The whole process is infused with bullshit. First, the President nominated Judge Greatnomineee, and tells us all about Greatnominee’s perserverance and struggles growing up and how he got through it all to graduate first in his class at Harvard Law School.

              The the leader of the opposition party in the Senate announces that his caucus will of course keep an open mind towards Judge Greatnominee, when all or most of them have already decided how they are going to vote (likely “no”).

              Then the leader of the President’s party in the Senate accuses the opposition party of being result oriented, of desiring nothing other than judicial activism and not caring about, depending on which party it is, the original meaning of the Constitution and following the law / compassion, justice, and an open heart. This all gets said while the leader of the President’s party would have voted to confirm a ficus tree if the President nominated one and so long as said ficus tree shares the party position on Roe v. Wade.

              Then we get the hearings, where most of the time is used up by the Senators giving boring 5 minute speeches about their (uninformed) opinions about judicial philosophies, followed by a single question. The nominee, Judge Greatnominee, for his part, refuses to answer any actually interesting question, saying that he can’t because that matter might come before the Court. With respect to uninteresting questions, Judge Greatnominee gives long winded answers mostly consisting of praise for the Senator for his legal brilliance in thinking up such an amazing question.

              Nothing relevant is learned about Judge Greatnominee during the hearing.

              Finally, there are committee and floor votes that go exactly the way one would have predicted they would go at the time of the nomination.

            • Joe_JP

              The reply to this comment gives a long drawn out cynical comment about “the whole process.”

              Of course, politics itself is a mixture of b.s. and some substance. A candidate is hyped for various trivial reasons, has to do various tiresome things, etc. But, mixed in there is some benefit.

              The process generally roughly puts forth a reasonable nominee more often than not. There are various ways the nominee is checked out. Senators get a chance to meet the person personally, which repeatedly is a good way to get a sense of someone and interact with them on a personal level. etc.

              The modern era put forth televised hearings. These again are a mixture of boring, b.s. and useful. A lot of platitudes. This is in part theater, a sort of political ceremony. Ceremonies are not useless, even if people are bored at weddings.

              But, analysis of questioning repeatedly, on the record and for the public to see, which yes in today’s world is seen as important like it or not, provides an individual sense of the nominee. It is up to senators to use some craft in the questioning but it is quite possible to get some substance here.

              Many don’t care at all about any of that, but it still matters even on the level of political ceremony. This includes giving a chance for opponents to have a chance to say their piece, which is important in our country. Even if it all seems tiresome.

              We can sneer at the value of any hearings, including the Cabinet hearings that are ongoing. The same platitudes, praise for even the worse candidates, etc. But, there is still something there, even if we can foresee shortening them or improving them in some fashion.

              • Dilan Esper

                Well, that’s a long comment that said nothing.

                Sure ceremonies can have value. But you have to articulate the value. The confirmation process I accurately described has none.

                But it’s even worse, because it obscures what we should be debating, which is the results of cases.

                • Joe_JP

                  Well, that’s a long comment that said nothing.

                  Ipse dixit like this say something, but perhaps nothing that good.

                  Sure ceremonies can have value. But you have to articulate the value.

                  Merely this shows it “said something,” that is, that ceremony can have value.

                  Why, e.g., providing a chance for opponents to have their say in a public forum has “no value” (refuting but one something I said) is skipped.

                  I could have made the comment longer, sure, such as explaining the nature of our media society where exposure to the masses is important here. This includes letting more see it, discuss it online, have various sources debate/investigate various things that come out etc. But, not sure you are listening anyway.

                  The confirmation process I accurately described has none.

                  I explained some value. You didn’t refute anything I said. “I’m right” is about as useful as this statement.

                  But it’s even worse, because it obscures what we should be debating, which is the results of cases.

                  The results of cases are discussed too. But, as I said, the process can be tweaked, including more of that. If you want, that can include in the direct questioning. But, improvements here like in politics in general are something that always was something possible. The system in place always was imperfect in various ways. After all, if anything, we had LESS of that before modern hearings.

  • muddy

    Why is the eligible pool so small?

    • randy khan

      Qualifications plus age (as in, not too old). The people with the qualifications tend to be too old.

    • Lurking Canadian

      IANAL, but extrapolating from previous posts, it seems that in order to be qualified for the Supreme Court, in the sense it is used here, a candidate must have:
      1) Graduated from one of three law schools (Harvard, Yale, Stanford)
      2) Immediately served as clerk for a sitting Supreme Court justice
      3) Worked as a legal academic at one of…perhaps seven law schools and published a shitload of papers

      • muddy

        So it’s like CEOs, probably a ton of people could actually do that job effectively but “it’s just not done dear”?

      • Just_Dropping_By

        Graduated from one of three law schools (Harvard, Yale, Stanford)

        Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stanford?! What kind of slum law operation do you think we’re running here?

      • Abbey Bartlet

        IANALY, but yeah pretty much, and no that doesn’t irritate everyone not at HYS, why do you ask?

      • Srsly Dad Y

        FWIW, IAL, and IMO people get the causation wrong in the Harvard/Yale-to-SCOTUS pipeline. It’s not that a nominee “has to be” from Harvard or Yale. It’s that if you are the kind of unquestionably talented, hyper-ambitious, status-seeking, networking, using-the-right-fork type of person who may grow up to be a Supreme Court justice, you apply your brilliance and your budding wiles at the appropriate age to get yourself into Harvard or Yale Law Schools, because that’s what you do. It’s a bit like saying all of our top generals and admirals went to the military academies. Well, yes, if that’s who you are, that’s what you do.

  • Gee Suss

    I have a procedural question on this: If the Dema filibuster, then Republicans nuke the filibuster, does that mean the nomination is dead or it will just continue on?

    • randy khan

      The point of nuking the filibuster would be to get the nomination through.

    • Paul Campos

      Continue on.

      • Gee Suss

        Thank you.

  • randy khan

    For those with a few spare moments to harangue elected officials, especially if you happen to live in their states, now that Murkowski and Collins have announced they will not vote for DeVos, we need one more Republican. Here are three likely suspects:

    Flake: 202-224-4521 or https://www.flake.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-jeff

    Heller: 202-224-6244 or https://www.heller.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

    Toomey: 202-224-4254 or https://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact

    (I know, bare links, but I’m in a rush.)

    Collins and Murkowski both said public comment was a factor, so it’s worth a go at these guys.

  • Simple Mind

    OT. How did we get on a war footing with Iran between noon and siesta time?

    • Hogan

      “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” Flynn told a White House briefing, without explaining exactly what that meant.

      This is going on your permanent record, young man.

      • liberalrob

        They’ve been on Double Secret Probation since Jan. 20, but now they’re officially On Notice.

    • Dennis Orphen

      See Putin, V.

      Also see Red Meat for the base.

    • John F

      Assuming Putin does have influence with Trump, now might actually be a good time to use it…

      • JohnT

        What Putin would want Is a bunch of US sabre rattling directed at Iran. That keeps the oil price high, supports Russian arms sales to Iran and keeps the Iranians tilted away from the West.

        However with nut jobs like Flynn implementing his wishes, what he gets may be quite different.

        • leftwingfox

          Meanwhile, in the Ukraine…

    • njorl

      We need to be in the early stages of a shooting war by 2020 for Trump to get re-elected.

      • liberalrob

        “Don’t change horses in mid-stream!”

        • Hogan

          Or as we said in 2004, don’t change horsemen in mid-apocalypse.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          Not even if the idiot horse charged into the stream for no reason and now seems intent on drowning you there.

    • Crusty

      No missile test until after Obama left office and Trump took over. They feel emboldened now that Trump is president. Another Trump foreign policy failure.

      • Rob in CT

        Yes, this needs to be the point.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    “go far to restore faith in the highest court of the land.”

    Want to “restore faith in the highest court of the land”?

    Summary executions for those lawless hacks that pushed through Bush v Gore, and then for those that pushed through Shelby County, in blatant defiance of the clear text of the 15th Amendment.

    THAT will restore some confidence.

    Sticks optional.

  • DrDick

    Thanks for this.

  • Frank

    Isn’t it just easier to state: “Trump’s pick” as the reason for objecting to Trump’s pick? It seems much more efficient and sincere that way.

  • Colin Day

    It’s no different than arguing that liberals ought to support Paul Ryan’s crusade to destroy what remains of the welfare state, because that crusade is based on a principled belief in the philosophy of Ayn Rand, as opposed to a hackish desire to advance his own political fortunes.

    As a Catholic, Ryan is squishy on Rand’s views on the primacy of existence. He also has issues with her epistemology.

  • bc from cle

    Shorter Neal Katyal: “I mean, say what you want about the judicial philosophy of Neal Gorsuch, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

  • pmiranda

    don’t want to fight about the merits, i agree.

    but thomas is less of a hack, or thomas is nuttier, more consistently delusional, and thus more consistent?

  • skeptonomist

    Thomas voted for the “rights” of corporations as people in Citizens United. Did the ghost of Alexander Hamilton tell him to do this?

  • baaadmoon

    I’d bet good money that Neal also agrees with Hillary! (and Marge Schott) that Henry Kissinger: “Did some good things”?


  • MB Williams

    Neal Katyal has represented school districts, including one in Colorado, in two cases involving the rights of children with disabilities before SCOTUS this session. As I work in this area of law, I was honestly appalled at some of his arguments, specifically that children with disabilities should not have rights equal to their non-disabled peers when it comes to access to educational benefits. I honestly cannot see how he views himself as a Democrat. That said, one of the most appalling school district attorneys in the state in which I work is a CU Law grad, and also from what is considered a “liberal” legal family. Look, if you can’t be counted on to protect the most vulnerable in our society — and I would put children with disabilities squarely in that camp — then don’t even try to claim you’re a liberal. I’ve read Gorsuch’s decisions on IDEA cases, and while I do not agree with all of them (from a legal standpoint), he was many times more empathetic regarding the student’s plight than Katyal was in his arguments before SCOTUS in Napoleon Community and Douglas County.

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