HAVE YOU MISPLACED YOUR MERCY? THEN YOU MIGHT BE A DEMOCRAT

Justitia blindfolded and holding balance scales and a sword. Court of Final Appeal, Hong Kong (from here)

After President Trump nominated a relatively Conservative judge to the Supreme Court, Liberal Democrats went nuts. Some of their behavior has been silly. A certain senator’s pretentions to emulating Spartacus, who died leading a slave rebellion, has made him a laughingstock. Much of what the Democrats have done, however, has just been a disturbingly sick temper tantrum.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh has a sterling reputation. He has passed numerous security background investigations (which are a dreadfully painful nuisance), and he has to prove his innocence in response to a vague, decades old accusation of attempted rape? Seriously? Have we not seen this sort of muckraking before?

When devious people conspire to destroy a good man, who deserves our sympathy, our mercy? Is it the person being accused or an accuser who appears to be colluding with those who have declared themselves the enemies of the accused?

Justice is blind. It is about the facts of the case. Because it is so difficult to prove an accusation is not true, we assume the innocence of the accused. The accuser, not the accused, has the burden of proof. Yet too many Liberal Democrats don’t seem to understand that. They expect us to believe the woman just because she is a woman. Anyone (male or female) who loves their father, brothers, and male friends should be outraged by such blather.

Fortunately, the Republicans in the Senate appear to have found a little steel in their spine. So it appears they will move forward with nomination. See Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford demands ‘full investigation’ by FBI before testifying, in letter from her lawyers.

75 thoughts on “HAVE YOU MISPLACED YOUR MERCY? THEN YOU MIGHT BE A DEMOCRAT

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  1. This is the bs they tried and failed with justice Thomas.
    It’s not justice to accuse and try a person in the public opinion of crimes he was not accused and convicted of in a court of law.
    Clinton was adirt bag, his wife an unindicted felon. Dems don’t care. They only care about power

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom,

    So Mitch McConnell delayed a qualified Obama appointee for almost a year, never even giving him a hearing, much less a vote, and you accuse Democrats of heartlessness? Are you really so blindly partisan that you don’t see any bad faith at all on the Republican side in the Garland nomination or in the Republicans’ cramming through this nominee before the midterms?

    Are the Dems playing politics with this new development? Are you really “shocked, shocked” that there is partisan politics going on in DC right now?

    On the other hand, it does not appear that either the Dems or the press went out and found this accuser, but instead she, at great personal jeopardy, came forward on her own.

    Do we have to afford Kavanaugh a presumption of innocence and a “reasonable doubt” standard of proof? No, of course not. (If you are completely honest with yourself, you wouldn’t set such a high standard for a Democratic nominee accused of such a thing, now would you?). This isn’t a trial, it’s an interview for a very big job. Kavanaugh has the burden to prove his worthiness for a lifetime appointment to one of the highest public offices in the nation.

    Has their partisanship gotten so important to Republicans that they really want on the SCOTUS someone who actually tried to rape a girl and is now lying about it? In order to gain every partisan advantage they can, are Republicans willing to sacrifice their souls?

    Do I think this 30 something year old accusation of something he may have done in high school should sideline his appointment? I don’t know. Maybe not, perhaps even if the accusation might be true, but unprovable. However, it should slow things down enough to at least make sure its credibility is thoroughly taken into account. High school boys are wild animals full of hormones, and high school girls can do some pretty dumb things too, but the majority of us make it through that stage in life without attempting to rape anyone. If the accusation is credible, then what are we telling our young men and women if this is just dismissed as “boys will be boys”?

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    1. @tsalmon

      Bad faith? That coming from people who think the Constitution is living document?

      Republicans did not smear Garland’s reputation. They just refused to vote on his nomination. That is their Constitutional prerogative. That’s why Democrats could not do anything about it, particularly after what the hypocrites did to the filibuster rule.

      1. “Interview for a big job”: Bull! The problem is here is Democrats want to keep Conservative judges off the court. So they “bork” them. And no, it is no longer a surprise when they do it, not any more. It is just pathetic you see nothing wrong with it.

      2. Great personal risk? That’s naïve! Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the one taking a big risk. The Democrats are still holding up Anita Hill as some kind of saint. Judge Clarence Thomas has had to live with that woman lie against him for decades.

      Ford has an activist lawyer speaking for her, an interview with the Washington Compost, a lie detector test, and she sanitized her social media presence. Now she demands an FBI investigation before she testifies. Yeah! That lady is real risk taker who just came forward on her own.

      3. Do Republicans want a rapist on the court? Would our odds of avoiding a rapist on the Supreme Court be better if Trump had appointed Garland instead of Kavanaugh, or would we have just avoided a smear campaign?

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      1. Tom,

        So you think that the Constitution is a “dead document”?🙄Well, I guess if you Trumpites have your way it will be.

        Obviously, you don’t know anything about the Constitution or the way that the way it works if you think that the “advise and consent” role of the Senate means that the sitting president’s pick doesn’t even get a hearing, much less a vote for a year, and that isn’t “bad faith”? You Trump Party members apparently have no ideological consistency, just Trump worship.

        Your Dear Leader lies about five times a day, copped on tape to sexually assaulting women, cheated on three wives and counting, illegally bribed their silence, skipped out on paying his contractors and creditors, had numerous known scams going including Trump University, came onto the Republican scene as a birther conspiracist, comes up with derogatory pet names for all his opponents, accused Ted Cruz’s dad of conspiring to kill JFK, has had his NSC advisor, his campaign chairman, and at least one member of his campaign confess and or be convicted of crimes,, is most likely in hock up to his eyeballs to Russian oligarchs, and I could go on and on, and that’s just what we know for certain about.

        As long as Trump is the leader of your party, do you seriously think that Republicans have any credibility judging and condemning the other side about their moral integrity? Seriously, it’s like mafia monsters whining that the police don’t always play nice.

        For the sake of our constitutional institutions, I think that the President’s nominee, no matter what Party he is, should get a fair hearing and a vote, and if he’s qualified, not some kind of ideological extremist, has basic decent character and is qualified, he should probably be approved. However, that doesn’t mean that the Senate has to rush him through without a serious vetting, including vetting of accusations of attempted rape. You may remember that, despite Hill’s (and others) credible allegations of sexual harassment, Thomas was approved by a Democratically controlled Senate, but then again Thomas didn’t assault any one.

        For the sake of our democratic institutions, elections should matter, even ones that may be illegitimate, like Trump’s. In almost a year, Republicans should have been able to do their constitutional duty and vote on Garland. Republicans should also do their constitutional duty and not rush through the vetting of Trump’s nominee in a couple months.

        However, the most asinine aspect of Republican whining about the terrible unfairness of Democrats isn’t the hypocrisy of it all, it’s that they control the Senate. If Garland isn’t approved it will be because of Republicans, so spare us all the partisan outrage and look to your own house.

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        1. Oh and BTW, it is just the sort of smear the victim campaign that you are participating in that made her coming forward such a brave personal risk. Thanks for proving my point. Now please preach to us some more about how to be merciful.🙃

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          1. Let’s see if I’ve got this Orwellian Trump Party speak figured out:

            Mercy is a weapon. Temperance is outrage. Compassion is condemnation. Lies are truth. A presumption of innocence means to lock your political foes up. And morals are what the other Party should have, but not Republicans.

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          2. Surely as a lawyer you must see this can hold no sway in a nation governed by law, and “Trump neer neer” doesn’t change this fact. Actual Salem witch hunts had more basis in evidence than this.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Liz

            How do you know the charge is “unsubstantiated”? If only the girl is the witness to a sexual assault and attempted rape against her, you don’t consider it “substantial”evidence? The only question is whether she and her testimony are credible. She deserves just as much of a presumption of truth as Kavanaugh, if not more.

            Remember, this is not a court of law – Kavanaugh is an applicant for one of the top jobs in the country where he will be greatly responsible to oversee the rule of law. He will work for us. Kavanaugh is not owed this position; it is not some right, like a person’s property or liberty. It is his burden to prove to our Senate representatives that he is worthy of this lifetime appointment. It is not up to us to prove that he is not worthy.

            Kavanaugh‘s life since high school is relevant even if he commited the deed in high school. However, if it seems she’s telling the truth and he’s lying, then lying to Congress is his most recent record.

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          4. @Tsalmon

            This looks too much like a set up. Moreover, it has become obvious that Democrats will try to destroy the reputation of Conservatives any way they can. Unless Ford can and does offer substantial evidence of her claim, there is no reason to take her seriously. We have been here too many times before.

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          5. Yes, it is a grand conspiracy by those diabolical genius Democrats. This line of unreasoning about the evil Democrats and the poor innocent Republicans is particularly ironic considering Kavanaugh‘s record of enthusiastic witch hunting in the Starr investigation.

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          6. “How do you know the charge is “unsubstantiated”?”
            Because too much time has gone by to determine the veracity of her claim. The military has recently set a statute of limitations on these sorts of claims for that reason. There was just too much of a time and resource investment into decades old claims. I could, tomorrow, claim that my husband raped me in 1994 (two years after we were married, and we are still married). The claim would be unsubstantiatable as well….authorities might try to find out where we lived and speak to friends/neighbors who knew us 24 years ago…but too much time has gone by for solid evidence.

            “If only the girl is the witness to a sexual assault and attempted rape against her, you don’t consider it “substantial”evidence? The only question is whether she and her testimony are credible. She deserves just as much of a presumption of truth as Kavanaugh, if not more.”
            She is the one defaming Kavanaugh and endangering his reputation and employment. As it is impossible to prove a non-existence, it is the one making the claim that must provide support for the claim.

            ”Remember, this is not a court of law – Kavanaugh is an applicant for one of the top jobs in the country where he will be greatly responsible to oversee the rule of law. He will work for us. Kavanaugh is not owed this position; it is not some right, like a person’s property or liberty. It is his burden to prove to our Senate representatives that he is worthy of this lifetime appointment. It is not up to us to prove that he is not worthy.”

            The same could be said for a military commander. No one is “owed” a command, but it is also true that a person who loses a career position and has his/her name and character disparaged has suffered harm.
            Case in point, a Colonel was selected for promotion not long ago, and a female blogger decided to defame him by claiming he sexually assaulted her 3 decades prior, at the academy. She had no proof, but her own good word. His career was over. He took her to civil court and was awarded 8 million dollars in a defamation lawsuit.
            I see a lot of similarities between that case and this one.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. @Liz

            8 million dollars? Amazes me that people what some people think they can say. When we make accusations we cannot prove, we had better be believable. It is wrong to lie anyway, but a lawsuit is real option

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          8. Liz,

            There is no statute of limitations on an allegations. We are talking about a 15 year old child that this happened to. It was was also a defferent time and culture for both young women and young men. Senators certainly should weigh the time laps involved and any contemporary corroboration. Senators also should look at the history and reputation of both parties. In the end, however, it really comes down to who is most credible.

            You can come up with whataboutisms all day long. Don’t forget that you are debating here with a retired naval line officer and lawyer who has also been around the block a few times.

            I have seen the worst of human nature. I have no illusions about the purity of women, but I have also witnessed the craven depravity of even supposedly upstanding and privileged men, men who deserved to have their reputations ruined, and more often than not, did not. So if you want to play the “you’re being naive” game, you’ve chosen the wrong sailor to make blush.

            However, are you saying that, even if Ford’s allegations turn out to be credible and true, and therefore that Kavanaugh is lying to Congress, he should still be confirmed? Would you really give such a perfect presumption of innocence to a Democratic nominee? Would Kavanaugh?

            I think that the criteria here is partisanly selective on both sides. The only person you fool by thinking that you are actually being unbiased by partisan tribalism is yourself.

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          9. I am anon, my spouse is retired so I don’t worry as much about anonymity now. My name is Liz. 🙂

            “However, are you saying that, even if Ford’s allegations turn out to be credible and true, and therefore that Kavanaugh is lying to Congress, he should still be confirmed?”
            I am saying that it is 100 percent impossible to prove Ford’s allegations are true. Therefore they should have no bearing whatsoever on Kavanaugh’s fitness or character. When something cannot be proven, the correct course is to go with the available facts and not rumor and hearsay. The facts are the Kavanaugh has a very very good reputation and has passed background security checks by folks skilled in that job.

            “Would you really give such a perfect presumption of innocence to a Democratic nominee? Would Kavanaugh?”
            I would. I cannot read Kavanaugh’s mind, but his reputation would indicate that he would side with due process as well.

            “I think that the criteria here is partisanly selective on both sides. The only person you fool by thinking that you are actually being unbiased by partisan tribalism is yourself.

            Please elaborate on how I have been partisanly selective.

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          10. @liz

            tsalmon is more perceptive than I. When I saw you commenting as Liz, I was startled, but I did not have time to make sense of it. Hope your husband is adjusting well to retirement.

            Since Tony is a lawyer, he should understand how difficult it is to defend one’s reputation if we lose a presumption of innocence. After decades of service, Kavanaugh is entitled to such a presumption even if logic did not require such a presumption.

            On the other hand, Liberal Democrat operatives make a habit of such smear campaigns, and the charges keep getting more and more salacious. These charges are not designed to be proven; they are designed to shame and ridicule.

            Moreover, when Ford’s advocates Insist upon special rules for their client, like requiring that Kavanaugh testify first, it is obvious that proof and evidence is the least of their considerations.

            The bottom line is that any woman who cares about the men in their lives — and the principle of equal justice — should be horrified by what is going on in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

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          11. I think a better question (than what would you do if this were a Democrat) is: how would you want this to go if it were you?
            -if someone accused you of a serious and disgusting crime 35 years prior and you could not defend yourself (nor could the person prove it), what would be the just outcome there?
            -if you took 35 years to publicly accuse someone of a disgusting crime and you had no evidence to prove it, what would be the just outcome there?

            Liked by 1 person

          12. Just to answer my own questions,
            -obviously if I were accused of a crime 35 years ago that could not be proven I would hope to be given the benefit of the doubt.
            -If I were the accuser, I would expect my claims to be held to a very high level of scrutiny.

            Liked by 1 person

          13. Liz it is then,

            I don’t pretend to be unbiased by any number of prejudices, but I think Party loyalty is a ridiculous concept. I’m 62 years old now. I’ve voted for candidates for both parties, and there are Republicans that I would vote for tomorrow. I’m a grown up (as I think you are). As far as I’m concerned, ideologues are either naive children or manipulating demagogues.

            Real life is fraught with nuance and ambiguity. Anyone who says there is only one right answer to these open questions (including the Kavanaugh allegations) is either a child or a demagogue. If, despite how credible the allegations, you’ve already decided the outcome, then your just pretending that facts, character and truth matter less than which silly team wins.

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          14. I couldn’t care less what political affiliation Kavanaugh is. And the accuser’s is only relevant as far as it makes her testimony more suspect since it might be politically motivated.

            “Real life is fraught with nuance and ambiguity.”
            Sure is. Also a complete irrelevancy here.

            “Anyone who says there is only one right answer to these open questions (including the Kavanaugh allegations) is either a child or a demagogue.
            Also irrelevant. There are no answers here. That’s why no court in any nation that respects the law and due process would take this case, Yet the ideologues are demanding it.

            “If, despite how credible the allegations, you’ve already decided the outcome, then your just pretending that facts, character and truth matter less than which silly team wins.”
            How can the allegations be credible if there can be no proof? You are essentially assertion that if she tells a good enough story, she should be believed. So it comes down to how well she can tell a story. The is….I cannot politely finish my thought there. What is a “credible” story told 35 years after the fact? Human memory isn’t like a video recording….it’s very likely she remembers everything wrong to include even the culprit. It might have been a completely different person, the actions might have been completely different but she has tried to remember them and gone to therapy where they have fed her subliminal memories that she might “recall’.
            This whole thing is farcical and I cannot believe any lawyer would support it.
            If I real person’s reputation and career weren’t on the line it would make fine comedic parody. It’s evil. Simply evil.

            Liked by 1 person

          15. @liz

            What is puzzling about tsalmon’s behavior is the extent of his own bias. He accuses us of bias, but he refuses to acknowledge his own.

            It is absolutely obvious that Liberal Democrats consider Kavanaugh guilty of being a Conservative. The charges, unprovable at this point, are just window dressing. Are we suppose to believe Ford just because she is a woman. Are we suppose to disbelieve Kavanaugh even though no one has confirmed Ford’s vague accusation?

            When commonsense dictates supporting Kavanaugh because he has established a good reputation and passed numerous security background investigations, why are we discussing this? The answer is because Liberal Democrats have become sickeningly biased. Doing what they are doing to Kavanaugh (and to Trump) is just a hideous illustration of our fallen nature.

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          16. I need to just stop reading the news. Headlines now show they’re scouring the highschool yearbooks looking for untoward entries…the worst they’ve found being “renate alumnus”. If you were in naval aviation (think you mentioned?) did they have something called “doofer books” as the USAF did? A compilation of all the dumbest actions of pilots through the years…can’t even imagine what they’d find on folks in there.
            This has got to be some peak idiocy now that they’re scouring highschool yearbooks for unflattering commentary….surely this will reach some critical mass and burn out. Either that or it will create some sort of mobius loop pattern of outrage to infinity.

            Liked by 1 person

          17. I will say this (and this is partisan) about the Democrats:
            They are phenomenal at setting really awful precedents that come back to bite them in the backside.
            If they succeed here, this is a cascading, escalating snowball into oblivion. Anyone at any time can make an unsubstantiatable 35 year old claim against anyone else. Just pick your patsy and run.
            Some day a Republican will ignore a Congressional order against military action….just like the Dems did a couple of decades ago.
            I wonder what they will say.

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          18. Liz,

            I agree with much of what you say about the memory of witnesses this long after the fact. However, once again, that goes to the credibility and the impeachability of testimony, not admissibility. It certainly does not mean that all such testimony must be dismissed outright, any more than the testimony of victims of war crimes should be dismissed decades after the fact.

            Again, this is not a court of law. Kavanaugh Is an applicant for one of the highest offices in the land. The standard of proof literally IS whose story our representatives choose to believe. However, even if it were a court of law with a higher standard of proof, witness testimony, as direct evidence, is treated the same way.

            An actual trial is an imperfect crucible of justice, which literally substitutes for us hacking at each other with swords and letting God sort it out. Instead of trial by combat, witnesses tell their story to a jury under the scrutiny of questioning, and the jury basically decides whose story is most believable.

            Obviously, it’s more complex than that. There are the rules of evidence that have developed over a thousand years and there are various standards of proof. But you would be surprised how hard it is for a person to sustain a lie when that person is subjected to intense scrutiny.

            Sure, we should all be somewhat skeptical of a witness victim’s testimony when the event happened decades ago and for all the reasons you’ve given. Corroboration, reputation for honesty, and consistency helps. Partisan pandering by both sides also should be taken into account. However, your are wrong in your assumption that, because an unambiguous result may be impossible, such witness testimony should just be disregarded. That is a standard we don’t even apply to depriving someone of their liberty and property, much less just choosing not to hire someone to a high office.

            Do you honestly think any big company would hire top officers who had even old allegations of misbehavior against them, particularly if the allegations are credible? Do you think that such a company would really be doing due diligence for their stock holders if they just ignored such allegations? I can tell you from personal experience that the military does not just hand out promotions in such a situation.

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          19. “The bottom line is that any woman who cares about the men in their lives — and the principle of equal justice — should be horrified by what is going on in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.”

            Agreed. It is horrifying to me. Unfortunately, it is more horrifying as I’ve watched this sort of thing play out before (in situations that were not high profile). There’s a reason the USAF has placed a statute of limitations on investigating allegations that are so long passed.

            And my spouse is enjoying retirement very much! It’s great to have him around (though he starts flying for the airlines at the end of the month). Thank you. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          20. Liz,

            I seem to have put my response to you in the wrong place below. Once these strings get too long, I have trouble keeping track. In any event, that will be my last on this topic. We seemed to have beat this horse beyond death.

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        2. @Tsalmon

          So how do we get a dead document? Well, first it must come to “life”. The purpose of a constitution or charter is to hold people accountable. Once the people who a constitution is suppose to hold accountable can interpret that document to suit themselves, it has “life”. The more “life” a constitution has the less relevance it has. A “live constitution” does not hold people accountable. Therefore, given sufficient “life”, a “living constitution” dies.

          What the Senate does with a nomination to the Supreme Court is up to the members of the Senate. You don’t like it? Don’t make stuff up. Amend the Constitution.

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          1. @Tsalmon

            Given the fact you actually know me far better, I am certain you could provide a far more accurate, longer, and eloquent list of my failings than you have provided for Trump. However, that is attacking the man, not the argument. You know perfectly well what I said did not “originate” with me. So let’s not make it about me.

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          2. Ok, you want to talk beyond parroted ideological platitudes and look at specific cases, let’s start with the the constitutionality of the Senate not even “advising or consenting” on Garland. You are correct when you say that, as a coequal branch of government, the Senate has the unappealable power to not follow their constitutional duty, but, as you often point out, does having the power to do something unconstitutional make it right?

            Open that steel cage of a mind for a minute and imagine the possibility that Kavanaugh is voted down or delayed until after the next Congress and the Dems take control of the Senate. Will it be constitutional in your view if the Senate refuses to hold hearings or vote on Trump’s nominee for two years? What if Trump gets re-elected and it’s six years? Even if a Democratic Senate has the power to do this, do you really think it’s right? Do you really think that the plain language of the constitution has to be amended to make Senators just do their constitutional duty? If they won’t follow such plain language, what difference would new language make anyway?

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          3. @Tsalmon

            Are you serious? If Democrats get control of the House and Senate, they are not going approve Trump nominees for anything. They are going to continue doing what they have been trying to do, run Trump out of office.

            The Constitution gives the President the power to appoint officials, including the members of the Supreme Court with the advice and consent of the Senate. When the country is not divided, the appointment of officials is no big deal. The country is divided. This is just how a system of checks and balances works when the country is divided.

            Look at how Obama issued executive orders. Because the Democrats and Republicans in Congress will not protect the powers the Constitution gives Congress, Obama got away with power grabs that Trump reversed.

            Will Trump abuse his power? No. The Establishment is looking for any excuse to remove him from office.

            The willingness of legislator to give up power to the executive and judicial branches is something the Framers did not anticipate.

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          4. Just to add a similar case, what about FDR’s court packing scheme? Nothing in the Constitution says how many justices will be on the Supreme Court, but you have in the past said it was wrong. I agree, mainly because of the institutional damage such a thing would have wrought. What Republicans did with Garland, however, was much worse.

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          5. @Tsalmon

            Sigh! FDR was not getting the decisions he wanted out of the court. So he decided to pack the court just to give him his “living Constitution” decisions. He took and oath not to do that.

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          6. @Tsalmon

            Ignoring Obama’s nomination of Garland is just how the Senate rejected the nominee. The president has the power to appoint justices with the concurrence of the Senate. The Constitution does not say or even imply the Senate has to vote on the President’s nominees.

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          7. “When the country is not divided, the appointment of officials is no big deal. The country is divided. This is just how a system of checks and balances works when the country is divided.”

            Knowing how smart you are, I don’t know which is scarier – whether you believe the nonsense you spout or whether you don’t.

            The government is not divided. Republicans control all three branches. Trump has divided the Republican Party and united the Democrats in opposition to his outrageous behavior. If Trump’s pick doesn’t get approved, it will be be because at least two Republicans just can’t stomach him.

            The problem is that at least some Republicans either can’t have or won’t have the moral elasticity that you propose here, where they have one set of more standards for Republicans and one for Democrats. You know something is wrong even if Republicans are doing it.

            The Constitution mostly provides a blueprint for institutional government. It shapes a system of powers, checks and balances, and our confidence in that institutional system depends upon precedent and consistency, even in the face of dramatic economic, technological and especially, political change. The institutions must adapt to sweeping societal change or be swept away, but such change is best done by political consensus and compromise that is enlightened by shared American values of service, pluralism, equality of justice and of opportunity.

            Balkanized ideologues who have one set of institutional standards (of science, morals, fairness, and truth) for themselves and their tribe and another for anyone they wall out, shakes our confidence in the consistency and predictability of our constitutional institutions and our institutional government.

            FDR’s unsuccessful Court packing scheme was wrong because it would have changed the institutional rules in the middle of the game. The Dems getting rid of the Senates filibuster rules was wrong for the same reason. And what Republicans did to Garland was more wrong than either of these examples.

            Anticipating a Democratic wrong does not excuse Republican disloyalty to our constitionak system. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

            You and I at one time took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. You obviously don’t even know what that means. Although the Constitution is founded on the age old American values previously mentioned, it is not an ideological manifesto written in stone. It is more like the blue print for a very steady and adaptable machine. We update the software and the hardware of the machine as is necessary to a adapt to a changing world. We create bugs and we fix them. We compromise and find consensus on these changes. We try to make the output of the machine (justice for example) predictable and consistent in accordance with our shared values. We fail and we succeed, but mostly we progress when if we stick to our shared values and don’t break this wonderful institutional machine our Founders and Framers left us.

            I could care less about your stupid political parties and your merciless tribal ideologies. I care about our constitutional systemics and our shared values.

            For so long as Democrats put our constitutional institutions and shared values before Utopian ideologies, and until Republicans come to their senses again, I’m more likely to vote for Democrats. I’ve never seen the Democrats more united, but the Utopian ideologies and the ideoligical bizarroworld that Trump has created is tearing the Republican Party and the country apart. When enough Republicans finally can’t stomach Trump’s moral outrages any more, then it may all come crashing down. Until then, we need to protect the Constitution, not Parties.

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          8. @Tsalmon

            Warfare is not uncommon, civil warfare at some level is almost constant. That one reason we have laws, and we expect each other to honor those laws. Killing each other is not a good way to resolve our differences.

            What is the problem with a “living constitution”? If the Constitution does not say what I think it is sayi — if judges can just arbitrarily change the meaning to suit themselves — why would anyone swear an oath to it? Yet you consider the notion of interpreting the law as ratified Utopian. How odd!

            In fact, you are not even consistent. You blame FDR for trying to change the rules in the middle of the game. When is it not the middle of the game? That is the point of the amendment process. It requires a thoughtful effort and a substantial majority.

            We are divided. Even our political parties have internal divisions. We are always divided.

            Anyway, you have had a stinking fit about Garland. I suppose that provides one of your innumerable grievances. When the Senate refused to vote on Garland’s nomination, our government was divided even as you have defined it. If you don’t want to see our government divided, vote Republican.

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          9. Tom,

            You still just don’t get it. FDR’s Court packing scheme was never a literal violation of the Constitutional, it violated the precedents and consistency of the constitutional institutional process.

            The Constitutional is mostly an institutional process, not some closed loop ideological manifesto. There is not perfect constitutional interpretive ideology. Our finite world just doesn’t have such vast systemic perfection. People with very different views on constitutional interpretation can still be equally loyal to the basic process. They can find conscensus and compromise. Pridefully people who actually believe they have ideological perfection would rather destroy the process than compromise.

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          10. @Tsalmon

            FDR’s Court packing scheme was never a literal violation of the Constitutional, it violated the precedents and consistency of the constitutional institutional process.

            I don’t much care about precedent. When we are trying to figure out what has worked before, it is useful. Otherwise, what is right and lawful is what matters.

            FDR’s Court packing scheme was lawful, but it was not right. FDR just wanted judges who would interpret the Constitution his way regardless of what it says. On the other hand, what if FDR had packed the court? if the Republicans wanted to add more judges to the court to bring it back from the abyss, I would not object. That would be both right and lawful.

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          11. “I don’t much care about precedent. When we are trying to figure out what has worked before, it is useful. Otherwise, what is right and lawful is what matters.”

            With regard to the juris prudence that is the rule of law, the system of juris prudence that our founders practiced, saying that you don’t much care about precedent is like telling a scientist that you don’t much care about math.

            I don’t even know where to begin with how wrong that statement is. What is it about all of us these days that we have to have outrageous opinions on things we know nothing about. When you go on an airline flight, do you run up to the flight deck and lecture the captain on flying too?

            Like

          12. @Tsalmon

            When you go on an airline flight, do you run up to the flight deck and lecture the captain on flying too?

            When the captain is flying an airplane into a mountain, it is a bit late for lectures, unfortunately.

            Anyway, you are comparing apples with oranges.

            Go back and read what I said about precedent. Consider also the context, a Senate hearing, not a courtroom. You yourself said the rules are not the same.

            Like

          13. No Tom, what you have is a basic ignorance about how precedent works in all aspects of our constitutional government.

            Precedent includes, not just entire law libraries, but custom, rules and procedures. Precedent is perhaps the most important aspect of the rule of law. It is all the things that give confidence, consistency and predictability to our entire system of government, and one of the most important aspects of democracy.

            Like

          14. Tom,

            I’m not going to claim to know the perfect interpretation and application of Mathew 15:1-9 to this issue. That would be even more presumptuous than your insistence to know our very human constitutional law system even though you have obviously not studied it and have little regard for how it works. I would just be emoting ideas as if my right to have such sweeping absolutist opinions equated (but in this case about how to arbitrate the law in perfect accordance with God’s Will) to my responsibilities to have some humility about my ignorance.

            I can only tell you what, in my inexpert opinion on Mathew 15:1-9, and many related verses for what seem to mean to me as I have read them and thought about them throughout my life.

            Jesus’ is God. His understanding of scripture is not only perfect, He is the fulfillment of scripture. Mere men continuously presumed to tell God what scripture meant and that God was violating His own laws. What vanity and pride! Let’s be very careful that we are not also presuming to be the Christ and school each each other with the same prideful audacity.

            To me, Mathew 15:1-9 also seems to be about the spirit of the law verses the letter of the law. I think we might agree that God’s Law does not change but how God manifests His Will to us and thus our finite understanding of God’s Will obviously expanded dramatically with Jesus – particularly our understanding of Love and Love’s manifestations as sacrifice, compassion, mercy, humility and gratitude. It is not just my humble opinion, but the opinion of many theologians that I have read that all scripture should be interpreted through the lens of this understanding and covenant of God’s Love incarnate in Jesus. In this light, God is the spirit of the Law and the Law is Love. Any other legalized interpretation of the law is a human misinterpretation of the letter of the law without regard to the loving spirit of the law in Christ.

            This is what I think, but I will not pretend to always know or live this with God’s certainly, or how to perfectly apply God’s perfected Truth to every case of human law and human conflict in a finite and fallen world.

            In this world, human precedent is important in order for us to have confidence in the stability and predictability of the institution that is the rule of law. This stability and predictability is, in many cases, more important to the institutional security of justice than is the impossibility of perfect justice. It is sometimes more important that we follow predictable rules of the game than that we have perfect rules.

            On the other hand, we cannot allow justice to become concretized in a mass of obsolete legalese (perhaps as Jesus was saying in Mathew 15:1-9), but instead the law must adapt and evolve slowly and incrementally as our understanding of economics and technology progresses. The constitutional system we inherited which is also a “common law” system, allows for such change.

            The important thing in our institutional system is neither that things remain in stasis or that they constantly evolve. Neither concept is perfection. Both are necessary and fraught with mistakes. The best system is a fragile and precarious ever changing balance. The most important aspect is not perfect stability or change, but that such stability or change attempts to reflect our shared values.

            Like

          15. @Tsalmon

            Think about the pure silliness of what you are demanding. When I say something is not in the Constitution, you don’t point to the Constitution. You point to precedent, a bad interpretation of the Constitution.

            Your idea of evolving the law is a series of bad interpretations. And that’s suppose to establish consistency? That is just the same kind of legalism that earned Jesus’ condemnation.

            If a precedent is not in accord with the Constitution, it never should have become a precedent. If a tradition is not in a accord with Bible, we should not continue to observe that tradition.

            Our Constitution was written for a constitutional republic with a deliberately limited federal government. When the Federal Government spends twice as much as state and local governments combined, it doesn’t take a legal scholar to figure out something is way out of whack.

            Like

          16. This would be fine if you actually had some interpretive method like “strict constructionists” or “originalists” that is grounded in an actual understanding of juris prudence and the case history, but this is like arguing with an teenager who parrots demagogues. There is only pride without nuance or ambiguity and your literalism is selective.

            Like

          17. @Tsalmon

            Well, you cannot explain yourself, but you can certainly cast ridicule.

            What Jesus effectively told the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees is that they were not reading the Bible to gain an understanding of it. They were just trying to use the Bible for their own purposes. We are not much different. Our pride gets the better of us too.

            The Constitution was not inspired by God. Nevertheless, if we don’t strive to interpret the Constitution as it was ratified (originalism), we must inevitably make it too elastic. Consider some examples. The notions that the framers intended to protect same-sex “marriage”, nationalize healthcare, or create a wellfare state are just absurd. The joke is that it takes an expert to find these things in the Constitution. It does not take a teenager who parrots demagogues to point this out. Such a simple observation a child can make. Even a child, if that child read, can ask a question. Where in the Constitution does it say that?

            Like

          18. Tom,

            An actual “originalist” interpretation by the lawyers who believe in that method does not dismiss precedent. We inherited a common law procedural methodology just as much as we inherited the literal language of the Constitution.

            You want to discuss all these things that teenagers can’t find in the Constitution, then read the cases and then read the cases that those cases site and then read the cases that are sited in all those cases until you have read every case having to do with that issue. That’s what actual non-adolescent minded lawyer originalists do before they presume to pontificate in court or in serious law journals on the perfection of their interpretation.

            Can a right to marry who you please be presumed from the right to be left alone (privacy) provided by other language in the Constitution such as the Fourth Amendment? Interpretive arguments can be made either way, and they were by people who actually know what they are talking about and how our common law interpretive methodology works with regard to context, implication, original intent and the logic of precedent.

            Actual real life cases and controversies with unique facts unimagined by our the original Founders and Framers (and the Framers of subsequent Amendments) HAD to be decided by Courts of Law which may be looking at situations with no clear and controlling precedent. In fact, these cases usually don’t even get to SCOTUS unless there are good arguments by legal experts on both sides. Men and women on the SCOTUS that are much smarter than you and I often split over interpretation. And most of the time they manage to do so without presuming that those on the other side don’t honestly believe what they do, but can only believe the way they do because they must lack basic integrity. What kind of pride in your own self righteous infallibility of interpretation do you have to have to judge that anyone who does not see what, in your ignorance, you deem obvious, must be a lier and a scoundrel? What gall we have these days?

            I don’t claim to be innocent of it either, but it seems to me that such prideful emotivist absolutism on all sides may be the source of most of the senseless conflict in the world right now. We should all start, myself included, with a big dose of humility before we start condemning each other as scoundrels just for thinking differently on complex and ambiguous dilemmas. I can think you are absolutely wrong and even ignorant in your opinion without questioning that you honestly believe the nonsense you spout sometimes.

            If we could actually stop judging each others’ basic integrity long enough, we might even find that, as Americans and as fellow Christians, we agree on more than we disagree, and that it is only our pride that makes us think we and our tribe has the one and only right answer on every complex and ambiguous issue.

            You think it ridicule to point out that you obviously don’t know what you are talking about? Are you ridiculing me and others here if we get beyond our spurs and claim to know the absolutely right scriptural interpretation of some passage when it is obvious that we have not even studied the Bible enough to know how that scriptural passage fits into the context of the time and place and the wholistic logic of the Bible? Are there not often scriptural dilemmas where reasonable and honest people can disagree without being disagreeable? Isn’t that what a hundred years of wars were fought over? Shouldn’t we be humble enough to take instruction from expert clergy and theologians, fully understand their opinion, before we each pridefully decide that each of our own individual interpretive opinions are as equally valid as anyone else?

            Sometimes in a finite and fallen world, both sides see a little truth, but not all the truth, and there is no right answer, just varying degrees of wrong ones. We play our side of the game by the rules, and if we lose, we accept it until the next game, and we move on. We don’t just childishly call our opponent “evil” for winning, get rid of all the rules, condemn all the umpires and then steal the ball and go home.

            Like

          19. @Tsalmon

            Privacy, the right to be left alone, requires a marriage license? In order to be left alone, we have the right to make other people participate in our fantasies? That’s in the Constitution?

            I don’t like saying it, but you don’t make any sense. You are just spouting lovely language while you demand agreement. Otherwise, I am being arrogant? Who is insisting that we use the law to make other people participate in a marriage that the facts of life clearly condemn as perverse nonsense?

            Legalism is not about making any sense. It is about getting our own way. When we find ourselves pressuring or forcing others to pay taxes or abide by certain rules, the only excuse we have for that is that it is necessary to protect everyone’s rights.

            What makes identity politics destructive is that it requires the citizenry to affirm special privileges that some are demanding as rights. We have no business whatever making people believe what they don’t want to believe. Unfortunately, it has been decades since Democrats appreciated the need for any such moderation. Moderates they ain’t.

            You want meaningful diversity. Then stop supporting politicians who are so full of themselves they insist they can control the rise of the oceans. We don’t all have to think the same. Freedom is meaningful only if our society permits a diversity of beliefs, that we actually do respect each other’s right to be left in peace.

            Like

          20. Actually, with regard to marriage, I was thinking of the Loving case which also stemmed from other cases involving the right to marry. But I suppose your point is well taken in that many Virginia officials also thought that a marriage between a white man and a black woman was quite “unnatural” and did not wish to be forced to participate in it.

            Oh well, I would say that your ignorance is bliss, if it did not seem to make you so miserable.

            Like

          21. @Tsalmon

            Usual Democrat crap! Don’t agree with Democrats? You must be a racist. Stupid!

            The notion that an interracial marriage is similar to same-sex “marriage” just illustrates the legalism that’s required to be a Liberal Democrat. To not see the difference between racism and homosexuality, you must refuse to see it.

            Open your eyes. You might notice which kind of unions are fruitful.

            Still, you it is useful to keep pretending — fantasizing — that facts are not important. So why not pretend and soothe your conscience? What do babies matter? How else could you vote “pro-choice”?

            Like

          22. Tom,

            In your mind, I suppose anyone who says you don’t know what you pontificating about on a complex area that you have not bothered to take the time and effort to understand is guilty of “legalism”, your new pet complaint about sinister Democrats out to frustrate you with, you know, actual knowledge about what they are talking about. This may surprise you, but on rare occasions Republicans actually base their opinions on a deep understanding of the law and the facts too. You might try that some time.

            Oh well, I give up.

            Like

          23. @tsalmon

            Sinister Democrats? New complaint? So Tom is a nut. That is your basic argument?
            You keep talking about what is wrong with me as if I don’t have a right to an opinion. Not much point in that.

            Like

        3. Liz,

          Sure, a false allegation that deprives someone of a top job and smears their reputation is horrifying. So would be ignoring a true allegation and hiring someone to a top legal job even though he commited a crime and then lied to authorities about it. One thing is horrifying to the man and his family and the other is horrifying to the whole country.

          During my navy flying career, one of my COs was accused of having sexual relations with the enlisted women under
          his command and commiting adultry. I did not know about it at the time, but I found out later that he was warned by our NCOs to stop, but he thought that he could keep getting away with it. After a Wing investigation, he was offered Captains Mast and resignation of his commission, or he could go to Courts Marshall. He chose the former, but told his wife and kids that it was all a witch hunt. For all I know, to this day, his wife is still horrified at what was done to him.

          During my careers in the Navy, as a lawyer and as an airline pilot, I’ve seen false accusations jeopardize careers and I’ve seen women’s allegations of sexual impropriety dismissed and their careers ruined by it. Both are horrifying, but you appear to think we should ignore the latter horror if their is any possibility of the former.

          On a different note, I hope your husband enjoys his airline career as much as I enjoyed mine. I just retired at the end of last year after flying for 18 years with a major airline. Best job I ever had, but retirement is pretty cool too.

          Thank him for his service for me, and thank you for yours. As I suspect it is for you, my wife’s sacrifices to her country were far greater than mine, a fact that is not recognized enough. I wish you both the best.

          Like

          1. “During my navy flying career, one of my COs was accused of….”

            Which was investigated, and culpability found. That is part of his work history and might be relevant to future employment.
            By contrast the rumor “I said nothing then but 35 years ago, in high school band camp…” would NOT be relevant.

            Here is how a good company would operate (an airline, for say a pilot):
            -Look at the work history.
            -They take recommendations from people he/she worked with. If he/she has been in the business for a long while there should be many….if not, that’s a red flag.
            -Contact anyone who works for your company at the last assignment if they didn’t get a recommendation from that person…is there a problem? If not, great.

            I know a person who is now a pilot…knew him from elementary through high school and he was a real bastard. I wouldn’t expect his company to take my word for it if I told them high school stories. In fact, I’d think they were mad if they did, and I’d probably sell their stock short.

            “Thank him for his service for me, and thank you for yours. As I suspect it is for you, my wife’s sacrifices to her country were far greater than mine, a fact that is not recognized enough. I wish you both the best.”

            Thank you. Yes it was a very good run and we worked with the best people in the world. But I’m glad we’re done. Glad we did it, and glad to be able to sit back and relax now. Life is very good and we are very very grateful and feel unbelievably blessed. 🙂

            Side note: I too am getting lost in this large thread and having trouble with wordpress too for some reason….this will be my last post on the subject.
            Yes, Tom, that’s where the frog helmet comes from. 😆

            Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a good point,Tom. Dems seem to have misplaced their mercy, grace. You see that truth come out in virtue signaling too, it’s like works based salvation, where I am a good person because I recycle, drive a Prius, pay my paper bag tax. So what if you forget, put the cans out with the bottles? Total condemnation, you’re going to hell.

    However, I’m not going to let conservatives off the hook either. Most likely Kavanaugh is innocent, but the conversation, the narrative, has shifted over to, “even if it happened it wasn’t a big deal. It didn’t matter. Boys will be boys. Women always lie.” We need to think about what message we are sending to genuine rape victims when we say such things. The conservative chattering class looses a whole lot of elections and part of that is because we don’t empathize, and we don’t hear the things we are actually saying, the messages we are sending. Several hundred thousand women who have actually been raped, who know the real truth, (and they vote!) have just heard the conservative message that says, even if a man actually does commit a class A rape felony, his career is still far more important then her right to justice.

    Obviously, we can’t control the chattering classes, but it is so ironic, Kavanaugh is likely innocent and yet we blew it anyway by attacking ALL women, and by denying the truth and reality of sexual assault,and by sending a clear message, “conservatives will not protect you.” Women almost always vote for leaders who will protect us and women are half your voting block.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @IB

      I don’t doubt that there are some people who are supposedly Republicans or Conservatives who say “boys will be boys” or “women always lie”, but can you find any of these people in Congress?

      It is like accusing Trump of supporting white supremacists. What white supremacists? They are so scarce it is almost easier to find a dodo bird.

      Republicans and Conservatives are mad this matter came up at the last minute, and it looks exactly like what it is, a ploy to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation. If Ms. Ford had made an accusation like this against an ordinary citizen, the local cops (not in the jurisdiction of the FBI), after snickering up their sleeves, would have politely informed her about the statute of limitations and the dearth evidence. Even if we are talking about the Supreme Court, it is silly to take an accusation like this seriously. What is there to investigate? A figment of the lady’s imagination?

      It has gotten so that every time Democrats have a Conservative guy they want to get rid of they get some woman to accuse the guy of decades old sexual harassment or rape, and the guy is expected to prove it did not happen. How is he suppose to do that?

      If it is a gal they want to get rid of, they accuse her of being an incompetent traitor to her sex. We can’t keep letting them get away with this nonsense.

      Like

      1. It seems that both sides, from NPR personalities to Faux News pundits, are guilty of the same sorts of moral corruption, so the best thing that Republicans can do is quit whining about being the innocent victims of some supposed Democratic conspiracy, and just focus on promoting basic moral decency and fighting corruption, no matter which political tribe is doing it, but focusing on cleaning out your own house first, starting with the Commander of Corruption in Chief.

        When Party tribal loyalty is more important than basic moral decency, you have the moral consistency of quicksand.

        Like

          1. “That’s coming from a guy who voted for Obama and then H. Clinton?”

            Ok, so you have some wild, Trumped up conspiracy theories about Clinton, and some extremist views about public schools being thievery, but on a lifetime record of basic moral decency, I’ll happily compare Trump’s vice trumpeting life of self service to the record of public service and basic decency of Hillary and Obama. You voted for Cadet Bone Spur, the three time known adulterer and con artist, so you should know that you have absolutely no credibility making this of all arguments.

            Like

          2. @Tsalmon

            All you are saying is that with respect to this matter I don’t have much credibility with you. So? I don’t point to myself as the source of all wisdom and truth. I don’t trust me enough for that.

            Anyway, Clinton is no longer a candidate. You had ample opportunity to praise her virtues. All you did is parrot accusations against Trump. You are still parroting the same accusations to justify yourself. Sad.

            Like

          3. “Anyway, Clinton is no longer a candidate.”

            My point exactly. You’re the one who brings up Obama and Clinton. Unsubstantiated criticisms of Clinton and Obama are not relevant, they are not a defense of Trump. Saying that a bank robber is not a murderer is not a defense of hiring bankrobbers to run banks.

            “You had ample opportunity to praise her virtues.”

            And, at the time, I did. You chose to dismiss her virtues in favor of unsubstantiated accusations and wild conspiracy theories.

            Like

          4. @tsalmon

            Unsubstantiated accusations and wild conspiracy theories?

            You know that’s not true. What a peculiar response!

            It is kind of funny. Clinton has almost no worthwhile accomplishments. Effectively, your praise of Clinton came down to vague generalities and then spinning off long lists of charges against Trump. Those charges against Trump are unsubstantiated accusations and wild conspiracy theories.

            I hardly had anything to say about Clinton. I think she is incompetent and dishonest, but most of what I address has to do with issues.

            Why do you project your own behavior onto me? All our discussions are still online. It is not like we can’t know what we said.

            Like

  4. The political arena is a cesspool. A day doesn’t go by when I wonder why anyone would want to go into that field. They are subjecting themselves to harassment every step of the way.

    Liked by 2 people

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