Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Say it ain't so Joe

Their View

By John J. Hopkins | Jul 24, 2018


The 1919 World Series was intentionally lost by the Chicago White Sox,fixing the game to appease gamblers and to make a pretty payoff themselves. The scheme unraveled, resulting in criminal prosecutions and a lifetime ban from baseball for the conspirators.   

Included in the  “8 men out” was their star, Shoeless Joe Jackson. Urban legend has it that a young fan tugged on Jackson’s sleeve as he was leaving the Courthouse and asked the now famous plea “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” When the accusation was confirmed, the lad was crushed by the truth, the admission breaking his heart.

This bit of Americana sets the table for today’s column. 

It was with delight that on the morning of July 18, I read an editorial in the Alton Telegraph optimistically titled “Give nominees and the public benefit of Fairness.” Upon closer inspection, the piece was not home grown, but was instead a reprint from the Albuquerque New Mexico Journal. While it did have many good points, it uneducatedly repeated the Democrats' mantra about the Republicans “stalling “on a vote for then Obama nominee Merrick Garland until after the 2016 election, a vote which as they say which was “unexpectedly won" by Donald Trump. While they do cast appropriate blame on the Democrats for blocking a vote on Bush 43‘s nomination of Judge Miquel Estrada, thereby preventing a Republican President from appointing the first Hispanic to the Court, the piece does not have a proper foundation in the history of the United States Senate. 

Article II, section 2, gives to the duly elected President the power to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court.   The clause also gives to the Senate the power to “Advise and Consent" to such selections. For most of the history of the Republic, such power was exercised with decorum and discretion, focusing on the nominee’s credentials, not philosophy. That it is until the nomination of Judge Robert Bork by President Reagan. The Democratic Senate, led by then Judiciary Committee Chairman and former Vice President Joe Biden made the Bork nomination a circus of character assassination and lies. This is now the accepted plan, a sad legacy, actually and amazingly  admitted to by the usually obtuse Biden. For proof, see his comments in the debate with Sarah Palin in 2008. 

But turning a reasoned inquiry on the professional suitability of a High Court nominee into a Mexican knife fight is not the only Judiciary bequest of Uncle Joe Biden. In 1992, in apparent and prophetic anticipation of the election of Democrat Bill Clinton, Chairman Biden instituted the “BIDEN” rule. Simply stated, during the year of a PRESIDENTIAL election., no nominees for the Court need be sent by the White House, as they will not be voted on until after the election. For sure, a harsh partisan move, but one with a most definite author.   It was designed to block a Republican, but in the end, backfired.

With the Obama nomination of Judge Garland in 2016, the truth is hard for some to swallow. The rules were fairly and equally applied. It was just some Democratic toes that got squished. While mistaken in characterizing the “misdeeds” by Republicans in postponing the vote on the Obama nominee until after the 2016 election, the die hard Liberals and their ilk can be forgiven for their lack of Civic knowledge. It is despairingly widespread.

The death of Justice Scalia should have resulted in an appointment to the Supreme Court by then President Obama. Had this occurred, Justice Neil Gorsuch would not have been nominated, at least at that time. The recent Court decisions might very well have been different. But no GOP deceit was to blame. Any fault lies within. Simply put, Obama’s choice was shelved because of a rule created by his own Vice President, the same Chairman who ushered in the chaos now present in the vote on prospective Court members, Uncle Joe Biden. Like it was for the little boy in Chicago almost 100 years ago, the truth can be devastating ... it is nevertheless, still the truth.  

In accord with the U S Constitution, Donald Trump was elected President. In accord with the Constitution, he has chosen a nominee for the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is indisputably qualified by academics and experience. His Judicial philosophy regarding Constitutional interpretation mirrors that of the duly elected President. It is time to recognize that elections have consequences and that there are limits to debate. It is time to demand a better course. Be not afraid.          

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