Trump Cannot Save SCOTUS, the Court is Already Lost

“If you don’t vote for Trump, you are handing the court to Clinton! She will appoint so many liberal judges that we will never get it back!”

I don’t think anyone can argue the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has become politicized. It’s possible the next President of the United States  will appoint 3 to 4 judges to the court. It has become a lighting rod in the election. On both the right and the left, people proclaim that unless we want to see the court destroyed (and America with it) we must vote for their candidate!

Conservatives are told that unless we want to see the court swing far left we must vote for Trump. We have to stop Clinton at all costs. For some, this is the only reason they are voting for Trump. They hope that he will appoint conservative justices, while they know Clinton will appoint progressive ones.

Let’s forget about the fact that there were far better qualified conservatives in the primary that would have absolutely have appointed conservatives. Candidates about which there wouldn’t be any doubt, as opposed to a candidate who says “Everything’s negotiable.” Forget that the 40% of GOP primary voters who selected Trump did not care about the SCOTUS. This is where we are now:

We are faced once again with the fear that SCOTUS will slide to the left if we don’t get in line and vote for the GOP candidate.

Unfortunately, it’s too late. SCOTUS is lost. Our supposedly conservative court is the same one that upheld the Affordable Care Act twice and gave us same-sex marriage.

Conservatives try to appoint justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally written. Progressives appoint justices that will interpret it in light of current views and circumstances.

So, in our “conservative” court we see progressive appointees always render opinions that line up with progressive positions, and those appointed by conservatives sometimes break ranks and join the progressives. The only way to fight this sort of thing in the current climate is to appoint conservatives that will always render opinions along the lines of conservative positions. Just as progressive justices adhere to their progressive values, we must appoint justices that will adhere to conservative principles even if they feel they violate the Constitution.

This is not what the Court is supposed to be.

This one branch of government is not supposed to have this much power. They are definitely not supposed to legislate. Aside from hearing cases from lower courts, one of their main roles is Judicial Review. Since 1803, Marbury vs Madison, SCOTUS has passed judgment on the actions of the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Here’s a quote about the case from USCourts.gov: 

“In this case, the Court had to decide whether an Act of Congress or the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. The Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus (legal orders compelling government officials to act in accordance with the law). A suit was brought under this Act, but the Supreme Court noted that the Constitution did not permit the Court to have original jurisdiction in this matter. Since Article VI of the Constitution establishes the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land, the Court held that an Act of Congress that is contrary to the Constitution could not stand. In subsequent cases, the Court also established its authority to strike down state laws found to be in violation of the Constitution.”

I believe that SCOTUS has moved too far away from what it was. Justice is no longer blind, but instead the view of the court is slanted to the right or left. We should not fear our own Supreme Court, no matter what party holds the Presidency. Pandora’s box is open. There is no way to return to the Court of before. We have to find a way to fix the Court as it is now.

Currently the only way to reverse a SCOTUS ruling is with another SCOTUS ruling or a Constitutional amendment. That worked well when the Court wasn’t legislating from the bench. Imagine Congress with such limited checks and balances that every law they ever passed was virtually immune to being overturned. That is SCOTUS today, When they make such broad rulings that, in effect, force new laws on the people, they have overstepped their role and need to be put in check.

The power to appoint Justices to the Court has become a political tool that is more effective then electing actual legislators. We have allowed this to happen, and we can stop it. The solution is not to appoint justices that reflect our views, so we can get rulings we like. That is a temporary solution to a long term problem. That solution ensures that we will always be in a fight for the Court.

The long term solution is found in Article V of the Constitution.

“Article V: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress”

This solution doesn’t just have the potential to fix SCOTUS, but to limit the power and jurisdiction of the Executive and Legislative branches as well. 34 states must petition for a Convention and submit amendments. We can fix our government. But repeating the same cycle of elections over and over is not the way. A Convention of States could be.

Regarding the Court; I believe the current system has been corrupted to the point that it must have outside reform. We cannot appoint our way out of this mess. We need measures to limit terms of Justices and ways to more easily overturn a ruling.

That is what we should be fighting for. The current Presidential election matters, because the President does (among other things) appoint Justices. But the only way to actually, truly fix SCOTUS is to limit its power. No President can do that.

Vote Your Values, Not Your Fears

The wonderful thing about a representative form of government is that we, the voters, can put people who represent us into positions of leadership. These elected officials have the power to represent the things we hold dearest. They have the power to lead our towns, counties, states and nation in a way that reflects who we are.

Unless we vote based on our fears. On the national scale, in our 2 party/binary choice elections we seem to always hear about voting against the worse candidate. If we don’t vote for candidate x we will have horrible consequences. These tactics play on our fears.

If we elect people based on our fears, they will govern based on our fears. Is what we fear the best representation of us? Do we really expect our government to improve if we put people in office who represent what we are afraid of, rather than what we value?

I propose a radical alternative in the political climate of 2016: Don’t vote against someone you are afraid of. Don’t vote against ideologies you fear. Vote for what you value, for the things you hold dear. Vote your values, not your fears.

Warning: Binary Choice Syndrome Epidemic in USA

WARNING: There is a dangerous epidemic spreading across America. Binary Choice Syndrome (BCS) is a condition where voters believe they only have 2 choices for President. If they don’t vote for one, then they are actually voting for the other. The condition, prevalent on both the right and the left, has caused feelings of alienation and frustration. In more acute cases, the people afflicted with BCS have shown symptoms of rabid, illogical support for one candidate over the other. It is in this state that they are actively spreading the syndrome. Be very cautious when dealing with anyone who says the presidential election is a binary choice.

Binary Choice Syndrome plays on your fears about the two major party candidates. If you find yourself in the position where you don’t want to vote for either politician, those with BCS try to scare you into reluctant support of their candidate. They hope you will hold your nose and vote against the horrible politician by voting for the less horrible one. Should you think about not doing that, they trot out the binary choice. It’s your duty to vote for the less bad candidate, or you are helping the worse candidate get into office.

The premise of BCS is this: If you don’t vote for candidate x, then you are voting for candidate y.

3 reasons why Binary Choice Syndrome should be destroyed.

  •  It’s illogical. Obviously, if you don’t vote for X then X get’s one less vote. But does that mean Y get’s an extra vote? Of course not. Just just means X doesn’t get a vote. You might chose to vote for Z or even not to vote at all. (I encourage everyone to vote their conscience, but that’s your choice.) Voting for Z does not add votes to the tally for Y or X. It just adds votes for Z. In a 2 party system it may feel like you are throwing away your vote but you are definitely not adding to the tally of another candidate.
  •  It cheapens your vote. Binary Choices limit your options. Who are they to say you must choose between one or the other? Who are they to say that a vote for a candidate you support, no matter how unlikely to carry the day, is actually a vote for someone else? It is your right as a citizen to participate in the election process in the way you feel is required by your conscience. If that means voting for someone not represented by the two major parties, then that is your right. BCS is often spread by those in leadership of one of the two major parties because BCS keeps them in power.
  •  It is only valid if voters allow it to be valid. The ultimate cure for Binary Choice Syndrome is to realize that as long as we vote for the lesser of two evils we will get one of the evils. Every voter has the power to break free of the binary choice and vote for someone they actually support. If enough voters did this, the 2 party system would fall. We are not required to vote Republican or Democrat, just as people in elections of the past were not required to vote Whig or Democrat. Parties can change, the system is what we, the individual voters, make of it. We have all the power. We choose to remain in a 2 party system by voting for the two major party candidates. We don’t have to.

Be careful, one of the more slippery symptoms of BCS is the Issue Related Binary Choice. Sometimes, BCS sufferers will not talk about particular candidates, but will choose an issue to present as a binary choice. Recent cases of this have centered around the US Supreme Court. BCS sufferers will present the concern over the Court and then point to a binary choice as the only way to protect us from this runaway government branch. Previous cases have centered on the issue of abortion, LGBT rights, immigration, and many other social and economic issues. While concerns about issues may be valid, the binary choice is not.

You can be vaccinated against BCS by realizing that your vote matters, and you can choose who you will vote for based on your values, not your fears.

Quick Review of the RNC in CLE: Trump Can’t Deescalate.

It’s been a few days since the Republican National Convention. One glaring fact shined through the rest: Donald Trump cannot deescalate anything. Ever.

Plagiarism: Melania Trump made headlines when several parts of her speech were found to be very similar to Michelle Obama’s speech from earlier campaigns. The issue here isn’t the plagiarism. That’s a minor blip. She isn’t running for office. It should have been caught, but… meh. The bigger story is once again, the Trump camp’s inability to let embarrassing things die off quickly. If they had simply acknowledged what they eventually had to admit from the beginning, this would not have dominated the news cycle for a full day. Instead they denied and lied about the speech. Then they finally offered an apology letter from a speech writer about the lifted bits.

Time and time again, we can see evidence of how a Trump administration will handle criticism. And how they will conduct themselves when they are embarrassed or found to be in the wrong.

Heavy Handed Tactics: A campaign that once proclaimed they were not part of the GOP establishment use the GOPe to crush all opposition at the convention. From the Rules Committee to the Roll Call vote, the RNC pressured and strong armed it’s way to a “unified” convention. Some delegates did in fact attempt to revolt. They were stopped cold. Regarding the Roll Call vote, if the RNC had not hidden from the petitions and then pressured states to withdraw them, if they had just let the roll call happen the party would have been stronger for it. There is no chance that Trump would not have been the nominee. There was no one else nominated. There was no one waiting in the wings. They could have let the roll call happen, nominated Trump, and then moved forward.

Instead of allowing delegates their voice, they crushed all opposition. They alienated delegates, who are in fact voters who care enough to volunteer for the GOP. Not the people you want angry going into the general election.

The Cruz Setup: The controversy surrounding Senator Ted Cruz had nothing to do with what he said, but only what he did not say. Cruz delivered a powerful, solid speech about America and freedom. He reiterated the values that conservatives espouse. Although he congratulated Trump by name, outlined why we cannot vote for Clinton, and encouraged everyone to get out an vote in November, he did not say the magic words, “I endorse…”

The speech, taken by itself, is not controversial. But when Cruz said that Republicans should “vote their conscience” up and down the ticket, right on cue, people in yellow hats began chanting for Trump, and they whipped the crowd into a frenzy of booing as the Senator finished his speech. As Cruz was wrapping up his prepared remarks, Trump entered the crowd. Immediately following the speech Trump surrogates were describing Cruz’s speech as political suicide. Many saying he should have stayed away, and some saying he broke his pledge to support the GOP nominee. Trump himself criticized Cruz and threatened to form a super PAC to run someone against Cruz when he is up for reelection.

This is the sort of reaction you would expect if Cruz had deviated from his prepared marks, and said something unexpected. Cruz told Trump he would not endorse him when he was asked to speak. Cruz submitted his speech long before the event, and the text was given to press 2 hours before he took the stage. He did not say anything that was unexpected. In fact, the Trump campaign and the RNC planned the booing and chanting based off of Cruz’s remarks.

In an alternate reality, let’s imagine Trump did not set up Cruz like this. He lets him speak. He doesn’t incite booing. When it’s over Newt Gingrich does just what he did and says that Republicans who want to vote their conscience have to vote for Trump. This would be a minor blip on the news, and the convention rolls on. But again, Trump cannot bear any slight. He will brook no opposition. He must break Cruz because Cruz will not bend. So he tries to embarrass him, and then releases his talking heads to attack Cruz. Trump even brought up the stupid Kennedy assassination stuff again.

Will this hurt Cruz? I doubt it. Ben Shapiro claims that Cruz was invited to speak during Prime Time at the convention as a result of a deal Trump made with him. Trump asked Cruz not to encourage his delegates to revolt. Cruz agreed, on the condition he could speak, and not explicitly endorse the nominee. Make no mistake, this was a political gamble by Cruz. He probably never expected Trump to conspire with the RNC to embarrass him on the platform. But was it really political suicide? Will voters remember this?

Probably not. Take the pledge; people have already forgotten that all 3 of the last GOP primary candidates backed off the pledge last March. Trump himself said that he didn’t need Cruz’s support. And that Cruz shouldn’t do anything that made him uncomfortable. For anyone to expect the average voter to remember this in 2018 or 2020… I don’t know. On the plus side, if Trump loses- or if he wins and is terrible- Cruz will be the guy that didn’t endorse him.

With Cruz, like so many things, all Trump had to do was let things play out and move on. Instead he turned the whole thing into a showcase of a party division.

This convention shows again that Trump does not have the temperament to be president. He’s petty and vindictive. He will put his own desires over the greater good. Unfortunately, Clinton isn’t a better alternative. And there’s no viable 3rd party candidate running.

The Impending GOP Delegate Revolt?

It’s no secret I dislike Trump as a candidate. Character, competence and core values: he falls short in every area. I understand why some Republicans will support him over Clinton, but I cannot.

Still, he won the primary vote, fair and square. And as any Trump supporter will tell you, he won with more votes than any previous candidate. Of course what they don’t mention is that even more people voted against him than for him. Trump won about 40% of the primary vote. And in the broad field of GOP candidates this cycle, that was enough to earn the required 1237 delegates.

IMG_7397Since his opponents dropped out several weeks ago he has failed to unite the Republican Party. He has even spent time attacking fellow GOP members. It has been revealed that he has very little money in his campaign and is no longer planning to “self fund”. (See image of the “survey” fundraising letter I received) He has let major issues go by without comment (i.e.- SCOTUS abortion ruling) and created self inflicted wounds on his own campaign (i.e.- the Star meme, praising the “bad guy” Hussein). The same polls that he loved in the primary continue to show him losing to Clinton. He doesn’t have a significant campaign apparatus. The media which gave him massive positive coverage in the primary (over $2 Billion worth) has turned on him. Clinton just beat the rap on her email scandal.

And we’re not even to the GOP convention yet.

There have been rumblings of a delegate revolt. There may be some sort of move to make the first ballot, on which the 1237 delegates Trump has earned are bound to vote for him, an advisory vote. Or something that makes it not binding in the convention, or similar. Allowing delegates to vote their personal convictions on the 2nd ballot. Basically, we would have a contested convention.

Is this possible? A recent report says that only 890 GOP delegates are personally loyal to Trump. 680 oppose him. 900 are “in play”. It’s a longshot at best. It still takes 1237 delegates to secure the nomination. 680 is a long way from 1237.

I have said I don’t think the GOP could survive something like this, and I don’t care if it dies. With Trump’s campaign becoming more and more of a so-called dumpster fire every week, I just don’t know what would happen anymore. I’m certainly not pushing for it. If I was a delegate bound to Trump, I’m not sure I could be a part of the revolt. He won the primary. But since I’m not, if another candidate emerged from the GOP convention I might vote for him or her.

What about the will of the people? It’s true that the will of 40% of GOP Primary voters would be thwarted in a move like this. It’s also true that this would only be possible if the candidate in question failed so utterly at delegate selection that the delegates bound to him actually would consider voting for someone else. Which of course, Trump did. Every state has its own rules and a part of that is the delegate selection process. And Trump’s own ineptitude set up the potential revolt.

Would it be legal? Remember that the political parties are not actually Government entities. They are private. They could change the rules in some way to make this possible, if enough delegates put on enough pressure. According to the same report on delegates, 20 of the 28 committee members needed to bring something like this to the floor are already on board.

One could make the case that the reason political parties have delegates and conventions is because they need one more stop gap before they nominate someone who will lose. Similar to the electoral college for the general. It’s never happened, but theoretically a presidential vote could be overturned by the electoral college. (In 1820, 1960, and 1988 individual electors chose not to vote according to the state vote) From a purely pragmatic point of view, Trump trails in polling and funds more than Romney at this point. Delegates might feel it would be smart to nominate someone else. After all, the point of this is to win the election, right?

Even so, any delegate revolt getting beyond the rules committee is unlikely. And then, for that effort to successfully nominate someone else is even less likely. While it might be a pleasant day dream for #NeverTrump-ers to cling to, we had better prepare for Trump as the nominee. And for Clinton as president, if polls and trends continue.