Let’s Hear It For Punctiliousness

It is not often the word punctilious appears in our news pages. Leave it up to the New York Times to find a way, in this article on Obama court nominee Merrick Garland:

“He appears to apply Supreme Court precedents with punctilious fidelity even if there is reason to think he would have preferred a different outcome and even where other judges might have found room to maneuver.”

Further, this is a good read on Garland’s record, which — as Times reporter Adam Liptak notes — has led to a “rare distinction in a polarized era. He has sat on a prominent appeals court for almost two decades, participated in thousands of cases, and yet earned praise from across the political spectrum.” Read More

Webster’s: “Punctilious: marked by or concerned about precise accordance with the details of codes or conventions”

It is because of his “fidelity” to precedent, keeping his personal views out of the mix, that we really don’t know what Garland would do once free of that mission on the Supreme Court, where justices set precedent.

GOP-WH-SCOTUS Backchannel?

20160317_015401NPR’s veteran legal correspondent Nina Totenberg reports:

I’m told that the Republicans in the Senate actually sent some sort of a back-channel message to the White House that if it were Garland that they would confirm him if the Democrats prevail in the presidential election, that they would confirm him in the lame-duck session and that the whole caucus would be on board, that it wouldn’t be a fight.

If this is true, surely Obama consulted Hillary, and if not, she ought to raise hell (via back channels, of course) and make her own pick. If the deal is Hillary has to win the election for Obama to get his Supreme Court pick, then she deserves a piece of the action.

Another President Half America Hates

Memory DaliSadly, here we go again. Front runners from our elite-funded duopoly parties half the country will hate, whomever is elected. More intramural bickering among parties working for the same monied interests, posturing gridlock to disguise their mutual aim to change nothing, and certain hopelessness for soon to be ignored working folks ahead, no matter what happens in November, despite the promises they will hear once more with phony feeling in yet another forgettable campaign summer.

Oh well. Status quo all over again. You’re on your own America. At least you are used to it.

Is it possible the presidency has become irrelevant?

gold_presidential_seal_mugAfter all, the Founders didn’t mean for it to be much, proscribed its limited powers in Article II as secondary to the legislative branch in Article I, and seriously considered simply entitling the office “Chief Magistrate” but did not do so only to avoid offending George Washington, who gave no opinion on the matter.

Perhaps all that’s left of the presidency is as a marketing vehicle for commercial media. A fantasy for demographic role playing. And a grand illusion for us all to pretend that someone is in charge, so that half of us can hate them.