Sunday, April 9, 2017

Weekly Lens (04/09/17): Gorsuch's nomination

The responses, for the week of April 9th, are surrounding the recent situation over Gorsuch's nomination to the US Supreme Court. The nuclear option is a procedure available to the US senate to override the supermajority precedent (60 votes) to a simple majority (51 votes) to end a filibuster. Was it necessary and justified for his nomination?

by Sean Perekesta

The Use of the Nuclear option perhaps sets an extremely dangerous precedent. As the Founders intended, the confirmation of supreme court judge should be a non-partisan action that is merely based on the merits of the nominee in question, however this does not translate well into real life. Presidents throughout history have nominated Justices who share a similar political viewpoint in the hopes that their agenda can be enacted and not blocked by any supreme court ruling. The fact is in today’s world, it would be nearly impossible to appoint a moderate to the supreme court, not that a moderate wouldn't be passed through, but because of the careful balance that needs to be held. There is clearly a partisan lean to how Justices are nominated and confirmed, This is Exactly why Garland was blocked, Republicans wanted a Candidate that would replace their constitutionalist leaning Scalia, Not a moderate like Garland which would lead to the Supreme court being skewed to the left, however now with the nuclear option invoked, no longer will there be any restraint to how bias a Justice is. So while Sides certainly pick a justice to fit their views and that is unavoidable, The nuclear option breaks one of the few remaining walls that blocked outright partisanship and so the decision to break that wall was a dangerous one for the GOP to make.

This is in way trying to say Neil Gorsuch shouldn’t have been passed. The Record of Neil Gorsuch’ career clearly displays that there should have been no reason to invoke the Nuclear option, Neil Gorsuch had a stellar career where his rulings were almost always in the majority. If there is anything that could be noted from his run as a Judge, it would be clear that he makes his rulings not off of his own opinions but off of the law, and he made that very clear during his hearing. You constantly saw Democrats like Al Franken and Dianne Feinstein asking questions that were more about how Neil Gorsuch felt about something, rather than if he would apply the law fairly, which he clearly does. Out of Thousands of rulings, only one has ever been overturned by the supreme court, That is an incredible accomplishment for any judge, and the fact that some democrats cared more about how Gorsuch felt, than the fact that he is clearly a judge of great integrity who actually rules in the majority with the Republican and Democrat nominees 97% of the time, and rules in the majority overall 99% of the time, clearly shows the Democrats need to think about what the actual rule of the court is, and that is to interpret law, not block laws if they don’t “feel” good about them, Neil Gorsuch has a history of making judgements without bias, without personal feelings, and with the sole intent of interpreting the law as it is written, and there is nothing wrong about that. He easily deserved every senator’s vote, and it is a shame the Nuclear option had to be used to pass him.

by Sarah Shaffer 

As the New York Times put it in 1995, the filibuster has become a tool of “the sore loser” in modern ages. Although as a liberal leaning individual who clearly won’t agree with all Gorsuch has to say, I must agree that this is the case. It is quite clear that in this case the Democrats are the ‘sore losers’. In Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings, many questions surrounded Merrick Garland, Obama’s pick for Scalia’s seat. Although I personally would have been in favor of Garland over Gorsuch, Garland is now irrelevant. It was in fact argued over by Joe Biden himself when he was a senator in 1992 that should a vacancy in the Supreme Court arise in “full throes of an election year”, the next justice should be determined after the election. So as was the case for Bush, so is the case now. The Democrats’ filibuster merely puts off the inevitable, which is for a conservative justice to be seated on the Supreme Court. Even if Gorsuch was not confirmed, Trump would have replaced him with someone else who the Democrats still would have not supported. Essentially what I am saying is although the Democrats do not like Gorsuch, they will also not get what they want so there is no point to put off Gorsuch’s confirmation and leave a vacant seat without sufficient information or proof that he should not be confirmed for some reason outside of his political views. It was in 2013 that Obama actually criticized the senate republicans for doing this to his judicial nominees. During this time and for this reason, the senate democrats also invoked the nuclear option and changed the senate rules to allow for the use of the nuclear option with presidential appointees.
In conclusion, it is justifiable for the Republicans to invoke the nuclear option as the democrats will never be pleased with Trumps choice and what the democrats hold against Gorsuch is simply due to his political views and leftover frustration and bitterness that Garland was not selected. Although the nuclear option has never been invoked for a Supreme Court nomination, this is not a reason to call its use unjust. This is especially the case as the Democrats made exceptions for their own picks five years ago. Because of all this, the republicans have the right to do the same thing.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Trump Effect

While the media's attention has been riveted on the middle East, The Trump effect has been taking place. It turns out the Middle east isn't the only place booming right now, The USA economy has surged forward, beating prediction after prediction as Business optimism soars to new highs.
Predictions for job growth in March placed the expected number of added jobs to a fairly good 160,000. However if you were one of the lucky people to get a job, you had a very good chance of not being one of that 160,000 because the actual number of jobs added hit an incredible 263,000. A job increase of almost double the predicted amount is almost unprecedented, and this would just be a continuation on Trump's presidency breaking predictions. Not only did March break predictions, February did as well, and so did January.
While Trump's approval rating continues to fight for air, He certainly has no fear of business owners trying to push him under. In fact, when Trump was elected, within a month, the business optimism index had soars 7.4 points, the largest change since 1986 according to CNBC.
If all you have been focused on has been Trump's petty rhetoric, of course you would view Trump's presidency as pathetic and damaging, but while Trump's rhetoric continues to appall americans, the Business Trump works in the background, sending hundreds of thousands of Americans to work.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Left's Unusual Allies

If you have been paying attention to politics for the last decade, it would appear very clear that Democrats and liberals are much more pro-palestine than Republicans. You may also have noticed democrats are the ones decrying sexism, and anti-gay sentiment. 
This seems odd considering the vast bevy of abuses that women's rights in palestine face every day or the fact that being gay by itself is illegal in the Gaza strip and in the West Bank, there is no protection for gays anywhere accept in Israel, which ironically is the place that Democrats and liberals are more against than all other political sides in America.
If Democrats and Liberals support Palestine despite the clear seemingly incompatible views, there must be some link between the two sides.
Ben Shapiro has suggested it seems from both sides hatred of Western civilization, he argues that inherently the left finds the west unfair, racist, sexist, transonic, and so forth. This would explain why people like Bernie Sanders become so popular with the left, they attack the so called unfairness of the west. The middle east doesn't see the west as unfair but rather immoral. The highly islamic fundamentalist views in the middle east are at odds with the views of America as well as the social trends in the american public and thus the two are at odds. Thus, both detest western civilization and they are brought together by that shares belief, this at least being Ben Shapiro's argument.
Another logical view on the matter of the seemingly odd bond between the left and Palestine could be the Left's fixture on islamaphobia. After every terrorist attack, conservatives come out and say we have to do something about it, libertarians look to the actual root of the problem and say our interventionalism should be stopped and we should stick to our own affairs in order to stop angering other countries, and liberals come out and target islamaphobia. This idea that anything remotely hinting to the idea that radicals exist in fundamentalist Islam causes many alt-left liberals to shudder. Having placed the badge of unprivileged on Muslims, the idea that radical Muslims exist is at odds with the left's habit of placing virtue upon anyone they see as under privileged, and thus islamaphobia or percieved islamaphobia is highly angering to the left. This anger translates into a need for action and can therefore translate into support for Muslim countries as a percieved sign of solidarity with islam.
The last reason I could propose for the reasoning for support for palestine from the left is anti-Semitism. Historically, there has never been a time after the beginning of Judaism where jews have not faced persecution, and this once again is occurring as groups like hamas(which runs a segment od the Palestinian government) call for the eradication of the Jewish people. It's not a far cry to think that at least a portion of the pro-palestine views originate from anti-Semitism, however the popularity of Bernie Sanders would seem to contradict a wide spread hatred of Israel. However it still seems odd that the most western-like country in the middle east, israel, western meaning synonymous with freedom of religion, of speech, of sexual orientation, and mang other freedoms, would be the despised by a large percentage of the democrats (31% or twice as likely than the normal population).
Whatever way you look at it, it still seems odd that the democrats would be as split as they are on the topic, while republicans sympathize with israel at a rate of 74%, democrats sympathize with israel at a rate of 33% while 31% sympathize with palestine. Odd for the party that calls Trump anti-Semitic or Hitler, to be much more anti-israel than the supposed "facist" party that they denounce as anti-Semitic.