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Thune Opens Door for Williams by Shirking Job, Making “Silly” Arguments on Garland Balk

By participating in the soft coup against President Obama by refusing to consider Merrick Garland or any other Presidential nominee to the Supreme Court, Senator John Thune is making it easy for Democratic challenger Jay Williams to catch up in the polls and knock Thune out of office. The only speech Williams needs to make right now is, “Elect me—I’ll do the job.”

Jay Williams tweet 20160317

Jay Williams tweet 20160316-2Jay Williams tweet 20160317

Keep Tweeting that message, Jay! Every day!

Seconding their readers’ online poll results, the Aberdeen American News says Senators Thune and Rounds are “taking a break from their jobs” and making “silly” arguments to justify their soft coup:

Obama’s nomination of Garland is not unconstitutional. In fact, the U.S. Constitution plainly says the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint” judges of the Supreme Court.

The insinuation that the American people did not have a voice in this process is silly.

Obama has been elected twice to the presidency by wide margins. Those terms are for four years each. His second term doesn’t end until Jan. 20, 2017 — 306 days from today.

Obama — or any president — is expected to fulfill their term.

For instance: If, God forbid, the U.S. found itself in a position to go to war today, the president would have to make hard, long-lasting decisions. That’s not a can that can be kicked down the road.

Neither is a nomination to the highest court in the land [editorial, “Thune, Rounds Wrong on Obama SCOTUS Nomination,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.03.20].

The AAN editors’ point about the President’s warmaking powers should be well-taken. If the President can’t appoint a Supreme Court justice in his final year, then what authority does he have to make any other decision with long-term impacts?

Maybe the AAN is just that darned liberal media, but I’m not hearing any non-Republican observer say that Thune and Rounds are making a good choice in leaving the United States Supreme Court understaffed and thus leaving the door open for great questions of law and justice to go unresolved. (A 4–4 decision leaves the lower court ruling intact, but without the guiding precedent of a Supreme Court majority ruling. Past Courts have ordered such tie-vote cases to be reargued, further delaying justice.) If you hear such commentary, let me know.

But until someone presents a good argument for a suboptimal Supreme Court, expect Jay Williams to make great hay of the clear distinction John Thune is making for him: John won’t do his job; Jay will.


  1. Roger Cornelius 2016-03-20

    Somewhere in the recent blogs about the Supreme Court nominee, John Tristan suggest that the approach McConnell, Thune, Rounds and the rest of the republicans are taking is a Jim Crow senate procedure.
    Even though the Constitution says otherwise, it is the opinion of the republican legislators that a black president simply can’t make two Supreme Court nominations in his two terms.

  2. Lorri May 2016-03-20

    Kick da bums to da curb.

  3. Loren 2016-03-20

    Mitch McConnell has been in the paper a lot lately because of this ill conceived plan. Notice, just over his shoulder in EVERY pic, is a tall, well dressed individual that NEVER SPEAKS. Of course, after the last word salad that individual produced in a public statement, one can understand the silence! Our very own J. Thune… sadly!

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-20

    Roger, it does seem they are saying a black President is only 7/8 of a President. I guess that’s an improvement over 3/5.

  5. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-03-20

    Often our Republican friends are great advocates of the “original intent” argument in interpreting the US Constitution. So I ask, what is so difficult for our friends on the other side of the aisle to understand the words “advise and consent” in dealing with a Supreme Court nominee in a true and timely manner?

    Now some may argue that “timely” is not a constitutional requirement, but if a republic in its constitutional actions is not “timely,” then it’s constitution becomes merely a piece of paper instead of a political instrument of duty and empowerment that framers obvious intended, does it not? Unless you are going to argue we are really not a nation, a republic, or a democracy, that is, and that the framers just enjoyed writing and theorizing politically…..

    Those who are most at odds with the “original intent” argument suggest that our Constitution is a “living, breathing” political document. Those opposed to Merrick Garland’s nomination and consideration are suggesting inadvertently or not that the Constitution must be dead and perhaps that is their true intent, original or not, in order to promote their own political agenda at the expense of our Framers intent, whether obvious or not to our Republican friends, that our Constitution must be vibrant, which it cannot be if it is not exercised and thus living.

  6. 96Tears 2016-03-20

    Thune wants Donald Trump to pick the next Justice. What other motive could he possibly have?

    Cory, I saw the SDGOP selected delegates to the national convention. Who was named to the Trump slate and to the other slates which will appear on the June primary ballot? KELO has run a very brief news story on this non-event very heavily, but without any details. Nothing about the Democrat caucus results.

  7. mike from iowa 2016-03-20

    Original intent,JKC,meant whites only. Wingnuts can claim they aren’t racist towards Obama. The constitution is. After the Bill of Rights there is nothing to consider.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-20

    John KC, correct me if I’m wrong, but Scalia would revolt at the mutations Thune and Rounds are trying to inflict on the Founders’ intent, wouldn’t he?

    96, I’ve seen the Clinton list, am waiting for the Sanders list, and am very curious who’s whose delegate on the GOP side. All Trump delegates need to be ousted from their elected positions ASAP.

  9. MOSES 2016-03-20

    Thune is nothing but a puppet Mconnell is the Master.But Thune never misses a photo op.

  10. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-03-20

    Cory, you would think so, right?

    I would like to know what the constitutional cutoff deadline date was according to our Republican friends in replacing Scalia with a pending presidential election year and where it can be found within the Constitution itself “original(ly)?” Was it 12/31/15, 09/30/15, or 06/30/15? What was it? Now I realize Scalia did not pass away until February of 2016, but if a Justice had passed away last December let us say or last June, then would it have been okay for the Senate to have then “advise(d) and consent(ed)” in a timely manner?

    Now, I know Biden back in 1992 took a position similar to what the Republicans are taking now, but that is just merely the position of one Democratic Senator as member of a political party, which was not contemporaneously obstructionistic, and to quote or paraphrase Biden better is to remember what he once said about Giuliani with some writer licensing, and say that the Republicans in the US Senate today are merely….”A noun, a verb, and” another obstruction constitutionally or not… or should we say “original(ly)” or not?

  11. Mark Winegar 2016-03-20

    Jay is ready to get to work in the Senate. It’s time to fire John Thune for failure to perform his duties and live up to his oath to uphold the Constitution.

  12. owen reitzel 2016-03-20

    I think Roger is partly right that race is the issue here. The other part is that the Republicans want to replace Scalia with another Scalia and they’ll do anything to get it.
    But they’re gambling that a Republican will become the President and pick Scalia Jr. Right now that Republican is Trump and it’s hard to say who that egomaniac would choose.
    I want the Republicans-Thune and Rounds- to do their jobs.
    But if not then hopefully Bernie or Hillary will become President and the Senate majority will become Democrat and the next pick and the picks after that will be the most liberal nominee that the new Democrat President can find.

  13. Roger Cornelius 2016-03-20

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Hillary or Bernie are elected president and appoint President Obama to the court?

  14. mike from iowa 2016-03-20

    When Biden made his speech,there was NO vacancy on the court,there was NO nominee to vet and the nomination would have been considered the day after the election in 1992.

    McCTurtle want to wait until the new Potus is sworn in. Biden’s speech was also 3 months later (In June of 92) than today. I believe they are all salient points.

    ps-at the time, of the previous 7 appointees, 2 were rejected and 2 passed over heavy objections.

  15. Super Sweet 2016-03-20

    The Republicans should rethink what they are doing. Hillary will win the election and appoint Sanders to the SCOTUS. :) We would all be better off to accept Pres Obama’s nominee.

  16. mike from iowa 2016-03-20

    JKC, I believe Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at that time. I checked and yes he was the Chair.

  17. owen reitzel 2016-03-20

    Roger that would be the greatest thing in the world. How many right-wing heads would explode?
    Glen Beck would jump off a cliff. lol

  18. mike from iowa 2016-03-20

    As it happens, Obama himself has weighed in on the possibility before, making clear he’s not that interested in the job. Here’s what he told the New Yorker in 2014:

    “When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk,” he said. “Partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don’t think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions.” But he sounded tempted by the idea.

    “I love the law, intellectually,” Obama went on. “I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”

  19. Rorschach 2016-03-20

    Jay Williams’ campaign slogan should be: “Let’s make congress work again.”

    If Hillary wins the GOP party senators will decide that 9 justices are just too many for the Supreme Court, and in the name of cutting government the court should only have 7 justices. Based on that new position they will obstruct any and all Hillary appointments until the number of justices drops down to 6, which probably won’t happen in her 4-year term. If a GOP party President then wins they will revert to normal order of business and restore the court to its full strength of 9.

    At this point do you believe anything, no matter how absurd, is below GOP party senators?

  20. JonD 2016-03-20

    That would certainly be something to see Roger, but I can’t imagine why Barack Obama would want to spend one more second in public service to this country, in any capacity at all, once his present stint is up. Of course he has far too much class to do it but were I him, after all he has endured while working so hard to do something good here, my farewell address would be about ten seconds long: “Send the pension checks to Maui and you can all kiss my narrow black ass.” He has earned a long and happy retirement.

  21. mike from iowa 2016-03-20

    Imagine the conspiracy theories that wingnuts would float if HRC did nominate the Kenyan Muslim Usurper for the highest court in the land.

    Speaking of theories,whatever became of the FBI indictment of HRC (emails were gonna do her in) that was supposed to ruin her career forever? Seems like it was all talk,like you’d come to expect of the disloyal opposition.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2016-03-20

    Agreed, no one should expect the president to serve this government one day more than he has already.
    Nominating President is a fun notion just to watch republicans stumble to the microphone and tell us that would be unconstitutional or other silliness.
    President Obama is poised to become a very wealthy man with book deals and speaking tours and I can’t think of a man that deserves it more.
    The number of Supreme Court Judges isn’t going to change, remember when FDR tried to pack the court by increasing the number of judges to twelve, the public and politicians ate him alive.

  23. leslie 2016-03-21

    It is striking that every one of the eight Justices whose confirmations had a substantial impact on the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court in almost half-a-century was nominated by a Republican president, and every one of them moved the Court in a more conservative direction. It is largely for that reason that the Court is more conservative today than at any time in almost a century. huffpo today

  24. leslie 2016-03-21

    hey, I thot roger b. said dems and pubs are all the same? hardly

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-21

    As Mike said, President Obama isn’t interested in being on the Supreme Court. I agree with JonD that he deserves a long vacation… but Obama could also be Jimmy Carter on steroids. Like Carter, he leaves office relatively young, with decades of potential service ahead of him. Plus, he’ll leave with more popularity and political capital than Carter did—imagine the things he can do and the people he can bring together.

  26. mike from iowa 2016-03-21

    Wingnuts-the very definition of disloyal opposition-deserve far longer,unpaid vacations for what they have done to America fore the past 8 years. I hope the electorate agrees and comes together in November and punishes their un-American abuses.

  27. O 2016-03-21

    This is just the tip of the iceberg of Senate blockage of the President’s judicial nominees. 30 Obama judicial nominees currently have not been approved by the Senate. There seems to be a general GOP stance that NO Obama nominees can proceed to their appointed posts.

  28. jake 2016-03-21

    Seeing the pic of he and Michelle arriving in Cuba was good for our country. We fought a ‘hot’ nasty unpopular war with Vietnam for 10 yrs losing 500000+ good men/women and shortly thereafter travel and business was normal with that country–even encouraged by our Cuba hating government…. Restrictive policies imposed by us on Cuba didn’t change the outcome much did it?

  29. Daryl Root 2016-03-21

    Just love how some left-wingers like to bring up issues with a black president. Get your facts straight, he is NOT black. If I have to explain it, you’ll ignore it, anyway. Having said that, as an independent, I agree that the GOP should at least give lip service to the nominee and having a hearing within a few months. Unfortunately, for Dems, I really don’t think the majority of moderates and independents (with whom each side needs to court to win election) give a hoot about this issue since most people can’t even name more than one or two Justices, if any.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-21

    John Thune rejects the President’s Constitutional legitimacy. Daryl Root rejects the President’s own racial identification:

    It is official: Barack Obama is the nation’s first black president.

    A White House spokesman confirmed that Mr. Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, checked African-American on the 2010 census questionnaire [Sam Roberts and Peter Baker, “Asked to Declare His Race, Obama Checks ‘Black’,” New York Times, 2010.04.02].

    Daryl, would you say a white president is NOT white? ;-)

    I’m glad Daryl agrees that the GOP has no grounds for refusing to consider any more Obama SCOTUS nominees (hey, are they also going to decline to hear nominees for any other vacancies, like ambassadors?). However, lip service is not good enough. The Senate should hold a hearing, determine if Garland is up for the job, and fill the vacancy as soon as possible so the third branch of government can operate at full power and most effectively check the other two branches of government.

    And Daryl, keep wishing. People will give a hoot if Jay Williams and others get the message out that Thune isn’t doing his job. People get that sort of argument.

  31. mike from iowa 2016-03-21

    Mr Root.what do you consider Obama to be? Harlequin,perhaps? It doesn’t show up that way.

  32. mike from iowa 2016-03-21

    Passing strange that wingnuts appoint nearly,pure ideologues to judicial vacancies. Libs tend to appoint much more pragmatic thinkers.

  33. Gracie 2016-03-21

    Is it still true that thune is high up in the RNC? Is that why he is in every photo. If he is high up in the party, why is there little press or coverage of his involvement. Thune used the ‘too big for his britches’ and therefore ‘out of touch with SD’ very effectively against Daschle. Why isn’t there press touting his activities and giving transparency.

  34. mike from iowa 2016-03-21

    Thune is Numero 3.0 in wingnut hierarchy. Behind McCTurtle of Kentucky and Cornpone of Texas.

  35. leslie 2016-03-21

    mfi, i’ll bet you can’t top the conversation here, in iowa can you!?:)

    O, we need that story out, the extent of the non-appointment conspiracy. I suppose legislators are immune from political conspiracy criminal laws.

  36. mike from iowa 2016-03-21

    ? leslie. Color me puzzled.

  37. O 2016-03-21

    Leslie, how quickly we forget the year-long battle to approve the appointment of Vivek Murthy as the Surgeon General. The Grand Obstructionist Party dragged its heels on an eminently qualified candidate (after he was black balled by the NRA) to attempt deliver a “failure” to the President’s resume.

    On judicial nominees, President Obama’s candidates have had to face longer questionnaires (hoops), and Republicans will not even forward deserving candidates from their home states – as that would allow the president to successfully seat nominees.

    The Justice Garland obstruction is not unique.

  38. leslie 2016-03-21

    mfi, O…completely agree.

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