For Trump, Sessions is a loyal enforcer, Gorsuch is a qualified wash

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco  

Donald Trump’s announcement last night about his pick to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court was typical Trump, typically conservative in the sense that the nomination of federal judge Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia is a Scalia-esque choice. The old 4 – 4 split with Justice Kennedy as the unpredictable swing vote will be restored.

But there is a lingering resentment on the Democratic side of the Senate against their Republican colleagues who blocked president Obama’s Supreme Court nominee almost a year ago to the day. The Republican’s didn’t give Merrick Garland the courtesy of a hearing, much less a vote, so some Democrats in the Senate may feel it’s pay-back time.

[pullquote]There have been daily anti-Trump protests in different parts of the country and the progressive side of politics is fired-up.[/pullquote]

Especially in light of the Trump administration’s first couple of weeks. There have been daily anti-Trump protests in different parts of the country and the progressive side of politics is fired-up. It’s going to be difficult for Democratic Senators to ignore that.

I don’t see a way for Gorsuch to get the 60 votes he needs, the Republicans will have to convince 8 Democrats to go their way, and that’s not likely to happen.

That’s going to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to go nuclear. The infamous “nuclear option” allows Sessions to trash the Senate rules and eliminate the filibuster, so the 60 votes will not be needed. It’s a sloppy way to confirm a Supreme Court Justice.

Read more stories about Trump’s cabinet nominations in NewsTaco. >> 

Here are some numbers for perspective, from the progressive publication Alternet:

293 – The number of days Republicans stalled President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court before the Senate term expired.

103 – The number of Supreme Court vacancies filled by elected presidents.

8 – The vacancies filled during election year. Eight times in our history, Supreme Court vacancies occurred during an election year.

6 – The number of presidential Supreme Court vacancy nominations denied when the sitting president was not elected.

3 – The number of lame-duck nominations denied.

84 – The number of years since last election-year Supreme Court nomination.

This brings me to Jeff Sessions . . .

Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr

. . . who, if confirmed today, will be not so much an Attorney General as he will be Trump’s policy enforcer.

There’s evidence to back that up. Trump suffers no disloyalty. In fact, when acting Attorney General Sally Yates defied Trump by refusing to obey his executive order banning the entrance of refugees from Syria and travelers from predominantly Muslim countries, he fired her. But it was what he said when he fired her that proves the enforcer point: Reuters reported that “The White House said Yates ‘has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.’”

[pullquote]Trump demands loyalty, and if it isn’t there he fires people.[/pullquote]

That’s a harsh, personal way to see it. Trump demands loyalty, and if it isn’t there he fires people.

Sessions was one of the architects of the travel ban going back to his days on the Trump campaign’s national security committee. And Sessions’ communications director, Steven Miller, is now the White House aide credited with organizing the chaotic roll-out of the ban.

In the 1980’s Session prosecuted civil rights leaders in a voter fraud case and was accused of using racial comments against the African-American defendants.

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Those comments were used against Sessions when he was nominated for a federal judgeship. The Senate voted against him then, and now he’s expected to be approved by the majority GOP Senate.

Need more convincing? This is what  Sessions said in an interview in the conservative American Thinker last summer, explaining his view on the legality of an immigration policy targeting Muslims.

We have no duty to morally or legally admit people. The Immigration Naturalization Act says the president can refuse entry to ‘any alien or class of aliens he deems detrimental to the interests of the U.S.’



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