“May you live in interesting times and People in High Places know your name.”
Ancient Chinese Curse
After listening to the Oral arguments before SCOTUS last week and listening to more legal scholars and talking heads than I care to remember I’d like to share my take away from “Trump vs. Anderson”. First off I want to make clear that I feel that this is going to be both a critically and historically important case. A case that will be thought in both history classes and in law classes in times to come. Also I am sure ever Justice on the Court believes this too. This is a ground breaking case and the only questions we have to face is who’s ground gets broken and what happens next.
My first take is I agree with the vast majority of the Scholars and talking heads, SCOTUS is going to over turn the case. I don’t have a clue on just how the will reason this nor what the vote is going to be. An I’m not brave enough to make a guess either. I also feel that no mater how they rule the Justices are in for a long hard few of years ahead. What I’m going to do here is talk about just one question facing them. If they rule such that no state can prevent a person from being on the ballot(s) of that state that does not meet the qualifications for being President or Vice President then just who and when are the requirements going to be inforced?
First question: Can the Congress pass a law on who can be on their ballot(s) (Either Primary or General). How can this law be constitutional when the Constitution give the several States sole rights on how their Presidential Electors are selected? If it is constitutional who actually enforces the Law, which agency of the Federal Government has the job (or who would want it)?
Second question: If the States do have the right to control the selection of their Presidential Electors can the State(s) at the time the electors gather at the appropriate designated place can the State(s) legislature disqualify all votes for the candidate who fails to met the qualifications? If they can, then who do they select as electors? Or do they just not send any electors at all?
Third question: If the several States do select and send electors for a person who does not met the qualifications for President/Vice President and accept their votes does the Congress have the right and/or duty to reject those votes when the votes are counted? Sub question, is the vote only not counted for the person who does not qualify? Would this not lead to the situation where we get the President disqualified and the Vice President who is qualified? Does he/she automation move up to the Presidency ?
Fourth question: If we get to the point where a person who fails to met the qualifications to be President is about to be sworn in what does the Chef Justice do? Does he/she actually administer the oath of Office?
Fifth question: If a person who does not met the qualifications for President is swarm in would he/she not be libel for immediate Impeachment?
See the problem? No matter what SCOTUS has some very interesting times a head and many many people in high places know all their names.
Will wonders never cease? I woke up in time to listen to the live broadcast of the SCOTUS hearing on the Colorado case removing Donald J. Trump from the primary ballot. I got a lot of questions but I’m not going to go into them now as I’m sure most if not all will be both brought up by the “Talking Heads” in the days to come and also addressed by the courts ruling. No, what I’m going to deal with a question that has not even been addressed out loud yet. That question is:
“If the court rules that the several states can not enforce the qualifications to hold office before a person is elected when and who does enforce them?” Let me set up the hypothetical for you here:
A person who will not be 35 at the time of being sworn in, when I who says he/she can not be sworn in? Is it done when the electors of the several states are approved by the state legislatures? Is it done when the elector collage votes are counted by Congress? Or is it when he/she steps up to take their oath of office (and who does this)? See the problem?
Now it is possible for the Court to say that this is the responsibility of the Congress. But what do we do if the Congress does not act. The current House of Representatives does not fill me with confidence. What does congress do if it gets conflicting Elector ballots? If he/she is not allowed to take office, who does? The Vice President? The Speaker of the House? Who?
See the problem, no mater what the Court does we are in for some very hard times, some much much harder than others. Only time and the Court will tell.
With the election year off to a staggering start I have yet to hear much about just who Donald Trump will select as his V.P. This could end up being of critical importance to the GOP and/or the nation as a whole. I say this because if Trump does get elected President who his Veep is could be critical.
I say this because the odds of Trump living another five years is low. His mental state being good is even lower. Trump is 78 this year so it is a coin toss how long he could live. What concerns me more is his mental state. I have now had to deal with several people who have suffered from loss of mental acuity as they aged. Two were some form of dementia while loss of memory and reasoning was another. In all cases they suffered from a degradation of there judgement and reasoning.
Now, sense the Trump/MAGA campaign has seen fit to bring up Pres. Biden’s health, both physical and mental, it is only fair we look at Trumps state. The easiest of these to look at is his mental acuity. We just need to listen to him when he is speaking. NOTE: I recommend that no one use his blogging/texting etc as there is no way to be sure this has not been either edited of ghost written. I’d even go so far as to only go by what was live in front of a group of people. Interviews can also be edited.
I leave it up to you, my dear reader to draw your own conclusions. But think on this; Trump gets returned to the Presidency in this election and then suffers either a physical or mental breakdown. Say like Pres. Wilson did. Something so bad that even if he doesn’t die he is severely disabled and can not do his job as President. If and until his cabinet and his Veep invoke the 25th Amendment the the person or persons who control access to the President will be controlling the government.
Now let us consider this scenario as stated above. Given the past performance of the MAGA/GOP leadership and just how much importance Trump places on personal loyalty it seems likely that we can expect to see one hell of a knock-down drag out of a fight over two things. First who controls the access to the Presidential sickroom. Second getting a majority of the cabinet to certify that Trump is not physically and/or mentally able to execute the office of the President. An all the while this is going on the executive branch will be lock up and the congress will most likely be too. Now add in all of the cyberspace rumors that will be flying.
Now let’s add in that the Veep and the several and several of the cabinet members have strong connections with MAGA and any or all of them are willing to do what it takes to be in control. Or let’s say the Veep selected for just ‘Hollywood’ reasons and doesn’t have much strength at all. Or let’s say the Sec of Defense is willing to call out the “Army” ? What if the Army leadership doesn’t want to get involved? Or it splits?
I have taken this long to write about the “Bad” polling numbers of the Biden 2024 campaign just to be sure it is not my fundamental “contrarian” nature exerting itself. I am now reasonably sure it isn’t.
To start things off, to all those out there who are sure of the inevitable victory of Donald J Trump in the November election I would just like to remind you of 2016’s election and the expected ending of President Hillary Clinton’s second term. No one who was not working in the 2016 presidential elections was more surprised and aghast than me that night when Hillary gave her concession speech. The numbers thru almost all of the campaign should Hillary winning hands down. Trump was a joke! There just was no way he could win. But he did. And now, in 2024 we are living thru all that means.
For me it meant, among many many other things, taking a hard hard look at just what and how political polling is taken, analyzed, and reported in the early 21st century. After eight years I’m still in a quandary and still working out just what is going on. The one thing I’m reasonable sure of is that it is not telling us what we think it is telling us and we have a lot of work ahead of us.
So, just why am I saying “Bad Numbers” are good. It is quite simple. Motivation of the electorate. It has been a long standing principle (over 50 years now) that high voter turnout helps the “Liberal” aka Democratic candidate(s). Back in 2016 I was quite worried that the independent and/or moderate voter turn out in swing states should be low, and they were. Very low. This has been shown in Political Science elections studies to be greatly influenced by the idea that Hillary was a shoe-in. That their vote wasn’t needed. Etc. They were wrong.
In 2020 this same electorate was motivated to get out and vote. Again, studies have demonstrated the validity of this, even when actual voter turn out was expected to be low do to the pandemic a respectable number of the independent voter was quite noticeable and is often given credit for Trump’s defeat.
The 2024 election is promising to be anything but nice. Anything but a sure thing. Not for Pers. Biden and not for Donald Trump (no mater what the MAGA machine says). A bad numbers along with the new campaign being started by the Liberals and Democrats it should make the independents and casual Demographic voters realize that there vote is vital. They will get out and vote.
That is what I think, now I get to wait and see if I’m right.
The coming months are going to be very interesting for us court watchers. SCOTUS has at least two and possibly more critical cases coming before it. Some of them are also time critical. Some will allow the court to demonstrate that they really do believe in the judicial/constitutional philosophy thus exposed in recent and controversial decisions.
On the last point, the Colorado case (Anderson v. Griswold) removing Trump from the primary ballot seems to be the most likely case in point. In several recent decisions the court has used both the “Originalist” and “Textualist” doctrines to justify their rulings. The “Textualist” doctrine gives the court the best course to rule against Trump and the “Originalist” gives them two ways to rule one for Trump and one against.
Now let me state right here I do not expect SCOTUS to use any of these paths. I fully expect the court to find some way to totally dodge the issue, most likely using some arcane procedural reasoning. This court all too often has shown itself to have the backbone of a slug. That said let’s dive into the issues as I see them.
The “Textualist” ruling deals almost exclusively with the 14th Amendment and its 3rd Section, probably one of the most overlooked clauses of the Constitution. The only real issue is whether the President is an “Officer” of the United States. Given both the customs of the time and the debate on the Amendment it is clear that the President is an “Officer” of the United States. Let us totally bypass the illogic of saying that the only two offices that “Insurrectionist” could hold are the two highest offices in the nation. We are, after all talking about the “Radical” Republicans of the post Civil War and given the detailed list of the offices it is not reasonable to hold that the offices of President and Vice President are excluded.
This now lead us into one of the more interesting arguments “Originalist” reading can give us. Does the Amendment apply to all insurrectionists, past, present, and/or future? It can be argued that the “Insurrection” being referred to by the Amendment was the Civil War and it only applies to that one “Insurrection”. If that is the case then section 3 is a dead letter as the last surviving vet of the war died over 50 years ago. Unfortunately this kind of “Originalist” reading of the Constitution leads down a very twisty road as how do we deal with the following.
Given the above interpretation of how “Originalist” doctrine is would be applied, the 1st Amendment protection of free speech can only apply to the spoken or printed word. So it would not apply to Radio/TV/Movies as these Media did not exist nor even imaged when the amendment was written. The same for the Second Amendment, it could only apply to those kind of “Arms” that existed at the time of writing. To be fair we can say it would apply to modern ships and cannons but not to aircraft or spacecraft. I can see arguments both ways for submarines.
I shall leave you with just this point, these are just two of the problems facing SCOTUS using the “Originalist” doctrine in one case currently before it. The are several more now before it and I’m sure more to come in the near future. So keep your ears open and your head down it is going to get very very interesting.
Once more I am moved to bang my head against the wall and talk about gun violence. I wish to talk about why someone/anyone’s 2nd amendment right to own any gun they wish trumps all other rights we have. An surprise it is logical but not reasonable.
The right to own any kind of gun is superior to all other rights because of the basic postulate the person starts with. Most of the time this postulate will not be acknowledged but it is there none the less. It is simply stated as follows “I get to do what I want to do because I want to do it.”
This translates into the debates on rights simple as “My rights are superior to everyone else’s rights.” Therefore your right to life must give way to my right to own any gun I want. This works if and only if a personal rights have either a Hierarchy or are unequal. Many people who have not studied the history and evolution of thought on constitutional rights fall into. No right is superior or takes precedence over any other right. They are all equal. The problem is when they come in to conflict. Or when someone uses a right to do wrong. Usually these conflicts are easy to identify when they happen. Unfortunately the misuse of guns it is not.
The other problem we have to deal with is what do we do when a right is misused? Usually the law try’s to make whole, again, when the right is miss used. Like damages for libel/slander when the right of free speech is misused. Again, unfortunately, when a gun is misused it is often impossible to make whole the victim of the miss use. How do you restore life to the dead, or an arm, leg, and or eye?
So I ask you, what should we do? The misuse of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms all to often has irreparable effects and the victim can not be made whole no mater what we do?
With the filing of a lawsuit to bar Donald Trump from that states Primary and General ballots we have now given Donals Trump what many, if not all, Presidential Candidates want……A truly historical election. Article III of the 14th Amendment has rarely been invoked and never been tested in the federal courts completely. We now have the chance to see just what, if anything it means in a practical real world way.
I will not be addressing whether what is happening is a good thing politically; I leave that for a later posting. Rather I want to encourage everyone to read up on the 14th Amendment, both its history and legal scholarship. I think you will be both shocked, surprised, and disappointed by what you find. I was but I was also please to note one thing. Since the Civil War the United States has had no significant insurrections , in fact I found only three possible candidates and all three could be and are no more than what happen on January 6th 2021 (excepting the occupation of the Capital). An until now the 14th’s Section 3 has been little thought of and invoked even less. Why this should be makes for a great history paper and I will refrain from do that here.
What is going to be happening, starting now, is a test of just what the 3rd article of the 14th Amendment really means. With the death of the last person to ever fight in the Civil War in 1959 is the 3rd article a “dead letter”? There are good arguments for this. The debate on the 14th Amendment hardly touched on the 3rd article an I have found nothing in the debates about disqualification. (See CREW for details of disqualification)This will be the first time since the 1860’s anyone on the level of a National office is in danger of being disqualified. This is important for both legal and political reasons. With Donald Trump facing this problem rest assured the MAGA-GOP will, somehow, take actions to apply disqualification to the first non-MAGA-GOP to run for President or Vice President. It will happen.
As for the law? I don’t know. I do know that every American needs to watch the coming trials carefully. I mean not just the trials of Donals Trump and his Co-Conspirators but also all of the trials dealing with who is allowed on the ballot(s). Even the most radical judge can be a good judge when they know they are being watch. Watched not only by their peers, nor the scholars of law, but by also by the electorate at large. You don’t have to do much, just let anyone and everyone know you are watching. An unlike the radical right, the common electorate needs no threats, just their eyes and minds.
I followed, as closely as I could stand which was not much, the first of the GOP debate and I heard nothing to make be think about voting for any Republican next year. Frankly this is quite sad for me. While I am a life long Democrat I have, from time to time, voted for Republicans. In fact my first Representative in the House was a Republican and I voted every time he ran for reelection. I was what was known as a Reagan Republican in the 1980’s
So what did I hear in the Debate that I didn’t like? First the response to the idea of ending Social Security and Medicare. I admit that this is very personal for me as all I have to live on now that I’m retired is Social Security. An before you say it, yes it is my own fault that I’m in this position. Back in 2006 Lin and I decided to start our own business. 2009 was our break-even year and we got hit by the Great Recession. In an effort to save the business we put everything we had into to it. To no effect. I lost everything. But I would still be totally apposed to ending Social Security. As to Medicare/Medicaid just try and get medical insurance if you are over 35 on the open market and have any kind of medical issues, like higher than “normal” blood pressure. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
What got me in the debate was not that a candidate proposed the idea, no. What got me was the enthusiasm the proposal got. The audience loved it. I also noticed the lack of any defense of Social Security and Medicare by any of the other candidates. I heard nothing. Did Fox just ignore any response or was there just none? I don’t know.
The second major take away for me was the idea that Climate Change (Global Warming) is a myth. Once again it is personal, I am a scientist. Yes it is a Social Science but it still is a Science. I still use the scientific method and math. Get over it. The very idea that millions of individuals have colluded to pull a great hoax on the American people for the sole purpose of destroying the ‘Carbon Industry’ (an just what is the ‘Carbon Industry’ anyway?) just blows my mind. That the GOP would give this idea even the time of day worries me. Not because the party leadership believes it but that they are so clinical that the are willing to use it for a few more votes. What else are they willing to do to get and keep power? I don’t want to find out.
In their effort to scare the mass of GOP voters I think the ten candidates last night have accomplished something else. The are scaring the great mass of the Middle voters. Not right nor left but the middle. The very voters you need to win in the general election. Last night I heard nothing to attract that voter. Now we can wait and see.
A little while ago a friend of mine suggested a new way of talking about the Climate Change Crisis. She recommend I use the phase “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.” I tried it and it worked. We got away from arguing about if it exists or not and started discussing just how we will pay for either just letting things happen or trying to do something preemptively. I was even able to change the wording. No longer are we trying to reverse the effects of “Global Warming (AKA Climate Change) we were now talking about controlling the Climate aka Weather.
Controlling Weather has be a staple of Science Fiction since forever. It is right up there with sailing under the sea and flying to the Moon. Both of which we now have done and take for granted. One big advantage is we can take off the table how we get other countries to cooperate. We can just assume they will joint in just so they have some say in what kind of weather. This also gets the Climate Change Deniers off of defending their denial, very non-productive, and onto thinking about what we can do that benefits us.
Another thing is we can get them to look at just how much the recovery from ‘Natural’ disasters cost and looking at how much preventive action would have cost. One example is the cost of improving the levy system of the lower Mississippi vs building all new sea ways when the river changes its path it has now away from the Port of New Orleans. The river has tried to do this a couple of time already and preventing it has been both costly and difficult. We even have a great ‘Bad Example’ in the wild fire in Hawaii, recovery costs of over $5 billion or greater are being talked about. What would it cost in recovery cost be for Miami when it is hit head on by a mega Hurricane?
Finally we can point out, with hard examples, that the money we put into the research on Climate Control will, 1) be mostly spent in the USA and 2) even pure research has always pay itself back many times over. A when the research is targeted, like in the space program, the return on investments is even greater. An as an added bonus we can go looking for the hidden examples of where research in one area has given great benefits in totally unrelated areas.
You can pay for it now, or you can pay for it later.
Something we all should think about is just what will happen if the GQP/MAGA win in 2024. I will not go into what some liberals fear, but rather just what the Republican Party and its leadership have promised to deliver upon election to power.
First and foremost remember that unless the coming Republican Convention does as it did in the last election the GQP takes as its platform what ever Donald Trump says it is for. Nothing more Nothing less. The Republicans, as a political party only promises only to do as Trump directs. So forget what Republican Leaders like the Governors of Florida and Texas are doing now. Forget what they are saying in Congress. Pay no attention to what the blogs are saying. None of it maters. All that maters is what Donald Trump does.
So what can we expect? We can’t go by what he says as he really has a hard time delivering on what he promises. Like his wall on the southern border that Mexico would pay for. Or that Covid-19 would be just a memory before the election of 2020. In fact the only promises he does seem to follow thru on is when he promises to get ’even’ with someone. Now those are promises he seems to go out of his way to keep.
So we should be expecting the GQP to enable the next Republican President to take ”full direct control” of the DOJ, DOD, Internal Revenue Service, just to name a few. We should see the Democratic party both directly and indirectly attacked an emasculated to the maximum extent possible. We should see the State election officials also attacked with the aim of bringing them under the control of the GQP. This will includes every ’Purple’ and ’Blue’ state possible.
I would also expect to see as many of the people held responsible by Trump for his Impeachments to be brought up on as many criminal charges as possible. I also expect to see a total house cleaning of ’disloyal’ Republicans (aka RINOs) from the party. Also look for the aggrandizement of anyone Trump believes might be of use to him.
Finally look for a lot of infighting behind the scenes and under the table.