These past few weeks we have witnessed our three branches of government in action for better or worse. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial were dreamed up almost 250 years ago by some pretty clever dudes. I imagine they are having an interesting conversation in heaven or wherever they are.
In a perfect world each branch does their thing and then keeps an eye out to make sure the other doesn’t overstep their bounds. Somewhere along the line that has gotten a tad askew.
The people elect the Congress and President. The President nominates to the Supreme Court and the Congress advises and consents. The Supreme Court makes sure that the laws that are proposed and enacted are according to our Constitution. This is the separation of power. My poli sci major at Georgetown at least gave me the basics.
After watching the last few months the separation part is wanting and I prefer to use the balance of paper as in warring nations. I fear egos on all sides of the fence are trying to assert themselves. Is it their proper lot in life or is hubris superseding civility? SCOTUS is getting dangerously close to legislating. POTUS thinks everything is fair game. Congress is enjoying the theater of it all.
Case in point is Judge Barrett. I think no one doubts her excellence in all matters judicial as well as her coolness under fire. As a judge we would hope she would be Solomon like in cases before her and that would lead to a simple analysis of the law.
But I would lead you to a wonderful article I found by Brandon Murill that outlines the various possibilities of interpretation of what our forefathers wrote. There are many and they range from textualism to moral reasoning to original intent. If you read it and the justices are true to their school they will use whatever manner without bias or prejudice or personal feelings. I am not completely confident I would know how to do that? Maybe you too.
I am not sure if the intent of the Senate Judiciary Committee was to try to understand the judge or to grandstand on both sides of the aisle. I found it incredible that each member on the first day read prepared remarks that seemed like stump speeches to pander to their bases. Even the second day of questioning was more accusatory than fact finding. Did we accomplish anything other than to brag to the home town folks that we showed them.
The fiasco of a second stimulus package laid bare the obstinance of both sides. Constant negotiating for the last several months have brought us nowhere nearer to a conclusion. Congress holds the pursestrings and the executive branch tries formulate a policy. It s like a president of a company coming before a board. But they are at loggerheads. Balance or chaos? Does the company eventually go down the tubes?
I did a little more delving into the boys and girls on the hill. Surprisingly they average around 60 years of age and their average tenure is ten years or so. Senator Josh Hawley is youngest at 40 and Diane Feinstein is oldest senator at 87. AOC is 31 and Don Young is 87 on the House side.
As I went through biographies and career paths it was fascinating to see how many were career politicians. Some would say they know the ropes. Others like me, would question if they have ever had any experience in the real world?
Beyond that one has to wonder what sort of original thoughts one might have after being in the same place for forty years? Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell, Grassley and Hoyer are the ones in position of leadership. All lifers.
You know me. I love to think outside the box. Spontaneous? My middle name. Not always a plus but you know where I stand. Imagine being in a so called deliberative chamber where your are pretty much forced to follow the party line? You can originate a bill that might be truly groundbreaking but it is tied up in committee by the party hack chairman or chairwoman. You hear of bills being locked up in committee or scheduled for a vote so far down that it will never see the light of day in this term. What happens? In the next session the process has to start all over again. YIKES!
I guess the SCOTUS nomination has caused me to think far beyond the choice of a Supreme Court Justice. Is this whole system of organized chaos the way it was supposed to be or has the cancer mutated so grossly that we will never find our way back to a healthy and vibrant organism?
To put it another way do we have Ben Franklins, Thomas Jeffersons, James Madisons or George Washingtons in our midst? Or was that time of incredible foresight and collaboration a freak of nature and history?
To think their plan would endure for two and a half centuries is mind boggling. Yes there is a process called amendment to change things and we have done so several times. The Bill of Rights clarified and repaired the original document a short while after it the original constitution was ratified. They nailed it.
But overall in an amazingly simplistic form this thing has worked. We have teetered and tottered but that thing called balance has brought us back. I hope we understand what a wonderful but fragile thing balance is….in all things.
Ted The Great
The Constitution states that Justices “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.” This means that the Justices hold office as long as they choose and can only be removed from office by impeachment.The Supreme Court acts as a check against the power of Congress and the president. The lifetime appointment is designed to ensure that the justices are insulated from political pressure and that the court can serve as a truly independent branch of government
5% do not have bachelors degrees compared with 65% of Americans 25 and older.
Only 20% have not held previous political office
Fewer than 5% list blue collar experience in their biographies.
35% are lawyers
!8.8% have served in the military
Common fields for Republicans
include medicine, real estate and
farming. For Democrats, they include
teaching, nonprofits and unions.
Chuck Schumer went to Harvard undergrad and law but never practiced. He went right into politics. His father was an exterminator in Brooklyn. I couldn’t resist.