Clint Eastwood brings down house at GOP convention
Published August 30, 2012 Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. – Clint Eastwood whipped up the crowd at the Republican National Convention ahead of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.
The iconic star of “Dirty Harry” and the Oscar-winning director of “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby,” Eastwood criticized President Barack Obama for failing to turn the economy around and for wanting to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects.
Eastwood says Obama has failed to deliver on his promises and it’s time for Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, to take over.
He entertained the audience with a mock interview with Obama, posing questions and pretending that Obama had told Eastwood to shut up.
When our Senator’s and Representatives attempt to slip a bill like the Farm Bill HR.6083 through Congress, they must really believe that, we the members of the electorate and their constituents are either brainless, dim-witted or morons. Even the financial scoring of this bill like most others, is filled with deception and dishonesty. Its no wonder that only 10% of our electorate believes that Congress is doing a satisfactory job in representing our interests.
Take this time during the recess to bone up on upcoming legislation like the the Farm Bill and the UN treaties and start a calling barrage into their offices. This period before November 6th is almost as dangerous as the “Lame Duck” session after the election, because the political phone calls, TV adds and multiple mailings will turn many people off, causing them to drop their guard and to stop paying attention to the happenings in Congress.This inattention to their actions is what Congress looks for so that they can slink additional debt killing legislation through!The only way we are going to turn things around is to educate ourselves on how they perpetrate their shenanigans and to CALL THEM OUT .
For the Farm Bill, you Must call your Senators and Congressman and tell them that our national debt is headed for a Fiscal Cliff and we aren’t interested in any more PORK being signed into law!!! They intend to take up this bill after the get back from their recess.
As Congress continues its recess and activists across the country attempt to educate their elected officials on the problems with the current farm and food stamp bill, we wanted to provide the main questions that our folks are receiving on the road and their best factual response, all in one post. Here you go, and we hope you find its useful.
How much does the so-called “farm bill”—the Federal Agriculture and Risk Management Act (H.R. 6083)—cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the bill costs $957 billion over ten years. The last farm bill, enacted in 2008, cost $604 billion over ten years. This bill amounts to a 60% increase in farm and food aid since the last reauthorization. Doesn’t H.R. 6083 “save” money? Not in any real world sense. As stated, the bill includes policies that over ten years will cost 63% more than the previous authorization. It is only because the Congressional Budget Office must ignore the expiration date of these programs and assume their continuation into eternity—including the Obama food stamp expansions—that the bill can be judged to “save” $35 billion. This is really just Washington-speak for spending 3.5% less than expected ($957 billion instead of $992 billion)—it’s not a cut. Isn’t H.R. 6083 really mislabeled as a farm bill given how much food stamp spending it includes? Yes. 80% of H.R. 6083’s spending is comprised of food stamp spending. This is because there are now 46 million individuals on food stamps, compared with 30 million in 2008 and 17 million in 2000. The reduction in the rate of growth to the food stamp program contemplated by the bill equals just $16 billion or 2%—not the sort of reforms that will lead to rolling back the food stamp program. This is one reason why most conservatives are so intent on splitting up the bill between its food stamp and farm subsidy components. Doesn’t H.R. 6083 include some much needed reforms to farm subsidies? The bill does eliminate wasteful direct payments to farmers, but it then plows much of the “savings” back into three new “shallow loss” entitlement programs that will actually serve to guarantee the profits for a larger number of farmers than currently benefit from direct payments. In addition, the bill sets new price floors for commodities (in most cases, higher than average recent prices) and expands crop insurance subsidies. Isn’t passing H.R. 6083 crucial towards passing drought assistance for those regions of the country that have been hard hit? No. The House of Representatives has already passed a separate piece of legislation—the Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act, H.R. 6233—to provide $383 million in emergency assistance to farmers, ranchers, and orchardists. The Senate refuses to act on the measure in order to put artificial political pressure to pass a massive farm bill. We opposed this drought assistance (see below), but regardless of a Congressman’s support for such assistance, it should have no bearing on whether they support a separate, long-term farm bill. Note: Some congressional offices, in an effort to confuse the issues, have noted that there is no food stamp spending in this separate drought package. That is true, but it confirms that the future of the drought package is not tied to passage of a multi-year farm bill. Should the federal government be providing $323 million in drought assistance? No. Proponents of the bill cite the drought’s impact on livestock—and the absence of livestock-specific disaster programs—as the principle reason for the aid package. However, the livestock-specific disaster programs expired in 2011, meaning ranchers knew that they had to plan for possible disasters, including drought. The Washington Post explained that “farmers should have to hedge as other businesses do: by diversifying their product lines, purchasing insurance at market rates, leveraging assets or maintaining cash reserves.” Because livestock producers did not take preventative action, they are now clamoring for a bailout. The bill also goes well beyond drought-inflicted livestock losses, by offering “subsidies to ranchers for livestock killed by raptors and wolves (along with hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, and extreme cold).” It also includes wildfires. The “drought” bill also covers trees, defined as “a tree, bush, and vine”, impacted by late-season freezes and insect infestations. Doesn’t the agricultural community need a farm bill during this recession? No. U.S. agriculture is thriving. Net farm income hit a record $98 billion last year and is expected to reach $122.2 billion in 2012. The top five earnings years in the last three decades have all occurred since 2004. With a healthy agriculture sector and a spiraling federal debt, now is the time to reform and eliminate commodity subsidies that cost taxpayers and distort the market.
Sarah Palin Says VP Joe Joe Biden Will Probably Call In Sick For The Debate With Ryan!
Yahoo News fires reporter, apologizes to Romney over ‘black people drowning’ remark
Published August 29, 2012 FoxNews.com
Yahoo News’ Washington bureau chief was fired Wednesday after he was caught on a hot mic joking that Republicans are “happy to have a party” while black people drown.
The comment was made by David Chalian during live coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and was an apparent reference to the convention getting underway while a tropical storm-turned-hurricane barreled toward the Gulf Coast.
“They are happy to have a party with black people drowning,” said a voice off-camera, later identified as Chalian, as video of the Romneys played on screen. Other people could be heard laughing at the comment.
A Yahoo! spokesperson confirmed to FoxNews.com that Chalian was let go, and said the company has apologized to Romney and his staff.
“David Chalian’s statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!. He has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Chalian posted his own apology later Wednedsay on Twitter: “I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke.”
Chalian used to work for ABC before moving on to serve as the political director at “PBS NewsHour” and eventually work for Yahoo News.
U.S. Jobless Claims Unchanged At 374,000
By Jeffry Bartash Published August 30, 2012 MarketWatch Pulse
WASHINGTON – Applications for U.S. jobless benefits were flat last week at a seasonally adjusted 374,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims would fall to 370,000. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 374,000 from an original reading of 372,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level.
The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, rose by 1,500 to 370,250. The four-week average reduces seasonal volatility in the weekly data and is seen as a more accurate barometer of labor-market trends. Also, Labor said continuing claims decreased by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.32 million in the week ended Aug. 18. Continuing claims reflect the number of people already receiving benefits. About 5.53 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended Aug. 11, down 62,253 from the prior week. Total claims are reported with a two-week lag.
Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2012/08/30/us-jobless-claims-unchanged-at-374000/#ixzz252k2eSbq
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The noes clearly had it, but the party bosses gaveled the dissenters down, shutting off themicrophones and ignoring cries of “Roll call! Roll call!”
Yesterday, the Republican National Committee in Tampa adopted some rules changes that shift power from the state parties and the grassroots to the RNC and the GOP presidential nominee. Former Governor John Sununu of New Hampshire touted the new rules as providing “a strong governing framework” for the party over the next four years. But in fact the new rules should be very troubling and disappointing to conservative grassroots activists, because they move the national Republican Party away from being a decentralized, bottom-up party toward becoming a centralized, top-down party.
The Romney rules effectively disenfranchise grassroots delegates, and will thus tend to weaken and splinter the party over time. They specifically represent a blow to the Tea Party and the Ron Paul movement, and force grassroots conservatives of all stripes to contemplate their future within the GOP.
Party sage and long-time RNC member (and conservative activist) Morton Blackwell led a last-minute effort to stop the changes — an effort the FreedomWorks For America strongly supported, together with
Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Phyllis Schlafly and RNC for Life also got involved, while Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh helped sound the alarm. But the Romney camp and RNC insiders won the day, successfully imposing their will with the help of their control of the gavels and superior knowledge of the process, and perhaps some dirty tricks. The conservative “rebels” won the moral victory, however, taking their fight to the Rules Committee and the full Convention floor and arguably winning the voice vote there to stop the rules, only to be gaveled down by Speaker John Boehner [view video from 1:08 minutes].
Yesterday’s fight offers a sobering glimpse of what life will be like for conservatives in a Romney Administration. It proves once again that sometimes we have to beat the Republicans before we can beat the Democrats.
1. Amend existing Rule 12 to hand national party officials, for the first time, the power to change the party’s rules between national conventions, which take place every fourth year. Three-fourths of RNC members must approve a proposed change for it to take effect. This is unprecedented. It would enable top GOP officials to circumvent rules adopted by state and grassroots leaders at the National Convention. One can imagine how it might be used to shape and control the delegate-selection process to the advantage of insiders and special interests.
2. Amend existing Rule 15 to allow the presumptive presidential nominee to “disavow” duly elected delegates and force state parties to hold new elections to replace any delegate or alternate deemed unacceptable by the presumptive presidential nominee. One can imagine the influence this change would give a presumptive nominee over any delegate that doesn’t toe the line. He could, in effect, choose the people who are to choose him. It’s not hard to imagine the temptation a campaign would feel to use this power to intimidate delegates and to reward friends, supporters, and campaign contributors. The proposal also contained a provision altering the method of allocating delegates, in order to front-load and shorten the primary calendar.
Unfortunately, the proposed change to Rule 12 passed. Thankfully, the proposed changes to Rule 15 were stopped. But an “insiders’ compromise” version of the “disavowal” provision did pass.
Under the “compromise,” a new Rule 16 was added to stop an alleged “faithless elector” problem — delegates who run claiming to support one candidate but then vote for another at the Convention.
The new Rule 16 requires that a delegate who attempts to violate his binding pledge to a candidate under state law or state party rules shall be deemed to have resigned and the Secretary of the Convention must record the improper vote as it should have been cast based on state law or party rule. This compromise was supported by conservative stalwart James Bopp, as well as Ron Kaufman and Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi.
Blackwell opposed the compromise because it retained the Rule 12 change. As long as the RNC can change the rules between conventions, the proposed changes to Rule 15 that we managed to stop could easily be revived at any time, without a vote at a National Convention. Since the RNC usually follows the lead of its Chairman, and the Chairman has powerful incentives to go along with an incumbent Republican President, it should be easy for Team Romney to change the party rules pretty much any time at their pleasure. This should trouble every Republican.
At a minimum, the effect of the new rules will be to empower insiders over the broad party electorate and to discourage grassroots activists from taking part in the process. The new rules will thus have a chilling effect on intra-party debate, including debate over the National Platform and, of course, on future rules changes. The “Inner Circle” has scored quite a coup.
In Terms of Process
After Ginsberg’s proposed changes were presented in the RNC Rules Committee, Blackwell circulated a letter denouncing them and vowing to resist them by means of “minority reports,” which can be offered for votes on the Convention floor and, if adopted, would have the effect of defeating the proposed changes.
Over the next four days, we worked feverishly to kill the rule changes, sending out a national call to action and urging our activists to lobby the party chairs and Rules Committee members from their state about the issue. We lit up facebook and twitter (using the hashtag #RNCpowergrab) and burned up phone lines with hundreds of calls. We filled up people’s voicemail inboxes. We caused an avalanche of emails.
We irritated the heck out of some people. But the pressure had a decisive effect. Negotiations began on the so-called “insiders’ compromise.” We knew we were fighting an uphill battle. Blackwell laid the groundwork for a floor fight by obtaining more than the requisite number of signers on each of the two minority reports. (Twenty-eight signatures are required.)
As the Rules Committee meeting neared, Team Romney worked hard to peel signers off the minority reports. When the committee finally met, Blackwell was absent, and we have conflicting reports about whether he still had the requisite number of co-signers. One report suggests he did, but that the committee basically disregarded the minority reports because he was not there to defend them.
Why was Blackwell absent? This was out of character for the veteran, battle-scarred activist.
Did the insiders pull a Nixonian trick to make sure the leader of the opposition wasn’t present during the crucial meeting? Here’s how CNN explained his absence:
… [S]ome [rules] committee members suggested meddling was at play. A bus full of Virginia delegates arrived at the committee meeting — after it had adjourned. “The bus that was supposed to pick up the Virginia delegation arrived an hour later than it was supposed to,” explained Virginia delegate Morton Blackwell, a prime opponent of Rule 16 [a.k.a. the insiders’ compromise on delegate “disavowal”].
Blackwell continued: “And then when we went downtown, we went around the same series of blocks repeatedly – twice. And then the bus took out away from downtown, went about a mile and a half, and then did a u-turn and came back. And did another circuit, of the same place where we had been before.” And at that point, the Virginia delegates demanded, “‘Stop the bus. And we’re going to walk.’ And we did.”
Mike Rothfeld, a Virginia delegate also on the bus, went further. “They pushed us around for 45 minutes and then we missed the meeting,” Rothfeld said. “We were in the security perimeter, they pushed us out of it three separate times. They moved us around until the meeting was adjourned.”
[Colorado delegate Florence] Sebern claimed the snafu was “deliberate.”Neither she nor the others recalling the story would say who they were directing their anger at. And none could provide proof to back up their claims.
Other examples of possible dirty tricks:
1. Florida activist Laura Noble informed us that both of Florida’s Rules Committee members, Peter Feaman and Kathleen King, were removed from the Rules Committee and replaced with Romney-appointed delegates.
2. Some Rules Committee members were physically barred from entering the room, despite having proper credentials.
3. Some delegates were told that Blackwell was trying to use the situation as an excuse to reopen a settled debate that he had lost four years ago regarding Rule 12. Not true.
4. Some delegates were told Romney personally knew nothing of the matter and it was just his overly aggressive lawyers acting beyond their authority and there was nothing to worry about, he would put a stop to it once he found out what was happening.
5. Some delegates seem to have believed that the rules fight was really just a proxy fight in the larger
battle being waged between the Romney and Ron Paul camps over who would represent certain states on the convention floor. This assumption may have discouraged some Rules Committee members from supporting the minority reports. Governor Sununu chaired the meeting. Governor Barbour strongly urged “unity” and the need for everyone to set aside “differences” to “defeat Barack Obama.”
The rules package, containing the insider’s compromise, passed by a decisive vote of 78 to 14.
Unfortunately, the Rule 12 change (permitting the RNC to change the rules between conventions) remained in the package, unaltered.
The package then went immediately to the full Convention for approval. On the convention floor, Governor Sununu offered it as a “strong governing framework” for the party over the next four years, and with no debate or even mention of the controversy over Rule 12, Speaker Boehner then called for the ayes and noes. The crowd roared loudly, on both sides of the question. Despite the “noes” being (in this hearer’s estimate) louder than the “ayes,” Boehner hastily gaveled the matter closed.
Boehner’s declaration that “The ayes have it” provoked cries from the crowd of “No!”, “Boo!”, and “Roll call!” view video starting at 1:08 minutes]. But apparently — and to our surprise and disappointment — the microphones had been turned off and delegates were denied a chance to call for a recorded vote from the floor. We were given no recourse.
Had we been able to force a roll-call vote, it would have delayed the day’s proceedings by several hours. We had been counting on this fact to provide us with leverage, since we knew Team Romney would have done almost anything to avoid such an embarrassing logistical foul-up on the Convention’s first night. But alas, it seems, that possibility had been foreseen, and the grassroots revolt was forestalled.
After the disappointing outcome, FreedomWorks released the following statement from Matt Kibbe:
I believe that the Republican Party has made a huge mistake by effectively disenfranchising grassroots activists who want to be a part of the party process. If the party sincerely wants the support of citizens, shutting them out of the process is not the way to do it. Sooner rather than later the Republican establishment needs to come to terms with the decentralized nature of grassroots organization circa 2012. The terms of engagement can no longer be dictated from the top-down.
The new rules strongly suggest the insiders don’t think they need the grassroots to win in 2012, despite the critical role grassroots voters played in the historic 2010 wave election. Despite this setback, we’re proud to have come so close to victory on such short notice and while operating under such severe disadvantages, relative to the insiders. This episode confirms just how powerful grassroots action can be in today’s world — and we hope the party insiders are taking note of this fact. The RNC power grab has succeeded. For now. We’ll be back.
We expect Democrats to be top-down, but it’s disappointing when the Republicans, who claim to be bottom-up, act just like Democrats. Perhaps this centralization of power in the RNC is simply a logical development in the present era — a “progressive” era, when all institutions, under the pressure of unlimited, centralized government, tend, over time, to reflect and become servants of that government. It’s another sign that the retaking of Washington by the American people will be a “hostile” takeover.
What does Romney’s RNC power grab mean for the future? At least three things:
1) As of today, the GOP is now much less representative of state parties and voters than it was yesterday, and thus more representative of whichever interests are smart and powerful enough to dominate the RNC.
2) Grassroots activists will now have to add “Monitoring the RNC” to their “eternal vigilance” list.
3) FreedomWorks will have to add “Influencing — and when necessary, fighting — the RNC” to our
“Hostile Takeover” strategy. We must fire Barack Obama. We must show up on election day 2012. But the conservative grassroots must also decide whether and to what extent they want to remain engaged in a Republican Party whose establishment clearly still does not get them.
Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks’ Legislative Counsel and Vice President, Health Care Policy
As you may be aware, the RNC and the Romney campaign are pushing a massive change to Republican Party rules which will, in part, allow the Presidential nominee to choose delegates and allow the RNC to change rules relating to the party platform and delegate selection whenever they like.
Rule 12 is a threat to all grassroots activists. If this rule goes through, all the hard work you’ve done at the county level, congressional district level, and state level will be nullified by a few Party Elites at their discretion alone. No longer will the grassroots choose who represents them.
Morton Blackwell and his Virginia delegation are leading the charge to fight this power grab.
The top men at the RNC and Team Romney are not going to give up their effort to centralize the delegate process and turn our bottom-up efforts upside down. It is up to you, the grassroots, to stop them.
Breaking News! RNC Tightens Noose On Delegates In Last Minute Rule Change
where delegates just received a copy of yet another proposed rule change by the RNC.
This is the shot being fired over the bow that everyone has known would be coming. The question now is, will some delegates still nominate Ron Paul or another candidate? Does it matter that even though many of us are bound by our state caucus or primary rules to vote for Romney, we’re only nominating a candidate – not voting for them? How many delegates will risk being evicted from the floor of the convention?
“You guys get kicked out, I’m going with you,” said one delegate from Nevada bound for Ron Paul, who wouldn’t be at risk for removal.
Right now states are maneuvering, will there be the five needed for Paul to have the plurality he needs for nomination? Tomorrow afternoon, all will be revealed, but in the meantime, read the rules change below, the latest from “The Party of Unity.”
To the Members of the Republican National Committee and the Convention Committee on Rules:
The undersigned are very pleased to announce that the leadership of the Republican National Committee and the Romney for President campaign has heard the concerns of the conservative grassroots voices in our party and has crafted an amendment to the Rules adopted on Friday to address these concerns.
At the same time, the revised language closes a loophole in our party rules, which previously failed to include a penalty for delegates who break their promise to vote for a particular Presidential candidate as required by state law or state party rules.
We are pleased that our party has come together to fashion this compromise. This will allow Republicans of all stripes to come to the Convention united and focused on defeating Barack Obama in November.
The Convention is our party’s opportunity to energize our supporters and activists. It would be unfortunate to squander the opportunity fighting an internal battle which we have now been able to successfully resolve and which will accomplish the goals of all parties involved.
The resolution that we have reached is straightforward. It simply prevents a bound delegate from nominating or casting a vote for a different presidential candidate than the one to whom the delegate was legally bound by state law or state party rule.
Instead, under this new provision, a delegate who attempts to violate his binding pledge is deemed to have resigned and the Secretary of the Convention will record the improper vote as it should have been cast based on state law or party rule.
It leaves the actual selection of delegates completely to state parties under state law and state party rules.
We are pleased that we were able to reach an acceptable resolution and urge the members of the Convention Rules Committee to adopt the revised Rule tomorrow to be included in their report to the Convention.
Text of the Rule:
For any manner of binding or allocating delegates under these Rules, if a delegate
(i) casts a vote for a presidential candidate at the National Convention inconsistent with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule,
(ii) nominates or demonstrates support under Rule 40 for a presidential candidate other than the one to whom the delegate is bound or allocated under state law or state party rule, or
(iii) fails in some other way to carry out the delegate’s affirmative duty under state law or state party rule to cast a vote at the National Convention for a particular presidential candidate,
the delegate shall be deemed to have concurrently resigned as a delegate and the delegate’s improper vote or nomination shall be null and void. Thereafter the Secretary of the Convention shall record the delegate’s vote or nomination in accordance with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule. This subsection does not apply to delegates who are bound to a candidate who has withdrawn his or her candidacy, suspended or terminated his or her campaign, or publicly released his or her delegates.
James Bopp Jr. NCM IN Vice Chairman Republican National Committee Cindy Costa NCW SC
Bob Bennett Chairman Ohio Republican Party
John Ryder NCM Tenn.
Ron Kaufman NCM Mass.
Henry Barbour NCM Miss.
Editor’s note: It is our desire to make sure that people are fully informed of what is going on at the convention. Nomination is not delegate voting. It is not the same thing. Mrs. Kennedy has been trying to keep people aware of what is taking place behind the scenes. If this is such an issue, then let us ask ourselves why do we send delegates if their vote will just be recorded as it should be and not as it is cast? Why not just skip all of that and enter a vote without the expense of travel and accommodations? I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide. By the way, this doesn’t just apply to Ron Paul. Promoters of Sarah Palin are also eager to put her name into nomination as well.
Read more: http://freedomoutpost.com/2012/08/rnc-tightens-noose-on-delegates-in-last-minute-rule-change/#ixzz24rUeanXy
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Columnist Andrew McCarthy gives us what probably is the most important reason to vote against Barack Hussein Obama on November 6th.
For my friends who have hesitation on this score, I’d just ask you to keep four things in mind
1. Justice Scalia is 76
2. Justice Kennedy is 76
3. Justice Breyer is 74
4. Justice Ginsburg is 79 In addition, Justice Ginsburg has had Pancreatic Cancer and has stated that the Court’s work was helping her cope with the death of her husband and suggested she would serve until at least 2012 when a painting that used to hang in her office is due to be returned to her. She also expressed a wish to emulate Justice Louis Brandeis, who retired at 82,an age that Ginsburg would attain in 2015.
Justice Stephens who is 92, has already said he would retire and is just waiting for Obama to be reelected.
The next president will appoint at least one Justice who could swing court decision for years or decades to come.
Additionally he will appoint hundreds of other life-tenured federal judges, all of whom will be making momentous decisions about our lives also for decades to come.
Can you imagine ERIC HOLDER as a Supreme Court nominee? And if he failed the confirmation hearings, DEVAL PATRICK as a backup nominee!
Electing a new president and a new Supreme Court majority
April 29th, 2012, 3:02 am ·· posted by
The stakes in this year’s election are higher than normal because the next president may have the unusual opportunity to impact the ideological direction of the Supreme Court, untypical of any one presidential term.
During the next presidential term, starting in January 2013, of the nine Supreme Court justices, “three of the justices will be in their 80s,” notes Clint Bolick, author of the new book, “Two-Fer: Electing a President and a Supreme Court.”
“[W]hoever is elected in November may have the rare chance to reinforce or alter the courts balance,” he said.
And with Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United in 2010 – and perhaps the upcoming decisions on Obamacare and the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona’s illegal-immigration law – hinging on the opinion of a single justice and setting longstanding precedents, the court’s balance ought to be top of mind for voters in November.
There is no guarantee when a justice will retire nor can they be forced to do so. Supreme Court justices are constitutionally guaranteed a life term and can serve for as long as they wish to.
Of those justices reaching their eighties in the next presidential term, two of the three are regarded as being on the conservative side of the court. Among the liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg turns 80 in 2013. Conservative Antonin Scalia, 76, turns 80 in 2016. Anthony Kennedy, often portrayed as the swing vote on the typically divided court, turns 76 this summer and 80 in 2016.
President Barack Obama was able to make two Supreme Court nominations is his first 16 months in office, Justices Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010. Should he be reelected this year, he may have the ability to shift ideological balance of the court, which most people now believe to be generally a 5-4 conservative majority. Conversely, if a Republican were to win the White House, he would conversely have the same opportunity.
The president is first and foremost the commander in chief, that is to say, most of the autonomous powers of the presidency are over the military and foreign policy. Domestically, because Congress is assigned the power to make laws, the president’s most significant authority is in nominating justices to the Supreme Court, a power, Bolick notes, often overlooked in terms of its importance when selecting a president.
Bolick argues that in presidential campaigns, the power to appoint federal judges and nominate high court justices plays almost an “invisible role,” though it gives the president the ability to affect generations of Americans. The court-appointment authority is even more powerful today than it had been in previous generations.
“The average term length for a Supreme Court justice is 25 years,” according to Bolick. Also, justices are being appointed at younger ages and living much longer, “so life tenure is a bigger prize than it was when the Constitution was ratified.” For example, Justice Clarence Thomas was 43 when he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. On the current court, Justice Kagan is the youngest member, having just turned 52 on April 28.
In the past few years the Supreme Court has decided some pivotal cases down ideological lines in 5-4 rulings. One was the Citizens United decision in 2010 when the court ruled that corporations and unions had First Amendment rights allowing them to spend unlimited money on political speech.
This year, many legal scholars suspect the court will align in similar fashion against Obamacare, or at least the health care law’s mandate that all Americans buy government-approved health insurance. And just last week, the justices gave Solicitor General Donald Verrilli a flogging during oral arguments for the Obama administration’s lawsuit against Arizona’s controversial illegal-immigration law.
If the balance of ideology of the Supreme Court were shifted even by a single vote, the social and political impacts would be vast.
In the presidential term following the 2016 election, Justice Stephen Breyer will turn 80 (Aug. 15, 2018), meaning whoever is in the Oval Office the next two terms could potentially nominate nearly half the court.
This year’s presidential election and the next one may, in fact, be “two-fers,” allowing the American electorate to simultaneously choose a president and influence the future for generations of Americans whose lives are affected by rulings from the Supreme Court.
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Pastor compares Obama to Judas over same sex marriage
By Eric W. Dolan
Rev. Williams Owens, founder of the Coalition of African-Americans Pastors, on Tuesday compared President Barack Obama to Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver in the Bible.
“The President is in the White House because of the civil rights movement, and I was a leader in that movement, nd I didn’t march one inch, one foot, one yard for a man to marry a man or a woman to marry a woman,” he said at the National Press Club.
“So the President has forgotten the price that was paid,” Owens continued. “People died or they suffered or they gave their blood to have equal rights in the United States. And for the homosexual community and for the President to bow to the money, as Judas did with Jesus Christ, is a disgrace and we are ashamed. We will not take it back. We will not back down. We are going to take action across this country to change the course that this President has us in.”
Owens, who consults with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) as a liaison to black churches, has launched a national campaign urging African-American voters to oppose the reelection of Obama.
Documents released in March as the result of an investigation revealed that NOM planned to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” to prevent same sex marriage from becoming legal.
The organization hoped to “(f)ind, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage [and] develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right.”