Senate

Time to Do Away With the Blue Slip

Featured image The “blue slip”–the power of senators to block judicial nominations within their states–is a venerable Senate tradition that has long outlived its usefulness. Similar to the filibuster, liberals view the blue slip either as incorrigible obstructionism or as the height of prudent constitutionalism, depending only on which party’s president is nominating judges. Thus, when Barack Obama was doing the nominating, Jeffrey Toobin, in a New Yorker article headlined “Blue-Slip Battle: »

Justice Kennedy considering retirement next year

Featured image In this NPR story, the headline of which is about how conservative Justice Gorsuch’s votes have been, we learn that Justice Kennedy has not hired law clerks for the term that will begin in October 2018. Moreover, he has let applicants for these clerkship jobs know he is considering retirement. This doesn’t mean Kennedy will retire before the October 2018 term begins. However, the fact that he’s seriously considering doing »

Claire’s compleat embarrassment

Featured image As Scott recounted here, Sen. Claire McCaskill stepped in it when, seeking to distinguish herself from Attorney General Sessions, she tweeted: I’ve been on the Armed Services Com for 10 years. No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever. Ambassadors call members of Foreign Rel Com. Sessions had said that his previously undisclosed encounters with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak took place as a part of his routine senatorial duties on the »

What’s next for Obamacare reform in the Senate?

Featured image Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced that there would be no Senate vote on Obamcare reform legislation this week. Instead, the Senate will take up the matter of reforming Obamacare in July. Also yesterday, GOP Senators met with President Trump at the White House. The purpose was to see how the pending bill might be altered so as to get at least 50 of the 52 Republicans to vote “yes.” »

Is the GOP going about health care reform backwards?

Featured image In 2010, 2014, and (arguably) 2016, America elected Republicans because they wanted Obamacare repealed and replaced. They did not elect Republicans to revamp Medicaid. In fact, candidate Trump said he would not cut the program. Yet, neither the House nor the Senate health care bill repeals and replaces Obamacare. And both revamp Medicaid. Not wise. This is not to say that Medicaid won’t need to be revamped. It will. But »

The Senate health care bill: Yuval Levin’s take

Featured image Yuval Levin takes a close look at the Senate health care bill. He agrees with those of us who don’t consider it a repeal of Obamacare, Rather, like the House bill, the Senate version “addresses discrete problems with Obamacare within the framework it created, while pursuing some significant structural reforms to Medicaid.” Levin believes, as I do, that “the cause of good policy (almost regardless of your priorities in health »

Kamala Harris goes silent when confronted with true sex-based oppression

Featured image Last week, Sen. Kamala Harris became the left’s designated victim of the month because she was interrupted by Republican Senators during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Harris kept interrupting the witness, Attorney General Jeff Session, so it’s debatable whether she had a genuine grievance. Nonetheless, the Democrats and their media allies were quick to level hackneyed allegations that, once again, sexist patriarchs have tried to silence a woman »

The GOP Senate’s alternative to Obamacare — a first look

Featured image Senate Republicans today unveiled their health care bill. It’s 142 pages long. I have not yet read it. According to New York Times reporters Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan, the Senate bill maintains the structure of its House counterpart, but is more “moderate.” For example, it offers “more financial assistance to some lower-income people to help them defray the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance.” In addition, according to »

Jim Bunning, RIP

Featured image Today’s Washington Post features three obituaries — one for Zbigniew Brzezinski (written by long-time Post foreign policy writer Jim Hoagland), one for Gregg Allman, and one for Jim Bunning. The headline in the paper edition for Brzezinski’s obit reads: “Combative adviser helped shape Carter’s foreign policy.” We’ll leave it there. The paper edition headline for Allman’s obit reads: “Southern rock pioneer led Allman Brothers Band.” Scott is our music expert »

Angry with Jeff Sessions, the New York Times revises history

Featured image “Unity Was Emerging on Sentencing. Then Came Jeff Sessions.” So declares the New York Times in a story bemoaning the failure of Congress to pass sentencing reform legislation in 2016 and the recent order from Attorney General Sessions to end lenient charging practices at the Department of Justice. Jeff Sessions certainly deserves credit for opposing the lenient sentencing legislation. His effort was heroic. But Times reporter Carl Hulse distorts the »

Senate Dems: Appoint a special prosecutor or we’ll hold our breath until we turn blue

Featured image Democrats are threatening to slow the Senate to a crawl in response to President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. On Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (remember him?) objected to the Republicans’ routine request to allow 13 committee hearings to take place. Durbin gave the firing of Comey as his reason. His leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, is demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor for the Russia investigation. Democrats also »

Senate bill would counter Guerrilla warfare against immigration enforcement

Featured image Sen. Jeff Flake (along with fellow Arizona Senator John McCain) has proposed worthwhile legislation to fix one of the cracks in immigration enforcement. Here’s the crack: ICE frequently issues detainer orders to local law enforcement agencies to pick up illegal immigrants. The locals are supposed to hold the illegal for up to 48 hours while ICE comes to pick him up. However, two federal district courts (D. Minn. and N.D. »

House committee will investigate matters relating to Iran deal

Featured image Politico reports that the House oversight committee has launched an investigation into whether the Obama administration, in trying to win support for a nuclear deal and prisoner swap with Tehran last year, undermined an ambitious U.S. counter-proliferation effort to thwart Iranian weapons trafficking networks. In addition, 13 Republican senators have demanded answers about whether the Obama administration jeopardized U.S. national security as a result of its protracted top-secret negotiations with »

No women on the Senate GOP health care working group: So what?

Featured image CNN and other liberal media outlets are pointing out that the group of Republican Senators working together on the matter of Obamacare replacement contains no females. CNN’s Erin Burnett slammed Republicans for this fact. Here are the members of the group: Mitch McConnell John Cornyn John Thune John Barrasso Lamar Alexander Mike Enzi Orrin Hatch Ted Cruz Mike Lee Tom Cotton Cory Gardner Rob Portman Pat Toomey The first four »

Getting to “50” if Justice Kennedy retires

Featured image Yesterday, I noted the intense speculation over whether Justice Kennedy will retire at the end of this year’s Supreme Court term. Today, CNN reports that “friends and associates believe Kennedy is seriously considering retirement.” If Kennedy doesn’t step down this year, I think there’s a very good chance he will do so next year. With the judicial filibuster now eliminated, it will only take 50 votes to confirm a successor. »

Behind the showdown on Mount Gorsuch

Featured image Writing slightly in advance of the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court this past Friday, I referred to the weak sisters among the GOP Senators who came through in the event. I also paid tribute to Senator McConnell’s “long game” in keeping Justice Scalia’s seat open and in overcoming the Democratic filibuster. The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes now gives us an early look behind the showdown in “How »

The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch

Featured image Today is a great day to be an American. Among other things, Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed to the Supreme Court and become Justice Gorsuch. He will take the seat formerly held by the remarkable Justice Antonin Scalia. The case against Neil Gorsuch: there wasn’t one. The Democrats’ opposition to Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation constituted little more than an assertion of political will conforming to the fantasies of »