ITEM #2: Care for some more good news?
During the 2019 Nevada Legislative Session, Democrat lawmakers pushed through, and Governor Sisolak signed, tax increases that pretty clearly ran afoul of the state Constitution. That’s because they failed to garner support from the constitutionally required two-thirds supermajorities of both legislative houses for any tax hike in our state.
Democrats had a supermajority in the Assembly but were one seat shy in the Senate. Yet they rammed the tax hikes through the Senate anyway on a party-line vote, and the Governor promptly and illegally signed them into law (what is it with him and disdain for the rule of law, anyway?).
Republican state senators sued to have the tax hikes thrown out for violating the Constitution, while Democrats argued that the increases, because they were passed as extensions of previous tax hikes, didn’t require supermajorities to implement. Democrats’ reasoning was absurd on its face (the Nevada Constitution is clear that supermajorities are necessary to pass any measure that creates, generates or increases any public revenue, which was obviously the case here). And this week, Nevada’s court system agreed.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Bill Dentzer reports:
“A District Court judge sided with Republican state senators Monday in throwing out two revenue bills passed by the Legislature in 2019, ruling that they were passed in the Senate without the constitutionally required two-thirds majority vote.”
Judge James Todd Russell, in issuing his ruling, pointed out that this case was actually about as straight-forward as they come.
“Russell based his ruling on the intent of the 1994 initiative voters approved that installed the two-third requirement to increase revenue in any form. The initiative ‘set forth basically what the people wanted,’ he said.
“‘The intent of this particular provision of the Constitution is clear and the language is clear,’ he said. ‘It clearly states an affirmative vote of not fewer than two thirds of the members elected to each house is necessary to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates or increases any public revenue’ in any form.”
Naturally, Democrats have already said they’ll appeal.
It’s another welcome win, for now at least. And yet once again, it’s pretty terrifying that it even had to come to this. It’s jaw-dropping how Democrats continue to demonstrate that they have nothing but contempt for constitutional limits on their power and the rule of law.
And let’s not forget that they’re absolutely committed to trying to raise taxes again in 2021 — and they remain just one Senate seat short of having the authority to do it cleanly.
Remember in November.
ITEM #3: As if this past week weren’t already jam-packed with news … we now have a Supreme Court confirmation fight on the horizon.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last Friday, and we join our fellow Americans in mourning her passing.
Ginsburg’s death leaves a vacancy on our nation’s highest court during the homestretch of a hotly contested presidential race.
Democrats have been quick to argue that President Trump and Senate Republicans have a responsibility not to move forward with a replacement until after the election — and that, should Democrat nominee Joe Biden prevail in November, Biden should be the one to nominate Ginsburg’s replacement. President Trump, for his part, has said he will nominate a successor to Ginsburg and is expected to do so by the end of the week.
It’s a bit rich to hear Democrats argue for delaying any nomination on the grounds of norms, decency, the health of our country, etc. … especially in light of their unconscionably brutal treatment of Brett Kavanaugh (not to mention Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork).
But more important, their fixation on the appropriateness of the timing ignores the most relevant factor at play here — the only one that truly matters, when you get right down to it.
Under our Constitution, the President has the authority to nominate someone to fill the vacancy. And the Senate has the authority to confirm (or not to confirm) the nominee as it sees fit.
Everything else — the number of days left until the election, matters of divided vs. unified government, and so on — may make for interesting debate fodder. And we will indeed address some of that below. But ultimately, these are secondary points next to that fundamental one: Our duly elected President and Senators have the right to do their jobs.
President Trump should nominate — and, provided they find his nominee qualified and fit for the Supreme Court — Senators should confirm a new justice to fill the current vacancy. That justice should be one with an originalist judicial philosophy and a proven commitment to constitutional fidelity and judicial restraint. And the President and the Senate should act as soon as they deem practical and appropriate.
Ironically, none other than Joe Biden himself recently made the case that President Trump and Republicans are well within their right to move forward with the confirmation process.
Just this week, Biden addressed the topic by saying:
“The discussion should be about why [Trump] is moving in a direction that’s totally inconsistent with what [the] Founders wanted. The Constitution says voters get to pick a president who gets to make the pick, and the Senate gets to decide.”
Mind you, Biden intended his comment as an argument AGAINST President Trump nominating, and the current Senate confirming, a new justice. But his words — “The Constitution says voters get to pick a president who gets to make the pick, and the Senate gets to decide” — actually make the exact opposite case … and with near perfection, at that.
Voters did pick a President. That President is Donald Trump. The Senate (made up of 53 Republicans, per the will of the people) does get to decide. A majority of the Senate, it appears, stands ready to make a decision.
And as even Joe Biden has acknowledged, however unwittingly, our nation’s Constitution gives them the authority to do exactly that.
There’s absolutely no reason they shouldn’t.
ITEM #4: Despite those clear-cut facts, Democrats are insisting, and will continue to insist, that for a new justice to be nominated and confirmed during the current presidential term, in a presidential election year, would be a perversion of justice.
The mainstream press, of course, are treating and will continue to treat their objections as though they’re not only fair but are being made in good faith.
Democrats are wrong on the merits. But let’s consider another question: Are they even being sincere in their expressed concerns that the process is moving too hastily?
Well, here’s a video that should cure everyone of that delusion really quickly.
It features clips of everyone from Joe Biden to Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders, all arguing, in the not-too-distant past, that it was wrong and outrageous for a Supreme Court confirmation to be delayed. That was back in 2016, when the shoe was on the other foot, and these Democrats were making the case for the exact opposite of what they’re saying today.
Biden: “The American people deserve a fully staffed Court of nine.”
Clinton: “The President nominates, and then the Senate advises and consents, or not, but they go forward with the process.”
Sanders: “The Constitution is 100 percent clear. The President of the United States has the right to nominate someone to be a justice of the Supreme Court. The Senate’s function is to hold hearings and to vote.”
In other words, Democrats believed the process should move forward when they controlled the White House and it was their nominee up for consideration. Now that we have a Republican President, they’ve changed their tune.
For Democrats, it’s not about principle, and it’s not about timing. It’s about fear that their decades-long effort to politicize our judiciary and turn it into nothing more than a series of super-legislatures to advance their left-wing agenda may be stifled.
It’s about winning and losing. And they know this time, they’re going to lose.
ITEM #5: On top of all that, for those who are concerned about norms, precedents and history … the facts STILL point toward Republicans having every right to move forward with a nomination.
As Morning in Nevada PAC President Adam Laxalt summed things up on Twitter: