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Jim Parks, editor

February 7, 2017

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 Senate Democrats have nothing to gain from a futile fight to deny Judge Neil Gorsuch his seat on the Supreme Court. By all accounts, he is eminently qualified and no one has denied that he is a man of integrity. Although he comes with strong conservative credentials there’s no telling how a justice will decide when considering circumstances of a specific case. Court history is replete with examples of judges who have proven the pundits wrong. Be that as it may, there is no indication that Gorsuch is inclined to let his political persuasions override – dare I say ‘trump’ – his judicial responsibilities.

It can be argued that, after eight years of mindless Republican obstructionism, Democrat lawmakers have some justification for employing similar tactics. Specifically they too can violate constitutional responsibility and subject the current nominee to something of the same reprehensible treatment they gave Judge Merrick Garland last year. Practically speaking, that would do little good because Republicans have sufficient power to overcome their opposition. At a deeper level, Democrats can now decide whether to subject us to the consequences of at least another four years of Congressional deadlock. On the other hand, they can demonstrate that the minority caucus knows how to govern responsibly. I suspect mainstream Republicans will understand and appreciate that.

 

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Donald J. Trump shows indications of being a pathological liar – by definition a serious mental-health issue.

During the election campaign and, especially, since his inauguration he not only has made but has continued to insist upon several statements easily identifiable as untruths. One of more blatant has been his contention that some three million to five million votes were cast illegally and that every one of them favored Hillary Clinton. Absent that fraud, he says, he, rather than she, would have won the popular vote and have received an indisputable mandate to pursue his ultra-right agenda.

More alarming has been his erratic behavior since becoming President of the United States. An extreme case in point was issuing – with virtually no consultation with anyone who, following normal administrative procedure, should have been consulted –  the executive order restricting entry of people from selected nations with majority Islamic populations. He claims that was to block future terrorists despite the fact that citizens of none of the designated countries has ever been linked to terrorist acts while several from Islamic nations excluded from the order have been. Suffice to note that Mr. Trump has or has had business dealings with the latter; none with the former.

I was nonplused today to read of his recent telephone conversation with Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. As the Washington Post puts it, Trump’s behavior suggests that he is capable of subjecting world leaders, including close allies, to a version of the vitriol he frequently employs against political adversaries and news organizations in speeches and on Twitter.” The incongruity of his so dealing with the leader of a nation that is and has been for many, many years a staunch ally and his public expressions of support for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin is, to say the least, startling.

At issue during the campaign was whether Mr. Trump was qualified to be president. Two weeks into his administration he seems to be going out of his way to demonstrate a negative response might be in order. While it’s politically premature to suggest implementation of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, members of Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – would do well to familiarize themselves with its provisions should it become advisable to remove a president incapable of performing the duties of the office.