Utah

Utah Senator Mike Lee Seems To Have An Edge For Supreme Court Nomination

On June 28, this blogger suggested that Utah Senator Mike Lee was a likely potential possibility for the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.

He would be a rarity, a sitting United States Senator, chosen for the Supreme Court.

There is no requirement that a sitting Federal Court judge must be chosen, although that has become the tradition since Governor Earl Warren of California was chosen to be Chief Justice by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, with only Sandra Day O’Connor, who served in the Arizona State Senate, and chosen by Ronald Reagan in 1981, having any elective experience since then.

As stated on June 28, we had Senators earlier, including most impressively, Hugo Black, who had done good deeds on the Supreme Court.

So the belief that Mike Lee has the advantage comes to the forefront again. It was announced that Lee had been interviewed for the position, so he is on the short list.

Lee is 47, which from the viewpoint of Donald Trump and conservatives, is ideal, meaning a 35 year term on the Supreme Court under normal circumstances.

Lee is a sometimes critic of Trump, who did not back him, which makes him seem independent of any influence by Trump if Lee was on the Court.

Lee is pro life, which would make it hard for Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to support him, but neither is needed as long as some Red State Democrats—Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp—all who voted for Neil Gorsuch last year—support him. And both Collins and Murkowski ended up voting for Gorsuch, so their protestations seem weak.

It would be difficult for either Collins or Murkowski to vote against their own party and Senate colleague in the end, as after all, both voted for Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and Collins even gave a strong endorsement presentation before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his nomination to the Justice Department, despite his outrageous racism.

So I suggest that Lee might be the choice of Trump, and more likely to sail through confirmation, and with a likely 53-46 vote (without John McCain voting), and possibly more Red State Democrats justifying the vote for their “Senate colleague”!

Party loyalty and Senatorial “courtesy” give Mike Lee the advantage, at least in theory, but we shall see!

What If Utah Senator Mike Lee Is Nominated For Supreme Court?

Early speculation on who Donald Trump might select to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court centers on Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, an original Tea Party member, having served in the Senate, and promoting libertarian ideas since 2011.

Not always a supporter of Trump, and not backing him in 2016 due to the Access Hollywood tape, Lee would still be a prime choice for Trump.

Lee is only 47 and could be expected to serve on the Court until 2050 and beyond.

He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has to consider the Supreme Court nomination, and there are 11 Republicans to 10 Democrats on that committee.

To believe that any of his GOP colleagues on the committee, or even in the Senate, would vote against their party member, is hard to conceive.

And if all 50 Republicans stay united (minus John McCain, who is not likely to return to Washington DC anytime soon), at the worst, Vice President Mike Pence can vote if need be, but a 50-49 vote is a majority, and likely, a few Democrats, in red states facing election, would cross the aisle and vote for Lee, as they did for Neil Gorsuch a year ago.

Having a Senator on the Supreme Court is not unheard of, as it has happened 15 times in American history.

Most famously, there was Alabama Democratic Senator Hugo Black, who served on the Court for 34 years from 1937 to 1971, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. And President Harry Truman appointed two Senators—Sherman Minton of Indiana, who served from 1949-1956; and Harold Burton of Ohio who served from 1945-1958.

Also, there have been 17 Congressmen who served on the Supreme Court, including Warren G. Harding appointee George Sutherland of Utah who served from 1922-1938; and Chief Justice Fred Vinson of Kentucky, who served from 1946-1953, appointed by President Truman.

Finally, 6 Governors have been appointed to the Supreme Court, the last and most famous being California Governor Earl Warren, appointed Chief Justice by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and serving to 1969; along with significant appointments by President Abraham Lincoln of Ohio Governor Salmon P Chase to be Chief Justice, serving from 1864-1873; former New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes, first appointed to the Court by William Howard Taft from 1910 to 1916, and then returning to the Court as Chief Justice by appointment of President Herbert Hoover from 1930-1941; and Michigan Governor Frank Murphy, appointed by FDR and serving from 1940-1949.

Could The Equal Rights Amendment Become The 28th Amendment? The 27th Amendment As A Case Study

Lo and Behold!

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment, passed through both houses of Congress by wide margins, and then ratified by 35 states between 1972 and 1977, three states short of the three fourths or 38 states needed to ratify, and abandoned after one three year extension from the original seven year plan, in 1982, suddenly has life again!

Nevada’s legislature became state 36 in 2017, and Illinois just became the 37th recently, and now North Carolina is moving ahead on the measure, even though it is 41 years since the original 35 states ratified it, and 46 years since it was passed by both houses of Congress. Also, as a backup, the states of Arizona, Utah, Florida and Virginia are moving in the same direction.

There is precedent for this great delay in the 27th Amendment, suggested in 1789, and only finally ratified by enough states in 1992, mandating that Congress cannot raise its own pay during the same session of Congress that they enact a raise, but only for the succeeding Congress.

If that can happen 203 years after the original enactment, then why not 46 years?

George Will, the conservative ideologue, is bitterly opposed, as he argues progress has been made for women as members of Congress and in society and in law. from what it was in the 1970s.

While that is true, there is still no reason NOT to put women in the Constitution specifically, as the only mention is the 19th Amendment in 1920, giving women the right to vote long after the first push for suffrage at the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.

Theodore Roosevelt To Barack Obama, And The Antiquities Act Of 1906, Now Under Threat From Donald Trump

Theodore Roosevelt, the greatest environmental and conservation President, promoted the passage of the Antiquities Act of 1906, and since then, 16 Presidents have designated a grand total of 157 National Monuments and National Parks.

Four Republican Presidents added no national monuments or national parks—Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, although Nixon is seen as a great environmental President with his Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickel, and the signing into law of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, and the first declared Earth Day on April 22, 1970.

Under Theodore Roosevelt, a total of 18 monuments or parks were added, including Devils Tower National Monument, Petrified Forest National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, Grand Canyon National Park, and Olympic National Park.

William Howard Taft added 10 national monuments and national parks, including Navajo National Monument and Zion National Park.

Woodrow Wilson added 13 national monuments and national parks, including Dinosaur National Monument, Acadia National Park, and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.

Warren G. Harding added 8 national monuments and national parks, including Great Basin National Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument, and Bryce Canyon National Park.

Calvin Coolidge added 13 national monuments and national parks, including Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Statue Of Liberty National Monument, Fort Pulaski National Monument, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

Herbert Hoover added 9 national monuments and national parks, including Arches National Park, Portion Of White River National Forest, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Grand Canyon National Park (extension), White Sands National Monument, and Death Valley National Park.

Franklin D. Roosevelt added 13 national monuments and national parks, including Dry Tortugas National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Zion National Park (extension), and Grant Teton National Park.

Harry Truman added just 1 national monument and national park, Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Dwight D. Eisenhower added just 2 national monuments and national parks, Thomas Edison National Historical Park, and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

John F. Kennedy added just 2 national monuments and national parks, including Russell Cave National Monument, and Buck Island Reef National Monument.

Lyndon B. Johnson added just 2 national monuments and national parks, an extension again of Grand Canyon National Park, and Portion of Tongrass National Forest.

Jimmy Carter added 15 national monuments and national parks in just one term as President, a reason why Carter is seen as one of the top three conservation oriented Presidents, alongside TR and Nixon. Among those monuments and forests Carter added were Denali National Park in Alaska, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Bill Clinton added the grant total of 19 national monuments and national parks, including Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, California Coastal National Monument, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Portion of Sequoia National Forest, President Lincoln and Soldier’s Home National Monument, Sonoran Desert National Monument, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, and Governors Island National Monument.

George W. Bush added 6 national monuments and national parks, including African Burial Ground National Monument, World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and Pacific Remote Islands National Monument.

Finally, Barack Obama added the grand total of 29 national monuments and national parks, far more than runners up Bill Clinton, Theodore Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These included Fort Monroe National Monument, Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, San Juan Islands National Monument, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, Stonewall National Monument, Bears Ears National Monument, Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Freedom Riders National Monument, and Reconstruction Era National Monument.

Is Presidential Race Of 2020 Beginning Early? Rumors About Mitt Romney And Joe Biden Emerge

Hard to believe, but on the 13 month anniversary today of Donald Trump’s inauguration, rumors and gossip are spreading about the Presidential race of 2020 beginning early.

Early speculation talks about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, now running for the open Senate seat in Utah, being vacated by Senator Orrin Hatch, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, leaving after 7 terms and 42 years of service. Rumors have it that Romney is positioning himself for another Presidential run against Donald Trump or if he leaves office, Vice President Mike Pence, in two years.

Of course, Romney denies such rumors, but it is said that many mainstream conservatives want Romney to run, and possibly Trump realizes that potential, as he has now come to endorse Romney for the Senate, after having encouraged Hatch not to retire,

Romney is well known for his bitter denunciation of Trump’s candidacy in 2016, and then being manipulated by Trump for the possible post of Secretary of State, but passing him by for that position, so this will be something to watch, if Romney decides to challenge Trump or Pence.

Also, former Vice President Joe Biden, ahead in early polls for the Democratic Presidential nomination, over both Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Oprah Winfrey, is making clear through friends that he is seriously considering another run for President, as he is well aware that many have said had he run in 2016, and been the Democratic Presidential nominee, that he would have won the working class white vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and defeated Trump. Of course, the tragic death of son Beau Biden prevented that, and is seen by many as a tragic turning point in American history.

Realize, however, that were Romney and Biden to be their party nominees, we would have a candidate who would reach 74 after two months in office (Romney), and a candidate who would reach 78 two weeks after the election in 2020.

Either would be the oldest Presidential first term winner in American history, and once again, despite loyalty of many to both Romney and Biden, as being “Presidential”, one has to wonder if younger voters would be turned off by two “Grandpa” candidates, rather than moving toward supporting nominees in their 40s, 50, or early 60s, as preferable.

There is a long list of such potential nominees, and this will all be explored over time, but for now, the “Old Guard” is in the forefront of speculation.

Is Our Future Leadership Our Past Contenders, And “Old” Leaders (Those Over 70 In 2020)?

At a time when many observers would say we need to look to a new generation of leadership for America. instead the potential for our past contenders or “old’ leaders to end up competing for the Presidency in 2020 is very clear.

On the Democratic side, we could have Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (age 79 in 2020); former Vice President Joe Biden (78 in 2020); former 2016 Presidential nominee and First Lady and New York Senator Hillary Clinton (age 73 in 2020); and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (age 71 in 2020) all announcing for President.

Some rumors even put retiring California Governor Jerry Brown (82 in 2020); former 2004 Presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Senator, and former Secretary of State John Kerry (77 in 2020); and former 2000 Presidential nominee and former Vice President Al Gore (72 in 2020) also in the mix.

On the Republican side, we could have President Donald Trump (74 in 2020) and former 2012 Presidential nominee, Massachusetts Governor, and future likely Utah Senator Mitt Romney (73 in 2020), announcing for President.

The question that arises is whether the voting population would be turned off to “Baby Boomers” and some born even before 1946, with Sanders, Biden, Brown and Kerry born between 1938 and 1943, being the competitors who make it to the final stage of the election campaign.

It is certainly likely that at least some of this above list is in the mix, but the likelihood still is that a Senator or Governor of a younger generation will be, at least, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2020, and a slight chance that such would be the case in the Republican Party.

Conservation Lands Foundation And Other Environmental Groups Fight Donald Trump On Cutting Down Of National Monuments

The Conservation Lands Foundation and many other environmental and conservation groups went to federal court this week to stop the attempt of Donald Trump, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to cut down two National Monuments created by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and by President Barack Obama in 2016, both in Utah.

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, declared by Clinton, would be cut by about half, and the Bears Ears National Monument, created by Obama, would be cut by 85 percent.

The aim of the Trump Administration is to promote mining, and drilling, taking away two million acres of protected land, which also has native American sacred sites within its midst.

The purpose is also to destroy scientific, historical, and cultural areas, in the first time we have seen any President make major cuts in public lands.

The Antiquities Act, passed under Republican President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 has led to 157 National Monuments, but now the future is endangered by the reckless actions of the Trump Administration.

The reason why the author has titled this entry with one specific organization of many is due to the fact that his older son works as a lobbyist in Washington, DC for the Conservation Lands Foundation, fighting against the loss of protection of conservation lands.

And this author and blogger is proud of the fact that his son has the commitment to the environment that his dad has long held.

Orrin Hatch Says Trump Is One Of The Best Presidents Of His Lifetime: Time To Retire!

Republican Senate President Pro Tempore, Orrin Hatch of Utah, is third in the line of succession at age 83, the longest serving Republican after 41 years in the upper chamber, and is coming up for reelection to an 8th term in 2018, although he may be challenged, if he decides to run, by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP Presidential nominee.

Hatch’s longevity and age is a good argument why he should retire, or face possible defeat by Romney for the nomination.

Hatch has often made ridiculous statements, but this latest one, saying Trump is one of the best Presidents of his lifetime, is shocking, and it makes one wonder if his mental health is solid, as it seems delusional, and a sign of his possible dementia.

The thought that in theory Hatch could succeed to the Presidency if Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Paul Ryan were all found to be engaged in collusion, is terrifying.

This blogger has long believed that the line of succession should not be the way it is, and instead be changed to the Senate Majority Leader, who is always younger and has been elected by his party colleagues based on his ability to lead, while the Senate President Pro Tempore is simply in that position based upon seniority, not upon qualifications. So we need the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 to be changed now.

While this blogger is not at all thrilled about Mitch McConnell, at least he has been voted into his position and is younger than Hatch.

So, Orrin Hatch, time to announce your retirement at age 84 and after 42 years, half your life in the US Senate.

Octogenarians In Congress: Time For Age Limit Of 80, So That Younger Generation, “Fresh Blood”, Comes Into Both Houses

Age discrimination laws have disappeared in recent decades, but at the same time, there is the issue of members of Congress staying on into their 80s in growing numbers, and one has to wonder if that is good for the nation at large, or whether it helps to promote the image of Congress being out of sync with the nation, and preventing a younger generation of “fresh blood” from having opportunity to serve in Congress.

Presently, there are eight Senators and eleven House members who are in their 80s, and there are others in both chambers nearing 80 over the next few years.

Seven Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate, and eight Democrats and three Republicans in the House of Representatives are now in their 80s, and there is no indication that the House members are planning to retire in 2018.

Four of the House members are in the upper 80s right now—Democrats Sander Levin of Michigan who is 86; Democrat John Conyers of Michigan who is 88; Democrat Louise Slaughter who is 88; and Republican Sam Johnson of Texas who is 87.

Meanwhile, three of the eight Senators were just reelected to terms ending in 2022—Richard Shelby of Alabama who will be 88 then; John McCain of Arizona who will be 86 then; and Chuck Grassley of Iowa who will be 89 then.

Three others have terms ending in 2020—Pat Roberts of Kansas who will be 84 then; Thad Cochran of Mississippi who will be 83 then; and James Inhofe of Oklahoma who will be 86 then.

The other two Senators face election in 2018–Diane Feinstein of California who will be 85; and Orrin Hatch of Utah who will be 84.

The aging of Congress has been a growing trend, and it does not bode well for the future, as far as public support for Congress is concerned.

There is no realistic possibility of legislated age limits, but the growing number of octogenarians in Congress is not a good development.

If Joe Arpaio Ran For US Senate, He Would Be Oldest First Term Elected Senator At Age 86 And Seven And A Half Months!

Donald Trump is suggesting that former Maricopa county Sheriff Joe Arpaio, just pardoned by Trump, run for the Republican nomination for the US Senate against Republican critic Senator Jeff Flake next year in Arizona.

Whether Arpaio would actually take such a step is unsettled, and it would seem that Arpaio would be unlikely to win the nomination or election, with both Flake and Senator John McCain highly critical of him, and of Trump’s pardon of the controversial former Sheriff in Phoenix.

However, were Arpaio to run and be successful, he would be the oldest first term U S Senator ever elected in American history, at age 86 and 7 and a half months in January 2019, making him older than the oldest members of the present US Senate, California Senator Diane Feinstein and Utah Senator and President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Previously, only two US Senators were sworn in at an older age than Arpaio would be, but both were appointed to finish out a term, not elected by popular vote.

Andrew Jackson Houston of Texas, son of the famous Sam Houston, served by appointment for 67 days to fill a vacancy from April 21, 1941 to June 26, 1941 as a member of the Democratic Party, and he was 86 years 10 months and 1 day old when he became a member of the Senate. His brief term ended with his death, and he had been ill most of the time while a Senator, mostly being in a hospital during his tenure in the upper chamber. His death came five days after his 87th birthday.

Rebecca Felton of Georgia was the first woman to serve in the US Senate, and the only one to date from Georgia, and the oldest person ever sworn in to the US Senate, at age 87 years, 3 months and 24 days old, and serving only one day in the Senate as a Democrat from November 21 to November 22, 1922. Her husband had served in the House of Representatives, and Rebecca Felton had been a prominent reformer in the Progressive Era, an advocate of women suffrage and equal pay for equal work for women, as well as prison reform. However, at the same time, Felton supported white supremacy and had been a slave owner in her younger years, and had spoken in favor of lynching of African Americans, so her so called “Progressivism” had major shortcomings. She died at age 94 in 1930.