Antonin Scalia

'Donald Trump's Supporters Lap Up Every Conspiracy Theory He Pushes Out There'

As we note in our new report on Donald Trump’s embrace of conspiracy theorists, “poll after poll shows that Trump supporters disproportionately subscribe to shocking conspiracy theories,” such as the false claim that thousands of Muslim-Americans in New Jersey celebrated on 9/11 or that climate science is a hoax.

A new survey released by Public Policy Polling today finds that respondents who have a favorable opinion of Trump are much more likely to believe in the conspiracy theories Trump promotes, including the discredited claims that President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim, that Justice Antonin Scalia died under suspicious circumstances and that vaccines are linked to autism.

One claim promoted by Trump, that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, didn’t appear to entirely convince his followers. But it did raise misgivings: while 7 percent of Trump’s fans thought Rafael Cruz was implicated in the assassination, 38 percent couldn’t say for sure one way or the other.

That’s not so bad for Trump, since simply muddying the waters was his main objective all along.

Among voters with a favorable opinion of Trump:

-65% think President Obama is a Muslim, only 13% think he's a Christian.

-59% think President Obama was not born in the United States, only 23% think that he was.

-27% think vaccines cause autism, 45% don't think they do, another 29% are not sure.

-24% think Antonin Scalia was murdered, just 42% think he died naturally, another 34% are unsure.

-7% think Ted Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of JFK, 55% think he was not involved, another 38% are unsure.

“For the most part we’ve found that Donald Trump’s supporters lap up every conspiracy theory he pushes out there,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But the Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in killing JFK one appears to be a bridge too far even for them.”

Trump Turns To Far-Right Heritage Foundation For Future Supreme Court Nominees

While many Americans grimly wonder which would be worse for the country, President Donald Trump or President Ted Cruz, one issue isn’t providing much help: Both candidates are making it clear that their potential nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court would be terrible.

We reported yesterday on Cruz’s suggestions that he would nominate his best friend in the Senate, Utah’s Mike Lee. Under his extreme views of the Constitution, much of what the federal government does is unconstitutional, including Social Security and Medicare.

What about Trump? Last year, Trump called Clarence Thomas his favorite justice. This year, he declared Justice Antonin Scalia’s death a “massive setback” for the conservative movement and joined right-wing conspiracy theorists in raising suspicions that Scalia had been murdered.

Last month Trump tossed out the names of two right-wing appeals court judges, William Pryor and Diane Sykes, as two potential nominees from a Trump administration. Pryor calls Roe v. Wade and Miranda v. Arizona, two landmark cases protecting the rights of women and criminal defendants, respectively, “the worst examples of judicial activism.” Sykes, like Pryor, has upheld damaging voter ID laws. She also argued that anti-gay groups have a constitutional right to receive government subsidies regardless of whether they engage in discrimination.

Now, Trump is pledging to release a list of seven to 10 potential justices from which he commits to choosing a nominee – and that list is being put together with help from the far-right Heritage Foundation. Heritage is a massively funded right-wing powerhouse that is home to, among others, anti-marriage-equality activist Ryan Anderson, who is urging social conservatives to resist the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Heritage and its more explicitly political arm Heritage Action have demanded even greater obstructionism from congressional Republicans. Even before Scalia’s death, the group had urged the GOP to refuse to confirm any executive branch or judicial nominations except for appointments dealing with national security. Heritage senior fellow Hans von Spakovsky has even demanded that Scalia be allowed to “vote” – even though he is dead – on a case that right-wing activists were hoping the court would use to destroy public sector unions.

Trump met in Washington yesterday with congressional Republicans, and at a press conference he pushed back against accusations by Cruz that he couldn’t be counted on to name a conservative to the court. “Some people say maybe I’ll appoint a liberal judge,” he said. “I won’t.” He promised that his nominee would be “pro-life” and “conservative.”

Trump also explicitly warned (or taunted, depending on your view) Republicans opposed to his nomination that if they support a third-party candidate against him, they will allow a Democrat to name Supreme Court justices who “will never allow this country to be the same.”

Among the Republicans huddling with Trump? Heritage Foundation president and former Sen. Jim DeMint.

Rick Joyner: Hurricane Katrina Was God's Way Of Punishing Gay People

Last week on “The Jim Bakker Show,” televangelist Rick Joyner repeated his claim that gay pride events are to blame for Hurricane Katrina, alleging that the storm was a sign of God’s judgment and “a wakeup call.”

Joyner also spent time criticizing the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality ruling during a discussion about the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

After wondering if Scalia’s death was a sign from either God or Satan, Joyner again insisted that while he doesn’t like conspiracy theories, “there’s something really suspicious” about Scalia’s death: “There’s something really fishy about this that needs to be answered.”

“This could fracture our nation and bring about Civil War,” Joyner said of Scalia’s death. “It has that potential. That sounds extreme but, I tell you, you wait and see.”

This led him to declare that the Supreme Court has become an out-of-control force of tyranny and that the five justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality “need to be impeached.”

Michael Savage: Media Covering Up Obama's Murder Of Antonin Scalia

Before his interview with Donald Trump yesterday, conservative radio host Michael Savage shared a story from the National Enquirer alleging that Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered by a prostitute working for the government, pointing to the story as confirmation of his conspiracy theory that President Obama assassinated Scalia.

Indeed, Trump shared his own suspicions about Scalia’s death on Savage’s show, “The Savage Nation,” several weeks ago.

The National Enquirer’s report, Savage said, must be true since they haven’t been sued for libel. He said that other media outlets haven’t run with the tabloid’s article because the media is working for Obama, and instead newspapers like the New York Daily News are aiming their “hatred and bigotry” at Trump.

Savage also recounted conversations he had with people in the U.S. Virgin Islands about Trump and “the Muslims in the taxi business.”

Savage said that Muslims are “suddenly all over the U.S. Virgin Islands and almost nowhere to be seen in the British Virgin Islands. Well, you look at the White House and you see a guy who is named Barack Hussein Obama who many think is sympathetic if not outright practicing Islam; we hear the directors of various big agencies have converted to Islam secretly, that they’re hiding it, and you look around the country and you don’t know what nation you’re living in anymore.”

“Where did America go in eight years under this deceiver, this anti-American deceiver in the White House?” Savage continued. “How come you haven’t seen any exposés in the Daily News about Obama’s crimes and misdemeanors? How come you haven’t seen anything about Hillary Clinton and her crimes and misdemeanors in the Daily News?”

Rafael Cruz: Ted Cruz Will Spare America From God's Judgment, Like King Josiah

On Friday, Sandy Rios spoke with Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, at the National Religious Broadcasters convention.

The elder Cruz, one of his son’s top campaign surrogates, repeated his claim that his son has divine support for his presidential bid, even going so far as to compare him to Josiah, the King of Judah, who, according to biblical texts, was raised up by God to banish idolatry and restore exclusive worship to the God of Israel.

He told Rios, a prominent Cruz endorser and the director of governmental affairs for the American Family Association, that “with the death of Antonin Scalia, we are in such a precarious balance in the Supreme Court, one more liberal justice and we will lose all of our freedoms.”

Only his son, he added, could be trusted to replace Scalia with a conservative jurist, warning that the appointment of a different kind of justice “could destroy America.”

Rios, mystified as to why many evangelical Christians have backed Donald Trump, a person who “certainly doesn’t share their values,” wondered where God is in this campaign:

I’m curious to know, many of us have felt for some time that God is really judging us as a country for all of the obvious reasons, for the immorality, for the corruption and all of it, and this presidential cycle I think people have become encouraged, I thought, maybe God is going to give us another chance here.

And now we see that many, many Christians -- rather than supporting a man who really loves God and is equipped, not only loves God but he’s equipped to be president and has a record -- they’re gravitating to someone who certainly doesn’t share their values and is uncertain, there’s a lot of reasons why they’re doing that.

So the question is: Where is God in this campaign for you? I mean, I know you think your son is uniquely qualified; many, many people feel that same way, what if God does not grant that? What do you think that means to us?

Cruz agreed with her assessment that America is facing God’s judgment, unless Americans elect his son president:

America has been just declining so much that you could say that, perhaps, there is judgment for America. But you know, look at the example of Josiah, King Josiah, in the Old Testament. The people of Israel, where judgment was imminent, because a godly man, a man that brought the people back to the law – and what just happened is judgment was deferred, and so it restored confidence in the people.

All we need is a leader that will take us back to the Judeo-Christian principles, to the rock-solid principles of the Constitution, that will make America again that exceptional country that will take us back to where there’s freedom, there is opportunity, there is the ability for any American with hard work and perseverance to achieve any of their dreams.

As Cruz explained, his son has the policies to put America on the right track by “removing taxes, removing regulations and cutting down the size, power and scope of the federal government” and to lead the country as “a servant to We the People.”

“So you think that if we should make the right choice in this particular race, that God could defer judgment? I agree with you. That makes perfect sense to me,” Rios said. “But if Christians don’t make the right choice, and you know what, they are tormented, I hear from them all the time, some of them think that Trump has the charisma, the machismo, as it were, to turn this whole thing around and they think that maybe he can win because of his pop culture appeal and so they’re torn about who they should support.”

Cruz urged voters not to be swayed by a candidate who might have charisma but only offers “empty words” and instead “elect a man who is calm, who is not driven by emotion, because that could lead us astray very quickly.” His son, he continued, is the only candidate with the record conservative Christians can trust.

“We don’t need a deal-maker,” he said.

The two then turned to the future of America’s relationship with Cuba and presence in Guantanamo Bay, with Cruz warning that President Obama intends to “release all of the terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, which will go back to fight and kill Americans and kill Jews,” and is setting the stage for another Cuban Missile Crisis.

Ronald Reagan, 1988: 'Move Quickly' To 'Make Sure There's A Full Nine-Member Supreme Court'

In their effort to prevent President Obama from naming the next Supreme Court justice, Senate Republicans have seized upon a bogus talking point that the Senate has a long-held, bipartisan tradition of refusing confirmation votes to the Supreme Court during an election year.

This claim is demonstrably false, as illustrated by a cursory glance at Senate history and by some of the past statements and even votes of some of the very same senators.

Things got so bad that Ted Cruz, who in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was one of the first to call on the GOP to block consideration of any nominee from President Obama, falsely claimed in a presidential debate that Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed by the Senate in 1987, when in fact he was confirmed in 1988, the final year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

The same politicians who try to out-position one another as a modern-day versions of Reagan must find it pretty inconvenient that Reagan, in his last year in office, urged the Senate to “move quickly and decisively” to “make sure there’s a full, nine-member Supreme Court to interpret the law and to protect the rights of all Americans.”

Howard Mortman of C-SPAN flagged the remarks Reagan made in his 1988 State of the Union address.

As Paul explained last week, filling a Supreme Court vacancy in the last year of a presidency is indeed rare — because it is rare for a justice to die in office, and even rarer for a justice to die in a presidential election year.

But many Republicans, it seems, have found it easier to manufacture phony “traditions” than to admit they want to leave the court shorthanded for a year in the hopes of having a president they like better in the future.

Trump Confidant Roger Stone Wonders If Scalia Was Assassinated

Last week, radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones interviewed Roger Stone, the longtime adviser and confidant of Donald Trump, about the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Stone, who has served as a go-between for Jones and Trump, was happy to engage in speculation surrounding the justice’s death, just as the GOP frontrunner himself has.

When Jones, who has insisted that Scalia was assassinated and warned that Trump may be next, brought up the “red flags” surrounding the justice’s death, Stone mentioned the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

“I don’t think any of us are claiming foul play, we’d like to rule out foul play, but common sense dictates that there’d be some investigation and some autopsy to make sure this wasn’t another coup d’état,” he said. “We’ve had coups d’état in this country. We had one on November 22nd, 1963, we had another one at the time of Watergate, this could very well be another coup d’état.”

Stone also took time to explain that the New York Daily News has been critical of Trump because its owner, Mort Zuckerman, is “a very short guy, he has no luck with women and he’s very, very jealous of Donald Trump, who is tall, handsome and has the most beautiful wife on the planet.”

Later, Jones hailed Trump as “a hero” who is “under amazing danger” due to a grand plot involving the Vatican, Washington and Wall Street.

“I am so glad I back Trump,” he said. “He’s the real deal. There’s no way he’s an establishment scammer. I can look at their body language, they are crapping their pants, Mr. Stone, and for a lack of a better term, they are scared to death like vampires being hauled out at high noon. I am really concerned about Donald Trump right now. I’m not fear-mongering. I think he’s the most under-threat man on earth right now.”

Right-Wing Activists Suggest Obama Killed Scalia To Impose Martial Law

Two right-wing pundits who have suggested that the White House was behind the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC and InfoWars broadcaster Alex Jones, got together last week to discuss their theories about Scalia’s passing, both insisting that they were just asking the question if President Obama killed the conservative jurist.

Gheen rejoiced that more Americans are waking up to the fact that the U.S. “is being destabilized and overthrown by a socialist overthrow of [the] country that’s behind illegal immigration and behind the Black Lives Matter movement,” finding it suspicious that “Scalia was the number-one or one of the number-one top stumbling blocks to that agenda when he died.”

“We are under martial law,” Gheen declared.

Jones said that Scalia was “the one guy standing against” Obama and “was about to say no and they said, ‘Oh really?’”

Paranoia-Rama: Scalia's Satanic Sacrifice, Antichrist Hillary And FEMA Camp Future

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has spurred right-wing conspiracy theorists into action, as they spin strange and increasingly absurd claims about the circumstances of his death. At the same time, others have been sticking to the typical attacks on President Obama as an anti-white, anti-Christian tyrant.

Michael Savage: 'It's The End Of The World' If Obama Appoints A New Justice To The Supreme Court

On Wednesday, conservative talk radio personality Michael Savage continued to hash out his conspiracy theory that President Obama was behind Justice Antonin Scalia’s death at a Texas ranch.

He told “Savage Nation” listeners that Scalia’s “suspicious” death was the single worst thing to ever happen to the world because if Obama “gets control of that Supreme Court you may as well pack your bags and move. Where? There’s nowhere to move. It’s the end of the world. You heard me, it’s the end of the world. Not the end of America, the end of the world.”

“Nothing worse could’ve happened,” Savage said, claiming that the U.S. will go “right into the toilet bowl” if Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gains more clout on the court.

He then said the FBI would never investigate Scalia’s passing because it’s “in the back pocket of Barry Obama’s Blackberry union.”

'All Is Lost': Michael Savage Has Meltdown Suggesting Obama Killed Scalia

On Tuesday’s edition of “The Savage Nation,” Michael Savage expounded on his suspicion that President Obama was behind the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a theory he shared with GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Savage declared that if the scandal is “swept under the rug and Hussein is allowed to railroad his nominee down the throats of the American people without opposition, then all is lost, all is lost.”

He added: “Antonin Scalia was the single largest obstacle to Obama’s end-of-term agenda and that’s all you have to know.”

Referring to the Supreme Court’s move to block new rules on greenhouse gas emissions, Savage claimed that Scalia may have been wacked because he “just killed a trillion-dollar-a-year business for the gangster left in the green business, they’re making more money on green rackets than they ever made in importing drugs, and you wonder why he was dead six days later?”

While chatting with Joe Biggs of the conspiracy-theory clearinghouse InfoWars, Savage insisted that he could have his food poisoned for investigating the justice’s death.

“I’m definitely throwing the pillows off the bed,” Biggs said, a reference to the right-wing conspiracy theory that a pillow found by the late justice’s head was involved in his death.

Savage also linked Scalia’s death to the civil war in Syria. “Putin should get a Nobel Prize for taking ISIS on and putting them on run,” he said, ignoring the fact that Russia is actually bombing the terrorist group’s rivals while largely ignoring ISIS.

He then accused Obama of arming and funding ISIS, unlike Putin, whom Savage said “stepped in as the hero of the world.” “Never forget that Hussein may not be on the side that you think he’s on,” Savage continued. “Never ever forget that his loyalties are questionable.”

After suggesting that the president is a secret Muslim who shows “solidarity with the other side,” he said that "if they can whack a Supreme Court justice and get away with it, tell me what else they can do?”

Five Conservatives Who Think Obama Murdered Scalia

It was inevitable that some conservative activists would push conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, warning that Scalia was killed on the orders of President Obama as part of his nefarious plan to introduce socialism and perform demonic pagan rituals.

5) Rick Wiles

End Times radio host Rick Wiles knows the real reason Obama tried to murder Scalia. And as you have probably already guessed, it was part of a numerology-inspired pagan ritual to use Scalia as a human sacrifice to Satan:

4) Ted Nugent

NRA board member Ted Nugent posted on his Facebook page a “report” from a website called InvestmentWatch alleging that Scalia was murdered to help Obama push through his policies on climate change.

 

Who can possibly trust our evil rotten runaway criminal government at this heartbreaking point in time?http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-motive-behind-the-murder-of-justice-scalia/

Posted by Ted Nugent on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

 

3) Alex Jones

Immediately after news broke of Scalia’s death, Alex Jones of InfoWars insisted that the justice was killed as part of an Obama-led conspiracy. The following day, Jones and his news crew agreed that Obama decided to kill Scalia in order to push through gun reform and socialism, while sparking “the final war” over the future of America.

2) William Gheen

The head of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), William Gheen, thinks that Obama may have murdered Scalia in order to “hand control of the highest court in our land to liberal socialists for the first time in American history” and change the outcome of an upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the president’s executive actions on immigration.

Judge Scalia's death at the average lifespan for modern Americans, 79 years, comes just in time for the final months of the despised Obama administration. The new math on the Supreme Court without Scalia will allow them to immediately rule in favor of Obama's unconstitutional amnesty for illegals orders! How convenient for the liberals that the death of one man would create such an incredible power to radically transform America in the next few months regardless of if Congress blocks Obama from replacing Scalia! There are so many powerful people with motive to want Scalia dead and now he is dead from 'natural causes' sans any autopsy or toxicology tests to back that up.

1) Michael Savage

Conservative talk show host Michael Savage has brought his suspicions about Scalia’s death all the way to the GOP presidential frontrunner: Donald Trump.

Trump, naturally, said he found the pillow placement on Scalia’s bed "pretty unusual," while Savage called for a Warren Commission-style investigation into his death.

GOP vs. the Integrity of the American Judicial System

Intentionally crippling the Supreme Court for two consecutive terms would be the height of irresponsibility.
PFAW Foundation

Five Bogus Right-Wing Excuses For Obstructing Obama's SCOTUS Nominee

It didn’t take long for Republicans to admit that their purportedly principled vow to block anyone President Obama nominates to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia is all about politics.

Just minutes after the news broke of Scalia’s death, many Republican politicians and conservative activists said that the Senate should refuse to hold any hearings or votes on whomever Obama nominates to replace him because it is an election year.

Donald Trump and Ben Carson have both admitted that if they or another Republican were in the White House, they would have no problem with filling the vacancy. Different rules, it seems, apply to President Obama.

This admission undermines the GOP’s entire argument that they are simply abiding by a nonpartisan tradition of refusing judicial confirmations in election years, an assertion also contradicted by past statements from Senate Republicans such as Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who said in 2008 that “the reality is that the Senate has never stopped confirming judicial nominees during the last few months of a president’s term.”

Before the president has even hinted at his choice to replace Scalia on the court, Republicans have been busy concocting bogus “traditions” and other excuses for obstruction — all in an effort to hide the partisan motivations behind keeping Scalia’s seat open.

5) It’s A Tradition!

Several conservatives have been pushing the easily debunked claim that the Senate never confirms a nominee to the Supreme Court during an election year.

Marco Rubio said on Meet the Press that “it’s not just for the Supreme Court, even for appellate courts, both parties have followed this precedent. There comes a point in the last year of the president, especially in their second term, where you stop nominating, or you stop the advice and consent process.”

Rubio’s claim was demonstrably false, but he wasn’t alone in making it.

During Saturday’s GOP presidential debate, moderator John Dickerson called out Ted Cruz for saying that “we have 80 years of precedent for not confirming a Supreme Court justice in an election year,” noting that Justice Anthony Kennedy was in fact confirmed in 1988, Ronald Reagan’s final year in office. Cruz responded that “Kennedy was confirmed in ’87,” which is simply untrue. (The audience booed Dickerson for saying he “wanted to get the facts straight for the audience.”)

Cruz’s father, Rafael, took it one step further, telling Pat Robertson that “if the Democrats want to appoint somebody, let them win the election,” seeming to forget that President Obama was elected for a full term in 2012 and that the drafters of the Constitution didn’t want Supreme Court appointments put up to a popular vote.

4) Chuck Schumer Said…

Conservative activists have seized on remarks that Sen. Chuck Schumer made in 2007, which they claim prove that the New York Democrat favored blocking any Supreme Court justice nominated by George W. Bush in case of a vacancy in his last year in office.

However, this line of attack conveniently ignores a key part of Schumer’s speech, where he said that Democrats would only oppose a far-right judicial nominee, explaining that “they must prove by actions not words that they are in the mainstream rather than we have to prove that they are not.”

Josh Marshall of TPM notes that conservatives are misreporting the content of Schumer’s speech:

Schumer quite explicitly never said that the Bush shouldn’t get any more nominations. He also didn’t say that any nominee should be rejected. He said they should insist on proof based on judicial history, rather than just promises that they were mainstream conservatives rather than conservative activists, which both have proven to be. But again, set all this aside. He clearly spoke of holding hearings and being willing to confirm Bush nominees if they met reasonable criteria.

3) What About Robert Bork?

In defense of their stance that Republicans should refuse to consider any Obama Supreme Court nominee, some conservatives have cited the 1987 fight over Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court, which they offer as proof that Democrats have done the same thing in the past.

This is an odd case to bring up, seeing that Bork did in fact receive a fair hearing and a vote on the Senate floor, two things many Republicans today say should not be given to a future Obama pick.

Bork was voted down by a bipartisan majority of senators due to his extremist views, particularly his hostility to civil rights laws, which is a completely different matter than flatly refusing to hold committee hearings or a vote on a nominee.

2) Obama Is Packing The Court!

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group that, ironically, was previously named the Judicial Confirmation Network, told the Washington Post on Monday that “if the president tries to pack the court, as it is apparent he may, then JCN will be leading the charge to delay a Senate vote until the American people decide the next president.”

“Obama doesn’t give a crap about the Constitution…he sees an opportunity to pack the court,” conservative radio host Mark Levin said. “Obama wants to pack the court. That’s what he wants to do on the way out the door and he must be prevented.”

Simply fulfilling his constitutional duties to fill a vacancy in the court following a jurist’s death is not an attempt to “pack” the court. Court packing is when an official tries to expand the current size of the court or create new courts in order to appoint new judges without waiting for vacancies.

1) Obama Has A ‘Conflict Of Interest’

Sen. Rand Paul, who styles himself as a constitutional scholar, said he is uncomfortable with President Obama appointing anyone to the bench because the Supreme Court is considering cases involving Obama’s executive orders on issues like immigration and environmental regulation.

Therefore, Paul concludes, Obama “has a conflict of interest here in appointing somebody” to the court.

The Kentucky Republican’s logic that a president shouldn’t be allowed to make judicial nominations because they may have to rule on actions of the executive branch is absurd on its face. The Constitution provides the president the power to do just that and, if Paul’s logic were to be applied, no president would be able to make any nominations at any time in office.

According to this argument, senators would similarly have a “conflict of interest” in voting to confirm Supreme Court justices since a future justice would likely decide on the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress.

Paul’s bizarre assertion that presidents shouldn’t be allowed to appoint justices due to a possible “conflict of interest” merely speaks to how desperate the GOP has become in trying to come up with dubious arguments that will make their proposed blockade seem like a principled stance, rather than what it really is: a brazenly partisan endeavor that will allow them to shirk their constitutional responsibilities.

Schlafly: GOP Must Block All Obama Judicial Nominees, Strip Courts Of Funding And Power

Right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly wrote today that Justice Antonin Scalia’s death is “a terrible loss for our Nation” and “a reason for Republicans to rethink their approach to the judicial branch of our government.”  The Eagle Forum founder agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge to block any nominee President Obama puts forward to fill the Scalia vacancy, but she wants much more — essentially a declaration of war on the federal judiciary by a conservative Congress.

Of course Senate Republicans should block President Obama from filling this Supreme Court vacancy in an election year, and they have 80 years of precedent on their side. But Republicans should go further and block nominations for all the other vacancies in the federal judiciary, too.

But even with that call for a total blockade of the federal courts, Schafly is just warming up. She wants Congress to cut funding for the courts, cut funding for the enforcement of what she believes are “bad” court decisions, and strip the courts of their jurisdiction over immigration, abortion, and marriage:

It’s fine for the Republican presidential candidates to point out that a vacancy on the Supreme Court is part of the upcoming election, and to promise to fill Justice Scalia’s immense shoes with someone similar. But even if a Republican wins the upcoming presidential election, even if he picks another Justice Scalia, and even if he is confirmed by the Senate, the federal judiciary will still be stuffed with hundreds of activist judges appointed by Obama, Clinton, and even Jimmy Carter.

The Founders gave Congress everything necessary to take power away from this runaway federal judiciary. Congress can deprive the federal courts of power over immigration, abortion and marriage, and can completely defund enforcement of bad federal court decisions that are already on the books.

Congress spent months trying unsuccessfully to defund Planned Parenthood, a laudable goal, but Congress can more effectively defund enforcement of the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage decisions by the judiciary without sparking a phony “war on women” debate.

Congress should also defund use of taxpayer money by the Department of Justice to push the liberal agenda in the liberal courts. Congress should cut back on the funding for the courts themselves, too, and eliminate rather than fill some of the vacancies.

While stopping short of an actual endorsement, Schlafly recently called Donald Trump “the only hope” that grassroots activists have, while many of her Eagle Forum colleagues have endorsed Ted Cruz. But Schlafly is apparently not satisfied with any of the presidential candidates:

While some presidential candidates promise to work with Congress, none of them promise to rein in the Supreme Court in the absence of Justice Scalia. None of them promise to stand up against an unconstitutional order by an activist court by refusing to enforce it, as the next president could do with respect to activist Supreme Court rulings on immigration, abortion, and marriage.

Far-Right Pundit: Obama To 'Starve Americans Into FEMA Camps' After Murdering Scalia

On Monday, right-wing radio host Rick Wiles spoke with a fellow apocalyptic pundit, Steve Quayle, about his theory that President Obama murdered Justice Antonin Scalia as a human sacrifice to Satan.

After Quayle, the host of the “Coast to Coast” End Times-themed radio program, agreed that Scalia’s death was part of an occult ritual, the two addressed what they think will happen in the U.S. following this alleged murder.

I think the starvation, the plan to starve Americans into the FEMA camps” will soon be unveiled, Quayle said, arguing that Scalia’s death foretells the death of the Constitution.

“When you kill off the oldest guy who is foundationally sound — I would say this, Judge Scalia’s murder is equal to, if you will, the last pillar holding up what was left of the Constitution. I believe, and somebody’s already put it out on the internet, if you believe in the Constitution, you will be a criminal,” he said.

Wiles added that the supposed murder of Scalia proves the U.S. has become “a banana republic,” while Quayle said that he heard that Donald Trump “sent a private letter” to Vladimir Putin warning him that “this administration is resorting to murder.”

Quayle then predicted that the U.S. government will soon complete its transform into Nazi Germany and engage in the “mass murder” of Americans.

“I find it interesting that Justice Scalia died on the 44th day of the year and Obama is the 44th president of the United States and here, once again, we have an unusual news event in which numerology appears,” Wiles said. “Are these people that are running this country sick, Luciferian, devil-worshiping, Satanists?”

“Absolutely,” Quayle replied.

Rick Wiles: Obama Killed Scalia As A Pagan Human Sacrifice

Yesterday on “Trunews,” End Times radio host Rick Wiles discussed “the possible occult connections” to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he concluded was murdered by President Obama and was a human sacrifice to mark the pagan festival of Lupercalia.

Wiles explained that the “Luciferian” “devil-worshipers” who control the government are out for blood, noting that Lupercalia is observed between February 13 and 15. Scalia’s body was discovered on the 13th. “There’s always human sacrifice involved,” he said, claiming that Scalia was “killed” to mark the beginning of pagan fascism ruling over the U.S. 

“The 13th was the 44th day of 2016, Obama is the 44th president of the United States,” Wiles said, “so you have this numerology thing taking place.”

Wiles said that the assassins who killed the conservative justice “deliberately left the pillow on his face as a message to everybody else: ‘Don’t mess with us, we can murder a justice and get away with it.’ And I assure you, there’s a lot of frightened officials in Washington today, deep down they know, the regime murdered a justice…. This is the way a dictatorial, fascist, police state regime takes control of a nation.”

“The day the justice died, the day justice in America died,” he continued, “they got away with it.”

Wiles, declaring that he has “a pretty good sniffer for finding crimes” based on gut feelings, said that the “murder” of Scalia proves that “we’re being sucked into a police state where anybody who opposes this regime will be at risk of extermination.”

He also speculated that Scalia’s purported assassins put chloroform on the pillow and burned all of the evidence in his hotel room.

“Like the Soviet Union in Stalin’s day, it’s like any police state and now we’re in it,” Wiles said. He then speculated that he might be the next victim of Stalinist pagan assassination: “It was a message to everybody out there: ‘Don’t mess with us.’ That’s the message. And it’s a message to people like me.”

Alex Jones: Obama Killed Scalia And 'All Hell Is About To Break Loose'

Still insisting that President Obama was behind Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones charged yesterday that more and more conservatives will soon be assassinated by the government.

The Infowars broadcaster claimed that he had a “sixth sense” that “something big” was about to happen hours before the media reported on Scalia’s death. He added that he had “sweat running down me” because he knew following Scalia’s death that “all hell is about to break loose.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other conservative leaders, he warned, may also soon wind up dead: “Maybe they’ll find the governor with a pillow over his face, maybe that’s the new thing. All of these conservatives that are fighting back that are real conservatives, they are all being found with pillows over their faces.”

“Man, the psy-op is deep on this one,” Jones said, comparing Scalia’s death to his belief that 9/11 was an inside job.

While Jones lamented that “Scalia walked into the perfect bear trap,” the InfoWars news crew also claimed that Obama wanted to “take out” Scalia in order to push through gun control and introduce socialism to the country.

“This is it. This is the final assault,” Jones said. “This is the beginning of the final war.”

Conservative Groups Circle The Wagons On SCOTUS Obstruction

When the news broke of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday, Republicans in the Senate almost immediately vowed to block the nomination of any person President Obama puts forward to fill the empty Supreme Court seat.

Conservative groups quickly followed suit, putting forward various rationales for keeping a Supreme Court seat open for more than a year in the hopes that a Republican is elected president in November.

Some of these activists made variations on the false claim that the Senate never confirms judicial nominees during election years. Others warned of dire consequences for America if the president is allowed a Supreme Court pick. One activist going so far as to claim that Scalia’s seat should be kept vacant in perpetuity until a Republican is elected president.

Conservative legal activist Ed Whelan said it would be “grossly irresponsible” to let Obama pick the next justice:

Senate Republicans would be grossly irresponsible to allow President Obama, in the last months of his presidency, to cement a liberal majority that will wreak havoc on the Constitution. Let the people decide in November who will select the next justice.

Whelan also told “Breitbart News Daily” that “we are at risk of really losing the Supreme Court and losing the Constitution.”

The American Center for Law and Justice ’s Jay Sekulow said that President Obama was perfectly free to nominate a conservative to replace Scalia:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley are both committed to letting the American people decide at the ballot box this November, letting our 45th President appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement. While President Obama remains free to appoint a conservative committed to upholding the Constitution as his replacement, he has given us no reason to believe he would.

So the American people should get to decide.

This is a prime opportunity for all branches of government to show that we still have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network (formerly the Judicial Confirmation Network), said President Obama is the “last person” who should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice:

… This president, who has shown such contempt for the Constitution and the laws, is the last person who should be appointing his successor. The American people on both sides of the aisle are disgusted with the status quo in Washington and another nomination by this President would just bring about more of the same. The people’s voice should be heard in November to determine who will appoint the next Supreme Court Justice.”

Mat Staver, head of the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel (which represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and is now representing an anti-Planned Parenthood activist) declared that the “future of the Supreme Court and America” depends on the Senate blocking any Obama nominee:

“With the passing of Justice Scalia, the future of the High Court and the future of America is hanging in the balance. The Senate must not confirm any nominee to the Supreme Court from President Obama. The Senate must hold off any confirmation until the next President is seated. Unfortunately the presidential debates have been more theater and less substance about the real issues surrounding the Supreme Court. The election of the next President has now taken on even greater importance. The future of the Supreme Court and America now depends on the Senate blocking any nominee by President Obama and the people electing the right person to occupy the White House,” said Staver.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins echoed the call to hold Scalia's seat open:

"The Supreme Court has now become the centerpiece in this presidential election. There has not been an election-year nomination in generations and the Senate must not break that trend now. With the election only 269 days away, the people should decide what president should fill this seat," concluded Perkins.

As did the American Family Association’s Buddy Smith:

We cannot allow President Obama to replace him with a judicial activist. Activist judges have mangled the Constitution almost beyond recognition, and we cannot allow Justice Scalia to be replaced by a justice who will continue to shred the Constitution rather than protect it and uphold it.

While the Constitution gives the president the right to nominate Supreme Court justices, it also gives the Senate the right to reject them. The Constitution does not even require an unacceptable nominee be given a vote on the floor.

Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest said, “His loss is tragic, and we hope that when it comes time for the Senate to vote on his replacement, that a worthy successor who can pick up his banner can be found after the election.”

Alan Sears, head of Alliance Defending Freedom, hedged his bets, saying that “it is unlikely that a new justice will be installed prior to the election of our next president.

Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action declared, “The best way to honor Justice Scalia’s legacy is to make sure there is no Obama nominee confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”

Troy Newman, head of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and a member of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, warned that if Obama were to nominate the next justice, America would become a “totalitarian government”:

"With the passing of the esteemed Justice Scalia, America stands at a crossroads. Will she choose the path of fascism or freedom? We are just one Obama appointee away from a totalitarian government. Two years ago, the GOP promised the American people that, if elected, they would thwart Obama's radical leftist agenda. This is the GOP's moment. Will it shine as a light for liberty in this dark moment or will that light be extinguished by political appeasement?" asked Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

John Zmirak, editor of James Robison’s website The Stream, went even further, saying that if the next president is a Democrat, a Republican Senate should still refuse to confirm any of their judicial nominees:

But they should go further. As long as Republicans control the Senate, there is no excuse for any pro-choice, anti-gun rights, anti-marriage justices to be confirmed to our highest court. If, God forbid, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is elected, they should face a Republican Senate — or even a GOP minority — that will obstruct their every judicial appointment, even if it means leaving key seats on national benches empty, for years at a time. As justices retire or die, the court will simply grow smaller. Big deal. America will muddle through. This is the kind of implacable determination that defeated the solidly conservative Justice Bork and got us the muddled Anthony Kennedy — and Casey v. Planned Parenthood and Obergefell. It is time for that worm to turn.

Conservatives must drop the facade of high-minded bipartisanship, which only ever cuts to the left. The courts have staggering power to change our lives, and damage our country. They can kill our nation’s unborn babies, seize our guns and punish our churches. If GOP senators aren’t willing to fight long, hard and relentlessly to stop that from happening, we should find other senators who can, back them in the next primary election, and cripple the re-election of squishy moderate turncoats. A presidential candidate who appreciates all this will get my vote. And I think he’ll earn yours.

Edit Memo: Filling the Supreme Court Vacancy Caused by the Death of Justice Scalia: What Should the Senate Do?

To: Interested Parties
From: Elliot Mincberg, Senior Fellow, People For the American Way
Date: February 16, 2016
Re: Filling the Supreme Court Vacancy Caused by the Death of Justice Scalia: What Should the Senate Do?

Despite being elected twice by the American people, the second time by a large margin, the President is regularly attacked by Congress, with both houses controlled by the opposition party. Although the President remains popular in his own party and with his base, he is considered a polarizing figure among presidential candidates already seeking to succeed him and in Congress. As the New York Times puts it less than a year before the election, “From large budget deficits to tensions in the Persian Gulf, the President’s positions are under severe attack.”  In the Senate, he has had serious problems in obtaining confirmation for his federal judicial nominees.  And now, with less than a year to go before the election, the President vows to “move promptly” to submit a nomination to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. What does the Senate do?

This is precisely the situation that was before the Senate less than a year before the 1988 presidential election, down to the quote from the New York Times on November 7, 1987. And when President Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Anthony Kennedy to fill a Supreme Court vacancy on November 11, 1987, the Democratic-controlled Senate did not “delay, delay, delay”, in Donald Trump’s words at the last Republican debate. Instead, it confirmed Justice Kennedy in less than three months, on February 3, 1988, by a unanimous vote.

This example shows what is so wrong about current Republican claims that the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia should not be filled until sometime in 2017, after the next election. The crucial importance of the Supreme Court, the overall historical record, and the language of our Constitution all lead to the same conclusion—the current Court vacancy should be filled as soon as possible this year.

The Importance of a Fully Functional Supreme Court

Throughout our nation’s history, and never more than today, the controversies resolved by the Supreme Court have been and are crucial to all aspects of Americans’ lives. The constitutionality of slavery and  of segregated  schools for racial minorities, whether a President can unilaterally seize steel mills and other private property during  war,  the meaning of Congressional laws banning race and other discrimination, a woman’s right to choose, the authority of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, whether states can provide vouchers to pay for religious private schools, the constitutionality of laws to regulate campaign finance and help keep big money out of politics, whether there is an individual  right to possess guns under the Constitution, whether states can prohibit marriage by LGBT couples --- all these and many more critical issues have been ruled on by the Supreme Court. Particularly in recent years, many of these significant issues have been decided by narrow 5-4 majorities, so that having a full complement of nine justices is very important.

Take the current 2015-16 Court term, for example. Cases before the Court include such controversial questions as the constitutionality of state efforts to severely restrict abortion providers and to allow unions to effectively organize. The Court is also set to resolve crucial questions on voting rights, contraception, religious liberty, affirmative action, immigration policy, and more. On most of these, the Court is likely to be closely divided. A Supreme Court that is short one justice could very well be unable to issue a majority ruling in most or all of these cases. Although a tie vote would affirm by default the specific lower court rulings under review,  the result would be that many of these important issues would be left in limbo. Filling the current vacancy is crucial to ensure that the Supreme Court can perform its significant role in our democracy.

The Lessons of History

Because of the importance of a fully functioning Supreme Court, the President and the Senate have historically kept the length of vacancies on the Court to a minimum. Republicans now assert that the current Court vacancy should not be filled until after the next President and the next Senate take office in 2017, which means that the vacancy would last for more than a year. But for more than the last century, there has never been a Supreme Court vacancy that has been left open for over a year. In fact, there has never been a vacancy of longer than four months while the Court has been in session. In fact, the Republicans’ proposed obstruction would perpetuate a vacancy in not one but two consecutive terms of the Supreme Court -- another unprecedented action.

The Kennedy confirmation in 1988 was far from the only time that Supreme Court nominations have been confirmed, and even submitted to the Senate, during Presidential election years. In fact, two of our most renowned Justices, Louis Brandeis and Benjamin Cardozo, were nominated in January and February of presidential election years. Both were confirmed long before the election –Cardozo in February and Brandeis, despite significant controversy, in June. In fact, after a careful historical review, SCOTUSblog reported on Feb. 13 that the “historical record does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of the president failing to nominate and/or the Senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election.” (emphasis added)

This conclusion is consistent with what happened in 1968, when Chief Justice Earl Warren resigned. President Johnson nominated Justice Fortas for the position and, even as late as the summer of 1968, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination and sent it to the full Senate. Although the nomination was then filibustered, the historical record is clear that this was because of specific concerns about Fortas’ finances and objections to the Warren Court, not the impending election. In fact, Warren’s resignation did not take effect until his successor was confirmed, which happened in 1969, so that no vacancy on the Court actually occurred.

Republican Claims vs. the Language of the Constitution

Nevertheless, within hours of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday, Republican Senate Majority Leader and every Republican presidential candidate announced that they oppose even considering a nominee for the Court vacancy this year, no matter who President Obama selects. McConnell flatly asserted that the vacancy “should not be filled” until after the election.  Sen. Ted Cruz falsely claimed in the Republican debate that there had never been a Court vacancy filled during an election year. Republican Senate Judiciary chair Charles Grassley asserted that it is “standard practice” not to consider a Court nominee in an election year, clearly contradicting the history under both Republican and Democratic presidents and Senates, including the votes by him and Senator McConnell to confirm Justice Kennedy in an election year.

The extreme Republican obstructionist position would strike at the heart of our Constitution. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution makes clear that the President “shall nominate, and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint” people to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court.  Despite their professed regard for the Constitution and for strict construction of its original text,  Republicans are effectively seeking to add an exception  to Article II for  when there is a year left in the term of a Democratic president.  No such exception exists, as Justice Scalia himself, our nation’s strongest advocate of the originalist view of the Constitution, would be the first to recognize.  The current Republican obstructionism violates their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and flatly contradicts their alleged adherence to a strict and literal interpretation of it.

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