Smart Ideas: A New Way to Confirm Justices, and Kasich’s Radical Moderates

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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April 14, 2016, 8 p.m.

It's time to standardize Supreme Court turnover

Paul D. Moreno, writing for the Washington Examiner

The unpredictable nature of Supreme Court vacancies, coupled with the polarization of American politics, makes every Court nomination a “major political event.” There have been periods of a dozen years with “no turnover,” and others with “as many as five appointments in one presidential term. Justices have served as long as 36 years and as little as five months. The median and the mean are a little more than 16 years,” which should be codified going forward. A “modest amendment” would fix the terms at 18 years, with “the term of one justice expiring on the final day of every even-numbered year. … When the president appoints a justice he shall also appoint an alternate, who shall serve the remainder of the term” if the primary justice is unable to do so. This system would ensure that each president gets two appointments per term and justices “would no longer be tempted to take into consideration how their exits would affect the court.”

John Kasich: The establishment's protest candidate

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, writing for The New Yorker

John Kasich’s strongholds around the country “describe a very particular American experience”: they are the old-line suburbs around major cities, such as Brookline, Massachusetts, and Ann Arbor, Michigan—places where you’ll find establishment Republicans of a more moderate bent. “This time, those Republican voters—members of a party that is generally to their right, citizens of towns that are often to their left—are casting protest ballots against the tone of the primary and the populist fervor that has gripped it. [Donald] Trump’s supporters are often said to share a vivid sense of loss: they are people whose status is not what it once was. But alongside the sense of economic loss moving through the country—and propelled, in some ways, by it—is the loss of political and social status among those accustomed to running things. In this election, more quietly, those emotions have mattered, too.”

John Kasich dances after being introduced at a town hall in Savage, Md., on Wednesday. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Trump is the moderate, says big data

Weifeng Zhong, writing for the American Enterprise Institute

Data crunched from the debate transcripts of this election cycle underscore why Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump lead their respective party races—”their policy positions appear quite moderate, their political sentiments are not too negative, and their simple language delivers content rather effectively.” Neither Trump nor John Kasich veers very far from Hillary Clinton, although Kasich’s positions are more moderate across the board, whereas Trump blends very conservative policies with much more liberal ones, in the end evening out in moderate territory. Among the most uttered “liberal” words in the debates: “wealth,” “finance,” “Vermont,” and “Flint.” The most “conservative” words: “amnesty,” “Obamacare,” and “flat.”

The Democratic Party is imploding, too

Steve Almond, writing for Salon

“Republicans aren’t the only party facing an historic rift. Over the past two weeks, it’s become increasingly obvious that grassroots liberals are thoroughly disgusted by their own party establishment. … Barring a miracle, they will nominate an establishment candidate who is at best tepidly supported, and at worst reviled, by those who have rallied behind her insurgent foe, Bernie Sanders.” Why? Because Sanders is “articulating a moral vision, not an electoral path to the White House. And that, frankly, is what the Democratic Party used to do, back in the era of the New Deal and the Great Society. It offered as its essential pitch to voters a compassionate and responsive government that sought to combat—or at least mitigate—the corrosive values of a capitalist theocracy.” The Democratic Party at large has bought into crony capitalism, dressed up as pragmatism and Clintonian “triangulation.”

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