Donald Trump has named a man to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, but that vacancy should not exist–the slot should already have been occupied by President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, who was blocked by Senate Republicans in flagrant defiance of the sprit of the Constitution and long-established norms. Democrats should take their cue from Sen. Jeff Merkley and adopt a simple and clear stance on Trump’s Supreme Court nominees. They should oppose any and every Trump nominee unless and until he choses to name Garland to the court. Of course, Trump won’t do that, so in practice they should oppose anyone he nominates. No one could reasonably attack this stance as obstructionist, since it would be entirely defensible on principle. It would actually be a forceful statement against obstructionism.
A Facebook friend has pointed out something I haven’t seen anywhere else: the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council is apparently illegal. The legislation creating the NSC clearly specified its membership, which does not include any official who hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate. Why isn’t this getting more attention?
The Council shall be composed of–(1) the President; (2) the Vice President; (3) the Secretary of State; (4) the Secretary of Defense; (5) the Secretary of Energy; and (6) the Secretaries and Under Secretaries of other executive departments and of the military departments, when appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at his pleasure.”