Friday Quick Takes

News of the week that you may have missed but is worth catching.

Highest Inflation in 40 Years

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Thursday that inflation rose to 7.5% in January, the highest rate in 40 years.

Republican Senators Blast the Republican National Committee

Earlier this week, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the Republican National Committee for censuring Republicans members of Congress who back an investigation of events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, calling it a “violent insurrection”.  McConnell was joined in his criticism of the RNC by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R, -ME).

Watching the video of people doing such things as throwing things through the windows of the Capitol (in one case a flagpole with the American flag) and using a fire extinguisher to hit a police officer (Back the Blue?!), it’s hard for any thinking person to come to any other conclusion.  Yet somehow there are people at the RNC that don’t think those things are ‘violent’.

However, McConnell’s statement is pretty significant news. The Republican Leader in the US Senate and the two other most senior Republicans in the Senate are criticizing the Republican National Committee, putting their beliefs and principles above party loyalty. That shouldn’t be significant for our leaders to do that and should be what happens every day. Sadly, in today’s world, it is significant.  In contrast, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is the Republican Minority Leader in the House, defended the RNC’s actions, seemingly more interested in his own political future and not offending Donald Trump than making a statement of principle.  His actions speak volumes about his character.

Sotomayor on Politicizing SCOTUS

Speaking to a law school forum, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor criticized the increasingly partisan nature of reviewing Supreme Court nominees saying that it is an “unprecedented” threat to the credibility of the Court and the legal system.

Echoing similar statements by Chief Justice Roberts and fellow Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephan Breyer, Sotomayor said that judicial nominations and confirmations should be based on merit and not on partisan politics.

“The more partisan the voting becomes, the less belief that the public is likely to have that Congress is making a merit-based or qualifications-based assessment of judicial nominees,” Sotomayor said of the Senate confirmation process.

The political comments by politicians and the blind echoing of politican’s talking points by the national media, ignore the fact that the court’s job is simply to interpret the laws that the legislative and executive branches make, not to make laws themselves. Certainly, there may be differing judicial perspectives but people who actually follow the Court can see in many of the decisions that judges who may have differing judicial perspectives often vote together.

Sotomayor was exactly right:  the politization of the confirmation process damages the credibility of the Court and legal system. It’s good that she, and other justices, are speaking up against the partisanship of those who are just worried about their re-election.

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