Only an American in a coma for the past seven-plus years was surprised at the immediate Republican response to the death of a Koch-acolyte serving on the Supreme Court last week. Of course Republicans announced they would obstruct President Obama’s attempt to fulfill his Constitutional duty to nominate a replacement for Antonin Scalia; anything less would have been Earth-shattering news indeed. What has been curious is the media, liberal pundits, and other politicians focused rage and analysis on Senate Republicans’ “violating Senate protocol and the Constitution” by claiming a sitting President is prohibited from nominating a Supreme Court Justice; Republicans do nothing of their own volition.
The Republican obstruction of this president is historic and remarkable, but this latest incident is entirely different. No matter what their stated reasoning, or how much it violates the clear intent of the Constitution, this particular intent to obstruct is entirely in service of the Koch brothers; the true Republican Party. The apropos question should be not whether Republican obstruction is unconstitutional or just despicably partisan, but why they are doing it and whose interests are they serving.
Since Republicans are not in the business of serving the people’s interests, or the nation’s well-being, the answer to whose interests they are serving by obstructing the President “is their donor base;” or more specifically the Koch brothers. Republicans in the Senate and House exist to serve the economic interests of the Kochs and their wealthy corporate cohort and fossil fuel cabal. They are who will “either gain or lose hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars” depending on how the Supreme Court rules on complying with environmental, financial, and labor regulations.
As a one or two pundits have opined, “that is what this ‘Obama nominee’ fight is all about and nothing else.” It is true that the GOP, the religious right, and special interests trumpet the importance of eliminating women’s rights, affirmative action, and voting rights, but “those are secondary to the only issue important to the Kochs;” eliminating federal regulations.
Some Americans may be aware that the preponderance of cases Republicans take all the way to the Supreme Court are those challenging the constitutionality of federal regulations. And recently it is primarily regulations that impact the Koch brothers and their fossil fuel cohort; many cases are making their way to the Supreme Court even now. This is particularly true since President Obama has made addressing the devastation of climate change an important issue to the American people, the world, and his Administration.
Any Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation is going to be contentious regardless who runs the Senate or who is president; but this “complete refusal by Republicans to even entertain voting on a nominee is unprecedented in modern times.” It is also unprecedented for a political party to express fealty to wealthy fascists without remorse or apology, and if anyone thinks the Koch brothers are not behind the “let the people decide” who is the new Supreme Court justice they are not just outrageously ignorant; they are stupid.
For example, a Koch-founded organization, the Wellspring Committee funds another Koch 501(c)4 social welfare organization, the “Judicial Crisis Network.” The Judicial Crisis Network’s only purpose is issuing Koch propaganda to influence public opinion, and to either reward or punish Republican Senators depending on whether or not they vote in lockstep to advance the Koch Brothers’ interests. Since the Kochs’ interests are founded on abolishing all federal regulations as “unconstitutional,” specifically those affecting the oil, gas and coal industries, it is crucial that the Kochs maintain control of the Supreme Court; it is why they desperately want to keep their conservative majority intact. It is also why Republicans immediately obeyed the Kochs and began telling Americans it was their right to decide who nominates the “right kind of prospective Justice.”
The Judicial Crisis Network invested seven-figures for an ad buy that features a 30-second television spot entitled “Let the People Decide.” The narrator parrots what Republicans in Congress quickly learned was the Koch brothers’ plan to convince Americans that Republicans in the Senate, and not the Constitution decide who, when, why, and how Justices are nominated and confirmed.
The television ad informs voters that “your voice in November is the only voice to express an opinion on the vacancy on the court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. And Senator Kelly Ayotte agrees; the American people should decide. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats it’s about your voice. You choose the next president. Call Senator Kelly Ayotte. Thank her for letting the people decide.”
Similar ads were tailored for other Republican senators and their respective states such as Charles Grassley in Iowa, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, John McCain in Arizona, Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.
The Judicial Crisis Network was joined by another Koch-affiliated conservative group, FreedomWorks, that issued warnings to Republican senators to block any hearing on an Obama Supreme Court nominee or face the significant wrath of the Koch brothers for disobedience.
As many pundits and politicians have noted already, the people voiced their opinion three years ago on who gets to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice and they elected Barack Obama whom they knew would be President until January 20, 2017. Obviously Republicans are well aware they are out of line in telling their constituents the sitting President has no legal authority to nominate a replacement for Scalia, but they also comprehend that their base will believe anything and that the price for crossing the Koch brothers is electoral death.
No-one can deny that the Republican Senate is just continuing their practice of refusing to even allow a vote on any of the President’s nominees for any position; but especially judicial nominees. Naturally, it is easy to target the likes of McConnell, Cruz, and the rest of Republican Senators for opposing the Constitutional process for staffing the highest court in the land, but they are doing the will of their masters the Koch brothers.
It is true that crossing the Kochs and their wealthy cabal is dangerous; for anyone whether they are politicians, journalists, or educators. But it is high time the mainstream media and politicians not beholden to the Kochs identify the real American government and Supreme Court “hostage takers:” the Koch brothers. The billionaire fascists who believe the right to decide who sits on the Supreme Court belongs solely to them; and they have the money to make the majority Party in Congress make it happen.