Patterico's Pontifications


Ben Sasse Provides A Much Needed Palate Cleanser

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This seemed to aptly sum up the political circus that was the first day of Judge Brett Kavanagh’s confirmation hearing:



Anyway, a truly good thing to come out of the hearing was Ben Sasse’s wonderful civics lesson as he covered the role of the judiciary, the correct allocation of authority in the three branches of the federal government, the need for limited government, the place of Congress and the “alphabet soup bureaucracies”. Watch the whole thing:

Best line from Sasse, who points to where the ultimate failure rests as he dissects a system that is “wildly out of whack”:

“At the end of the day, a lot of the pow­er del­e­ga­tion that hap­pens from this branch is be­cause Congress has de­cid­ed to self-neu­ter”


Congress is set up to be the most po­lit­i­cal branch. “This is sup­posed to be the in­sti­tu­tion dedi­cat­ed to po­lit­i­cal fights,” Sasse said.
But in the name of politics, lawmakers have de­cid­ed to keep their jobs rath­er than take tough votes. “Most people here want their jobs more than they re­al­ly want to do legis­la­tive work, and so they punt their legis­la­tive work to the next branch,” Sasse said.

Be­cause Congress of­ten lets the ex­ec­u­tive branch write rules, and Americans aren’t sure who in the gov­ern­ment bureauc­ra­cy to talk to, that leaves Americans with no oth­er place than the courts to turn to ex­press their frus­tra­tion with poli­cies. And the Su­preme Court, with its nine vis­i­ble mem­bers, is a con­veni­ent out­let. Sasse: “This trans­fer of pow­er means people yearn for a place where politics can be done, and when we don’t do a lot of big po­lit­i­cal debate here, people trans­fer it to the Su­preme Court. And that’s why the Su­preme Court is in­creas­ing­ly a sub­sti­tute po­lit­i­cal battle­ground for America.”

Sasse’s final point is one you can prob­a­bly guess is com­ing by now: That this proc­ess needs to change. If Congress did more legis­lat­ing, these Su­preme Court nom­i­na­tion bat­tles would get less po­lit­i­cal, he ar­gues: “If we see lots and lots of pro­tests in front of the Su­preme Court, that’s a pret­ty good ba­rom­e­ter of the fact that our re­pub­lic isn’t heal­thy. They shouldn’t be pro­test­ing in front of the Su­preme Court, they should be pro­test­ing in front of this body.”

After the hearing, Sasse made these observations:

Tuesday’s hearing shows that both Republicans and Democrats seem to view the Supreme Court as completely partisan.

I do think that the left started this fight, but I think both of these parties are really, really, lame in teaching basic civics to our kids right now.

Also, I’m posting this video as a second palate cleanser because at the end of the day, in spite of the political freakshow parading itself before us, love – true love – really does win. And it is simply the best:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


20 Responses to “Ben Sasse Provides A Much Needed Palate Cleanser”

  1. Civics just doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore.

    Dana (023079)

  2. Awesome post on many levels, Dana. Your dad example is important. Sure, every politics junky has a lot to be frustrated about, but we can have full, happy lives despite the BS.

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  3. I don’t get Sasse, he talks a lot about this kind of stuff, but he doesn’t actually back it up with those tough votes. I guess that’s also because very few tough votes are getting to the floor, but I’ll pay more attention to the lip service when it’s followed up by some of that political risk he’s talking about. Because right now there’s mostly ‘do as I say not as I do’, going on.

    Colonel Klink (6e7a1c)

  4. And that’s not too say I don’t agree, but me agreeing with him isn’t the point, I hope. Action…words and all that.

    Colonel Klink (6e7a1c)

  5. that was pedantry is what that was but it wasn’t particularly edifying stuff

    anyone like harvardtrash ben sasse what’s all snuggle-snuggle kiss-kiss with fbi gestapo bobby mueller’s contrived witch hunt

    they have no moral standing to lecture the rest of us about the proper functionings of democracy that’s for sure

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  6. Kamalas mob has nothing to do with legislating, it’s about raw power, like the gauntlet they wielded when begold and Franken gave them their 60th vote.

    Narciso (c54992)

  7. Of course you’d dismiss it as such, happyfeet. I’d expect nothing less, and nothing more from you.

    Dana (023079)

  8. this isn’t about me it’s about America

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  9. Col #4:

    A lot of folks seem to equate “taking the hard votes” with voting down the judges, or voting against all that stuff Republicans have said for years they really want. It’s hard to get anything done in Washington — is any practical man going to turn down a real goal (like “judges like Scalia and Thomas”) just to say “I hate Trump really lots”? Our host, not that long ago, admitted he liked a lot of policy being set in this administration. I assume Sasse is in a similar spot.

    Sasse did just put himself on the line regarding Sessions by indicating publicly that he would not consider a successor without at least some security for Mueller. He did this after some GOP guys sounded like they were willing to um consider um um maybe a replacement for Jeff.

    Courage is not usually trying to do the impossible knowing you will fail. It is making the possible happen even though doing so might hurt or kill you.

    Appalled (96665e)

  10. Sasse did just put himself on the line regarding Sessions by indicating publicly that he would not consider a successor without at least some security for Mueller.

    but refusing to consider a replacement for weak corrupt jeffy sessions is tantamount to confirming rod rosytwat

    is it *really* a profile in courage when harvardtrash ben “indicates publicly” that if sessions is fired he’s going to throw his support 100% behind harvardtrash rod rosytwat?

    I’m not seeing it

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  11. In shirt strokes, you are correct Eisenstein was part of this poison tree, which has clearly let Carter page, dangerous spy, loose on the streets, where he can pitch Gazprom shares or something.

    Narciso (c54992)

  12. I’m not sure I agree with Sasse entirely.

    Sure, there are a lot of cases where Congress defers to the executive branch (“administrative state”) on the details or implementation of legislation. And this can lead to court battles that are very important to the specific businesses or niche interest groups affected.

    But is this why we see the toxic politicization of the judicial nomination and confirmation process? I don’t think so.

    The real polarization doesn’t come from these “smallball” issues where Congress punts on the details.

    It comes from questions of fundamental constitutional interpretation: abortion/reproductive privacy, gun control/second amendment, affirmative action/equal protection, appropriate and inappropriate restrictions on First Amendment rights, rights of states vis-a-vis the federal government, the separation of powers, etc.

    Congress can do nothing (apart from jurisdiction-stripping, which is basically never done) to keep these issues out of the courts or more precisely, out of peoples’ minds.

    Dave (445e97)

  13. The court with Kennedy’s assent legalized the demolition of at least one institution.

    Narciso (c54992)

  14. It’s all just another example of why it’s harder and harder to ‘sell America’ around the world in the 21st century w/a clown show going on in all three circus rings. ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ folded the tents because it couldn’t sell the show to modern audiences anymore. The advancing world looks, shrugs and is passing on by…

    And Putin smiled.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  15. Leftists are in a current state of insurrection, just like the last time we told them Americans aren’t their slaves.

    NJRob (b00189)

  16. I like his statement as well. I think it reached a few people who still had possession of their faculties.

    I think that guy in the pink suit is going to be really surprised, and not in a good way, when he discovers Pence will be president once they get rid of Trump.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  17. All the never trumpers are pushing Sasse’s little speech as the greatest thing ever. Matt Lewis and Jonah Goldberg are on his podcast swooning over it right now. And the same is true for Red State, the boys at the Weekly Standard, National Review, and the Daily Wire.

    Guess someone put the word out. “Push the Sasse speech”.

    I listened and I was like “meh”. Same old pompous Sasse, trying to be “The only adult in the Room”. Talking about how “we” need to get back to constitutional principles and stop making the Courts so important. Except, “We” includes the Left, who have absolutely ZERO desire to give up their Judicial Power. The Hearings have become a “Circus” not because “We” did anything, but because the Left will do “anything necessary” to keep the SCOTUS in liberal/moderate hands.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  18. Like most RINO’s Sasse doesn’t want to Fight the Left, so he’s always talking in generalities and refusing the name the villain. Its always “we” need to do this, and “we” been doing it wrong. When in fact, its “THEY” – the Left that is screwing things up.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  19. Like most RINO’s Sasse

    If Ben Sasse (with the fifth most conservative voting record in the current Senate) is just a “Republican in Name Only” then who in Washington is an example of a “real” Republican?

    The statist libertine who said “I know Hillary and I think she’d make a great president”, and bankrolled her, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jimmy Carter, Charlie Rangel and Anthony Weiner?

    Dave (445e97)

  20. Dave, surely you’ve learned that “RINO” now means any Republican who says anything even slightly critical of Donald the Great. It’s a lot like “NeverTrumper”: a pejorative to throw around as a substitute for facts and reason.

    Radegunda (7137ae)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1488 secs.