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Supreme Court: Open Letter to Senator Sullivan

I write to express my continued dismay at your continued rejection of considering ANY Supreme Court appointment of President Obama’s.

I have read your statement at https://www.facebook.com/1499142123704271/posts/1702865476665267 but remain unconvinced that you and your party are acting in the interest of the nation by refusing to act on the President’s nomination. You state:

The decision to withhold advancement of Mr. Garland’s nomination isn’t about the individual, it’s about the principle. Alaskans, like all Americans, are in the midst of an important national election. The next Supreme Court justice could fundamentally change the direction of the Court for years to come. Alaskans deserve to have a voice in that direction through their vote, and we will ensure that they have one.

Even if the Constitution provided a role for the general electorate in Supreme Court appointments, we Alaskans have already had three votes on the direction of the Supreme Court – As a State, we voted for Romney in 2012, but didn’t get him. In 2010 we re-elected Senator Lisa Murkowski and in 2014 we elected you to the Senate. Under the Constitution, those are all the votes Americans need for Supreme Court nominations to proceed to confirmation or failure.

While the Constitution does not provide for a popular vote on the Supreme Court, it does provide for Senate votes. If you believe that Judge Garland is wrong for the court, or that a President’s power to appoint should end in year three of their term, vote NO on Judge Garland.

I believe that your attitude not only harms the country but your own party and donor class in at least three ways:

1) Republican control of the Senate is threatened. Whether or not the majority of Alaskans support your position, voters in states with vulnerable Republican Senators favor acting on the President’s nominee. They say that your refusal to have a vote on the President’s nominee will make them less likely to vote for their Senator. Is blocking the Presidents nominee worth going to minority status?
2) If your effort to limit a President’s appointment power to the first three years of their term succeeds, you can count on the Democrats throwing your words in your face if something similar happens in the last year of a Republican President’s term. They will enforce your own views either by having a majority or through filibuster. Unless you remove the filibuster — which I heartily recommend should you retain control of the Senate in 2017.
3) Whether Trump or Clinton gets elected President, you are unlikely to get a nominee as acceptable to you as President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland. You may dream of confirming Judge Garland in a lame duck session, but if Clinton wins, some Democrats will almost certainly filibuster him, using your own words of “Let the next President make her own nomination” against you.
As I stated in my last letter to you on this subject, when I say “take action” I do not say “confirm” even though I do support Judge Garland’s appointment. I mean that you should urge your leadership and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings followed by an up or down vote. If you don’t believe that Judge Garland should not be on the Supreme Court, vote him down and wait for the next nominee. That is a legitimate exercise of the Senate’s power of advise and consent. It’s an exercise contemplated and expected by the Founders. I can’t believe that they intended the Senate to take no action at all — though if you have documentation to the contrary please send it to me and I will read through it.

Please do your constitutional duty. Hold hearings on Judge Garland. Give him an up or down vote.

Letter to Senators: Reconsider Supreme Court Stance

I sent the following letter to both of Alaska’s Senators – Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. If you want to see the Senate act on a Supreme Court appointment, I strongly urge you to contact your Senators as well. If enough of us act, perhaps something will come of it. Nothing will happen if we do nothing.


I am writing you today to urge you to reconsider your opposition, sight unseen, to any appointment made to the Supreme Court by President Obama. You have said that it would be “unprecedented” for a President to send a nominee to the Senate in an election year.

To put it bluntly yet give you the benefit of the doubt, you have have been lied to. As reported at the SCOTUS blog entry “Supreme Court vacancies in presidential election years” published on February 13, 2016, there have been several Supreme Court appointments and/or Senate confirmations in election years:

1912 – President Taft nominated Mahlon Pitney, confirmed by Senate 50-26
1916 – President Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis, confirmed by Senate 47-22
1916 – President Wilson nominated John Clarke, confirmed unaminously by Senate
1932 – President Hoover nominated Benjamin Cardozo, confirmed unaminously by Senate
1940 – President Franklin D Roosevelt nominated Frank Murphy, confirmed by Senate
1987 – President Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy after failed nominations of Bork and Douglas Ginsburg, confirmed by Senate in election year 1988 97-0.

I know that this information has been available to you for a few weeks and I am sorrowful it has not changed your mind.

While not completely without precedent, the 330 day plus wait you propose for next Supreme Court nominee is extremely rare. Given the Court’s makeup, it also seems likely we will have a set of 4-4 decisions which turn our country into a patchwork of conflicting laws. This cannot be good for the business community or the country as a whole.

I also find it surprising that your opposition is reported as unconditional – that even if President Obama appointed a Republican or someone who had previously been confirmed to a federal judgeship 98-0, you would not allow as much as a hearing. What could possibly make these justices unpalatable now? Reasons might come out in hearings, but you reportedly don’t want to hold them. So it looks like you are willing to pass up qualified judges acceptable to a Republican Senate.

But what happens if we elect a Democratic President? What happens then? Do you accept a nomination from President Sanders or President H. Clinton, even if their pick is less advantageous to you than someone President Obama proposes? Or will you continue to keep the court in deadlock 4-4 in hopes that a liberal justice will die and tilt the Court back in your favor? We deserve to know what your plans are before the next time you are up for a vote.

I should also point out that even if we elect a Republican President, there is no guarantee that his nominee will be the conservative voice you appear to desire. I remind you that Justice Kennedy, the swing vote on the court, was appointed by President Reagan. Most famously, President Nixon nominated Warren Burger to be Supreme Court Chief Justice with the expectation that he would lead the way in dismantling liberal decisions of the Warren court. This did not happen, Chief Justice Burger was even more liberal in some ways. In fact, Chief Justice Burger was in the majority in Roe v. Wade. A Republican President is no guarantee of a conservative justice.

So instead of waiting 300 plus days of uncertainty in the law of the land in hopes that the President you want will appoint the Justice you want who will act in the way you hope, I ask you act on the nomination that President Obama sends you. Urge the Judiciary Committee to hold thorough hearings and have an up or down vote.

I am NOT urging you to vote Yes or No on a nominee. That is up to you after you give full consideration to the President’s appointment. I do ask, urge and expect that you will give full consideration to a nominee and not keep the country in limbo. I further insist that if you are given a nominee you have previously voted to confirm, that you vote to confirm them again unless new information has come to light.

Respectfully, Daniel Cornwall



Supreme Court vacancies in presidential election years  (SCOTUS Blog, 2/13/2016) – http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/supreme-court-vacancies-in-presidential-election-years/

Sen. Richard Blumenthal correct that the longest Supreme Court vacancy in 30 years has been 237 days (Politifact, 2/18/2016) – http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/feb/18/richard-blumenthal/sen-richard-blumenthal-correct-longest-supreme-cou/

History of the Burger Court (Washington University Law School) – http://supremecourtopinions.wustl.edu/?rt=index/history

Roe v. Wade: The Aftermath of one of the Most Controversial Supreme Court Decisions (Loyola Student Historical Journal) – http://www.loyno.edu/~history/journal/Oehlke.htm



Tiny Roses

A story of tiny roses from a much drier climate than we’re used to here in Southeast Alaska.

Your Present Blessings

I was never much of a fan for succulents. They seemed like plants that cheated. I know it seems crazy, but I loved bulbs and ferns and water loving plants better. It was a product of where I had lived on the Oregon Coast. Succulents grew rapidly with little water and took over when you weren’t looking. They offended me!  After moving to the eastern part of the state and killing way too many plants because I couldn’t water them enough, I unwillingly moved to the succulent species.

After the first year, I was sold on them. They did many lovely things and they were full of tiny surprises. I also enjoyed how easy they were share. Many of mine came from other people’s yards. Free is a very good price when it comes to flowers and I think of my friends when I look at the different plants. I went…

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How Will Rep Young Pay for More Military?

One of my recent alerts from Congress.gov shows that Rep. Don Young has cosponsored these two bills:


  • H.R. 4534 – To recognize the importance of the land forces of the United States Armed Forces and to revise the fiscal year 2016 end-strength levels for these Land Forces and specify new permanent active duty end strength minimum levels, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 4537 – To prohibit the use of military installations to house aliens who do not have a lawful immigration status or are undergoing removal proceedings in the United States.

There’s no text yet available for HR 4534, but the title implies that he proposes to increase the size of the US Army. Rep. Young is on the record as strongly opposing tax hikes or other revenue raisers. Yet increasing the size of the Army will have a cost, both in current payrolls and later in providing the benefits to veterans that they deserve.

Rep. Young should explain how he intends to pay for more soldiers. If he won’t tax, he either needs to cut something or borrow money to pay our soldiers. We deserve to know what he will do.

If you see the text of the bill before I do and see that it’s a proposal to REDUCE the size of our land forces, let me know and I’ll post a retraction.

HR 4537 just seems to be a needless restriction on the executive branch. We detain many, many aliens prior to removal – often for years. If we’re going to continue this practice (which I disagree with) the government needs more places to house them, not fewer.



Marco Rubio: Gives in to fear, paranoia

“In fact, if ISIS were to visit us or our communities at any moment, the last line of defense between ISIS and my family is the ability I have to protect my family from them or from a criminal or anyone else that seeks to do us harm. Millions of Americans feel that way.”

via Marco Rubio Says He Bought A Gun On Christmas As ‘Last Line Of Defense’ Against ISIS | Crooks and Liars.

While I don’t agree with guns for home defense, I understand and respect the right of people to have guns for home defense.

But when you’re buying a gun specifically to fend off ISIS/Daesh, you’ve descended into paranoia. Also seem to lack understanding of ISIS tactics, which outside of their territory relies heavily on bombs or groups of people ambushing soft targets like hotels or malls with massed rifle fire. A gun in the home won’t stop either of those.

Also, as a would be President, Senator Rubio appears to have abandoned faith in our military, police services and intelligence services.

Everyone Tells the Truth Sometimes

Trump said American polling shows Russian President Vladimir Putin has “an 80 percent approval rating.”

Multiple American polls have found Putin’s approval rating to hover around 80 percent among the Russian public, including a recent study that aimed to adjust for any possibility that respondents have been lying to pollsters out of fear or social expectations.

This statement rates True.

via Donald Trump is right about Putin’s popularity in Russia | PolitiFact.

I do not approve of Donald Trump. I post this because it is a useful reminder that no one lies all the time.

Though a lot of what Mr. Trump says on the campaign trail has been rated as false.

The Terrorism Statistics Every American Needs to Hear | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

– You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

– You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

via The Terrorism Statistics Every American Needs to Hear | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization.

Well cited roundup of causes of death compared to dying in a terrorism attack in the United States.

The evidence is clear. The resources we are pouring into antiterror efforts are way more than any real threat we face.

The fact that we’ve also killed tens of thousands of people while torturing hundreds of others in pursuit of such a minor threat to our existence, is immoral.



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