Friday, March 25, 2016

In Which Senator Mike Lee (R. UT) Pushes My Button

Disappointed that my regular Friday-lunch, co-worker friend was not around today, I hoofed it up to Jimmy John's for my usual No. 5. Walking back to the Federal Building, I got in an elevator with some already aboard. I pushed No. 6 and it didn't light up so the man in the corner pushed it again, being nice, I guess. Had he spent more time in the Federal Building, he would know that Elevator No. 1 doesn't light up for floor No. 6 on the left of the door, but it does on the right. Maybe the guy will get a clue and raise an issue with GSA or stop defunding the government or . . . Wait! That's Senator Lee!

Dang! I can't believe there's a pic of Senator Lee with the same Skousenite Constitution held by the Malheur Occupiers!
I'm usually prepared with some quip when I see a Senator or Congressman coming, but this caught me off-guard. Not exactly thinking on my feet I spouted out, "Confirm the Supreme Court Nominee!" in my forceful tone reserved for politicians. I couldn't even remember Merrick Garland's name at the moment. Mike wrinkled his nose at me without saying anything so I went on, "We're now getting 4-4 decisions and that could be a problem."

Mike started spouting some pre-canned wonky stuff about the number of tied decisions when the door opened on his Floor No. 4 and he stepped out following an aide, and kind of held the door as he kept talking to me.

I admit I interrupted, but I had to get it out. "You just need to know that there are a lot of people in Utah who are not happy with your undermining the Constitution!" I swear it just popped. And I was thinking very broadly about all his shenanigans, not just the Supreme Court delay.

He replied, "It's not undermining the Constitution!"

"Oh, yes it is!" and the door closed.

In spite of the exchange ending on a schoolyard "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" note, the short lady in the back corner of the elevator box looked at me with the widest eyes and biggest smile. I didn't know what else to do so I shook her hand. She grabbed it with both of hers and said she was so proud of me for speaking up, "I wanted to say something to him, but I couldn't think of what to say!"

She reminded me so much of my paternal grandmother in the way she said it and looked up at me with adoring eyes. I noted that she had a lanyard with a government ID as did I (although the ID portion was fortunately tucked into my sweater so Mike couldn't have read it.) And she couldn't have been that much older than me, but her voice and that wave of memory of my life-long Democratic Grandma came. My Grandma who would have first voted in 1932 for FDR, lived to see President Obama. She was amazed that the racial barrier had snapped so far for her to see it in her lifetime.

I doubt I did any good with Senator Mike. He is convinced of his weird Skousenite-Beckian ways with the Constitution. And technically he is not in violation of the Constitution as it does say that "with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, [the President] shall appoint. . . . (U.S. Cons., Art. II, Clause 2, emphasis added.) The "shall" applies to the President, not necessarily to the Senate. This implies that the Senate has the option to withhold consent. But, what!? It implies! It doesn't exactly spell it out!?

Oh, yeah. Even the strict-constructionist, original-intenters have to interpret the Constitution! And they do that for their political purposes and expediencies.

My point, way lost beyond Mike's red-faced perturbation, was that he and his ilk have the form of constitutionality but deny the intent there of. There is nothing in the stall on President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court other than crass, partisan politics. There is no nobility in claiming the last election meant nothing but the upcoming one will (good luck with that, Republicans!)

My broader point is that the Founders' intent is clearly and expressly laid out in the Preamble to the Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
It is a process. If you refuse to participate in the process, you do no honor to the Founders' intent.

Senator Mike's political gamesmanship on this and so many other issues does nothing to bring us to the ideals of the "more perfect Union" as set out above. It only helps divide us. Sure, Congress can stall and do nothing in an attempt to deny the President his historical and legal legacy. But that is not government of, by, and for all the People! It is ugly politics.

Shame on you, Senator Lee, and on all the obstructionists!


  1. I have never spoken with Sen. Mike, but shortly following the big government shut-down in 2013, he came to USU to give a speech. It was supposed to be a packed house... or rather, the size of the venue suggested this was to be the case, however less than thirty people showed up, and half of them were not friendly towards the Senator.
    My second encounter with Lee was actually not with him, but a BYU intern. She was arguing with one of the Senator Reid interns about the executive order on immigration reform, and was contending that our boss, Senator Reid, and President Obama were circumventing the constitution, acting as dictators, and expecting the rest of the country to say nothing... It didn't matter that both I and my fellow Reid intern pointed out the number of executive orders that had to do with immigration reform, or how many had been issued by Republicans. Several weeks later, I was speaking to the BYU intern again, she mentioned that our previous conversation had troubled her, and she began to realize that she had "been drinking the kool-aid" (her words, not mine).
    My point with both of these examples, is that Senator Lee hides behind his right-wing religious interpretation of the Constitution. He and Senator Cruz are known in the Senate as obstructionists. I have more examples, but these two paint a fairly clear picture.

    1. VALID POINT BUT....When it comes to obstruction, Reid was been the absolute master for a very long time, hopefully Lee doesn't learn all of his devices.


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