The Supreme Court’s Legitimacy Crisis

the 54 senators who voted to elevate Judge Gorsuch had received around 54 million votes, and the 45 senators who opposed him got more than 73 million. That’s 58 percent to 42 percent.

.. And if the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh soon, the vote is likely to fall along similar lines, meaning that we will soon have two Supreme Court justices who deserve to be called “minority-majority”: justices who are part of a five-vote majority on the bench but who were nominated and confirmed by a president and a Senate who represent the will of a minority of the American people.

.. Two more current members of the dominant conservative bloc, while nominated by presidents who did win the popular vote, were confirmed by senators who collectively won fewer popular votes than the senators who voted against them.

.. Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed in 1991 by 52 senators who won just 48 percent of the popular vote, and Samuel Alito, confirmed in 2006 by 58 senators who garnered, again, 48 percent of the vote.

.. If fate were to hand President Trump one more opportunity to put a justice on the court before 2021, it would almost certainly again be a bitterly contested and close vote, and it would probably leave us with a majority of Supreme Court justices, five, who were confirmed by senators who received a minority share of the vote.

.. no Democratic president has ever taken office after losing the popular vote. And second, justices nominated by Democrats have never been confirmed by such narrow margins. Of the four liberals currently on the court, all received 63 votes or more, from senators winning and representing clear majorities of their voters.

.. we’re on the verge of having a five-member majority who figure to radically rewrite our nation’s laws. And four of them will have been narrowly approved by senators representing minority will.

.. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not nominate jurists who had left paper trails of judicial extremism or dropped other hints that their jurisprudence would be radical.

.. outsourced the judicial-selection process to right-wing groups like the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation and twice nominated judges with an eye cast largely toward how happy they would make conservative evangelicals.

.. Republicans are doing to the Supreme Court what they have already accomplished in Congress. There, through aggressive gerrymandering, they’ve muscled their way to a majority even as their candidates have sometimes received collectively fewer votes than Democrats. And now they’re doing it to the court, by breaking the rules (Merrick Garland) and advancing nominees who are confirmed by legislators representing minority support.

A ‘pressure cooker’: Trump’s frustration and fury rupture alliances, threaten agenda

Frustrated by his Cabinet and angry that he has not received enough credit for his handling of three successive hurricanes, President Trump is now lashing out, rupturing alliances and imperiling his legislative agenda, numerous White House officials and outside advisers said Monday.

.. In doing so, Trump is laboring to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign — especially after the embarrassing defeat of Sen. Luther Strange (R) in last month’s Alabama special election, despite the president’s trip there to campaign with the senator.

.. Sen. Bob Corker’s brutal assessment of Trump’s fitness for office — warning that the president’s reckless behavior could launch the nation “on the path to World War III” — also hit like a thunderclap inside the White House, where aides feared possible ripple effects among other Republicans on Capitol Hill.

.. The most vocal Trump defender was the one under the president’s employ, Vice President Pence.

.. One Trump confidant likened the president to a whistling teapot, saying that when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode. “I think we are in pressure cooker territory,”

.. Pence’s office blasted out a blanket response under the vice president’s name addressing “criticisms of the president.” The statement bemoaned “empty rhetoric and baseless attacks” against Trump while touting his handling of global threats, from Islamic State terrorists to North Korea.

.. “We have been watching the slow-motion breakup of the Republican Party, and Trump is doing what he can to speed it up,” said Patrick Caddel

.. “Trump is firmly placing himself on the outside, trying to become an almost independent president,”

.. “He knows that many people will be with him, that he helps himself when he’s not seen as the Republican president. But what about his program?

.. Other Trump aides blame Corker for what they consider an act of betrayal, arguing that he started the feud in a bid for relevance by a lame-duck lawmaker

They also accuse Corker of hypocrisy, noting that he was chummy with Trump and did not voice any concerns about his leadership style when he thought he might be picked as vice president or secretary of state.

.. “Donald Trump never truly severs relationships. There is always a dialogue. And with Corker, this isn’t a total endpoint. Trump sees relationships as negotiations, and that’s what they’re in.”

.. Trump is also without his longtime aide-de-camp and former head of security, Keith Schiller

.. His absence has left Trump with few generational peers with whom he feels comfortable venting about his staff or his rivals

.. Barrack has been buzzed about as a possible replacement for Kelly, should tensions between the president and his top aide become unsustainable.

.. his efforts thus far are focused on energizing and solidifying the 40 percent of Americans who were with him, primarily by attacking the 60 percent who were not,”