Last week, the Supreme Court surprised the country when it invalidated the Trump Administration’s rescission of DACA by a 5–4 vote. Chief Justice Roberts’ vote in favor of DACA both surprised and angered Trump and his followers. (This followed on the heels of Roberts’ vote which held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.)
Due to a series of controversial decisions that favored the GOP and the wealthy over the last few years, Roberts clearly senses the Court’s standing with the public is at risk. The Court has no enforcement mechanism absent the other branches and a loss of legitimacy by the Court would destroy the balance it’s intended to provide. In addition, Roberts is hoping the Supreme Court isn’t a huge issue in 2020 in an effort to thwart the Court reform that we need.
Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Sasse emerged from his survivalist bunker to comment upon the Supreme Court’s ruling on DACA. (In 2013, Sasse boldly predicted that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act would cause America to “cease to exist.”) Ben Sasse once again fell back on his tired talking point that both sides are at fault: “This is what happens when you don’t have a functioning Congress. We’re not doing our work so the Court again steps in and declares itself America’s Super-Legislature. It’s bad news for civic health that the Court regularly flexes legislative muscle it doesn’t have under our Constitution. Along with most Americans, I believe kids who were brought here years ago through no fault of their own shouldn’t live in fear of deportation — but that should be done via legislation. We need a law that gives us both border security and common sense immigration policy — and legislation comes from Congress, not the Court.”
Apparently, Ben Sasse believes that history begins when he takes the microphone or makes a post on social media. Let’s take a look at Sasse’s record and get to better know the real Ben Sasse. As Franklin Roosevelt said about the GOP in 1944: “Now imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery — but I am afraid that in this case it is the most obvious common or garden variety of fraud…. No, the record is not to be washed away that easily.”
Our best chance to reform our broken immigration system was in 2013. President Obama’s immigration bill was a bi-partisan compromise that created a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and invested more resources in border security. That bill passed the Senate by a 68–32 margin. (Deb Fischer voted no.) Subsequently, due to pressure from the right wing of the GOP House caucus — that was supported by Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith- then House Speaker John Boehner didn’t allow an up or down vote on the bill. If a vote had been allowed, Obama’s bi-partisan immigration reform bill would most likely have passed.
During Ben Sasse’s tenure in the Senate, he opposed the only (and last) serious effort to reform our immigration system. On February 15, 2018, Mitch McConnell actually allowed a debate and an up or down votes on two immigration reform bills. Normally, McConnell maintains an iron grip on Senate floor action to avoid having GOP senators cast politically risky votes.
Trump’s immigration bill was rejected by a margin of 60–39. The former TV reality star’s bill was a right wing/Fox News wish list that consisted of $25 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico, imposed draconian limits on legal immigration, ended the diversity visa lottery and offered 1.8 million Dreamers an eventual path to citizenship.
The second bill had bi-partisan support and was sponsored by Chuck Schumer and Susan Collins. This bi-partisan bill would have appropriated $25 billion for Trump’s wall and provided a pathway to legal citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants (the Dreamers) who came to the U.S. as children. The bill garnered 52 votes but that wasn’t enough to overcome a GOP filibuster.
Deb Fischer voted for Trump’s bill but opposed the Schumer-Collins bi-partisan bill. Interestingly enough, Ben Sasse voted no on both bills. “I ran as a conservative and I’ll vote as a conservative,” he said. “That means rejecting today’s left-of-center proposals.There may still be a constructive path forward with a much simpler legislative package that both protects kids who were brought here through no fault of their own and finally secures the border.” We’re still waiting for Sasse to come up with what he termed “a constructive path forward.” (We’re still also waiting for Sasse’s long promised ACA replacement bill.)
It’s pretty obvious that Sasse is part of the problem that he recently bemoaned. Thanks in part to Ben Sasse, Congress isn’t functioning properly. As usual, Sasse is all talk and no action.
The solution to the gridlock in the Senate is to repeal and replace Sasse with Alisha Shelton. Due to Chris Janicek’s meltdown, Shelton has emerged as the de facto Democratic nominee in the U.S. Senate race. I would urge everybody to help out Alisha Shelton. We all deserve better. Much better. Now let’s get it done!