Chief Justice should study presidency. Plus: NBA 'super team' debate. And, 'pause' hurts the cause

By Gary Abernathy

Chief Justice should name commission to study presidency

When President Joe Biden announced the formation of a commission to study the Supreme Court, my first thought was, “Why does the executive of one co-equal branch of government think he has the authority to launch a study on another co-equal branch of government?” It’s also my second and third thought, and I’m not being entirely sarcastic.

True, the president nominates the justices to the court when there’s a vacancy. That’s an important role, and some say it’s the most lasting and meaningful thing most presidents do.

But here’s what Biden says his commission will do: “Provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals. The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.”

If I was Chief Justice John Roberts, I would be tempted to issue the following announcement: “The U.S. Supreme Court today announced the formation of a commission to study the Office of the President of the United States, and to recommend reforms many have suggested are needed, ranging from the abuse of impeachment as a political tool against the president, the scope of executive orders, the constitutionality of term limits, the president’s criteria in choosing nominees to the federal courts, and the factors that shape a president’s political agenda.”

Why not? Why shouldn’t Roberts’ co-equal branch of government be able to study Biden’s co-equal branch?

Reggie Miller spot on about forming ‘super teams’

Despite being a lifelong NBA fanatic, I stopped watching pro basketball when players began kneeling during the National Anthem. I’m sympathetic with the cause of racial justice, but disrespecting the men and women of all races who served in the military, often dying for our freedoms, is not the way to do it – and that’s exactly what kneeling during the anthem does, denials and alternative reasoning aside.

But I still read about it, and I appreciated this story featuring former Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller talking about the modern trend of star players joining forces to form “super teams” in the pursuit of championships. From LeBron James going to Miami to Kevin Durant chasing rings from team to team, nothing means as much as winning for a team that was carefully and skillfully put together rather than writing big checks for superstars.

Miller’s comment is in regard to what he would have done had, say, Michael Jordan invited him to join the Bulls. While Miller unnecessarily throws in the “f”-word in his answer (he knew he was on TV, right?), I still appreciate his overall sentiments.

Johnson & Johnson ‘pause’ a blow to vaccine drive

The news that health officials are recommending a “pause” in using the Johnson & Johnson one-shot covid vaccine due to the rare chance of blood clots – which has happened in six patients as of Tuesday morning – is a blow to the effort to convince Americans to get vaccinated.

As I mentioned before, I received the first of two Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations last week. I’m not an anti-vaxxer. But I respect the decision of those who will choose not to be vaccinated, or who want to wait until more time goes by to make sure the vaccines are safe. For me, the Johnson & Johnson development is a reminder that there are risks with everything, from covid itself to the vaccines designed to prevent covid. Waking up and walking out the door every day is a risk. As individuals, we weigh the risk-benefit equation every day and make the best decisions we can – hopefully, without a heavy-handed government taking those decisions out of our hands, as has too often happened over the past year or so.

On a side note, check out this story in the Medical Press about the fact that covid-19 is hardly the only reason for an increase in “excess deaths” in the U.S. Quite enlightening, and not reflective of the narrative from most media outlets.

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