The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, April 05, 2017, Page 4A, Image 4

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    OPINION
4A
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017
Founded in 1873
DAVID F. PERO, Publisher & Editor
LAURA SELLERS, Managing Editor
BETTY SMITH, Advertising Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
Water
under
the bridge
Compiled by Bob Duke
From the pages of Astoria’s daily newspapers
10 years ago this week — 2007
Saturday and Sunday were relatively uneventful in Seaside, even
though it probably was the busiest weekend of spring break. “As spring
breaks go, it was a very quiet weekend,” Seaside Police Chief Bob Gross
said today. “For the most part, this appeared to be more family-oriented,”
he said. This was the first time the city did not ask the Oregon State Police
response team to do foot patrols downtown, Gross said. “We decided we
could handle it ourselves,” he said.
An Astoria High School alumnus got a taste of the Holly-
wood limelight this weekend when he and fellow students
received top honors at a national college film awards ceremony
in Los Angeles.
Chris Lang, AHS Class of 2001 and a 2006 graduate of the
University of Oregon, landed third place in the documentary
category at the College Television Awards for a film he cre-
ated with four college classmates on Oregon’s prison work
programs.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) headed up the sec-
ond federal delegation in less than a week to view the Astoria landslide.
Standing at the edge of the gaping drop-off at what used to be the inter-
section of First and Commercial streets, he seemed amazed at the dev-
astation and the awesome power of nature. He promised to help the city
secure federal financial assistance.
Astoria’s City Hall might be the only one in America that
houses six big walk-in bank vaults. Relics from the building’s
past life as Astoria Savings Bank, the vaults are filled with file
folders and office supplies instead of cash these days. Remov-
ing them and freeing up the space they occupy is part of a plan
to remodel the venerable old building, which was constructed
around 1925.
50 years ago — 1967
Wintertime tourist travel is on the increase in the Sunset Empire.
This past winter has been the busiest in history for establishments
dealing with tourists and visitors, reports from various sources indicate.
The Astoria Bridge apparently has been an important factor in bring-
ing more people through the area. More travelers from the north than
usual have been visiting here this winter.
Location of the new route of Highway 30 between Burnside
and Astoria is still not completed although parts of it are defi-
nitely down on paper, resident Highway Department engineer
Lorne Weber reported this week.
Location work has been done from Burnside as far as Clare-
mont Road, but the route traverses two swampy patches which
may require minor relocation.
From Claremont road to Astoria, the location is still under
investigation. Seismic tests are being made in John Day River
to determine nature of foundation.
Tongue Point Job Corps Center has made little news since the first
corpswomen arrived more than three weeks ago, and that in itself is con-
siderable news.
Sixty young women arrived March 14 and another 108 March 28-29.
Of these groups, only two have gone home and the 166 girls now on
the station have made no impact on the community. One would hardly
know they were here.
75 years ago — 1942
The Daily Astorian/File
Pictured at the fishermen’s mooring basin is the new 36 foot crab
fishing boat Clara B, just built by Session and Shipley of Bay City
for Alfred Berthelson of this city.
Tongue Point naval air station placed first among 26 sim-
ilar naval stations from Trinidad to Dutch Harbor in a pub-
lic works competition in February sponsored by the Navy’s
bureau of yards and docks, 13th naval district headquarters
announced today.
Rear Admiral Ben S. Morell, chief of the bureau in Wash-
ington, D.C., made the award for “temporary outstanding
progress” among a class of stations where less than $300,000 is
spent every month on construction.
Under the streets and in the sewers and below the docks of downtown
Astoria there is a secret, undisturbed and populous city of rats.
An intensive campaign to depopulate this community — a menace to
Astoria’s wartime health – is under way under sponsorship of the Clatsop
Health Department and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sometimes at late night hours when the streets are quiet, Astoria’s
rat population comes out of its underground hideaways and rats can be
seen scampering along downtown streets and in those of the residential
sections.
How to put an end to the
politicization of the court
By DAVID LEONHARDT
New York Times News Service
M
ainstream news coverage
has a hard time making
subtle distinctions
between the behavior of the two
political parties.
When Democratic
and Republican
tactics are
blatantly differ-
ent — on voter
suppression, for
instance — journalists are often
comfortable saying so. And when
the parties act similarly — both
soliciting large donors, say — jour-
nalists are good at producing “both
sides do it” stories.
But when reality falls some-
where in between, the media
often fails to get the story right.
Journalists know how to do 50-50
stories and all-or-nothing stories.
More nuanced situations create
problems.
The 2016 campaign was a
classic example. Hillary Clinton
deserved scrutiny for her buck-
raking speeches and inappropriate
email use. Yet her sins paled
compared with Donald Trump’s
lies, secrecy, bigotry, conflicts of
interest, Russian ties and sexual
molestation. The collective media
coverage failed to make this
distinction and created a false
impression.
Now the pattern is repeating
itself, in the battle over the federal
courts.
Democrats are on the verge
of filibustering Neil Gorsuch’s
Supreme Court nomination. If
they do, Mitch McConnell, the
Republican Senate leader, has sig-
naled that he will change the rules
and bypass the filibuster. The move
may change the nominating process
for years to come.
Much of the media coverage
has described the situation as the
culmination of a partisan arms
race: Both sides do it. And that
description is not exactly wrong.
Democrats have engaged in some
nasty judicial tactics over the years.
Most famously, they blocked
the highly qualified, and extremely
conservative, Robert Bork from
joining the Supreme Court in 1987.
Democrats also blocked a few
qualified George W. Bush nomi-
nees to lower courts, like Miguel
Estrada and Peter Keisler.
But if judicial politics isn’t an
all-or-nothing story, it’s also not
a 50-50 story. Too much of the
discussion about Gorsuch’s nomi-
nation misses this point.
Anecdotes aside, Republicans
have taken a much more aggres-
sive, politicized approach to
the courts than Democrats. The
evidence:
— Republicans have been
bolder about blocking Democratic
nominees than vice versa.
The failure rate of Democratic
nominees to federal trial courts
since 1981 has been almost twice
as high as the Republican failure
rate: 14 percent versus 7 percent.
There is also a gap among appeals
court nominees: 23 percent to 19
percent.
The gap between the parties
would be even larger if Democrats
hadn’t eliminated the filibuster
on lower-court nominees in 2013,
allowing Barack Obama finally
to fill more judgeships. Even so,
Trump has inherited a huge number
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch listens as he is asked
a question by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, on Capitol Hill during his
confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March.
of vacancies.
The numbers above (which I put
together thanks to Russell Wheeler
of the Brookings Institution) apply
only to two-term presidents, to
keep comparisons consistent. But
the sole recent one-term president
makes the point, too: In 1990, a
Democratic Congress created doz-
ens of new judgeships, even though
George H.W. Bush could then fill
many.
Paeans to
bipartisanship
may sound
good, but
in this case
they don’t
ultimately
promote
bipartisanship.
Right now, the
status quo is
working quite
well for one
of the two
parties.
Can you imagine Republicans
expanding the judiciary for a
Democratic president?
— Republican nominees have
been less centrist than Democratic
nominees.
Republican activists have built
a strongly conservative network
of judicial candidates. Democratic
candidates are more idiosyncratic.
Some are more sympathetic to
prosecutors, others to the defense.
Some are more pro-business than
others.
No wonder, then, that Samuel
Alito, Clarence Thomas and
Antonin Scalia are among the most
conservative justices ever, accord-
ing to research by Lee Epstein of
Washington University. By con-
trast, every Democratic-nominated
justice of the last 50 years has been
closer to the center.
— Merrick Garland, Merrick
Garland, Merrick Garland.
The Republicans’ strategy
has been straightforward. They
have tried to deny Democratic
presidents a chunk of judgeships,
hoping the nominations will roll
over. Then Republicans have
made sure their nominees are very
conservative.
The strategy reached its apex
last year, when the Senate blocked
Obama from filling a Supreme
Court vacancy, even with the
highly qualified, and notably
moderate, Garland. It was unprec-
edented. Republicans set out to
flip a seat and succeeded. Now
the Senate is preparing to confirm
Gorsuch, likely to be another his-
torically conservative justice.
Republicans are bragging a lot
about Gorsuch’s qualifications,
which are legitimate. But this
debate isn’t really about qualifica-
tions. If it were, Gorsuch wouldn’t
have been nominated, because
Garland would be on the court.
What can Democrats, and
anyone else who laments legal
politicization, do about it? Absorb
the lessons of game theory.
Republicans have benefited
from their partisan approach. They
won’t stop just because Democrats
ask nicely and submit to Gorsuch.
Democrats are right to force
McConnell to be the one who takes
the partisan step of eliminating
the Supreme Court filibuster.
Likewise, Democrats should be
aggressive in blocking Trump
nominees to lower courts.
Paeans to bipartisanship may
sound good, but in this case they
don’t ultimately promote biparti-
sanship. Right now, the status quo
is working quite well for one of
the two parties. The country won’t
return to a less politicized judiciary
until both parties have reason to
want it.