The November Surprise, by Chief Justice John Roberts, Bruce Poliquin and Jared Golden

Remember in 2005 when John Roberts was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court to be Chief Justice by President Bush and the left went nuts?

People For the American Way, the National Organization for Women, the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Human Rights Campaign, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Americans with Disabilities Watch, the National Council of Women’s Organizations, the National Council of Jewish Women, Rainbow PUSH, the Fund for the Feminist Majority, Legal Momentum, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Abortion Federation, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and all expressed strong opposition to the Roberts nomination, according to The Nation.

Now Chief Justice Roberts is practically a hero, first for saving Obamacare, and today for scolding Donald Trump for his public denigration of yet another U.S. District Court Judge — this time Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco. Tigar ruled against the Trump travel ban. During the president’s now-to-be expected sneering about the ruling, he called Judge Tigar an “Obama judge,” the words dripping in the president’s unique brand of snark.

Chief Justice Roberts is quoted in The Associated Press saying the United States doesn’t have “Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” adding on the day before Thanksgiving that an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Cheers to that. Let us all give thanks to the Chief Justice for his public remarks and let us give thanks for an independent judiciary, which leads nicely to another November surprise. This one involves Congressman Bruce Poliquin — the republican who steamrolled his opponent to become Maine’s second congressional district representative in the U.S. House in 2014 and garnered almost 55% of the vote in the 2016 election. It also mildly relates to Judge Lance Walker, the most recently appointed judge to the federal bench in Maine and the first by President Trump.

Congressman Poliquin has a knack for opposing any policy that attempts to diffuse any degree of power from the insiders in Washington and on Wall Street to the outsiders otherwise known as the common man, regrettably. It was no surprise that Congressman Poliquin railed against Maine’s ranked choice voting law. Republicans are wary of expanding democracy. They don’t want to spread it too thin. People might see through it.

Poliquin won a plurality of the vote at first, but lost the election to Jared Golden after ranked choice voting was performed by a computer program showing Golden with the winning majority after second choice votes were distributed.

Minutes after he lost Poliquin filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ranked choice voting law and essentially demanding his seat back in Congress.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the decision emanating from Bruce Poliquin’s legal challenge serves as the constitutional foundation for a ranked choice voting frenzy that spreads across the land? So far Judge Walker appears to be siding with the proponents of ranked choice voting since he denied Poliquin’s request for a temporary injunction and wrote a defensible opinion hinting at the power of the people to govern themselves. We’ll see, but imagine if more use of ranked choice voting results in more republicans getting elected? Will the steep opposition to RCV by factions within the GOP go the way of fiscal conservatism and the deficit?

Bruce Poliquin’s legacy could be as father of ranked choice voting thanks to an order written by a judge appointed by President Trump. Normally this would mean nothing but now because the president sorts federal judges according to political party it does.

Which leads to the final surprise, another about the somewhat fake sorting of people according to party or position on the political spectrum. The winner of the second congressional district race, Jared Golden, is not supporting Nancy Pelosi to be the Speaker of the House despite her obvious qualifications and experience and even though there is no other candidate willing or able to get the job and actually do it.

“He will not support her for speaker,” Golden’s spokesperson Bobby Reynolds is quoted saying. “He believes it’s time for new leadership.”

Is Golden’s appeal to the storied “more conservative” second congressional district voters who don’t believe the woman who has held the highest office in the country with distinction and is largely responsible for hoisting the Affordable Care Act over the line to enactment deserves the job? Would you be surprised if these folks got their health insurance through Obamacare?

Or is Golden’s opposition to Nancy Pelosi, the most qualified candidate for the most important position for Democrats, “progressive?”

New leadership? Indeed.