Trump Supreme Court nominee list could play crucial role -- again -- in the 2020 election
If there’s one thing that could potentially rival the nastiness of the leftist freak-out (regardless
of outcome) after this year’s presidential election, it’s the confirmation proceedings for the next Supreme Court nominee. Or should I qualify it -- if that person is appointed by President Donald J. Trump. Assuming that everything stays the same until Election Day passes and Inauguration Day 2021 arrives, the next president will likely face a monumental choice early in his term.
Much has been made of President Trump’s recent release of additional names he would consider for a high-court appointment, bolstering an already impressive list of Constitution-revering jurists that the then-candidate introduced to much fanfare in 2016. Exit polls revealed that Trump’s willingness to specify beforehand who he would select -- and then keep his promise during his two vacancies -- is likely to carry a great deal of weight again this year.
Liberals are more energized on the topic than they were four years ago, though in all honesty, what issue are they not animated about when it comes to defeating Trump this year? Both parties are maneuvering to make judicial appointments a key decider in people’s minds, though the Biden camp isn’t producing its own schedule of contenders.
Susan Crabtree reported at Real Clear Politics, “Four years ago, Trump took the unusual step of pledging to choose his Supreme Court nominees from a roster vetted and compiled by Leonard Leo, an outside adviser to the campaign on the courts while he was on leave from the Federalist Society. The move assured Republicans wary of how Trump would govern that a vote for him would help tilt the court to the right. The move was risky and unprecedented, but 2016 Election Day exit polls showed it paid off, with one out of every five voters saying that the makeup of the Supreme Court was their top issue. Trump ended up winning 57% of those voters.
“The president’s expanded list includes three sitting GOP senators – Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri — as well as several lawyers who have worked in the current administration and for previous Republican presidents, including former Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco and fellow former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who worked under President George W. Bush.”
Seeing as I’m unfamiliar with most of the names on Trump’s list, it’s best to start with the senators the president highlighted. All three are either rising stars (Cotton and Hawley) or veterans (Cruz, Mike Lee) that the conservative grassroots would instantly recognize and back without hesitation. It should be noted that Hawley immediately took his name out of consideration by saying he intended to stay in the upper chamber. Cotton tweeted it was time for Roe v. Wade to go, a statement that will certainly be brought up if the Arkansan is indeed nominated at some point.
Both Hawley and Cotton are often mentioned as probable 2024 GOP presidential candidates, so it was surprising to see Trump single them out as possibilities ahead of time. Hawley could change his mind, though perhaps he prefers politics to the solitary life of a Supreme Court justice. It’s always strange to see how nominees become the center of intense national scrutiny for a month or two during the senate’s deliberations on their qualifications… and everything else in their lives… but then virtually disappear from public view once they don the black robe.
Brett Kavanaugh became a household name two years ago this time, largely because Democrat senators went so over-the-top in trying to derail his nomination. The list of liberal inquisitors was long, including Biden running mate Kamala Harris. The freshman California senator confirmed many folks’ speculation that she was basically using the process and exposure as a launch platform for her political ambitions. Joining Harris in making a spectacle of herself were senators and 2020 candidates Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. All three made no pretense of even considering voting yes on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
It was a total farce. Democrats spewed all sorts of venom about “believing survivors” and “character counts,” even when the allegations (from Christine Blasey Ford) were the result of foggy memories, no corroborating witnesses and liberal lawyers pressing the woman to take her story public. Senator Lindsey Graham ingratiated himself with conservatives with his impassioned defense of Kavanaugh. Considering Graham’s career-long wishy-washy reputation, he became a hero to many in an instant.
As far as Ted Cruz -- and Mike Lee -- are concerned, it’s hard to imagine Trump going with the former. Cruz is imminently qualified for the position and would likely go down in history as an Antonin Scalia-like defender of originalism and the plain language of the Constitution (which I believe he’s memorized word-for-word), but he’d also be a lightning rod for controversy during his confirmation -- and afterwards. Perhaps equaled only by Trump himself, Cruz is a conservative that liberals love to hate. It’s easy to envision the Texas senator battling every single Democrat on the panel. The TV fireworks show would be fun to watch but I’m not sure it would be good for the country.
Needless to say, Democrats would milk Trump’s nickname for Cruz (Lyin’ Ted) for all it’s worth, as well as Cruz’s end-of-campaign comments about the president himself. They’d try to make it more about Trump than examining cases and controversies and interpreting the Constitution. I don’t think Trump would choose this avenue.
For a long time I’ve thought that Senator Mike Lee is Trump’s Supreme Court wildcard, the one human being in existence who might be able to earn a Democrat confirmation vote or two because of his years and relationships in the senate. It’s hard to remember now, but Lee was a tepid at best Trump supporter in the lead-up to the 2016 election, so no Democrat could legitimately argue he’d be in the president’s pocket. Further, Lee’s mild-mannered everyman personality would be very difficult to assail as lacking the “temperament” to be a justice (this would be a major bone of contention if Cruz were at issue).
In addition, Lee has never hinted at desiring to run for president, so it’s probable he’d view a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court as the culmination of his career. His legislative record is solidly conservative and he’s even earned a reputation for “bipartisanship” that would counteract the more offensive attempts at ideological character assassination. For these reasons, Lee could be the only one who’d have a chance to be confirmed in an environment that would prove impossible to navigate for any “normal” candidate.
Here’s thinking Trump is saving a Lee nomination for if/when 87-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer steps down (or if a vacancy is created by other means). Ginsburg and Breyer are hardcore liberals and losing their vote in key cases would definitely tip the court’s ideological balance. Even if Lee were narrowly confirmed, his opponents would be less likely to permanently besmirch his reputation. Who knows, they might even spare his family from a public undressing.
Should 72-year-old Clarence Thomas or Samuel Alito decide to leave the Court, Trump could fill their openings with someone considered a little more “controversial,” since it would be replacing a conservative with another conservative. Leading candidates from Trump’s “old” list are Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Thomas Hardiman of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Barrett in particular seems to be the next in line since she was widely rumored to be a finalist for Kavanaugh’s seat. Democrats tried desperately to stop her nomination (to the 7th Circuit) in mid-2017, primarily because of her Catholic faith (and therefore an enemy of Roe v. Wade, right?) and the fact she’s not a crusading liberal academic who judges constitutionality based on her feelings or what day of the week it is. Senator Dianne Feinstein said of Barrett, “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that is a concern.” To whom, DiFi?
For those reasons and others -- like the fact Barrett appears to be the polar opposite of bra burning, traditional gender role rejecting, abortion on demand crusading feminists -- she probably could not be confirmed with a Democrat majority (if it happens). Maybe not even with a 50-50 tie and Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. We’ll have to see on this one.
Where’s your potential Supreme Court nominee list, Grampa Joe?
At the same time the media was picking over President Trump’s latest potential Justice-to-be(s), many were wondering where Democrat nominee Joe Biden’s list is found. According to Crabtree’s article, the Biden campaign didn’t respond to requests to elaborate.
Which means one, there is no such list, or two, the document does exist but the Democrats are terrified of releasing it. While the first explanation is certainly plausible, the second one is the more likely one. Grampa Joe’s handlers probably figure their candidate wouldn’t be able to remember the person’s name much less where he or she is from, his or her qualifications and what the appointee stands for. Liberals are so simple in this respect; all they need to do is pick someone who loves abortion and making up rights from the bench and they’re in!
During the primary campaign Biden mentioned that he absolutely would use protecting abortion as a “litmus test” for his nominees, a hypocritical contention if there ever was one. Liberals expect conservatives to tuck their personal views beneath the seat cushion of their office chairs but they won’t shrink from asking any “progressive” candidate under review whether they’ll prejudge an abortion case!
Joe: “Hello, candidate z, I’ve only got one thing to ask you. Can you assure me that the 60-million and counting babies aborted since Roe will increase under your watch?”
Candidate z: “Oh yes, Joe! I totally believe in a woman’s right to abort up until -- and maybe after -- the moment of birth. I personally loved it when Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said that a woman and her doctor would have a ‘conversation’ deciding the infant’s fate if an abortion goes wrong. The kid would be kept comfortable, right? I don’t find it ghoulish at all! Send me before the senate -- they’ll love me! Believe all women! Rah! Rah! Rah!”
It could happen. But here’s also speculating that Biden promised a Supreme Court seat to Amy Klobuchar for her early endorsement after the Minnesotan left the primary race or for gracefully bowing out of his veepstakes when it became apparent to everyone that he couldn’t choose a female with pale skin in today’s all-racism-all-the-time environment. Or it could be he’s saving the appointment for a black woman -- we all know how race conscious he is. Can someone get Maxine Waters on speed dial?
Kamala Harris takes the lead as the public face for the Biden/Harris ticket
It's certainly no surprise that Joe Biden hasn’t released his completed judge nominee assignment because he’s still cowering in his basement for the most part. Despite reassuring people that he would conduct a rigorous post Labor Day campaign, the Democrat standard bearer is leaving it up to sidekick Kamala Harris to bear most of the load. Naomi Lim reported at The Washington Examiner, “When Biden, the two-term vice president, named Harris as his understudy in August, she was set to model her role on Vice President Mike Pence's in President Trump's reelection bid, traveling the country more widely than the top of the ticket.
“Yet after Biden, unburdened by the demands of the White House, promised to build more trips into his public itinerary post-Labor Day, parallels will now be drawn between not only Trump but Harris.
“For Democratic strategist Mike Nellis, a senior adviser to Harris during the primary, Biden's 77 years of age was an issue, explaining Delaware's 36-year senator's reliance on the six-year California state attorney general, 55, particularly for minority outreach.”
There they go again, the overt play to identity politics. It’s the worst kept secret in the whole world that Harris was chosen because of what she is rather than who she is. The obnoxious Kavanaugh-bashing California senator was much more acceptable to wokesters than pale-as-a-ghost Liz “Pocahontas” Warren would’ve been -- though they’re both equally ferocious -- so there never was any real indecision there.
If you think about it, Harris probably had her choice of Biden appointments. If she didn’t want the veep slot she could’ve held out for being his first Supreme Court nominee, right? Or who knows, she endorsed Joe pretty early, too -- maybe she was promised the Secretary of State’s position on the spot! Talk about punching your own ticket! Kamala knows how to get favors from older men, doesn’t she? What’s Willie Brown doing these days?
Having Harris do the in-person campaigning will almost certainly backfire on poor ol’ Grampa Joe. Democrat primary voters didn’t like her, remember? She dropped out of the race two months before the Iowa caucuses. If she’s such a great campaigner, then… isn’t anyone going to ask the question?
President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee list -- and Joe Biden’s lack of one -- will definitely impact this year’s election, just as it did in 2016. Trump knows he’s got plenty of qualified candidates to select from, while Biden cowers from naming someone who might aggravate one of his interest groups. It’s hard being a Democrat -- you can’t pacify everyone.
Supreme Court nominee list
Sen. Tom Cotton
Sen. Josh Hawley
Sen. Ted Cruz
Sen. Mike Lee
Kamala Harris campaigning
Ruth Bader Ginsburg