Biden begs establishment Republicans to defy Trump and McConnell on Court nominee
As the senate -- and the world -- awaits the name of who should become the next Supreme Court justice (replacing the departed Ruth Bader Ginsburg), it’s helpful to think back to 2016,
when the issue was cut and dried for both parties. Since there invariably will be many, many, partisan disagreements on how to proceed from here on out, it’s best to return to a time of clarity (which is rare, these days).
For his part, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been patently consistent. To rehash, in 2016, when Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly, McConnell immediately announced that he would not act on any nomination forwarded by Democrat President Barack Obama. The reason? The presidency and senate were controlled by different parties. In an election year, McConnell reasoned, the voters should determine the future of the Supreme Court seat by their choice of presidential candidate and senate balance. Pretty simple stuff, huh?
Liberals figuratively leaped over proverbial cliffs trying to capture the Supreme Court’s ideological majority in one fell swoop. McConnell held fast against pressure to at least hold hearings on Obama’s choice; interest groups demanded “fairness” of the process or something.
Democrats cried foul, including then-Vice President Joe Biden. You see, Biden, during his thirty-six years in the senate, had been chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- the one charged with reviewing the qualifications of nominees for the federal courts -- and, in that capacity, said he would immediately act on any name sent before him no matter the calendar position.
Biden said four years ago (as quoted by Byron York at The Washington Examiner), “I made it absolutely clear that I would go forward with the confirmation process, as chairman -- even a few months before a presidential election -- if the nominee were chosen with the advice, and not merely the consent, of the Senate -- just as the Constitution requires.”
Say what? Is there wiggle room here? What exactly does “advice” mean in this context, that Biden would’ve moved a nomination if the president had called him up and asked for his list of judges he’d consider offering a hearing? But Biden doesn’t do lists. And there’s absolutely no definition of what “advice” connotates.
Through experience we’ve learned Democrats seem to think court nominations is a cooperative process, that presidents must work with Congress on candidates for the judiciary. This may be true in the abstract sense -- Trump could consult with McConnell for his “advice” on certain people, but the consultation ends there. Conservatives have been -- and still are -- wary of the Majority Leader being seen as a protector of the party establishment. But this more often crops up in primary races like the one in Alabama in 2017, not on judicial branch matters.
Biden wasn’t the only Democrat who weighed-in on the 2016 vacancy. Again, York wrote, “Other top Democrats demanded that the Senate consider Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, even though 2016 was an election year. That shouldn't have anything to do with it! they argued. Now, media attention is focusing on Republicans who stopped Garland back then but will consider Trump's nominee now. They're hypocrites! But in court nominations, hypocrisy has always -- always -- been a two-say street. And also remember that Senate Republicans made clear that his blockade of the Garland nomination was based on the fact that the White House and Senate were under the control of different parties.”
Actually, the hypocrisy hasn’t always been a two-way street, at least in recent decades. It seems like a long time ago now, but Ginsburg was confirmed by the Senate 96-3 in 1993. Obama nominees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were passed by the Democrat-majority senate 68-31 and 63-37 respectively in 2009 and 2010. Bill Clinton’s other nominee, Stephen Breyer, earned the votes of 87 senators (nine against). Prior to Ginsburg, George H.W. Bush-appointed Clarence Thomas barely squeaked through at 52-48.
Of course Brett Kavanaugh barely made it, too, and his vote was 50-48. Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch (Scalia’s replacement), was only a little more comfortable with a 54-45 tally. The vote on Gorsuch was made possible by the Republican senate voting to ditch the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees. He obviously wouldn’t have been confirmed if he’d needed 60 votes.
So, as is plainly obvious, only conservative/Republican appointees have had any trouble getting confirmed in the past 50-plus years. Though the “no” vote totals were much higher than “normal” for Obama’s first two vacancies, both women still came through with filibuster-proof majorities. Here’s thinking some Republicans wouldn’t dare vote against a woman, even today. But Democrats apparently have no qualms with dissing women (the upcoming nomination) and minority (Clarence Thomas) hopefuls! And they’re the defenders of the oppressed? It doesn’t gel, does it?
Unlike in 2016, Joe thinks it would be unconscionable to vote on a Court appointment
What’s Biden saying now? His tune has completely changed! York additionally reported that the Democrat candidate said, “I appeal to those few Senate Republicans -- the handful who will really decide what happens -- don't vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created… Don't go there. Uphold your constitutional duty -- your conscience. Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country.”
Was Biden talking about the fires raging in the western blue states or the ones set by Black Lives Matter and Antifa “protesters” backed by Democrats?
Don’t go there? Since when does Biden care about the Constitution? And he does seem to honor one’s “conscience” as long as he agrees with what’s at issue. There’s no such thing as “conscience” to a Democrat when demanding religious entities pay for birth control and abortifacients against their beliefs. Or to force hiring of homosexuals in the same scenario. Or to require pro-lifers to respect the life-squelching Roe v. Wade decision. Or to try and revoke the Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-protection.
Nearly all Republicans are okay with the notion of moving on a Trump nominee. Does this mean they lack a “conscience” in Grampa Joe’s estimation?
Ol’ Grampa Joe was actually correct about one thing -- there are only a few Republicans who would even consider the stupid and inane childish pleadings of a politician so far past his prime that he probably doesn’t even remember the circumstances of 2016. Susan Collins (who’s up for reelection this year), Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney have all said at one time or another that they wouldn’t want to see the process go through during an election year.
Collins clarified her position -- she’s okay with holding hearings on a potential new justice, but wouldn’t want the vote until after the Nov. 3 election. This clearly frees her up one way or another. If she loses, she’s still a lame duck senator and her vote counts just as much as it would on the day she was sworn-in. If she wins, on the other hand, she can go-ahead with her yes vote without reservation.
Romney is an interesting case. For the past four years he’s conducted a running feud with Trump over just about every matter under the Washington DC sun, though the two did apparently meet on friendlier terms when the 2012 loser was being considered for the new president’s secretary of state position in December, 2016. It could be said Mitt has issues with Trump but not necessarily Republicans in general, and he would come off as the biggest hypocrite of all-time if he stonewalled a Supreme Court nominee considered acceptable to practically everyone in the party. Flip-flopper Mitt only seems to care about his own legacy. Would he hope to be remembered as an outlaw? He voted yes on impeachment knowing it had no chance of convicting Trump. Here, one vote really matters.
(Note: Romney announced he would vote on the nominee. Hooray for Mitt! He’s not a goat!)
Colorado Senator Cory Gardner would’ve been another potential wavering Republican. Like Collins, Gardner is up for reelection in a purple/blue state. Political considerations mean everything to the establishment-types with the senator probably hoping to keep his distance from both Trump and McConnell until Election Day. But here’s thinking Gardner wouldn’t gain anything by siding with the Biden/“Chucky” Schumer forces. Does anyone seriously believe Gardner would pick up liberal votes by caving on this one issue? Not a chance.
(Note: Gardner said he will also vote on a nominee, clearing the way for Trump to move on it.)
There are Democrats with political considerations as well. Alabama Senator Doug Jones won his seat in the blood red state because Republicans split over their own nominee. With Trump on the ballot this year, Jones’s chances of reelection are slim to none. But he could conceivably win favor with “moderates” by bucking his party on the Supreme Court nomination. Jones is a tried and true liberal and the only reason why the media asks him such questions is because everyone knows he’s a goner.
Think Scott Brown in Massachusetts after winning Teddy Kennedy’s seat in a special election but having no realistic shot to serve long in Washington. Jones could act on his “conscience” and vote for Ginsburg’s successor -- if the vote were held before Nov. 3.
There’s also West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who voted for both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Would he oppose a Trump nominee when three-quarters of his state’s residents like her?
“Chucky” Schumer and Nancy Pelosi threaten McConnell and Trump over nomination fight
If there was any lingering doubt over how badly Democrats want to avoid having President Trump nominate Ginsburg’s successor, it was dispelled last weekend when “Chucky” said “nothing is off the table” if Republicans go forward with their constitutional duty and Pelosi hinted that the House may try to control the senate calendar with another impeachment effort.
You had to figure liberals would throw a fit if they didn’t get their way on this, but such infantile grandstanding is ludicrous even for them. What exactly was “off the table” before, Chucky? Were senate Democrats withholding their really, really serious procedural weapons before when they blockaded practically every nominee (for any office) and legislative move McConnell’s made? Have they not stalled and obstructed on everything from the budget to assenting to Trump’s proposed border wall?
Just imagine what’s “on the table” now, folks. Maybe Democrats will stage a huge sit-in in the Capitol Building, barricading themselves inside and staging hunger strikes. Or Nancy Pelosi will task Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the “Squad” with drafting a one sentence impeachment article, supported by evidence consisting of “Donald Trump sucks.” It would receive an immediate vote, and instead of sitting on the papers for three weeks like the last ones (passed in December of last year but not delivered until mid-January), they’ll all ride their bikes over to the upper chamber to present the official documents.
Whatever happened to all the paranoia over the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus? Or how about the tantrums and bloviating over Trump’s alleged tampering with the postal service? What about voter suppression? Or the existential crisis of climate change? If Democrats are bent on impeaching Trump in a month’s time, what about all those other things?
It's obvious that liberals are petrified of not only losing out on Ginsburg’s seat but seeing the Supreme Court vacancy supersede all the “Orange Man Bad!!” scare tactics they’ve been promoting for months. They’re gambling that Americans love abortion so much that they’ll get behind efforts to shut down the entire country over this. I think they’re wrong.
If Grampa Joe can’t draw a big crowd in blue Minnesota, where can he expect one?
It's possible the unanticipated Supreme Court vacancy could rouse liberals in big numbers to support Joe Biden and his abortion-touting ways. But other traditionally Democrat issues don’t seem to be doing the trick. Naomi Lim reported at The Washington Examiner, “Biden, the former two-term vice president and 36-year Delaware senator, visited carpenter apprentices and other union workers near Duluth on Friday, his first trip to Minnesota in more than 1,000 days, according to the Trump campaign.
“Yet, despite his team releasing scant details about his itinerary, even to the local press, Republicans outnumbered Democrats at Hermantown's Jerry Alander Carpenter Training Center, worrying those who are opposed to Trump clinching a second term on Nov. 3.
“The Republican National Committee and the Minnesota GOP organized roughly 300 people to line Miller Trunk Highway for Biden's stop. Democrats had less than half that number and told the Washington Examiner they didn't know one another. Some, though, had traveled more than two hours from Minneapolis to see their party's standard-bearer.”
It’s curious how Democrats think states like Minnesota are in the tank for Biden as though this summer’s rioting and wanton destruction of inner cities is destined to spur citizens to vote for the party that champions the people who perpetrated the mayhem. “Social justice” is one thing, but decades of Democrat rule haven’t produced positive outcomes.
The enthusiasm factor is only one thing that Trump’s got on his side. Biden couldn’t draw a crowd if he were the only act on the calendar at a senior care facility and the TV was broken. Would anti-Trump animus alone generate the kind of turnout Democrats are seeking?
The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed the dynamic of the 2020 election, but it hasn’t solved the problems Democrats were already experiencing in trying to get voters enthusiastic about Joe Biden. Trump will announce a nominee on Saturday. Events will determine whether Republicans’ decision to move forward was the prudent one.
Supreme Court vacancy
Chuck Schumer threat
Nancy Pelosi threat
Trump Supreme Court list
Biden Supreme Court list