Biden, Democrats need to move fast on Supreme Court and ignore Republicans

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“The American people elected a Senate that is evenly split at 50-50,” McConnell said following confirmation of Breyer’s retirement. “To the degree that President Biden received a mandate, it was to govern from the middle, steward our institutions and unite America. The president must not outsource this important decision to the radical left. The American people deserve a nominee with demonstrated reverence for the written text of our laws and our Constitution.” There he goes, trolling again. The statement could also be read as a warning to his fellow Republicans—don’t get too nice about any of these nominees.

That might include Judge Childs, who in fact is scheduled to have a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next month for her monition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The South Carolina native has the enthusiastic backing of Biden’s good friend, Rep. James Clyburn, who says South Carolina Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott “have spoken highly of her.”

Just like when then-Sen. Orrin Hatch said that Merrick Garland would be “a consensus nominee” from President Obama, and that there was “no question” he would earn bipartisan Senate support. That was a hypothetical, before President Barack Obama had a vacancy to fill. After Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Hatch reiterated that. “(Obama) could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man,” he said. “I have no doubts that Garland would get a lot of (Senate) votes. And I will do my best to help him get them.” We all remember how that worked out.

Picking a nominee on the basis of nice words from Republicans is a fool’s game, one Biden—or any other Democrat—isn’t likely to fall for after the Garland situation. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said as much Thursday. “We’re talking about a Black woman who will be making history, and we will be making history as well—the right kind of history.” Citing the Garland experience, he added, “We need to be ready and willing to fight, and fight ferociously.”

Republicans aren’t going to fight this fairly. Sen. Susan Collins, the “moderate” Republican from Maine who will always be mentioned as a likely Republican vote for a Biden nominee started up already. “As you know, I felt that the timetable for the last nominee was too compressed,” she warned. “This time there is no need for any rush. We can take our time, have hearings, go through the process, which is a very important one it is a lifetime appointment after all.” To be fair, Collins voted against the Coney Barrett nomination in 2020 because it was too close to the election.

Now, arguing for delays is another way to derail progress in the Senate, and in the age of COVID is downright dangerous, and clearly on the minds of many. “He should get the person confirmed right away,” said Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. “Somebody in the Senate could resign, somebody in the Senate could die. The makeup of the Senate 50-50 could be altered by one career decision or tragedy. You can’t wait.”

The best way to proceed for Biden, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin will be to just shut out Republican voices. Not to shut out Republicans—the nominee will have to be available to meet with any Republican who wants to do so, all the regular formalities. But certainly, this is one situation in which Republicans should not get a say.

Nor should the punditry. None of these candidates will escape the kind of casually dismissive combination of racism and misogyny endemic to the GOP and popping up now in the punditry. To wit, Politico:

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Because how could a Black woman possibly be interested in hard data and detailed work. And because “reaching out and connecting” to the Court’s conservatives has worked so well in the Roberts Court, particularly with the three McConnell packed it with for Trump.



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