Republicans looking for guidance on how to assess the president’s forthcoming nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court might want to consider doing as Joe Biden does and not as he says.
The last time Joe Biden supported a Republican nominee for the Supreme Court the Soviet Union still existed, Nelson’s “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” reigned atop the Billboard Hot 100, and one could still purchase a P.J. Sparkles doll at Child World.
Samuel Alito? Nay.
John Roberts? Nay.
Clarence Thomas? Nay.
His vice president boasts a similarly closed-minded record when it comes to Republican nominees to Supreme Court. Kamala Harris voted against all three — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — who came before her during her tenure in the U.S. Senate.
The knee-jerk “no” votes cast by Biden and Harris represent the obstructionist mentality ruling the wider party. Over the last two Republican administrations, Supreme Court nominees averaged 58.6 votes for to 41 votes against. Over the last two Democratic administrations, Supreme Court nominees averaged 78.4 votes for to 20 against. The numbers show Republicans as far more accommodating toward the other party’s nominees than Democrats.
If Biden selects someone who defers to ideology rather than the law and the Constitution, not blocking the nomination becomes a dereliction of senatorial duty.
Abortion primarily motivates the Democratic Party’s intransigence even though Republicans appointed most of the justices who sided with the majority on Roe v. Wade, and subsequent to that decision appointed John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, and other pro-Roe jurists. Democrats say Republicans impose a “litmus test” on abortion. Psychologists call this projection.
Biden entered the Senate just weeks before the Supreme Court handed down Roe, a decision authored by Harry Blackmun — appointed to the bench by Richard Nixon after liberals voted down the nominations of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell. The lesson? Obstructionism pays.
He implemented this lesson when he became the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1981. After Democrats retook the Senate in the 1986 midterms, Biden chaired that powerful committee.
“As head of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” George Neumayr wrote for The Hill in promoting his book The Biden Deception, “he presided over the infamous Robert Bork hearings. His smearing of Bork for his original-intent judicial philosophy transformed hearings for Supreme Court nominees into bloody ideological battles. Henceforth, all conservative nominees were subjected to Borking.”
Neumayr points out that even the Washington Post castigated Biden for a Through the Looking-Glass approach in rejecting the nominee before the hearings had even begun. But, as during the Nixon administration, two failed nominees resulted in the confirmation of a vote for Roe, as Anthony Kennedy soon did in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Obstructionism pays.
“This isn’t like the Kavanaugh brawl,” Buck Sexton claimed on his midday radio show, “no way.” Howie Carr, New England late-afternoon talker, told listeners, “I don’t think they can stop them.”
Maybe their forecasts prove correct. But if Biden selects someone who defers to ideology rather than the law and the Constitution, not blocking the nomination becomes a dereliction of senatorial duty.
Seventeen years ago, Joe Biden told Face the Nation that his support of the filibuster “depends on who the president sends.” Specifically, he cited a nomination of Janice Rogers Brown, an African American associate justice on the California Supreme Court just confirmed to the federal bench after a long delay, as a circumstance warranting the filibuster of a Supreme Court pick. George W. Bush did not dare nominate her. Obstructionism pays.
All these years later, Joe Biden’s mouthpiece, Jen Psaki, warns Republicans not to “play games” by blocking an African American female nominee to the high court.
Can you blame some conservatives, after the witnessing the disgusting conduct of members of the present administration during the character assassinations cloaked as confirmation hearings of Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh, for feeling overcome by a desire to play games?
“Biden’s Nominee Replacing Breyer on SCOTUS — Whoever That Nominee May Be — Sexually Assaulted Me in the 1980s,” reads the headline of a John Zmirak piece at The Stream. Zmirak writes, “My memories will doubtless become more specific once the Biden administration releases the nominee’s name.”
They count on everyone forgetting when Joe Biden promised to filibuster an African American woman. They count on everyone forgetting Bork, Thomas, and the rest.
Don’t count on it. And don’t count on Democrats counting to 50 so easily.
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