Amy Coney Barrett Ready To Curse Senate Like She Cursed Rose Garden, ALLEGEDLY
Today begin the confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee for aspiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, an event future historians may look back upon as the time Republicans just went too damn far. Or we hope they will. Perhaps this will be the moment when it finally clicks for everyone that the GOP has no intention of playing fair, that they have no real "principled beliefs" other than securing power.
It may also be the end of the nine-justice Supreme Court. Which, to be fair, hasn't actually always been the case anyway. It started out at six, went to seven, then to nine, then to 10 and then back down to nine. The number of judges is at Congress's discretion.
GOP Senator and Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham swore to high heaven that he would never, ever, ever confirm a judge in an election year, and swore up and down that his opposition to Merrick Garland getting a hearing was born not of partisanship but of a principled belief that it was just wrong for a president in the last year of his term to be able to select a new Supreme Court justice. He promised to the Lord that he'd feel that way even if it were his side making that selection. "Use my words against me," he said. "If there's a Republican president [elected] in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, 'Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination," he said.
Now, CNN reports that he is saying something different:
There's nothing unconstitutional about this process. This is a vacancy that's occurred through a tragic loss of a great woman, and we're going to fill that vacancy with another great woman. The bottom line here is that the Senate is doing its duty constitutionally.
And, in his opening statement -- watch the ongoing shitshow here! -- he's making all kinds of excuses for why it's actually totally fine for them to keep doing that.
"We can talk about history, but here's the history as I understand it. There's never been a situation where you had a president of one party and the senate of another, where the nominee, the replacement, was made in election year. It's been over 140 years ago. I think there have been 19 vacancies filled in an election year, 17 of the 19 were confirmed to the court when the party of the president and the senate were the same. In terms of timing, the hearing is starting 16 days after nomination. More than half of all Supreme Court hearings have been held within 16 days of the announcement of the nominee."
Oh man, is he ever full of shit. Because it's not that Merrick Garland was not confirmed, but that he was not even given a hearing. That is what the issue was. It would have been one thing if he was given a hearing and not confirmed, because the Republicans had the Senate. That would have been just the way the cookies crumbled. But he wasn't given a hearing because Lindsey Graham and others insisted it needed to be left to the will of the people in the next election, even though that next election was much further away than this one is.
(The election is five minutes from now, in case you hadn't heard. You may already be able to go vote! Here at Wonkette, Rebecca is dropping her ballot TODAY. Evan gets to go vote on Wednesday. Liz will deliver her ballot this week. SER's should come in the mail any time. I will also be voting very soon! That's how insane this is, how close we are to the election. Have you planned your vote yet?)
Lindsey Graham has been in politics for a very long time, and he knows when he is losing. He knew that if Garland — a moderate who was certainly more conservative a nominee than many of us would have liked — had a hearing, he would be confirmed. (He had been personally endorsed by freaking Orrin Hatch, for goodness sakes.) Graham knows that if Republicans wait until after the election to hold a hearing for Barrett, they're losing that seat.
In her opening statement, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted that Senate Democrats would be grilling Amy Coney Barrett on her opposition to Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberals on the Affordable Care Act in 2012.
In filling judge Ginsburg's seat, the stakes are extraordinarily high for the American people, both in the short-term and for decades to come. Most importantly, healthcare coverage for millions of Americans is at stake with this nomination. So, over the course of these hearings, my colleagues and I will focus on that subject. [...] This well could mean that if Judge Barrett is confirmed, Americans stand to lose the benefits the ACA will provide. So I hope you will clarify that in this hearing.
By "clarifying that," she means for Barrett to be clear about the fact that she intends to rescind health care benefits for millions of Americans. In early November, just after the election, if she is confirmed by then!
Of course, we're gonna also need Barrett to be clear about the fact that she intends to take reproductive choices away from millions of Americans as well. And very possibly marriage equality.
Coney Barrett began her opening statement, which she will presumably deliver this afternoon, by listing all of her children, everyone she has ever known, her friends, her family, her milkman, and then announcing that all of her siblings are here today, supporting her. This might be heartwarming were we not in the middle of a pandemic and had there not been a massive outbreak of COVID at the last event she attended. I'm not saying she was responsible, but I am saying she could be cursed. Hell, I'm an atheist and I would take "Everyone got COVID at my Rose Garden announcement ceremony" as a sign of doom.
She talks about how very much she learned from Antonin Scalia, her mentor, and disingenuously invokes Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose dying wish was that she not be replaced until after the election:
I come before this Committee with humility about the responsibility I have been asked to undertake, and with appreciation for those who came before me. I was nine years old when Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to sit in this seat. She was a model of grace and dignity throughout her distinguished tenure on the Court. When I was 21 years old and just beginning my career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat in this seat. She told the Committee, "What has become of me could only happen in America." I have been nominated to fill Justice Ginsburg's seat, but no one will ever take her place. I will be forever grateful for the path she marked and the life she led.
Well that is certainly some Spice Girls-style Girl Power. From a handmaid.
Within the last week, the GOP Kansas Senate president blatantly announced her desire to gerrymander districts to ensure a Republican majority. Republicans in California tried to set up fake ballot drop boxes in hopes of stealing votes. They don't play fair, they have no intention of playing fair and they will do whatever it takes to stay in power. The only way to fight them is to do the same. (Except without committing crimes, like Republicans always do.)
We'll be covering the confirmation hearings all week, and hopefully they will go nowhere. "Hopefully."
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse