Mitch McConnell Vows No Biden SCOTUS Confirmations In 2024 Or Any Other Year Containing A Number
Mitch McConnell is reliably evil. He doesn't even show a softer side during the Christmas episode. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last September, McConnell bum-rushed Amy Coney Barrett onto the Supreme Court a week before the election and during a pandemic. He ignored Ginsburg's dying wish that another president — presumably one who wasn't a corrupt bag of treason — nominate her replacement. He also ignored his own made-up rule about not confirming Supreme Court justices during an election year.
Democrats have a tenuous, Joe Manchin-sized Senate majority, and McConnell feels pretty confident he's only in temporary exile as minority leader. He's already sharing his robust agenda of obstruction, should he regain power. During an interview with Hugh Hewitt, McConnell confirmed what anyone with a brain already knew: If Republicans regain control of the Senate in 2022, they won't confirm anyone Joe Biden nominates for the Supreme Court in 2024.
"I think it's highly unlikely — in fact, no, I don't think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election," McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt.
This is BS that has nothing to do with “giving the American people a voice" during an election year, which is how Republicans hand-waved not holding hearings for Merrick Garland. When it was convenient, their appeal to democracy became an obvious power play. When Republicans control the Senate, they can do whatever they want, and Democrats can go climb their thumbs. McConnell sarcastically declared that the “era of bipartisanship" was over when Biden wouldn't accept the GOP's generous infrastructure offer of a moldy sandwich and $4, but McConnell personally stabbed bipartisanship to death on the Senate steps.
McConnell drops a load of “both sides" when he claims that “either party, if it were different from the president," would block a Supreme Court nominee during an election year. No, that's only the GOP, which treats Democrats like they're chumps. McConnell wouldn't even agree to confirm a Biden nominee if a vacancy opened in 2023.
McConnell declined to say what Republicans would do if a justice stepped down in mid-2023 and Republican controlled the Senate."
We'll have to wait and see what happens," McConnell said, asked by Hewitt if the nominee would get a fair shot.
That's a “no." We all understand he's saying “no," right?
This is just depressing. Obviously, McConnell isn't worried about political backlash or that Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and Dianne Feinstein will ever wise up. He's probably not even concerned that his declaration of no principles will free Justice Stephen Breyer from the "West Wing" rerun he's currently stuck inside.
Breyer is one of the three remaining Supreme Court justices not appointed by a Bush or Trump. He's 82 years old and has served on the Court for 27 years, but the growing calls for his retirement offend him, apparently moreso than working in the same room as Brett Kavanaugh.
From the New York Times:
Justice Breyer has been particularly adamant that politics plays no role in judges' work, and he recently suggested that it should also not figure into their decisions about when to retire.
"My experience of more than 30 years as a judge has shown me that, once men and women take the judicial oath, they take the oath to heart," he said last month in a lecture at Harvard Law School. "They are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment."
Breyer is defiantly oblivious to how overtly political Supreme Court nominations have become. According to a 2019 Washington Post expose, conservative groups raised $250 million in dark money to install rightwing judges on the courts. Judicial confirmations were described as “political campaigns," and conservatives haven't wasted their money. Trump and McConnell have systematically reshaped the courts for a generation, at least.
And it's asymmetrical warfare. Former Justice Anthony Kennedy strategically retired in 2018, when he was also 82. Vanity Fair described the orchestrated effort to replace Kennedy well in advance of the 2018 midterms, and Democrats weren't even favorites to flip the Senate. Republicans took no chances. Maybe if Breyer took a day off and visited Kennedy at the golf course, they could have a frank discussion about how political this process actually is.
The clock is ticking. Democrats could snap out of it, nuke the filibuster, and expand the Supreme Court, filling those new seats while they control the Senate. They could even make DC and Puerto Rico states so we can add to the Democratic majority.
But wait! McConnell warned us that if we do kill the legislative filibuster, he'd go “scorched earth," which presumably involves never confirming Biden's judicial nominees, so maybe we should just nuke the filibuster now while we still have the Senate, but then McConnell will go “scorched earth," and ....
This is what Mitch McConnell has done to us. He doesn't say the quiet parts loud, because with him there are no quiet parts. He just tells us what he's going to do, and then we act surprised. As the old expression goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again!"
Wait that's not it.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."