by Bob Barr
It is easy to understand the fear in the minds of Democrat Party leaders prompted by President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell stating that they will in fact move forward to nominate and schedule a confirmation vote for a replacement for recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg. That fear has ignited a barrage of proposals that prove beyond doubt the Democrats will stop at nothing to deny Trump a third appointment to the Court and to deny Republicans any future opportunities. They will stop at nothing.
It is by no means certain that McConnell could muster 50 votes to confirm Trump’s nominee, but if he does it would result in a potential 6-3 “conservative” majority on the High Court. This drives abject fear into the very core of the Democrat Party and the pro-abortion movement in this country. The possibility of a Supreme Court that might to even a tiny degree limit abortion rights is a danger to be opposed with every tool possible, regardless of how such actions might damage the Court, the Senate, or the Constitution itself.
The irrationality and borderline idiocy of some of the statements by Democrat leaders is stunning, even by today’s loose standards. Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar declared that the Republicans “stole” the last appointment to the Court (the 2018 confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh) and that the GOP is now “trying to do it again.” Actually, all President Trump has said he intends to do is exercise his clear constitutional prerogative and submit a nominee to the Senate for its “advice and consent”; nothing more, nothing less, and hardly indicative of “stealing” anything.
Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, never one to let civil discourse get in the way of intemperate rantings, said publicly that her party will be considering all manner of moves to not only prevent the Ginsburg vacancy from being filled, but to ensure that future Supreme Court vacancies will be handled in such way as to all-but-guarantee only Democrat-friendly nominees will be approved by the Senate. For example, the Hawaiian firebrand declared her party will move to pack the court with more justices than the nine allowed since 1869 by federal law.
As further evidence of the extreme steps to which the Democrat Party will go to ensure it gains a lock on future High Court nominations, Hirono declared they will press statehood for Puerto Rico (to gain the two senatorial seats that almost certainly would be theirs if the island were to become the 51st state), and also end the Senate filibuster should her Party regain a majority in the November 3rd election.
Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder echoed calls to pack the Court with more justices, to be filled by nominees offered by hoped-for President Biden and a Democrat-controlled Senate come January 2021.
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, still smarting from his failed impeachment effort earlier this year, was quick to jump on the court-packing bandwagon. From his perspective, which not surprisingly is shared by former President Obama and 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, any move by Trump and McConnell to fill the Ginsburg vacancy this year is tantamount to a capital offense. This perspective pervades all levels of the Democrat Party despite there being no prohibition whatsoever — in the Constitution, in federal law, or in historic precedent — on the president taking steps to fill the Court vacancy.
Already, “impeachment” has been floated as retribution against Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr. The basis for such a move is far from clear, but for today’s Democrats clarity and reason count for nothing.
The Democrat hysteria churned up by Ginsburg’s passing is unprecedented; beyond even the despicable attacks on Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation hearings two years ago. Every possible avenue to defeat a vote on a new associate justice, no matter how deeply it might undermine the integrity of institutions that have been at the heart of our constitutional republic’s survival, is being considered actively by the Democrats.
Unfortunately, the Democrats may enlist a few Republican senators as allies in their drive to undermine the integrity of the very institutions they claim hypocritically to be rescuing from Trump’s actions. If so, the tragedy of what they are advocating may actually come to pass.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7 District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and was the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990. He now serves as President of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia.