The Daily(ish) Review: The Supremes
I'm a little tired today. I'm waiting on that second cup of Nescafé Clasico before I dive into this New York Times article about Trump and the Supreme Court. I'm also a little hesitant to do so because I'm concerned about this court vacancy. I don't like the direction the country is going, and I think the next court pick will likely ensure that we continue on this course. Court picks can be unpredictable, though - let's see what the folks at the NYT have to say.
OK, coffee in hand.
Trump Interviews 4 Supreme Court Prospects in Rush to Name Replacement (By Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman)
- ...rush...My guess is that "rush" alludes to a desire to get the nominee confirmed before the next round of elections.
- Maggie Haberman...that means there's an 89.37% chance we're going to see a reference to Hillary Clinton somewhere in the article.
"President Trump interviewed four candidates on Monday to take Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s place on the Supreme Court as the White House raced to meet the president’s promise to announce a replacement for the retiring justice early next week."
- My guess about the rush or urgency appears to have been wrong.
..."according to people briefed on the vetting process, they were the federal appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit; Brett M. Kavanaugh of the District of Columbia Circuit; and Raymond M. Kethledge and Amul R. Thapar of the Sixth Circuit..."
"Judge Kavanaugh, an appointee of President George W. Bush who also worked in Mr. Bush’s White House, clerked at the Supreme Court for Justice Kennedy. He was also a prosecutor under the independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton."
- It's not Hillary, but it's close. It's also relevant.
"Mr. Trump has expressed a desire to name a woman to the court, and Judge Barrett is a favorite of religious conservatives. Deeply religious and a former law clerk for Justice Scalia, she once argued that Catholic judges should sometimes recuse themselves from sentencing in death penalty cases."
"“The bottom line: Judge Barrett has given every indication that she will be an activist judge on the Court,” Mr. Schumer wrote in one of a series of tweets. “If chosen as the nominee, she will be the deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and to strike down pre-existing conditions protections in the ACA.”"
- ...activist judge...Schumer might be correct, but the language is also predictable. It's how politicians signal that a judge will try to legislate from the bench.
Pasting in a big section here:
"Mr. Schumer and other Democrats have insisted that Mr. Trump’s choice for the court must be pressed during hearings to specifically say whether they would join a majority in the court to end abortion rights.
But Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, responded to that demand on Monday by highlighting quotes from liberal justices saying during their confirmation hearings that it would be inappropriate to talk about specific cases.
Mr. McConnell said such comments amounted to “the Ginsburg Standard,” named after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg."
- Researching what others have said previously on similar topics must be a full time job for 25% of all congressional staffers.
"Democratic strategists are also eager to highlight Mr. Trump’s statements about abortion during the 2016 presidential campaign. In one debate, Mr. Trump said he would appoint two or three anti-abortion justices to the court, so a more conservative majority could overturn Roe v. Wade.
“That will happen automatically in my opinion,” Mr. Trump said during the debate with Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, in October 2016.
- Ok, technically I was correct about seeing Hillary Clinton in the article, but it's relevant. Still, the authors could have just referenced the debate without including Clinton's name.
"In an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox News, broadcast on Sunday, he said he “probably” would not ask his Supreme Court candidates about their views of the case.
“Well, that’s a big one. And probably not,” Mr. Trump told Ms. Bartiromo. “They are all saying don’t do that. You don’t do that. You shouldn’t do that.”
He added, “But I’m putting conservative people on.”"
- Trump uses odd language. I don't envy anyone who has to speak publicly all the time. I'd have plenty of soundbites of me saying dumb things or mispronouncing words. But he always uses phrases like "a lot of people think so, everyone's saying I should, they are all saying..." It's odd.
- ...putting conservative people on...That makes sense, but it also seems like a definite signal indicating to his base that he does indeed want abortion to be a deciding factor in his pick. The interesting thing would be if he secretly was not interested in seeing it overturned and thus picked someone he thought would maintain the status quo while also pleasing his supporters. I don't have any reason to suspect that just pointing out that it would make it more interesting in terms of seeing how they walked that tight-rope.
"The staff deployment is a reflection of the seriousness with which the White House takes the task of winning a quick confirmation. While Republicans control the Senate, they have only a one-vote margin, and Mr. McConnell has made it clear he wants to bring the nomination to a vote before the November congressional elections."
- ....McConnell has made it clear he wants to bring the nomination to a vote before the November congressional elections...
Verdict: Good, thorough, well-written overview of some of the candidates and the Trump administration's approach to choosing one. They sound fairly organized, but this administration has never struck me as actually being all that organized. I suspect it will get a little messy as various conservative groups lobby for their preferred judges. Anti-abortion groups have been fairly reserved or quiet about the prospect of overturning Roe v. Wade. I've only read a few articles from their perspective, but it seems like they are downplaying the significance, arguing that it would still be a matter for the States. That is true, but I think the main reason they're downplaying things now is their hope that it will lead to a smoother nomination process.