SCOTUS political theater: Round 1
I was able to get through the first day of the ACB confirmation hearings quickly. Today’s first day was five-and-a-half-hours, but by watching the whole thing on double speed, I got through it in under three. That’s one reason I can watch and listen to so many things during the day. I put them on the fastest speed possible, but I’m still able to keep up with everything being said. The other night, I even watched three movies in half the time it would typically take by doing it that way. God has blessed me with that kind of brain. Now, if the rest of my body would move that fast, then I could do both. I know they say that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but what’s the point of having cake if you can’t eat it?
This was the projected timetable for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and confirmation not long after she was first nominated. I don’t have 100% certainty that these days are still precisely correct, but if not, they are close. I know that because the goal is to get a confirmation vote done before Election Day on November 3.
October 12–14- Hearings
October 15–21- A review of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s recommendation.
October 22- The Committee votes on whether to recommend her for a full Senate vote.
October 29- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to schedule a vote by the full Senate by this date.
With the mask she had on today, ACB looked like she could have been the fourth member of WWE’s Demolition team/group (1987–1991): Ax, Smash, Crush, and ACB.
As members of the committee made their opening statements, I was starting to wonder if these hearings were about President Trump, COVID-19, stimulus bills, whether the nomination should happen, or about the nominee’s qualifications. Senator Chris Coons got his “hypocrite” sticker today by being concerned about conservatives legislating from the bench. That’s rich.
Republicans couldn’t let Coons have all the hypocrisy spotlight, though. They wanted their shot to win the sticker sometimes too. Remember those days when Republicans opposed mandating insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions because it was like someone trying to get home insurance when the house has already started burning down? Good times. Now they can’t race to the cameras fast enough, even during a confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, to reassure people that pre-existing conditions would continue to be covered after an Obamacare repeal. And the problem with these personal anecdotal stories used to make points, as I often heard today, is that the other side can do the same thing to make the opposite point. Senator Mazie Hirono can bring up a story of a woman whose life was saved after obtaining health insurance because of Obamacare. But, if they wanted to, Republican senators could bring up people who lost their coverage with catastrophic effects because of it. That’s the problem with anecdotal stories like that. It happens during the State of the Union addresses as well. It’s not a good idea to make government policy based on anecdotes. And Senator Cory Booker — oh my gosh! He is enough on his own to make one almost regret choosing to watch these things.
But these opening statements weren’t all bad. Senator Ben Sasse taught his Senate colleagues and the rest of America basic civics: The legislative branch writes the law. The executive branch enforces the law. The judicial branch applies the law. As sad as it is that so many Americans and elected representatives needed a reminder of these lessons, I am glad he is willing and able to provide them.
I said earlier today when I was watching this that Lindsey Graham makes no sense to me. I have never been a fan of his. I like how blunt Senator Graham is, but he reminds me of Attorney General William Barr. They make lots of good speeches, but not much follows. He needs a little less talk and a lot more action. But I guess America’s ruling class is bipartisan. First, he acknowledged that many conservatives wanted Republicans to ram the nomination through. Then he said that’s why he doesn’t listen to the radio much anymore. So that answers one of my questions. He’s not ignorant of the best way to go about things. He just ignores the best way more often than not. He is one of those Washington D.C. swamp creatures that need to be targeted in primaries every time. If President Trump really wants to drain the swamp, he can’t ignore the swamp things in his own party. Then he frustratingly followed all of that up by making a good argument for not having the hearings. He said it’s unlikely these hearings will change anyone’s mind or vote on her nomination or confirmation. That made me wonder why we should even be doing this. But then I heard ACB’s opening statement at the end of this. Here is a short paragraph from it:
“Courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The government’s policy decisions and value judgments must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”
Not only was her opening statement good, but it was so good that the Republican argument for these hearings carries more weight to me now than it did when the day started. She is a very likable person. Suppose Democrats continue to trash her or this process like they did today. In that case, they will look as bad as President Trump did after the presidential debate with Joe Biden. That can only help Republican chances in this year’s elections.