How Leftist Slogans Might Mean Republican Court-Packing
Death to the old slogan! Viva el nuevo slogan!
Or at least until our Democratic friends' new slogan, like the old one, sinks like a lead balloon.
Old Democratic slogan: "A Better Deal."
New Democratic slogan: "For the People," a slogan so "memorable" that this writer actually had to Google it.
But no matter, as we all know the Dems' real slogan, which is "By Any Means Necessary." Obstruction and delaying tactics in the Senate, harassing current and former Trump administration officials in restaurants and bookstores, disrupting conservative speakers on college campuses, Antifa violence – it's all good.
Just as important as what liberals want is when they want what they want – which, invariably, is now.
This brings us to the second, unspoken slogan that governs just about everything Senate liberals do: "Just Make It through the Day." Promoting Democratic policy preferences before the public – arguing one's points, allowing the other side to present a counterargument, counterarguing the counterargument, or winning an election – all that democracy stuff takes time. No, the liberal agenda must be enacted ASAP, "by any means necessary."
Just make it through the day. Do whatever is needed to keep the snowball rolling forward, growing bigger as it goes, no time to worry about whom the snowball might roll over – or that the snowball might roll back, over oneself. Potential blowback and unintended consequences? Pshaw!
If rules get in the way, change 'em. Case in point: the Supreme Court, as David Harsanyi notes:
Harry Reid, a man who had once argued that weakening the Senate filibuster would "destroy the very checks and balances our Founding Fathers put in place to prevent absolute power by any one branch of government," [implemented] the "nuclear option" [to] blow up Senate rules on judicial filibusters so Obama could stack the courts.
"Thanks to all of you who encouraged me to consider filibuster reform," Reid tweeted in 2013. "It had to be done."
A year later, the GOP captured the Senate, and suddenly, what "had to be done" in 2013 had to be un-done in 2014. Likewise with another rule: when Obama, in his last year, nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell invoked the Democrats' own (albeit unofficial) "[Joe] Biden rule" to deny Garland a hearing before the upcoming election. Speaking in the Senate in 1992, a presidential election year (Bush vs. Clinton), Biden said:
[I]t is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns [in a presidential election year, such as 1992, when Biden spoke], President [George H.W.] Bush should ... not ... name a nominee until after the November election is completed.
And if a president chooses to ignore the "Biden rule"?
The Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.
Politifact made a weak attempt to distinguish Biden's circumstances from McConnell's by noting that Biden urged delaying Supreme Court nomination hearings until after the election, while McConnell delayed Garland's hearing until the next president, which turned out to be Donald Trump, took office. But the analogy doesn't work. Had Bush been re-elected, there would have been no reason for even a Democratic Senate to delay hearings. And when Bill Clinton won, does anyone seriously think a Democratic Senate, in November, would have confirmed a Republican's president's nominee, with a Democratic president due to take office in two months? One can be equally sure that if Hillary Clinton had won, McConnell would have fast-tracked Garland's hearings, lest President-Elect Hillary replace Garland with an even more liberal nominee.
The truth that Politifact apparently misses is obvious: that was then, this is now. Democrats needed one rule in 2013; they needed a different rule in 2016, just as the "Biden rule" that Biden advised solely for presidential election years, must now, says Chuck Schumer, apply in midterm election years, too.
This brings us to the latest Democratic scheme: "packing" the Supreme Court by adding six new justices to the current nine:
David Faris, an associate professor of political science at Roosevelt University ... advocates that Democrats should engage in a number of previously verboten political tactics, including "court packing" – whereby a president changes the balance of power on the Supreme Court by simply adding additional judges to it.
In a rare instance of Democrats being willing to wait, the court-packing would not occur now, but at some future time, when Democrats once again control the White House and Senate – at which time the need to pack the Supreme Court, delayable today, will suddenly become urgent. That was then; this is now.
As for the possibility that a future – and angry – Republican White House and Senate might add another six – or more – seats? Democrats can worry about that, later. The future can take care of itself; only the present matters. Just make it through the day.
But Republicans and conservatives must ask: Why wait? If adding six more seats to the Supreme Court is such a great idea, why shouldn't Trump and the Republicans do it now? If it's okay for Democrats to add six new Supreme Court seats to create a liberal majority, why would it not be okay for Republicans to do the same and cement a conservative majority? Let Trump and the GOP Senate create six new Supreme Court seats, all six to be filled by President Donald Trump. From a list. From the Federalist Society.
When Reid exercised the "nuclear option" to push through Obama's lower court nominees (and can anyone doubt that, had Obama nominated Merrick Garland in 2013 and Republicans threatened to filibuster, Democrats would have nuked the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, too?), Mitch McConnell told his Democratic colleagues: "You'll regret this, and you may regret it sooner than you think."
And so, they have – and yes, sooner than they thought. Harry Reid and the Democrats thought they were smart. They made it through the day. But that day is over. It is a new day, with a different president and a different Senate majority leader.
And, for Majority Leader McConnell, a dilemma: Now that Democrats have broached the court-packing idea, and given Democrats' past action on the judicial filibuster, how sure can Republicans be that a future Democratic White House and Senate will not in fact try to pack the Supreme Court?
The best way to nip a future Democratic court-packing scheme in the bud is for Senate Republicans to turn the scheme into a bill, bring it to a vote ASAP, and dare the Democrats to vote for it.
Admittedly, even a "no" vote by every Democrat today will not prevent a "yes" vote by every Democrat tomorrow. But the odds that it will are infinitely higher than the odds that Democrats, in their zeal to fundamentally remake the country, will step back from the brink, take a deep breath, and ask themselves if politics and governance should be more than "just make it through the day."
Gene Schwimmer is a New York- and New Jersey-licensed real estate broker and author of The Christian State.