Amy Coney Barrett pledges 'open mind' and plays down conservative record
October 14, 2020 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s nominee to the US supreme court, promised to keep an “open mind” when considering cases before the court during a final round of questioning on Wednesday, as Republicans declared her confirmation all but assured despite Democrats’ forceful opposition.
posted by geoff. (307 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, well that’s a relief.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:36 PM on October 14 [14 favorites]


She's actually fairly terrifying. She belongs to a sect (cult) within Catholicism that believes all women should be submissive to men. The female leaders (who ministered to girls and women) were called handmaids until just recently. I've been referring to her as OfJesse, because that's what she wants for the rest of us. This opinion piece spells out a lot of the problems with her version of faith.

In addition, she lied in both document releases about how heavily involved in the anti-choice movement she is. She believes birth control should be banned. She believes IVF should be banned, she's called it manslaughter. She believes medicine derived from stem cells should be banned, including the drug that probably saved the life of the lunatic that nominated her. She opposes gay marriage, gay rights, and transgender equality.

Despite having adopted Black children to show what a good Christian she is, she ruled that a manager calling employees the N-word at work DOES NOT constitute a hostile work environment. She's young, and if seated, could destroy the rights of millions of Americans for 50 or 60 years.

She is literally one of the most dangerous things facing our democracy at the moment, and her confirmation to the bench will destroy any belief that people may have that justice exists for all of us, and not just the privileged few.

And on top of all of that, she has less than four years of judicial experience. In the first day of hearings, she refused to answer if it was illegal to tamper with votes or harass voters at polling locations. (It is.) She refused to say if Trump could change the election dates or refuse to leave office. (He can't.)

Also, Pence's fly showed up and hung around on her shoulder while she was speaking. Because of course it did.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:52 PM on October 14 [131 favorites]


(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by Catblack at 8:54 PM on October 14 [15 favorites]


and her confirmation to the bench will destroy any belief that people may have that justice exists for all of us, and not just the privileged few.

Man if there was anyone out there who still, in October of 2020, believed that...phew I just don't know.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:58 PM on October 14 [9 favorites]


Also, Pence's fly showed up and hung around on her shoulder while she was speaking. Because of course it did.

That doesn't seem to have actually happened.
posted by jedicus at 8:59 PM on October 14 [11 favorites]


Here is the C-Span landing page for Day One. (Part one. Part two linked at bottom right of page.) In Related Videos at the bottom of the page are links to subsequent days.

posted by jedicus: That doesn't seem to have actually happened.

Aw, come on, let me have my Beelzebub dreams. ;)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:04 PM on October 14 [5 favorites]


People on my twitter are saying that she wouldn't answer the question about Medicare because she's an originalist who is gunning to abolish social security and medicare. Can the GOP just...bring a case and the court would just abolish social security? What would happen then? What would happen to the majority of retirees who really need that money? Would they just...go bankrupt and become homeless?
posted by Frowner at 9:19 PM on October 14 [16 favorites]


And on top of all of that, she has less than four years of judicial experience.

Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court with zero judicial experience and roughly the same amount of legal experience as Barrett (about two decades).
posted by saeculorum at 9:19 PM on October 14 [13 favorites]


The Devil in the Many Details of Amy Coney Barrett's Testimony (The Nation)

It’s not unusual for a judicial nominee to be evasive about how they would rule in an upcoming case about a “hot button” culture war issue. But Barrett was evasive about things that should never be up for debate. Senator Cory Booker asked her whether a president should commit to the peaceful transfer of power—Barrett wouldn’t answer. Senator Diane Feinstein asked her if a president could unilaterally delay a general election—Barrett wouldn’t answer. Senator Amy Klobuchar asked her if voter intimidation was illegal—Barrett wouldn’t answer. And when Klobuchar followed up with the actual federal statute prohibiting voter intimidation, Barrett still wouldn’t say that voter intimidation is illegal.

These were softball questions. It takes nothing for a nominee to support the basic concept of the rule of law. It takes nothing for a judge to say, “That statute, which you just read to me, is good law, Senator.” The fact that Barrett wouldn’t do so is probably why Trump is so eager to put her on the Supreme Court before the current election.


Also gonna plug my Senator's excellent crash-course in how the same right-wing sources are simultaneously funding both the selection of these judges, the PR campaigns for these judges, AND the cases which are being deliberately brought to the Supreme Court so these judges can rule on them. And even funding the amici briefs which get filed along with those cases. Also lays out a pretty good overview of the cases that are headed to the Supreme Court and some of the (all-too-many) cases that have already been won this way. Worth watching the whole thing even though it's 28 minutes long. (I also love the subtle shade he drops in there about 27:23, "I don't know if you've tried cases...")
posted by mstokes650 at 9:26 PM on October 14 [58 favorites]


Can the GOP just...bring a case and the court would just abolish social security?

Yes, in a sense. Although, our children and grandchildren would only know about the Republican Party in their history books were that even come within a half dozen dozen steps of happening.
posted by sideshow at 9:29 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


It was sickening to hear her speak about RBG. Her final wishes were that you don't do exactly what you are doing right now. And she has the nerve to talk about how much she respects her. She shouldn't even be there.
posted by adept256 at 9:43 PM on October 14 [32 favorites]


She believes IVF should be banned, she's called it manslaughter.

I kinda get the whole abortion thing, the later a pregnancy goes the more compelling the pro-life arguments get (on the other hand, the later a pregnancy goes, the more likely it is that the mother really wants the baby and wouldn't abort for anything less than necessity, so there's that and it's a big part of why I'm pro choice).

But... anti-IVF? That shows a complete lack of depth and also an astonishingly weird sense of pro-life. Nothing about the IVF process cuts out a life that was EVER going to be viable without it, it's the exact opposite, it makes life possible for people who dearly want to bring it into this world and find it difficult w/o that help. It's weird imagine oneself as pro-life and anti-IVF, but it's categorically insane to call in manslaughter, and if she really thinks that, she's not right in the head.
posted by wildblueyonder at 9:44 PM on October 14 [19 favorites]


As bad as the situation is, I can’t entirely fault the GOP for leveraging their political advantage. They’re pushing through a nomination because they can. On the other hand I can’t abide their contrived outrage that Biden won’t promise not to stack the court. Why should he promise not to use *his* political advantage when the time comes? Pot, say hello to kettle.
posted by simra at 9:51 PM on October 14 [21 favorites]


She belongs to a sect (cult) within Catholicism that believes all women should be submissive to men.

If true then there's an obvious conflict of interest between her submissiveness to her husband and her oath of office. If they conflict, does she transgress against her god or her nation? I can't believe it's an issue, but again, if true, it's a question that should be investigated.


she's an originalist who is gunning to abolish social security and medicare

I have this dream of hoisting originalists upon their own petard where we go back to Washington's original US Supreme Court with SIX Justices, so come February 1, the 3 with least seniority can go home, their seats don't exist anymore. Call it "Unpacking The Court"
posted by mikelieman at 9:57 PM on October 14 [65 favorites]


Can the GOP just...bring a case and the court would just abolish social security? What would happen then? What would happen to the majority of retirees who really need that money? Would they just...go bankrupt and become homeless?

My understanding is that the GOP doesn't want to gut Social Security just for the sake of gutting it - they want to privatize it. (The recent payroll tax is evidence they have not given up on this scheme.) They want to funnel all that Social Security to Wall Street for Wall Street to do with as it pleases. Then, once they money's been handed to Wall Street, when the retirees mysteriously start ending up bankrupt and homeless at dramatically higher rates, they can shrug and say "welp, it's the Invisible Hand of the Market, nothing we can do" and continue to find ways to blame poor people for being poor.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:00 PM on October 14 [73 favorites]


I have seen the comment multiple times that originalists don't seem to quote the people who rebuilt the United States after the Civil War, which does kind of give the game away about what the goals of originalists are.

I imagine MetaFilter mods in judicial arguments reminding the participants [Don't Relitigate The Civil War]
posted by Merus at 10:07 PM on October 14 [15 favorites]


Everybody knows she’s going to get confirmed. McConnell, if it weren’t already obvious by the simple fact that he’s an evil man to his core, gave the game away when he said the nominee would be confirmed before he even knew who it was going to be.

Barrett will have 30-40 years on the Court, just like all the other terrible arch-right-wingers on there. Nothing going to stop that now.

That said, there’s still a LOT of good we can do with both houses of Congress and the White House. And if the anti-choicers get their wish and Roe is overturned by a conservative SCOTUS, I’d expect a federal law requiring states to permit it, which would be constitutional under the Supremacy Clause. Similarly with the ACA — if it’s overturned, then Congress can pass a tighter law, like opt-in Medicare.
posted by darkstar at 10:24 PM on October 14 [11 favorites]


As bad as the situation is, I can’t entirely fault the GOP for leveraging their political advantage. They’re pushing through a nomination because they can. On the other hand I can’t abide their contrived outrage that Biden won’t promise not to stack the court. Why should he promise not to use *his* political advantage when the time comes? Pot, say hello to kettle.

the reason is that the dems aren't homogeneous the way repubs are. republicans can use maximum leverage in ways that might offend the middle-of-the-road voter, because they have a hardcore base that has a ton in common with each other and they're the only ones who matter. they aren't the majority of the country, but they largely agree on the things they care about and are empowered geographically thanks to the way the senate works and the electoral college.

biden doesn't have that luxury. his side is more numerous, but they are far more diverse in every way, and they don't remotely all agree with each other on anything, and they have to win by millions of votes just to break even.

that's why biden can't say the kind of "what are ya gonna do about it" shit mcconnell says. he has to be coy and try not to offend anyone in his own very loose coalition. this is the nature of the system that exists right now. to change it, you'd have to get rid of house gerrymandering, add DC and puerto rico to the senate, dump the electoral college, and end lifetime tenure on the supreme court. .. which all should be Job One for biden in 2021.
posted by wibari at 10:44 PM on October 14 [32 favorites]


Term limits. 18 years.
posted by nat at 10:46 PM on October 14 [17 favorites]


Not to take away from the Democrats on the Senate panel, but if procedure permitted, they really should have called on someone else to ask the questions...

*Margaret Atwood voice*

"It says here you were a 'Handmaid.' I'd like to say 'You can't make this up.' For the record, I did, in fact, write a novel where I 'made it up,' but only because it was an amalgam of experiences women have actually had at various points in history. Nothing I wrote in that book was a happy accident. All I want to know is this: Why are you embarking on a quest to make this dystopian and cautionary tale flesh? It was never a "how-to" manual, and I'm profoundly disturbed that you thought so. In short, what -- as I've heard younger people say -- 'in the actual fuck,' is wrong with you?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:06 PM on October 14 [35 favorites]


he has to be coy and try not to offend anyone in his own very loose coalition. this is the nature of the system that exists right now. to change it, you'd have to get rid of house gerrymandering, add DC and puerto rico to the senate, dump the electoral college, and end lifetime tenure on the supreme court.

Not rocking the boat and embarking on radical change are mutually exclusive propositions, are they not?
posted by StarkRoads at 11:27 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


With Amy Coney Barrett, a once-fringe legal philosophy goes mainstream. Is the First Amendment the most important? Adherents of the conservative Christian legal movement believe so – particularly the Free Exercise clause, which they argue has been given short shrift as America has become less religious. (Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 6, 2020) The Blackstone Legal Fellowship, organized for 20 years by the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, aims to train Christian lawyers to “foster legal systems that fully protect our God-given rights.” The program’s student and teacher alumni now include dozens of law clerks, a U.S. senator, and at least six federal judges – most notably Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who could soon become the youngest member of the U.S Supreme Court. [...] working in a Christian legal organization, or as a Christian lawyer, can mean being “a different kind of lawyer,” as Judge Barrett described in a 2006 commencement speech at Notre Dame Law School – the school where she was voted “professor of the year” three times.

Your legal career is but a means to an end,” she told the graduates. “That end is building the kingdom of God.

Alliance Defending Freedom, The Blackstone Legal Fellowship, and Amy Coney Barrett: Did Amy Coney Barrett Lie to Congress in 2017 or Is She Just Clueless? (Mother Jones, Oct. 12, 2020) Alliance Defending Freedom is the nation’s largest and most influential anti-LGBTQ legal organization. With a budget of more than $50 million and more than 40 staff lawyers, it has participated in nearly 60 successful US Supreme Court cases since it launched in 1994.

When then-Sen. Al Franken asked Barrett about her ADF work during her 2017 confirmation hearing, she claimed to have no idea that ADF had an anti-LBGT agenda when she agreed to teach at ADF’s summer-long law student training program (the Blackstone Legal Fellowship), testifying that she'd "only recently learned that the Southern Poverty Law Center had described ADF as a hate group for supporting the criminalization of homosexuality overseas and also for the 'recriminalization of homosexuality in the United States.'" Amy Coney Barrett taught in that summer session in five different years.

Franken: This is a group that fights against equal treatment of LGBT people. This is a group which calls for the sterilization of transgender people abroad.

Barrett: I was not aware of that. I’m invited to give a lot of talks as a law professor. I don’t know what all of ADF’s policy positions are. And it has never been my practice to investigate all of the policy positions of a group that invites me to speak.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:37 PM on October 14 [26 favorites]


To be fair, they did not take the term handmaid from Handmaiden's Tale, they took it from the term "handmaiden to the Lord" and it is fairly common in religious groups to designate oneself as fully subservient to God. This goes across religions and cultures. Since I share a lot of similarities with her upbringing, let us try to find actual things we can probably knock her for. I say "probably" because talking to people of my generation and I'm assuming hers was very similar if not even more conservative:

1. We were taught that contraceptives were bad, but because this was a wealthy Catholic school it was pretty obvious that there were nothing but households with a couple kids so instead of contraceptives were bad we were told they just didn't work and didn't prevent things like HPV. So if it doesn't completely prevent all STDs might as well not use and you shouldn't have sex anyway so what's the point.

2. Our sex talk literally consisted of reminding us that porn is bad and that men and women should have sex facing each other because that is what separates us from the monkeys. Literally, I thought for awhile that only humans were capable of missionary sex.

3. The logic leaps to make all this happen are steeped in Catholic theological tradition. Medieval religious figures were some of the greatest lawyers fo all time.

I say this to emphasize that if her education was anything like mine, up to and including me being glad I didn't go to ND, mocking the handmaid thing really dismisses that she can carry some truly scary logical leaps. The old trope of how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin really is how a lot of Catholicism functions and it has 2,000 years of the brightest minds in the Western world at times trying to figure this out. It might be because I'm not that smart but it took me awhile to truly embrace secular liberalism because the logic behind a lot of the arguments is frankly good. When I say "embrace secular liberalism" I don't mean being 23 and living like an extra from the show Big Love. I'm sure a 19 year old version of me would have sworn I was as liberal as they come but still probably clung to the notion that sex in terms of marriage is probably better, and maybe we should try our best to save life. These vestiges are the hardest to get rid of the most pervasive.

Anyway last thing we need is a St. Thomas Aquinas type on the court, their logic is actually very persuasive and very good.
posted by geoff. at 11:38 PM on October 14 [27 favorites]


She seems to be deliberately leaving a lot out of her past that should be on record as a nominee. Can she be impeached for functionally lying to Congress?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:49 PM on October 14 [5 favorites]


Barrett spoke at program to inspire Christian worldview in law; critics fear influence of 'dogma' (ABA Journal, Sept. 28, 2020) Beginning in 2011, Barrett spoke five times at the at the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, an event sponsored by the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, the Washington Post reports. The summer program for law students was established to inspire a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law.” In 2011, the Blackstone website said the law student seminars were intended to further efforts to create “an America whose laws affirm religious liberty, protect life from conception to natural death, defend the family, and preserve marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

Barrett said during her 2017 confirmation hearing she wasn’t aware of all the ADF’s policy positions. She agreed to speak at the programs because of participation by some of her colleagues and students at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where she was a professor and a member of the anti-abortion group Faculty for Life. “I don’t feel like affiliation with a group commits me to all of that group’s policy positions,” she said. Barrett submitted materials from her speaking engagements at the Blackstone Legal Fellowship for the 2017 hearing, and they focused on originalism.


Barrett and her husband Jesse are members of People of Praise, as are her parents and at least a few of her in-laws. The organization was founded in 1971, and Barrett's dad is a permanent deacon, having served the "ecumenical lay covenant community" for 40 years now. The org's site starting purging Barrett material in 2017, the year she was appointed to 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and has excised more family-related info in recent weeks: Religious group scrubs all references to Amy Coney Barrett from its website (The Guardian, Sept. 30, 2020) A spokesman for the organization has declined to say whether the judge and her husband, Jesse Barrett, are members. But an analysis by the Associated Press shows that People of Praise erased numerous records from its website during the summer of 2017 that referred to Barrett and included photos of her and her family. At the time, Barrett was on Trump’s shortlist for the high court seat that eventually went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Last week, when Barrett again emerged as a frontrunner for the court, more articles, blogposts and photos disappeared. After an AP reporter emailed the group’s spokesman on Wednesday about members of Jesse Barrett’s family, his mother’s name was deleted from the primary contact for the South Bend, Indiana, branch. All issues of the organization’s magazine, Vine and Branches, were also removed.

posted by Iris Gambol at 11:52 PM on October 14 [11 favorites]


To be fair, they did not take the term handmaid from Handmaiden's Tale, they took it from the term "handmaiden to the Lord" and it is fairly common in religious groups to designate oneself as fully subservient to God.

Correct. That's what Atwood was writing about. You don't need to mansplain this.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:06 AM on October 15 [53 favorites]


Can we PLEASE stop using "conservative" to mean Right-Wing? Because they are not at all the same thing. You don't just keep getting more conservative until you are a NAZI.

Joe Biden is Conservative. The current GOP is mostly Radical Reactionary with hints of unhinged Libertarianism (...functionally equivalent to Monarchy) and Fascism.

Words have meanings. This whole Left-ish = "liberal" and Right-ish = "conservative" bullshit has significantly accelerated the dumbing-down of political discourse in the US - almost exclusively to the benefit of racists, xenophobes, and wealthy idiots.
posted by Anoplura at 12:06 AM on October 15 [69 favorites]


Oh man, the OP isn't even about the quote I thought it was going to be. Blumenthal asked her about Trump's $750 tax bill, $421 million in loans coming due during the next four years, payments and benefits he received from India, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Thailand, and more, how this affects national security, and what originalism would say about the Emoluments Clause in this case, and her reply in its entirety was
No man is above the law. I agree with that as I have stated clearly before and I also want to assure you, Senator Blumenthal, I will apply all laws and come to an open mind with all laws including anticorruption.
(2:19:59 in C-SPAN's Day 3, part 2) Seems like she was stuck on repeat there because I don't think open mind was supposed to go with corruption.

Here's a comment with other details I posted in another thread while I was watching:

A little while ago during one of the breaks in the Barrett hearings, Terry Moran, an anchor for one of the Enemies of the People, said something with nearly the exact wording, "President Trump got lucky with three Supreme Court openings during his term. Sometimes that just happens!" and my head exploded.

In the following brief audio-problem-free resumption of the hearings, Senator Blumenthal asked Barrett again about her comments on "super-precedents" that she could actually confirm are valid SCOTUS rulings, getting her to repeat agreement with Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia. So we might only go back to the 1950s and 1960s, legally? Maybe? And segregation might still be outlawed and interracial couples might still be able to get married? (Note that not all Trump judicial nominees have been willing to say that Brown was valid.)

But Barrett refused to say that Griswold v. Connecticut, also a 1960s ruling, 7 to 2 even then, against the criminalization of birth control, was one of the "super-precedents" she'd talked about. Even when Blumenthal made it clear that it was her legal opinion he was asking for, not her moral or religious opinion. And of course she wouldn't speak on Obergefell v. Hodges—same-sex marriage, or other more recent LGBTQI+ rights cases.
posted by XMLicious at 12:18 AM on October 15 [10 favorites]


Terry Moran, an anchor for one of the Enemies of the People, said something with nearly the exact wording, "President Trump got lucky with three Supreme Court openings during his term. Sometimes that just happens!" and my head exploded.

Natural causes.
posted by flabdablet at 1:11 AM on October 15 [2 favorites]


She is problematic as best, if one assumes she is effectively a puppet. The more concerning point is whose hand is... uh... stuck up... scratch that ... The more concerning point, the real issue, is the one made by Sen. Whitehouse - that with enough money, a Supreme Court seat can be bought and Law changed thusly ("Activist Judges!"). Yet another resounding case for the re-introduction of substantial income taxes above a certain income (it's ironic, really, when Trump talks about "MAGA" he means the racist policies and social construction of the 50's but with that period comes income taxes that benefited the middle class and would no doubt anger a bunch of his wealthy buddies.) The Koch brother's can't die off/ find another hobby soon enough. And the Mercer's and all these other self-serving sociopaths.

Not to be forgotten (and a point Senator Klobuchar emphatically made) as mentioned above:
... there’s still a LOT of good we can do with both houses of Congress and the White House. And if the anti-choicers get their wish and Roe is overturned by a conservative SCOTUS, I’d expect a federal law requiring states to permit it, which would be constitutional under the Supremacy Clause. Similarly with the ACA — if it’s overturned, then Congress can pass a tighter law, like opt-in Medicare.

I remember reading about the 'shaky' legal ground of Roe, I think this was back when Roberts was nominated, and how bringing a case that cemented the right would benefit everybody. There is still the chance this could occur... if we can just do away with gerrymandering and the electoral college... sigh
posted by From Bklyn at 2:02 AM on October 15 [6 favorites]




Amanda Marcotte points out in Salon.com that her selection as a nominee is to troll feminists.

She also points out on Twitter that Republicans have turned the entire nomination process into nonsense:
It's ridiculous how Republicans have normalized the idea that judicial nominees should not share any information about how they plan to do their job. Can you imagine any other job interview going that way?

"Okay, Bob, you've applied for a job as our company accountant. How do you prefer to run books for our company?"

"I cannot preview, forecast, or speculate on how I might do this job, sir. I thought I made that clear."

Uh, no one would hire you. This is ridiculous
posted by soundguy99 at 3:57 AM on October 15 [46 favorites]


It's weird imagine oneself as pro-life and anti-IVF

Not if you believe that a soul enters the cell at the point of conception. AIUI, IVF produces leftover embryos whose souls won't ever have the chance to get baptized.

My understanding is that the GOP doesn't want to gut Social Security just for the sake of gutting it - they want to privatize it.

I am not a lawyer, but it would be hard for me to imagine a Supreme Court ruling which allows Social Security to continue only if privatized.
posted by Slothrup at 4:17 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


But... anti-IVF? That shows a complete lack of depth and also an astonishingly weird sense of pro-life. Nothing about the IVF process cuts out a life that was EVER going to be viable without it, it's the exact opposite, it makes life possible for people who dearly want to bring it into this world and find it difficult w/o that help.

It’s very consistent with Catholic discourse on birth control and reproductive rights (not a term they would use.) I had to attend a marriage preparation course In the early 90s where we were told the pill is abortion and IVF is killing babies in vitro and nothing’s changed. I also attended a course (RCIA) where we spent 15 minutes on the Holy Ghost and one hour on which specific acts are permitted to married couples. Not all Catholics are into this but the ones who are are supported by Church doctrine and they are really scary. I mention this because it’s not a lack of depth, it’s a radical ideology.

On the Supreme Court issue, I have never understood the American judicial system where judges are elected and all the rest of it but I am so sad and scared that this is where things are at...a woman with so little judicial experience and such radical ideology is comfortable expressing abhorrent, anti Democratic views/uncertainty out in the open, confident of a lifetime appointment.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:19 AM on October 15 [13 favorites]


How does a female originalist voice her opinions? Or actually have them?
posted by zeikka at 5:03 AM on October 15 [29 favorites]


mstokes650: "They want to funnel all that Social Security to Wall Street for Wall Street to do with as it pleases."

That's the system we have in Chile. It's a big part of what fueled the uprising last october, with, among other things, close to 1.4 Million people at a single march against the government, and why we have a plebiscite in less than 2 weeks to scrap the current constitution and start over from scratch.
posted by signal at 5:25 AM on October 15 [25 favorites]


I remember reading about the 'shaky' legal ground of Roe, I think this was back when Roberts was nominated, and how bringing a case that cemented the right would benefit everybody

If the 9th amendment can't keep the government out of a woman's uterus then I don't even know why we have a 9th amendment.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:55 AM on October 15 [10 favorites]


Literally the whole point of the 9th amendment is "invent new rights we might not have thought of in 1787 to stop the government from doing evil shit".
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:56 AM on October 15 [24 favorites]


Not all Catholics are into this but the ones who are are supported by Church doctrine and they are really scary. I mention this because it’s not a lack of depth, it’s a radical ideology.

warriorqueen, I agree that those positions are not mainstream American Catholic.

We did our Pre-Cana course in 1996 at Boston College -- solidly middle class, white, East Cost, with a strong Jesuit flair -- and we were never told any of those opinions by the priest running things, nor the couple who was assigned to our group. (Who, demonstrating their R.C. bona fides, had to bail early because she went into labor.)

I can't recall ever having heard the position that "IVF is murder" before this month, and it kind of took my breath away. It feels like reductio ab absurdum of pro-life: like, half of a potential zygote is still enough or them to get frothy over?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:01 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


One person's reductio ad absurdum is another's credo.
posted by hat_eater at 6:04 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


half of a potential zygote is still enough or them to get frothy over

Some of the leftover eggs have been fertilized (again, AIUI).
posted by Slothrup at 6:11 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


One person's reductio ad absurdum is another's credo.

Ok, so if a woman isn't married and pregnant by her first menses it is murder. If a woman isn't pregnant immediately following giving birth it is murder, and each month she remains without child is another murder, right? Seems like Barrett has some answering to do.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:11 AM on October 15


She belongs to a sect (cult) within Catholicism that believes all women should be submissive to men.

If true then there's an obvious conflict of interest between her submissiveness to her husband and her oath of office. If they conflict, does she transgress against her god or her nation?


I mean, Phyllis Schlafley was full of these same contradictions, but lack of self-awareness didn't stop her. This kind of honest reflection on the contradictions btwn one's "belief system", behaviors, and social role aren't exactly in the wheelhouse of these people. They might actually explode if they faced their contradictions.
posted by erattacorrige at 6:13 AM on October 15 [12 favorites]


>they can shrug and say "welp, it's the Invisible Hand of the Market, nothing we can do"

‘It Is What It Is': Trump Defends Coronavirus Response

'We need to live with it': White House readies new message for the nation on coronavirus
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:14 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


One person's reductio ad absurdum is another's credo.

Heretical Cristian extremists who believe ensoulment happens with conception are wrong, as blastocyst twinning shows. If ensoulment happens at conception, then after twinning one of the twins would be soulless since souls are atomic and indivisible.

Ensoulment does not happen at conception since G-d isn't an idiot, wasting time installing souls into babies G-d KNOWS aren't going to go full-term. Not a single baby ever miscarried or aborted ever had a soul, so there's never been a moral issue here.
posted by mikelieman at 6:15 AM on October 15 [34 favorites]


Ok, so if a woman isn't married and pregnant by her first menses it is murder. If a woman isn't pregnant immediately following giving birth it is murder, and each month she remains without child is another murder, right? Seems like Barrett has some answering to do.

No. In this understanding, a fertilized ovum -- a zygote -- is a life. Not an egg or a sperm on its own. The objection to IVF is that, as I understand it, multiple ova are fertilized -- made into zygotes -- and then culled for viability, and it is the culling of zygotes that is objected to.

I'm not defending what ACB believes, but what you've written is a straw man.

(Edit: this is as I understand Catholic teaching on IVF -- I am happy to be corrected.)
posted by gauche at 6:17 AM on October 15 [13 favorites]


I'm not saying there isn't any complexity or gray area further on in pregnancy, but it's just so hard for me to empathize with people who claim not to see any difference between a seed and a flower.
posted by prefpara at 6:17 AM on October 15 [8 favorites]


The objection to IVF is that, as I understand it, multiple ova are fertilized -- made into zygotes -- and then culled for viability, and it is the culling of zygotes that is objected to.

Fair, but there's lots of ways that fertilised eggs don't make it to embryos. From what I understand, it's pretty common!
posted by Merus at 6:22 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Heretical Cristian extremists who believe ensoulment happens with conception are wrong

Nevertheless that's what they believe and what leads them to adopt the position that "IVF is murder". They are being consistent. Of course if being consistent leads one to embrace positions that are hard to defend, the choice is either to abandon the premise or double down. That would explain - in part - why pro-lifers tend to be rather impervious to arguments.
posted by hat_eater at 6:24 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Nevertheless that's what they believe and what leads them to adopt the position that "IVF is murder". They are being consistent.

I'm curious about Coney Barret's position on the death penalty. As a strict Catholic and so-called "pro-life" advocate, she should be against it. As a Federalist Society clone, not so much.
posted by Gelatin at 6:31 AM on October 15 [11 favorites]


I'm curious about Coney Barret's position on the death penalty. As a strict Catholic and so-called "pro-life" advocate, she should be against it. As a Federalist Society clone, not so much.

Her position is that of a weasel who will say whatever it takes to get power:
during her 2017 nomination hearing ... Judge Barrett said, “I cannot think of any cases or category of cases, including capital cases, in which I would feel obliged to recuse on grounds of conscience.” Judge Barrett clarified that she would not be willing to enter an order of execution if she were a trial judge, but she would be willing to affirm a death sentence at the appellate level.
Of course, as a Supreme Court Justice, she would frequently have the final word on whether or not an execution proceeds, even more so than a trial court judge. And yet:
On Wednesday, September 30, 2020, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a 65-page questionnaire that Judge Barret had completed following her nomination [to the Supreme Court]. In it, Judge Barrett wrote a list of reasons she would recuse herself from a case, none of which were related to capital punishment.
This is all despite a 1998 law review article she co-authored, in which she argued that Catholic judges should generally recuse themselves from death penalty and abortion cases. NB: she argued that they should voluntarily recuse themselves; she specifically argued against involuntary recusal.

The bottom line is that she is the worst kind of True Believer: the kind for whom the ends justify the means. Once she had the chance at power herself, all of her much-vaunted principles went out the window. There is only one principle that matters now: getting and using power to build a theocracy based on the beliefs of a group of about 1,700 religious extremists, or 0.0005% of the US population.
posted by jedicus at 6:57 AM on October 15 [30 favorites]


To be fair, they did not take the term handmaid from Handmaiden's Tale, they took it from the term "handmaiden to the Lord" and it is fairly common in religious groups to designate oneself as fully subservient to God.


Correct. That's what Atwood was writing about. You don't need to mansplain this.
I hope you didn’t intend this as a bad faith reading but I don’t think it’s doing our side any favors to find a pat excuse to dismiss a lengthy comment rather than engage with its substance. Your original comment failed to convey any of that nuance and that’s an important failure because the opposition is nowhere near as unified as the conservative movement advancing people like ACB. Mocking people for being religious or using common religious terminology is not going to get support from anyone who wasn’t already on our side but it will make the job easier for everyone who’s claiming that our real target is religion.

Instead, we should be talking about her beliefs. Most religious people agree that IVF is a good thing - many having benefited personally - so talk about that. Talk about her dishonesty. Talk about her inexperience. Those are what matters, not a joke about The Handmaid’s Tale being a how-to manual.
posted by adamsc at 7:03 AM on October 15 [12 favorites]


My goal is to hope the Dems get the Senate and Presidency and then hold their feet in the fire until they seat 4 liberal justices to the court. Any purists on the court who feel that the number should remain 9 are welcome to resign. We'll have 2 years to get it done, and that should be job 1.
posted by OHenryPacey at 7:17 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


Adding 4 would also restore the "one justice per circuit" principle.
posted by Not A Thing at 7:27 AM on October 15 [17 favorites]


What I don't understand is why the Democrats haven't explicitly used her own words* in questioning her. She said that replacing Scalia in an election year would be inappropriate – and that it would be especially inappropriate to replace “the staunchest conservative on the court” with a liberal because “it’s not a lateral move”.

Q: If Garland was inappropriate, Ms. Barrett, why aren't you?

*Or if they have, I haven't seen it in the news coverage.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:28 AM on October 15 [24 favorites]


Because the answer will always be some variation of "this time it's different!" as we have already seen.
posted by delicious-luncheon at 7:36 AM on October 15 [5 favorites]


Adding 4 would also restore the "one justice per circuit" principle.

Which, it should be noted, isn't just an aesthetic principle. Each Justice is assigned to one or more Circuits, and there are some procedural matters that are handled by that Justice acting alone. Having one Justice per Circuit would even-out that workload. Right now some Justices are assigned to more than one Circuit.

More Justices could also enable the Court to hear and decide more cases per term. The number of cases decided by the Court each term has been declining for many years even as the number of appeals has increased significantly. Possibly this is due to the increased complexity of litigation and decision-making, but frankly I suspect laziness and disinterest, as many of the Justices somehow find time to give speeches and teach law school courses while leaving a lot of the actual work to their clerks. But whatever the cause, more Justices could mean a return to historical levels of productivity.

We could even have a very large number of Justices (say 21 or something) where most cases are not heard by all Justices. There is no constitutional requirement that all cases be heard by all eligible Justices, and indeed there are large circuit courts that work this way. In the 9th Circuit, for example, which has 47 judges, cases are normally heard by a panel of 3 but even en banc rehearings only have a panel of the chief judge plus 10 randomly selected judges.
posted by jedicus at 7:44 AM on October 15 [22 favorites]


My goal is to hope the Dems get the Senate and Presidency and then hold their feet in the fire until they seat 4 liberal justices to the court. Any purists on the court who feel that the number should remain 9 are welcome to resign. We'll have 2 years to get it done, and that should be job 1.

Honestly I like the term-limit approach that darkstar describes here. It both has better optics and solves a more general problem (i.e. that it's insane that so much can hinge on a single justice. A packed court is a short-term solution unless you can guarantee it won't be evenly split again in the future.)

How do the obstacles to enacting term limits compare to those for court packing?
posted by trig at 7:46 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


There's no magic brilliant question the Democrats can ask that will make Barrett's brain explode. The only thing that could stop her nomination at this point is a natural disaster, or all the senators getting covid, or something.

Supreme Court justices are always talking about maintaining the legitimacy of the court. They need that legitimacy because the court has no way to enforce its decisions other than the widespread belief that they're binding. By the end of this month, an impeached president who lost the popular vote will have appointed three justices, all three of them under unusual circumstances: the first only after an extraordinary act of obstruction, the second in the face of credible reports of his depravity, the third only days before an election.

I think we're getting close to a point where the court loses that legitimacy. Maybe it rules that the ACA is unconstitutional, and a Biden administration just ignores it and continues to fund the system. Maybe it declares that every same-sex marriage since Obergefell is null, and everyone just carries on being married, and a Democratic-run IRS processes their joint filings like before. This doesn't seem any more farfetched than court-packing or term limits.
posted by theodolite at 7:56 AM on October 15 [41 favorites]


How do the obstacles to enacting term limits compare to those for court packing?

It's an open question whether term limits run afoul of the current constitutional view that Article III judges have life tenure. And of course that law would be reviewed by the Court, which wouldn't have much incentive to hold it constitutional.

My understanding is that term limits could be more easily imposed on future Justices than current ones. But that doesn't do anything about Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, or Barrett and would weaken potential Biden nominees. And of course there would be nothing stopping a future Republican Congress from reestablishing life tenure for their own nominees. Better to "level upward" by expanding the Court with young, unapologetically leftist Justices than to "level down" by weakening the Court when history has shown that the Republicans will absolutely change the law again to their own advantage.
posted by jedicus at 7:59 AM on October 15 [6 favorites]


I agree that those positions are not mainstream American Catholic.

That's fine, but the mainstream American Catholic is heretical. The literal definition of Catholicism is that you believe that God acts through the Church, and long held Church doctrine is that IVF is sin (among other issues that American Catholics ignore). She can be criticized for having extremist views but she's in-line with being a Catholic.

Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court with zero judicial experience and roughly the same amount of legal experience as Barrett

And many people rightly criticized her nomination. Just because her opinions generally agree with ours doesn't mean that we should say that judiciary experience doesn't matter or that we shouldn't hold appointees to one of the most powerful positions in the world to a high standard.
posted by Candleman at 8:08 AM on October 15 [5 favorites]


Imagine this job interview.

If we hire you, what will you do?
You'll find out when you hire me.

Are you going to work hard?
I will determine that on a case by case basis.

You've said you'd like to set fire to the curtains, are you going to do that?
I won't comment on things I may or may not do in the future.
posted by adept256 at 8:38 AM on October 15 [33 favorites]


What's going on couldn't be more obvious, and the Republicans want you to know they know you know it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:39 AM on October 15 [34 favorites]


What's going on couldn't be more obvious, and the Republicans want you to know they know you know it.

Exactly. Republicans considered it an outrage that Bork was voted down because the opinions he expressed were well outside the mainstream of American opinion (and thus, he was not rewarded with a SCOTUS seat for his part in the Saturday Night Massacre).

Since then, Republicans have been coy about expressing their opinions that are well outside the mainstream of American opinion (of course Coney Barrett is just itching to overturn Roe v Wade), but while the Republicans have the power to ram her appointment thru anyway, being coy about it is part of their assertion of power -- Senators don't really have to advise and consent, just rubber stamp.

By the way, Coney Barrett was one of the lawyers working for Bush in Bush v Gore.
posted by Gelatin at 8:53 AM on October 15 [13 favorites]


I've posted this elsewhere, but the very fact that Judge Barrett is willing to accept this nomination given the context says everything you need to know about her character and suitability to become a Justice of the Supreme Court. Or, indeed, to remain a judge at all.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 9:17 AM on October 15 [47 favorites]


This is another reminder. Elections matter. The senate matters. Everything happening is plainly legal and the result of representative democracy. As unpalatable as it might be this is democracy in action and the will of the people.
posted by asra at 9:22 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Not the will of the people.

Term limits advocates have a plan to apply to current justices; essentially, current justices would not serve on SCOTUS after 18 years but would serve on lower appellate courts. This may get around the “lifetime appointment” issue.

More than 6000 attorneys have signed a letter asserting her lack of fitness for this position, as entered into the record via Senator.
posted by nat at 9:31 AM on October 15 [15 favorites]


As unpalatable as it might be this is democracy in action and the will of the people.

No, this is self-serving power in action and the result of voter suppression, disenfranchisement, obstructionism, the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the Senate, and the dedicated efforts of extremists like Leonard Leo who have made it their life's work to reshape the federal judiciary.

And why target the judiciary rather than electoral politics? Because federal judges are unelected and essentially unremovable and the extremists know that their policy positions are unpopular.
posted by jedicus at 9:37 AM on October 15 [35 favorites]


That might not the current sentiment but it is how democracy functions by design.
posted by asra at 9:38 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


This is not the will of the people, it is not democracy, it is not normal, it is not legitimate. What it is is quirks and flaws in the US system of democracy having been exploited by Republicans who also courted fascists and white supremacists for decades to the point where that same demographic now comprises increasingly more of the party leadership. This is late-stage symptoms of the disease Limbaugh introduced. This is part of an ongoing explicit fascist takeover of US government.

It is technically legal, yes, but Republicans have done plenty of things in this year alone that are technically illegal so obviously upholding laws doesn't really factor into their tactics at all. I get your point, asra, and am not trying to be combative towards you specifically - but all of this is the end result of concerted attacks on US democracy that have been happening since before I was even born.
posted by Lonnrot at 9:44 AM on October 15 [30 favorites]


The objection to IVF is that, as I understand it, multiple ova are fertilized -- made into zygotes -- and then culled for viability, and it is the culling of zygotes that is objected to.

In addition, some patients may be lucky enough to have leftover viable embyros, and in the position to decide whether or not they want to keep them storage for a while longer, donate them to other patients, donate them to science, or destroy them.
posted by AndrewInDC at 9:58 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


Everything happening is plainly legal and the result of representative democracy

"Everything happening" is pointedly not the result of representative democracy, but rather of the suppression of representation of people who vote against the GOP.
posted by Lyme Drop at 10:03 AM on October 15 [21 favorites]


More than 6000 attorneys have signed a letter asserting her lack of fitness for this position,

There are over 1,328,000 attorneys in US according to the US Bar Association. Needs a larger sample (as well as numbers saying the reverse) to be meaningful.

(For what it's worth, ABA also says she's well qualified. No dog in this fight, me, IANAL.)
posted by BWA at 10:15 AM on October 15 [2 favorites]


I'm hearing all of these accusations of religious bigotry against this dear Catholic woman. Huh, they do understand what religious bigotry is, when it's a white christian woman being so unfairly maligned.

Except that no-one has attacked her for being a Catholic, and those they are accusing have nominated a Catholic to be president.
posted by adept256 at 10:15 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


But is it really a democracy anymore in a two party system when one side will not abide by any rules and changes the rules to benefit them at all costs? All safeguards to our democracy have been worn down by money and social engineering of complete propaganda on social media platforms. So it is not correct to say "this is democracy in action and the will of the people" when one side is willing to destroy our society to keep their power and money making schemes intact at all costs. They have broken the system that would keep them in check, how is that "representational democracy"?
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 10:16 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


That might not the current sentiment but it is how democracy functions by design.

It is how our U.S. democracy functions, but our democracy due to the compromises made at the time of its creation (and because such a democracy was a new and radical idea at the time and nobody was really all that sure about it) contains some notably, explicitly un-democratic components, and the Republican party is clearly, and intentionally, exploiting those un-democratic components to gather, maintain and wield as much power as possible to pursue agendas that would never survive in a system that was a purer democracy.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:19 AM on October 15 [12 favorites]


We could even have a very large number of Justices (say 21 or something) where most cases are not heard by all Justices.

I'm just sayin', the Biblical Sanhedrin had 71 judges. Barrett couldn't possibly object to following her stated goal of going back to the Bible...
posted by Mchelly at 10:20 AM on October 15 [11 favorites]


I think every citizen should be made a Supreme Court Justice with 9 randomly picked for each hearing as a kind of jury duty.
posted by mazola at 10:23 AM on October 15 [9 favorites]


Issuing the disclaimer/backstory that my instinct in situations like these is to try to find some kind of "how can we turn the shit situation in on itself" move. Here's what I came up with:

Barrett has repeatedly described herself as a Constitutional Originalist - meaning, when asked to evaluate a law against the Constitution, she prefers to think in terms of "how did the original Founding Fathers think and what did they mean when they wrote the Constitution."

If that is the case - I can't help but point out that back in the days of the founding fathers, automatic weapons, bump stocks and such other firearms were not a thing. Which I can't help but think leads the mind down some interesting paths.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:25 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


I believe the problem with "The system is working as designed" is that it's true, but it's part of the story.

What's missing is an out-of-band mechanism to handle cases where people are not acting honestly and in good-faith, a predicate for "The system working as designed" in which the system doesn't devolve into -- as the Republicans are saying -- "I'm going to do whatever I want. Fuck you, you can't stop me".

I believe historically it was dueling. I guess if people want to talk Originalism, then that'll be back on the table?

Ten Duel Commandments · Anthony Ramos · Lin-Manuel Miranda · Jon Rua · Leslie Odom Jr. · Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
posted by mikelieman at 10:25 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


That sounds more like Constitutional Onanism than Constitutional Originalism.
posted by acb at 10:26 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


I can't recall ever having heard the position that "IVF is murder" before this month

Just because this has kicked around a few times there was a S9 episode, that's more than a dozen years ago, of SVU called "Inconceivable" where some radical pro-lifers steal a vat of frozen embryos from an IVF clinic. I don't remember the total plot but the gist of it is that if you're REALLY pro life then IVF should be bad, because embryos are brought into the world and then die. The idea has been out there in the pop cultural wild for quite a while.
posted by phunniemee at 10:26 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


there's an obvious conflict of interest between her submissiveness to her husband and her oath of office. If they conflict, does she transgress against her god or her nation? I can't believe it's an issue, but again, if true, it's a question that should be investigated.

I am as disgusted by this nominee’s views and incensed by the Republican Senate’s behavior in the process any anyone else. But I’d ask that we maybe not put things in these kinds of terms, which are very reminiscent of the anti-catholic/anti-papist bigotry that used to be very common in the US in the not-so-distant past.
posted by nickmark at 10:32 AM on October 15


Out of eight sitting Supreme Court Justices five are Catholic. The Democratic Presidential nominee is Catholic. 22 current Senators are Catholic. As are 136 members of the House of Representatives.

I don't think asking whether OfJesse'a oath to her God to obey Jesse in all matters at all times means he's the real Justice is a threat to Catholicism.

Its a valid and essential question. She is a self described handmaid who spoke quite proudly about her total submission to her master.

And don't misunderstand, I'm not here to kink shame. If she's into a lifestyle d/s thing thats fine.

But it does mean we have the right to know if we are getting Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court Justice or if we are getting Jesse Barrett making the decisions with his sub simply ruling as the real Justice orders her to.

We have never had this sort of situation before where a potential Justice is deeply committed to submit to and obey another person.

Are the Republucans going to confirm Amy Barrett, or secret Justice Jesse Barrett? We don't know.

Personally I suspect her proclamations of submission are BS and she's not really obedient to Jesse in all things at all times. But she claims otherwise so clarifying who will be the real Justice seems like a good idea.
posted by sotonohito at 10:49 AM on October 15 [26 favorites]


I am not a lawyer either, but asking for a larger sample in order to take a sign-on letter seriously strikes me as not understanding much about how petitions work. How many lawyers would need to sign before you would care?

For people who want to read the letter (and for lawyers who want to sign): Lawyers for Good Government link is here
posted by nat at 10:55 AM on October 15


Oh, I see. That's the religious bigotry they were talking about.
posted by adept256 at 10:56 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


But I’d ask that we maybe not put things in these kinds of terms

The difference is that Barrett's religious extremist group requires its members, Barrett included, to make a secret covenant with the group.

Her religious beliefs per se are not the problem. The problem is that she made a lifelong secret agreement that her own writings indicate that she feels morally obligated to follow when it conflicts with the law. And, in contrast to those earlier writings, she now apparently believes that it's okay to decide cases where her beliefs and the law conflict rather than recusing herself.

She is like a pharmacist who refuses to dispense a lawful prescription for contraceptives because of their religious beliefs. I don't care what religion motivates that view. It's fundamentally incompatible with the job and the law no matter where it comes from or how deeply held it is.
posted by jedicus at 10:56 AM on October 15 [38 favorites]


I didn't read all the comments yet but I have my copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church right here because we're renovating the dank corners in which it is usually stored and here it is:

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognize as having the rights of a person -- among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

And 2275One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risk for it, but are directed towards its healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.

"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."

These sections are immediately after the intentional homicide sections (2268 and 2269).

Some IVF doesn't produce "extra" zygotes and some does. I can tell you that while I agree that there are various ways of handling this even inside the Catholic Church, both formal courses I attended as well as when my husband and I were entering fertility treatments, treated IVF as akin to abortion. The pill part was more surprising to me, but 100% consistent with the teaching I received. This is in Toronto, Canada.

I don't care if people are Catholic in the slightest and obviously married one, but it's Barrett that's been consistent here in making these views part of her work.

BTW I did not convert, for a whack of reasons, and we are not raising our kids in the Church.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:09 AM on October 15 [6 favorites]


If Democrats win they better expand the court to ensure it reflects the judicial temperament of all Americans.
posted by interogative mood at 11:10 AM on October 15 [7 favorites]


More than 6000 attorneys have signed a letter asserting her lack of fitness for this position,

There are over 1,328,000 attorneys in US according to the US Bar Association. Needs a larger sample (as well as numbers saying the reverse) to be meaningful.


Let's say it another way: One out of every 178 attorneys has signed this letter, already (using the updated number of 7500 signatures). If one out of every 178 people in the US had signed it, that would be a petition with 1.8 million signatures. Again, how many do you need for it to be relevant?

Of course, the reason the letter isn't that relevant is that (as the letter says), this entire process is a sham and the Republicans want us to know that. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks or who she is or anything else; she is a Republican nominee so McConnell will push her through (with hall passes for as many Repubs to vote no as possible).
posted by nat at 11:11 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


I think every citizen should be made a Supreme Court Justice with 9 randomly picked for each hearing as a kind of jury duty.

We could just bring in the New Main Street Singers as Supreme Folk.
posted by hanov3r at 11:11 AM on October 15 [2 favorites]


Amy Coney Barrett's Climate Denial and Anti-Abortion Views Are Two Sides of the Same Coin.

Force people to have kids who will then have to struggle under ecological collapse. This is what a horrifying death cult looks like.
posted by Ouverture at 11:55 AM on October 15 [10 favorites]


The question I'd like to ask a prospective Supreme Court justice (or any judge at any level, really) is if they have ever made a decision that they felt was morally wrong or that went against their personal beliefs in some way, but ignored that because that was the law.

I don't know that I'd get a good answer from anyone, tbh, but I'd like to know if someone who "follows the Constitution faithfully" ever wishes the Constitution had been written differently.

(An example of someone who seems to have felt that way about one of his decisions was Justice Potter Stewart, who was a dissenting voice in Griswold v. Connecticut. He said that he felt the law was "uncommonly silly", but constitutional).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:55 AM on October 15 [2 favorites]


To put the climate part of it another way: a lot of folks are understandably talking about how this connects to The Handmaid's Tale, but we're also getting a preview to Oryx and Crake.

It would be really great if the world wasn't going so intensely Atwoodian.
posted by Ouverture at 12:01 PM on October 15 [12 favorites]


Can she be impeached for functionally lying to Congress?

Absolutely, but it would take 67 senators.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:07 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


As Republicans wrap up the Amy Coney Barrett hearing with plans to vote, Dianne Feinstein praises Lindsey Graham: "I just want to thank you. This has been one of the best set of hearings that I've participated in," she tells him. "Thank you so much for your leadership."

A mask-free embrace between Feinstein and Graham to cap things off.

And the Amy Coney Barrett hearings are over.


This is who will lead the Judiciary Committee if the Dems retake the Senate. She has regularly shown hostility to any meaningful judicial reform at the federal level, and treats white supremacists with more deference and respect than schoolchildren who want to live past their 30th birthdays.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 12:13 PM on October 15 [36 favorites]


As unpalatable as it might be this is democracy in action and the will of the people.

Some relevant counterfactuals:

1. The president nominating this particular individual was impeached (cite). Until now, there has been no precedent for a disgraced and indicted president to be allowed to nominate a Supreme Court justice.

2. That same president lost the 2016 popular vote by ~3M Americans (cite).

3. Republican senators pushing this through prevented an entirely lawful vote on the previous president's legitimate nominee, violating their oath to the US Constitution (cite).

4. Like Trump, Republican senators have maintained a procedural majority despite losing the popular vote in 2018 by a jaw-dropping 59.3% to 39.1% margin (cite).

This might be called "democracy in action" to the extent that the corrupt form of governance in the United States is functioning just as intended, whilst still being called "democracy".

But in no way, shape, or form, can this obscenity be called anything like the will of the people.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:15 PM on October 15 [73 favorites]




My understanding is that the GOP doesn't want to gut Social Security just for the sake of gutting it - they want to privatize it.

Coming to this late, and it's off-topic, but for the record: This is not true. (Can't promise that future politicians will change their mind, but there's no evidence that it's true now.) Social Security is imbalanced: The taxes dedicated to is are not sufficient to pay for the benefits promised. Republicans have effectively given up on privatization because it was wildly unpopular when proposed in the GW Bush administration. Now, to oversimplify, Rs want to cut benefits overall (while actually raising benefits for the poorest); Ds want to increase taxes (and also raise benefits for the poorest).
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:37 PM on October 15


Don't forget that the Republicans blocked a bunch of Obama appellate nominees as well:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_judicial_appointment_controversies#List_of_failed,_stalled_or_filibustered_appellate_nominees

Obama appointed 49 appeals judges in 8 years, while Trump has already appointed 50 through the end of 2019. Scanning the first link, it seems like some of Obama's failed nominees were just due to Republican shenanigans and not because of some sort of flaw.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:40 PM on October 15 [15 favorites]


The whole thing has been a sham from day one but the completely out of it nature of Barrett being unable to enumerate the five freedoms of the first amendment is that the question was asked by a Republican and therefor one can assume was part of her preparation. She couldn't remember something half of elementary school students can despite having been told the question was coming. She got pitched a softball by her own team and still failed. Not normally the sort of thing you'd expect in someone applying to decide on constitutional issues.

I can't figure out if this is an intentional nose tweak being administered by the GOP to everyone that thinks this nomination shouldn't of happened or just incompetence. Hanlon's razor suggested one but this is the Republicans we are talking about.

Personally I suspect her proclamations of submission are BS and she's not really obedient to Jesse in all things at all times. But she claims otherwise so clarifying who will be the real Justice seems like a good idea.

Why? Is there any data out there that she has ever done anything significant that her husband doesn't agree with?

Personally I know one person who is in a similar sort of religious situation (doctor rather than lawyer) and this total obedience doesn't seem unlikely at all. It isn't even a conventional revocable consent dom-sub relationship. There is heavy pressure on Barrett to conform from family, church and community.

Not only would that obviously cost Dems a potential seat, it would result in the waste of OVER 85 MILLION DOLLARS of fundraising from the base.

Even if Harrison loses that money wasn't a waste. It forced the GOP to spend money on what has been a safe don't even think about it seat (he holds Strom Thurmond's old seat). It undoubtedly will have increased Democratic turn out with all the related down (and up in this case) voter action that garners. And it got Graham to repeatedly go on Fox begging for money. Not exactly a good look and it occupied time other GOP candidates could have used and likely diverted money from the Trump grift machine.
posted by Mitheral at 12:59 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


When Biden becomes president and the Dems control the senate and house, day one action is to pass legislation expanding the court to 15 justices. When the GOP complains, smugly laugh at them and say “Elections have consequences.” Then, point out how the only thing the GOP-held senate has done for the past four years is pack the fucking courts. Finish it off by pointing out how this is all constitutional, so what are they complaining about? Had the GOP acted responsibly and in good faith when they had power, these measures would not be necessary but they didn’t, so c’est la vie..

Now, when Biden gets said legislation on his desk, he needs to invite Chief Justice Roberts over for dinner. There, he can tell him that he will be signing said legislation into law unless two of the three most recently appointed justices submit their resignations. Because he’s such a nice guy who respects the autonomy of the judiciary , he will let them pick the two resignees and won’t demand specific names. If they don’t, be prepared for 6 new colleagues.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:09 PM on October 15 [14 favorites]


> When Biden becomes president and the Dems control the senate and house, day one action is to pass legislation expanding the court to 15 justices. When the GOP complains, smugly laugh at them and say “Elections have consequences.”

Biden Says He's 'Not a Fan' Of Expanding The Supreme Court
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:12 PM on October 15


The Catholic Church has declared that life begins at conception but, oddly, they’re much fuzzier on when ensoulment occurs. Official church doctrine also states that almost all infertility treatments go against God’s will because they interfere with a divine process.

The Catholic Church can get fucked. And I say that as someone who grew up in its arms and spent 11 years being educated in their schools.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:17 PM on October 15 [7 favorites]


Biden Says He's 'Not a Fan' Of Expanding The Supreme Court

That doesn't mean Biden necessarily would veto such a measure if the Democratic Congress put it on his desk.
posted by Gelatin at 1:20 PM on October 15 [7 favorites]


He may not be a fan but if he wants to repair the damage done by the fascists and their dupes, he needs to get over it.

Also, I suspect he’s saying as much to protect against the accusations of him making a power grab (which is really fucking rich, if you ask me).
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:21 PM on October 15 [8 favorites]


I'm okay with Biden saying he's not a fan of it in order to appease the polite white supremacist centrist voters he needs to win the election, but if he doesn't actually pack the court, then permanent white minority rule until the inevitable ecological collapse is assured.
posted by Ouverture at 1:24 PM on October 15 [16 favorites]


Well, taking a poll where even the pollster admits the Graham bump might be noise and has some oddities in racial self-reporting and turning it into "FEINSTEIN JUST LOST US THE SENATE!!!!" is certainly a Hot Take, I'll give you that.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:28 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


If one out of every 178 people in the US had signed it, that would be a petition with 1.8 million signatures. Again, how many do you need for it to be relevant?

About 80,000 people (in the correct states) back in 2016 would have been nice. A petition with 1.8 million signatures is worthless.

HOWEVER.

A single vote, applied correctly, can be priceless.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:28 PM on October 15


It is pure fantasy that Biden will do anything to fix this.

As Feinstein is doing above, they are friends with most of these monsters and are more than happy to "put politics aside" even when at this point politics is life or death for some people.
posted by graventy at 1:31 PM on October 15 [11 favorites]


If the dems can manage to pass HR1 that will undo so much anti-voting bullshit.
posted by benzenedream at 1:31 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


We've seen it enough times, writing fanfic about the secretly-more-liberal desires of politicians and what they could do if they had real power! does little but set up disappointment. (I'd be curious to see how often this proposed case has historically happened within comparable situations, where a politician with either legislative power or legislative influence runs on a tamped-down platform & dissuades interviewers when running; but then bursts out racing towards the left when elected)

Trust that Biden will do what he says he will, that Feinstein will do what she says she will, that their taste in what's permissible political action is not more broad than they proclaim. They aren't going to rock the boat, or play hardball, or give up on their long-stated love of the symbolism of bipartisanship & civility.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:42 PM on October 15 [5 favorites]


A mask-free embrace between Feinstein and Graham to cap things off.

Is it too much to hope she gave him the bacio della morte?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:52 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


Trust that Biden will do what he says he will, that Feinstein will do what she says she will, that their taste in what's permissible political action is not more broad than they proclaim. They aren't going to rock the boat, or play hardball, or give up on their long-stated love of the symbolism of bipartisanship & civility.

Unless there's significant fire held to their feet.
posted by trig at 1:53 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


Biden may be opposed to adding justices but if he doesn’t at least use the threat to extract concessions from John Roberts (like FDR did in 1937), then he’s a bigger dum-dum than I already assume.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:58 PM on October 15 [8 favorites]


Surely this, (will be the time democrats grow a spine and use it)
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:03 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


guys guys it doesn't matter who wins amirite
posted by benzenedream at 2:09 PM on October 15


Big Al - that's exactly right. The threat of court-packing will be an incredible tool for Biden and a Democratic-majority-in-both-Houses Congress. The deed of court-packing has all kinds of ways to go wrong for Biden.
posted by MattD at 2:10 PM on October 15 [4 favorites]




Sen. Booker sometimes comes across as too idealistic and too pure and too naive for real world politics, but occasionally he crystallizes an important moral point, as in that exchange with Barrett.
posted by PhineasGage at 2:19 PM on October 15 [5 favorites]


The threat of court-packing will be an incredible tool for Biden and a Democratic-majority-in-both-Houses Congress.

No. It won't.

Biden is going to (hopefully) win and have (hopefully) both houses and then most of the world will breathe a sigh of relief that American is back to normal and if we're lucky we might get HR1. And we'll probably get some hand-wringing about the bad Supreme Court. What we will not get is any actual reform or fixing the problem.
posted by graventy at 2:33 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


if he doesn’t at least use the threat to extract concessions from John Roberts

What concessions? AFAIK only 4 Justices need to sign on to decide to consider taking a case, so Roberts can't block cases in the first place, also AFAIK the process to move from "considering" to actually hearing a case are conducted in utter secrecy, so who knows what influence Roberts might have, and when it comes to actual decisions no matter what Roberts does there's a 5-4 conservative majority.

I've got serious doubts about what sort of pressure can be brought to bear on the court when 5 Justices are right-wing ideologues of one flavor or another.
posted by soundguy99 at 2:34 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


Also there’s no way “threat of court packing is good for Biden” to coexist with “actual court packing bad for Biden”. Or actually following through with a threat is bad then there’s no way to make that threat credible. Who would trust Biden’s threat to court pack given that everyone knows he won’t do it?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:37 PM on October 15


no matter what Roberts does there's a 5-4 conservative majority.

Currently 5-3, soon to be 6-3.
posted by JackFlash at 2:38 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


THe IVF is murder concept is not new. This is a descendent of the 80s Christian moral panic over "test tube babies"
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:40 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Currently 5-3, soon to be 6-3.

I think the implication is that if Roberts doesn't play along, it won't do anything to the outcome of a case. So, any moderating influence he had is basically gone now. A moderating Roberts gets to sit with the 3 other left wing justices of the court if he doesn't do what the right wing wants.
posted by delicious-luncheon at 2:43 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


There's really no downside to Biden playing hardball at this point. He's going to win the presidency and no one will remember the Democrats played nice. Yes, I'm calling it because everyone else is too afraid to call it because of what happened last time: Biden is hands down going to win the presidency. Yes, the media shouldn't be acting as if he's a shoe in and we should all pretend it is close so what happened last time doesn't happen again, but the polls and the way the media approached this elections has changed since the last one. Trump won by razor thin margins that luckily just aren't there. I get the reticence to say he'll lose but even more so than the last election, if he does actually win there's fraud. Not too hard to explain Russian fancy bear playing both sides and getting people to not vote or change by a couple thousand or even say tens of thousands in swing states. Biden is cresting nearly 10% in national polls.

With that aside Biden needs to cash in his years worth of playing both sides of the aisle and take one out of FDR's, Trump's playbook. He needs to not only say he will pack the courts, say he needs to say the amount and which judges he'll choose. His social media game is weak, I monitor Trump daily. Biden needs a voice to speak directly with the American people and Twitter whether we like it or not is it. He doesn't need to be unhinged or go on rants, but he needs to drive the narrative beyond he's not Trump. He has this, get out on Twitter and get in front of a story. Don't go on CBS Morning News and give a vague policy statement that makes the national evening news and ends up Twitter later in the day. Trump gets his thunder from going right to Twitter and skipping traditional media.

Go on Twitter, announce it, see the national media and cable news lose their shit as they scramble to process it and get guests on. This isn't Biden's style and he got in because he's the safe bet, but right now he's toothless.

Frankly I have zero confidence that Biden is nothing more than a moderate Republican at this point, and will sigh and say there's not much he can do to prevent Amy's nomination to the Supreme Court. He's right, there's not a lot he can do except threaten. There's no downside, Amy will get elected 100%. There's no scandal, she's been vetted to death, she's not going to trip up in these hearings. The worst thing that's come up is she forgot some anti-abortion speeches she may or may not have given at Notre Dame. So what? We knew she was anti-abortion from all the speeches she already gave.

If I were Biden or a Democrat I'd start making serious threats with dates. Nominate Amy we will win and we will pack the courts. GOP ballot collection boxes in California? Threaten to put anyone in jail after the election. I don't care if it is legal to do that or not, that's not really the point. The point is that the Democrats are in charge, will be in charge and need to start asserting their authority. The Democrats have been GOP-lite since Reagan came office. Don't want that full GOP flavor? Get some GOP-lite, Biden edition!
posted by geoff. at 2:45 PM on October 15 [8 favorites]


Isn't it pretty to think so?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:50 PM on October 15 [4 favorites]


...But in no way, shape, or form, can this obscenity be called anything like the will of the people.

A, flagged as Fantastic.

B, to call it the will of the people reflects a decidedly "Constitutional originalist" interpretation of which humans should be considered "people."
posted by armeowda at 2:50 PM on October 15 [10 favorites]


Currently 5-3, soon to be 6-3.

I think the implication is that if Roberts doesn't play along, it won't do anything to the outcome of a case. So, any moderating influence he had is basically gone now


Yup, exactly my point.
posted by soundguy99 at 2:52 PM on October 15


if he wants to repair the damage done by the fascists and their dupes

Oh man, thanks for that. I needed a good laugh



dying inside
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:54 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Is it too much to hope she gave him the bacio della morte?

This is 2020, it's more likely that she becomes the source of a super spreader event for Dem senators and ends up killing off, say, Ed Markey and Ben Cardin so that GOP governors can ensure we lose two more seats.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 2:59 PM on October 15 [8 favorites]


"Constitutional originalist" is a bad faith concept no different than "Biblical literalist." The name suggests an intense, critical engagement with the primary text: philological studies of the language and its shifting meanings; historical research into the contexts in which the texts were written, and the contexts in which they have been interpreted and re-interpreted. In short, a rigorous, impersonal, ongoing study of how the texts have been, could be, and should be understood and enacted.

Instead, it's the exact opposite. A rejection of all critical evaluation in favor of an appeal to the authorities of the In-Group. The texts become secondary to the desires of the individual/group; the literalist/originalist pursues their own interests, and it is these interests that determine how the text is "interpreted" -- really, manipulated and twisted until it appears to voice their beliefs. Any history, evidence, or idea that challenges their preconceived conclusions is rejected as a priori false or "revisionist" or "post-modern" or "Cultural Marxism" (ugh).

I've known some very good Christians, and for them, their faith, church, and scriptures were a call to be better people. To do as much as they could for others, to challenge their own senses of entitlement or pride, to look at the world and everyone in it through love as much as they could -- and then try to do better.

Religion functions instead for right-wing evangelicals/christian nationalists -- and all fascist theocratic types, I suspect -- as a totem that always already (to use an overused phrase) justifies their perspectives, beliefs, and desires. They are always in the right because they say they are christians, and they are christians because they are always right. There's little to no self-awareness or self-critique, no questioning of their own motives (or pride), of whether or not they are living a Christ-like existence. It's like a virtual psychosis, an intentional break with reality. In terms of their mental construction of the world, Islamic terrorists and the Trump Christians are no different. (cf. my comment on Libertarianism in the Grafton/bear thread)
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:22 PM on October 15 [33 favorites]


As Anoplura said above, Words have meanings, but the right-wing/totalitarian strives to empty words of all discursive meaning and turn them into emotional triggers, empty labels used to manipulate their audience by playing upon their fears, anxieties, hopes, shames, etc. There is a reason why one phrase for coded language in political speech is "dog whistle"; words like communist Muslim socialism secular liberal etc. etc. (and their counterparts), become just so many synonyms for "Them" or "Us."

Obviously, this is not unique to "conservatives" or the "right-wing"; all humans experience the tension between the affective and discursive aspects of language, and someone with opposite political leanings can become just as irrationally angered by hearing the word "capitalist" or "GOP." But modern Republicans (following the lead of our friend Newt) have made this sort of sophistry and emotional manipulation the core of their political strategy.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:32 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


From my very slight understanding the Founding Fathers would pretty much forbid an actual Catholic and probably any potential justice that had any history of strong religions predisposition. A true originalist would most certainly turn down an appointment if they were strongly religious. What would it take to googlebomb the term originalist to reference definitions for hypocrisy?
posted by sammyo at 3:36 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


It is pure fantasy that Biden will do anything to fix this.

As Feinstein is doing above, they are friends with most of these monsters and are more than happy to "put politics aside" even when at this point politics is life or death for some people.


I fear this is the case as well, but I may as well have a little bit of hope when all of it is out of my control.

And by hope, I mean hope that court-packing happens, but more importantly, hope that liberals finally start understanding why a leftward shift is sorely needed in order to save not just democracy, but our species.
posted by Ouverture at 4:01 PM on October 15 [4 favorites]


What would it take to googlebomb the term originalist to reference definitions for hypocrisy?
To what point?

I understand the frustration but what evidence, ever, can you find to support the notion that fear of being revealed to be hypocrites is a serious motivational lever that can dissuade modern "conservatives" from acting to achieve their desired goals?
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:08 PM on October 15 [12 favorites]


Would it be a sin to vote in a way that preserves the current level of access -- or its improvement -- to abortion?
posted by rhizome at 4:35 PM on October 15


The accusation "not a good faith argument" accomplishes nothing. There is in fact a huge body of legal scholarship and argument around the notion. All we correct-thinking people here at MeFi disagree with their premises and conclusions, but the rhetorical blunderbuss "that's not in good faith" is actually inaccurate and more importantly will have about as much effectiveness in the battle over how to interpret the Constitution as, well, a real blunderbuss would have.
posted by PhineasGage at 4:36 PM on October 15


Currently 5-3, soon to be 6-3.

...and the fact that there's been so much "4-4" nonsense spouted on Fucks News is yet more evidence that when it comes right down to it, the "responsible economic managers" side of politics straight-up can't count.
posted by flabdablet at 5:39 PM on October 15 [4 favorites]


Yes, and who ever heard of legal scholars being ideologically motivated? Regardless: the existence of scholarship supporting a perspective does not prove it is not ideologically -- indeed, dogmatically -- motivated or that it is intellectually sound (*cough*scientificstudiesfundedbytobaccoandoilcompanies*cough*).

Anyway, I actually said "bad faith concept," although I guess "self-fulfilling circular logic" or even "delusional sense of self-righteousness" would also fit. But whether or not there are well-argued, well-researched critical articles defining/supporting concepts of "Constitutional originalism," they have nothing to do with Barrett's dogmatic, right-wing Christian fascism, nor indeed with any policy put forward by the Republicans in my lifetime (and certainly not under Trump).
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:46 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


The easier lift (or lower-hanging fruit, or whatever metaphor you prefer) isn’t going to be expanding the court. Because although that would solve things neatly, there are several Dem Senators that will balk at that.

Instead, it’s DC statehood, and the control of the Senate that helps us maintain in the longer term.

If we can reliably control the Senate, then eventually SCOTUS will come right. It may take 20 more years of pain for it to happen. But eventually, Thomas (age 72), Roberts (age 65) and Alito (age 70) are going to retire or pass away.

So even if expanding the court doesn’t happen, DC statehood absolutely should be on the short list for the first year of Biden’s tenure.
posted by darkstar at 6:40 PM on October 15 [10 favorites]


All this "originalist" sniping about Catholics, etc and nobody pointing that the Great White Fathers Who Done Founded Us would never have even considered a woman eligible for this seat, for basically the same reasons she's terrifying?
(that women couldn't be really educated, or Objectively Rational, since they would either biologically or maybe just culturally default to the opinion of the Man in their life)
posted by zinful at 6:51 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


All this "originalist" sniping about Catholics, etc and nobody pointing that the Great White Fathers Who Done Founded Us would never have even considered a woman eligible for this seat, for basically the same reasons she's terrifying?

Nobody.
posted by prefpara at 7:15 PM on October 15 [10 favorites]


So.. I appreciate that some of you are still in the Bargaining stage, looking for that One Weird Trick that will stop the Republicans from using their dubiously gained and maintained political power from imposing their will in this matter, but from where I stand a little further down the road, here on the border between Depression and Acceptance, I see the fight to block the Amy Coney Barrett nomination as lost already.

Obviously that's not a great feeling, but looking ahead I think where the fight needs to go next is where Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was heading during his presentation the other day. If this is the manner that the Republicans and their wealthy backers have chosen for cementing their control over the courts it needs to be very publicly and openly discussed whenever the court is considering a case that arises through the efforts of the network of organizations that have been formed to advance the Republican judicial agenda.

Unfortunately the recusal rules for Supreme Court justices are left up to the justices themselves, but when a case comes before Justice Kavanaugh or Justice Barrett or another of their conservative colleagues, they should without fail be challenged to recuse themselves if it is a case that is promoted by the organizations who spent millions to secure them their seats on the court, and when they refuse to recuse themselves that should be part of the story.

And while I can well imagine the cries of horror from centrists, who will be aghast at what they will characterize as an effort to undermine the legitimacy of the court, we must give such arguments as little respect as they deserve. It will not be criticism of the partiality of the justices that undermines the legitimacy of the court, it will be that a shadowy network of dark money groups funded by billionaire ideologues have managed to play a considerable role in the selection of more than half of the jurists on the panel. The criticism will only be acknowledgment of that reality.

Frankly I don't think current Democratic leadership have the courage to fight this fight but I was pleasantly surprised at Sen. Whitehouse doing his best to make it a part of the national conversation on these issues.
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:27 PM on October 15 [24 favorites]


I'm not sure where everyone is in the stages of grief, but I've long since moved to acceptance of the fact that the Democrats are only going to give lip service to fighting Republican attacks against causes they claim to believe in. It's absolutely incredible to me that Democrats can go from calling Donald Trump a fascist dictator and claiming he is an unprecedented threat to the Republic to working with fellow travelers that enable him. Yet here we are. It's part of a pattern that's been in place for as long as I've been aware of politics.

Biden won the Democratic primary as a moderate on the promise of returning the country to a pre-2016 normal. That is what Democrats in the primary voted for. He's currently beating Donald Trump because he is managing to win over older white voters in the rust belt and the suburbs that didn't vote for Hillary for whatever reason in 2016. He has absolutely no reason beyond personal conscience to rock the boat.

When FDR threatened to pack to the court in 1936, he was literally starting down the barrel of a crisis that threatened the very existence of western liberalism as formulated during the enlightenment. Whatever you might think of that legacy now, it was certainly something most New Deal reformers sought to preserve. Abroad he faced rising fascist and communist parties in Europe and Asia, and at home he faced active communist and populists movements ranging from those supported by the USSR to home grown varieties such as Huey Long. Within his own political faction, he faced pressure from socialists and labor leaders, as well as a generally impoverished nation that had just delivered him a resounding electoral victory on the promise to bring the nation out of the depression and fight the stranglehold of wealthy interests on the nation's politics. "I welcome their hatred," he said in his inaugural address.

Biden made no such promises during the primary, and I seriously doubt he's going to vow to take on the Federalist Society and ALEC during his inaugural address. The Democrats spent the past four years selling themselves as defenders of constitutional norms. They aren't about to break them in a fundamental fashion by threatening to stack the court even if the GOP bent those rules at every turn to achieve their majority. The Democrats simply don't face credible threats to their material and political interests to do so.

I know this comes across as hopeless, but if there is a silver lining, I hope it springs from a wider realization that politicians will not simply change their minds and do what we want them to do out of the goodness of their hearts. They must be forced, like FDR was. And if they can't be forced, they must be voted out.
posted by eagles123 at 8:35 PM on October 15 [10 favorites]


heretical... not heretical at all, but orthodox to (some of) those who follow the pope:

find here, pope john paul ii's evangelium vitae which presents the teaching of the magisterium fairly comprehensively, including contraception, ivf & "ensoulment" (see, e.g., paras. 14, 60, 63), abortion, eugenics, euthanasia and the rest, along with full citations to ... sources. i decline to blockquote it at length for fear of appearing to endorse its teaching, or in brief for fear of leaving something significant out. it is good, should you choose to dispute with educated catholics about the tenets of their faith, to be conversant with the doctrine.

Would it be a sin to vote in a way that preserves the current level of access -- or its improvement -- to abortion? per this source, maybe. see para. 62 citing the 1917 code of canon law and subsequent revisions: "a person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication" (the citation is to canon 1398). jpii notes it "includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed," while some discussion of civil law and the soul peril of legislators appears around paras. 72-74.

most of your unreasoning american abortion-opponents will not exhibit deep familiarity with the principles, reasoning and details of the catholic gospel of life. not sure where they're coming from, but judging from the violence, murders and bombings, it is not evangelium vitae. (hell, the cakeshop litigants and their dark-money counsel couldn't even get their citation to spiteful scripture right across filings from the circuit through supreme courts! apparently no one checked but me).

i am neither adherent of nor authority on that faith nor its cousins, but offer the foregoing in the spirit of knowing one's enemy.

i have no familiarity with barrett's sect (though do have some exposure to a different schismatic sect of extreme catholics through family), but expect she is a grave and erudite scholar not easily encapsulated (or baited) by caricatures of american fundamentalist protestants. here's hoping the gravitas of high court restrains the risk she appears to represent to, well, everything.

anyway i watched the proceedings. notable -- in addition to the tour de force of whitehouse's presentation(s), linked above by mstokes650, was chairman graham acknowledging his hypocrisy with respect to garland time statements with the suggestion that the injustice of the kavanaugh hearings justify the change, which struck my ear as a straight-up assertion that he's doing what he knows is wrong out of spite.

another notable graham moment was today, when a witness called on senators to recognize that they are role models and urged them to set a good example by wearing masks and otherwise following public health safety guidance in light of the pandemic -- at which point the chairman, missing the point entirely, interjected, demanding the witness address protest and "rioting" activities. the witness did not say, "yes, i urge you senators to set the same good example when you riot and protest," but conceded, yes, then too, as though the demand were relevant to his original point.

her poise throughout was remarkable, exhibiting a striking contrast, in temperament at least, to kavanaugh. and it seemed to me as though she regarded cruz (and maybe kennedy too) with wary disgust, as though she could see the several-thousand cockroaches roiling about under that skinsuit.

the committee was kinda gross: way more joking around and back patting than decorum required. and they didn't quite all drool over her family with the disgusting fervor that they did over barr's grandson liam. (i wanna shake those fuckers: this right here is where your fawning attention to liam has gotten us! never forget the liam fawning!)
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:35 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


> This is another reminder. Elections matter. The senate matters. Everything happening is plainly legal and the result of representative democracy. As unpalatable as it might be this is democracy in action and the will of the people.

> That might not the current sentiment but it is how democracy functions by design.

WTF? None of this is true.

Twice in the last quarter-century, elections have very much not mattered when it came to POTUS. In 2000, it was the Supreme Court's 5–4 decision that correctly counting the outcome of the election was impossible that mattered, and of course in 2016 it was the electoral college, not the election, that mattered.

You can stick your fingers in your ears and say lalala I can't hear you all you want, asra, but in the US's rickety poorly-patched alpha-release 18th century version of democracy it's explicit that the election does not matter, the electoral college does—in the presidential election, and in many other places besides. Hence we have crap like extensive, complicated, multi-century racially-oriented voter suppression that doesn't happen in other democracies to anywhere near the same extent... we can certainly count the latter phenomenon as by design too.

On Wednesday Barrett was actually asked about situations like 2000, wherein a court decides an election instead of voting deciding it, and she blathered on about how it's not really overturning the will of the people because all of their cool judicial principles and their super-duper devotion to democracy mean that their priority is really implementing the people's will. Except, the 5–4 outcome in Bush v. Gore actually said do not even check our verdict against the will of the voters: they explicitly ruled that correctly counting the vote was impossible and ordered a halt to all methods of vote counting.

As far as everything being plainly legal—yeah, no. Barrett's assumption of the seat of a Supreme Court Justice, and the Republicans' mere attempt to put her there after voting already began in the federal elections, means that we know for certain that either Barrett's occupation of a seat, or Gorsuch's occupation of a seat, or both of them, are the product of Congressional Republicans simply ignoring the part of the Constitution that says the president appoints the members of the Supreme Court.

That's an unconstitutional seizure of power—the legislative branch ignoring the Constitution to seize control of the the judicial branch. Or really, more accurately, a seizure of power by the Republican Party—a private organization which the Founding Fathers stupidly did not even bother envisioning as part of our political system.

Court packing, while an extreme and unstable solution and response, and a really bad sign for our democracy and our society that things have come to this—court packing is actually a constitutional remedy to an unconstitutional seizure of power.

The thing that's really the icing on the cake which makes it a seizure of an entire branch of government is the games played with the judicial filibuster: Republicans invoked it more times than it had been used in the entire history of the country during the Obama administration to build up an immense backlog of vacant federal judicial seats, then immediately abolished it upon the electoral college awarding the presidency to Trump so that the Republicans could stuff the federal judiciary full of completely unqualified or poorly-qualified lifetime-appointed judges who were anti-LGBTQI+ activists (and I'd thought, in that case of Allison Rushing, that she's never brought a case to trial by herself in the course of her legal experience, but that particular article does not say so) and refuse to acknowledge the validity of the Brown v. Board of Education SCOTUS decision (link above in thread.)

So, yeah. Not plainly legal. Not democracy in action. Not the will of the people.
posted by XMLicious at 8:36 PM on October 15 [11 favorites]


XML you are completely wrong on the judicial filibuster. Democrats created its modern form in 2003. It was abeyant 2007 to 2010 when Democrats had a majority under Bush and 60 votes under Obama. Republicans ran it 2010 to 2013, when the Democrats eliminated it.
posted by MattD at 9:17 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


"find here, pope john paul ii's evangelium vitae which present's the teaching of the magisterium fairly comprehensively, including contraception, ivf & "ensoulment" (see, e.g., paras. 14, 60, 63), abortion, eugenics, euthanasia and the rest, along with full citations to ... sources. i decline to blockquote it at length for fear of appearing to endorse its teaching, or in brief for fear of leaving something significant out. it is good, should you choose to dispute with educated catholics about the tenets of their faith, to be conversant with the doctrine."

She's not an educated Catholic because she can quote Evangelium Vitae. They (we?) can all do that. There are enormous portions of the Gospel of Life that she just flatly rejects -- supporting unions; a family wage; universal health care; broad legal immigration; caring for migrants; FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE and ensuring its worst effects don't fall on the global poor; opposing unfettered capitalism and the moral logic of the marketplace -- but the US in general is deeply bought into the narrative that Republican Catholics are the real ones and progressive Catholics are "ignoring the teachings of the Church." All these things appear in Papal encyclicals (see 1891's Rerum Novarum to really get your early labor movement on, for example) or in Vatican II documents.

She's a Republican, plain and simple. It's refreshingly quirky, I guess, to find a Catholic Republican who actually opposes the death penalty and actually knows what the official teaching on IVF is. But wake me up when she's on board with the moral mandate for governments to insist upon a living wage, provide universal health care, and fight climate change. Until then, she's just a cafeteria Catholic like all the rest of us*, and her defenses of her right-wing beliefs on everything but the death penalty aren't based in Catholic teaching, they're just the same regurgitated Federalist Society claptrap.

(*well, not so much me, I got excommunicated, it was great, A+++ would apostatize again.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:03 PM on October 15 [38 favorites]


Huh. Well researching it, I have to admit that I somehow arrived at a complete misapprehension of the history of the judicial filibuster and how the backlog of judicial vacancies built up. Too much Ambien-addled pre-sleepytime reading about senate parliamentary procedure, perhaps. Thank you very much for correcting me, MattD.

I still think that asra is incorrect to say that Everything happening is plainly legal and the result of representative democracy and that it's democracy in action and the will of the people, but my other reasoning might similarly be based on flawed understanding and I would welcome correction on the other issues. I'll concede that it's technically true that Elections matter and The senate matters but I'd say trivially so.
posted by XMLicious at 10:09 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


As far as everything being plainly legal—yeah, no. Barrett's assumption of the seat of a Supreme Court Justice, and the Republicans' mere attempt to put her there after voting already began in the federal elections, means that we know for certain that either Barrett's occupation of a seat, or Gorsuch's occupation of a seat, or both of them, are the product of Congressional Republicans simply ignoring the part of the Constitution that says the president appoints the members of the Supreme Court.

The president appoints Supreme Court justices "by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate," not by himself.

Barack Obama was elected as president through January 20, 2017, so he had every Constitutional right to nominate Merrick Garland, which he did on March 16, 2016, over five months before the 2016 election. Mitch McConnell refused to hold hearings or a vote on Garland, so there was no advice and consent. This was a gigantic dick move, but as far as I know it wasn't illegal.

The Republicans barfed out a bunch of bullshit excuses about letting the people have their say in the 2016 election, which they are currently abandoning when we're much closer to the 2020 election. The problem is the people already had their say in the 2012 election, when they re-elected Obama to fill Supreme Court vacancies alongside his other presidential duties.

Donald Trump was elected* as president through January 20, 2021, so he has every Constitutional right to nominate Amy Barrett, and the Senate has the right to consent. It's hypocritical bullshit to change the rules, then change them again, but again, as far as I know it's not illegal. The people had their say in 2016, however much some people might regret it now.

I'm very angry about this situation, maybe as angry as anyone, but Trump becoming president has exposed a lot of weakness in our system that rely on norms, and rules, and proprieties. There's no legal remedy if people choose to blow that off. We need laws.

* He won the Electoral vote, which is bullshit. He cheated by collaborating with Russia and other sinister forces. He got away with it. He still won. That's our bullshit system.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:19 PM on October 15 [10 favorites]


did she quote it? i missed that. i offered it, specifically, to counter the "heresy" quip above and provide a(nother) direct source to ivf in doctrine, as some uncertainty had been expressed. definitely don't miss rerum novarum. and several of francis's, if you're into encyclicals.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:21 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


The superficial tenants of barret's rich people jesus club are spectacularly irrelevant, they are window dressing for the exercise of power on us plebs. She will issue whatever decisions personally gratify her, or she will be following the instructions she was given as a condition for her nomination by the deal maker in chief. There's no there there.
posted by StarkRoads at 10:24 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


kirkaracha—the thing is, though, don't we actually know now that either the Republicans in the senate were not simply advising and consenting in 2016, or that they aren't now? I mean it would be one thing if it was a completely different set of legislators doing it but these are pretty much all the same people.

...by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate does not mean the Senate gets to choose which presidents appoint Supreme Court justices and which ones don't.

I can certainly envision Republicans not suffering any legal consequences for ignoring that part of the constitution, as has been the case with so many other things—but that's a different thing from saying that whatever hypocritical bullshit pretext they want to make up and then immediately act to demonstrate was not really valid is perfectly legal (the way the Ukraine phone call was!) and constitutional. The senate and other bodies and offices defined in the constitution must have rules and procedures as a practical necessity but those rules and procedures and the diametrically-changing ostensible rationales behind them do not actually supersede the constitution.
posted by XMLicious at 10:46 PM on October 15


(I mean, you could say that them getting away with it is what would make it perfectly legal and constitutional, but at that point you're in When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal territory.)
posted by XMLicious at 10:52 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying anything going on is perfect in any way. We have weaknesses in our system that don't provide remedies for violating promises, norms, logic, or rules.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:02 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


...and the system also frequently does not provide remedies for violating laws or violating the constitution, is a key thing here.

Whatever plays out is by no means guaranteed to be the majesty of democracy and the law at work. To frame the situation that it must be, definitionally, is a case of the oft-cited-on-MeFi just-world fallacy.
posted by XMLicious at 11:22 PM on October 15


When Biden becomes president and the Dems control the senate and house, day one action is to pass legislation expanding the court to 15 justices...

Okay that makes sense, but have you considered...

If we can reliably control the Senate, then eventually SCOTUS will come right. It may take 20 more years of pain for it to happen. But eventually, Thomas (age 72), Roberts (age 65) and Alito (age 70) are going to retire or pass away.

Now that’s more like it.
posted by moorooka at 11:32 PM on October 15


When you are recruited to People of Praise you live with a group under one roof where all your life decisions, such how to brush your teeth, are decided by the male "head". There is no life decision or activity beneath God's scrutiny. You give up all your money. You do not choose for yourself who you marry. You don't choose your own career. Your bond with the group supersedes your matrimonial bond. You are free to leave, but you will have no money and be shunned.
posted by xammerboy at 11:47 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


I'm sure barret finds that all very gratifying, She has a pretty fancy education, she would have been fine if she left. Yeah, they're authoritarian, that means they get to play calvinball with you about what 'the will of god' will be at any given time. Trying to figure out what she'll do based on principles assumes that there are any. Cozying up to the commander in chief is a pretty clear demonstration that there aren't any.
posted by StarkRoads at 12:40 AM on October 16 [2 favorites]


McConnell refused to hold hearings or a vote on Garland, so there was no advice and consent.

IANAL but it seems to me that there's a difference between declining a President's nomination and refusing to vote on the matter. The Senate had its opportunity to decline; I would have taken their silence as implied consent.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:02 AM on October 16 [7 favorites]


If we can reliably control the Senate, then eventually SCOTUS will come right. It may take 20 more years of pain for it to happen. But eventually, Thomas (age 72), Roberts (age 65) and Alito (age 70) are going to retire or pass away.

20 years is a long time if you can't procure an abortion or birth control, live as the correct gender, vote, or stay/get married to your spouse.
posted by Mitheral at 6:14 AM on October 16 [31 favorites]


I understand the frustration but what evidence, ever, can you find to support the notion that fear of being revealed to be hypocrites is a serious motivational lever that can dissuade modern "conservatives" from acting to achieve their desired goals?

The hypocrisy in achieving their goals is part of the point. It's a signal that they have the power to ignore the principles that give them credibility with institutions like the so-called "liberal media" and that their political enemies are powerless to do anything but point out their hypocrisy. Look at Mitch McConnell -- he clearly relishes acting in bad faith, because it's a repudiation of the values his political enemies stand for.

And conservatism has become so much more a tribal identifier than any kind of coherent ideology that few conservatives are punished for bad behavior because they're part of the team. The bitter observation "It's Okay If You're A Republican" goes back decades. (Recall that the Republican House leaders who impeached Clinton were all carrying on extramarital affairs of their own, and the next time Newt Gingrich displays any shame or remorse will be the first time he does so.)
posted by Gelatin at 6:21 AM on October 16 [28 favorites]


Yeah, that's the thing about the hypocrisy argument. Republicans have a clear set of goals, and when they achieve them, they're winning. It never had anything to do with actual moral integrity or feelings. They don't see any problem morally, intellectually or emotionally about being simultaneously "pro life" and pro-death penalty, they don't see any problem with supporting full gun rights and constitutional originalism (and the Constitution could not be more clear that guns should be "well regulated."). They don't have a problem calling out every sexual impropriety they can stick on Clinton while defending Trump for doing worse. When all you care about is winning, whatever highway you happen to be on becomes the high road.

But people on the left do care about doing what we believe in. We do care when we're called out for hypocrisy. And they know it. We need to stop falling for it.
posted by Mchelly at 7:13 AM on October 16 [7 favorites]


I also am furious that we're not going in with both barrels about the cult that Barrett is in, and how it will affect her judgment. This feels like Clarence Thomas's "high-tech lynching" accusation all over again. We're falling backwards all over ourselves not to seem like we're attacking her faith, because THEY set that as the terms and we don't want to offend. Screw that. Her faith is her own business. But it's not a curtain she gets to hide behind to avoid exposing her views.
posted by Mchelly at 7:18 AM on October 16 [12 favorites]


And if they can't be forced, they must be voted out.

We can barely get the people we support voted in. If the ones voted in choose decorum over giving back, then the Democratic party is done.

20 years is a long time if you can't procure an abortion or birth control, live as the correct gender, vote, or stay/get married to your spouse.

Indeed, and since the Supreme Court historically doesn't directly overturn past SC decisions, getting them to change these dramatically once decided is going to take a while.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:20 AM on October 16 [2 favorites]


Indeed, and since the Supreme Court historically doesn't directly overturn past SC decisions, getting them to change these dramatically once decided is going to take a while.


Yeah but even this is pretty much just decorum. That's why Roe v. Wade is mostly likely in danger, and gay marriage, and etc etc. The Democratic Party's continued utter reliance on "well that's just how things are done!" will doom us all.

You can't tell me that there aren't obstructionist things they could be doing now, to slow down the hearing process or to outright boycott it or something. Instead they just blindly participate, get in a few utterly pointless zingers, and go home and sleep soundly. If they actually cared they would be fighting this tooth and nail, and yet ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by graventy at 7:26 AM on October 16 [7 favorites]


You can't tell me that there aren't obstructionist things they could be doing now, to slow down the hearing process or to outright boycott it or something.

Boycotting the hearings would not have slowed them down. But rather than give the Republicans an opportunity to make the hearings a one-sided hagiography marred only by the Democrats' "partisanship," they used the opportunity to demonstrate that Coney Barrett is an orthodox Republican backed by a shady cabal of dark money. They had a weak hand -- one that could not stop her no matter what -- and played it well, until DiFi's unforced error at the end. (She has to go.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:26 AM on October 16 [4 favorites]


I have to admit that I somehow arrived at a complete misapprehension of the history of the judicial filibuster and how the backlog of judicial vacancies built up.

Don't let MattD buffalo you with bullshit. He says the judicial filibuster was created in 2003. The filibuster was reduced from 67 votes to 60 votes in 1975 under the Ford administration, in favor of Republicans.

In 2005 Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster but a bi-partisan compromise on nominees was achieved to head that off.

And then he says "It was abeyant 2007 to 2010 when Democrats had a majority under Bush and 60 votes under Obama." Which is nonsensical. Under Bush the Democrats didn't need a majority to filibuster. They only needed 41 votes under the rules so what is the significance of it being in "abeyance" under Bush in 2007 and 2008 as he claims? That Democrats were approving Bush nominees even though they could have easily filibustered?

And then he says that it was in "abeyance" under Obama. Well the reason it was in "abeyance" is that Democrats had 60 votes, not that Republicans "abeyed". Republicans couldn't filibuster without at least 41 votes, not that they didn't try. But that only lasted for a few months. As soon as the Republicans had the votes they resumed filibusters in an unprecedented flood.

In the entire 220-year history of the country there had been only 86 filibusters of presidential nominations. In the first four years of the Obama administration Republicans filibustered 82 more.

Under this unprecedented barrage of filibusters, Democrats changed the rules in 2013 to remove the filibuster for all nominees except for the Supreme Court.

And then Republicans stonewalled Merrick Garland for a year, not even giving him a hearing so they didn't even need to filibuster. And then changed the rules again to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court justices to shove through Kavanaugh, followed by Gorsuch and now Barrett.

So don't swallow the "both sides" bullshit.
posted by JackFlash at 8:27 AM on October 16 [41 favorites]


Democrats simply do not have the votes in the Senate to prevent Coney Barret's appointment. All they can do is extract a political price from the Republicans (including laying the groundwork to expand SCOTU, at least to equal the number of circuits, which they must do the minute they have the power -- again, I doubt Biden would veto such a bill).
posted by Gelatin at 8:28 AM on October 16 [1 favorite]


If we're all going to fanfiction the future of American democracy I wish we'd talk more about the aforementioned Pack the Union. I don't see the current Democratic leadership having the necessary fire-in-the-belly, but one can dream.
posted by St. Oops at 11:49 AM on October 16 [2 favorites]


You can't tell me that there aren't obstructionist things they could be doing now, to slow down the hearing process or to outright boycott it or something.

Sure we can, because they did try: Lindsey Graham Openly Violates Committee Rules to Schedule Vote on Barrett Nomination.

The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee refused to participate in a vote, which meant the committee didn't have a quorum, the minimum required number of members present to cast a vote, and Graham basically said "Fuck you" and passed it anyway.

We're not gonna have a Perry Mason moment, or a Mr. Smith Goes To Washington moment, where the Democrats can pull some heroic movie last minute monkey wrench and halt the proceedings. The Republicans DO. NOT. GIVE. A. SHIT. Schumer himself could throw a molotov cocktail into the Senate chambers and burn the place to the ground and the Republicans would just do it by Zoom. Everyone complaining that the Dems aren't doing enough is just refusing to accept the harsh reality that there is nothing they can do.

Ideally - and there are definitely rumors to this effect - the Rethugs are intent on ramming this through because it's the bust out. They are sure Trump is gonna lose, they know there's a damn good chance they lose the Senate, having a conservative majority on the SC is their best hope for slowing the Dem agenda while they regroup for '22 and '24.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:59 PM on October 16 [12 favorites]




And it looks like fellow Dems aren't happy either, with Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) publicly criticizing her:
Porter specifically pointed to Barrett’s evasiveness in response to basic questions about health care, abortion, guns and even climate change as reasons why the hearings were a disappointment.

“I disagree strongly with Sen. Feinstein that that set of hearings was one of the best or was even acceptable,” Porter said in an interview with HuffPost. “I think Amy Coney Barrett did not answer basic questions about her beliefs and stonewalled repeatedly. We got many fewer direct answers than we have out of most Supreme Court hearings.”

“I thought it was a very poor set of hearings,” Porter added.
[...]
Even before this week’s hearings began, Democrats expressed concern that Feinstein — the second-oldest lawmaker in Congress who won reelection in 2018 ― wouldn’t be up to the task of leading her party in the Supreme Court battle. Those concerns only deepened among some Democrats after the hearings ended.

“It’s very hard to watch a colleague in decline. That this is occurring publicly is even harder,” one Democratic senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told HuffPost on Thursday.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 1:52 PM on October 16 [18 favorites]


NARAL calls for the removal of Dianne Feinstein from her position as ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If I'm back in Cali by 2024 I'll be on the ground making sure she doesn't see another fucking term.

If she had any sort of conscience for the people she purports to represent she would resign in disgrace. But since she has no decency I'll settle for throwing her out on her then 91 year old ass.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:08 PM on October 16 [9 favorites]


Like it's the 16th of October. The powder is pretty fucking dry. I'm just sitting here silently screaming for someone in power to do something, anything. Even if it's futile. Will someone in the Senate just GET FUCKING MAD about this? And not "I'm writing to you because I'm mad as hell about the way this nomination has gone" like in the emails. How come the Democrats aren't spitting straight fucking fire on every fucking channel they can get on? Collegialism? With that pack of nazis? Jesus fuck that horse has been dead since Merrick Garland. Why are they still trying to revive it?

I'm just so livid that I'm about ready to join the revolution as soon as someone announces the time and the place. Values neutral governance has utterly failed us. Have some backbone, you chucklefucks.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:13 PM on October 16 [9 favorites]


I'm fucking mad, too, but as has been asked above and in other threads, what would Democratic Senators spitting fire actually do?
posted by PhineasGage at 2:24 PM on October 16


Show that they hurt. Show a human fucking emotion in connection to an electorate that feels scared, that feels powerless, that feels helpless.

What does hugging Lindsey Graham do besides possibly catching COVID?

We're all internally screaming and hurting and we get mild indifference from our leaders. The amount of emotional resolve they demand from us in order to be able to maintain some dog and pony show of civility is not limitless.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:28 PM on October 16 [8 favorites]


I'm fucking mad, too, but as has been asked above and in other threads, what would Democratic Senators spitting fire actually do?

The goal would be to convince the public that these proceedings are illegitimate and that any drastic actions they may need to take to prevent Trump appointees on the Supreme Court from interfering with democracy are justified and necessary.

It may not do anything immediately to stop the proceedings, but it is necessary groundwork to make things easier later.
posted by Zalzidrax at 3:08 PM on October 16 [6 favorites]


It truly would have risked Biden's presidency, so I can't blame Democrats in this case.

But where was the media? Barrett's religion is nothing more than a franchise for starting and operating a cult. Even the women in The Handmaid's Tale can decide for themselves how to brush their teeth. Stories do not get juicier than this, and the media largely ignored it. It's not just Democrats, all of our institutions are failing us.
posted by xammerboy at 3:24 PM on October 16 [7 favorites]


From a website that quote's PoP member blogs:
Submitting your prayer life, your finances and all your major decisions to someone who is not related to you and may not even have been chosen by you - these are not things it occurs to your average American to do as a matter of course.... But our Father asks more and more and more of us for the People of Praise. He asks for our businesses, our work, our studies, our free time spent in homes that are ever closer together and more intertwined, our sleep, our eating habits, our creativity, our thinking, our 24/7, the clothes we wear, the people we love, and whether we like to keep the butter on the counter or in the fridge. He wants us all in. And every day, we see more and more clearly what the People of Praise always was as we become ever more what the Father has in mind for us; as the People of Praise becomes ever more itself. This is only a small piece of the whole universe as it comes to a point. The day will come when all things are either of the united new creation, or of that which has chosen not to be the new creation. There will be no more fence-sitting; no more neutral ground. Everything will become clear. It is more clear now than it has ever been. The light of the Lord grows ever brighter."
posted by xammerboy at 3:43 PM on October 16 [6 favorites]


NARAL calls for the removal of Dianne Feinstein from her position as ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein needed to go a long time ago. She is and has been dead weight, in every sense.

Here's a good six minutes or so where Biden makes a solid argument about Barrett being rushed through, even after Americans have already started voting, and about how she puts our civil rights at grave risk.

Get out there and vote, folks. Barrett is an obscenity of a human being, her rushed nomination is an obscenity to our democracy and our liberties, and there needs to be action by each and every one of us to put a stop to this, once and for all.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:57 PM on October 16 [7 favorites]


> The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee refused to participate in a vote, which meant the committee didn't have a quorum, the minimum required number of members present to cast a vote, and Graham basically said "Fuck you" and passed it anyway.

Wait, how does this work? Aren't the quorum rules binding? Or is the idea that even if the vote didn't technically happen due to lack of quorum, that it was just a pro-forma recommendation from the committee anyway and that the floor vote could happen regardless?
posted by delicious-luncheon at 4:03 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]


Cynical thought: The Democrats aren't fighting as hard against Barrett as they could because they've seen how effective "we need to get a majority on the Supreme Court" has been as a fundraising and electioneering tool for the Republicans for the past 40 years.
posted by clawsoon at 4:08 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


she didn't need to validate his shameful conduct of the hearings, but maybe she thought it was her last chance to hug her senate colleague. you know, send him off with a nice pat on the ass. here's hoping that proceeding didn't boost his appeal to the constituents.
posted by 20 year lurk at 4:11 PM on October 16


[Democrats getting pissed would] Show that they hurt. Show a human fucking emotion in connection to an electorate that feels scared, that feels powerless, that feels helpless.

You're assuming that the people that they'd be getting angry at would care if they hurt. You're also forgetting that there are those who would interpret an admission to feeling powerless as a sign of weakness and submission.

Voting the GOP senate fuckers out, and supporting such campaigns in other states, is our best shot. If Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell are sent packing several things will start changing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:27 PM on October 16 [6 favorites]


Wait, how does this work? Aren't the quorum rules binding?

That's the point - how do you bind somebody to rules they don't give a shit about? What are the punishments or consequences for them breaking those rules and who would enforce them?

(Also, it's unclear, but they may have slipped it through on a procedural technicality. Said technicality being that in the normal process a quorum (actually just 2 of the minority party) is required to vote the Judiciary Committee hearings closed. Then there's a vote to move the nomination to the full Senate. Graham just skipped the "offical closing" vote and went right to the vote to move to full Senate (which apparently only requires a majority vote.))
posted by soundguy99 at 4:39 PM on October 16 [4 favorites]


Please correct me if I'm wrong but the Constitution itself seems rather mum on what rules Congress must respect internally (i.e. besides quorum for the entire body itself and expelling members, and overriding a presidential veto in sections 5 and 7, respectively, of Article 1). In theory, at least, legislation could be passed by a minority of members. At face value, the rules for committees are doubly undefined.

There was some sort of determination (recently-ish?) in terms of standing to sue for violation of those internal rules, right?
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 5:11 PM on October 16


If I'm back in Cali by 2024 I'll be on the ground making sure she doesn't see another fucking term.

The good news is that I'll be on the ground there with you—if I'm still in Cali in 2024.

The bad news is that I've been on the ground to that end since her shameful position and voting leading up to the Iraq War. I'm sad to say that the endeavor has borne effectively no fruit—it hasn't even changed her positions or governance, as far as I can tell.
posted by Brak at 5:16 PM on October 16


Also, wow, the Constitution is incredibly short. How did Barrett not just have it memorized? That would seem to be a near requirement for being an originalist.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 5:19 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]


The "one weird trick" the Trumpists have is realizing that if there is no jail time involved, they do not have to give a shit.

Thus, we need to put in legislation criminalizing many behaviors, like deliberate voter supression. Fines can be paid by billionaires and judicial overrulings can used to run out the clock. Go to fucking jail for 4 years while you wait for an appeal instead of continuing to serve as Secretary of Voter Supression and still collect a paycheck. It is ridiculous that a single voter can go to jail for double voting yet suppression of 1000s of votes gets at most a judicial slap on the wrist.
posted by benzenedream at 6:37 PM on October 16 [20 favorites]


Like it's the 16th of October. The powder is pretty fucking dry.

No kidding. Am I nuts or did the law and order president just come out as explicitly pro-government-death-squad to a fairly mild media reaction? (←Twitter link to a few seconds of video) On Wednesday he again praised the police who shot Michael Reinoehl under suspicious circumstances but saying, they didn’t want to arrest him this time. Did anyone see if any Senator asked Barrett about it, so maybe she's at least on record not answering questions about the legality of death squads for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? (Am I thinking unrealistically to imagine that there's going to be one? Or to imagine that there's going to only be one?)

...oh, okay, in media sources they're at least calling it support for "extrajudicial killing", and Ted Lieu and Kathleen Rice put out a press release calling for an Inspector General investigation. Somehow I'd only run into coverage making more-dismissable vague "gang" analogies to the police action.

I think the term "death squad" could see a bit more employment, though, especially after all the Trumpian ass-kissing of Duterte and Saddam Hussein and every other living and dead dictator under the sun.
posted by XMLicious at 1:18 AM on October 17 [5 favorites]


During Trump's Town Hall the moderator pointed out that Trump had just retweeted a posting accusing Biden of covertly trying to murder Navy SEALs. If she hadn't brought it up I doubt I would know about it. The zone is fully flooded.

It doesn't bother Trumps supporters that he talks about death squads and so on, because they've swallowed the lie that all leaders are equally bad and corrupt behind the scenes. I blame the left as much as the right for that fallacy gaining popular acceptance.
posted by xammerboy at 6:58 AM on October 17 [1 favorite]


Here's Sean Illing at Vox, near the beginning of this horrifying year, summarizing the strategy - "'Flood the zone with shit': How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy."
No amount of evidence, on virtually any topic, is likely to move public opinion one way or the other. We can attribute some of this to rank partisanship — some people simply refuse to acknowledge inconvenient facts about their own side.

But there’s another, equally vexing problem. We live in a media ecosystem that overwhelms people with information. Some of that information is accurate, some of it is bogus, and much of it is intentionally misleading. The result is a polity that has increasingly given up on finding out the truth.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:53 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


I blame the left as much as the right for that fallacy gaining popular acceptance.

I think it's just human dualistic all or nothing thinking that has been exploited by those who don't want people to vote. Getting people to judge relative levels of corruption would be good civic education. As my dad used to say, "In a regular country the construction projects go 150% over budget; in a bad country they go over budget and they put extra sand in the concrete."
posted by benzenedream at 5:24 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]




It's long been a conservative goal to overturn the 1990 decision regarding the Free Exercise Clause that held that as a general matter there is no religious exemption from neutral laws of general applicability. This is why doctors have to perform abortions, shopkeepers must bake cakes for gay weddings, etc. even if it's against one's religious beliefs. There is no doubt in my mind that Barrett's nomination will lead to the court revisit and likely decide differently on this question. If that's the case, it will lead to shopkeepers posting signs saying "No Jews Allowed" etc. and allow religion to be used as a justification for discrimination of all kinds. Yes, Barrett's confirmation was always a foregone conclusion, but the media really failed to give the public a sense of what they can expect from it.
posted by xammerboy at 5:55 AM on October 18 [14 favorites]


xammerboy: “Yes, Barrett's confirmation was always a foregone conclusion, but the media really failed to give the public a sense of what they can expect from it.”
That's because just like a lot of people, myself included, they can't bring themselves to look directly at what the Republicans are really doing. Republicans at all levels have openly demonstrated they have no intention of even pretending to be a legitimate government. The press and chattering class are acting like this is normal, that the ship of state is still on its keel, because the truth is too terrifying to even contemplate.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:38 AM on October 18 [32 favorites]


^ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 11:16 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


Thus, we need to put in legislation criminalizing many behaviors, like deliberate voter suppression.

This would only work if they went to jail, which they do not do unless they piss off the other plutocrats.
posted by winna at 6:45 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


"A 2009 Supreme Court ruling may require Barrett to recuse herself from 2020 election cases."

Supreme Court Justices recuse themselves entirely at their own, unreviewable, unaccountable discretion.
posted by jedicus at 9:22 AM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Thus, we need to put in legislation criminalizing many behaviors, like deliberate voter suppression.
Any solution which requires buy-in from the carceral system will be weak to that system determining that its best interests have diverged from that of its parent state.

Or, in other words, look at how much trouble we currently have with police deciding "Nah, we aren't enforcing this".
Now, a natural response there from the first point would be "then let's criminalize police deciding not to enforce laws", but then we're right back to square one.
posted by CrystalDave at 9:31 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


This thread discussing a Barrett decision is pretty depressing reading, for anyone who wants to sour their mood.
posted by prefpara at 9:42 AM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Supreme Court Justices recuse themselves entirely at their own, unreviewable, unaccountable discretion.

There was the case of Vice President Cheney vs. the United States which argued that Cheney should disclose his energy executive meetings regarding energy regulations.

While the case was being argued before the court, Justice Scalia invited Cheney on a trip to a hunting resort and in return got a free ride with Cheney on a government plane to their vacation.

Scalia refused a request for recusal. Nobody can make them do it, not even the Chief Justice.

Recall when Republicans lost their shit and Comey claimed corruption because Clinton spent 15 minutes discussing golf and grandchildren with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
posted by JackFlash at 9:53 AM on October 19 [10 favorites]


The main focus of the Twitter thread prefpara linked above appears to be based on the motion the plaintiff (the rape victim, Ms. Martin) provided to the 7th circuit court of appeals. I dug a bit and managed to find the underlying 7th court of appeals decision. See here.

The evidence in favor of the county to not be liable was pretty much that they engaged in CYA training where they would inform guards to not engage in any manner of sexual relationships with inmates. Because of this, the 7th circuit ruled that a reasonable jury would agree that the guard was not acting in the 'scope' of their employment. The real jury did not agree. I'm not entirely sure when it's ok for judges to conclude that a real jury was retroactively 'unreasonable' in their findings.

Anyway, the plaintiff arguments were compelling to me that a reasonable jury could determine that despite the CYA training the guard might still be in scope of their employment, but I didn't read the entire 7th court of appeals ruling. Maybe they had something better than the county doing some basic CYA crap making them not completely not responsible for their employees.
posted by Green With You at 1:41 PM on October 19


What bugs me about the "scope of employment" is that the county has a duty beyond simply training against raping prisoners, but also to supervise your employees properly to ensure that they aren't raping prisoners. A very quick read of the ruling doesn't show they raised that, and indeed under the scope of employment doctrine, I don't even know if it's something that can be raised.

But walking away from supervisory duties while saying, "He passed the quiz" is fucking bullshit.
posted by mikelieman at 2:54 PM on October 19


The Justice Department said that Trump could not be sued personally for having denied a rape allegation because he made the statement while acting in his official capacity as president. And so the government and taxpayers are taking on the defense of Trump's personal civil case.

I wonder if Barrett, to be consistent, would say that denying sexual assault is not within the scope of being President and that the Justice Department shouldn't be involved. No, of course she wouldn't.
posted by JackFlash at 7:05 PM on October 19 [3 favorites]




I wouldn't want to spend any part of my finite lifespan defending Senate Democrats, but I think that's a bit of a misread of the poll linked. Only 13% thought the vote should be held before the election. In addition to the 67% who thought the vote should be held iff Trump wins, another 20% are listed as "don't know/refused".

I'm in Camp 20%, since this illegitimate nom would not magically become legitimate if T somehow squeaked out a win. (Obviously Dems wouldn't be able to stop it then, but apparently they can't stop it now either, so.)

It seems like the takeaway is that ~7 out of 8 Democratic respondents are not on board with this vote, which is pretty good for a big tent party.
posted by Not A Thing at 6:53 AM on October 20 [2 favorites]


What Biden will or won't do once elected will come down to what we can make him, the Senate and House do once the election is over, if the Democrats win. We have the opportunity to enact a lot of important changes if Democrats win this election; but wining the election is only the first step. Getting a fairer judicial system, addressing the global warming, health care, racial justice, the environment, etc all will require that we are effective at using the seat at the table we get after we win the election. Today we don't have a seat at the table.
posted by interogative mood at 9:39 AM on October 20 [8 favorites]


It seems like the takeaway is that ~7 out of 8 Democratic respondents are not on board with this vote, which is pretty good for a big tent party.

Hey now, don't let the facts get in the way of a setting up a circular firing squad so Trump wins.
posted by benzenedream at 12:30 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


What Biden will or won't do once elected will come down to what we can make him, the Senate and House do once the election is over, if the Democrats win. We have the opportunity to enact a lot of important changes if Democrats win this election

The NeverTrumpers and Project Lincoln'ers job should be working to undo all of the Trump stuff that they helped bring to life. They shouldn't necessarily be conscripted Democrats (though the soon-to-be-late Rush Limbaugh would call them that), but Dems shouldn't have to fight the shit-tsunami that Trump has built up in addition to enacting plank (and lefty-er) issues.
posted by rhizome at 1:44 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


though the soon-to-be-late Rush Limbaugh

Can we not, please?
posted by hanov3r at 2:01 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


More polling revealing how the complete lack of Dem leadership is affecting voter's perceptions, even within their own party: Democrats, Independents Drive Uptick in Support for Barrett's Confirmation
Following four days of hearings, 51 percent of voters said the Senate should vote to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court, up 3 percentage points from the week before and an increase of 14 points since Trump announced her nomination on Sept. 26. It’s a higher level of support than Morning Consult measured at any time during the confirmation processes for Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — the two other jurists Trump has tapped for the high court during his presidency.

The Oct. 16-18 poll surveyed 1,994 registered voters, with a 2-point margin of error.

There’s been a slight uptick in support for Barrett’s confirmation among GOP voters, but the bulk of the movement was driven by independents, a 44 percent plurality of whom now back her confirmation, and Democrats. The share of Democratic voters who back Barrett’s confirmation (32 percent) is up 5 points from the previous week, and up 18 points from the day Trump nominated her, while the share who say she should be voted down has fallen to 48 percent.
And of course, now we find out that Biden's real problem is with the process, not the person, in a story that surprisingly does not come from The Onion: Joe Biden Not Opposed to Amy Coney Barrett, Says She 'Seems Like a Very Fine Person'
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 6:47 AM on October 21


Joe Biden Not Opposed to Amy Coney Barrett, Says She 'Seems Like a Very Fine Person'

When you're opponent's stock-in-trade is insecure, misogynistic attacks against women then the best way to differentiate yourself is to not attack women. ( Yes, the insecure, misogynistic context makes the difference, but we're not trying to appeal to the most discerning group of people, broad strokes count. )

And there's nothing his excoriating her would do to move the needle, so why not be a mensch?
posted by mikelieman at 7:39 AM on October 21 [4 favorites]


I mean, if I called Barrett a 'very fine person,' there'd be a lot of eye-rolling and air quotes, because I'd be subliminally dissing her by comparing her to the people in Charlottesville.

When Biden does it, it's probably not that.
posted by box at 8:19 AM on October 21 [3 favorites]




Guardian has an article on dynamics of abuse within Barrett's cult. It is about what you'd expect. Emphasis on how anyone outside cannot be trusted, deference to strict male-dominated in-group hierarchy, history of sexual abuse papered over with a veneer of respectable concern.

Biden's statement is disappointing and indicative of how out of touch he is, but it isn't surprising.
posted by Lonnrot at 11:18 AM on October 21 [3 favorites]


Biden's famously Catholic. Coney Barrett deliberately distanced herself from People of Praise in public and describes herself Catholic. Two weeks to election day, it's not surprising he'd lean on an anodyne statement to try to sidestep an entire vat of worms.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:31 PM on October 21 [10 favorites]


What Iris said: the usual suspects are already pushing the narrative that opposition is rooted in anti-Catholic sentiment. All Biden should be doing right now is reminding people that he’s a Catholic as well and avoiding any distractions from the ongoing train wrecks. He’s clearly trying to make it as easy as possible for moderates in the swing states to vote for him and it’s working.
posted by adamsc at 12:48 PM on October 21 [4 favorites]


And is it really at all surprising that now we're hearing about sexual abuse in People of Praise households where children and young people are housed with a male "head" they are told they must obey in every way? Or that the descriptions of living in these households sound like a kind of living hell where the food you eat, what media you consume, and everything else you do and think is under total scrutiny and control? Where is the call for more time to review Barrett's background and question her, not on legal opinion, but the judgement and character she displayed as the leader and recruiter of a vast cult franchise?
posted by xammerboy at 1:21 PM on October 21 [3 favorites]


What Iris said: the usual suspects are already pushing the narrative that opposition is rooted in anti-Catholic sentiment.

And note that the right wing got ahead of her extremist beliefs and defined the debate so that questioning them at all would be seen as an attack on her catholicism, never mind that she believes things the vast majority of catholics would find bizarre and more in common with evangelicals, and with the so-called "liberal media" playing right along of course.
.
posted by Gelatin at 1:37 PM on October 21 [7 favorites]




And there's nothing his excoriating her would do to move the needle, so why not be a mensch?

It's certainly giving a lot of us confirmation that when it comes to women's rights the Democrats are not actually our allies.
posted by winna at 6:12 AM on October 22 [2 favorites]


There's a nice takedown of originalism by the Dean of UC Berkeley's law school in today's NYT.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:57 AM on October 22 [1 favorite]


Yeah, good link CheeseDigestsAll:
Originalists believe that the meaning of a constitutional provision is fixed when it was adopted and that it can change only by constitutional amendment. Under this view, the First Amendment means the same thing as when it was adopted in 1791 and the 14th Amendment means the same thing as when it was ratified in 1868.
Except that instead of just applying to muzzle-loading matchlock firearms, the Second Amendment definitely applies to 21st-century pultruded-carbon-fiber-stock laser-sighted semi-automatic assault rifles that can be used to kill an order of magnitude more people, faster, than an artillery piece could in 1791.

When you're a super-hard-core originalist it comes all the way back around to just being original if that's most convenient.
posted by XMLicious at 8:33 AM on October 22 [3 favorites]


This centrist dinosaur is going to hand the whole thing over to the fucking Lincoln Project: Biden says if elected he will form bipartisan commission to recommend changes to Supreme Court
"If elected what I will do is I'll put together a national commission of -- bipartisan commission of -- scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative, and I will ask them to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it's getting out of whack, the way in which it's being handled," Biden said in a one-minute released clip from his "60 Minutes" interview with Norah O'Donnell.

"And it's not about court packing. There's a number of other things that constitutional scholars have debated and I've looked to see what recommendations that commission might make," he added.
Biden warned against the Supreme Court turning into a political football.

The full interview will air on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday.

The former vice president gave his most direct answer on the issue last week when he signaled that he's "not a fan" of court packing, and he promised last week during an ABC town hall that he will provide a clearer stance before the election.

"So you'll come out with a clear position before election day?" ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked.
Biden replied, "Yes. Depending on how they handle this," referring to Senate Republicans.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 8:37 AM on October 22 [3 favorites]


Forming a commission is what you do when you want to look like you're doing something, not when you actually want to do it.
posted by theodolite at 8:57 AM on October 22 [6 favorites]


Come now, that's not entirely fair. After all, Obama and Biden did put together Simpson-Bowles, which inspired liberals to work with Republicans (ah, bipartisanship!) on legislation accelerating the growth of income equality and austerity while further destroying the middle class. They were so proud of it, too!
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 9:06 AM on October 22 [3 favorites]


Forming a commission is what you do when you want to look like you're doing something, not when you actually want to do it.

Or when you don't want to fall into an obvious trap set by a not-at-all liberal media desperate to gin up a "controversy" so they can return to their preferred mode of horse-race coverage.

Biden is doing the smart thing by making anodyne statements. Maybe he even means them! But if I was running for President, and I had made it my life's work to ruin movement conservatism's decades-long project to stack the courts as a rearguard against the American people rejecting their agenda, I'd say the same kind of things Biden is. It's a category error to equate any milquetoast, noncommittal statement as a reflection of what he wants, let alone intends, to do.

Besides which, regardless of what Biden may or may not want, if a Democratic Congress -- protecting its own interests, thank you -- puts a bill to expand the Judiciary on Biden's desk, it comes down to whether he will veto it.
posted by Gelatin at 9:08 AM on October 22 [10 favorites]


+100 Gelatin. The fuming here that Biden won't take a strong stand on expanding the Supreme Court, which could undermine his support from the undecided and/or moderate voters HE NEEDS TO WIN THIS ELECTION, is astonishing. Of what possible advantage for GETTING ELECTED IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS would it serve to say "Yeah, I'm going to expand the Court"?!
posted by PhineasGage at 9:15 AM on October 22 [5 favorites]


Of what possible advantage for GETTING ELECTED IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS would it serve to say "Yeah, I'm going to expand the Court"?!

Not only that -- SCOTUS is taking up yet another bogus challenge to the ACA, and of course they scheduled it until just *after* the election.

Regardless of what Biden does or does not say prior to the election, SCOTUS -- with fresh wingnut Coney Barret aboard -- striking down Obamacare would be a perfect pretext for Biden to say, "That's it, now we're expanding the Court."

And SCOTUS knows it, so they might bet that maybe if they don't strike the ACA down this time, Biden will leave the courts alone. By being canny about his intentions, he puts pressure on SCOTUS to rein in its right wing. (Whether Roberts can pull that trick off is another question, of course.) Coming out guns blazing in favor of packing the Court does nothing but incentivize the right to strike down the ACA while it can.
posted by Gelatin at 9:27 AM on October 22 [6 favorites]


I'd love to be wrong about this, but I don't get the impression that Biden is a secret norm-breaking reshaper of the judiciary with a list of nominees ready to go. I'm also not convinced that voters actually love it when a candidate is waffly and vague about an issue they're furious about. I do know that "bipartisan commission to study the issue" does not send a signal that this is something he's taking all that seriously.
posted by theodolite at 9:56 AM on October 22 [4 favorites]


I don't get the impression that Biden is a secret norm-breaking reshaper of the judiciary

No one's claiming he's a "secret norm-breaking reshaper of the judiciary." The claims are, though, that:
  • Regardless of what he intends to do, he's making the smart play by not making statements that would lead to him being portrayed as a secret norm-breaking reshaper of the judiciary, because to do so would be a net negative for his campaign
  • Biden would make those kinds of neutral statements regardless of what his agenda was, so it's a mistake to take them as confirmation of one's own preconceived notions, whichever they might be, and
  • Congress has every reason to protect its own prerogatives by reforming the Judiciary regardless of what Biden wants or doesn't want, and Biden is unlikely to go so far as to veto any such bill they pass.
with a list of nominees ready to go

Biden is a competent politician and is well aware -- as recent events have shown! -- that vacancies on the Court can occur unexpectedly. Of course he has a list of nominees ready to go.

I'm also not convinced that voters actually love it when a candidate is waffly and vague about an issue they're furious about.

But voters also don't love it when politicians step in it in a way that lets the conservative media -- to say nothing of Fox News -- misrepresent their position as radical and out of the mainstream.

It's also a category error to presume that because Democratic activists are furious about Coney Barret's elevation to SCOTUS, most voters, even Democratic ones, are too. That's partly because Democrats in general have been well behind the Republicans in the messaging battle, as discussed extensively upthread.

(It'd also be a mistake to stake Democratic support on preventing Coney Barret's confirmation, so the Democrats seem to be playing a wise hand by recognizing her confirmation is a fait accompli and then plotting their revenge, which also means that telegraphing one's intentions for revenge in advance is not necessarily a bright idea.)

I do know that "bipartisan commission to study the issue" does not send a signal that this is something he's taking all that seriously

And once again, that's exactly the signal that Biden intends to send, regardless of his actual intentions, and he's right to do so.

Speaking of being a competent politician, evidence suggests that 1) for all his conciliatory language, Biden is aware that Republicans do not bargain in good faith and b) he's also aware that a 6-3 Republican majority on SCOTUS would doom not only the current Democratic agenda in its entirety but also the past half-century's worth of hard-won gains, and I'm willing to bet that Biden isn't willing to throw all that away in the name of "comity" or "norms" or whatever.
posted by Gelatin at 10:17 AM on October 22 [7 favorites]


Biden is a fool who doesn't understand what is happening, who never needed to step up to run at all and disrupted the whole primary in doing so. The best we can ever hope for is to get him to listen to experts in various fields who push him to use his platform more wisely and put together an administration that is at least competent. Right now, someone really needs to take him aside and explain to him that it is 2020, Republicans are nakedly unabashed fascists who are doing things like this routinely. Reaching across the aisle and making grand statements about bipartisanship, praising literal fascist cultists who threaten the survival of millions of people, all that does is anger his own base and make him look like a rube to anyone paying attention.

Barrett, who once ruled that a cop wasn't responsible for a black teenager's death because breathing isn't a Constitutional right, who once ruled that screaming racial epithets is completely appropriate workplace behavior, who as noted above once ruled that rape was within the scope of a prison guard's employment, whose answers at her own Supreme Court confirmation hearing were openly fascist, is a wretched and evil human being whose being anywhere near the levers of power is a farce and a disgrace. Will saying that plainly rankle Republicans? Sure, but Republicans are going to feign rankledness and spin the narrative regardless. Refraining from criticizing them on the basis of, essentially, "they said we were mean and then we were mean," adds cowardice to the foolishness. As obsessed with "optics" as Democrats are, they're terrible at it. Condemning Barrett, condemning this illegitimate sham of a process, communicates to black people and women and LGBT people - the people supposedly forming an irreplaceable core of the Democrats' base - that the party cares about your survival and civil rights. Calling the people who want to kill us or strip of us our basic rights "very fine people" communicates the opposite of that.

Note that in all of that I did not even comment on the People of Praise except to - accurately - refer to them as a cult in passing. If that is such a concern for "optics," it would be trivially easy to simply set it aside and condemn her for her own history of racist, misogynist rulings. She is an open, unabashed white supremacist, misogynist, homophobe, transphobe and fascist - Biden's repeated boneheaded attempts at show bipartisanship over this are infuriating. There is nothing remotely smart or politically savvy about any of his utterly clueless hot takes here.
posted by Lonnrot at 10:24 AM on October 22 [9 favorites]


That was well argued but I hate Biden
posted by benzenedream at 10:24 AM on October 22


Although my views are closer to yours, Lonnrot, than to Biden's and certainly to Barrett's, I want Biden to win this fucking election, because the alternative is MORE Barretts on the Supreme Court and more children kidnapped from their parents. If infuriating you for a few weeks is the price of that victory, I will sadly make that deal.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:37 AM on October 22 [4 favorites]


Condemning Barrett, condemning this illegitimate sham of a process, communicates to black people and women and LGBT people - the people supposedly forming an irreplaceable core of the Democrats' base - that the party cares about your survival and civil rights.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what the Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee (even DiFi!) did when they boycotted the committee vote.

Absolutely no one here is arguing that Coney Barrett isn't a terrible person with a terrible legal philosophy that serves a terrible agenda.

The argument is that the only way to punish the Republicans is to gain power, and the way to do that is to win elections, and regardless how individual commenters feel, Biden seems (TTTCS) to be well on track to doing so, so maybe his strategy isn't so dumb after all.
posted by Gelatin at 10:38 AM on October 22 [6 favorites]


Even in terms of pure optics, condemnation of actively harmful action by Republicans is how you wrest the narrative back from them. Meekly following the script they write for you only gives more power to the narratives - often flatly lies - they have come up with. Alexandria Ocasio Cortex, Ilhan Omar and Elizabeth Warren understand this. Corey Booker was one of the first Democrats to understand this; his voting record is where he loses me, but whenever he speaks up, I feel heard and notice a shift in the narrative around an issue as a result. You have to speak up. You have to make waves. Rolling over, preemptively conceding every battle, does not make one look wise or impartial - it makes one look feckless and devoid of principles. Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, Feinstein and the majority of Democrats do not understand this.

Moreover, it is the morally right thing to do. This is especially important when your scope of action is limited to your platform as a public speaker.

I was going to refrain from commenting on this because obviously I lose composure when I do so, but he keeps saying these things. Argh.
posted by Lonnrot at 10:41 AM on October 22 [3 favorites]


Which, coincidentally, is exactly what the Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee (even DiFi!) did when they boycotted the committee vote.

To be clear, I have no issue with this at all. My comments are in response to Biden's recent verbal vacuity. I think the boycott is an appropriate response.

The argument is that the only way to punish the Republicans is to gain power, and the way to do that is to win elections, and regardless how individual commenters feel, Biden seems (TTTCS) to be well on track to doing so, so maybe his strategy isn't so dumb after all.

This is wrong on multiple levels - strategically, ethically - and I have no respect for it as a position, or anyone advocating for it. It does in fact matter whether those running for office make stances on issues, it does in fact matter if they make wrong stances on issues. This continuous appeal to Moderate Centrism - especially when it comes in the form of praising fascists - is morally bankrupt foolishness, not the cunning Machiavellian strategizing you seem convinced it is. It is a lack of strategy - automatically ceding strategy to one's opponents who are salivating at the mouth for an opportunity to kill many of us.
posted by Lonnrot at 10:51 AM on October 22


I am stepping out of thread for a bit because I am getting upset but lol I made the Alexandria Ocasio Cortex typo
posted by Lonnrot at 10:54 AM on October 22


Even in terms of pure optics, condemnation of actively harmful action by Republicans is how you wrest the narrative back from them.

Which, again, has been happening, but the Democrats have clearly decided on a strategy of keeping that condemnation at a level below Biden.

Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, and the majority of Democrats seem to understand -- at long last -- that the media is not liberal and as often as not takes its cues from Republican narratives. Democrats have had the better ideas for the past four or so decades. How well has that narrative played out in a media landscape that bends over backwards to appease Republicans?

Again, not stepping into an obvious trap does not mean one is devoid of principles, no matter how satisfying stepping into the trap would be for some allies as well as for the media and Republicans.

Once again, Biden's goal is to not limit his scope of action to be as a public speaker, but as the President of the United States. Call him feckless all you like, but Biden has made no secret of running a cautious, make-no-waves campaign, and it seems to be working (TTTCS). You're entitled to your outrage, but it flies in the face of reality to claim that Biden's stance is a loser when (TTTCS) the entire Coney Barret nomination is about the Republican realization that they are losing.
posted by Gelatin at 10:54 AM on October 22 [4 favorites]


You're a fool if you think Biden is winning because of his own cluelessness and not because of Republicans' malevolence. Nearly everyone voting for him is motivated by fear of what will happen if he loses.

Now I'm stepping out.
posted by Lonnrot at 10:57 AM on October 22


Yeah, people are waiting in line for hours to vote because they are pissed the fuck off, not because of Biden's charisma or vision or whatever. I understand that the Biden campaign doesn't want to rock the boat while he's ahead, but I don't think caution is necessarily a great strategy either. In my heart I believe that if Biden was like "here's my platform: I'm going to throw every member of the Trump family in Supermax, and also legalize weed" he'd be 20 points ahead.
posted by theodolite at 11:16 AM on October 22 [3 favorites]


Biden is winning (TTTCS) following the strategy he is following, making the statements he is making, and sending the messages he is sending. Other politicians -- ones any individual may have liked better than Biden -- have followed other strategies and not even made it past the Democratic primary.

Yes, Biden has the advantage of appearing as a safe alternative to Trump. Exactly. And he's done it with the very deliberate messaging strategy he has used. It may be another strategy would be more appealing to some, but that change carries risks that Biden -- and many voters -- are obviously not comfortable with. Biden clearly sees nothing at all to gain and much to lose if he wades into a controversy about packing the court, egged on by a media that would love to write about how Biden put his foot in his mouth for a change, before he even has the power to do it. The fact of Biden's lead (TTTCS) is incontrovertible. Biden's approach, however distasteful you may find it, is working.

It is absolutely not a certainty that changing his message from one that is appealing to a majority of Americans to one that appeals to an individual voter would work better, and absolutely not a certainty that changing his message doesn't carry risks that would cause him to lose support he can't afford to even risk losing.

The time to take action against 20-plus years of Republican crimes is when we have the power to enforce it. If Biden gets into office and then vetoes the Ginsberg Memorial SCOTUS Expansion Act, I'll concede you're right. But what's foolish is to confuse whatever bland message about a controversial subject put out for public consumption in the last weeks of an election with what Biden actually intends to do if elected. We can and should judge Biden by his actions in office, but the first step is getting him there, and arguing that his strategy is not working flies in the face of the available data.
posted by Gelatin at 11:16 AM on October 22 [12 favorites]


arguing that his strategy is not working flies in the face of the available data

You know what else flies in the face of the available data? That Biden and Dem leadership will do a got-damn thing like the 4D chess scenarios playing out in liberal fantasies.

Elected Democrats are Lucy and folks keep on believing that this time they're totally gonna get to punt that ball, even when they're being told to their face that it's about to be yanked.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 11:27 AM on October 22 [2 favorites]


waitaminnit - biden isn't a firebrand intent on brazenly defying norms moments before a close and consequential election!?

fuck it: i'm voting for the other guy.
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:09 PM on October 22 [4 favorites]


I voted for Biden already, champ. I'm just not going to fool myself into thinking he's going to be anything more than a do-nothing speedbump until someone far more evil than Trump but far more effective takes over.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 12:15 PM on October 22 [4 favorites]


I'm just not going to fool myself into thinking he's going to be anything more than a do-nothing speedbump until someone far more evil than Trump but far more effective takes over.

So is it that Biden just doesn't see the Republicans' embrace of fascism -- that he thinks everything Attorney General Barr, to name just one example, has done is just hunky-dory? Or is it that he sees the threat and is simply unwilling to act?

Please show your work in more detail than "Biden said something nice about a Republican in public recently."
posted by Gelatin at 12:42 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


It's certainly giving a lot of us confirmation that when it comes to women's rights the Democrats are not actually our allies.

Speaking only for myself: I'm a woman of reproductive age, and I happen to find Democrats far more useful when they get elected than when they say something provocative in the eleventh hour to rile up the Deplorables. Or to try to win over the Unpleasables.
posted by armeowda at 2:18 PM on October 22 [9 favorites]


I am still angry about this so I shouldn't be posting, but I do want to clarify my position. In a whole bunch of loosely connected bullet points, apparently.

• The interpretations above are tea leaf reading, not political analysis. "Biden is doing well following his current strategies" is a tautology. This is leaving aside the fact that the media and DNC pushed him hard enough to the front of the race that many of us feel he effectively derailed the process because of his own ego. It is unproductive to go that route because what's done is done. Biden running, and the DNC pushing Biden so hard, was probably unwise. We can disagree about this; that's fine. This is the reality we are stuck with. Let's acknowledge its limitations instead of pretending Biden is someone besides who he is.

• US media is dominated by Republican narratives because Republicans know how to rile up their base and craft narratives. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Outside the Fox/Gingrich-sphere, there is so much potential to retake the narrative and set explicitly leftist agendas. Ocasio Cortez, Nathan Robinson, there are so many people doing this right now and they are having success in reaching people who do not feel heard or represented by corporate Democrats who refuse to recognize that universal healthcare might be a good thing in the face of a pandemic, that bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle might be a bad thing in the face of creeping Republican fascism.

• Retaking the narrative is easy. McConnell and Republicans are actively fucking over millions of people by refusing to extend financial aid during the pandemic. Boom. Done. Narrative retaken. Pretending McConnell is a respectable politician who genuinely wants to work out a financial aid program that will satisfy both sides? Whoops. Narrative lost. Why is this so difficult to understand?

• Even if the choice is between Biden praising fascists or remaining silent (it isn't), the latter is a wiser option. Praising fascists, making gestures toward bipartisanship, is less than useless. It is potentially actively harmful. It does not communicate that he is an even-tempered candidate willing to consider and compromise. I can guarantee you no Millennial or Zoomer takes his stances as anything other than a sign that he does not understand the political realities of 2020 at best.

• Biden runs his mouth all the time. He is not a political genius. He is someone who stole a speech, who went on an incoherent rant about someone named Corn Pop and children petting his leg hair, whose solution to domestic violence against women was to "PUNCH at it and KEEP PUNCHING at it and KEEP PUNCHING at it." He does not play four dimensional chess. He can probably play actual chess, which puts him worlds above Trump, but analyzing his words as if he means anything other than what he is saying right at that moment is fan fiction nonsense. Be realistic. Please. This situation is deadly serious.

• Biden's biggest strength is that he is capable of listening to those with more knowledge and experience than he is, and he is capable of recognizing injustice even if it isn't politically acceptable to. When he pushed for LGBT rights as vice president, when he said he'd "change the damn laws" to protect civil rights for trans people - that is the kind of grumpy old man energy we need. When he mocks us for having student debt or falling into poverty traps, when he reaches out to fascists, when he waxes nostalgic about white supremacists, that does absolutely nothing positive for his campaign. Condemning fascists would cost nothing. No one is going to not vote for Biden who otherwise would because he said fascists doing their thing is not in fact peachy keen. We are less than two weeks away from what is potentially the most contentious election in US history. Anyone who is undecided at this stage is lost. There is no reaching them. Pretending that there is any value in nurturing "electability" at this stage is insulting.

• I keep referring to Republicans as fascists. They are. I am relying on Eco's definition, generally regarded as a standard. There is no sense in pretending US politics in 2020 are perfectly ordinary and functional. There is a great deal of harm in continuing to do so.

• I do not want to fight about this. I feel intense self-loathing that I am engaging in this thread in this way. Here's why this is upsetting though:

• First of all, if your concern is primarily optics, this is an abysmal failure. I don't know how I can possibly communicate this effectively. If I could bold, underline and write this part in red ink, I would, so just imagine that: Republicans will lie, escalate, defame and demonize Democrats no matter what they do. Preemptively ceding to Republican narratives is a stupid strategy. While Biden was wishing Trump well when he was sick with Covid, Republicans were lying about Biden personally murdering babies. It simply just absolutely completely utterly does not matter what is said - Republicans will distort and twist and spin and demonize regardless. It is poor strategy to engage this way.

• Condemning fascism is the morally right thing to do. Democrats' legislative power is weak. That makes speaking up and speaking out against injustices all the more important. A reluctance to do so is not "safe" optics. It is bad optics, full stop. Ocasio Cortez understands this very well because she, like me, grew up in the post-Gingrich world. She and I have no living memory of the halcyon days of bipartisanship. The era of Democrat-Republican bipartisanship is fully dead. Republicans have always been far-right extremists in both of our lifetimes and are now fascists. You cannot reason or bargain with fascists. Attempting to do so at all weakens your position.

• Democrats are losing younger voters. A lot. Because of this. The party has no future - US democracy has no future - if they cannot acknowledge the political realities of 2020. Every time Feinstein or Biden gives us a condescending lecture, the bitter rifts get a little bit deeper. This is a very dangerous strategy. The Lincoln Project will not save them. Relying on one's political enemies for survival as a viable party is... I just don't even.

• Many Democrats have been boycotting the entire Barrett hearing as an illegitimate process. This is correct and an appropriate response. Biden's comments these past few days are actively dangerous because they are undermining his own party by legitimizing the process. My anxiety has spiked considerably as a result of these comments. When Biden makes comments like this he is adding to the existential risk the US currently faces. So much of this election will depend on how elected officials respond to Republicans attempting to derail, delegitimize, disrupt or completely throw out the election results. That is going to happen. Praising the people doing this right now is not...reassuring. At all. Is Biden prepared for the nightmare scenario? Fuck no he is not and that scares me.

• Despite all this, I really do not want this to be a fight. I cannot moderate my tone right now because I find it morally reprehensible to be praising fascists at this moment in time. It makes me feel genuinely physically ill. It is in itself deeply upsetting and doubling down on arcane interpretations for why it is not what it looks like doesn't help. It is exactly what it looks like. That being said, I do want to reiterate that the overwhelming bulk of my anger is directed at Republicans, and at Biden for doing things like this, not at people here. That we are having this conversation is...frustrating, but I don't want to pour more poison down the well. We can talk about this like adults and I apologize if I have been out of line here; I am rather upset about Biden's comments because I am terrified of the contexts he is praising here.
posted by Lonnrot at 2:43 PM on October 22 [10 favorites]


Forming a commission is what you do when you want to look like you're doing something, not when you actually want to do it.


Making Money, Terry Pratchett
for this purpose the gods had invented the committee. Vetinari was very good at committees, especially when Drumknott took the minutes. What the iron maiden was to stupid tyrants, the committee was to Lord Vetinari; it was only slightly more expensive,* far less messy, considerably more efficient, and, best of all, you had to force people to climb inside the iron maiden.

* The only real expense was tea and biscuits halfway through, which seldom happened with the iron maiden.
posted by mikelieman at 2:50 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]




Retaking the narrative is easy. McConnell and Republicans are actively fucking over millions of people by refusing to extend financial aid during the pandemic. Boom. Done. Narrative retaken.

Unfortunately I think it is not that easy. I wish I could find it again - it's buried 3 days and 9000 pages of browser history back - but there was. . . a Twitter thread? or something that led me to a meta-analysis where there's some evidence that for decades now Republican policies have been so bad that people just don't believe those are the policies. Like, Joe Republican outright says "I will do this thing" and folks just say to themselves, "Nah, he's not gonna do that thing" and then they vote for him and he does that thing and when you ask the voters why they voted for him after he said he would do the thing and he just did that thing they say, "He did that thing? Nah, he wouldn't have." It's not even people going, "Well, the leopards won't eat my face", it's people refusing to believe that leopards eat faces at all. And it didn't start with Trump.

It's damn hard to change the narrative in the face of that kind of blindness.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:40 PM on October 22 [12 favorites]


It's not even people going, "Well, the leopards won't eat my face", it's people refusing to believe that leopards eat faces at all

That's because US news media are by and large fucking useless; they insist on treating racist/fascist/authoritarian/etc Republicans as normal politicians, they bend over backwards to "both sides" everything because they're fucking terrified of Republicans being mean to them and calling them "liberal" (the only way to win that game is not to play; Republicans are going to be assholes no matter what unless the news media go full Goebbels; not being 100% pro-GOP is ipso facto "liberal").
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 4:10 PM on October 22 [4 favorites]


soundguy99, maybe "The politics of incredulity" section of this Vox piece from a couple of weeks ago?

For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing. What became clear was that voters had almost no sense of Obama’s opponent. &

Still, it’s continually a struggle. Consider what happened when congressional Republicans tried to respond to 9/11 with a capital gains tax cut (emphasis added): A month later the House narrowly passed a bill that even The Wall Street Journal admitted ‘’mainly padded corporate bottom lines.’’ It was so extreme that when political consultants tried to get reactions from voter focus groups, the voters refused to believe that they were describing the bill accurately. Mr. Bush, according to Ari Fleischer, was "very pleased’’ with the bill.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:12 PM on October 22 [9 favorites]


Maybe? I feel like the piece I'm thinking of was a bit drier & more formal and covered a longer time period; possibly it was one of the NYT articles linked in the vox bit, but in any case that vox article demonstrates what I'm talking about.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:38 PM on October 22


The US has today signed an anti-abortion declaration with a group of about 30 largely illiberal or authoritarian governments, after the failure of an effort to expand the conservative coalition.

The “Geneva Consensus Declaration” calls on states to promote women’s rights and health – but without access to abortion – and is part of a campaign by Trump administration, led by secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to reorient US foreign policy in a more socially conservative direction, even at the expense of alienating traditional western allies.

...

Most of the signatories are among the 20 worst countries to be a woman according to the Women, Peace and Security Index established by Georgetown University.
Amy Coney Barrett's America. But I am sure they mean well and are very fine people.
posted by Lonnrot at 4:55 PM on October 22 [7 favorites]


The list of Geneva Consensus supporters has grown little over the past year, despite a campaign by the Trump administration to find new recruits. [...] A virtual signature ceremony was co-hosted by Pompeo and US health and human services secretary, Alex Azar. They portrayed the declaration as a historic moment in a movement to stop abortion being supported as part of reproductive health care, and credited Donald Trump. I think Pompeo's bias is well-known, while Azar's coronavirus ineptitude has kind of appropriated the spotlight from his anti-abortion zeal. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, Denounces Geneva Consensus Declaration; “LGBT rights and women’s rights will always be human rights.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:00 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


From the article:

The only other European signatory (apart from Belarus and Hungary) is Poland, where the constitutional court approved a near total ban on abortion on Thursday.

This fits with Poland's recent withdrawal from the "Istanbul convention on combating violence against women and domestic violence". I could easily see this becoming another fractious division within Europe. I have the sense that the ties between Christo-fundamentalists and far-right nationalists are becoming closer across Europe. These ties were always more apparent in some parts than others, like Poland but also France. Over the past couple of years it seems to be getting more of a foothold in countries like Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands. An amalgam of murky nazbol/hurt-them-daddy thinking paired with crusader-christianity/US-style evangelism lubricated by Russian money/oil. I never thought I'd witness a resurgence of Christo-fundamentalism *in Europe*, but I should have known it's pretty hard to kill Jesus.
posted by dmh at 7:21 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


soundguy99 Perhaps you were thinking of the famous Shirley/Surely Exception thread from Alexandra Erin? She discusses how Republicans basically don't believe their own policy positions because, well, surely there will be an exception for [you/me/people who really need it/etc]!
posted by sotonohito at 7:49 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


AP:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she'll vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett. She was a rare Republican opponent of confirming a Supreme Court justice before the election but says, "I do not hold it against her." The final vote is expected Monday.
posted by cashman at 12:58 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


They're all monsters.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:44 PM on October 24 [7 favorites]


Murkowski and Collins are cut from the same cloth as McConnell; They believe in nothing except power and reelection.
posted by benzenedream at 5:37 PM on October 24 [4 favorites]


The most "moderate" Republican is way to the right of Joe Manchin.
posted by JackFlash at 5:57 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


To be fair, every Senator and Representative is devoted to power and reelection. And as Murkowski forthrightly stated, she agrees with Barrett's beliefs and wants her on the Court. Where I have no problem singling out her and Collins for special loathing, though, is their hypocrisy and disingenuousness. McConnell, at least, never bothers to pretend.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:38 PM on October 24


Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she'll vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett.

If McConnell revoked her golden ticket, it must mean he isn't super confident of how the vote will go.
posted by Gelatin at 4:22 AM on October 26




To be fair, every Senator and Representative is devoted to power and reelection.

Maybe that's true, but I don't think it's right to expect that or treat it as something you've just got to accept. Sometimes you do get an elected politician committing potential career suicide in order to do the right thing. There should be more of that. (And it's not like most of these people are later hard-pressed to find meaningful, high-status, or well-paying work.)

"A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election”

That's such an amazing statement, on so many levels.
posted by trig at 5:33 AM on October 26 [3 favorites]


"A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election,” the majority leader said on the Senate floor. “They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

Days like this I really wish our Senators respected the Framers' Original Intent about dueling as much as the Framers' other opinions.
posted by mikelieman at 7:09 AM on October 26 [5 favorites]


What is going to happen when, as seems likely, Republicans lose the election(s) but hand themselves the keys to power anyway? I am so worried. Every piece is nearly in place.
posted by Lonnrot at 3:00 PM on October 26




Trump says White House celebration for Barrett confirmation won't be a big one (Politico, three hours ago) President Donald Trump insisted an outdoor celebration for the impending confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday evening would not be a large one, after a coronavirus outbreak swept the president’s inner circle in the days following the Rose Garden announcement of her nomination.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sought to assure reporters earlier Monday that any swearing-in ceremony would include safety precautions. “We’re doing tonight the best we can to encourage as much social distancing as possible,” he said, though he did not make any mention of attendees being required to wear face masks.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:05 PM on October 26


The evil deed is done.
posted by PhineasGage at 5:12 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


The best result for the Republicans is for the Democrats to expand the Supreme Court.

Control of SCOTUS has been driving GOP efforts for over thirty years. Gain control of the House, gerrymander the districts. Gain control of the Senate, throttle Democratic judicial appointments. Gain the Presidency, ram through as many judges as possible as quickly as possible. Keep doing it until you get a solid majority in SCOTUS. They've managed to stay driven and organized even as demographics have tilted away from them, and now they're about to succeed.

What happens next? Well, they're going to lose that enthusiasm. Putting that level of determination into maintaining the status quo isn't nearly the same as the push to the top. Their efforts will fade - they're not going to fight as hard for the House, or the Senate, or the Presidency because they'll think they won. Meanwhile the demographic tilt will continue, and the progressive wing of the Democrats will grow. Faced with a 6-3 conservative bench blocking legislation, Democrats will continue to have a reason to fight, expanding their hold on Congress and the executive against a weakened and contented GOP. SCOTUS will be a source of discontent that will power Democratic GOTV efforts for a generation, until time wears away that 6-3 conservative lean. In the meantime, pass good legislation that improves social and environmental conditions.

Or the Democrats can expand SCOTUS to 15 judges and piss off Republicans enough so they come roaring back in 2022 or 2024, scooping back the Senate and taking the Presidency, possibly tipping the House as well. Satisfied Democrats, thinking they really showed the GOP who's boss, will instead set off a race to 99 judges, a race they'll lose because that's just what Democrats do best - refight the last battle instead of looking ahead to the next one.

Keep SCOTUS at nine, even if it's heavily biased to the right. It won't be that way forever. Stop going for a Hail Mary pass every damn time you have the ball - the one time it succeeds isn't worth the thirty-five times you fail or lose ground. Hold onto it, and grind out real, lasting, long-term results.

When your enemy is down and almost out, don't give them a lifeline.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:30 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


When your enemy is down? They now have control of the Supreme Court. A widening advantage in the Electoral College. A near future where their shrinking minority of the population will be represented by an even bigger majority of the Senate seats. THEY are down? What sweet sweet herb are you smoking? Can I have a hit? (All said with love...)
posted by PhineasGage at 5:58 PM on October 26 [11 favorites]


Keep SCOTUS at nine, even if it's heavily biased to the right. It won't be that way forever.

And in that "not forever" thousands of voters will be disenfranchised due to the rulings of the overwhelmingly right-wing majority on the court (making that "not forever" even longer) and thousands of people will die and/or go bankrupt from losing health insurance, or from being turned away at the US borders due to racist immigration policies supported by the court, and thousands will be forced to carry babies to term thanks to a lack of access to abortions and birth control, and thousands will be shot or sent to prison by racist police and prosecutors.

There is no long game for thousands of Americans. And even with the damage Trump has done to our standing in the world, we are still, like it or not, a superpower - economically, militarily, and politically. So there is no long game for thousands if not millions of people around the world.

There are certainly laws that can and should be passed that can accomplish things without expanding the court. But if the last 12 years have taught us anything it should be that Republicans Will. Not. Act. In. Good. Faith. They will lie. Outright. They will cheat. They will steal. There is NO action Democratic politicians can take that cannot be spun and twisted by Republicans and conservatives to justify their own naked grab for power and dominance.

Leaving the court at 9 just proves to the right wing that they can do all this without consequences. Which just emboldens them to do it again and again and again.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:05 PM on October 26 [14 favorites]


Oh yeah, and of course the existential worldwide crisis of climate change, which this conservative Supreme Court will simply pretend doesn't exist.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:13 PM on October 26 [8 favorites]


A 13 seat SCOTUS lasts until 2024, when the Republicans take back the Senate and POTUS, and expand to 17 just because they can.

And what have you gained in the next 2-4 years with your 13 seat bench? What cases have come before it to be decided that can't be overturned by 2026? What exactly can you put in place that the GOP can't overturn? What depth can you go that they won't go deeper?

Stop fighting the SCOTUS battle you lost, because that GOP victory is built on a foundation laid by Nixon. Sure, you can toss four more judges on the bench. So can the GOP. You're fighting their battle on their terms, and you're going to keep losing.

The real fight is in the vote. Go back to that one, because that's the one you can win. Expand voting rights so everybody votes. Change laws to make sure every vote gets counted. Redraw the maps so every vote counts. It's the single greatest Democratic advantage, the demographic shift that has given the popular vote to the Democrats in five of the last six elections. But instead of making sure all those votes mean something, you're screwing around with the Supreme Court like it's the ultimate power in the universe that will be yours forever.

Whether or not you expand SCOTUS, there is NOTHING stopping the GOP from expanding it when they hold the Presidency and Senate again. So your first goal should be to make that as difficult as possible for them. The fight isn't in the Supreme Court, it's in state legislatures and Congress. That's what the GOP realized under Nixon and the Reagan, and now they're reaping their harvest even with a minority of votes. Keep flailing away at the top, and their roots just grow stronger.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:37 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Expand voting rights. With a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Now you're ingesting the hard stuff.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:41 PM on October 26 [10 favorites]


The real fight is in the vote. Go back to that one, because that's the one you can win. Expand voting rights so everybody votes.

So demographic changes and time is heavily tilted towards the Democrats, but if they touch the court then an unstoppable RAGE!!1! of right wing fury will blow up in their faces? How do you expect voting rights to expand with a team on SCOTUS dedicated to minority rule and willing to make legal every form of state voter suppression?

I hate to tell you but the RAGE!!1! will start on day 0 if Biden is elected even if he passes tax cuts, governs to the right of Mitt Romney, and kisses Clarence Thomas. The next Trump who gains the house and presidency will start looking to expand and pack the court proactively. The only reason they haven't done so already is that they were busy replacing 1/3 of the lower judiciary with Trump goons like Rao.

A lot of people will die from a right wing SCOTUS while we wait for Thomas and Alioto to croak. Smarter people than I have proposals to reform the court then reform voting rights to cement majority rule. Some of them even have proposals for locking the door after a court expansion so it's harder to do twice, but I have no idea how feasible these are.
posted by benzenedream at 6:48 PM on October 26 [12 favorites]


I must disagree, partly because it's important to smack down illegitimate gains and deny the other side the fruits of cheating.

If we win it's time to go all in and take measures to crush the advantages the Republicans have.

Abolish the filibuster entirely. It's never helped us because the Republicans ignore any rules that are inconvenient for them, so all it does is let the Republicans dominate from an even smaller minority position.

Admit Puerto Rico and DC as states, it won't entirely wipe out the Republican dominance in the Senate, but it'll weaken it a great deal.

Pass a law mandating that all government officials, elected or appointed, must retire at 65. We don't need term limits, we just need to get the most elderly to retire so new blood can get into the government.

It's a year ending in 0, so any state with a Democratic majority should gerrymander itself to the absolute maximum extent possible. The Republican Supreme Court ruled that gerrymandering was the dearest dream of the sacred Founders, so let's go for it.

Expand the House to at least 1,000 which will go a long way to wiping out the Republican's advantage in the Electoral College.

Expand the number of federal judges, not only has McConnell been illegitimately packing the non-Supreme federal courts they're overworked and we need more judges.

As for the Supreme Court, I say this with no exaggeration or hyperbole, I think we ought to expand it to 50 or 100. Having the most important Constitutional issues decided by a tiny handful of people, even if we regard some of them like RGB very highly, is a remnant of bad aristocratic thinking. Power is too dangerous to concentrate, we need to spread it out.

Yes, a Supreme Court with 100 Justices would be a radical departure from tradition. We **NEED** a radical departure from tradition. Hell, we could even be civil and let the Republicans pick, say, 35 of those new Justices.
posted by sotonohito at 6:52 PM on October 26 [7 favorites]


Hear, hear... perhaps someone familiar with the UK legal system or other legal systems internationally can comment, but I got the impression while doing some reading a few years ago that there isn't a single court of final appeal, but multiple specialized courts?

I don't know whether, constitutionally, a Supreme Court of the United States with many, many members could subdivide and specialize but it seems like a better system.
posted by XMLicious at 7:16 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Stop fighting the SCOTUS battle you lost

Nope.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:35 PM on October 26 [7 favorites]


The economist had a great solution to this with term limits going forward and every 4 year term includes picking x number of justices. Anything where dems look to get even and one up the republicans won’t solve the long term problem. This whole issue exists because it was ripe for abuse and wasn’t dealt with, maybe things are so bad now that it can be dealt with. Or maybe tribalism wins and things just get worse...
posted by sety at 7:48 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Uh, hello? Have you been paying attention here? The leader of the Republicans, who long ago announced himself to be a nationalist, came out as pro-government-death-squad after refusing to say he would accept a peaceful transfer of power. And none of his partisans even really blinked at any of those things.

Forget “get even”... this was already an existential situation for many disadvantaged people before the weapons-grade insanity started and now it's an existential situation for everyone. We passed “tribalism” long ago... now we are in “fall of the Republic” and “this is how the Holocaust happened, by people looking the other way on this kind of thing, no really this is exactly how it happened” territory.

None of this is going to simply go away if, inshallah, Biden wins—the danger is not Trump himself, it's the tens of millions of people who have been willing to support him, abet his crimes, and be his fellow travellers in the course of this abhorrent saga.
posted by XMLicious at 8:15 PM on October 26 [19 favorites]


Keep SCOTUS at nine, even if it's heavily biased to the right. It won't be that way forever.

It was noted in the extensive coverage of this process that over the last 40 years, there have been 15 SC Justices seated. The Democratic administrations seated 4 of those, with 11 appointed by Republican administrations.

Several Republican Senators expressed support for the idea of keeping the open Scalia seat vacant for the future Hillary Clinton term.

I believe that there are now no open seats in the federal judiciary, after the Republican Senate refused to fill any open seats during the latter half of the Obama/Biden administration.

With this imbalance, why would any Republican ever support any judge or justice nominated by any Democratic administration? The risk/reward ratio heavily favors continuing with this complete obstruction, especially considering Mitch McConnell will remain in the Senate, hopefully in the minority.

And what is stopping Clarence Thomas from retiring in December?

I don't know about expanding the Supreme Court, but this system appears to have been completely gamed by the Republicans. New approaches are needed to address this process failure.
posted by JDC8 at 8:45 PM on October 26 [12 favorites]


It's a year ending in 0, so any state with a Democratic majority should gerrymander itself to the absolute maximum extent possible.

I would rather see a national move away from gerrymandering.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:18 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Counterpoint: Instead of expanding the court, satisfy all the "originalists" and rollback to George Washington's "Original Intent" for the USSC. SIX Justices. BEST CASE, President Biden signs the bill and on Feb 1, the 3 ex-Justices with the least seniority can pack up the offices and go home.
posted by mikelieman at 9:27 PM on October 26 [5 favorites]


Mikelieman, I like your idea, as long as the court can go back to nine justices the day after. Or more than nine: the country is a lot bigger today and needs to consider more cases, whether it grants them a hearing or not.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:34 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


as the court can go back to nine justices the day after.

On the other hand, an even number means that lower court ruling will stand on any ties, which might be to the good.

And I'm taking comfort tonight in the thought that future Associate Justice Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is only 31 now, and if the Senate flips, could be seated as early as next year.
posted by mikelieman at 11:07 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


future Associate Justice

you misspelled 'President'
posted by From Bklyn at 3:05 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


The real fight is in the vote. Go back to that one, because that's the one you can win. Expand voting rights so everybody votes. Change laws to make sure every vote gets counted. Redraw the maps so every vote counts.

And all of these laws will get hobbled, hamstrung, or invalidated by a 6-3 conservative majority court between now and 2024. You're ignoring the Catch 22 inherent in your "plan" - you can't pass laws to limit the power of a conservative court when it's that conservative court that decides if those laws are legitimate. (This is somewhat of a simplification, of course, a Dem Congress isn't utterly helpless and should pass those laws court expansions or not, but it's still a core problem of the situation we're in.)

when the Republicans take back the Senate and POTUS, and expand to 17 just because they can.

Again, we have spent 12 years seeing that they will do shit like this just because they can - culminating in this very confirmation we're discussing right now - whether they have a legitimate-sounding "reason" or not. Failing to take steps to limit minority rule because of fear of retaliation or escalation is a fool's game when your opponent will "retaliate" or escalate simply because they have the power, no excuse necessary. While all is not lost even if we don't expand the courts, getting 2 to 8 years worth of laws legitimized by an expanded and more balanced Federal court system and Supreme Court makes it that much harder for those laws to be overturned later by an expanded conservative court. Even Kavanaugh and Gorsuch have demonstrated some reluctance to openly and blatantly overturn previous rulings - mostly they've nibbled around the edges and nitpicked the details. The norm or tradition that previous Court decisions stand unless overwhelming evidence is presented to the contrary seems to be fairly well baked in to a legal education, and I think there's a good chance that won't change soon. So even a further expanded majority conservative SC is probably not going to engage in sweeping wholesale reversals of laws legitimized by an expanded balanced or even "liberal" court.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:39 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


Look at all the cis het white men with employer provided health insurance who think this is just a political battle--red vs blue--and not a literal battle for our rights, votes, freedom, and lives, as it is for the rest of us. The only proper response right now is rage. You can argue about political strategy another day.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:01 AM on October 27 [14 favorites]


you misspelled 'President'

President is for 8 years. AOC could sit on the USSC for SIXTY YEARS. And that'll trigger the Deplorables. Like I said, I'm taking comfort wherever I can find it these days.
posted by mikelieman at 6:02 AM on October 27


¿por qué no los dos?
posted by bcd at 6:30 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]


Preach, XMLicious. This is seriously US democracy being dismantled by genocidal fascists, literally. It is terrifying and I do not have a lot of hope that the US can avoid the worst scenarios here, but it is crucial to acknowledge the full reality of what is happening as a first step before we can even dream of effective mitigations.
posted by Lonnrot at 9:31 AM on October 27 [9 favorites]


I think any outcome that allows the fruit of the poison tree to remain is a non-starter. These people are all self-evidently participants in a criminal conspiracy against the People of the United States. Arrest and prosecute them.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:52 PM on October 27 [9 favorites]


As an addendum to my “fall of the Republic” comment above I wanted to mention this Lincoln quote—an actual, real fact concerning Abraham Lincoln, rather than vapid soulless Trump self-aggrandizement of false patriotism:
All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.Abraham Lincoln's Lyceum address
What Lincoln got totally wrong is that he thought the threat would come from a tyrant of “talents” and “towering genius”. But he was only 29 at the time he said all that.
posted by XMLicious at 5:05 PM on October 27 [3 favorites]


To be fair, Rupert Murdoch is pretty smart.
posted by flabdablet at 5:25 PM on October 27 [3 favorites]




I really hope Trump and his minions kept easily discoverable lists of "Judges who promised not to prosecute my family".
posted by benzenedream at 7:32 AM on October 28


History News Network: FDR Was Right to Propose Enlarging the Court
FDR was right when he asked for the authority; his mistake was not talking directly about why the expansion was needed... The case to expand the Court today differs somewhat from 1937. Life tenure in FDR’s time resulted in a highly conservative federal bench stubbornly holding on to power. Roosevelt believed older judges from earlier generations were not best equipped to adjust to modern realities. “Little by little,” he wrote, “new facts become blurred through old glasses fitted, as it were, for the needs of another generation; older men, assuming that the scene is the same as it was in the past, cease to explore or inquire into the present or the future.”

Today, expansion arises from what many perceive as the “theft” of a seat--if not two--on the Court. Republicans would not allow President Obama his right to appoint a justice in an election year and now have reversed course to permit President Trump a nominee just weeks before an election.

A Barrett confirmation will result in a 6-3 conservative majority when the nation does not begin to resemble that sort of political alignment. The only real remedy given Republican machinations is to restore balance by adding justices. As FDR pointed out, there is nothing immutable about the size of the Court. He reminded Congress: “The Supreme Court was established with six members in 1789; it was reduced to five in 1801; it was increased to seven in 1807; it was increased to nine in 1837; it was increased to ten in 1863; it was reduced to seven in 1866; it was increased to nine in 1869.”

[...]

Lifetime appointments should not mean that a badly out-of-step group of judges can overrun the will of the people.
posted by XMLicious at 2:31 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


Once again, all the harumphing about "activist" judges was entirely projection, while the Federalist Society was busy in a decades-long quest to become the default judge nominating body for all Republicans.
posted by benzenedream at 4:33 PM on October 28 [3 favorites]


Trump aide Stephen Miller preparing second-term immigration blitz: The hardline adviser is said to be ready to unleash executive orders deemed too extreme for a president seeking re-election

WTF else does he have to do? If Trump doesn't win, he'll what, get appointed to some Heritage Institute or something, where he gets a stipend for sitting around and complaining about Democrats and taxes and immigrants on a private Slack channel.
posted by rhizome at 7:08 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


rhizome: You could even use the term sinecure at this point; if you recall the uproarious laughter among the Mar-a-Lago set when Trump proposed over what was probably a meal of ortolans and fetal roast pig, "Maybe we'll try President-for-Life here some time! Ha ha ha!"–on top of everything else these people are essentially neo-monarchists too, pining for a figurehead who owns lots of shiny things to abase themselves before.

benzenedream: all the harumphing about "activist" judges was entirely projection

And for the icing on the hypocrisy-cake, Kavanaugh's written position in the Wisconsin voting procedures case was basically “They're the Enemies of the People and all, but for God's sake won't someone think of the smoothness of the media narrative after election day!”
On Monday the Supreme Court ruled mail-in ballots in Wisconsin can be counted only if they are received by Election Day. In other states, including Pennsylvania, ballots postmarked by November 3rd can be counted. Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion has alarmed voting rights advocates. Kavanaugh said counting ballots received after Election Day could create “suspicions of impropriety” because they could “potentially flip the results of an election.” One voting rights expert slammed Kavanaugh for adopting a “Trumpian mind-set.”
posted by XMLicious at 8:51 PM on October 28


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