Diary

How Kamala Harris will replace Ruth Ginsburg on SCOTUS, after a brief detour as the new Attorney General

Last week, when the reports of Holder’s resignation broke, I heard the esteemed Jay Sekulow on the radio discussing the news. Before proceeding to shred Holder’s record at Justice, he spent a few minutes wondering aloud “why, now?” Sekulow, like myself, thinks there’s a master plan, a grand design behind the timing of the resignation.  I fear he’s correct.

Harry Reid went nuclear last year and changed the rules on Senate confirmations. Obama has since gotten through many appellate court appointments, but if that’s all he got out of it, it wasn’t worth it to the Democrats, especially when there is a Republican in the Oval Office.

No, Obama will make an appointment which Reid will ram through the lame-duck Senate.  It’s in his combative, in-your-face style. Total disdain for the Republicans. He knows they’re going to quash everything he tries to do the next two years, so he’ll want one last chance to stick a thumb in their eyes.

What then can we surmise about this person?

1. The nominee will be black. Obama has all  but signaled as much to both Al Sharpton and the Black caucus.  And given his recent comments on Ferguson, it’s obvious that Obama intends to make “all thing race”  a key component of his last two years in office.

2. The nominee will be ideologically compatible with Obama and Holder..After all, if you’re going to stick it to the Senate, why not get your money’s worth.

However, there has to be a reason for the person to take the  job, as it’s only for two years, and whoever gets it will be spending lots of time testifying on both sides of the Capitol.

The always astute Byron York has a column today:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/ugly-senate-fight-could-await-obamas-attorney-general-nominee/article/2554123

suggesting that the nominee might be Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. I can’t see it. Perez is really, really scary, and then there’s his record….and he would likely lose several Democrat votes. Remember, while Obama isn’t running in 2016, Democrats who have to vote now on his nominees and legislation will be on the ballot in two years.

Speaking of “scary,” I’m loathe to disagree with Chuck Norris, who has a column today:

http://townhall.com/columnists/chucknorris/2014/09/30/supreme-court-justice-eric-holder-n1898217

positing that Obama will name Holder to the Supreme Court. Sorry Chuck, but that’s a no-go. I guess Obama could nominate Holder, but there is no way he gets confirmed.

Well yes, actually.. there is one way. In the upcoming lame duck session, Reid would have to again change the Senate rules to require only a simple majority to call up a SCOTUS nomination.

Now THAT would be nuclear. Obama might want to go for it. Reid would , inveighing all the while against the evil Koch brothers, but those other Senate Democrats who have to run in 2016 wouldn’t go along.

So, where are we?

Well, Justice Ginsburg, who continues to spit in Chief Justice Roberts’ eye, while proving that the Court is indeed highly political; has said she won’t retire because Obama probably won’t be able to get someone who “thinks like her” confirmed by a Republican Senate.

Hey, she’s actually right  about something. Who knew?

But Ginsburg is confronting a dilemma. There’s her age, and unfortunately, her health. She’s playing a game of actuarial roulette; hoping to hang on until past 2016, and then rooting for a Democrat to win the White House, and name her successor.

Both these propositions are looking more and more like sucker bets..

So,what are the Democrat options?

There’s actually one strategy that makes a lot of sense politically, and gives them a decent chance of success.

Her name is Kamala Harris.

Harris is California’s Attorney General, and currently running for re-election to the job. She’s black, very liberal, female, and  MOST  important, YOUNG.

Obama will nominate Harris to replace Holder. It’ll be semi-historic. (sorry, Harriet Miers) Reid will rush it through the lame-duck Senate. The GOP, knowing they can’t stop it, will barely object. Why come out against a young, attractive, black female?

So she sails through the confirmation process, and spends a year on the job. Yes, she’ll face lots of questioning in front of Congressional committees, but Republicans won’t want to be seen as attacking her. Bad optics, you know..

And sometime in late 2015/early 2016, Justice Ginsburg will announce her retirement, pending the approval of her successor.  And Obama will immediately name Harris to replace her.

We’ll be smack dab in the middle of a presidential campaign, with Hillary the front runner for the nomination. And we’re off..the whole “war on women” meme revisited yet again, in time for the presidential election, except now the GOP are “waging war” against a black woman…which will help to bring out the black vote, which is crucial to a Democrat victory.

Would the Senate Republicans have the collective cojones to reject Harris’s nomination? I don’t think so.

Let’s say they pick up ten seats this November.

You can’t predict the Judiciary committee vote without knowing the members, but I expect one or more Republicans would vote for her.

You know McConnell will call up the nomination..no way he sits on it.

The Democrats would win a floor vote to confirm her. It’s easy to find the six Republicans who would vote  for her: Collins, Murkowski, McCain, Graham right off the bat..and remember, there are a total of 24 GOP senators up in 2016…do they want to run the risk of voting against an attractive, young, black, female?

I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.

So, then, plan B. Would some in the GOP dare attempt to filibuster the nomination?  They could come up with the 40 votes, but think how that would play out in the context of the 2016 presidential election.

The Democrats need to motivate their two key component groups: women and blacks. A GOP filibuster of Kamala Harris would be every Democrat’s ultimate wet dream.

Nope, all things point to  Kamala Harris being confirmed as Eric Holder’s replacement by a lame duck Senate, and then in late 2015/early 2016, nominated to the  Supreme Court to replace Ruth Ginsburg.

Harris’ greatest attribute on the Court, for Democrats is her youth. She’s 50..she would be a solid progressive vote for 25+ years.

I think it’s a better than even chance she’d be confirmed. Mitch McConnell doesn’t want to go anywhere near this.

One more point to consider. It’s a big step, for Harris, and potentially a risky one. She might not make it to the Court. Anything’s always possible.

But she has a fall-back slot, a golden parachute. Barbara Boxer is up in 2016, and there’s been speculation she won’t run again. So there’s the deal..it’s perfect. If Harris doesn’t get confirmed to SCOTUS, she’s handed the nomination for the Senate.

The Democrats are playing chess, thinking several moves ahead. I can’t even say that the Republicans are playing checkers…because I’m not sure if McConnell wants to get in the game.