Diary

The Washington Post's full-court press against President Trump's still-unnamed Supreme Court nominee

=========
=========
Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
=========
=========

Let’s be honest here: if President Trump nominated Jesus Christ to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and the nominee then walked across the reflecting pool to His confirmation hearings, the Democrats would still be appalled, mostly vote against His confirmation, and claim that He sexually harassed Mary Magdalene when she anointed his feet with nard and dried them with her hair. At the very least, they’d complain, as Judas Iscariot did, that the expensive perfume should have been sold instead, and the proceeds given to the poor.

E J Dionne is one of the liberal OpEd columnists for the Post, and he has two articles fretting about the fact that President Trump gets to nominate Justice Kennedy’s replacement:

Don’t want a right-wing Supreme Court? Do everything you can to stop it.

By E.J. Dionne Jr. | June 27, 2018

Our constitutional system of “checks and balances” works only if those in a position to operate the levers of checking and balancing do their job. It is clear that a Republican Congress and Republican appointees to the Supreme Court have no taste for such work. For the moment, President Trump is mostly unchecked and unbalanced.

It is equally clear — not only on Trump’s travel ban but also on issues related to voting rights, labor rights and gerrymandering — that the Republican Five on the nation’s highest court have operated as agents of their party’s interests.

And now things stand to get even worse because of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s retirement. He was, at least on some occasions, a moderating force. His replacement by another conservative hard-liner in the mold of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch would give right-wing interpretations of the law free rein.

I can’t say that I’m sure what Mr Dionne is complaining about, since Justice Kennedy was in the majority in the several recent decisions which came down on the conservative side politically.

But perhaps more telling was another column by Mr Dionne, This is the fight of our lives. Here’s how we win it. Mr Dionne purports to be a Roman Catholic, is a columnist for Commonweal, a magazine by lay Catholics with a liberal orientation, and said, in 2012, that no, he wasn’t leaving the Church. Yet the referenced column by Mr Dionne in the Post is all about protecting the legality of abortion, a very unCatholic thing to do.

Of course, Mr Dionne is hardly the only Post columnist being given the vapors by the upcoming nomination. Jennifer Rubin, another purported conservative, who has changed many of the positions she previously advocated simply because President Trump favors them, has written article after article after article on the upcoming nomination, and they are all focused on abortion. Ruth Marcus told her readers that short-list candidate Amy Coney Barrett is The Trump Supreme Court pick who’d pose the biggest danger to abortion rights.

It isn’t just the Post’s stable of OpEd columnists; the Editorial Board has made their views heard:

The centrists can steer the Supreme Court

By the Editorial Board | July 2, 2018

The future of abortion, voting rights and LGBT protections in the United States are just a few of the dozens of issues that depend on the selection of one person, which will in turn depend on the votes of a handful of centrist senators. In vetting the next Supreme Court justice, those powerful centrists will want to avoid further politicizing the judiciary by opposing an accomplished nominee. Yet they should also seek to prevent a rightward lurch on the court that would usher in a new era of conservative judicial activism. Now is the time for them to apply their leverage.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the crucial votes, began to do so over the past week, consulting with President Trump and saying Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she “would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade.” That takes a few potential nominees off the table. Ms. Collins also urged the president to expand his list of possible picks beyond the one that conservative activist groups handed him during his 2016 campaign. That means considering more independent-minded people.

Ms. Collins voted to confirm Neil M. Gorsuch, Mr. Trump’s first pick for the high court. She will have to be more exacting as she considers a replacement for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy than she was in judging the replacement for arch-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

As for the centrist Democratic senators, they are under intense pressure to oppose anyone Mr. Trump puts up. Democrats are understandably angry after Republicans refused to consider Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s eminently reasonable pick to replace Scalia. GOP hypocrisy — refusing to consider an Obama nominee in an election year, only to push through a Trump pick in an election year — is disgusting. Republicans did more to politicize the judiciary in one move than anything they or the Democrats did leading up to it.

Again, let’s be honest here: while the editors sort of excused Senator Collins for voting to confirm Justice Gorsuch, since he was “judging the replacement for arch-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia,” conservative-for-conservative, as it were, they thought nothing at all wrong about President Obama trying to steer the Supreme Court to the left by using the untimely passing of Justice Scalia to place a left-of-center judge on the Court.

Senators do not have to ignore recent history. Rather, they should judge the individual whom Mr. Trump chooses with more stringent standards than would have been previously warranted. In the past, any well-qualified pick would have deserved support. But filling the Kennedy vacancy could flip the court from conservative to extremely conservative overnight, a result that would have been impossible except for the Republicans’ dirty play on Mr. Garland.

So, President Obama’s nomination of Judge Garland to fill a seat previously held by a conservative was just fine, thank you very much, but President Trump potentially filling the seat of a retiring Justice who was mostly, though not reliably, conservative with a more straight-line conservative, that’s just wrong, and the centrists must resist this.

Had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) ploy backfired, by giving the nomination for the ‘Scalia’ seat to Hillary Clinton, who would then have nominated a wild-eyed flaming liberal — Justice Kamala Harris, anyone? — the editors of the Post would not have complained in the slightest.

Make no mistake about it: the Post is simply one of the credentialed media sources, but you can count on all of them to oppose anyone Mr Trump nominates. Anyone who ever dated, or even smiled, at a woman other than his wife, ever, even when he was a wet-behind-the-ears sophomore, will be accused of sexual harassment, every club he ever joined will become the equivalent of the Hitler Youth, and every parking ticket he ever received will become an unforgivable felony.

There will be no fair treatment of Mr Trump’s nominee, by any of the professional media. Fox will lead the cheers for him, while the rest of the media will tell us that the nominee is the second coming of Robert Bork . . . and hope, and pray, that he can be well and truly borked.
_________________________
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.