Less than 24 hours after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the battle lines are being drawn. Bigly.
From a former CNN host’s tweet threatening to “burn the entire f***ing thing down,” to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly telling Democrat colleagues “nothing is off the table” next year if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republicans move to fill Ginsburg’s seat before the election and the Democrats regain control of the Senate, it’s game-on. Again. Make that still.
As reported by Axios and other news outlets, Schumer made the comment during a Saturday morning conference call with Senate Democrats. According to a source who was on the call, Schumer said: “Our number one goal must be to communicate the stakes of this Supreme Court fight to the American people.”
“Let me be clear,” Schumer said. “If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year. Nothing is off the table.”
Within just 12 hours of Ginsburg’s death, the stage had been set for Schumer’s Saturday morning threat.
As reported by Fox News, Mitch McConnell in a Friday night statement said a Trump nominee “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate” — while also making it clear that Ginsburg’s vacant seat in 2020 is not analogous to Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016, despite histrionic Democrat protestations to the contrary.
“The Senate and the nation mourn the sudden passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life. In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term.
“We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”
On Saturday morning, Donald Trump announced via Twitter he will proceed with a nomination “without delay.”
“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!”
.@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2020
So the table is set.
According to Newsmax, the source on the call didn’t say if Schumer elaborated on his “nothing is off the table” comment.
But in the aftermath of Ginsburg’s passing, numerous Democrat lawmakers have done what Democrats always do when they’re not in a position of power, believe they’ve been “cheated,” or are about to have “it” handed to them: demand that the rules of the game be changed.
(See: “Hillary Clinton,” “2016 election,” “Electoral College.”)
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) called for a Democrat-controlled Senate to abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court if McConnell “violates” a rule that does not, as McConnell clearly explained, exist.
Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.
— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) September 19, 2020
Rep. Gerald Nadler (D-NY), whose failed 2019 witch hunt against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh should have sent him into embarrassing obscurity, also called on Saturday for a Democrat-controlled Senate to attempt to pack the Court.
If Sen. McConnell and @SenateGOP were to force through a nominee during the lame duck session—before a new Senate and President can take office—then the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court. 1/2 https://t.co/BDYQ0KVmJe
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) September 19, 2020
Then there’s Joe Biden. Biden on Friday said “Let me be clear” — as if it were possible for Biden to ever be clear about anything.
“Let me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider. This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 [not apples to apples, Joe] when there were almost 10 months to go before the election.
“That’s the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election’s only 46 days off.”
Again, the situation in 2020 is not analogous to the situation in 2016, but what difference does it make? Schumer’s threats aside, it’s not like all hell wasn’t already going to break loose if Trump is re-elected.