How Hard Will Dems, Finally, Fight?

Mike Allen, Axios:

Furious Democrats are considering total war — profound changes to two branches of government, and even adding stars to the flag — if Republicans jam through a Supreme Court nominee then lose control of the Senate.

On the table: Adding Supreme Court justices … eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to end filibusters … and statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. “If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021,” Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) tweeted.

Of course, Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) won’t be in the House next year, since he lost the gamble of challenging Ed Markey for his Senate seat. But I don’t believe there is any chance the Democrats won’t keep the majority in the House.

In response to Mike Allen, Josh Marshall grumbled,

Set aside the absurd reference to “even adding stars to the flag” – adding new states is a prescribed and orderly process under the constitution. (If anything keeping geographical communities perpetually stateless runs against the assumptions of the constitution.) The most flagrant GOP lawlessness and rules breaking is **expected**. Democrats even suggesting responding something like in kind is “total war.”

So much commentary could be profitably assigned to this basic difference in perception and description. But it shapes the entire dialogue about American politics.

Certainly, Nancy Pelosi is talking tough.

“We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country. This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election,” Pelosi told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. “Our main goal would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the people from the coronavirus.”

As I wrote yesterday, Republicans are holding most of the cards right now. It’s very unlikely that they won’t be able to confirm some right-wing wackjob to the court before the inauguration, if not before the election. However, an acrimonious fight over a nominee who is revealed to be an extremist — and we can count on the nominee being an extremist — could help Democrats take the Senate, I believe. It could tip the balance against some Republican incumbents in purple states And even the infamously squishy Ruth Marcus is reconciled to court packing.

Under ordinary circumstances I would consider such court-packing unwise. Under the circumstances of two stolen seats, I would be hard-pressed to argue against it, and against the court-expanding arms race that would unleash.

There might not be an arms race if Dems institute some voting rights reforms and make political gerrymandering illegal. Republicans would be hard-pressed to take back any part of Congress until the party undergoes some significant reforms. Like stop being nuts.

I am hoping the Trump-McConnell-Bill Barr etc. administration has finally lit a fuse under the Democrats so that they stop bringing knives to gunfights, so to speak. The current Republican Party has to be crushed if the nation is to regain anything resembling constitutional, republican government, never mind democracy, and respect among other nations.

See also Kara Voght at Mother Jones, Democrats Really Might Try to Pack the Courts.


12 thoughts on “How Hard Will Dems, Finally, Fight?

  1. Statehood for Puerto Rico? Has a majority of the people there ever been in favor of joining the Union? Bad move by Dems if that is not the case. 

    • They're already citizens of the US and their island is affected by decisions made be the federal government that they currently have no voice in.  Why wouldn't they want a greater voice in those decisions that statehood would give them?

    • Puerto Rican political leaders have been asking for a clear path to statehood since the 1960's.  In 2012 Puerto Rico held a plebiscite (a nonbinding referendum) and a majority voted in favor of becoming a state.

  2. Definitely there's local support for DC statehood.

    FDR packed the courts. This whole decade has a 1930s-40s feel. Uh, oh.

    Here's a modest proposal: that Trump nominate, and the Senate rush through, Merrick Garland. That's if the R's want to defuse this; a big if.

    Or how about this scenario: Trump and Senate hold off on nominations, they lose the election, and _then_ rush someone through. I suppose that would guarantee court-packing.

    • FDR did not "pack the courts" – he threatened to do so and the SCOTUS backed down and curbed their anti-FDR stance to protect their status.

  3. These are the five things the democrats MUST do if after the election, and this latest GOP conflagration increases the chance that they will, end up with control of all three branches of government after the election:

    • Kill the filibuster
    • Pack the SC with at least 2 to 3 new judges
    • Reinstate the voting rights act at full strength
    • Make gerrymandering illegal
    • Investigate every Trumper to identify evidence and witnesses willing to testify to laws they broke, starting with Barr and including his crooked family.

    "Looking forward, not back" is no longer a luxury the republicans should be allowed to expect.  And every interaction with republicans in congress, no matter how informal, must be treated with cynicism and the distrust they've earned.  Their word is trash.

  4. Find something particularly egregious out of the cornucopia of crimes that tRUMP can be impeached for and start the process.

    Or, impeach AG Bill (Dis)Barr.

    If not those things, then find something, ANYTHING, to keep Moscow Mitch and his band of RepubliKKKKLAN terrorists occupied until mid-January!

  5. Picked this up from Bandy Lee's twitter feed (someone else's comment):

    Jewish tradition is that someone who dies on Rosh Hashana is a Tzadik. Someone who is just, righteous and charitable. RGB died on Rosh Hashana and is certainly a Tzadik.

  6. Lee wrote:

    The utter desire to deprive a lifelong public servant’s dying wish—what is that but the sign of a dead soul?

    Just as poisons in the drinking water produce a sick and dying population, toxic ideas in the airwaves have generated vast mental sickness and deadness of the soul.

    I remember how sick I felt when Bush/Cheney upped the volume of lies. Those were the good old days.

    Finally someone acknowledges the effects on the soul.

  7. I'm not seeing a response from Mitt Romney on whether or not to move forward on the nomination. The Senate was going on recess from Oct 12 to after the election. This was the plan during a pandemic with pandemic relief hanging. 

    If they held to that schedule, they'd have to do the process of vetting in two weeks (if Trump makes a decision by the end of this week.) If they wait until after the election to hold the vote (which looks likely to me), then if Trump has lost and the Senate has lost their majority, it's clearly packing the court against the popular will. 

    That would make the argument for expanding the size of the court a light lift. Instead of gaining a seat, conservatives would lose one BUT, if they ram their person thru it's a 6-3 court. If we pack, it becomes a 6-5 and we are in the minority until… Roberts is 65. Thomas is 73. Breyer is 82. Alito is 70. Gorsuch is 53. Kavanaugh is 51.

    You don't have to be Carnac the Great to see the future here. The  score today is 5-3.

    If they push thru a conservative, the score is  6-3.  If they can't/don't, then the score is  5-4 (We are one vote behind.) If they push thru a conservative, and we pack the court, the score is 6-5. (We are down one.)  The only way we go UP by one, is if they can't/don't run thru their person AND we pack the court. Score 5-6. We are ahead.

    Breyer will go, probably in Biden's term. Thomas could last a decade. So we can wait for Breyer, unless the score is 6-3. If they jam a Trump judge through and we don't pack, they own the USSC for a decade. 

    One other wildcard is the AZ Senate race. It's a special election and McSally is down to Kelly. Kelly would be sworn in as soon as the results are certified, I think. This is not a slam-dunk. I think we could be up by one in a couple of years, and up by 2 in a decade. And hold the majority in the USSC for decades after I'm worm food.

  8. Not that it matters much, but here's the way I see it. The tRump will not nominate anyone until after the election, because, as a con artist, he knows that it's better to publish a list of possible nominees. That way he can get votes in the Nov. election from all the R's who want any one of the people on the list.  (Why narrow down the number of votes you can get by "dangling"?) 
    Then, after the election, no matter who wins, the lame duck Senate will immediately approve RBG's replacement, to help with litigation that works its way up to SCOTUS during the lame duck period.
    Third: The R's are NEVER going to have their bought-and-paid-for justices reverse Roe v Wade.  The reason: the POSSIBILITY of reversing RvW is a gargantuan vote-getter.  Why would they ever get rid of that? They're not stupid.  The only way they get votes is by foaming at the mouth over culture war issues. They need the bogey-men.  Roe v. Wade is the main bogey-man they use.
    I'm more worried about Citizens United and all the other SCOTUS level law that puts corporations in charge of our government.  So, bottom line: the R's are going to fill that vacancy with a corporate-friendly judge no matter what. They know who butters their bread.

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