Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an appropriate response would have been to wait a day or two to jump into the political implications. However, that is not the world we live in, as you can’t even enjoy a football game without being assaulted with political messages. Beginning Friday evening, prominent leftists threatened to commence rioting and other forms of public temper tantrum immediately. So, of course, Hillary Clinton had to weigh in.
Not that anyone really wanted to hear from the Empress of Chappaqua. She might have learned that when she and Bill had to put tickets for their joint speaking tour on fire sale. Yet, she still feels the need to weigh in on matters of consequence, especially regarding anything to do with President Trump since his victory in 2016 denied her what she believed was her turn.
Appearing with Rachael Maddow last night, Hillary Clinton called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a hypocrite and had the following advice for Senate Democrats regarding the Supreme Court vacancy:
“The Democrats who are in the Senate will have to use every single possible maneuver that is available to them to make it clear that they are not going to permit Mitch McConnell to enact the greatest travesty, the monumental hypocrisy, that would arise from him attempting to fill this position.”
What maneuvers exactly? Finding an activist to claim a sexual assault three decades ago and bring the confirmation to a halt? Turn it into a circus? How about activating their foot shoulders to beat on the doors of the Supreme Court building again? Or harass Republicans at their homes, offices, and in the hallways and elevators of Congress? We’ve seen that movie, and Americans don’t like it.
As the Senate minority, Democrats have no procedural options thanks to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. There is no filibuster on judicial nominees. Even if there was, it would be hypocritical of them to use what Barack Obama recently called a “Jim Crow relic” to get their way. Especially since Democrats have vowed to nuke the filibuster altogether if they win in November, right before they pack the Court and add a few more states.
It appears Hillary Clinton is giving another nod to chaos. She has already insisted that Joe Biden not concede “under any circumstances.” Democrats and their lawyers have filed lawsuits in several swing states looking to lengthen to the window that their precious mail-in ballots can be counted after Election Day. The latest is in Michigan, where ballots can be received and counted for 14 days if postmarked by November 2nd.
If Donald Trump wins the election, Democrats absolutely intend to litigate it. Their war game scenario says as much. The only way we avoid this outcome and “violence in the streets,” according to the Transition Integrity Project, is a Biden landslide. This rhetoric would be extortion with threats of violence if it were about your lovely storefront. It would be a shame if something happened to it.
So, Hillary Clinton, who helped to set up the chaos scenario telling Biden not to concede, now seems to think sending election lawsuits to a divided 4-4 Supreme Court is an excellent idea. I guess she likes to watch things burn. Or maybe she thinks they have enough leverage with Justice John Roberts to impose their will. Or perhaps Justice Brett Kavanaugh, since the activists who smeared him believe they put an asterisk by his name. In any case, the collision course she is helping to set up is sinister and dangerous.
Dan McLaughlin at National Review put together an extensive history of Supreme Court nominations during election years in August. He looked at nominations and confirmations in the run-up to an election and during the lame-duck period that follows an Election Day loss. In his analysis, he found:
So what does history say about this situation, where a president is in his last year in office, his party controls the Senate, and the branches are not in conflict? Once again, historical practice and tradition provides a clear and definitive answer: In the absence of divided government, election-year nominees get confirmed.
Nineteen times between 1796 and 1968, presidents have sought to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential-election year while their party controlled the Senate. Ten of those nominations came before the election; nine of the ten were successful, the only failure being the bipartisan filibuster of the ethically challenged Abe Fortas as chief justice in 1968.
In short, there is nothing hypocritical about President Trump nominating a replacement and the Senate taking up the confirmation process. In fact, there have been nine times that presidents made a nomination in the lame-duck period after the election. Only one was not confirmed initially but was resubmitted and confirmed later. That happened in 1793.
As Maddow noted in the full interview with Clinton, Justice Ginsburg would have announced her retirement under a Hillary Clinton presidency after the 2016 election. She refused calls to retire before the end of Obama’s second term using that rationale. Maddow called the fact this didn’t happen a “feminist catastrophe,” which is rather hysterical. Perhaps that is some insight into why she clung to the Russia hoax for so long.
In reality, however, Justice Ginsburg was playing some pretty awful odds. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009, Justice Ginsburg is one of the very few to survive its initial deadly emergence. The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer that has not spread to other organs is just 37%. By way of contrast, for breast cancer, it is 99%.
No doubt, Justice Ginsburg beat the odds in 2009, but by 2018, she had cancerous nodules in her lung, which has a five-year survival rate of 6% at that stage. In the summer of 2019, she announced she had cancer in her liver. This diagnosis was her fourth bout with cancer and the fourth organ it was detected in, giving her a 2% five-year survival rate at best.
At 87, her body had taken a real pounding in the last eleven years. In her first bout with pancreatic cancer, she had her spleen removed. This procedure has significant impacts on a person’s immune system, along with other health risks. Some patients take prophylactic antibiotics for the rest of their lives.
Everyone should be offering prayers for Justice Ginsburg’s family. And she is certain to be remembered as a wildly influential figure in American history. We should find the stories of her friendship with Antonin Scalia heartwarming. Those stories help us remember a more reasonable time when people who did not share an ideology could share opera, great food, and keen intellectual debate.
However, the country is standing on the edge of a breaking point. And Justice Ginsburg’s granddaughter, Clara Spera, performed some of the most horrific blackmail against a deeply divided nation. Spera claimed Ginsburg said,
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
First of all, presidents are elected, not installed. Justice Ginsburg played some very steep odds. If she had retired under Obama, she would have had incredible leverage to have a say in who would replace her. Some have speculated that Justice Kennedy did this when he retired.
Justice Ginsburg’s decision to stay on the bench after the latest cancer diagnosis was an act of hubris that has the genuine possibility of throwing the nation into chaos. This decision will be a shame when some distant historians look back on it as a blemish on a genuinely historic life and career.