An Absolutely Brilliant Plan for the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Nominee Hearings
There is no realistic way to block Barrett’s joining the Court. It would likely be a waste of time that would only make the Democrats look contentious But what can be done is to put Trump on trial.
Approaching the SCOTUS hearings for naming Barrett as a justice in the following manner makes a lot of sense to me.(The following is attributed to Bill Svelmoe, associate professor of history at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame. And an author, etc.)
“A few thoughts on Amy Coney Barrett, our new Supreme Court justice.
As noted above, she’s a done deal. So Democrats should not waste time trying to besmirch her character, focusing on her religion, trying to box her into a corner on how she will vote on hypothetical cases.
The People of Praise is not a cult. I’ve had half a dozen of their kids in my classes, including some men who heard about me from their female friends. Almost without fail, these have been among the best students I’ve ever had. Extremely bright. Careful critical thinkers. Wonderful writers. I loved having them in class. So don’t go after the People of Praise.
By all accounts Barrett walks on water. I’ve had that in a roundabout way from people I know at Notre Dame, including from folks as liberal as me, who actually look forward to seeing her on the court. I have no first hand knowledge of her, but take the above for what you will.
So Democrats should not take a typical approach with her.
Stay focused on the election. If the election were tomorrow, Biden wins comfortably, and the Democrats likely take the Senate as well. The latest polls were taken after RBG’s death. No gain for Trump. In fact the majority of Americans think the Supreme Court seat should not be filled until after the election. Watching Republicans ram Barrett through helps Democrats. So don’t mess with her. Let Republicans do what they’re going to do. As a great man once said, It is what it is.
If the Democrats take the presidency and the Senate, none of this matters much. A Democratic administration will not let a conservative court mess with Democratic priorities. Lots of avenues, including adding justices, passing a law that no act of Congress can be overturned by the Court except by a seven vote majority, etc. So keep the focus where it matters. On November 3.
So how should Democrats approach these hearings?
Democrats should not focus on Barrett’s views on any future cases. She’ll just dodge those questions anyway. They’re hypothetical. She should dodge them. Don’t even mention her religion.
Instead Democrats should focus on the past four years of the Trump administration. This has been the most corrupt administration in American history. No need for hypotheticals. The questions are all right there.
Judge Barrett, would you please explain the emoluments clause in the Constitution. [She does.] Judge Barrett, if a president were to refuse to divest himself of his properties and, in fact, continue to steer millions of dollars of tax payer money to his properties, would this violate the emoluments clause?
Then simply go down the list of specific cases in which Trump and his family of grifters have used the presidency to enrich themselves. Ask her repeatedly if this violates the emoluments clause. Include of course using the American ambassador to Britain to try to get the British Open golf tournament at a Trump property. Judge Barrett, does this violate the emoluments clause?
Then turn to the Hatch Act.
Judge Barrett, would you please explain the Hatch Act to the American people. [She does.] Judge Barrett, did Kellyanne Conway violate the Hatch Act on these 60 occasions? [List them. Then after Barrett’s response, and just fyi, the Office of the Special Council already convicted her, ask Barrett this.] When Kellyanne Conway, one of the president’s top advisors openly mocked the Hatch Act after violating it over 60 times, should she have been removed from office?
Then turn to all the other violations of the Hatch Act during the Republican Convention. Get Barrett’s opinion on those.Then turn to Congressional Oversight.
Judge Barrett, would you please explain to the American people the duties of Congress, according to the Constitution, to oversee the executive branch. [She does so.] Judge Barrett, when the Trump administration refuses time and again [list them] to respond to a subpoena from Congress, is this an obstruction of the constitutional duty of Congress for oversight? Is this an obstruction of justice?
Then turn to Trump’s impeachment.
Read the transcript of Trump’s phone call. Judge Barrett, would you describe this as a “perfect phone call”? Is there anything about this call that troubles you, as a judge, or as an American?Judge Barrett, would you please define for the American people the technical definition of collusion. [She does.] Then go through all of the contacts between the Trump administration and Russians during the election and get her opinion on whether these amount to collusion. Doesn’t matter how she answers. It gets Trump’s perfidy back in front of Americans right before the election.
Such questions could go on for days. Get her opinion on the evidence for election fraud. Go through all the Trump “laws” that have been thrown out by the courts. Ask her about the separation of children from their parents at the border. And on and on and on through the worst and most corrupt administration in our history. Don’t forget to ask her opinion on the evidence presented by the 26 Trump accusers. Judge Barrett, do you think this is enough evidence of sexual assault to bring the perpetrator before a court of law? Do you think a sitting president should be able to postpone such cases until after his term? Judge Barrett, let’s listen again, shall we, to Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape. I don’t have a question. I just want to hear it again. Or maybe, as a woman, how do you feel listening to this recording? Let’s listen to it again, shall we. Take your time.
Taking this approach does a number of things.
1. Even if Barrett bobs and weaves and dodges all of this, it reminds Americans right before the election of just how awful this administration has been.
2. None of these questions are hypothetical. They are all real documented incidents. The vast majority are pretty obvious examples of breaking one law or the other. If Barrett refuses to answer honestly, she demonstrates that she is willing to simply be another Trump toady. Any claims to high moral Christian character are shown to be as empty as the claims made by the 80% of white evangelicals who continue to support Trump.
3. If she answers honestly, as I rather suspect she would, then Americans get to watch Trump and his lawless administration convicted by Trump’s own chosen justice.
Any of these outcomes would go much further toward delegitimizing the entire Republican project than if Democrats go down the typical road of asking hypothetical questions or trying to undermine her character.
Use her supposed good character and keen legal mind against the administration that has nominated her. Let her either convict Trump or embarrass herself by trying to weasel out of convicting Trump. Either way, it’ll be great television.
“Thanks for the post Christina Oliver