Here’s Why Joe Biden Could Win a Supreme Court Fight

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden knows better than anyone that nothing is certain when Senate consider a Supreme Court pick. That should give him an advantage right now.

As a senator, he helped knock out Robert Bork’s nomination in 1987. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, he presided over controversial hearings that ensured his candidacy. Clarence Thomas’s confirmation amid sexual harassment allegations. He watched Republican colleagues force their President, George W. Bush, to withdraw Harriet Miers from review in 2005.

And as vice president, he became the then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. – using Biden’s own past to justify – refuses to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.

In other words, Biden had more than one seat in the front row for the evolution of the confirmation process from one “Advice and Consent” model for a modern blood sport created for viral video clips and Fake content “Saturday Night Live”. He was in the middle of the playing field for all.

At the same time, amid news that Justice Stephen Breyer plans to retire later this year, Biden is currently sitting in one spot – the Oval Office – where the stakes in the nomination battle are highest. His choice is likely to be among the most consequential of his presidency, as it tells voters about his qualifications and understanding of the legacy he hopes for. Hope will build upon the appointment of the first black woman, free, to the court.

Biden finds himself mired in low approval ratings and faces a brutal list of crises, from Covid-19 to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Some Democrats believe a Supreme Court fight could help him regain traction, at least among Democrats and prominent independents. was bleeding from him.

“The stakes are very high,” said Ben LaBolt, a former Obama aide. “President Biden achieved this by bringing innumerable nominees through the Judiciary Committee as chair, needing to demonstrate that items of great value can still make it through Congress, in when it comes to making sure that the Democratic establishment gets excited and mobilized for the midterms and independents see what’s on the line.”

LaBolt added: “The Supreme Court nomination battles have a way of dealing with other political issues at least for a while, and this is an opportunity to invigorate and re-establish sentiment.” .

There are plenty of reasons to think that Biden faces a particularly tough challenge of confirming a candidate before the 2023 session of the Senate begins, when there is likely to be a Republican majority in the Senate. place. He has struggled to get two senators in his party – Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. — to support the main pillars of his domestic agenda, and he will likely need all 50 of his party’s votes to win a confirmation war.

But there is also justification for the optimism some Democrats expressed on Wednesday. That is very rare for any senator to vote against a chairperson of his or her party of the Supreme Court’s choice. In recent years, Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has voted “present” on Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 nomination – enough to sound displeasure but not threaten his endorsement – and then Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., defeated Obama by voting “no” for Elena Kagan in 2010.


But for the most part, senators showed strong propensity to support their party’s president. That’s true when most nominations are secured with a bipartisan majority, and that’s still true today, at a time when the confirmation process is one of the most visible examples of Congress being locked in. in a polarized and bitter partisan regime.

“This is a situation where every Democratic senator must know that the impact will be,” said former Senator Russell Feingold, D-Wis., president of the American Constitutional Association, a liberal group of lawyers. felt for decades. try to help confirm Biden’s pick win. He added that he was “hopeful and optimistic” that the Senate would return to the standards of generations before it considered Biden’s eventual nominee.

But Republicans say Democrats have unfairly treated their most recent nominees, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., has vowed major punishment. corpse.

“If this is the new standard, you better keep an eye on the nominees,” he told reporters during Kavanaugh’s hearing.

Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist who helped guide Neil Gorsuch to a successful Supreme Court confirmation vote in 2017, said the Senate has not become more civilian since there.

“The validation process has become a political campaign where either party is trying to identify the nominee,” he said. “Given the toxic environment we currently live in, it’s hard to see how this would be a peaceful process.”

Amid the cheers, only one thing really matters: whether Biden gets the vote. Manchin, by far the most conservative member of his caucus, voted for two of then-President Donald Trump’s three nominations of justice. But he voted with all Democrats in the Senate against Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.

At the time, he said he opposed the process, arguing that Republicans had “chosen a dangerous, partisan path” by holding a vote just over a week before the general election. system in 2020.

That suggests Biden will have to choose a nominee worthy of Manchin’s approval of substance and shape a process that pleases the West Virginian.

But if there’s anyone in the Democratic Party who has the motive – and the acumen – to warrant Supreme Court confirmation, it’s Biden. Here’s Why Joe Biden Could Win a Supreme Court Fight

Jake Nichol

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