Some conservatives weren’t thrilled in the Reagan-era, but not in the overwrought way on display today.
The gist: Republicans don’t seem to have any satisfying path forward for carrying out their typical obstruction of a Democratic president’s SCOTUS nominee. So they’re tossing their outrage into a tired bucket: Whoever President Biden chooses as his pick to replace retiring-Justice Stephen Breyer will be a Radical Left Activist! The only discernible reason for this assumption is weird and racist: Biden today reaffirmed his campaign vow to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court during his presidency, if the opportunity arose. It has.
And in a 50-50 Senate, Republicans are aware there’s not much they can do to Merrick Garland their way out of handing Biden a Supreme Court appointment win — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) admitted as much mere hours after Breyer’s retirement news broke yesterday. And so, instead, they’re getting a head start on the party’s 2022 messaging, vowing that Democrats will PAY in the Midterms … for doing exactly what Trump did three times during his presidency (i.e., part of his job).
The most important thing about the federal judiciary today is that it has been thoroughly corrupted by the judicial right. But there are other important things. And one of them is the capture of the federal judiciary by the elite legal academy. There was a time in our history when it was expected and frequent for elected politicians to be placed on the Supreme Court. Indeed, some of the best and most influential justices came out of the political world.
I confess I’m as much entertained as surprised that Madison Cawthorn’s lawyer is taking this tack to defend his standing to serve in the House of Representatives. James Bopp Jr., a storied right-wing power lawyer, argues that Congress already issued a blanket amnesty to all insurrectionists back in 1872. So Madison is good to go in terms of serving in Congress. Bopp is granting — at least for the sake of argument — that Cawthorn did commit insurrection. It amounts to saying: ‘Congress already absolved young Mr. Cawthorn back during the Grant administration for any insurrections he might do. So whether he committed a rebellion against the United States last January is moot.’
He should’ve known.
As we know, Virginia’s new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is working furiously to make good on his campaign promise to essentially make combatting Republican grievances, real and imagined, the top priority of the Virginia state government. We wrote recently about his reversal of the state’s universal masking policy for schools. He also moved to ban the teaching of “inherently divisive concepts” (read: “Critical Race Theory”) in public schools on Day One.
During an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks earlier this week, Youngkin announced a new tip line his administration had set up, asking parents to notify the state government with reports of public teachers “behaving objectionably,” aka talking about race and systemic racism in the classroom, concepts that the GOP continues to squeeze beneath the ill-suited label “Critical Race Theory” — an academic framework that’s ruffled the right into hysterics in recent months.
“I know we all have fatigue, but we have to get through this and right now in Butler County, it’s off the hook. My attitude has changed immensely. I’ve had three employees in the sheriff’s office in the last few months die of COVID.” – Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff Richard Jones.
Multiple news organizations report that Justice Breyer plans to retire at the end of this term.
It’s important to note that this is good news. Or at least, as is often the case these days, it forestalls worse news, which in this case would be Breyer leaving the bench with the Senate in Republicans hands. It is a given today that a Republican senate would simply refuse to seat any Supreme Court nominee from a Democratic President. This sets up a high stakes nomination process which is likely to come down to how much game-playing we can expect from Senators Manchin and Sinema.
ACCORDING TO AXIOS, THE Emir of Qatar will meet with President Biden Monday at the White House in part to discuss contingency plans to supply natural gas to Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia provides 40% of Europe’s natural gas needs. In addition to whatever possible interruption of supply might be caused by actual hostilities, gas supplies are a key lever Russia could use in any tit for tat of sanctions or economic hostilities that could follow a land invasion. The global economy is already struggling with pandemic driven supply chain woes and inflation which is driven in significant part by high energy prices. A cut off of fuel supply to Europe or more likely just a major price shock could wreak havoc on the global economy when it is already highly strained and vulnerable. Qatar is one of the world’s top producers of natural gas. So it’s uniquely positioned to ramp up supply to ward off or cushion any supply shocks.
But some Republicans are already using the Biden administration’s new, common sense decision to pour gasoline on their baseless federal overreach fights.
The Food and Drug Administration removed two monoclonal antibody therapies from its list of approved treatments for COVID-19 this week, at least temporarily. Citing clinical data, the FDA said in a statement that it has found two of the treatments “are highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant, which is circulating at a very high frequency throughout the United States.” HHS sent out a letter to state officials this week, alerting them that the federal government would stop handing out the treatments made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly to states for now, according to the Washington Post which obtained a copy of the letter.
Matt Shuham’s article on the chaos unfolding in Texas right now is worth a read from beginning to end.
In short, in the wake of the state’s new voter restriction law, voters are confused and election administrators are overwhelmed. March primaries are approaching, and the Texas secretary of state’s office seems to be providing little in way of guidance.
For example: Houston’s elections administrators only learned of a key state database for voter information after an Austin official held a press conference to speak out in frustration. Another example: the secretary of state’s online instructions for absentee voters remained out of date until shortly after TPM contacted the office, asking about them.
I don’t want to get myself tagged as the guy who thinks Trump’s done. Far from it. I’m just pointing out what may be some fissures in the edifice. There’s one dimension I wanted to add. Everything Trump talks about now is in the past and about him: The Big Lie, Russia, Tony Fauci. When was the last time you heard him talk about the wall or crime or whatever other rightist nationalist applause lines? There are some. But not much. In a way this started in the earliest days of his Presidency when he became obsessed with how his 2016 victory wasn’t sufficiently appreciated, how the Russia probe was trying to steal it from him, etc.
In recent election cycles, a new power dynamic has driven Democrats to victory and captured the attention of those who track voting patterns: the “blueing” of the suburbs.
When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed the state’s big new election bill, SB 1, into law in September — part of a Trumpian wave of new election restrictions across the country — the governor said the bill would help rebuild “trust” in the state’s elections.
The same people who organized Trump’s fateful rally on the Ellipse had something else in store on Jan. 6: a separate, previously unreported rally planned in front of the Supreme Court.