Since Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday, the propriety of the Senate confirming a replacement justice before the 2020 election has dominated the news. Nearly every take that could be made has been, from both the left and the right.
It is hard to care about propriety, however, when two years ago Democrats served as accomplices to Christine Blasey Ford, who offered false testimony, under oath, to the U.S. Senate in an attempt to thwart the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. In the words of her whom they hoped would nominate the next several Supreme Court justices: “What difference at this point does it make?”
What difference does it make what Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell said in 2016 about voting on the nomination of President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland? What difference does it make that at the time the White House and Senate were controlled by different parties, and now they are not? What difference does it make that Sen. Chuck Schumer has threatened that, if Republicans confirm a justice then Democrats regain the Senate, Democrats will expand the size of the court and stack it with leftist justices?
What difference at this point do any of these lawful exercises of raw political power have on our constitutional republic? None.
The brute exercise of political power has consequences and counters, but Democrats’ decision in 2018 to collude instead with the criminally minded—and the media’s willingness to play along—has rendered the discussion of today’s political power plays meaningless.
In 2013, Harry Reid, then Senate majority leader, dropped the “nuclear option,” removing “a long-standing Senate rule, dropping the number of votes needed to overcome a filibuster from 60 to a simple majority for executive appointments and most judicial nominations.”
While Reid left the 60-vote supermajority requirement in place for Supreme Court justices, when Republicans gained control, McConnell, who had warned Reid that he would regret the decision, “used the precedent of Reid’s decision to lower the vote threshold for the confirmations of Justice Neil Gorsuch” in 2017.
Wise or not, both exercises of raw political power were legitimate and legal. So too, will be Trump’s decision to nominate, and Republicans’ decision to confirm before the election, a replacement for Ginsburg. Even stacking the courts, should Democrats retake the White House and the Senate, would remain proper, legal, and subject to legitimate consequences and counters.
But the left entered an abyss in 2018 when they legitimized Ford’s fraud on the U.S. Senate.
Yes, there were electoral consequences, with every “incumbent Senate Democrat in battleground states who opposed the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination” losing his or her re-election bid. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Bill Nelson of Florida were all replaced by their Republican opponents, while Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia saved his seat by backing Kavanaugh. That fall-out handed Republicans the votes they now need to push through a new nominee to the Supreme Court before Nov. 3, 2020.
A female nominee, that is. With Ford providing a template, the left now knows it can scuttle any conservative male Supreme Court nominee by finding two witnesses to swear to decades-old claims of sexual misconduct. Here Americans should realize that Ford, her backers, and complicit Democrats failed only because Ford’s lifelong friend, Leland Keyser, refused to join in the fraud. The next “victim” will surely pre-screen her purported “witnesses.”
While male nominees present an easier target for this play, the precedent Democrats established with Ford has no limits. Once the left departed the realms of politics, power, and the law, and welcomed — or at a minimum condoned — fraudulent claims of misconduct, there became no limiting principle.
Lies of extramarital relations, racism, or academic dishonesty will suffice as easily as false claims of sexual assault. And two “witnesses” to the misconduct will be enough to render a nominee unconfirmable.
Given this reality, our country has nothing to fear from any of the ongoing political wrangling, or even the threats of the most odious form of payback via court-packing. The worst was already done when Democrats sacrificed truth to ideology.