The Volokh Conspiracy

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My Contribution to the Politico Symposium: "A New Roberts Court Begins for the Last Time"

If reports are accurate, Justice Amy Coney Barrett may be the final 9th Justice


Politico Invited me to submit to a symposium on President Trump's reported decision to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett. It is titled, "A New Roberts Court Begins for the Last Time."

For the past fifteen years, the Supreme Court has been known as the Roberts Court. But in truth, each new justice forms a new court. Chief Justice Roberts has presided over numerous personnel changes. Justices O'Connor, Souter, Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy and Ginsburg left, and Justices Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have arrived. By election day, the Chief Justice will likely welcome Justice Amy Coney Barrett as the ninth member of the Court. And a new Roberts Court will begin. 

The confirmation process for Justice Barrett will be excruciatingly painful. Yet, it will still be familiar—a process that we know, with a predictable outcome. The future of the court, on the other hand, is far more uncertain. In 2021, or perhaps 2025, Democrats will likely push to expand the court. Roberts may soon have to greet two or more new members, even though there were no departures. The chief may go through all the same formalities, welcoming #10 and #11 the same way he welcomed #9—but the Supreme Court will never be the same. We may be looking at the last new Roberts Court.

Think the Barrett hearings will be bad? Just you wait. Relish the moment. It will seem tame by comparison of what comes next.

NEXT: A 2018 Cover of the National Law Journal Has Aged Well

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  1. Mr Trump is awaiting a wave of anti-Catholic hysteria.

    1. Which means that Trump will win in a landslide.

    2. Which means that Trump will win in a landslide....

      1. I hope you've bet liberally to cash in on that confidence.

  2. What comes next probably won't be bad. It likely will be delightful.

    Progress. It's the American way.

    1. You got that right. If the Dems don't go for all 4 judges and at least 3 new states I'm going to feel gypped.

      1. Preliminary indications involve just two new states.

        But they are good ones, long overdue.

    2. "Progress. It's the American way."

      "Progress"; such an interesting phrase: all verb, no subject. The reader gets to fill in whatever subject they wish for. But whatever it is that progresses, we are 100% certain of one thing: it's All For The Best.

      Because "progress", you see, only goes in one direction. It is an article of faith. All of human history itself, in fact, has a side, the side of "progress". (Somehow, one can be on the wrong side of history and still be part of that history, but history will still progress in the right direction anyway. It doesn't really matter what side you are on because ultimately there's only the one side that survives, but I digress. Don't fight it. Logic is for losers.)

      So by all means let us welcome our new progressive overlords. I'm sure this will all end exactly as planned. History has already decided.

      1. If you ditch the intolerance, backwardness, and ugly superstition, DaveM, you are welcome to join the winning side of America's culture war and contribute to (and enjoy) continuing American progress (favoring reason, science, inclusiveness, modernity, etc.).

        If not, you will spend the rest of your life as you have experienced it so far . . . watching American progress be shaped against your wishes and efforts. And you -- and other conservative -- will still get to whine about it as much as you want. Right up to replacement.

        1. (favoring reason, science, inclusiveness, modernity, etc.).

          This poor guy must have canceled his subscription to Woke Weekly. He doesn't even realize that he's now a white supremacist.

          As subscribers know, supporting rationality, science, and modernity is an act of epistemological violence against BIPOCs and their other ways of knowing.

    3. The first thing totalitarians do is consolidate power.

      And useful idiots like the Rev. cheer them on.

  3. You’re quite right. We should brace ourself for Jan. 20. A post from Josh every 30 seconds instead of every 30 minutes.

    1. 'Everything is going straight to hell, this is not what I expected, it's all so unfair, must be a conspiracy' Blackman is reliably entertaining.

  4. My prediction is (totally unsurprisingly, almost the complete opposite of Josh's) that the confirmation will NOT be horribly painful. I expect that Dem senators will use the opportunity to point out the hypocrisy of whores like Graham and Cruz. And will ask tough (but perfectly fair) questions to her, about abortion, the ACA, etc.

    AND...I expect that she will end up with a significant number of Dem votes. I expect that many Dems want to get back to some standard of voting for qualified candidates, even if senators strongly disagree with one's judicial philosophy, value system, etc.. I would not be shocked if she gets 5 Dem votes. I would not be shocked if she gets 10.

    I'd love to see Sen. Warren say something like, "I think your rulings are wrong-headed, and bad for America. I suspect that you will take away a woman's right to control her own body. I suspect that you will kill the ACA. But judicial rulings that I disagree with are not enough to vote against you. You are highly qualified, you are extremely intelligent, and so I will, sadly, vote to confirm you. I hope I am wrong about how you will rule on this court. But regardless; you have my support."

    5-10 Dem votes. You heard it here first.

    1. Well that would be the smart thing to do when they have no choice in the matter. But it would be harder to argue for Courtpacking if they approve of ABC in the first place.

      BTW what 'hypocrisy' are the Republicans guilty of that the Dems aren't also guilty of? They literally switched sides from 2016.

      1. Amos,
        I think (respectfully) that you are having a bit of a logic fail. Which I've seen from a few Fox News commentators. But you ask a fair question, and I'm happy to explain. Hopefully, this will clear up your confusion.
        In 2016 (in re giving Garland at least a hearing and an up/down vote), Democrats in the Senate said, "We think the rule should be: X."
        Republicans in the Senate said, "Well, we're in charge, and we think the rule should be: Not X."
        At that time, Cruz said that he agreed with Not X, and that he felt that way for totally nonpartisan reasons (eg, in last year b/f an election, voters should be given a voice, etc). Whore Lindsay Graham said that the rule should be: Not X, to allow voters a chance. Grassley said the same. Whore McConnell said the same. (And many other Republicans said the same as well.)
        Republicans had the majority, so their view carried the day. Not X was the rule that was followed. Half the country agreed with Not X, and half the country disagreed, but everyone agreed that the Senate had the right to do this.
        Okay, in 2018, Whore Graham *repeated* "Not X" and emphasized that Not X would apply in 2020, if Prez Trump tried to nominate someone in the last year of his first term. This was AFTER Kavanaugh was confirmed.
        Now, it's 2020, and RBG dies. Dems are now saying, "The rule is Not X." We still think it was and is a bad rule. But it is the rule that you Republicans set up. We're only asking for consistency . . . even bad rules should apply equally to both sides."
        Amos, you seem to think that this shows hypocrisy on the part of Dems. I guess because I am a lawyer (and you are not, I believe...correct??), I see absolutely nothing wrong with someone, anyone, asking for the same standard to apply to similar fact patterns. That's not even the tiniest bit hypocritical.
        Now, if Dems were suddenly saying, "Not X is a wonderful rule to have and we've always loved it."...then sure, that would be profoundly dishonest and hypocritical indeed. But Dems are NOT saying this. They're just saying, "Sauce for the goose...." Again, that's perfectly consistent and ethical.

        Now, on the other hand, Whore Graham, plus Cruz, Grassley, et al, ARE being hypocrites. They are the ones who are flipping 180. "It's Not X when that benefits us, and X when *that* benefits us. As long as we're in power in the Senate, we're gonna change the standards and the rules each time."
        Whore Graham at first tried the retarded (I'm sorry; the idiotic) excuse that the Kavanaugh hearings changed everything. When even conservatives laughed in his face, he at least has had the good grace to stop using such bullshit. i give him credit for that...small credit, but there's so little to admire about Whore Graham that he'll take whatever he can.

        Amos, does that clear up your confusion? If there's another reason why you think Dems are hypocrites here, can you explain?...I'll keep an open mind, and maybe you'll convince me.

        1. Nope, I'm sorry I don't buy this semantic self serving sleight of hand. You don't get a magic get out of jail free card for hypocrisy where it doesn't count everytime you don't have the power to enforce your wishes.

          There is no evidence for your claim that Dems were resigned graceful losers. Otherwise there wouldn't have been a filibuster, partyline votes and character assassination and the circus of Kavanaugh. Or them dredging it up over and over to hammer on again and again and vehemently foaming at the mouth and disagreeing with Not X and how they were going to put things right. They pulled out all the stops they could without getting arrested for treason. Their mind only changed to support 'Not X' the second it became favorable to them.

          Without any evidence or actual sacrifice on the part of this Dem noblesse oblige you theorize exists. It reduces to a hypothetical mental state which renders it meaningless.

          Not to mention even the Dems seem to mostly unaware of your framing theory of what was going through their heads. The issue in the media narrative generally centers around the Republicans while completely glossing over what the Dems did instead of having them gallantly baring their breasts over and offering Garland as a sacrificial lamb for stability like you do.

        2. But it is the rule that you Republicans set up.

          No rule was set up, not a new one, anyway.

          There's a difference between a rule that gains legitimacy through historical use or institutional adoption and the mere arguments and explanations of politicians.

          And estoppel-like and equity-like arguments based on gaining a benefit don't really apply. The Republicans didn't ultimately get a justice or reject the Democrat's justice because of their 2016 arguments.

          1. How do you conclude that Garland wasn't rejected because of the argument it was too close to the election?

            1. How do you conclude that Garland wasn’t rejected because of the argument it was too close to the election?

              For the rather elementary reason that it had nothing per se to do with Garland not being confirmed.

              He wasn't confirmed because there were no confirmation proceedings. There were no confirmation proceedings because there was no way for the Dems to force them to happen. The Dems tried to get them to happen through political pressure, leading to responses like the one you're complaining about.

              1. There were no confirmation proceedings because the Republicans refused to hold them. How do you conclude the reason Republicans refused to hold confirmation hearings wasn't because of the argument it was too close to the election?

                1. Because they didn't need a reason.

                  1. ... only to people who think logic and reason do not matter.

                    1. Keep on leaping to the next lilypad, friend. It's almost over.

        3. It is not hypocrisy; it is pure power politics played with a high degree of cynicism not worth more words than that to describe.

      2. " it would be harder to argue for Courtpacking if they approve of ABC in the first place "

        There will be little or nothing difficult, let alone "harder," about the arguments. The debates with respect to enlargement of courts, admission of states, eliminating the filibuster, criminalizing voter suppression, enlarging the House and Electoral College will involve Democrats, not Republicans. Republicans will be playing the role of Jerry Falwell Jr. -- just watching, then paying.

        1. There will be nothing harder about the arguments simply because it's a lot harder to falsely accuse a woman of gang rape than it is to falsely accuse a man of such things.

          1. Your fellow clinger was referring to arguments with respect to enlarging the Supreme Court . . . hold your thought until November and January (when it will still be irrelevant to the underlying point).

    2. I could see 5-10 Dem votes, but not for the reason you do.

      I think the Catholic bashing is going to backfire, badly. And I think it will extend beyond Catholics -- Romney is well aware of the problems the LDS (Mormon) Church had in the past.

      And then the left will go after how ACB has said that a wife should "obey" her husband and piss off all the soccer moms.

      It should be fun...

      1. You should withdraw that remark. No way Judge Barrett said a wife should "obey" her husband. She couldn't be that dumb, and backward, and gullible . . . could she?

          1. This is epic Dr. Ed. To prove the Democrats are engaged in "Catholic bashing" against Barrett's SCOUS nomination, he links to a Fox News article that contains no evidence of that. Yep, it rants&raves against the practice in the person of Joe Lieberman, but provide no examples of what it claims is happening right now.

            But wait! That article links to another Fox News offering which rants&raves against Democratic "Catholic bashing" in the person of Joe Manchin. But it too provides no example of what it claims is occurring at this very moment. Both articles quote the same Dianne Feinstein comment from years ago as their "proof".

            Now I'm sure Dr Ed. can produce some "Catholic bashing" with the same alacrity he finds another endangered species : Black Republicans. Both these rarities stir Ed's fevered imagination to dreams of a Trump triumph in November. By sweeping victory, no less!!

            Poor Ed has such a rich fantasy life

    3. I would like to see that SM811 = 5-10 Dem votes.

      I would love to see an in-depth, non-contentious discussion of judicial philosophy at her hearing. Americans would benefit from that.

    1. Most of you guys are way too young to remember the brilliant TV comedy "Get Smart." I, on the other hand, immediately thought of the episode where Max had to confront ACB...the third spy network. (A reference to ABC, which was--at that time--the new, inferior, TV network competitor to NBC and CBS.)

  5. But it would be harder to argue for Courtpacking if they approve of ABC in the first place.

    No problem. Use Court unpacking instead. Don't increase the size of the Court, reduce it, to 7 justices. Knock out the two least-senior justices, and send them back to the lower courts.

    That way you get a nicely divided Court, with 3 ideologues on each partisan side, and the Chief Justice—also a consistent R partisan, by the way—as the swing vote. Republicans still keep the edge, but Democrats feel better.

    Both sides get a plausible stake in future developments. Depending on future politics, either side can claim a legitimate political mandate to swing the Court their way. Crisis averted.

    1. The Court is swinging to the party that won the Senate and Presidency as designed. The only crisis is Dems getting butthurt over it and needing to build political capital to start throwing the pieces out of the pram.

      1. We'll be adding pieces to the march of American progress. . . justices, members of Congress, Electoral College voters, criminal statutes addressing voter suppression, states . . .

    2. You know that the Constitution is what gives judges life tenure, right? Is that just one more outmoded scrap of paper that Democrats will toss by the wayside?

      1. No, he really doesn't know that. Reading the constitutional provision is way too hard.

      2. On the lower courts, they still get life tenure. They will keep whatever pay level they already have. The Constitution is satisfied. There is no Constitutional right to sit on the Supreme Court, and especially not if you have been appointed to a seat that is no longer there. The Constitution, of course, is what created the power for congress to set the size of the Court.

        The alternative is a bigger Supreme Court. You like that better? No, of course you don't. You like the notion of a right-wing partisan Court, as partisan as possible.

        You know why you shouldn't get that? Because you want it so much.

        And by the way, I'm not a Democrat.

    3. and the Chief Justice—also a consistent R partisan, by the way

      I want some of what you're smoking. Good grief.

  6. Politico is a Soros funded, Marxist, false propaganda outlet. The Cato Institute and Reason are Koch Brothers propaganda outlets.
    What is with Blackman? Billionaire pet.

  7. I don't think that court-packing will be any more successful than the Impeachment was.

    1. Impeachment was extremely successful. Or have you forgotten that Trump was impeached? The resulting trial was unsuccessful (if you wanted to hear all the witnesses and evidence, or if you wanted the result of a Trump conviction).

      But I think you are confusing impeachment with a Senate trial. A common mistake among laypeople . . . don't beat yourself up over it.

      1. Well it was not very successful in terms of the goal. Trump is pretty much exactly where he would be with or without impeachment. So the only thing it really accomplished was wasting time and money and getting more people killed from Covid.

        One thing I will give Dems is that the Clintoon impeachment was even less successful to the point of increasing his popularity and being the watershed moment where the facade of expectations of sexual propriety in authority figures finally broke....before swinging to feminist neoPuritanism in the 2010s but thats a different story.

        1. "Well it was not very successful in terms of the goal. Trump is pretty much exactly where he would be with or without impeachment."

          More than that, it is a threat that can't be used twice, and hence isn't available to stop this nomination, etc.

        2. I'm amused that your takeaway from Trump's impeachment was that it was bad politics, rather than a fundamental failure of our system to unseat a president who clearly puts his own political interests ahead of those of the nation.

          Or that he was too distracted by the impeachment to focus on COVID. You're talking about the deaths he knew were coming, right? And actually chose to do nothing about, initially, because he didn't think it'd hurt his red-state base?

          1. Given that Biden DID what Trump was ACCUSED of, this is hardly accurate.

            1. All of the evidence has to be ignored for your remark to be true.

            2. So, military aid to Ukraine wasn't delayed until the last minute? There weren't discussions with Zelensky about Ukraine announcing an investigation into Biden's son at the same time as Ukraine was pressing for the aid to be delivered? The aid didn't clear every requirement for being released until it was withheld at the minute due to orders from the top? Giuliani hasn't spent months trying to drum up some evidence of "corruption" in connection with Hunter Biden's position on Burisma's board? Trump didn't obstruct every attempt by Congress to get to the bottom of what actually happened?

              Whatever you think Biden did, it's ridiculous to assert that Trump didn't do what everyone with any sense knows he did. He tried to leverage military aid in order to get dirt on Biden. Even some Republicans who voted to acquit thought so - they just thought it wasn't illegal, or amounted to a "no harm, no foul" kind of outcome, since the aid was ultimately released. And it's absolutely consistent with what we know about the man. He just promised to spend another $300 million of our money on an eleventh-hour campaign stunt. Of course he thought the military aid was his to leverage to serve himself.

            3. damikesc : Given that Biden DID what Trump was ACCUSED of, this is hardly accurate.

              Lotta Right-wing ignorance in that statement. You want funny? Ron Johnson (R-WI) produces a dud report for the Senate which admits there's zero evidence against Joe Biden. But among its flailing accusations is damikesc's charge : Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor Shokin for improper reasons. Then someone produces a letter by Johnson - dated from the time - which also demanded Shokin be fired. Yep : Calling for the prosecutor's ouster was the bipartisan position of Congress.

              It was also President Obama's position, an official U.S. foreign policy goal, the demand of the State Department, the subject of speeches from the U.S. ambassador to that country, and the stated position of the European Union, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, & European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

              If you care, Shokin's firing was also a demand of every anti-corruption organization in Ukraine itself. There were street demonstrations in Kiev against him alone.

              Now, what that has to do with Trump outsourcing U.S. foreign policy to his burnt-out husk of a private attorney & two low-grade crook lackeys, who knows? Particularly since Trump didn't give a damn about any U.S. policy objective, but only wanted to extort a campaign commercial from an unwilling foreign country.

      2. How are you defining success, sm811?

      3. Impeachment was a failure by omission. The only excuse for not charging the five obstructions of justice for which full prima facie cases were made in the Mueller Report was politically expedient timing. Inasmuch as conviction in the Senate was never a plausible outcome, The House owed it to history to impeach Trump on at least the most egregious Mueller Report counts as well as the Ukrainegate ones.

      4. Impeachment was extremely successful.

        Successful as in, a 54% Dem-controlled House managed to swing a 50%+1 vote to impeach? That's some seriously lowered expectations.

  8. Democratic senators will have to ask her about election “fraud” and the peaceful transfer of power. If she doesn’t parrot the Trump line, Trump will throw one of his usual tantrums and the nomination will be withdrawn. But she will give answers perfectly in line with his right wing delusions.

    1. She will say absolutely nothing about a topic that is likely to arise early in her tenure.

      1. Even a refusal to answer might upset the Toddler in Chief.

        1. May be, but she won't answer. Perhaps she'll even quote Ginsberg on that score.

  9. If dems have the political capital to pack the court, why don’t they have the political capital to pass their legislation? This seems counterintuitive.

    The only reason ACA is under any threat is that they didn’t have the votes to pass everything they wanted.

    The end result will be an ACA trimmed back by the courts to more closely resemble the voter consensus.

    The horror?

    1. I expect a single-payer system -- formally called "Obamacare," I hope -- to be enacted toward the end of 2021, after the filibuster has been busted, the Supreme Court enlarged, a couple of states admitted, and the House enlarged . . . roughly at the time voting rights will be strengthened and voter suppression criminalized.

      I am not greatly concerned with respect to a Barrett installation, or another swipe at Obamacare on the Republicans' way out . . . I am focused on next year's wave of progress.

      1. For somebody supposedly focused on the future you spend an awful lot of time blathering about the present and the past.

        1. It is tempting to reminisce about more than a half-century of defeating conservatives in the culture war, but the focus should be the future of American progress.

      2. Could you, for once, please describe what current country this "progress" you speak of looks like? Is it Cuba, is it Portland, is it Russia, is it France, is it Venezuela, is it, as I suspect, Zimbabwe? Or is it something new, like Big Brother?

        1. It looks like modern America.

          The bigots on the defensive.
          Reason and science preferred to childish superstition (creationism, school prayer).
          Voting rights imposed on southern backwaters.
          Women attending graduate school, voting, entitled to own property.
          Desegregated schools.
          Abusive policing on the defensive.
          Environmental and consumer protections.
          The deplorable backwaters emptying.
          Strong, reason-based schools.
          Lynchings largely behind us.
          Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.
          An effective lifeline for smart, ambitious young people who want to overcome a childhood in can't-keep-up America.

          That type of thing. The progressive agenda.

    2. Apparently all they have to do is replace the word "penalty" with the magic word "tax," and the job will be done.

      Alternatively, for the real nitpickers they could pass a small tax increase and then offer a credit for those having health insurance.

      If there's a better example of legalistic BS than the arguments against Obamacare I'd like to know what it is.

    3. The end result will be an ACA trimmed back by the courts to more closely resemble the voter consensus.

      That's actually very funny, given that the pre-existing condition language is what's most threatened by the lawsuit. It's so unpopular that Trump felt he had to issue a BS Executive Order* that purports to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

  10. I actually expect the hearings to be the usual nothing.

    Senators offer speeches instead of questions. The nominee provides evasions instead of answers. The press blows up insignificant moments into major stories. etc.

    I think the Senators should ask direct questions, and the nominee should answer them.

    Won't happen.

    1. I think the Senators should ask direct questions, and the nominee should answer them.

      bernard11....I completely agree. Let's see what happens. But I definitely want to know more about her judicial philosophy.

      One other aspect I am happy to see is someone not from Harvard or Yale.

  11. Can we just move on to the next part of events. That is when the fun begins.

  12. Yeah, can we pin this and return to it, once she's been confirmed? Just to see if you'll answer for how far from reality it turns out to be?

    I don't see any political upside for Democrats to make a huge display over this. The conclusion is foregone. Their maneuver on Kavanaugh was self-defeating and fruitless. Any Catholic-bashing is going to play poorly with a key demographic in the coming election. They want the election to be about healthcare and a return to normalcy. They don't want a huge distracting fight on an issue that plays to Trump's advantage.

    As for what comes after, we'll just have to see. Personally, if I were an intelligent legal scholar, I'd be more concerned about the coming litigation over the election and counting of votes, as it winds its way up to the Supreme Court, and how McConnell's manipulation of Court seats threatens to undermine the legitimacy of the Court's judgments in future cases.

    But I can see that you'd rather try to frighten conservatives with the prospects of a dystopian judicial future, Josh. You're less interested in commenting intelligently about this development than you are ginning up the votes so that it'll never come to pass.

    1. No one in the media will concede that the bashing of Kavanaugh was the main reason dems not only lost their shot at taking the Senate but also gave the Republicans an additional seat. I doubt they learned their lesson and will probably line up to bash her for her religious beliefs. That could flip a lot of Catholics from voting for Biden.

      1. Not even just Catholics. How about Christians of any denomination, who make up an enormous part of the electorate?

        1. Just the bigoted, backward, clinger Catholics.

          Why would a modern, reasoning, decent Catholic vote for Donald Trump over Catholic Joe Biden?

    2. I'm certainly not buying that two states will be admitted. There are constitutional arguments against the possibility of DC statehood. We can debate how strong those arguments are. But don't forget that you'll have a solid conservative majority that has a habit of turning to foundational documents. Federalist #43 is pretty clear about the role for DC and I wouldn't be surprised to see a conservative majority on SCOTUS throw out DC statehood or at least throw serious impediments in front of it. As for Puerto Rico, all indications are that Puerto Ricans don't even want statehood. This seems more like a leftist fantasy or a rightist bogeyman.

      1. A conservative, constitutionalist majority on SCOTUS ought to recognize that they have no jurisdiction over the question of the admission of new states the the union.

        I appreciate the constitutional argument over the possibility of DC statehood. But it's not, strictly speaking, conclusive.

        None of that means that a conservative SCOTUS wouldn't try to stop them from admitting DC as a new "state", of course. I fully expect that they would. It just wouldn't be consistent with a judicial philosophy that ordinarily leaves these kinds of questions to the political branches.

        1. If a right-wing Supreme Court did that, Democrats could add the Virgin Islands, Guam, and a number of other states. What could Justice Barrett say in opposition, other than 'the admission of these states would frustrate the clinger agenda, so I must rule against it?'

    3. Perhaps the Democrats should use the Barrett hearings to highlight the pending Obamacare case as one way of making the election about healthcare.

    4. It will be interesting to see if Feinstein can resist. After all Barrett came out on top in the last contest.

      Also of interest will be how Harris plays this hearing. If she comes out with prosecutor rhetoric blazing that could be a negative. A wiser move would be for her to recuse herself.

      1. Not a chance in a million Harris will recuse herself, and doing so would be a giant blunder, IMO.

        Nor should she. She should ask polite, but pointed, questions and not let Barrett deflect or filibuster. I don't see how that would be a negative.

        1. I so pray she and the rest of the Judiciary Comm Dems prove me wrong, but I'm not sanguine they have it in them to avoid grandstanding. Harris in particular always strikes me as a non-lawyer's idea of a good interrogator, combatively drawing more attention to herself than to the witness she's trying to impeach. She should take a lesson from Amy Klobuchar or Hakeem Jeffries, both of whom understand how to bury a witness without coming across as overbearing and self-impressed.

          1. " Harris in particular always strikes me as a non-lawyer’s idea of a good interrogator, combatively drawing more attention to herself than to the witness she’s trying to impeach."
            I think you're correct about that. She is better off leaving the interrogation to Whitehouse. He is far better at it than she is.

        2. Bernard, it all depends on her tone. If she uses the same prosecutorial tone as with Kavanaugh, it would be a negative. If she questions as Klobuchar would, then she'll be okay.

          But it is easy for Barrett to deflect and Harris will be tempted to take the bait. That is why I'd say she should only ask innocuous questions about Barrett 100 opinion as an appellate court judge.

  13. "Think the Barrett hearings will be bad?"

    I think they will be non-existent. Nothing in the constitution requires they hold hearings on a nomination.

    I Mitch doesn't want to confirm, he won't let the hearings happen.

    If it does want to confirm whoever Trump nominates, and he's smart, he will schedule it for an immediate floor vote with holding any hearing.

    1. without holding any hearing.

      1. The rules of the Senate say that it has to go to Committee first.

        1. Don Nico...I actually want the hearing. Two reasons. First and most important, I absolutely want Judge Barrett to fully explain her judicial philosophy. As citizens, we deserve to know. Second and purely a short term consideration, I want to see if Team D Senators will collectively shoot themselves in the head by mistreatment and abuse of the 'Soccer Mom' nominee.

          Let us see if the moths fly to the flame.

          1. I have nothing against there being a hearing. The Senate should follow normal rules, but there is also no point in its allowing stalling tactics.

            1. Agree...hold the hearing without delay. Start this coming week.

          2. "Soccer mom?"

            Who drives the Barrett children to soccer practice?

            How much outsourcing to nannies renders someone ineligible for that title?

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