Friday, October 16, 2020

Don't Pass On The Lay-Up

With any luck- also, success against voter suppression efforts- we in the USA will have an awful politician as its next President.  A prominent economist:

Biden should in fact tell the media "I have no plans" (an even better response here). Asked again, he should say "I have no plans." And if a reporter pushes him (as she should), he should ask rhetorically, slightly annoyed "how many times must I repeat four simple words before you understand it?" Viewing a Democrat who doesn't act like Democrats, the public stands and applauds.

Or if he doesn't want to be belligerent and instead follow the old maxim "the best defense is a good offense," the former vice-president can follow the lead of his running mate.  

Asked in her debate with Make No Sense Pence "whether you're going to pack the Court to get your way," Kamala Harris stated

And do you know that of the 50 people who President Trump appointed to the Court of Appeals for lifetime appointments, not one is Black? This is what they've been doing. You want to talk about packing a court? Let's have that discussion.

Presumably, anyone who cares about Trump refusing to nominate a black already has decided to vote for Biden-Harris. However,  the California senator opened a line of argument by throwing the controversy back onto President Trump. And she did it with a touch of attitude by ending with "let's have that discussion."

It was not attitude, however, when Biden at his town hall on Thursday evening answered the "court packing" question from George Stephanopoulos with

What I wanted to do, George, you know if I had answered the question directly then all the focus would be on, what’s Biden going to do if he wins? Instead of on, is it appropriate what is going on now? And it should stay. This is the thing that the President loves to do, always take our eye off the ball what’s at stake. One of the things Pete has suggested is, and there’s a number of constitutional scholars have suggested as well, that there are at least four or five options that are available to determine whether or not you can change the way in which the court lifetime appointment takes place consistent arguably with the Constitution. I have not been a fan of court packing because then it just generates what will happen. Whoever wins, it just keeps moving in a way that is inconsistent with what is going to be manageable.

"Not a fan?" If Biden can say only "I have not been a fan," the least he could do is not repeat the GOP "court packing" buzzphrase, gladly promoted by a media pleased at even the possibility that Trump will be re-elected.

Stephanopoulos followed up twice on this issue and both times Biden danced around, about as smoothly as one would expect a 77-year-old white man to dance.

The size of the US Supreme Court is fixed by neither the Constitution nor statute and has been changed seven times in its history.   In a furious rush to pack the courts, Trump (according to Pew Research Center) has "appointed almost a quarter of all active federal judges in the United States (and) has appointed more federal appeals court judges to date than any recent president at the same point in their presidency. Eight of the 194 have been (probably still are) black. 

Biden could note that, preferably after (maybe before, also) decrying the court packing the GOP has practiced for a few decades, lately more enthusiastically.

Fourteen of the last eighteen Supreme Court justices have been nominated and appointed by Republicans. The last five (including Amy Coney Barrett) have been appointed by Republicans who became President with fewer votes than their Democratic opponent.

If "packing the Court" would be a travesty, the Democratic presidential nominee might mention the saga of Merrick Garland. Word has it that Joe Biden served in the federal government at the time.

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