America deserves to see Joe Biden’s Supreme Court short list
Liberal activists are pressing Joe Biden to adopt Donald Trump’s “playbook” and release his list of prospective Supreme Court nominees, reports CBS News. So far, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee does not appear to like that idea.
When asked about it, his campaign spokesman dodged the question, noting instead how “Joe Biden was proud to . . . lead the fight against many Reagan judicial nominees … like Judge [Robert] Bork,” while serving as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The ex-veep himself hasn’t offered any real clues either. Asked about the Supreme Court on the campaign trail last year, Biden responded much as his spokesman did, saying only that he had “presided over more Supreme Court hearings than anyone.”
Rather than tell Americans who he’d nominate, Biden would prefer to play hide the ball and remind us that he was an architect of the modern-day smear campaign against Republican-appointed top-court nominees. Biden presided over the hearings for Bork and later for Clarence Thomas, both of which were the foundation for the unprecedented Brett Kavanaugh confirmation train wreck we witnessed in 2018.
The vilification of Bork in 1987 was so intense that it added a new word to the English language. To “bork,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means “to attack or defeat (a nominee or candidate for public office) unfairly through an organized campaign of harsh public criticism or vilification.”
But Biden’s desire to talk about his “experience” presiding over Supreme Court nominations is just a distraction from what he doesn’t want to talk about: exactly who he would nominate as justices if he is elected president.
Sure, he joked about nominating Barack Obama. But that didn’t satisfy left-wing interest groups like Demand Justice, which are pressuring the Dem wannabe to release a list of possible choices, as Donald Trump did so effectively in 2016. Demand Justice even helpfully suggested its own list of nominees, but Biden has yet to bite.
These liberal interest groups recognize that Trump’s unprecedented decision to reveal his list of possible Supreme Court nominees was key to his 2016 victory. According to exit polls, the high court was the top issue for one in five voters. Of those, 57 percent went for Trump.
By releasing his list in 2016, Trump assured Americans that he cared about the future of our courts and rule of law. He included on his list experienced state and federal judges who believe that judges should not substitute their own policy views for the law.
And Trump kept his campaign promise by appointing Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Left-wing interest groups want Biden to release his list because they want assurances, too. They want a commitment from Biden that he will appoint judges who will reflexively achieve the liberal policies they want. This end-run around the democratic process has been the left’s strategy for decades: Can’t get the radical laws you want passed in Congress? Don’t worry, liberal activist judges will get the job done for you!
This is the reason that Joe Biden doesn’t want to show us his list. The candidates on Biden’s list would likely make the cut based on President Obama’s “empathy standard” — their predisposition to rule for certain classes or interests, not according to the law as it is written.
Fact is, independents and the right would be just as interested to know who Biden has in mind. If he becomes President Biden, they fear the Supreme Court may be radicalized, perhaps to deliver an America of the kind that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the far left dream of.
Would it lead to, say, abortion on demand before and (who knows?) during and even after birth? Overly restricting law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights? Crippling the government’s enforcement of immigration law? Undermining the rights to political speech and religious liberty?
This is scary stuff — and the fact that Biden would rather talk about his experience presiding over Supreme Court hearings only adds to the fears.
I expect the left will continue to pressure Biden to release a list of nominees: They want to know that he is going to keep up his end of the bargain. Continuing to ignore them will raise doubts among them — even as those on the right, and perhaps independents, assume the worst.
Carrie Campbell Severino is president of the Judicial Crisis Network.
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