As the current Supreme Court term is about to approach its end, some Democrats, who remember how the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg kind of fucked us all over by not retiring during the Obama years, are now starting to push for Justice Stephen Breyer to step down so that President Joe Biden can appoint his successor while the Democrats still control the Senate. As Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal put it somewhat delicately in April, Breyer “recognizes, I am sure, the political reality of our having control of the Senate now,” adding, “[E]lections always have risks, so hopefully he’s aware of that risk and he sees it accordingly.” On Sunday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared that she agrees that Breyer should retire. Breyer, my dude, you’re 82! Go enjoy your life while you still have it!
The danger, of course, is that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will do exactly what he has done in the past—and what he all but promised to do during an interview Monday with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. During the interview, McConnell described blocking Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016 as “the single most consequential thing I’ve done in my time as Majority Leader of the Senate,” and then shared that he would just love to have the opportunity to screw with Democrats again in the near future.
Hewitt asked McConnell what he would do if he once again became Senate Majority Leader next year and there was a vacancy to fill on the Supreme Court. “Let me ask you, if you regain the majority in 2022 for the Republicans, and there’s a very good chance of that happening... would the rule that you applied in 2016 to the Scalia vacancy apply in 2024 to any vacancy that occurred then?” Hewitt asked.
In so many words, McConnell responded, of course, duh, I’m Mitch McConnell, what do you think! “I don’t think either party, if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,” McConnell replied, adding, “What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president.” Hewitt also asked what he would do if there were a vacancy on the Court in 2023. “Would they get a fair shot at a hearing, not a radical, but a normal mainstream liberal?” Hewitt asked. McConnell, again in so many words, replied, hell no. “Well, we’d have to wait and see what happens,” he said.
Truly love bipartisanship!