By Bob Gatty
Republicans are accusing the Democrats of planning to “pack” the Supreme Court with liberal judges if Joe Biden sends Donald Trump to the showers, but in reality it is the Republicans who are doing the packing.
In the process, they are demonstrating to the American people their desperation to act on Trump’s nomination of conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett before November 3 because they realize Trump’s days in power, in all likelihood, are coming to an end. Their objective is to create that 6-3 conservative majority on the high court no matter what.
That, of course, is what will happen if Barrett is confirmed to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon who fought tirelessly for equality and fairness, and who stood in the way of conservative efforts to wipe out the protections of Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Nothing matters to the Republicans except for that, and it demonstrates the importance of electing Democratic candidates, including Biden and Senate candidate Jaime Harrison in this election.
Now, Republicans are warning that if Biden is elected Democrats will “pack” the Supreme Court with liberals by voting to increase the size of the court from nine to 11 or more justices. There is no real justification for such a charge, especially since Biden has been decidedly cool to the idea.
But that’s their argument.
In 2016, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said “use my words against me” if he were to advocate the nomination of a Supreme Court justice in any president’s final year in office. Such a move then, he said, would be wrong.
But now, with Trump on the ropes, Republicans know their chance to pack the court with conservatives may soon slip from their grasp. So, Graham is steamrolling the charge to confirm Barrett to make certain the highest court in the land has a solid politically conservative majority, possibly for decades to come.
Graham says he wants that to be his legacy.
In fact, the senator is using that leverage to justify his reelection in the face of a stiff challenge by Democrat Jaime Harrison. Most recent polls show them tied, and one even showed Harrison two points ahead. If Black voters turn out and vote for Harrison, it could be all over for Graham.
In a recent television interview Graham warned that to elect Harrison would mean a “liberal” Supreme Court, while electing him would mean a “conservative” Supreme Court. In fact, in Graham’s TV ads, most of which are negative, “LIBERAL” is the first charge hurled at Harrison.
Attack on Obamacare
Democrats warn that if Barrett is confirmed, the Affordable Care Act, and its coverage of preexisting conditions, will be in dire jeopardy.
“Republicans finally realized that the Affordable Care Act is too popular to repeal in Congress,” said Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. “So now they are trying to bypass the will of the voters and have the Supreme Court do their dirty work.”
Exactly one week from election day, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the Republican-led case seeking to overturn the ACA. Legal experts say a final ruling is expected next year.
As the nation has been ravaged by the novel coronavirus pandemic that has sickened millions, killed some 215,000 and severed millions of people from their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, Republicans continue to press ahead to kill the ACA, encouraged by Trump.
Graham, himself, tells South Carolinians at every opportunity that the ACA has been a disaster for them and that his legislative solution, which would turn Medicaid into a block grant program, would provide more financial resources for health care in the Palmetto State. His bill, he says, would maintain coverage of pre-existing conditions.
However, that legislation is just that. Legislation. It is not law and is unlikely to become law as long as the House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats who defend Medicaid and intend to improve the ACA.
So, yes, the confirmation hearing of Judge Barrett has consequences, and the future of the ACA and coverage for millions of Americans in the midst of the pandemic could hang in the balance.
All of this adds another exceedingly strong reason to defeat Trump, to defeat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and #SendLindseyPacking. In fact, the other day during a debate with Harrison the moderator asked Graham if he still supports term limits for senators, that the ultimate opportunity to term-limit him comes in this election.
So, the hashtag #TermLimitLindsey was born.
However, should voters turn the Senate over to Democrats and kick Trump to the curb, they will have every opportunity to enact a workable replacement for the ACA should the Supreme Court, with Barrett on the bench, throw it out.
All of this just adds to the urgency to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden, to defeat Lindsey Graham and elect Jaime Harrison, and, for good measure, to defeat Rep. Tom Rice and elect Melissa Watson to the District 7 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
It’s time to vote Blue – all the way.