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Thomas Gallatin / Sep. 22, 2020

Biden's SCOTUS Political Play

Joe charges Trump with politicizing the Court while refusing to release his own list.

In a transparent attempt to appear to take the high road — while doing just the opposite — Joe Biden declared Monday that he won’t release his own list of possible nominees for the Supreme Court, a practice Donald Trump initiated in 2016 and continued this year. “We can’t ignore the cherished system of checks and balances,” bloviated Biden. “That includes this whole business of releasing a list of potential nominees that I would put forward.”

The former vice president offered three reasons for his refusal to release a list in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, including his biggest concern that “my choice for the Supreme Court not [be] based on a partisan election campaign, but on what prior presidents have done, Republican and Democrat.” He’ll make his choice “only after consulting Republicans and Democrats in the United States Senate, and seeking their advice and asking for their consent.” Hogwash.

Biden’s obvious motive is purely political. He aims to create the false perception that Trump is the one uniquely responsible for politicizing the Supreme Court. Nothing can be further from the truth, and Biden knows it. The lion’s share of the blame for the increased politicization of the judiciary can be laid at the feet of Biden and his fellow Democrats. How quickly Biden “forgets” his role in seeking to undermine Clarence Thomas’s confirmation, or his running mate Kamala Harris’s attempted character assassination of Brett Kavanaugh, which followed the same disgusting template.

Furthermore, up until yesterday, Biden appeared fully on board with releasing a list of SCOTUS nominees. Back in June, Biden pledged, “We are putting together a list of a group of African American women who are qualified and have the experience to be on the court. I’m not going to release that until we go further down the line in vetting them, as well.” Funny — Biden expressed no high-minded concerns then over politicizing the Court. What changed?

Hint: Biden saw his own opportunity to politicize the issue by falsely claiming that the Trump campaign only called on Biden to release a list of potential SCOTUS nominees after Ginsburg died. “It’s no wonder the Trump campaign asked that I release the list only after she passed away,” he said. “It’s a game for them. It’s a play to [stir] up emotions and anger.” In truth, Trump called for Biden to release a list prior to Ginsburg’s death.

Finally, regarding Biden’s charge that Trump’s list has politicized the Court, University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse comments: “Yes, Trump innovated, but it was Trump, so, of course Orange Man Bad. But it was a good innovation for him, because he wanted to build confidence that he would indeed choose a principled conservative. Now, that the innovation has been done, other candidates will decide whether it suits them. It will suit some, but not others. And, clearly, it would not suit Biden. Biden can’t possibly present a list of names. There would be ‘unrelenting political attacks’ on him. There’s no way he can provide names that will be far enough left to avoid attacks from the left. If he even attempts to give the left some satisfaction, moderates will be upset. It will further aggravate the suspicion that he’s going to let the lefties push him around.”

The fact is, Biden’s play here is an attempt to worm his way out of being held to a campaign promise. Like so many politicians before him, Biden aims to placate the voting public without committing himself to any specific actions. Trump, on the other hand, has an impressive record of following through on what he promised to do.

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