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September 21, 2020 04:53 PM UTC

Cory Gardner: Sure, Let's Confirm a New SCOTUS Nominee!

  • by: Colorado Pols

Brave as ever, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) waited until the very end of the day to issue a statement about his position on filling the Ruth Bader Ginsberg vacancy before the election.

Cory Gardner’s teeth

As The Denver Post reported in February 2016, that Cory Gardner was totally opposed to holding confirmation hearings in an election year and refused to even meet with President Obama’s eventual choice, Merrick Garland:

Asked his opinion about the high court vacancy, Gardner said the successor to the recently deceased Antonin Scalia “ought be chosen by the American people through the election of the next president.” [Pols emphasis]

Pressed…on what he would say to the argument that he should wait to see who the president nominates, Gardner responded: “Again, I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s gross, folks. It really is.


23 thoughts on “Cory Gardner: Sure, Let’s Confirm a New SCOTUS Nominee!

  1. So, here is what I don't get. Perhaps a GOP voter can fill me in.

    It appears now that blatant hypocrisy and bald-faced lies seem to be openly accepted as SOP for Republican electeds. Sen. Graham…Senator Gardner..McConnell…Barasso…liars all.

    What makes you think any of these men would not turn on you in a heartbeat, if it served their purposes? It is a serious question seeking a serious answer.

    Bonus question…Is there no honor or integrity left among the members of your party? So far, you have 2 Senators of whom you can be proud.


    1. I’m not a GOP voter and have not been since before 2000. I get it, though. When I was young I was religious and indoctrinated by the Catholic Church I would have argued any lie necessary to stop greater evils like abortion would be moral.

      For the cynical Republican voter is is probably all about power. This is just how things are and the only reason the Democrats are squawking about hypocrisy now is that they’re bad at playing the game. If they had the votes they’d win.

      I’m against them politically, but I cannot fault the cynical view that this is fundamentally about votes. Sure, they said it was about waiting until after the people had their say, but would it have been any better/easier to campaign against had the Republicans just voted down Obama’s nominee in 2016? They had a majority in the Senate.

      The reality is now that Democrats do not have the votes now so they need to credibly promise to change the system if they have the votes in 2021. And then they need to win the votes of the people in places like Iowa, North Carolina and Montana to make it happen.

      1. You're not wrong.  Here's the thing though.  Historically, there would be a confirmation of a Supreme Court whenever there was a vacancy, whether it was an election year or not.  In 2016, Republicans were only too happy to flagrantly break norms in order to deny Barack Obama a third Supreme Court pick.  To the point that Moscow Mitch even gleefully talked about how he told Obama he was not going to get it.  It didn't matter that Obama still had a year left on his Presidency.  They were happy to leave it vacant for that long.

        Now, with weeks until an election, that does not look good for McConnel and Trump's party, they are ready to ram someone down the country's throat, even though it flies in the face of their earlier logic.  Of course they need to be called hypocrites.

        They also need to be called out on not bringing the HEROES Act to a Senate vote, because "They didn't have the time" while they were ready to have a confirmation hearing at for a SCOTUS seat when RBG's body wasn't even cold.

        1. Historically, the nomination and confirmation of justices in election years was a mixed bag.

          In 1844 on April 21st Justice H. Baldwin died 194 days from the election. Two successors were nominated by President Tyler, but both were voted down by Senate before the election. It was also the longest vacancy in US history, lasting 835 days until 1846, long, long, long after President Polk was in office.

          In 1860 on May 31st Justice Daniel died 159 days from the most contentious of all US elections. He was not replaced on the court until 1862!

          On the other hand in 1916 June 16th Justice C. E. Hughes resigned 144 days from the election to run for president against President Wilson as the Republican nominee. (!) Wilson nominated a successor and he was confirmed by the Senate by July.

          Not even giving the courtesy of an up or down vote to Obama’s nominee was unusual, but the time the seat was left open was hardly unprecedented in US history. It was the longest since the start of the 20th century, but it was only the 7th longest open court seat at 423 days if I did my math right.

          This paper was written before the seat was filled, but show accurate information about other long vacancies:

          1. Okay.  I grant you the time.  But, the not granting an up or down vote, confirmation hearing, acting in bad faith and deciding the rules or their feelings are different based on how it benefits them.  

            Ultimately, I think if we would win the Presidency and the Senate, we need to expand the court.

  2. Best I can make of this is the Republicans are avoiding hypocrisy.  

    McConnell announced his intention 80 minutes after the announcement of RBG's death.  Trump, somewhat slow on the uptake, waited until the following morning to explain he would be nominating by the end of the week — choosing a timetable before plans for viewings, memorials, and interment were announced.  Many others had their talking points in place in time for the Sunday morning TV news shows.  Murkowski clarified her commitment to do what she said should happen in 2016.  Collins emerged with an ambiguous nod to "fairness," but did not explicitly say she would or would not vote to confirm, especially if the Senate vote happened after November 3.  Trump clarified his certainty of how any Republican opposition would be bad.  By today … Republican Senators were falling in line.  Tomorrow, Senators will be back in Washington, will have their weekly lunch, and the count will fill in further.

    Republicans are doing this while the votes are actually being cast, so there will be NO chance of voters "forgetting" the maneuver.  US Elections Project says that as of the update completed today at 9:30 pm Eastern, 167,143 ballots are in hand for the 7 reporting states. The process obviously will continue as people vote. 

    So, we will be able to tell just how many voters tolerate Republican power politics.  Abandoning fairness and notions of conservative restraint, I expect the next escalation in the partisan war over the Court.

  3. Well, we likely will be able to have a view of the impact of Gardner's positioning on the Supreme Court.

    Morning Consult published results of a poll that was in the field Sep 11-20, 2020.  It is part of a story on Lindsay Graham.  No details other than the caption "Polls conducted September 11-20 among hundreds of likely voters in each state, with margins of error for responses shown ranging from +/-2 to +/-7." 

    Hickenlooper 49%  Gardner 42%  Hickenlooper +7

    For what it is worth, the same graphic shows leads for Democrats Cunningham, Kelly, Peters and Ossoff.  Graham is up 1% on Harrison.

  4. Our side is just going to have to have the cojones to do what we need to do come January…..

    As many of you on this site know, I am not known as a bomb-throwing radical, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

    I am whole-heartedly in favor of:  (a) abolishing the filibuster, (b) expanding the size of the court to 13 justices, and (c) setting a mandatory retirement age (something the Colorado state Supreme Court has and which works fine).

    My concern is that our side won't go through with it. We have folks like Angus King, Joe Manchin, Dianne Feinstein, and Michael Bennet who will recoil at the idea. They will be joined by Hick who strikes me as someone whose default position is to try to preserve tradition.

    Rather than dredging up quotes from the past and pointing out hypocrisy among McConnell, Graham and Gardner, we need to focus on how to fix this problem assuming our team wins and has the House, Senate and White House in January.

    1. Spot on, R&R. All this wailing and gnashing of teeth about hypocrisy just makes Dems look weak. If you didn't think the GOP would do this when they got the chance, you're likely not paying attention and weak.

      Republicans are not hypocrites, they're hard-ballers who don't give a rat's ass about principle and precedent. "The strong do what they can, and the weak do what they must." Unfortunately, too many Dems in the Senate fall in the "weak" category. There are alternatives. Sirota has a good piece in Jacobin today

      1. I don’t have a problem with pointing out their hypocrisy, to a point.  That should be the first step with messaging.

        The second step, assuming Dems win the Presidency and the Senate is to play hardball in return.   Along the lines of what R&R suggested.

        We need to use their hypocrisy to help our messaging when we play hardball.  We need a message that is coherent for our hardball so that it can stick.

    2. “Our side is just going to have to have the cojones……”

      Which side is that? Perhaps you’re overlooking the “marriage of convenience” between common sense conservatives and progressives that shares a common goal of ridding the nation of Trump and as many of his enablers as possible.

      The goal is to win the presidency, win the Senate, and hold the House on the Dem side. If that occurs, and it’s by no means is a guarantee at this point in time, then January will be the time to start talking of future actions. As two examples, I can agree with removal of the filibuster. Packing the SCOTUS? No. 

      Elections have consequences. How would the nation look today if “Ralph Nader’s Ego,” as the Green Party candidate in Florida, hadn’t kept Al Gore from the win in 2000. Or if the Dems had been smart enough to persuade Joe Biden to run in 2016 instead of Hillary?

      Doesn’t really matter if ACB tries to overturn Roe or Casey at the SCOTUS level. If those who support womens’ rights control Congress, then the battle can continue. 

    3. I think you are on to something R&R.  Even Jennifer Rubin agrees with you.

      The Senate can alter or abolish the filibuster to prevent obstruction from a minority. Congress can alter the size of the Supreme Court and the lifetime tenure of justices. It can admit D.C. and Puerto Rico as states, another step toward democratization. It can expand the House of Representatives (something that has not happen since 1911).

      And she goes even further:

      Plainly, only one party has an interest in making the system more democratic. A Democratic president and a Democratic-led Congress could revive the preclearance procedures of the Voting Rights Act and move under the 14th Amendment to ban discriminatory practices such as voter-ID requirements, gerrymandering and voting-roll purges. Making Election Day a holiday, instituting automatic voter registration and ensuring voting-by-mail is accessible and secure in every state can expand the franchise, a critical component of any democracy.

  5. It's going to happen (appoint, a & c, confirm, seat).

    Then what ?

    Docket has ACA coming up early November. (buh- bye)

    I'm sure there will be election related appeals, and other 'emergency' requests.

    Later there are several solid abortion restriction cases (buh-bye) .

    Someone will get to decide all the pardon questions.

    Blow up the cloture rules the rest of the way for everything? (ummm… maybe fix the census and current gerrymandering apportionment first)

    Statehood for DC, PR, and others (forget Canada. The US should be inviting in the areas south of the border that Trist was supposed to include in 1852 and others)

    Fix :
    – the federal courts and the process that appoints judges for life.
    – elections so no foreign interference is possible
    – civil rights (including social security, medicare, medicaid, voting rights, affirmative action, reparations, posse comitatus, immigration, and more)
    – electoral college and unequal representation




    1. I'm hoping for strong consideration of a wide range of measures — many of which were good ideas passed by the House before we went into pandemic mode, before impeachment, before additional Sad!-ministration scandals, before RBG's death and Republican's in-process power grab. 

      Others are probably good policy

      — expanding the federal judiciary (hasn't been done since 1990), 

      — rebalancing the court circuits (hasn't been done since ??? 1950s? 1930s?), and

      — expanding the Supreme Court so there is one justice per circuit (13). 

      These moves could be done suddenly, advantaging the current President and Senate, or over a decade or so, allowing less partisan growth.  It could be done by simple majority or by requiring some higher threshold of approval in the Senate.

      If Republicans act without consideration of consequence, they will have little room for criticism when Democrats do something similar.  Unfortunately, that will trigger on-going reactions — unless something intervenes to mitigate the firestorms or the Republican party actually fractures and cannot regain a majority for a generation or so.

      1. @JiD: I think the Republican party is already fractured here in Colorado. It’s the party of God, but only the fundamentalist Christian god. It’s the party of total opposition to abortion, and let’s not have any silliness giving contraception to sexually active girls. And it’s guns, guns, guns, 24/7. Even conservative SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia said the right to own firearms was not absolute. And let’s not forget drill, baby, drill.

        If there is another electoral wipeout in November, it will be time to put PAID to the leadership tenure of the Nevilles, Ken Buck, Chris Holbert, Dudley Brown, Jeff Hunt, Kristi Burton Brown, and so on. The party clearly needs new leadership, if not already, then definitely then.

  6. I am not a fan of expanding the Supreme Court, but many of the other reforms, such as abolishing the filibuster, expanding the lower courts, and strengthening voting rights and voting accessibility would all be great. 

    I do not really see anything wrong with what Trump and Senate are doing now – appointing a new justice. That is their job. The problem is what they did 5 years ago in refusing to do their job and consider Garland's nomination. Apparently, many voters took McConnell, Graham, et al. at their word that they were establishing/respecting an unwritten rule about appointing justices in the last years of a presidential term. There has never been such a rule and there shouldn't be a rule. If voters don't like republican hypocrisy and outright lies, we should vote them out.  Hopefully, they will.

    But when the Democrats are back in control, they should focus on policies that have broad support and improve our nation, not on retaliation. We do not need to prove we can abuse power just are well as them.

    1. I don't know.  The fascists have gotten a lot of what they want by going low with Dems going high.  

      Here is where the case for expanding the court can be made to gain public support: the increasing political nature of SCOTUS the Republicans are trying to take over the court for a Generation plus.  To make it so it stands in the way of any progress that can be made.  The reversals would be completely at odds with what the majority of Americans support.  And these decisions wind up coming down to 1 or 2 justices that hold all the power in making these decisions.  Not only do they have the concentrated power with making these decisions, they are effectively shielded from any consequences.  Expanding the court to 13 justices would spread the decision making power out more so that these decisions involve more perspectives, and more factors that go into court rulings, and hopefully making it less of a partisan court.

      1. To make it so it stands in the way of any progress that can be made.

        Wasn't that the sales pitch FDR gave almost 85 years ago? Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. I also think with the ideological re-alignments of two political parties since then, a President Biden would have a better chance of packing the Court than FDR did. Biden won't have Southern segregationists in the Democratic Party to shoot down the idea.

        Biden's biggest problem will be the traditionalists including, unfortunately, Bennet and Hick.

          1. Good point. The switch in time saved nine.

            But with the exception of Roberts and maybe Gorsuch on certain issues, I wouldn't count on that happening with the ideological fanatics we're dealing with now.

            The more I hear about ACB, the more frightening she sounds. 

            1. That’s why I think that a court reform bill might happen.

              On the other hand, I’ll also note that nothing in the constitution says that a chief justice has to stay chief justice. How the role is selected is not defined in the constitution and congress could decide that it should be selected from already appointed justices at four year intervals from now on, for example. It might light a fire under Roberts to figure out how to keep the conservatives modest in their goals.

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