The Real Lesson of Amy Coney Barrett

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports and everyone in America knows, the last great fait accompli of Republican control in Washington, D.C. under President Donald Trump is now mission accomplished:

Colorado’s senators followed their parties’ lead when it came to voting Judge Amy Coney Barrett onto the Supreme Court Monday. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet voted against her confirmation, while Republican Sen Cory Gardner voted for it.

She was confirmed along party lines 52-48, with no Democrats voting for her confirmation.

Bennet and Gardner both took to the Senate floor ahead of the vote, decrying the highly partisan process.

Gardner said Monday afternoon that, “if you can take the politics out of the place, she would probably have a unanimous vote. Unfortunately, the politicization of this nomination is going to prevent that.”

“Decrying the highly partisan process” that ended last night with the swearing in of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, over the express dying wish of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that her replacement be appointed after a new president is sworn in in January, is a risible distortion of the history of Republican treachery regarding high court appointments going back to 2016, when the same Cory Gardner and Senate Republicans refused to grant President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia a hearing months before the presidential election to be held that year. Gardner’s excuse for acting differently in 2020 was simply that the Senate and White House are controlled by the same party. How can Gardner complain about a “partisan process” when partisanship is literally the only reason this is happening?

The real mistake here would be to spend any time trying to honestly reconcile Gardner’s words with his deeds. The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett happened yesterday for the same reason Merrick Garland’s confirmation didn’t happen in 2016: Republicans had the power to do what they wanted in both cases. All of the stated justifications for taking opposite actions in response to the same circumstances are meaningless, even insulting to the nation’s collective intelligence. The only thing that matters, then and now, is power.

In 2014, it was in part reliance on the theory that Gardner’s ability to carry out his anti-abortion agenda would be self-limited by the deliberative nature of the Senate that justified the Denver Post’s backhanded endorsement of Gardner–going so far as to call worries about the threat Gardner posted to abortion rights a “tedious refrain.” Today, with abortion rights in mortal danger beyond even what Gardner’s opponents in 2014 could have predicted, the naivete of Gardner’s apologists in 2014 has been laid bare more completely than any Democratic ad campaign could possibly manage.

There is only one lesson from all of this, and it could not be more timely. Elections matter.

Whatever happens next, a generation of Colorado voters have seen enough to never be fooled again.

29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gilpin Guy says:

    Optimistic last sentence Pols.  Colorado voters statewide have seen enough never to be fooled by Cory Gardner again.  Other than that meh.

  2. kickshot says:

    the prevailing right-wing logic seems to go like this:

    She’s a woman.

    She’s a wife.

    She’s a mother.

    How dangerous could she really be?

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    Gardner said Monday afternoon that, “if you can take the politics out of the place, she would probably have a unanimous vote. Unfortunately, the politicization of this nomination is going to prevent that.”

    He's not only dishonest but he's stupid, too. Who on K Street is going to want to hire this imbecile.

    Yuma county commissioner may be his next step.

    • unnamed says:

      I wonder if he made this statement because he is dishonest, or because he is stupid.  Could be both.

      I don't care where he goes, because he can go to hell.

      • MADCO says:

        Trying to reference what he thought was a cool and topical movie quote, late in my gentlemanly college career someone said to me ‘grow up, going through college fat, drunk and clueless is no way to get to graduation’. 

        I replied ‘ Hey! I haven’t been that fat.’

        The lesson is, nothing says anything is ever mutually exclusive.




        I dated his girlfriend a few weeks later, right before graduation.









    • MichaelBowman says:

      There will always be a shining tower in Wichita beckoning him.  Chuck and Dave made a substantial investment in the man from Yuma over time – they won't just walk away. 

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    There's a lot of discussion about adding 4 justices to the Supreme Court. But there is another alternative…

    Marbury vs. Madison is not enshrined in the Constitution nor in law. It was invented by the court and is no different than a president issuing an executive order that grabs power for the president in the absence of clear law forbidding that act.

    Congress could legislate when the court can rule on the constitutionality of laws, and what effect that ruling has. And if Biden and a Democratic Congress make it clear they will then work from that – the court is then limited to that law (like when Jackson ignored the court's ruling in favor of the Cherokee).

  5. Meiner49er says:

    Yes, elections matter. But no party in a functioning democracy can ever win every election, and certainly not if they only focus on 27 states.

    How many times can Democrats whine about losing to Republican strong-arm tactics before they are forced to take a hard look in the mirror and blame themselves?

    The real lesson in the ACB hearings is a hard one, indeed. Dems still won't step up to the mirror.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      @ProjectLincoln out today with an ad for South Carolina.  Dr. Bledsoe is on the ticket but has dropped out and endorsed Lindsey. He dropped out too late to keep his name from being printed on the ballot; SC conservatives will have an option to Blanche if they can't bring themselves to vote for Harrison.  This could split the vote enough to put Harrison over the finish line. 

      @PL has announced they plan to continue beyond the election as a media company, dedicated to eradicating the virus of Trumpism (which they said this morning could be a 6-8 year window). 

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        Will Bill Bledsoe be South Carolina Republicans' Jill Stein?

        Sweet. I don't when it happens to the other side.

        (Cue the Ride of Valkyries since I mentioned You-Know-Who.) 

    • MADCO says:

      The real.takeaway is do what you are able to do, not what you think you should do.

  6. spaceman65 says:

    Add 6 justices.  Expand to 15 circuits and double the number of judges in circuit and district courts, and make all immigration courts article III courts.  Reduce SCOTUS jurisdiction and take away its budget for everything except stuff constitutionally required.  Require a seat to be added to the supreme court every time a justice hits 75 and won't retire.  The "rule of law" is a sad joke.  

  7. MichaelBowman says:

    David Dennison is pulling out all the stops today! Why won't Melania tell her porn-star-humping hubby to #BeBest when it comes to matters of Papa Frank? 

  8. itlduso says:

    Expanding (not "packing".  Never use the word "packing" unless in the context of what the GOP did.) the Court is perfectly Constitutional.

    Prior to that, Joe Scarborough suggested that two conservative Justices (say, Thomas and Alito) could resign during the hoped for Biden Administration. 

    • Duke Cox says:

      History will be unkind to Donnie and Mitch. All of them, really. This kind of underhanded, criminal politics will win some battles, but they will never win the war.

      Treachery, cruelty, and a malevolent single-mindedness has handed Mitch his prize. I heard him yesterday on the floor of the Senate, trying to convince his caucus they have done a noble thing. They all know better.

      Phony Barrett is an assassin. She is looking to be exalted as the fundamentalists Joan d'Arc. She will bring down Roe v. Wade. It is her destiny…and I believe she aims to fulfill it.

      Along the way, she will legislate all those issues fundamentalist Christians have been lusting to change. The push to install an American theocracy will intensify.

      This isn't going to be any fun.

      • notaskinnycook says:

        I think you're right, Duke, and I think they're going to start losing the war next Tuesday. All those Senators who are on the bubble and on the ballot may have sold their reelection for this SCOTUS pick. I doubt they'll think it was worth it.

      • MADCO says:


        You mean like last weekend?  It looks like some guys came to see Mith already. 

        Don gets his visit later. Like some thursday in January.

        Or in the next three years when the billions in debt he owes will be due.(I know NYT said $451million – but Forbes says $1.2B, and others know it's more.) 

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      @itlduso: sorry to be a little rude. If Biden wins and the Republicans retain the Senate, what makes you believe that Mitch will move to confirm any Biden picks for the SCOTUS or appellate courts? 

  9. JohnInDenver says:

    Gardner, ever the pragmatist, seems to agree that a Senate and a President of the same party can do what they want to do.  Sen. Graham as chair of Judiciary, went along with an accelerated schedule (despite COVID quarantine, Senate rules for bipartisan attendance at the committee meetings, prior practice on allowing time for outside individuals to prepare testimony or submissions).  The final vote of 52-48 and an absolute partisan one is a clear message. 

    So, if Biden wins and the Senate majority shifts, the precedent ought to be followed for at least the 4 years of Biden's term:  President + Senate can do what they want. 

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