Tuesday, September 22, 2020


This didn't surprise me:
Sen. Mitt Romney said Tuesday he would support a floor vote to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, essentially clinching consideration of President Donald Trump’s nominee this year despite the impending election.

Just two Republican senators have asked for the party to put the brakes on the confirmation. And with a 53-seat majority, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) now has the votes he needs to move forward with a nominee.
Remember, Romney wasn't a senator in 2016, so he can say truthfully that he didn't refuse to consider Merrick Garland, and thus he can dodge accusations of hypocrisy. Also, let's not forget that the judges Mitch McConnell and Leonard Leo are getting approved with brutal efficiency are exactly the judges who would have been appointed by any other serious 2016 Republican contender for the presidency in -- or by a second-term Republican president who won the 2012 election. These judges would all have been on Romney's list, too. Romney doesn't like Trump, but in this case Romney isn't endorsing an act of Trumpian ruthlessness -- he's endorsing an act of mainstream Republican ruthlessness.

But I see that he's justified the decision by echoing a particulalry absurd assertion he made in a speech many years ago. Here's why he says he supports a vote:
“My liberal friends have over many decades gotten very used to the idea of having a liberal court, but that's not written in the stars,” the Utah Republican told reporters after this decision. He called it “appropriate for a nation that is ... center-right to have a court which reflects center-right points of view.”
That's right -- Romney says a Supreme Court with Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and John Roberts as five of its (until recently) nine members is liberal.

This reminds me of a preposterous section of Romney's 2008 Republican convention speech on behalf of John McCain:
... let me ask you — what do you think Washington is right now, liberal or conservative? Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with Constitution rights? It's liberal! Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interests of the teachers union ahead of the needs of our children? — It's liberal!

Is a Congress liberal or conservative that stops nuclear power plants and offshore drilling, making us more and more dependent on Middle East tyrants? — It's liberal!

Is government spending — excluding inflation — liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980? — It's liberal!

We need change all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big government liberals and elect John McCain!
Remember: This was in 2008 -- the eighth year of the administration of those notorious liberals George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The Supreme Court at the time included not just Thomas, Roberts, and Alito but also Antonin Scalia -- four of the five most conservative justices since 1937, according to one ranking.

It was ridiculous in 2008, Mitt, and it's ridiculous now.

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