Biden Supreme Court Risks – WSJ

Given the high levels that the White House has seized upon Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement, the administration is clearly leaning on a confirmation battle to get Democrats to midterm. That calculation could prove to be as erroneous as any other to date during Joe Biden’s presidency. Especially if the president dances to progressive demands.

Judges often notify the White House of their retirement plans early, with the expectation that the news will be kept secret through the end of the court’s term. The Biden administration’s eagerness to change headlines from inflation, Covid, and the president’s bad ratings, didn’t give Justice Breyer that courtesy. News on Wednesday leaked that Justice Breyer was forced to write an official retirement letter the next day.

Democrats are reveling in distraction while assuring the media that the upcoming confirmation fight will lay the groundwork for a midterm struggle — especially as Mr. named the court’s first black woman. The party is also busy encouraging its flexible press to make this story — the story of a Democratic presidential candidate facing a Democratic Senate majority — all about the party. Republic. The story goes that the GOP was defeated by a savvy White House, divided over the risk of staging an all-out attack on a minority candidate and bitter about its inability to prevent a vote. promissory note.

It is a way of looking at it — a way not understood by events, history, or political reality. Without a doubt, the Biden base is eager for a political victory after demoralizing defeats on their multi-million dollar spending bill and voting takeover. And surely Mr. Biden will be credited among the progressives for fulfilling his campaign pledge and making his “history” in court.

This nomination, however, falls short of the drama that other Supreme Court animators have struggled with in recent years. Biden’s choice will make no difference to the ideological structure of the court. He is replacing a libertarian with a libertarian, while six conservative judges still rule. The nominee is also not a surprise — or a surprise. Mr. Biden’s shortlist is necessarily very short, and one of the candidates (Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia) passed Senate confirmation just in last.

Mr. Biden promised to be named before the end of February, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aims to complete the confirmation in about a month. So, without delays or flashpoints, Democrats could be in April right where they are politically — with a rear-view mirror appointee and re-electors. focus on inflation, Covid and the rest. It’s hard to see how a relatively frank court argument in the spring will propel the liberals to the polls in November. Historically, in particular, the Supreme Court has been an issue that pushed Republicans to vote more than Democrats.

The immediate risk is for Democrats — specifically, the president shouldering them with another midterm responsibility. Mr. Biden again faces a choice. He could pick a qualified libertarian following the pattern of Justice Breyer or Justice Elena Kagan and take credit for putting a substantive jurist on the bench. Or he could bow to radical demands that he infuse the court with a new radicalism and deliver an improved version of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, all anger, confusion, and ideas fiery ants.

If it’s the latter, watch out for Republicans to hang that candidate around the necks of vulnerable Senate Democrats in the upcoming elections. Contrary to press coverage, conservatives are not feeling much anger about the nomination. Republicans expected Justice Breyer to retire and knew Democrats would have the votes to confirm a replacement. The choice not only did not change the ideological structure of the court; some Republicans think a more radical new justice could aid their cause by making it difficult for Justice Kagan to reach the compromise with the two conservative judges needed for the majority.

The hope is that the vast majority of Republicans will focus more on Mr. Biden and the Democrats (and what this selection says about their governance) than the candidate himself. They are betting that even a radical Biden candidate will get the unanimous support of Democrats, and they are preparing for the likes of Mark Kelly of Arizona and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire to own the ballot. that vote. Combined with Senate Democrats’ new promise to kill legislative nefarious, a Supreme Court Supreme Court pick on the fire brand could alienate independents even more. even as it telegraphs Republicans.

The Supreme Court’s choice is always a political risk to a president entering an election — something the press was quick to point out when

Donald Trump

is considering who to fill the seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the fall of 2020. Mr. Trump has neutralized much of that risk by selecting the qualified and respected Amy Coney Barrett.

But Mr. Biden has had a history of disliking leftist demands, and all the pressure will now come from the Justice Needs mob to be radical. The White House was opened here. Will it use it wisely or double it?

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