Join Jim and Greg as they welcome Sen. Dianne Feinstein – the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee – saying she opposes ending the legislative filibuster. Without killing the filibuster, Democrats would be unable to add seats to the Supreme Court, but is Feinstein sincere or is she just worried about touting court packing before the election? They also brace for a violent day or more in Louisville as officials announce whether police officers will face charges for the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in March. And they unload on media outlets for not only beginning to attack possible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett but for getting the story spectacularly wrong.
Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Senate for confirming Brett Kavanaugh and, more importantly, for standing up for defending some of the most fundamental principles of the American system of government. They also sigh as former Attorney General Eric Holder says the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is now in question and only upcoming rulings can answer the question, and Justice Elena Kagan questions whether the high court is legitimate now that there’s no obvious swing justice like Anthony Kennedy or Sandra Day O’Connor. Alexandra sounds off on a New York Times op-ed calling white women gender traitors who benefit from keeping the patriarchy in place. And they roll their eyes as Columbus, Ohio, stops observing Columbus Day.
Friday afternoon, Maine Sen. Susan Collins gave an extensive explanation for her decision to support the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Collins became the 50th vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
In her speech, Sen. Collins discussed Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial history and why she believes liberal concerns about Kavanaugh’s approach to health care, birth control, abortion, and executive power were not well-founded.
She also slammed the partisanship among lawmakers and outrage of special interest groups in the confirmation process. Collins also explained how she sorted through the allegations against Kavanaugh in the past few weeks.
Listen here for the full speech.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley for not humoring scurrilous accusations against Brett Kavanaugh and for demanding Dr. Ford turn over the evidence she claims will back up her allegations. They also shake their heads as Sen. Jeff Flake suggests Kavanaugh’s demeanor towards committee Democrats is not something that belongs on the Supreme Court, making them wonder whether Republicans really have the votes for confirmation. And they throw up their hands at how both sides react to Ford’s former boyfriend stating under oath that she helped a friend prepare for a polygraph examination, which would contradict her sworn testimony. Some conservatives are treating the allegation as fact while liberals are suddenly horrified by the prospect of reporting uncorroborated accusations.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are enjoying Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono getting so much television time. One week after telling all men to “shut up” and admitting she was fine keeping the Supreme Court seat vacant, she admits to CNN that she doesn’t believe Kavanaugh’s denials on sexual misconduct allegations because she doesn’t like the way he rules on cases and fears he would overturn Roe v. Wade. They also blast the “New Yorker” for actually publishing a story from a second “accuser,” despite the fact the accuser could not definitively name Kavanaugh for the misconduct, all named witnesses had no knowledge of the incident in question, and the accuser actually told former classmates in the past week that she wasn’t sure she was targeted by Kavanaugh. And they get dizzy from all the reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is on the verge of resigning or being fired.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the allegation emerging now against Brett Kavanaugh but dating back to the 1980’s, and while the allegation is disturbing, they agree a lot more specifics need to come out before it can be taken credibly. They also applaud Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for blasting the rank partisanship that has become a hallmark of Supreme Court confirmation debates. And they slam the New York Times for clearly implying that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley ordered $52,000 curtains for her ambassadorial residence in New York City, when the same article makes it clear the spending decision was made in the Obama administration.
President Trump plans to announce his choice to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court Monday, and grassroots activists are ready to promote and defend whomever Trump chooses from his public list of potential nominees.
On Monday, Trump reportedly interviewed four people for the job, including Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Raymond Kethledge and Amul Thapar from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Brett Kavanaugh of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Judicial Crisis Network Chief Counsel Carrie Severino says the most important thing is that everyone on Trump’s list has the right view of a judge’s role.
“The most important thing is this is going to be someone is faithful to the law, is faithful to the Constitution. We’re not looking for a specific outcome in any one case or the other. You want someone who is going to keep those principles first and foremost,” said Severino.
In the past week since Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his impending retirement, Democrats have alternated among demanding no confirmation vote be held until after the midterm elections to lamenting that one more originalist on the court will mean catastrophe for every liberal priority.
“It’s really a hysterical list. Everyone take a deep breath and try to look at the actual facts on the ground. As it happens, all these people are excellent and have great records of upholding the Constitution and reading the laws as they’re written,” said Severino.
So what does Severino think of the names on the list and the four candidates screened by Trump this week?
“You’ve got the constitutional legal scholar in Amy Coney Barrett. You’ve got Amul Thapar who’s got district court experience as well as now being an appellate court judge. He was even a short-lister and interviewed by the president for Justice Gorsuch’s spot. So he’s obviously been in the running for awhile.
“And then two Kennedy clerks, Judges Kethledge and Kavanaugh, both of whom have long track records on the bench and both of whom are incredibly highly regarded in their fields. It’s really an embarrassment of riches. I think I could be in love with any of these nominees,” said Severino.
When discussing the intense liberal reaction to Trump getting the chance to name the justice to succeed Justice Kennedy, Severino admits she was filled with dread in early 2016 when it appeared President Obama would have the chance to name a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia. That was before Senate Republicans insisted on waiting until the election was over before considering a nominee.
However, Severino also says the corollary to Obama naming a replacement for Scalia would be for Trump to name a successor for someone like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She says the outrage over Trump choosing a justice following Kennedy’s retirement is is far too hysterical.
“Justice Kennedy, yes he was a swing vote, but he swung much more often with the conservatives. A couple of the recent terms were pretty discouraging for conservatives but this term he voted 100 percent with the conservative bloc,” said Severino.
She also says many Americans might be surprised to learn which justice Kennedy was closest to in his opinions.
“The justice he aligned the most with was Justice (Neil) Gorsuch and vice versa. It turns out that for all the hysteria of this is going to have such a huge, dramatic impact on the court, it turns out that you couldn’t have picked a better justice to mimic Justice Kennedy. So if we get a similar pick to Gorsuch, then any liberal worried about keeping Kennedy’s legacy alive should be happy,” said Severino.
With just a 51-49 majority and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., unlikely to be able to vote, Republicans cannot afford any defections. In addition, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, now says she cannot support a nominee who could pose a threat to Roe v. Wade.
Nonetheless, Severino is confident that Collins and other moderate Republicans will stay in line. She says its the Democrats who have the real dilemma.
“They have to decide if they’re going to stand with the president’s nominee who is clearly, from the list we’re looking at, going to be an outstanding pick for the Supreme Court, or are they going to align themselves with a liberal fringe in the Democrat Party, and vote lockstep with Chuck Schumer.
“That might play well in California, in Massachusetts, in New York. I don’t know how that plays in West Virginia, Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, Montana,” said Severino.
Ten senators are running for re-election in states carried by Trump in 2016. The five states mentioned by Severino went for Trump by wide margins.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the confirmation of CIA Director Gina Haspel, discussing the six Democrats who ended up back the nomination and their likely political calculations. They also shudder at reports that efforts are underway to create a TV show featuring former Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci and Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti. And they walk through the rough public relations performance of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who seems to be creating more controversies than he’s resolving.
Note: The Texas high school shooting was first being reported at the time the podcast was recorded Friday morning. Details were scarce and Jim and Greg determined it was irresponsible to comment on it until the facts are established. Certainly, our prayers are with the families of those killed and for the recovery of those injured.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see the Democrats’ strategy against Jeff Sessions accomplish nothing – and they point out why the strategy was so stupid. They also groan as the Obama administration’s self-congratulations tour continues with Obama giving Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And they react to Sen. Kamala Harris grilling CIA director nominee Mike Pompeo about climate change, while Jim explains the “sure, whatever” strategy he would employ at a confirmation hearing.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America get a kick out of Trump protesters arguing about who is more oppressed. They also rip New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker for testifying against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. And they sigh as the insane people from Code Pink repeatedly disrupt the Sessions confirmation hearings.