Yesterday on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton went on a riff about how wonderful it would be if there were such a thing as a real-time political fact-checking mechanism that would sound an alarm (she suggests and mimics a dog barking) every time Republicans say something false:
It garnered a laugh from her audience, but I'm...not convinced this sort of running truth detector would benefit her, given the frequency and effortlessness of her own lies. For instance, the one example she offered of Republican dishonesty was itself inaccurate. Republicans accurately say that one of the biggest causes of the Great Recession was too little government regulation, not too much. In any case, Hillary uncorked a tweet storm last night, personally firing off and signing 11 consecutive tweets excoriating the GOP for its decision to deny President Obama the opportunity to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court. Her stream of partisanship includes some telling omissions and falsehoods. Let's take a few of them:
Yes it is. Nobody is disputing that. But the constitution also grants the US Senate the power to withhold its consent from a presidential nomination. Congress' upper chamber has seen fit to do so many times over the history of the republic. For reasons we'll get into below, there is zero doubt that Hillary Clinton is keenly aware of the legislative branch's constitutional authority within this process. Mrs. Clinton proceeds to run through a series of major cases on the Court's docket -- on issues ranging from immigration to abortion. (Her hope, by the way, is that SCOTUS will uphold Obama's unlawful executive amnesty, and strike down reasonable restrictions on abortion passed by the people's representatives). Her implication is that these cases will go unresolved if a ninth justice is not ensconced on the bench as soon as possible. In fact, a 4-4 tie would default back to the lower court's decision, which would not establish a legal precedent. This scenario isn't ideal, but it's by no means a crisis, and it's far from unprecedented. Hillary -- evidently lacking any self-awareness -- then slams Republicans' "disgraceful" conduct:
8 I have news for Republicans who would put politics over the Constitution: Refusing to do your duty isn’t righteous, it's disgraceful. -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 16, 2016
Ahem. Hillary Clinton, like Barack Obama, filibustered President Bush's last Supreme Court pick. She also joined obstructionist Senate Democrats in filibustering a host of Bush nominees to crucial appeals court seats, including a top-flight Hispanic nominee named Miguel Estrada, who was held in limbo for two years before finally withdrawing. Back then, Hillary and her allies framed the act of denying Bush his selections as the fulfillment of a righteous duty. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it's a giant disgrace, or whatever. She goes on:
9 There are 339 days until the next president takes office. The Senate has never taken more than 125 days to vote on a SCOTUS nominee. -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 16, 2016
Actually, several Supreme Court vacancies have sat unfilled for more than a full year, including examples stretching from the mid-1800's to the late 20th century. Hillary should brush up on her history. And then there's this:
10 As for complaints that this is an election year: 1988 was an election year, too—and Justice Kennedy was confirmed 97-0. -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 16, 2016
This tweet counts on readers' ignorance regarding that confirmation fight. The vacancy in question opened up in 1987 (not an election year, obviously), and President Reagan selected conservative stalwart Robert Bork to ascend to the Court. The ensuing confirmation battle spanned five months, ending in a defeat spearheaded by Democrats who used scorched-earth tactics and extreme demagoguery to vilify Bork (read this short National Review post about how that shameful affair applies to today's situation). Kennedy was Reagan's eventual 'consensus' pick, offered in the face of intransigent, obstinate opposition. The reality is that for more than 80 years, the Senate has not confirmed a Supreme Court appointment to a seat that came open during a presidential election year. The New York Times editorial board, meanwhile, is doing what it does best: Engaging in transparent partisan hackery on behalf of Democrats. The Times' editors are furious with Republicans for vowing to block Obama's nominee, deliberately eliding the Bork example, and conveniently forgetting their own vocal support for judicial filibusters targeting Bush nominees. I'll leave you with a snippet from a Wall Street Journal editorial, which appropriately invokes "the Schumer precedent:"
Speaking of politicizing the Supreme Court (see above), Sen. Chuck Schumer always delivers. In July 2007 the New York Democrat gave a speech to a progressive legal society in which he said this about confirming a George W. Bush nominee in the last 18 months of his Presidency as recounted in Politico: “‘We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,’ Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. ‘The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice [John Paul] Stevens replaced by another [Chief Justice John] Roberts, or Justice [ Ruth Bader] Ginsburg by another [ Samuel] Alito.’” Mr. Schumer went on to say that he would recommend to his Senate colleagues “that we should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances.” Mr. Schumer and the media may want to forget this as he insists on replacing Justice Antonin Scalia this year, but there it is.
Schumer said he'd do "everything in my power" to deny Bush an additional appointment to the High Court in a speech delivered in mid-2007:
UPDATE - Oh.
Senate Dems' 1960 resolution aimed at blocking Eisenhower's election-year SCOTUS appointment: https://t.co/LcQON1Nk1R— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 16, 2016