Yesterday, we reviewed some positive polling data surrounding the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court -- a nomination that will be reported out of committee tomorrow, and voted upon by the full Senate on Monday. Her confirmation has felt like something of a fait accompli since a majority of GOP Senators announced their support for filling the seat last month, but things can always go sideways in politics. Democrats entered the process wielding several arguments: First, that Republican efforts to fill the vacancy are "not constitutional." This is patently false. The constitution says that the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate...Judges of the Supreme Court." That's precisely what's playing out right now. The Senate can withhold consent, as it did in 2016, or it can grant it, as it will next week. I'd note that Republicans' ability to move forward with a successful confirmation currently exists because voters elected Donald Trump president four years ago, and because they've elected a GOP-controlled Senate for three consecutive election cycles.
Second, Democrats have argued, their opponents' actions and timeline are "illegitimate." This is also incorrect. Republicans are acting in accordance with the clear and overwhelming historical precedent by moving to install a replacement for the late Justice Ginsburg. Over the course of US history, there have been 29 previous new SCOTUS vacancies to arise in presidential election years. Presidents have put forward a nominee in every single case. In 19 of those circumstances, the presidency and Senate were under unified partisan control, resulting in 17 confirmations (including some in lame duck sessions after the election). But when partisan control was divided, the result has been 'no confirmation' in most cases. It's true that some Senators on both side of the aisle have displayed rank hypocrisy in their arguments recently -- but the fact remains that the Republican-held Senate declining to confirm a Democratic president's nominee in 2016, while advancing a nominee named by their own party's president in 2020, are not merely historically-precedented actions. Both have adhered to strong norms.
Finally, the opposition party has insisted that the American people are against confirming or seating a new justice prior to the fall election. This 'will of the people' argument was always tenuous, due to the relevant electoral outcomes mentioned above. But it is true that a number of public polls showed that most voters wanted to wait until after the election, or the next inauguration, to fill the seat. But that has changed. Judge Barrett is an unambiguously impressive and qualified nominee. Her confirmation hearings were a triumph. We wrote yesterday about a new Gallup poll showing majority support for her approval (+9 among independents), with a New York Times survey finding plurality support for the same. The Times poll also produced an eight-point plurality in favor of completing the confirmation process before the election. This morning, fresh Morning Consult data confirms that the Democratic case against filling the seat has crumbled:
As you can see, the public went from barely favoring Barrett's confirmation (+3) to supporting it by nearly a 2-to-1 clip (+23) in this series, including a healthy 20-point margin among independents. That's a net gain of 20 points in less than a month. I analyzed this data on Fox News earlier, observing that the more Americans have become familiar with Barrett, the more they support her. I also made the point that Democrats are now left with nothing in the way of compelling arguments:
I'll leave you with Noah Rothman's satisfyingly insightful piece about Senate Democrats' various tactics all collapsing:
It's telling that the Left is engaged in angry internal recriminations in advance of the votes, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein being foisted as a scapegoat. Hopefully, the acceptance stage will soon follow, with additional horrific polling convincing Democrats to abandon their threatened court-packing schemes. On that score, I'll leave you with this insulting derangement:
Clyburn, toying with court-packing, says SCOTUS is “developing” into a “throwback” to the era of Plessy v. Ferguson & Dred Scott — grotesque rulings on segregation and slavery.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 21, 2020
Absolutely disgusting & deranged. https://t.co/D0AFc0CQVS
Their arguments are astoundingly feeble and purely demagogic. What's concerning is that Clyburn is very influential in Bidenworld, having saved the nominee's bacon in South Carolina.