Many Congressional Democrats are asking Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, to follow his own rule concerning a president’s ability to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice. McConnell prevented Barack Obama from nominating a justice to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia on the theory that a president should not be able to appoint a new Supreme Court justice during an election year.
Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, has asked McConnell to put off consideration for a new justice to replace the retiring Anthony Kennedy until after this year’s midterm elections. But trying to shame McConnell into abiding by his own rule seems like a complete waste of time. The man is incapable of self-reproach.
A better rule for Democrats to use in their effort to stop the consideration of the newly nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Court is the “Booker Rule.” Namely, there should be no Supreme Court pick while a president remains under Criminal Investigation.
Here is how Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) explained his position:
“President Trump is currently a subject of an Ongoing Criminal Investigation, and any nomination of a Supreme Court justice while that investigation continues is unacceptable because of the clear conflict of interest inherent in the President installing someone who could be the deciding vote on a number of potential issues from that investigation that could come before the Court.”
Democrats need to keep repeating the “Booker Rule” until they’re blue in the face (no pun intended).
It is common sense that no person under criminal investigation should be able to literally pick his own judge. And on that matter, Kavanaugh has written, in a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review, that presidents should be immune while in office from “time-consuming and distracting” criminal investigations. “Like civil suits, criminal investigations take the President’s focus away from his or her responsibilities to the people. And a President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as President.”
No, Democrats should not be playing the “shame” or “hypocrisy” card but the “conflict of interest” card. It is difficult to defend the idea that Trump should be able to choose a justice who may soon decide his legal fate. The “Booker Rule.”
Granted Dems don’t have the votes to block Kavanaugh’s nomination but if enough pressure is placed on a few moderate Republicans, and those Blue Dog Democrats, the day may yet be won.
Photo | Jack Gruber/USA Today