Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fantasy Politics

Walk with me, if you will for a moment, into an imaginary world.  The play world of Fantasy Politics.  The year is 2008.  George W Bush is our lame duck President, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suddenly and unexpectedly walks on.  This gives the conservatives a rare opportunity to ensure a staunchly conservative Supreme Court, a guarantee of right-wing victory in every court decision despite Justice Kennedy's stubbornly moderate swing vote.  Now even if he were to vote with Souter, Stevens, and Breyer, the conservatives would still win.
Now in real life, President Bush appointed 325 federal judges during his 8 years as President, including 2 Supreme Court justices.  Those were John G Roberts and Samuel Alito.  Of the 28 judges appointed in his last year in office, an election year, only one was approved by less than a unanimous vote.  Even though Democrats hated Dubya, they still did their Constitutional duty and, offering "advice and consent", approved his appointees.  The one judge that didn't get unanimously approved was Helene White.  The vote was 63-32 to appoint her to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.  It was not along party lines, but due to purported anomalies in her nomination process.  Bush had made a deal with Democrats to get some of his other nominations approved.
Democrats held a small majority in the Senate in 2008 -- 51 to 49.  Since Supreme Court Justices only need a majority vote to be confirmed, the Democrats, if they voted together, could withhold confirmation of any of Dubya's nominees.  But they did not.  John Roberts was confirmed by a vote of 78-22 and Samuel Alito was confirmed by a vote of 58-42.  In Alito's case, at least 9 Democrats voted to confirm him.  Clearly, Democrats, for the most part, can't be accused of being radical, or of "making Bush a one-term President" or of blocking anything and everything he put forth.  Lots of things got done during Dubya's last year in office.
Okay, back to Fantasy Politics. 
How likely is it that Democrats, that liberals, or the liberal media would claim RBG was murdered by Bush so that he could cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court?  How likely is it that Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader in 2008, would have announced within hours of her death that President Bush should not nominate anyone, but should let his successor do it.  How likely is it that he would vow to block any nomination by the lame duck President?
If you think any of that is likely, you truly live in a Fantasy World.