Rule Number One in hostage negotiations: It does absolutely no good to threaten to kill hostages you’ve already killed.
Someone should remind Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his colleagues of that. As they’ve reacted to news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing and President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ginsburg’s seat, Schumer and his colleagues have been running around like inmates at an asylum, screaming to the rafters of the consequences to come if the president and Senate majority do what the Constitution mandates that they do.
In the past week, we’ve heard leading Democrats threaten the following potential consequences if Republicans move forward with Judge Barrett’s nomination before Joe Biden is sworn in as president:
Impeaching the president. (For what, we’re not sure. Apparently, the thought is that a Senate impeachment trial would take up precious floor time, and at least delay for some time a confirmation vote of Judge Barrett, so the actual justification for the impeachment is less important than the fact that a Senate trial would be necessary.)
Abolishing the legislative filibuster, so a simple majority of the Senate would be required to pass legislation. This, of course, is the key that unlocks everything – without the necessity any longer to build a legislative coalition with at least 60 votes, a Democratic majority in the Senate would be able to pass anything it wanted. Of course, this would turn the Senate into nothing more than a smaller version of the House, and would destroy the unique differentiation from the House that the Framers designed.
“Packing” the court with extra justices to advance the left’s radical agenda. This is such an outlandish idea that when Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried this in 1937, he couldn’t get it through a Senate where he had 76 Democrats and just 16 Republicans. In modern times, this notion was actually first introduced during the Democratic Party’s presidential primary last year, but it seemed too radical at the time, and got little traction. But now, faced with the prospect of a Supreme Court with six justices appointed by Republican presidents and just three justices appointed by Democratic presidents, senior Democrats are openly talking about expanding the court by as many as four seats – so a President Biden could “rebalance” the Court from what would be a GOP-dominated 6-3 balance to a new, Democrat-heavy 7-6 balance.
Adding new states to the union. By passing legislation turning the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico into states, Senate Democrats would likely add four new Democrats to their ranks as U.S. Senators. And that would likely be in perpetuity, making it that much more difficult for Republicans to ever again recapture control of the U.S. Senate. Of course, adding the District of Columbia as a state cannot be done by simple legislation – it would require an amendment to the Constitution – but why let that little detail stand in the way of a time whose agenda has come?
The Green New Deal and Medicare for All. Oh, yes, they’ve been thrown into the mix as potential responses to GOP efforts to fill the vacancy. But weren’t we expecting Democrats to try to enact them both into law anyway?
In fact, that’s the point – nothing Democrat leaders are threatening now as a “You’d better not try to fill that vacancy, or else!” is anything they haven’t already told us is on their agenda if there should happen to be a Biden Administration working with a Democrat-controlled Senate as a consequence of the November election results.
In other words, these are not really threats. They are promises.
And they are not going to happen if the Republicans in the Senate move forward to fill a Supreme Court vacancy that the Constitution demands they fill; they are going to happen if Democrats win the White House and recapture the Senate.
If Joe Biden wins the White House, and Senate Democrats recapture the majority in the upper chamber, they will engage in efforts to achieve a kind of “fundamental transformation of America” that the Obama Administration could not even in its wildest dreams have imagined.
Jenny Beth Martin is President of Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund.