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Is Democrat Supreme Court Frenzy Really About Timing?

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) talk with members of Congress following ceremonies honoring late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 25, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool

In their furious reaction to confirmation plans for a successor to the late Justice Ginsburg, Democrats insist it’s all about timing. But even if she’d passed, or resigned, two years earlier, would Democrats offer more cooperation in approving a successor? Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were both appointed years ahead of any presidential contest but still drew near-unanimous Democratic opposition. Clarence Thomas provoked frenzied partisan attempts to defeat and discredit him, as did the esteemed judge Robert Bork in 1987, though both votes took place more than a year before presidential balloting.

Meanwhile, Republicans made no similar attempts to destroy Democratic nominees, giving bi-partisan support to Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and, yes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Why the contrast?

Democrats view the judiciary as a political branch of government—for enacting progressive reforms that lack popular support for legislative action. Their resulting politicization of the confirmation process makes the judiciary the target of narrow and destructive partisanship.

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