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SHAMELESS: ABC Already Lobbying to Block Trump Court Pick



ABC News had barely even reported the news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing Friday night before hosts and correspondents began crassly strategizing over how Democrats could target vulnerable Republican senators in order to block any nominee named by President Trump to fill the vacancy. At one point in the special coverage, contributor Kate Shaw even suggested a hit job similar to that against Justice Brett Kavanaugh could upend any confirmation.  

As the report began, anchor Byron Pitts turned to Good Morning America co-host and Democratic Party operative George Stephanopoulos for his thoughts about the “earth-shaking” news. Stephanopoulos concurred: “It is, as earth-shaking as it gets, Byron. Eight, nine, ten on the Richter scale.”

 

 

After Pitts wondered how “this will change the dynamic of the election coming up,” Stephanopoulos feared Trump nominating a justice: “Will he be able to force through a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the less than seven weeks that remain until Election Day and the lame duck session that comes after that? It’s an open question.”

Moments later, chief White House correspondent Jon Karl similarly echoed the left’s terror at the prospect: “And the idea of Donald Trump replacing the liberal core of the Court with another justice like Kavanaugh or Gorsuch would tilt the Court decisively, perhaps for a generation, to the right.” He then assured viewers that “Democrats will fight and fight and fight, you know, with everything they have over the next 46 days.”

Joining the coverage after Karl, chief congressional correspondent Mary Bruce argued that Republicans might not want to “risk” even trying to name a replacement as she lobbied GOP senators up for reelection to block it:

Trying to fill this seat, of course, is a potentially risky move for Trump and for Republicans. A lot of eyes now are on moderate Republicans. A handful of critical moderate Republicans, several incumbents who are in tight races, could they potentially be swayed to try and oppose a rush to fill this seat? It of course just takes four votes to flip this, to try and block whoever the President puts forward.         

After Bruce, Supreme Court contributor Kate Shaw predictably sounded the alarm over abortion: “I think there is no question that if President Trump is successful in getting a replacement confirmed, Roe vs. Wade will be overturned in the very near future….that is very much what is at stake in this decision – in this sort of confirmation battle.”

She then placed hope in the possibility that the left would try to destroy any future nominee in the same way they smeared Justice Kavanaugh:

I mean one other thing I’ll say is that if the White House moves quickly to put a name forward, and it sounds as though they will, I presume they will choose someone who has been confirmed to a federal appeals court relatively recently and thus has been vetted and so there is a degree of certainty that the process could be smooth. But as we saw with Brett Kavanaugh, sometimes the unexpected does occur in a confirmation process. And of course, Christine Blasey Ford coming forward nearly derailed his confirmation process. So there’s a degree of uncertainty even if the White House wants to move as quickly as it can forward, there’s only so much that is within its control.

Wrapping up the special report, Pitts returned to Stephanopoulos, who helpfully listed all the GOP senators Democrats should target:

Batten down the hatches, Byron….I would say in the coming days and weeks, keep your eye not only on President Trump, not only on former Vice President Joe Biden, but on several key senators. Look at Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, even Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee from South Carolina. The decisions those senators make in these coming days and weeks will determine the course of the Supreme Court, perhaps the course of the country for another generation.

Make no mistake, the left-wing media will do whatever it takes to help Democrats and the Biden campaign savage anyone Trump puts forward for the high court.

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Here are excerpts of the September 18 coverage:

7:57 PM ET

BYRON PITTS: Joining us now by phone is ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos. George, this is earth-shaking news.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It is, as earth-shaking as it gets, Byron. Eight, nine, ten on the Richter scale. First of all, let’s acknowledge, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant in American life. She paved the way for women’s rights throughout our legal system, as a lawyer, as a private lawyer, as a justice on the Supreme Court. She did as much for women’s rights as Thurgood Marshall did for black Americans as a private lawyer and on the Supreme Court. She – her contributions are incalculable. And for her death to come less than seven weeks before an election where the balance of the Court is at stake, is just mind boggling.

PITTS: George, do you think, in talking about the election and her passing, how dramatically do you think this will change the dynamic of the election coming up?

STEPHANOPOULOS: There are so many open questions, Byron. Number one, remember, will President Trump – we know he’s going to nominate someone, he has a list ready. He has a majority in the Senate, a Republican majority in the Senate right now. Will he be able to force through a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the less than seven weeks that remain until Election Day and the lame duck session that comes after that? It’s an open question.

(…)

8:00 PM ET

PITTS: We’re joined now – we’re talking now via phone to ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. Jonathan, what’s been the reaction, if any, to this point, at the White House?

JONATHAN KARL: Byron, nothing yet, but let me tell you, I think that George hit it – the nail on the head here about the fact that this now suddenly becomes, if not the central, certainly a central issue in this campaign, 46 days left. Donald Trump, I – we don’t have any official word on this – but I fully anticipate he will attempt to fill that seat on the Supreme Court. It’s hard for me to see that there’s enough time to get a justice confirmed, to go through confirmation hearings and to get a final vote in the Senate, but they will try, I believe. And this will be something that will be all-consuming in this campaign.

You know, she was obviously more than just a Supreme Court justice, she was an American icon. She was also the liberal heart of the Supreme Court. I mean, she – the Supreme Court, as you know, Byron, so well, is so – is evenly divided. It’s a conservative majority right now, a 5-4 majority, but that fifth vote is Justice Roberts, who sometimes joins with the liberals. And the idea of Donald Trump replacing the liberal core of the Court with another justice like Kavanaugh or Gorsuch would tilt the Court decisively, perhaps for a generation, to the right. And this is something that will – Democrats will fight and fight and fight, you know, with everything they have over the next 46 days.

(…)

8:04 PM ET

PITTS: We’re going to be joined now on the phone with Mary Bruce, our chief congressional correspondent. Mary Bruce, what’s been the reaction on the Hill?

MARY BRUCE: Well, we are still, of course, keeping a close eye to see how Congress reacts. But of course everyone wondering, what are Republicans going to do next? The Republican Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has made very clear that he will try to fill this seat even though we are now under 50 days to an election. Timing here is going to be critical. They don’t have a lot of time, just until a transition in early January to try and fill this seat. But Leader McConnell has made very clear that is his intention. Even though, of course, it is the opposite of an argument that he made when there was a fight over trying to appoint Merrick Garland to fill this seat by Justice Scalia in 2016. At the time, Mitch McConnell of course said that it would be up to voters to make that decision. But now he says this is a very different situation. He says it is a completely different game, essentially, because he says currently of course Republicans are in control of the Senate and of the White House, he says that changes the calculus.

Democrats, though, say that is simply splitting hairs. They are going to try and delay this. And of course remember, because of the rules currently, Republicans can, they have the votes to fill this seat. But of course Democrats have the ability to try and delay and delay and delay. And I suspect that you will certainly see that.

Trying to fill this seat, of course, is a potentially risky move for Trump and for Republicans. A lot of eyes now are on moderate Republicans. A handful of critical moderate Republicans, several incumbents who are in tight races, could they potentially be swayed to try and oppose a rush to fill this seat? It of course just takes four votes to flip this, to try and block whoever the President puts forward. I think right now the Hill, much like the White House, as Jon Karl said, is simply trying to absorb this news, this tragic loss for the country. But of course everyone, given the timing of this, this now completely changes the calculus as we head into this election and all eyes now on senate Republicans and their next move.

(…)

8:09 PM ET

KATE SHAW: One thing I think we should say is that there are a lot of questions that – so Roe vs. Wade is something that no one has mentioned yet. And that is a decision that very much is hanging by a thread. There’s an evenly divided Supreme Court with four staunch conservatives, there were, until today, four liberals. Chief Justice Roberts as the new swing. He cast a vote with the liberal justices just a few months ago to preserve the right to an abortion announced in Roe vs. Wade in 1973, but only, again, by the narrowest of margins. And I think there is no question that if President Trump is successful in getting a replacement confirmed, Roe vs. Wade will be overturned in the very near future. And in fact, that is what President Trump promised himself on the campaign trail in 2016, and even before that. So I think that that is very much what is at stake in this decision – in this sort of confirmation battle.

I mean one other thing I’ll say is that if the White House moves quickly to put a name forward, and it sounds as though they will, I presume they will choose someone who has been confirmed to a federal appeals court relatively recently and thus has been vetted and so there is a degree of certainty that the process could be smooth. But as we saw with Brett Kavanaugh, sometimes the unexpected does occur in a confirmation process. And of course, Christine Blasey Ford coming forward nearly derailed his confirmation process. So there’s a degree of uncertainty even if the White House wants to move as quickly as it can forward, there’s only so much that is within its control.

(…)

8:12 PM ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: Batten down the hatches, Byron. This is something we’ve never seen before. We are now less than seven weeks from a presidential election, a Supreme Court justice has died. A Supreme Court justice whose death opens up the possibility of changing the balance on the Supreme Court, as Kate Shaw and John Karl said, for a generation. I would say in the coming days and weeks, keep your eye not only on President Trump, not only on former Vice President Joe Biden, but on several key senators. Look at Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, even Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee from South Carolina. The decisions those senators make in these coming days and weeks will determine the course of the Supreme Court, perhaps the course of the country for another generation.

(…)



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