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Desperate CNN Invokes Merrick Garland, Knocks Feinstein for Elevating ACB



After Judge Amy Coney Barrett was announced Saturday as President Trump’s third Supreme Court pick, CNN started throwing things at the wall to see what stuck. Among their reactions included nods to Merrick Garland (yes, really), insisting Barrett will be a galvanizer for Democrats to the ludicrous claim liberals appeared to be behaving themselves and not personally attacking Barrett.

Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer must have been so conflicted as he admitted as the event ended that she’s “highly qualified as a jurist” with “a wonderful, wonderful personal story, a beautiful family as we all saw.”

 

 

Chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin concurred that “she is a remarkable person” and has “an impressive tableau,” but then took the turn toward his usual nonsense by crudely stating it’s impressive she has had this much success “given the size of her family.”

Along with chief political analyst Gloria Borger, Toobin decided to invoke Garland as someone with “a beautiful family” who won’t be on the Court like Barrett likely will be (click “expand”):

TOOBIN: Of course, what did not come up, a name that was not mentioned during the ceremony understandably was Merrick Garland, who was also nominated and also has a beautiful family and never got a vote and never got even a hearing when he was nominated during an election year….[T]he judicial philosophies of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is — who has departed, and Amy Coney Barrett could not be more different under our system. And so the difference for reproductive freedom, for health care, for gun control or the absence thereof, affirmative action, so many issues, her views will be diametrically opposed to Ruth Ginsburg’s[.]

(….)

BORGER: [Y]ou heard the President say that [her confirmation]might be fast. This is going to be easier than you might think. I mean he knows where the votes are. He knows that Republicans despite the hypocrisy of many of them saying when it was Merrick Garland as Jeffrey talking about [sic], that no such vote should occur before — that close to an election when the election was eight months away, now said, well, let’s get it done when the election is actually ongoing. I think that the question going forward, really, is how do the Democrats respond to this nominee and I think that’s a discussion a lot of Democrats are having right now internally. You saw how impressive her family is. I’m sure she is incredibly impressive, given her credentials and given what we heard today. So what is the best tact for Democrats to take?

Later in the hour, Jim Acosta wannabe Jeremy Diamond alluded to the importance of the judiciary among Republican voters, but turned to Democrats by fretting about Barrett’s impact on “reproductive rights and this is something that is certainly an animating issue for those on the left and there is also that question of whether this pick, especially pushing it through before the November election, when six in ten Americans say the next president should be the one to pick who fills the seat by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Oh, no! The polls!

Toobin returned a few segments later to let viewers know that the real person whom Democrats should be upset with (as he seemed to be himself) for Barrett’s nomination was fellow lefty and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for her now-infamous “the dogma lives loudly within you” comments (click “expand”):

You know, one person who was not thanked during the — during the ceremony was one of the people who was most responsible for Amy Coney Barrett being nominated to the Supreme Court and that’s Senator Dianne Feinstein who, in 2017 when she was the ranking Democrat on the committee, engaged in questions of now-Judge Barrett that was so incompetent, so inept, so apparently religiously discriminatory that Amy Coney Barrett became a hero to religious conservatives. You know, Dianne Feinstein was and is a distinguished public servant who has served for many years on the Supreme Court. She is now 87 years old and she has repeatedly engaged in behavior in recent months that seemed out of step with what Democrats want to do. She’s going to be the leader of the Democratic forces on the Judiciary Committee and all I can say is good luck with that, Democrats. 

(….)

[B]ut her incredibly inept behavior during Coney Barrett — during Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing had an enormous consequence that — that helped the forces that Dianne Feinstein has spent her entire career fighting against. That’s just what happened. Democrats have to decide if they want that to happen again in the Supreme Court confirmation hearing. 

Just before 6:00 p.m. Eastern, Blitzer and liberal political correspondent Abby Phillip touted states from elected Democrats expressing their strong disapproval of Barrett, but rendered zero judgement on the nature of their red-hot rhetoric. 

Phillip tried to claim that while Republicans “are hoping Democrats fall into the kind of trap that Jeffrey just talked about that Dianne Feinstein fell into” by invoking Barrett’s adopted children and her faith, “Democrats so far have — are trying to stay in line in a narrowly focused way, talking specifically about the significant impact this would have on health care.”

Since CNN’s fact-checking department doesn’t actually engage in fact-checking, we’ll do it here, here, here, here, and here as just a sampling of the venom that’s already out there.

CNN’s desperate spin was made possible by advertisers such as Grubhub, MRHFM, Norton, and USAA. Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant CNN transcript from August 26, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room
September 26, 2020
5:23 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER: Alright. So there you have it. The ceremony going for about 20 minutes or so, President spoke about ten minutes. Clearly, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is highly qualified as a jurist. She has a wonderful, wonderful personal story, a beautiful family as we all saw and now, the process of confirmation will begin in the United States Senate and the Republicans and President, they clearly want that to move very, very quickly. Jeffrey Toobin, you’re our chief legal analyst. So, what did you think of that presentation, her comments, and the statement by the President?

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Well, there is — that is an impressive tableau, here family in that setting is a — she is a remarkable person and has a remarkable personal story particularly given — given the size of her family. Of course, what did not come up, a name that was not mentioned during the ceremony understandably was Merrick Garland, who was also nominated and also has a beautiful family and never got a vote and never got even a hearing when he was nominated during an election year. Amy Coney Barrett, you know, there have only been 114 Supreme Court justices in American history and so any nomination is consequential. But this one is especially because the judicial philosophies of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is — who has departed, and Amy Coney Barrett could not be more different under our system. And so the difference for reproductive freedom, for health care, for gun control or lack thereof, affirmative action, so many issues, her views will be diametrically opposed to Ruth Ginsburg’s and that’s what Donald Trump promised during the campaign. He is delivering on that promise. And the — we’re going to see in very short order whether voters think that’s a good idea. 

BLITZER: Yeah, you know, Gloria, the Republican majority — and the Republicans are in the majority in the U.S. Senate, they clearly have the votes to confirm her and they have the votes presumably to do it rather quickly even before the November 3 presidential election. This is a very impressive kickoff to the next few days, which are going to be rather intense.

GLORIA BORGER: Sure, it is and you heard the President say that it might be fast. This is going to be easier than you might think. I mean he knows where the votes are. He knows that Republicans despite the hypocrisy of many of them saying when it was Merrick Garland as Jeffrey talking about [sic], that no such vote should occur before — that close to an election when the election was eight months away, now said, well, let’s get it done when the election is actually ongoing. I think that the question going forward, really, is how do the Democrats respond to this nominee and I think that’s a discussion a lot of Democrats are having right now internally. You saw how impressive her family is. I’m sure she is incredibly impressive, given her credentials and given what we heard today. So what is the best tact for Democrats to take? Do they boycott her? Do they not meet with her? Do they boycott the hearings? I doubt they will do that. How do they question her? What do they make the hearings about? Do the hearings become about health care, for example, or about reproductive rights as Jeffrey was talking about? I think that is the big decision right now that’s going on within the Democratic Party. As far as I can see from Republicans, more and more are saying get it done before the election.

BLITZER: Yeah, and as I say, elections have consequences. The Republicans, there are 53 Republicans in the Senate, 47 Democrats. That’s a majority. You simply need 50. If there’s a tie, the vice President presumably could break the tie. You know, Abby, you’re watching this closely. She’s only 48 years old. And if she’s confirmed, she’s going to be a U.S. Supreme court justice for the next 30, maybe 40 years and will have an enormous impact on so many critically important issues.

ABBY PHILLIP: And that is the hallmark of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominations. And indeed his federal court nominations. He’s picking them as he likes to say as young as possible so they can be on the court for decades. You know, for Amy Coney Barrett, one of the things about her is that I think that we will find a lot of her colleagues in the legal profession, whether they are on the left or the right, coming forward to speak to her intellect and to her ability to do the job. And we’ve already seen some people, including Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, who’s a staunch liberal, who wrote an op-ed saying she is one of the most brilliant jurists that he’s ever encountered in his career. So, that’s going to be play a key role here because, while some of the President’s nominations for other judicial appointments have actually been rated not qualified by the American Bar Association, they’ve criticized for their lack of a record, Amy Coney Barrett is different in that she is widely viewed to be well qualified for this position, even among people who don’t agree with her actual position, so I think that that is going to be a tough thing for Democrats to overcome and in fact, I think that we will see Democrats try on to avoid litigation of her legal ability or history and deal with the issue of process and deal with the idea of whether or not she would respect precedent, principally Roe vs. Wade. 

BLITZER: Yeah and — but it was important, Abby, that she began her remarks by praising Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a woman of enormous talent and consequence and noted that her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were very, very close friends, even though they disagreed on so many of these legal issues.

PHILLIP: Yeah, absolutely and I think that, in some ways, one of the things that really struck me was, as she was discussing her husband Jesse and the role that the supportive husband plays for sort of legal powerhouse and being able to do their job, it really did remind me of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s relationship with her husband. And, in some ways, they have that in common. But she is a student of Justice Scalia’s, I think that she was clear about that, about the fact that even though she believed in dealing with differences of opinion on how to approach the law, you know, I think she believes, according to what she said, that she said that you should do it with some degree of, you know, camaraderie, especially with those on the bench. The problem is I don’t think that this is a particular environment in which Democrats will necessarily believe that and, in fact, her appointment is going to make this court more conservative than it was before. So whether she believes in respecting people on the other side of the ideological aisle or not, there is no question about it: she is going to be a conservative justice if she is confirmed and that fact alone is going to make this confirmation process incredibly, incredibly acrimonious.

(….)

5:32 p.m. Eastern

But, Wolf, there’s no question that given the conservative makeup of this audience and the President’s view of the importance of this, he views it important in terms of his legacy for the long term, but he’s also looking at this November 3 election and the impact that this will have, particularly on his conservative base. The President hoping that this will rile up supporters to turn up in droves as they did in 2016. Of course, this is one of the reasons why so many of those conservative supporters who dislike the President’s personality or the President’s way of speaking but decided to support him anyways because of these very issues, because of the ability that he might have to remake the Supreme Court. And he certainly has, taking it in a much more conservative direction and if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, this will set up this very strong conservative majority on the Court to shape decisions for decades to come. But Wolf also the question of what it could be on the left and on the supporters of former vice president Joe Biden. There is no question that Amy Coney Barrett, in her positions, there is a huge question about what her position on the Supreme Court could mean for reproductive rights. And this is something that is certainly an animating issue for those on the left and there is also that question of whether this pick, especially pushing it through before the November election, when six in ten Americans say the next president should be the one to pick who fills the seat by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This going to have political implications on the right as well as on the left.

(….)

5:52 p.m. Eastern

TOOBIN: You know, one person who was not thanked during the — during the ceremony was one of the people who was most responsible for Amy Coney Barrett being nominated to the Supreme Court and that’s Senator Dianne Feinstein who, in 2017 when she was the ranking Democrat on the committee, engaged in questions of now-Judge Barrett that was so incompetent, so inept, so apparently religiously discriminatory that Amy Coney Barrett became a hero to religious conservatives. You know, Dianne Feinstein was and is a distinguished public servant who has served for many years on the Supreme Court. She is now 87 years old and she has repeatedly engaged in behavior in recent months that seemed out of step with what Democrats want to do. She’s going to be the leader of the Democratic forces on the Judiciary Committee and all I can say is good luck with that, Democrats. 

BLITZER: Well, she’s the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. Explain what you’re saying. You want her to — to recuse herself from all of this? Give the responsibility of being the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee to somebody else? 

TOOBIN: Yeah. She could leave the committee. She could be become — could go to the Intelligence Committee. You know, this is not some joke. These committee assignments are done largely by seniority. Republicans don’t do it entirely by seniority. They pick people, particularly in the House, based on who can do the best job. Democrats operate on the basis of seniority. So, 87-year-old Senator Dianne Feinstein is going to be the leader of the Democratic forces on — on this nomination. That’s not, like, set in the Constitution. That could be moved — she could move off that committee, but her incredibly inept behavior during Coney Barrett — during Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing had an enormous consequence that — that helped the forces that Dianne Feinstein has spent her entire career fighting against. That’s just what happened. Democrats have to decide if they want that to happen again in the Supreme Court confirmation hearing. 

BLITZER: She did have bipartisan support in her confirmation for the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

(….)

5:56 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: You know, it’s interesting, Abby, the very strong statement from the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, similar to the other statements we’re getting. We’re getting a ton of these statements coming in. I’ll read a couple sentences from what Speaker Pelosi, her reaction to this nomination is. “If this nominee is confirmed, millions of families health care will be ripped away in the middle of a pandemic that has infected 17 million people and has killed over 200,00 people in our country.” And Pelosi adds: “Every vote is a vote to dismantle health care. The American people will hold every senator responsible for their vote at the ballot box.” So you can see the lines, Abby, are clearly being drawn right now. 

PHILLIP: It is not a coincidence that all these top Democrats are saying the same thing. They know health care is a central issue for Americans. It is what powered them to a House — the House majority in 2018 and it also seems to me to be a recognition among the Democrats that they can’t actually, to Phil’s point, stop this nomination. They cannot stop her from necessarily getting a vote eventually in the Senate. However, this could become a very powerful turnout tool for Democrats and for independents who are very motivated by this issue of health care. What’s also interesting to me that I see happening on the Republican side is they are hoping Democrats fall into the kind of trap that Jeffrey just talked about that Dianne Feinstein fell into, talking about Amy Coney Barrett’s faith, talking about, you know, a sort of more culture war types of issues, even — I’m seeing a lot of Republicans suggesting Democrats are going to bring up Amy Coney Barrett’s adopted children into the conversation. Frankly, that — what I’ve seen so far is Republicans are sort of hoping the Democrats step in it, and Democrats so far have — are trying to stay in line in a narrowly focused way, talking specifically about the significant impact this would have on health care. And you saw also in Kamala Harris’s statement, she does mention Amy Coney Barrett’s views on a precedent that could affect Roe v. Wade. So I think you’re going to see them trying — trying — to be as narrowly focused as possible and Republicans trying to push Democrats to a — potentially step over the line in a way that could ultimately hurt them down the road. 



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