With the passing of this giant figure in American politics, there will be deep changes in the political landscape. Of course, we have to wait until November to finally get rid of Harry Reid. And who will undoubtedly take his place? Chuck Schumer of course. As minority leader. Or possibly as majority leader.

Speaking of Chuck, there of course is a true giant of the judicial landscape – and the intellectual landscape – whose unexpected passing has left behind a Supreme Court with a vacancy. So when Schumer warns with outrageous indignation that the GOP cannot possibly use the tactics he outlined in 2007, in a speech to attendees at the American Constitution Society’s convention. Tactics? Nay. Schumer surely plunged deep into the philosophy of the constitution and why Bush 43 should not have been allowed to appoint any justices with barely-a-year-and-then-some left in his second and final mandate.

Is there anyone more ostentatiously and angrily partisan than Schumer on the hill? Playing tag team with Reid, he is busily denouncing the GOP for showing some restraint and taking their time. Yes, it’s a tactic. Of course it is. But it’s far more than that. To rush through a late Obama appointment because there was a window of opportunity for the Democrats is not just tactically stupid, but a challenge to the balance of powers.

The Supreme Court is an elite institution. How could it be anything else? It’s members are insiders – usually long-serving judges with outstanding academic and judicial records. It’s selection process is limited – it’s an insider’s game played between the White House and the Hill’s upper chamber. And the justice system, of course. Voters don’t get to choose justices. They only get to elect an Administration, and a Senator or two every cycle, and then watch the game being played out – should they even be interested.

The constitution’s Advice & Consent role handed to the Senate is open to debate, especially in moments like this. Left-leaning commentators seem to be out in force demanding that any Obama nominee be voted up or down based on his, or her, merits. Ideology should have no place, nor should party-centered partisanship. The glee is barely held back that any Obama nominee will be rather to the left of GOP voter values, so it’s up to the majority party to vote the still unknown, but surely wonderfully capable appointee, who is likely to be announced sometime in the near future. Up or down.

If they did, and they voted the almost-inevitable down, then Hillary has a story to tell for the rest of the nomination and general election. Assuming it’s Hillary. Bernie would also tell a story, though perhaps a less partisan, and more ideological one.

So now the story is how the Senate will fail it’s advice & consent role. But the real story is how the Senate is avoiding giving the Democrats the story they want to take with them to the polls.

Comments