MSNBC host Chris Matthews is calling on Democrats to go into a full battle mode to do all they can to stop President Trump from appointing another conservative to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, to avoid tilting the balance of the high court to the right for years to come.
“If he gets replaced by a hard line social conservative, the democratic leadership will have hell to pay. They cannot let this happen … They’ve got to do exactly to the other side that Mitch McConnell did to them.” @HardballChris on Kennedy’s retirement. pic.twitter.com/zVw9R7E7Cg
— Hardball (@hardball) June 27, 2018
Matthews wants the Democrats to do what the Republicans did to them in 2016 during the final 11 months of the Obama presidency when they blocked a vote on Judge Merrick Garland to take the open seat on the court.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been gloating lately about his role in stopping that nomination from ever being considered, as the court is already making conservative rulings on women’s rights, union activity, gerrymandering because of race and more hot issues.
Now with Kennedy’s retirement as of the end of July, Trump has a chance to appoint another conservative who would likely remain on the court long after his presidency.
With a strong conservative majority, the court is likely to roll back generations of progress on women’s rights, gay rights, campaign reform, labor and much more.
“They must prevent the Republican-controlled Senate to pick another justice on this hard right court,” added Matthews, shortly after the Supreme Court in a split decision validated Trump’s travel ban against Muslims from several countries coming to the U.S.
“The Democrats have got to fight for that fifth seat,” continued Matthews, “with everything they’ve got.”
The problem is they don’t have much to fight with, even less than existed last year.
The Republicans continue to have majority control of the Senate, as well as the House and White House.
The Republicans also used their majority to pass a rule that makes it impossible for the Democrats to use a filibuster to stop the nomination of a conservative.
Matthews is right but he is unrealistic about whether the Democrats have the tools and laws that they need to fight for a fifth justice.
The best hope is probably to stall the nomination and confirmation as long as possible until after the November elections when the Democrats could take back the Senate and House, although that too will be a tough fight.
As it stands, McConnell said today that the Republicans expect to confirm Trump’s nominees this fall, probably in advance of the election.
The Republicans have a slim 51 to 49 majority in the Senate, and with Sen. John McCain out due to illness, that is really a 50 to 49 majority, with Vice President Pence ready to break any time in their favor.
There are a handful of Republicans, including Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona or possibly Susan Collins of Maine, who might defect and vote with the Democrats – and that may be their last and only hope to stop this tragedy that will impact and hurt generations of Americans to come.