Franklin’s Rule: How The Barrett Hearing Left The Democrats Holding An Empty Sack, by Jonathan Turley

The Democrats didn’t succeed in the Barrett hearings in doing anything but making themselves look like asses, and Barrett will get confirmed this week. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in the Hill on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett and the oddly disconnected questions during her confirmation hearing.  While I have written about the revealing moments of the hearing, the Democrats clearly elected not to focus on the nominee but the election. When they did attack the nominee, they fired wildly and missed completely in three areas.

Here is the column:

Benjamin Franklin once said, “it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.” It took almost 300 years, but Franklin’s observation finally has been proven demonstrably true. The three-day Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for federal appellate judge and Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett can best be described as an empty-sack confirmation that simply would not stand upright.

From the outset, committee Democrats were dealing with a highly qualified nominee who has the intellect, the temperament and the background to be an exceptional justice. And that was the problem.

Democrats decided to use the hearing as a springboard for the coming election. They never intended to put anything in the sack against Barrett. Yet, to frame this effort, they advanced a number of false premises that collapsed on their own weight:

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is about to be killed

Barrett was surrounded in the hearing room by photos of ill individuals who could perish without national health care. It made Barrett look like some judicial serial-killer.  However, these were not her victims. Indeed, the entire premise was false.

Senate Democrats were suggesting that the pending case of California v. Texas was just one vote shy of striking down the ACA. It left many of us watching in disbelief. While a district court struck down the whole act, an appellate court wanted to send it back to consider the elements of “severability.” The vast majority of experts believe that the striking down of one provision — the individual mandate provision — should not result in the loss of the entire act. More importantly, a clear majority of the Supreme Court appears to believe that. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh both are expected to vote to uphold the rest of the act. Indeed, a Justice Barrett could well vote with them.

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