Breaking Down the SCOTUS Debate

One of the worst exchanges in last night’s debate was about the Supreme Court. I was literally yelling at my television. I was going to break it down but Ann Althouse does it way more thoroughly than I ever could. You should read the whole thing but here’s one quote, when Clinton said her justices would be “on the side” of the American people.

I was already loudly arguing with her. The side? The Supreme Court isn’t supposed to take sides. She’s blatantly saying she wants a Court that doesn’t act like a court but gets on one side. Her Court is a Court that ought to have to recuse itself constantly.

This is absolutely right. John Roberts famously said that his job was to call balls and strikes, not favor either team. Clinton said the Court should “stand up” to the wealthy. But that’s wrong too. It should stand up to the wealthy if they’re violating the Constitution. Standing up to the wealthy or the powerful or the corrupt or whatever is what we have legislatures and executives for. All the Court is supposed to do is decide if their method of “standing up” to whomever is Constitutional or not. As the Bible says, judges should favor neither the wealthy nor the poor, but enforce the law.

Later she got into the Heller decision. She acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects an individual right but said that Heller was decided wrongly because it protects toddlers from being accidentally shot. That is, to put it mildly, total and complete bullshit. Cooke:

This is flatly incorrect. Heller, as anyone who has read it knows, revolved around the question of whether the government in Washington, D.C., could legally ban handguns entirely. It had nothing to do with “toddlers.” “Toddlers,” as Sean Davis correctly points out, are not mentioned in the majority opinion, and they are not mentioned in the dissent. Other than in an extremely indirect sense, “toddlers” had nothing to do with the legal question being considered.

Heller involved the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, which forbade handguns and other arms. There were multiple plaintiffs but the namesake was a 66-year-old cop who wanted to keep a gun at home for self defense but was not allowed to. This, once again, exposes Clinton’s “I support the Second Amendment” claim as bullshit. If she is against Heller, she is in favor of gun bans Period.

Trump’s performance wasn’t quite as bad but wasn’t good either. He touted his list of 20 potential SCOTUS nominees (although I doubt he could name a single one of the cuff). He defended the Second Amendment in vague terms. But … and this is where his suckitude as candidate comes forth … he utterly failed to call Clinton out on her crap. He didn’t know Heller well enough to point out that she was lying. He didn’t know Citizens United well enough to point out that she wanted the Court to ban a film that was critical of her. They later tangled on abortion. I’m not pro-Life but, frankly, neither is Trump. And it showed as he was all over the place, failing to point out, for example, that Roe v. Wade allows abortion to be outlawed in the third trimester.

I highlight the exchange on SCOTUS because it is a perfect distillation of the debate and really, the entire campaign. Clinton is vulnerable everywhere. She’s a poor candidate, she often says things that are wrong, contradicts herself and leaves openings a mile wide for her opponent. This is why a junior Senator from Illinois was able to beat her. This is why a crackpot Senator from Vermont almost beat her. But … this is key … you have to actually know stuff to go after her. She sounds authoritative and knowledgeable. Exposing her as neither means getting the weeds a bit.

But Trump can’t be bothered to do his homework. He just wings it. And so on a subject that Clinton should know well but where she spewed a bunch of garbage and lied her ass off, he fought her to a draw at best.

I will continue to say this: just about any normal Republican would have crushed her in all three debates and would be crushing her now in the polls.

Comments are closed.

  1. ilovecress

    Firstly, I agree. but I’d counter by saying this was a debate – or more accurately, a televised appeal to undecided voters. Appointing people who are ‘on your side’ is a vote winner.

    On the campaign – again, I’m going to go back to Brexit, and say that conservative voters are being tripped up by voting against something instead of voting for something. By voting against the esablishment, the GOP nominated a non-politician. You can’t then be surprised that the non-politician loses when he’s asked to do politics. An election is a ‘who is best at politics’ competition, and the GOP handicapped itself.

    It’s like the fact that I’m sick of overpaid, prima donna premier league football players. So to protest, I field a team of honest, hard working Tennis players. And they get thrashed, because they don’t know how to play the game.

    I heard an interview with one of HRCs campaign staffers about the debate. They said that while not everyone on the campaign ‘likes’ HRC, she gets a huge amount of loyalty because she delivers to message and to strategy. What you hate about her is that she’s a consumate politician – and all the things that brings with it. But that’s the game she’s playing.

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  2. repmom

    Every time Trump brags about his list of potential nominees, I scream at the TV “ask him to name one”. I would bet my life he can’t, and that he had nothing to do with comprising this list.

    I can name one. Texas Supreme Court Judge Don Willett. Bet if I mentioned his name in front of Trump, he would reply with “huh?”.

    A list clearly devised by his staff to impress Republicans.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    Precisely, Repmom.

     can name one. Texas Supreme Court Judge Don Willett. 

    I follow him on Twitter and he is very smart and very funny.  I don’t know his judicial philosophy very well but we need someone to write opinions with fire now that Scalia is gone.

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    Someone pointed out something interesting to me today. A lot of Republicans have reluctantly endorsed Trump. But there is one that Clinton and Obama are both hitting hard on it: Rubio.  Part of that is because they want that Florida Senate seat.  But I think another is that they see him as a real threat in 2020.

    Boy, I hope they’re right.

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  5. Aussiesmurf

    When you push this line that Hillary Clinton would be beaten by ‘normal’ Republicans, are you referring to the presidential candidates that Trump beat like a drum through the entire primary season?

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  6. West Virginia Rebel

    This is why it bothers me when conservatives complain about black-robed tyrants-and then want judges that they agree with. The Supremes are supposed to be neutral.

    In other news, what a night for sports fans. The Cubs are going to the World Series-yes, those Cubs.

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  7. InsipiD

    Is anyone making book on how long it will take before the race is called on election day?


    I don’t think that there’s any way that we’d get another Scalia, no matter who appoints.  He was one of a kind, and it doesn’t seem that anyone else has respect of the constitution and processes like he did.

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