Is John McCain alive or dead? If alive, can he vote? Which way would he vote? After all he does love to spoil things. Assuming he will not be a factor, is Susan Collins the weak link? If she is, can she be persuaded? Is she up for re-election? What other republican votes are question marks? Could Manchin from West Virginia be convinced to vote against his party? If we don’t have the votes how likely is it that the mid-terms will increase the Republican Senate Majority? Should we try now and then after the mid-terms?
These are a few of the question that would need to be answered before trying to figure out if and/or when a conservative justice could get through the Senate.
And the other big question is whether Roberts is a ringer. Does he need to be outvoted too? If that’s the case we’ll need Ginsberg to go too.
So, as with all things Washingtonian, there are wheels within wheels and waiting is an integral part of the game. But so far Trump has a pretty good track record of getting the luck. If he gets a good man in then we can hope to know the answer to some of the Roberts questions pretty quickly. And if Roberts does turn out to be a ringer that’ll be just one more reason to distrust all things Bush and celebrate dodging the JEB! bullet almost as much as the Hillary one.
So, my guess, McConnell will spend a little time doing his math and making sure he completely understands the dynamic. Now that he and President Trump have normalized their relationship I expect they’ll coordinate carefully on the when and the how. They may spring it pretty quickly when it’s time and not give the Media or the Dems a lot of time to screech. McConnell indicated the vote would be in the fall. Maybe that’s a ruse. Maybe they’ll surprise everyone and do it before Labor Day. I’m not an expert on the machinery of the Senate so I don’t know how likely that is. My guess is McCain may be an important piece of the puzzle. His wife is touted to be in line for the job when he dies. How this affects the vote is anybody’s guess but my bet is that she’s a lib. For that reason, they may not wait for her to be seated.
Okay, so that’s the horse race. Now, why is this so damn important? Well, because if Roberts isn’t a ringer and we get another Gorsuch or Alito then we will have the first conservative Supreme Court since before I was born. In fact, we haven’t had a truly conservative Supreme Court in over a hundred years. Can you imagine if SCOTUS decides that all the Constitutional mandates that the activists judges have discovered over the last fifty years (abortion, gay rights, gay marriage, affirmative action, federal encroachment on States’ Rights, assaults on the First and Second Amendments) are not? And instead throws these decisions back to the states to decide? That would be a revolution. It would mean that instead of one homogeneous culture there would be several. And that might be the beginning of a great unraveling. Or it might be the occasion for a rethinking of many policies that were thrust onto the people from above by an elite that thought it was the best and the brightest and therefore ought to prevail against the will of the people. In places like Texas, Utah and the Old South more conservative populations would be allowed to live the way they wanted without the federal government harassing and scolding them for their values. To my mind that would come very close to restoring America to its essential virtue, a place where you are free to live the way you want without the government constantly interfering. And that sounds more or less like heaven to me. So, here’s hoping the math works out. Let’s hope the final sum is a positive. I’m tired of negative.