DANIEL VAUGHAN: Should Liberal Supreme Court Justices Resign? Liberals Think So...

 June 14, 2024

In public, liberals put on a brave face and say Biden has a solid chance to win this race. We get stories about how Joe Biden doesn't believe the polls. After the White House puts out those lines, the remaining Democrats fall in line and repeat the party line. All that pales in comparison to liberals demanding Supreme Court Justices resign so Biden can appoint replacements.

It's not that this is some backup plan; the idea espoused by Ian Millhiser at Vox can only be described as complete panic. After glancing at the polls, Millhiser had a single reaction: Donald Trump will win, and Democrats need to replace Justices Sotomayor and Kagan in the Supreme Court.

Why? Because they're too old. He writes, "That means that, unless Sotomayor (who turns 70 this month) and Kagan (who is 64) are certain that they will survive well into the 2030s, now is their last chance to leave their Supreme Court seats to someone who won't spend their tenure on the bench tearing apart everything these two women tried to accomplish during their careers."

I get that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow, but this argument is absurd on its face.

A more self-aware person might ask, "If being 64 years old is too far advanced to hold one of the highest offices in the land, why did Democrats nominate Joe Biden?" Biden is asking to stay in office until he's 86 years old. For reference, Bill Clinton, who hasn't held office for 24 years, is only 77 years old.

Elana Kagan is 64, and Sonya Sotomayor will turn 70 later this month. Compared to the Presidential level, these two are spring chicks.

The primary argument is the "Ginsburg precedent." The piece's subheading pleads, "I am begging the justices to learn from Ruth Bader Ginsburg's historic mistake."

The problem with this theory is that it gets history wrong. Ginsberg wasn't 64 or even 70 when the possibility of retirement was discussed with her—she was 80. After winning reelection in 2012, Barack Obama scheduled a meeting with Ginsberg in July 2013.

Obama wanted to get to know the justice better and approach her about the possibility of retirement. At the time, Democrats held the Presidency and the Senate, meaning they could pass through a replacement. Obama was worried about a midterms result that would lose the Senate, making a replacement harder. The 2010 midterms were harsh, and 2014 looked like it could follow that pattern (it did, and Republicans retook the Senate).

The pitch by Obama failed. The New York Times reported, "But the effort did not work, just as an earlier attempt by Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who was then Judiciary Committee chairman, had failed. Justice Ginsburg left Mr. Obama with the clear impression that she was committed to continuing her work on the court, according to those briefed."

Ginsberg wanted to die on the Court. She'd earned the spot and saw no reason to let politics make her give up what she had earned in her career. She lived another seven years, passing away in 2020, which set the stage for Amy Coney Barrett's nomination.

Obama's conversation with Ginsberg was politically wise. He had the political leverage to lock that seat in for Democrats, as with Sotomayor and Kagan. Ginsberg refused, and it burned Democrats, which is why we're having this conversation. If the shoe were on the other foot, Democrats wouldn't care. This is solely about outcomes.

Both Kagan and Sotomayor have a decade to reach Ginsberg's age. Millhiser's piece reveals that he doesn't believe they will reach that age. It's a remarkable assumption underlying the piece. On the one hand, he holds out hope for Biden to live to 86; on the other, he doesn't believe that a 64-year-old woman will last until the end of the decade.

Usually, in this kind of writing, leftists will accuse such a writer of being ageist. The entire argument rests on them being too old for the job, with little evidence age is impacting either of them.

I agree with Andrew McCarthy at National Review that asking Kagan, in particular, to retire is crazy. She is hands down the best writer, tactician, and strategist on the Supreme Court. I'd dare any progressive out there to find someone better adapted to that role than Kagan.

What this really signals is that Democrats do not believe Biden is winning, and they're looking for the exit doors. They want to replace Justices at the 11th hour, and journalists are looking at Biden to see if he'd pardon his son during the lame-duck period between the election and inauguration day.

We're witnessing a meltdown among the Democratic elite as the election approaches. Biden still has a decent shot to win, no votes have been cast yet. However, polling is clear on the current trajectory, which terrifies these liberals.

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