February 17, 2016

"The scenario that the left would most favor and the right most fears would be the selection of a barrier-breaking nominee who could spur liberal support and turnout in November."

"The name most frequently discussed in this situation is Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who would be the first black woman to serve on the court. A former United States attorney and Harvard Law graduate, she drew the votes of 10 Republicans when she was confirmed as attorney general."

From a NYT article "Obama’s Options for a Supreme Court Nominee, and the Potential Fallout."

I don't understand the Loretta Lynch idea. Don't we need an attorney general? Why would you vacate that position and set up another appointments problem in an election year? Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?

81 comments:

Jim said...

So we can make the GOP look bad, is the answer to all your questions.

Ken B said...

What part of "wedge" do you not understand?

rehajm said...

The Democrats this year are very, very white.

Hazy Dave said...

I'm sure finding a new AG appointee willing to stonewall any investigation into Dem malfeasance ("there's no evidence of any wrongdoing") would not be an insuperable obstacle.

Original Mike said...

"Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?"

How quaint.

dreams said...

And she is corrupt.

Henry said...

Let's not pussyfoot around with this. Obama should nominate himself.

tola'at sfarim said...

No ag, no hillary indictment

coupe said...
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Sammy Finkelman said...

I agree that the claim that nominating Loretta Lynch to be a United States Supreme Court Justice would be some kind of a political masterstroke is ridiculous.

Now, nominatinng, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) aged 82, maybe.

Bob Boyd said...

Henry said...
"Let's not pussyfoot around with this. Obama should nominate himself."

Interesting.
You know, if the appointment is not filled and Hillary wins.....


JSD said...

All the Justices went to either Harvard or Yale. The most important thing is for Scalia’s spot to remain in the Harvard column.

MayBee said...

Anybody Obama nominates is a sacrificial lamb. The Republicans have said they won't let anyone through until the election. Obama knows this. So if he wants to ruin the career of a breakthrough minority, that's on him.

PS. Electing Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would be historic, too!!!! Imagine the first appointee of the first Hispanic President of the USA. That would be super duper historic!!!

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?

Them investigations ain't gonna obstruct theirselves.

Original Mike said...

"So if he wants to ruin the career of a breakthrough minority, that's on him."

Anyone worth their salt would decline the nomination.

damikesc said...

What does Lynch have on her resume to suggest she'd be a good Justice? Republicans can just say that she needs to be there to handle the FBI investigation and possible grand jury request for an indictment of Hillary.

MountainMan said...

Why is the assumption that Obama selecitng a "barrier-breaking nominee" would spur turnout for the Dems? Knowing Obama as we do the nominee, if selected strictly for political purposes, is bound to be anathema to conservatives. That would seem to spur turnout from Republicans just as much in order to prevent the nominee from going forward under a Dem president.

tim maguire said...

There are a lot of stupid ideas floating around the bloviatorsphere. This is hardly to most stupid.

Original Mike said...

"Republicans can just say that she needs to be there to handle the FBI investigation and possible grand jury request for an indictment of Hillary."

Excellent!

tim maguire said...

What happens to the FBI recommendation for a Hillary indictment if the AG seat is empty because Lynch is over at the courthouse trying on her new robe?

Mike said...

That idea is so dumb not even Obama will try it. Hearings for a new appointee would quickly become a test of how many ways the Senators could ask, "Who will you appoint as Special Prosecutor to investigate Hillary?"

Rick said...

I don't understand the Loretta Lynch idea. Don't we need an attorney general? Why would you vacate that position and set up another appointments problem in an election year? Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually

I don't understand the follow up questions. Obviously the issues you think are reasons to avoid Lynch are to others reasons to choose her.

Separately, what important work is she doing? Shouldn't we presume any Obama nominated replacement would adequately ensure a lack of accountability for our government and officials?

MadisonMan said...

I don't understand the Loretta Lynch idea.

She's Black.

She's Female.

That makes her most qualified because, you know, vagina. Women who oppose her deserve a special place in hell.

James Pawlak said...

Lynch is a Fascist.

Saint Croix said...

Maybe the idea in floating Loretta Lynn for Supreme Court nominee is to entice her into squashing any Hillary indictment.

Clayton Hennesey said...

There is a long history of higher placed blacks using lower placed blacks as useful tools for the ends of the former at the expense of the latter. This scenario would be no different. Lynch would be DOA for SCOTUS, and thereafter even more a pariah than she is now. But she would have served her king in his hour.

tim in vermont said...

I don't think the right fear the nomination of a naked partisan like Lynch.

Gahrie said...


Kamala Harris

Henry said...

For some reason Harriet Miers comes to mind.

Saint Croix said...

This is from the party who sat on Miguel Estreda for two years, and who attempted a high-tech lynching of Clarence Thomas. This is a party that despises any Republican who is black or hispanic or a woman, and viciously attacks them. This is a party who thinks they own black and spanish people, and women. And they engage in ugly and vicious (and racist, and sexist) identity politics over this issue. And the judiciary is their battleground.

I have no doubt the Democrat party will attempt to portray Republicans as racist and sexist. It is their go to move. It is their only move.

And now that I think about it, let me congratulate Mr. McConnell for his pre-emptive strike. By announcing that any Obama nominee is out, the "you're a racist!" and "you're a sexist!" horseshit is out the window. Yes, McConnell is being political. But the Obama administration, and the Democrat party, has so poisoned this process with their identity politics that a pre-emptive strike is the smart play. We prefer being called political to the "racist" and "sexist" charge that is sure to follow in your identity politics game.

Chuck said...

We should treat a barrier-breaking Democrat nominee with all of the same respect as was accorded our barrier-breaking nominee, DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Clarence Thomas.

Saint Croix said...

The combination of her gender and race, her ample qualifications and her previous support among Republicans would put immense pressure on them to at least vote on her nomination.

How embarrassing for Loretta Lynch that the New York Times openly discusses her race and gender, and makes a big deal of her race and gender. The racism of the left is vile, and they do not see it. They think that saying positive things about a person's race and gender is not offensive. In the context of the discussion, it's quite weird.

Imagine a newspaper who was bragging about, say, John Roberts, and they write that sentence. "The combination of his gender and his race..."

The basic problem with the left is that they are so steeped in us vs them, they cannot and will not see their own capacity for evil. The NYT's racism is why McConnell made his pre-emptive move. To be sure, Obama does not engage in this unseemly racism. Obama does not say, "Loretta Lynch is a great black woman, and we should be proud to have this great black woman on the Supreme Court." He's not that stupid. The media is that stupid, or that dirty.

Saint Croix said...
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Theranter said...

said: I don't understand the Loretta Lynch idea. She's Black. She's Female.
That makes her most qualified because, you know, vagina. Women who oppose her deserve a special place in hell.


Not all black female attorneys matter to Obama:
Obama 6/8/2005: http://obamaspeeches.com/021-Nomination-of-Justice-Janice-Rogers-Brown-Obama-Speech.htm Excerpts:

“…I feel compelled to rise on this issue to express, in the strongest terms, my opposition to the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Circuit. … The test of a qualified judicial nominee is also not whether that person has their own political views. Every jurist surely does. The test is whether he or she can effectively subordinate their views in order to decide each case on the facts and the merits alone. That is what keeps our judiciary independent in America. That is what our Founders intended.

Judicial decisions ultimately have to be based on evidence and on fact. They have to be based on precedent and on law. When you bend and twist all of these to cramp them into a conclusion you have already made -- a conclusion that is based on your own personal ideology -- you do a disservice to the ideal of an independent judiciary and to the American people who count on an independent judiciary.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia is not somebody with whom I frequently agree. I do not like a lot of his judicial approaches, but at least the guy is consistent. Justice Scalia says that, generally speaking, the legislature has the power to make laws and the judiciary should only interpret the laws that are made or are explicitly in the Constitution. That is not Justice Brown's philosophy. It is simply intellectually dishonest and logically incoherent to suggest that somehow the Constitution recognizes an unlimited right to do what you want with your private property and yet does not recognize a right to privacy that would forbid the Government from intruding in your bedroom. Yet that seems to be the manner in which Justice Brown would interpret our most cherished document.

Let me wrap up by making mention of a subtext to this debate. As was true with Clarence Thomas, as was true with Alberto Gonzales, as was true with Condoleezza Rice, my esteemed colleagues on the other side of the aisle have spent a lot of time during this debate discussing Justice Brown's humble beginnings as a child of a sharecropper. They like to point out she was the first African American to serve on the California Supreme Court

I, too, am an admirer of Justice Brown's rise from modest means, just as I am an admirer of Alberto Gonzales's rise from modest means, just as I am an admirer of Clarence Thomas's rise from modest means, just as I am an admirer of Condoleezza Rice's rise from modest means. I think it is wonderful. We should all be grateful where opportunity has opened the doors of success for Americans of every background.

Moreover, I am not somebody who subscribes to the view that because somebody is a member of a minority group they somehow have to subscribe to a particular ideology or a particular political party. I think it is wonderful that Asian Americans, Latinos, African Americans, and others are represented in all parties and across the political spectrum. When such representation exists, then those groups are less likely to be taken for granted by any political party.

I do not think that because Justice Brown is an African-American woman she has to adhere to a particular political orthodoxy, something that has been suggested by the other side of the aisle. Just as it would be cynical and offensive that Justice Brown be vilified simply for being a Black conservative, it is equally offensive and cynical to suggest that somehow she should get a pass for her outlandish views simply because she is a Black woman.
(cont'd)

Theranter said...

I hope we have arrived at a point in our country's history where Black folks can be criticized for holding views that are out of the mainstream, just as Whites are criticized when they hold views that are out of the mainstream. I hope we have come to the point where a woman can be criticized for being insensitive to the rights of women, just as men are criticized when they are insensitive to the rights of women.

traditionalguy said...

How about Apple's Tim Cook. That man keeps secrets and likes the Constitution more than he likes to stay out of Gitmo for aiding and abetting Terrorists who are Apple's best customers.

Sebastian said...

"Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?" Why would you raise such faux-surprise questions?

Quaestor said...
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Quaestor said...

Sounds like the NYT is becoming very, very gloomy about next November for them to come up with such rubbish.

FullMoon said...


Trump needs to call a meeting with Ted Cruz, secretly set his nomination up for next year.
Then Trump pretends he will nominate Obama, sucking in the whackos on the left.
Anybody but Hillary will still vote Trump, knowing he is outsmarting the libs, again.
Seems like a winner to me !

Char Char Binks said...
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BDNYC said...

Yes 10 Republicans voted to confirm her as attorney general; so what? The Senate should be fairly deferential to the president when it comes to executive branch appointments. Obama should be generally entitled to have people of his choosing in high positions in his administration.

Federal judicial appointments, by contrast, are lifetime appointments in a completely different (and theoretically independent) branch of government. The Senate should take a more active role in choosing who gets to sit on the Court.

Because she was never a judge, Loretta Lynch has very little paper trail. That helps her. She's also a black woman, which could help Obama and Hillary. But as Althouse points out, why create a vacancy at the top of the DOJ?

Char Char Binks said...
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mccullough said...

As a matter of identity politics, nominating Lynch would be useless. There are 3 women on the court and a black. While the country is getting less white, it's not getting more black. Nominating an Asian would make more sense. Then we'd have one black, one Puerto Rican, one Asian, 3 Jews, one Italian, one Irish, and one mutt (welsh, czech, and Irish ethnicity).

There are 3 women, so a fourth makes sense from a gender politics view. So an Asian woman. We have 5 Catholics and 3 Jews, so we need a Protestant. There aren't enough Muslims in the US to deserve a seat on the court and the 3 Jews are atheists so the atheists are well represented.

Scalia is right. Evangelicals make up more of the population in the US than Catholics. So an evangelical, probably a baptist is the type of Protestant needed.

So an Asian, Baptist woman gets the seat.

Curious George said...

"I don't understand the Loretta Lynch idea."

I think you do, but if you truly don't, then bless your heart.

Tank said...



mccullough said...

As a matter of identity politics, nominating Lynch would be useless. There are 3 women on the court and a black. While the country is getting less white, it's not getting more black. Nominating an Asian would make more sense. Then we'd have one black, one Puerto Rican, one Asian, 3 Jews, one Italian, one Irish, and one mutt (welsh, czech, and Irish ethnicity).

There are 3 women, so a fourth makes sense from a gender politics view. So an Asian woman. We have 5 Catholics and 3 Jews, so we need a Protestant. There aren't enough Muslims in the US to deserve a seat on the court and the 3 Jews are atheists so the atheists are well represented.

Scalia is right. Evangelicals make up more of the population in the US than Catholics. So an evangelical, probably a baptist is the type of Protestant needed.

So an Asian, Baptist woman gets the seat.


Not an Asian, Baptist, woman, lesbian or tranny?

Why are you othering lesbians and trannies?

Rick said...

mccullough said...
As a matter of identity politics, nominating Lynch would be useless.


The makeup of the court doesn't matter. The goal is create Republican criticism which will then be characterized as racism for use in the election.

Hagar said...

Loretta Lynch already took one for the team; she might well beg off taking another.
And nominating her would bring the DoJ into the fray again when they would rather operate without further media attention.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?"

Althouse the Comedian tag?

Bay Area Guy said...

AA: I don't understand the Loretta Lynch idea. Don't we need an attorney general?

Objection -- Non-sequitur. Yes, we need an Attorney General. Said position would be filled by Lynch, until she were confirmed, or by a deputy, elevated to Acting Attorney General.

Objection No. 2 -- Utter and complete naivete. A SCOTUS perch for 25 years or 10 more months of an AG -- Which one is more important to the Left?

Paddy O said...

Loretta Lynch confirmation could ask a lot of questions about Hillary and why there's no prosecution yet.

Big Mike said...

Don't we need an attorney general?

No Attorney General, no problem if the FBI recommends an indictment of Hillary Clinton. (As it should if 1/10 the allegations surrounding information classified well above top secret made its way onto her server.)

Why would you vacate that position and set up another appointments problem in an election year?

You assume Obama thinks that far ahead? Anyway, Lynch was confirmed handily so perhaps Obama assumes any successor will be confirmed handily, particularly if the GOP is in no mood for a knock down fight so soon after the Lynch confirmation hearings.

Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?

Lynch's most important work -- from Obama's "everything is political" perspective -- seems to be bottling up the Clinton investigation. And why make a political football out of her? From Obama's perspective, why not?

Bruce Hayden said...

If AG Lynch were not the AG, then she just might be a good pick for the Obama Administration. But, the problem with her is that she is running the DoJ politically, going after Republicans, and not going after Democrats. She definitely was the AG when her department failed to investigate the perps in the IRS scandal, including the question of why they didn't find it suspicious that so many hard drives of the central players in the scandal all happened to crash about the same time. And, yes, taking the 5th Amdt. before Congress. I am sure that she has her prints on other nefarious stuff in the Justice Dept. So, as I suggested the other day, if she gets nominated, I expect there to be a very long hearing, delving into all the corruption that she has been involved in. And, then, with that out in the open, the committee could then vote her unqualified (due to her corruption). Indeed, she and her predecessor, Eric Holder, are probably the only people I can see actually getting Senate hearings to consider their nominations, and that is because of their corruption. (Holder would be even more fun - the IRS scandal is over 1,000 days long now, and he also oversaw Fast and Furious, where the perps were promoted, instead of being fired or prosecuted).

Static Ping said...

I don't understand why the "10 Republican votes" angle means anything. Different positions, different requirements. There are candidates that I would happily vote for mayor that I would never vote for governor and vice-versa.

Now if we are discussing an appellate judge that is more interesting, though still not the same thing. Really, there is nothing truly comparable to a Supreme Court justice, and this particular selection is much more unusual than the normal Supreme Court justice vacancy. You would think that would be obvious to the enlightened folks at the New York Times, but, alas, no.

jr565 said...

"Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?"

Because you are trying to make political hay, and play political games. Then it all makes sense.

Dude1394 said...

Because everything is political with Obama.

jr565 said...

"How about Apple's Tim Cook. That man keeps secrets and likes the Constitution more than he likes to stay out of Gitmo for aiding and abetting Terrorists who are Apple's best customers."

If I were planning on killing people in a mass killing spree or terrorist attack, I know what phone I'd buy.
Plus, it has Siri.

zipity said...

Just what we need. Another Harvard/Yale lawyer from the East Coast on the Supreme Court.

What a novelty!

JPS said...

mccullough 10:15:

You are really putting me in mind of James Watt here.

Bruce Hayden said...

Continuing my previous point - I am thinking right now that anyone who would suggest Lynch for the Supreme Court is either not following what is going on with her department, and the hugely political way that she is using it and dispensing justice, or think that is just fine, is a feature, and not a bug. They just don't see it as a problem (because she only goes after evil Republicans, and lets obviously corrupt Democrats off the hook). I suspect that the author of that suggestion falls into that category. But, luckily for all of us, the Republicans still control the Senate, for at least until we get a new President.

Oh, and rubbing dirt into the wound, I think that we are likely to have seen an FBI referral for prosecution of Hillary, and, I think now, a number of her minions, for misuse of national/defense secrets, and, in her case, quite possibly public corruption for selling State Department actions for Clinton Cash. Is her department going to indict? I think that it is unlikely, despite all the evidence that the FBI has put together. . And, with that, goes any chance of a single Republican vote for her.

mccullough said...

Lynch's hearing would be all about the Hillary investigation and how Obama and Lynch are sweeping under the rug the FBI's investigation to protect Hillary. Just like the DOJ won't go after Corzine for stealing 1.6 billion in segregated client funds.

She also is defending executive amnesty, which is a case in front of the court right now.

So it would be great theater for Obama to nominate her. She is a stooge and comes across like a stooge.

Bruce Hayden said...

Coming full circle, the reason that I don't expect the Obama Administration to nominate either Lynch or Holder is that that would open themselves to long hearings on the rampant corruption in the Administration that these two people failed to investigate. This is likely to occur during the run up to the election, and while it might get out some Black votes, putting this on C-Span, and making it public, is going to alienate most everyone else. We have probably Obama's most corrupt Administration member trying to ride his coat tails into a return to the White House, and showing how corrupt his DoJ has been is not going to help her cause. Or, indeed, that of any Democrat (except maybe the Bern-guy).

Michael K said...

Lynch had a terrible reputation in NYC on asset forfeiture,

Owen said...

McCullough said: "...So an Asian, Baptist woman gets the seat."

You forgot a number of other important Axes of Identity: gender (cis/trans, etc etc), disability, age.

Maybe an over-80 Asian Baptist transitioning female-to-male? With Alzheimers as a "bonus" card?

Virgil Hilts said...

Bruce Hayden is spot on. Won't happen. I suspect it will be a hispanic.

tim in vermont said...

The cycle is getting so much faster. This was a headline in The Onion only a couple of days ago.

Sigivald said...

Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?

I'm pretty sure the Republic would survive just fine without an AG for years on end, honestly.

Mom2Es said...

Now, nominatinng, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) aged 82, maybe

Doug Ginsburg. He's old, Reagan liked him, and that marijuana thing shouldn't be a problem anymore. Plus, it's only fair since the Democrats have enjoyed 30 years of Kennedy in exchange for rejecting him the first time. Would get to say that the Republicans were a bunch of babies for vowing to block ANYBODY.

With four over-75 justices on the court at present, the only thing Obama gains from nominating a lefty is signaling to the American public that he doesn't think his team can win in November.

sdharms said...

and the important work LL is doing is...? Stonewalling?

hombre said...

The mediaswine see an opportunity to bolster their struggling Democrat Party by hyping this nonsense. If Republicans give the Court over to liberal ideologues, the country as we know it and their party are finished.

McConnell needs to stop advertising his political ineptitude through the hostile media.

hombre said...

Who says "Advise and consent" have to occur together after a presidential nomination.

McConnell ought to "advise" Obama that the Senate would consider favorably the nomination of Miguel Estrada, Janice Rogers Brown or even Condi (justices need not be lawyers).

Too clever for The Stupid Party!!

mikee said...

Lynch might have some problems explaining away everything from Fast & Furious non-prosecutions to IRS non-prosecutions to EPA non-prosecutions, let alone her opinions on Executive Orders that blatantly violate the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.

She carries a lot of Obama scandals on her portfolio.

Hey, what the heck, nominate her and let the hearings commence. I, for one, want to know why Lerner is still walking free in the country.

Bruce Hayden said...

You forgot a number of other important Axes of Identity: gender (cis/trans, etc etc), disability, age.

Maybe an over-80 Asian Baptist transitioning female-to-male? With Alzheimers as a "bonus" card?


I just don't see it. Asian maybe. Protestant hopefully. But gender, LGBTer, disability, etc.? I just don't see it. Obama nominating a tranny, or transitioning tranny, is likely to give the Presidency to the Republicans. Asians are an important demographic that both parties are interested in (but western Asians are likely Muslims, which are likely out right now). Lot of east Asian Christians, and you are likely to find Protestants if you stick with maybe Japanese or Koreans. But LGBTers are not a crucial demographic for either party, and their negative value with Republicans is likely more powerful than any positive value with Democrats, esp. since most of those thinking LGBTer status is important are probably already voting Democratic. And, don't forget that the Supreme Court gave us gay marriage, which is still highly unpopular in many parts of the country. If LGBTers can get that without one of theirs on the Supreme Court, what could they do with one there? So, no LGBTers need to apply right now.

walter said...

Lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Is someone with judge experience too much to ask for?

David said...

I don't understand the Loretta Lynch idea. Don't we need an attorney general? Why would you vacate that position and set up another appointments problem in an election year? Why would you make a political football out of her when she's doing important work that we rely on continually?

Your charming idealism becomes you, but it's all about winning elections. And if she ever wants to be on the Supreme Court (I bet she does) she had better go along.

David said...

" Is someone with judge experience too much to ask for?"

Highly overrated. Life experience, temperament and judgment are far more important.

David said...

Does Lynch have to stop being AG if nominated? Is there precedent? If not can't they have their soufflé and eat it too? The double dip soufflé, fave meal of politicians everywhere.

walter said...

"Highly overrated."
In a position of such importance without accountability?
Maybe if you want an activist judge..

Douglas said...

The only type of nomination that the GOP fears would be that of a moderate, middle-of-the-road candidate, someone who would vote sometimes with the liberal block, and sometimes with the conservatives, someone like Justice Kennedy. Then the GOP would face a hard choice: take a moderate today, or, if the Democrats win the presidency in November, get stuck with another knee-jerk liberal then. But if faced with a knee-jerk liberal today - and Lynch is surely a knee-jerk liberal who could be counted on to vote reliably with the liberal block, just like Sotomayer and Kagan - there's no incentive for the GOP to act.

As for fears of voter retribution, well, as far as I can tell the Democrats are deathly afraid of having a public debate about whether the country would be better off with the court divided 4-4-1 as it is today or with the court dominated by knee-jerk liberals 5-3-1. That's why they want to talk about process and identity politics - they are afraid to debate the substance of the changes they want because they fear the public won't agree with them.

Danno said...

Maybe as a horse trade, a nominee (Lynch) could be reviewed in Senate hearings in exchange for a Special Prosecutor of the Republicans' choice to look at Hillary's doings as the SoS.

Zach said...

I don't think this is going to play out the way people are expecting. As soon as Obama names his nominee, half of the people on the left are going to be disappointed. The Republicans get to do the full opposition research and get people upset about the prospects of this person getting a lifetime appointment. The only thing that isn't going to happen is the nominee making it onto the Court.

The only reason any sane person would go through the confirmation process is if there's a chance of confirmation at the end of it. Nine months of attacks followed by a withdrawn nomination isn't going to be a fun experience.