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Democrats need not ‘grin and bear it’ on the Supreme Court — but only if they win the Senate: Jeffrey Toobin

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CNN's Jeffrey Toobin (Screen cap).

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin laid out his thoughts on the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in The New Yorker on Saturday.

“In Washington, grief yields quickly to calculation,” Toobin wrote. “The broad outlines of the situation are already clear. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, announced within hours of Ginsburg’s death that he will make sure that a Trump nominee gets a vote in the Senate this year. The hypocrisy of his position is breathtaking. Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016, nine months before that year’s Presidential election. On that day, McConnell said that he would not allow a hearing or a vote on a nominee from President Barack Obama, because the next President should be allowed to make the choice.”

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Toobin explained why he believes McConnell could force through a nomination in 2020.

“If the answer is yes—if Trump fills the Ginsburg seat—the next question will be how the Democrats respond. If the Democrats fail to retake the majority in the Senate in November, their options are few except to grin and bear it,” Toobin wrote.

If Democrats can seize the Senate, Toobin laid out a four-point plan for “retribution.”

“But, if they win the majority and Joe Biden wins the Presidency, there are four major possibilities for retribution—which all happen to be good policy as well. The first is the abolition of the filibuster, which should have happened decades ago. Even in the minority, McConnell will do everything he can to thwart Biden, and the filibuster will be the tool. This antidemocratic relic should be retired once and for all,” he wrote.

“Second, statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with two senators apiece, would be another appropriate rejoinder. Third, Congress should pass a law expanding the number of lower-court federal judges; that number has not increased since Jimmy Carter was President,” he explained.

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“Finally, the greatest and most appropriate form of retribution involves the Supreme Court itself. The number of Justices is not fixed in the Constitution but, rather, established by statute. If Republicans succeed in stealing two seats—the Scalia and Ginsburg vacancies—the Democrats could simply pass a law that creates two or three more seats on the Supreme Court,” Toobin explained. “To do so would be to play hardball in a way that is foreign to the current Senate Democrats. But maybe, in light of all that’s happened, that’s a game they should learn to play.”


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2020 Election

‘Truly grotesque’: On way out the door, Trump prioritizes bringing back executions by firing squad and electrocution

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Among the slew of potentially destructive policy changes the Trump administration is rushing to implement on its way out of power is a rule that would authorize the return of electrocutions and firing squads for federal executions, an effort critics slammed as a twisted priority amid deadly public health and economic crises.

ProPublica reported Wednesday that the rule, first published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Justice Department in August, "has raced through the process with little notice but unusual speed—and deadly consequences."

"This rule could reintroduce firing squads and electrocutions for federal executions, giving the government more options for administering capital punishment as drugs used in lethal injections become unavailable," ProPublica noted. "The Justice Department surfaced the proposal in August and accepted public comments for only 30 days, instead of the usual 60. The rule cleared White House review on Nov. 6, meaning it could be finalized any day."

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2020 Election

Americans ‘won’t stand’ for election results not being honored: Biden

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US President-elect Joe Biden said Wednesday that Americans "won't stand" for the results of the November 3 election not being honored.

"Our democracy was tested this year," Biden said in a Thanksgiving Day address in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. "And what we learned is this: The people of this nation are up to the task.

"In America, we have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results," he said. "The people of this nation and the laws of the land won't stand for anything else."

Biden did not mention Donald Trump by name but he was clearly referring to the president's refusal to accept the results of the election.

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2020 Election

The strange truth about our Trump addiction

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Are we addicted to Donald Trump? It's a question that's haunting journalists and political commentators, most of whom hate Trump but cannot deny that his name drives traffic and ratings. Even though Trump lost the election and Joe Biden will be the next president, Trump continues to be the big attention draw for political websites and cable news networks.

Part of that is completely understandable. Trump is still big news. He literally spent the past few weeks attempting a coup. While he failed, that doesn't change the history-making fact that he even tried, or that he got so much support. Certainly Biden, whose main activity is finding boring-but-competent people to staff his administration, can't compete with that, and there's no real indication that he wants to. (Unlike Trump, Biden views governing as a job and not just an opportunity to get attention.)

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