I’m starting to wonder whether I should believe in karma for real. There is something fitting about the fact that the Barrett nomination comes at the very moment that the person most responsible for blowing up judicial politics more than 30 years ago is the Democratic nominee for president—Joe Biden. There’s no way he can dodge questions at the first presidential debate next week about Barrett, and I hope Chris Wallace or someone else will bore in specifically on why Biden’s frequent avowals of the personal importance of his Catholic faith shouldn’t apply equally to Barrett. One word will come in prominently: abortion. (By the way, strange that the media won’t report that Biden has been denied communion at some Catholic churches in recent times because of his pro-abortion views.)
Let’s roll back the tape to 1987. Biden said, several months before Robert Bork was nominated:
“Say the administration sends up Bork, and, after our investigation, he looks a lot like another Scalia. I’d have to vote for him, and if the groups tear me apart, that’s the medicine I’ll have to take. I’m not Ted Kennedy.”
But it took only 30 seconds of demagoguery from Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor to turn Biden into Kennedy, as Biden crumpled to pressure from left wing groups to stage a shameful show trial of Bork. And if Biden crumpled to left wing pressure groups 33 years ago, what makes anyone think he won’t do the same as president, no matter what medicine he may be taking.
The broader point is: “Borking” only worked once. The attempts at a sequel have only served to backfire on Democrats, especially with the disgrace of the Kavanaugh hearings. Together with Harry Reid’s immense strategic blunder of eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominees, it has helped to assure a slow but steady rightward march for the judiciary.
This one deserves a repeat from TWiP: