Senator Chuck Grassley, the former chairman and current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is calling on Joe Biden to release his list of potential nominees for the Supreme Court. This comes after President Trump released a list of his last week.
In May 2016, in order to shore up conservative support, then-candidate Trump released a list of candidates he would consider if he had the opportunity to place nominations before the Senate Judicial Committee. The choices were excellent, frankly, and showed that thoughtful consideration had been employed by outside advisers who helped make the recommendations. Trump promised to not go outside of the list. So, in keeping with that tradition, Trump released an updated list last week. Sleepy Joe has not released a list of his own.
Senator Grassley said that Biden should release his list by the end of the month. He said there is “no reason” for Biden “to hide” the names.
“I hope Vice President Biden will agree with me that the American people deserve this information before the election, not after. I call on Vice President Biden to release the list of names from which he would nominate to the Supreme Court, no later than September 30th,” Grassley said in a statement.
“The Biden-Harris ticket owes voters the same transparency President Trump has demonstrated along with the same commitment to nominate from that list should there be a vacancy. There’s no reason to hide something as consequential as who would be named to our highest court,” he added.
Grassley isn’t the only person calling on Biden to release a list. Progressive groups want Biden to do so for the same reason Trump did in 2016 – in this case, to energize voters who may be reluctant about who the former vice-president might choose. That’s a double-edged sword for Democrats, though, because a list of far-left judges may appease the Bernie Bro wing of the party who are slow to warm up to voting for Biden but far-left judges will not be acceptable to more moderate Democrats. So, a Biden spokesman just deflected when asked about releasing a list.
Asked about guidance on if, or when, the Biden campaign would release a Supreme Court list, a spokesman referred to a recent statement asking when Trump would release his tax returns, something he has so far refused to do.
“We look forward to Donald Trump releasing his tax returns in the spirit of his newfound appreciation for transparency,” said Biden campaign spokesman TJ Ducklo.
We know that Biden committed to appointing a black woman to the Supreme Court and in June he said that his team was working on a list. He has not released such a list, though. Since June he has punted on answering the question.
“We are putting together a list of a group of African American women who are qualified and have the experience to be on the court,” Biden said at the time. “I am not going to release that until we go further down the line in vetting them.”
Democrat Senator Dick Durbin argues against transparency on potential nominees, though. Transparency? We don’t need no stinkin’ transparency. He wants to go back to the old ways, maintain the pre-Trump status quo.
“I sincerely hope he does not do that,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told The Hill earlier this year. “We ought to go back to the regular order of things. If and when vacancies occur he can look for the very best person at that moment.”
I don’t know that most voters pay attention to judicial choices or think about them when they go to vote. I can tell you the reason many conservatives felt ok with voting for Trump was on filling vacancies at all levels with conservative judges, and denying liberals more seats on benches. The thought of Hillary Clinton putting judges on the Supreme Court or lower courts was a big factor for some voters. With some of the justices getting a little long in the tooth – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 87 and Justice Stephen Breyer is 82 – it matters again this time. I sure don’t want Kamala Harris to make the decision. Let’s face it, she’ll be the decision-maker, not Joe Biden.