CNN’S RANK HYPOCRISY: Okay for Dems to Flip on SCOTUS Picks, Not GOP

September 21st, 2020 2:48 PM

On Monday’s New Day, CNN anchor John Berman repeatedly accused Republicans of "hypocrisy" when it came to filling the seat of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during an election year: “... Is it hypocritical of Republicans to do this? The answer is, yeah!” However, the partisan host conveniently ignored the blatant hypocrisy of Democrats.

Both Berman and his co-host Alisyn Camerota did the work of the Democratic Party as they gleefully discussed the differing statements made by the Republicans four years ago as compared to now. Of course they completely ignored how the Democrats, including nominee Joe Biden and the late Justice Ginsburg herself, demanded President Obama be allowed to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, a presidential election year.

In 2016, then Vice-President Biden wrote an op-ed for The New York Times where he stated “I was so surprised and saddened to see Republican leaders tell President Obama and me that they would not even consider a Supreme Court nominee this year. … It’s an unprecedented level of obstruction.” Justice Ginsburg stated in a 2016 interview that “There's nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being the president in his last year.” Both of these statements were not covered by the network.



Instead, Berman and Camerota seized on a clip of Senator Lindsay Graham from 2016 saying: “That is some of the most amazing sound I've ever heard.” One of the guests on the show, Ginsburg propagandist and CNN contributor Irin Carmon, laughably proclaimed: “As journalists, it is our job to call out hypocrisy.” Just seconds later, Carmon showed she was no journalist as she whined: "As analysts, I think it's important to note that if the politics of shame worked on Senate Republicans, calling them out for hypocrisy, we would have a justice Merrick Garland."

It has been documented that New Day hosts and guests like to focus on credentials when considering jobs and opinions. However, in their later coverage of potential nominee Amy Coney Barrett, the CNN hosts and their guest largely neglected to discusses the current Circuit Court Judge’s credentials and whether she was qualified to sit on the highest court in America. Instead, they complained about how her noted policy positions on Roe v. Wade and ObamaCare were not to their liking.

Their Chief Legal Analyst Jeffery Toobin warned that Barrett was “as close as you can say to a sure vote to overturn Roe v. Wade,” which was portrayed as a dire scenario. Less than five minutes later, Toobin noted that Ginsburg was “a more or less automatic vote for upholding ObamaCare” but since they agreed with that policy position, that was perfectly okay with the panel.

The New Day broadcast this morning demonstrated that hypocrisy is fine with the media, as long as Democrats are the ones guilty. 

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A transcript of the September 18 coverage is included below:

New Day
6:15 AM ET

LINDSAY GRAHAM [R-SC]: I want you to use my words against me. If there's a Republican President in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, Lindsey Graham said, let's let the next President, whoever it might be, make that nomination. And you can use my words against me and you would be absolutely right. 

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Well, that was Lindsey Graham in 2016, inviting critics to hold him to his word, after he opposed President Trump's -- sorry, President Obama's supreme court pick, because it was an election year. 

JOHN BERMAN: Put it in the bank! His word is his bond! You can write that down for the record books. That is some of the most amazing sound I've ever heard. 

CAMEROTA: It is. There's more of it from 2018. It wasn't just 2016. He said the same thing in 2018. 

BERMAN: Spine of steel! 

CAMEROTA: But yesterday, interestingly, he said something different. Now today, with a Republican President pick, graham and so many other Republicans my miraculously changed their tune. Joining us now is CNN Political Analyst David Gregory and CNN Contributor Irin Carmon. Let's start first with RBG. Irin, or course, you wrote the book, "Notorious RBG: The life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg." It was a sad day at my house this weekend, a sad night, because my two 15-year-old daughters have always seen her as a feminist icon. And they were really broken up. And of course, Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself knew -- she saw this coming. I mean, she knew that all of this was possible. And she, you know, in her final days, tried to express what her dying wish would be, but it seems like the Republicans are not listening to that. 

IRN CARMON [CNN Contributor]: Yeah, Alisyn, it was a sad day for me, too, personally, and also as somebody who really honors the legacy of justice Ginsburg substantively, which was, equality and justice. And it was also institutions working together, even across the aisle. Even with the kinds of friendships she had with the Republican appointees and with Republican senators, even people like Orrin Hatch. But it was very clear and it was clear when I interviewed her a few years ago when she talked about how our Congress wasn't functioning the way it was supposed to and the branches of government weren't and it was clear when she became the notorious RBG because she was dissenting from the voting rights case that the ideals she had for this country were not being fulfilled. So it's tragic to lose her as a person and even more tragic to lose the ideals she had for this country. 

BERMAN: David Gregory, hearing Lindsey Graham, it really is stunning to hear the hypocrisy now. And I don't even think there's a discussion anymore. Oh, is it hypocritical of Republicans to do this. The answer is, yeah! We can play more sound from other Republicans. It's a closed case at this point. So the issue now is what happens going forward. And you have two senators, Susan Collins says the next President, whoever is elected in November, should nominate the Supreme Court Justice. Lisa Murkowski doesn't want the choice before the election. And what are we waiting on as far as you were concerned, to figure out what happens? 


CAMEROTA: Irin, here is how Senator Lindsey graham yesterday explained his hypocrisy. He said on Twitter, Democrats chose to set in motion rules, changes, to stack the court at the circuit level and they chose to try to destroy Brett Kavanaugh's life to keep the Supreme Court seat open. You reap what you sow. So that's now how he explains why he's done this complete about-face. And as David was explaining, I think that so many conservatives and just Republicans did vote for Donald Trump, even if they didn't like his personality, even if he didn't like what he stood for on so many other things, because they thought of this moment. And they thought that he would be able to, as he has, pick conservative Justices at the Supreme Court and the lower courts. 

CARMON: That's absolutely right, Alisyn. And as journalists, it is our job to call out hypocrisy and it is our job to look at the shifting justifications, which are frankly bunk. I mean, they made-up new rules, changed them, and made up new rules. As analysts, I think it's important to note that if the politics of shame worked on Senate Republicans, calling them out for hypocrisy, we would have a justice Merrick Garland. We certainly would not have a justice Brett Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford testified. We've seen this before. You know, the election that really shaped the court as it is now was in 2016. And the election that is going to shape in court in the future, that's really up to Democrats at this point. There's no doubt in my mind that the Republicans will come home. They were always going to, whether justice Ginsburg passed away now or after the election. The real question is, how are Democrats going to hold them accountable, whether that's democratic electeds or democratic voters. And will that change the very constitution of the Supreme Court moving forward. 

BERMAN: Irin, to your point about Lindsey graham's hypocrisy, half of his justification for his spine of steel breaking in half or splintering was because of a decision in 2013 by the Democrats, before he made his two "You can write it down" statements saying he would let the voters decide. So Lindsey Graham is making up justifications at this point. And one other thing, David, to Irin's point, it's not clear to me. I think people for two days have been, oh, Donald Trump is getting what he wanted with the Supreme Court. Conservatives will come home. The numbers right now tell a different story. That this may energize democrats more. $100 million raised by At Blue since Friday night. Harry Enten has raised some numbers here that say that 59% of Biden voters saying appointing next supreme court justice is important in their vote, just 51% of trump voters. And among those that are persuadable voters right now, and there aren't that many left, they prefer Joe Biden. They want Joe Biden to pick the next nominee by 49 to 31%. So it isn't clear what the politics are. We don't know, and obviously, not much has changed the politics of this race for months. 


CAMEROTA: David Gregory, Irin Carmon, thank you both very much. 

6:38 AM ET

LINDSAY GRAHAM [R-SC]: I want you to use my words against me. If there's a Republican President in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, Lindsey Graham said, let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination. And you could use my words against me and you would be absolutely right. 

CAMEROTA: Your wish is our command, Senator Graham. That was Senator Lindsey Graham in 2016, inviting us to replay the tape, after opposing President Obama's supreme court pick, because it was an election year. Now that a Republican President is in office, it's, of course, a completely different story. President Trump says he will nominate a woman this weekend to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, so who is on the short list and what do we need to know about her? Joining us now is CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey, great to see you. It's amazing to hear Lindsey Graham, just, you know, be so adamant then and then completely flip-flop. But that's not why we have you here. We have you here to walk us through the top contenders. Let's just start with Amy Coney Barrett. What do we need to know about her, since it seems like she's at the top of the list at the moment? 

JEFFREY TOOBIN [Chief Legal Analyst]: She was interviewed as a finalist for the Brett Kavanaugh seat. So it's obvious that she is, was a serious candidate then and she's a serious candidate now. She is a former Professor at Notre Dame Law School and is as close as you can say to a sure vote to overturn roe V. Wade. If you look at her academic work before she was appointed to the bench, there is virtual no doubt that she would vote to overturn Roe V. Wade. She does not believe in the constitutional basis for Roe. And that's what really brought her to prominence in Republican politics. She was controversial as a circuit court nominee. She's nominated to the seventh circuit court of appeals, confirmed narrowly in 2017. She is the base's favorite candidate. And there's just really almost no doubt about how she would vote on virtually any issue. She's, you know, relatively new federal judge. She has voted in a conservative line, not on many hot-button issues yet. She just hasn't had them come up. But she is the base's favorite candidate. 

BERMAN: I will also say, as a professor, Notre Dame Law Professor, she wrote a letter criticizing Chief Justice John Roberts for his decision in the Obamacare case. So we have a sense of where she is on Obamacare, on health care, which is very important. And that's an issue that Joe Biden has chosen to lean into right now and to try to frame this court selection to have it be about health care. It's interesting. 

TOOBIN: That is true. And it's especially important because shortly after the election, one week after the election, the court will be taking up its third challenge to the existence of Obamacare. And of course, this will be the first time that the Supreme Court considers Obamacare without Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court, who was a more or less automatic vote for upholding Obamacare. It's very possible that the Supreme Court after hearing the argument in the -- in this health care case, will do what's called putting it over, which will delay the case until there's a ninth Justice, so this Justice may hold the fate of Obamacare in her hands, and that's an extremely important fact to a lot of American people. 


LOOBIN: That's true. And if Donald Trump cares about pleasing the base, which has been the dominating theme of his Presidency, he'll go with Amy Coney Barrett. If he -- if he's looking for the easier vote for senate Republicans, he's looking -- I think Barbara Lagoa is a better choice. That -- you know, they're both very conservative. They are both going to be justices very, very different from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but as a political matter, there are differences between them.