When I heard the news of the passing away of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I had a suspicion that Joy Reid would be reclaiming her spot today as host of AM Joy, the MSNBC show she left in favor of hosting a weekday primetime slot on the network. And sure enough, there Reid was this morning, having big-footed the aspirants to her host chair. [The apparently power-hungry Reid had also previously imposed herself as a guest on her former show!]
Reid had an urgent message for Democrats: threaten, and exact, retaliation on Republicans should they manage to replace Justice Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Reid raised the notion with every guest during the show's opening half-hour. Here were Reid's specific suggestions:
- Pack the Court, increasing its membership to 15 Justices from the current nine, thus giving Democrats [assuming they control the White House and Senate], the ability to nominate and confirm six liberal Justices.
- Immediately move to make the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico states, thus virtually assuring the addition of four Democrat senators.
- Kill the filibuster, thus making it difficult if not impossible for a Republican Senate minority to stop the Democrats in these moves.
The two Democrat senators Reid had as guests--Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii--weren't willing to explicitly sign on to Reid's suggestions. But Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart [who has been one of the candidates auditioning to replace Reid], ardently agreed, saying: "Democrats can't just threaten. They have to mean it." Capehart even ominously added: "I think there are a whole lot of other things that could be added to the threat list."
Left unstated in all this was something that conservatives should find heartening: neither Reid nor any of her guests were able to suggest anything that the Democrats can actually do to stop President Trump from nominating, and the Senate, under the baton of Mitch McConnell, from confirming, a Justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Here's the transcript.
10:07 am EDT
JOY REID: What consequences are Democrats willing to put on the table? Will Senate Democrats consider expansion of the Court? Putting more members on, as Neal Katyal said Democrats have every right to do? Immediately making DC a state, [thus] adding more senators?
. . .
What Katyal last night said to me, and I believe on other programs on MSNBC, that Democrats would be well within their rights to start packing the Court.
. . .
There was a threat, when they [Republicans] thought Hillary Clinton was going to win, that they said they would filibuster her Supreme Court for all eight years if they had to. Keep any Democrat from ever filling. So this is now on the table. Democrats need to respond in kind. Right? Do you see any other option?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: No. Democrats can't just threaten: they have to mean it. They have to mean it when they say, we are going to get rid of the filibuster rule if you do this, that we are going to add Supreme Court seats, or Justices to the Supreme Court if you do this. And I think there are a whole lot of other things that could be added to the threat list . . . It's time for Democrats to step up, and use everything in their power to ensure that if Mitch McConnell and President Trump do what we all believe and know they're going to do, that there will be a price to pay no matter who wins the election in November.
REID: Absolutely. It's Saturday, so you can get a Seventh Day Adventist amen.
. . .
MAZIE HIRONO: We're going to explore every avenue to stop Mitch McConnell from stealing another Supreme Court seat.
REID: And does that include, potentially, making it clear that Democrats will vote on D.C. statehood, and Puerto Rico statehood, immediately upon taking power, and taking control of the Senate? That expanding the Supreme Court, as Neal Katyal and others have said would be a completely legitimate response, saying okay, there'll be 15 seats on the Supreme Court now, that's going to happen if he goes for this. And in getting rid of the filibuster in the United States Senate.
HIRONO: All of those matters will be on the agenda, but first and foremost we'll have to get back the Senate.
Bonus Coverage: Sleepy Joe Emerges from Slumber to Mumble a Few Words on the Subject
Why Reid thought it was a good idea to run the clip of Joe Biden's RBG comments is beyond me. He looked and sounded as if his handlers had roused him from slumber to mumble some remarks that were handed to him. Here's the video.