Valerie Jarrett at City Club of Chicago: Jarrett right about Judge Garland & Kennedy? Filibuster of/opposition to Gorsuch justified?

Jarrett-Mazur video added on Tuesday at 2:30 pm

Valerie Jarrett: On a 1 to 10 scale, I put [Obama’s Garland frustration] at a 52

Berkowitz: Was there a legitimate basis for Republicans not giving Judge Garland a hearing?  Does that action by Republicans justify Democrats opposing a Gorsuch vote? We discuss, you decide.


Edward Mazur: How frustrated would you say that President Obama became over the nomination of Merrick Garland and the refusal to give him a Senate Hearing? [Mazur was today's City Club of Chicago moderator and he is the City Club of Chicago Board Chairman]

--Refusal to give Garland a hearing- Ridiculous? [Watch complete video of Mazur-Jarrett interview, including audience submitted questions]

Valerie Jarrett: On a scale of 1 to 10, I would put it at a 52 because it is ridiculous. [Jarrett is a 26 year friend of the Obamas, was senior advisor to President Obama, 2009-2017 and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's Deputy Chief of Staff when Jarrett hired Michelle Robinson (now Michelle Obama) in 1991].

--Jarrett argues erroneously Justice Kennedy filled election year vacancy

Valerie Jarrett (cont.): Look, he’s [Obama] elected for a four year term…ended January 20 of this year, not a year earlier. It’s the first time in history where you had a vacancy during an election year [on the Supreme Court] that wasn’t filled. In fact, the last time there was a vacancy [in such a case] was for Justice Kennedy when he was nominated by President Reagan.

Jarrett (cont.): I would mention that Vice-President Biden was then Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The Democrats gave Justice (then Judge) Kennedy, a hearing and he was confirmed, almost unanimously.  And so, that’s how it is supposed to go…to simply say, because we are in an election year, we are going to strip the President of the power he has to make an appointment, it’s unheard of…

Jarrett: Yeah [the President was] pretty ticked off about that. And, and…there isn’t anybody who’s ever been appointed to the Supreme Court with better qualifications [than Merrick Garland]…

--Remarks by Valerie Jarrett, City Club of Chicago, Maggiano’s Banquets, Clark and Grand, Chicago Loop, April 3, 2017

Perhaps that argument could be sustained, but neither the moderator nor anyone in the audience tested it [in the form of submitted questions that followed].

--Pushback to Valerie Jarrett

That is, Ms. Jarrett’s assertions were not fact checked or challenged. Nor did anyone in today’s City Club of Chicago sell-out crowd of 340 at Maggiano’s Banquets in the Loop endeavor to contradict Ms. Jarrett’s argument that Justice Kennedy’s nomination would serve as strong modern day precedent for an “Election year hearing,” for Judge Garland. So, we will pick up the slack and provide such, below:

--Justice Kennedy nominated during Reagan’s 2nd to last year

Contrary to what Valerie Jarrett said, Judge [now Justice] Kennedy was not nominated during the last year of Reagan’s Presidency. Although Kennedy was confirmed early on during Reagan's last presidential year, on Feb. 3, 1988, he was nominated during the 2nd to last year of President Reagan’s second term, on November 11, 1987 [See Gorsuch seat not stolen from Garland  for support for this fact, and other facts (re Kennedy and Bork nominations and Biden and Schumer statements, discussed below].

Moreover, the Kennedy nomination was to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Powell’s resignation in June, 1987, more than 18 months prior to the end of the Reagan Presidency, quite different from the timing to fill the vacancy created by Justice Scalia’s passing in the last year of the Obama Presidency and the 2016 election year.  

And, Reagan’s nomination of Judge Kennedy on November 11, 1987 “related back,” to the Judge Bork nomination of July 1, 1987,which was followed by the “Drawn out, world class scurrilous, confirmation Borking by Democrats,” of Judge Bork in the summer and fall of 1987, all of which preceded the 1988 election year.   

--Biden: no S. Ct. nominations until after 1992 Presidential election

Further, In June, 1992, Democratic Senator and then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden said on the Senate floor if a Supreme Court vacancy were to occur, President George H. W.  Bush [running for re-election] should “not name a nominee until after the November election is completed,” and if he did, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”

--Schumer: no S. Ct. nominations during last 16 months of Bush 43 Presidency

And, then in July, 2007, 16 months before the McCain-Obama Presidential election, Democratic Senator and now Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “The Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush 'except in extraordinary circumstances.'"

So, were the Republicans warranted in not giving Judge Garland a hearing?

Are the Democrats justified in using the Republicans' treatment of Judge Garland as a rationale to filibuster Judge Gorsuch?

We discuss, you decide.       



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