Last week, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas graced us with his take on why Democrats are making more noise about this whole “let’s replace recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before people have a chance to vote in a new president” thing than they needed to.
“Politics is, unfortunately, often theater,” he begins. “We’re hearing a lot of high outrage that the positions of members of this committee have changed from four years ago.”
He argued that literally everyone’s position had changed from four years ago (which is true if you live in a world utterly without context), and that presidents appointing new justices during election years is a fairly common thing. Also, he implied Democrats and their presidential nominee, Joe Biden, might plunge the nation into unprecedented chaos if President Donald Trump was re-elected.
Unfortunately for Cruz, he is frequently immediately followed on the Senate Judiciary Committee by Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, who, in spite of her largely moderate-to-centrist politics, is not famous for mincing words or taking shit from fucking anybody, least of all a man as nearly universally despised as Cruz.
Watch my entire response to Senator Ted Cruz about the Supreme Court vacancy: pic.twitter.com/HxSCZKHMhR— Senator Amy Klobuchar (@SenAmyKlobuchar) September 25, 2020
“I sit in a position on this committee where I often follow Senator Cruz,” she says. “And I often have to throw out my entire plan for what I was going to say because of what he said.”
That’s true—this wouldn’t be the first time Klobuchar has had to address some wild shit she wasn’t planning to because of Cruz. At the end of last year, after he went on a tirade comparing the FBI to Beavis and Butt-Head, Klobuchar suggested they “tone things down a little bit here," which is Minnesotan for "Cool your fucking jets, Ted."
“But,” she continues, “I have never had an experience quite like this one.”
She starts off by pointing out that this moment, historically speaking, is far from business as usual. The only other time we’ve had a Supreme Court justice die this close to an election was in 1864, during the Lincoln administration. The election was 27 days away, and President Abraham Lincoln chose to let the people vote before filling the seat.
Ginsburg’s death places her as second closest, at 46 days away. The next closest was Sherman Minton, who died in 1956, 53 days away from the election. His successor, William J. Brennan Jr., was also nominated and confirmed after the election.
After Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016, a full 269 days before the election, the Republican Senate majority refused to hold a hearing to vote on then President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, until the next president—as it happened, Trump—was voted in. That seat was filled instead by his nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
“Those are the facts that you live with,” Klobuchar says. To put a finer point on it, she adds, the election is technically currently in progress. People are voting “right now,” either via mail or in person.
She took issue with the notion that it was Biden, and not Trump, who poses a threat to the legitimate outcome of the election. More to the point, this is not “theater” to her, and she maintained that the American people would “see through” the noise to the heart of the matter.
“I will not concede that this is going to end up in court. You know why? Because President Trump is behind in states—in red states—that no one even thought he could be behind in. Why? Because the people of this country are fighting back, because they know what’s on the line… I have listened to this for too long. And I think the American people see through this raw use of political power.”
It’s a good soundbite. Almost enough for us to forgive her for not acknowledging Minnesota’s State Fair as superior to Iowa’s last year on the campaign trail.