tv Washington Journal Chris Cadelago and Stephen Dinan CSPAN July 9, 2018 10:04am-10:36am EDT
. >> watch the communicators on c-span 2. >> next, the week ahead in washington dc from today's washington journal. our monday roundtable with stephen dinan. he covers politics in congress for the "washington times." and chris cadelago, who covers the white house for politico. regardless of who the president nominates tonight, the white house will hit the ground running. how so? guest: the white house has been preparing for this for quite some time. there was obviously talk of justice kennedy potentially retiring at the end of the term. i think we have seen them really withit into gear, starting this list they have of 25 potential justices. now, they have -- they are
modey moving in to the pr of this, distributing bios of potential nominees. to the audience that really matters, the folks on capitol hill. and then all of the outside activist groups that they will be activating. really scores of groups across the country that will be spending big money on tv to really push this across the finish line. host: your piece is titled "the super bowl of politics." the neil gorsuch playbook that you write about in your piece, how is the unfolding today? guest: i think they really liked how he performed in the hearings . they thought that was key. thatd a great biography the president could turn to and rollout. he had the pedigree to serve.
that is what they're looking for, not only in the nominee but in the process. we will have to see if it goes as smoothly. there are folks saying you are not guaranteed to get a gorsuch there. there are folks trying to sell their potential nominees as a gorsuch 2.0. part of it is because donald trump sees this as a hype point -- a high point of his presidency. about a couplek of key senators. first, senator lisa murkowski. how critical will she be? guest: there are two senators that this decision essentially comes down to. let's talk about the math. senator john mccain has been absent from the senate this year. if we assume he will be absent again for the rest of the year or at least up until this supreme court vote, you are talking about a difference of flipping one republican senator from "yes" on the nominee to "no" on the nominee.
it will be enough to defeat that nominee. so lisa murkowski and senator susan collins of maine, those are the two republicans were most of the attention is being focused now. if either of them were to the fact from the nominee -- defect from the nominee, that would be enough to kill it. they are confident they can also put pressure on several of the red state democrats out there. even if they do have the defection, they are hopeful they can make that out. the key thing is if they have all republicans, it is likely they get one or two or more democrats. if they lose one or two republicans, that creates the political cover for several democrats -- a big battle over those democrats as much as republicans. is an extensive piece from yesterday of the "new york times" that talks about the dilemma for three red state
democrats. they could either alienate democrats or alienate republicans. and either give republicans a greater majority in the senate or give democrats a chance to retake it in 2019. guest: you have a vote -- maybe we will talk about scheduling later. but the vote is probably, if the trajectory goes and the first nominee the president makes goes -- the way to the vote likely into september or possibly october. essentially six weeks before those voters in those states go ack to the polls to give referendum on those senators. you have a president who, in those estates you listed, one for each of those states i at byst 20 percentage points -- at least one percentage points. and remains a popular president
in those states, can those senators really be seen to have voted against the president for whom this is the super bowl for him. he continues to talk about his success with neil gorsuch. he values this immensely. he had been told by those around him how important the supreme court nominee is. some of the senators have already tasted the president's wrath on the campaign trail. are they really going to want to be seen voting against him this late in this season. the other part is if they get the wrath of liberal groups in their state. but they can take that back to the voter. i am independent but i can support the president when i need to. host: the white house counsel is helping the president lead this effort. can you let us know what is happening behind the scenes, the role of the heritage foundation?
guest: those two groups were important early on in crafting those lists. this is someone who is in contact with the president. and told by folks inside outside, constantly, they are talking about these nominees. answering the president's questions. it is hard to overstate with his role with these outside groups in helping craft the universe of in shapingdates and how the president sees them, what sort of material on their background and rulings is coming through the white house counsel's office, being vetted, and then being put in front of the president. you cannot overstate mcgann's role in this. going back to the red state democrats, the one thing i would say about them is their role has been to thread the needle. saying we may be voting against donald trump and wrote in -- and voting with the leadership and
democrats with all of things, but we let him have his nominee. this is just another example. this is what higher profile -- what higher profile nominee is there than for the supreme court? that heightens the tension even more. election, they will be put on the spot. host: there are a couple of things i want to get your reaction -- first, by the numbers. you can get this online at politico.com. the ages of the supreme court justices. ginsburg is 85. breyer is 79. thomas is 70. alito, 68. sotomayor is 64. roberts is 63. isan is 50 8 p.m. gorsuch 50. other possible nominees, kavanaugh is 53.
-- guest: there are interesting parallels in the age -- the folks on the left of the court and the democratic leadership in congress as well. it sort of feels like democrats are bumping up against things in both congress and on the supreme court. i think all of this is by design, at least when it comes to potential nominees. yesterday atpotted lunch, rudy giuliani, andrew giuliani, sean hannity, eating lunch with the president in new jersey. guest: this is the one caveat of all the vetting and things that go through the white house counsel's office. obviously, the president has a zone outside kitchen cabinet folks. those are the people harder to
engage. he is hearing it from a multitude of folks, including folks with big cable news platforms. his attorney, rudy giuliani. he asks everybody about the big decisions that are coming up before him, a special es like the spirit we have heard some things about who these folks are leaning towards and have some suspicions about who they may be potentially lobbying for. host: what about the senate republican leader, mitch mcconnell? what is his role in this? guest:'s role is to do exactly what he did with neil gorsuch, which is make sure there is a confirmation vote and that that confirmation vote is successful. democrats probably hurt their ability to the rail -- derail this nominee by the way they forced mcconnell to trigger the nuclear option for that nominee who replaced
justice scalia. essentially, a conservative for a conservative, by going to on that nominee, they have are ready paved the way to be able to confirm this nominee without having to clear a 60 vote threshold for a filibuster this time around. it is probable that if democrats originalted that nominee, gorsuch, without forcing mcconnell to go nuclear, they would have a better argument this time around. if they had allowed trump to go through and then said because this person is going to replace kennedy and said -- instead of the skill yet seat -- scalia seat, there would have a better argument. would mcconnell still go nuclear on this? it is possible, but the arguments would need different. beonnell has said there will
a vote on this nominee on the floor and confirmation this fall. host: we are talking with stephen dinan and chris cadelago. stephen dinan, i want to get your reaction to what senator orrin hatch growth over the weekend -- what to expect when the president nominates a new supreme court justice. in an ideal world, the process for filling this seat would the simple and nonpolitical. sadly, it will be anything but. dream of packing our courts with activist judges who act less as impartial arbiters of the law and more as super legislators. onlynd women who not interpret the constitution but actively work to change its meaning through their opinions. too much is at stake to allow politics to corrupt the confirmation process to that is why i will lift have been an
earth to see the president's nominee across the finish line. guest: he captures what a supreme court judge has become. a super legislator. the reason why everyone is so invested in this seat is because if you look at the last 12 years since the retirement of justice sandra day o'connor, justice kennedy has been the deciding voice on so many of the major issues we have argued over as americans. everything from same-sex marriage to first amendment campaign free speech rights. when he retired, saying for the last 12 years, it has been justice kennedy's world, and we have been living in it because of those momentous decisions. whoever will take the seat will presumably move the court to the right. but how far to the right and at point -- that depends on this nominee. if democrats can derail this
next year, they hope to take this issue directly to voters and win more seats in midterm elections and have a bigger say and where sales -- whoever fills that seat. host: the name of merrick garland came up again yesterday on "face the nation." [video clip] >> the republican majority refused to hear that hold hearing for 10 months about a nominated by president obama. we are for monthly from an election now, it and we should follow that same rule. i will do my job on the judiciary committee in advance of congressional elections this november. i assume the president will nominate someone from that short list prepared to him by the federal society and the heritage foundation, two right-wing groups. i will review the record and ask them tough questions to get to
the core issue -- how will this next justice nominated by the president affect the rights and freedoms of the average american? this is a very important decision. it will affect the affordable care act. it will affect reproductive choice and individual freedom for millions of women. incrementalct protection, lgbt rights. justice kennedy was at the center of many key decisions. i will do my job on the judiciary committee. i hope folks who are watching will also speak up. call their senators. express their views. see this as what it is -- the consequence of an election and a reason to be more engaged in the vote. host: senator chris coons, on "face the nation," one of the five programs we air on c-span radio. one of 20ons is
members on the senate judiciary committee. guest: we heard minority leader chuck schumer was in the ear of the president, invoking merrick garland again. this is something you will hear consistently from the democrats. i think we need to lay out why we are here. when you talk to conservatives and to folks around the president, there are a lot of people who feel like these past republican presidents, who have nominated justices to the supreme court, have not necessarily gotten what folks wanted. i think they look at the nominees that democrats have seated and say these folks are coming down in their rulings the way that that president intended. that is what is leading to a lot of pressure on the right. they do not want to miss with this pick. as well. realize that
this could be something that changes the balance, obviously because of justice kennedy, for 20 to 40 years. the stakes could not be higher. host: we will get to your phone calls in a moment. you can begin dialing at (202) 748-8000 -- that is your line for democrats. (202) 748-8001 for republicans. chris cadelago of politico. stephen dinan of the "washington times." i want to go back to the role that justice kennedy has played. is chief justice john roberts the new swing vote? guest: he seems to be the leading candidate to be the swing vote because of a few decisions, most notably the original affordable care act decision, where he broke with the four other republican appointed justices to uphold the core of the affordable care act. you could also go back to a
situation where you have different coalitions emerging. we will have to wait and see. a lot of this depends on the specific cases that emerge before the court. and whoever the president's pick is, whether that person takes the role of pivot. there are some justices who have surprised their presidents who picked them by how they turned out. the one that always comes to mind for conservatives is justice souter, who president george h w bush -- preisident george h.w. bush picked. hearingsterday, we were three names. and then the name of thomas hardiman came up again. all the connection between the president's sister, thomas hardiman, where he was in the neil gorsuch decision. stronglye comes
supported by the president's sister. interesting biography. he drove a taxi cab for a while. hears, similar to what you from the folks who support raymond kethledge, he has a little more of a middle america appeal. he attended notre dame university and, of course, went to law school, at georgetown. this is someone who folks have pointed out has the strong rapport with the president. someone said they really hit it off. you cannot really -- it is hard to know how much that will play in. someonelipside, this is who was floated out there the last time around. and so would hate to be earned -- burned twice.
but you have to look at what happened last time around. host: which goes to today's "wall street journal" editorial. a justice with a record. the biggest gamble would be if the president went beyond those three we talked about to choose thomas hardiman of the third circuit court of appeals. hardiman is said to be easier to confirm because he had a hard scramble of bringing. that is the souter trap of putting biography over record. our reading of judge hardiman's opinions as impressive or extensive as those of either judge kavanaugh or judge kethledge. guest: you can read the tween the lines of impressive eyes not as conservative of an opinion. that is certainly what those groups who have been pushing the president -- they are not ready to defend whoever the president's nominee is -- are
looking for someone with a demonstrated conservative record. earlier withtion the senators -- so much of his confirmation battle will come down to how people perceive the nominee's views on the roe v. w ade decision that established the national right to abortion. conservatives are looking for someone who is confirmable with the most, the clearest opposition to roe v. wade in that record. they do not necessarily have to have said that. in order to meet that confirmability standard, they have to have not said they did not think that -- they did not think roe v. wade should have been decided that when. stephen dinan, a graduate of the university of virginia,
covering politics for the "washington times." and chris cadelago, whose resume includes "the l.a. times." he covers the white house for politico. walter is joining us from indiana, republican line. caller: thank you for taking my call. i want to paint a scenario and on the endgame, what is going to happen. i believe within four years, mr. trump is going to have changed this country dramatically for the next 30 to 40 years by these three simple facts. to ruth ever listen bader ginsburg, when you hear her speak and look at her age, it is obvious she is holding on for political reasons. here is my scenario. donald trump will appoint three conservative reading of the
decoration of the independence and constitution and its original form, not changing it, and abortion will be banned in the united states, and gay marriage will be banned. when you heard one of the democrats talking, he said "women's reproductive rights." what that is is killing babies. it is quite interesting that the people on the left that are worrying about separation of women and their children at the border are all for slaughtering babies. mi that far off that he will go down as one of the most influential presidents dash cam i that far off that he will go down as one of the most -- am iial presidents that far off that he will go down as one of the most influential presidents and push the country to the far right? guest: let's go back to that issue of what these justices are likely to do and why republicans have been burned by expectations versus the reality of these nominees.
legal world has this conflict that does not exist as much on the liberal legal world. that is they both have conservative political goals and ideologies. and at the same time, the precedent. it will be interesting to see what justices do with decisions that are now precedent. roe v. wade is a now 45 year precedent. the gay marriage rulings have less of a pedigree but are a precedent. any justice is going to have to aspple with those precedents they find new cases that arise before them. to assume that the court will overturn both of those rulings -- i am not ready to assume that yet. host: let's go to barbara joining us from massachusetts, democrats line. thank you for waiting. caller: good morning. i am calling to talk about c-span's "washington journal"
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