A Supreme Court COVID Confirmation?
Right now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic is in Trump’s Oval Office. This situation has gotten totally out-of-control and currently Trump, three GOP senators, Chris Christie, Kellyanne Conway, and Attorney General Bill Barr all have COVID. Honestly, they locked-up all of Northern Italy for way less than this and I am 99 percent sure that Xi Xinping (the Emperor of China) is on the verge of tweeting about “The MAGA Virus” just to troll Trump. The main reason behind this outbreak is that Trump likes to party:
Anyway, because Republican Senators Ron Johnson, Thom Tillis, and Mike Lee all have COVID, there are a lot of people who think that Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation is also operating with reduced lung capacity. This caused the odds on her being confirmed before the election to take a bigger nose dive over the weekend than Jennifer Lawrence’s career since American Hustle.
The doubts about Mitch McConnell’s ability to confirm Barrett before the election are a product of three beliefs. Those are:
- With three GOP senators in quarantine, plus two Republicans senators opposing Barrett’s nomination, there simply aren’t enough votes to approve Barrett right now;
- With Tillis and Lee out, Republicans don’t have a majority on the Judiciary Committee, where nominations are weighed before they get to the Senate floor;
- Donald Trump has the coronavirus right now and there is always a chance that he could die, which would mess this up a serious amount.
I will now unpack each of these three concerns and tell you whether or not they are fake news:
The GOP doesn’t have a majority to confirm ACB because it’s down three senators
Okay. That’s true. But one of the things that people tend to forget about predicting politics is that the winning side is the one that correctly predicts the future… and not the present.
So yes, there are only 48 Republican senators available to vote for Amy Coney Barrett right now, but there is really no reason to believe that that number won’t be back to 51 in two weeks, when Senators Tillis, Lee, and Johnsons are off of injured reserve and getting playing time again.
Now… I can hear you saying it… “But Keendawg, the Senate is shutdown until October 19…”
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham is still set to have an October 12 hearings on Barrett’s credentials, and if committee Republicans don’t have the numbers to advance her to the senate floor at the end of that, then they’ll just hold a vote a few days later when they do.
So this whole “the Senate is closed due to biohazard things” is completely made up. It will not slow down Barrett’s confirmation for even a second. Speaking of which…
Republicans don’t have a majority on the Judiciary Committee right now
If you are currently out there yapping about this then honestly, I would advise you to self-quarantine and/or socially distance for the next 75 years, because you are an absolute bonehead who is operating at an intellectual capacity that is only slightly higher than a sea cucumber’s. Yes, it is customary for the Judiciary Committee to “report” (approve) a Supreme Court nomination before it goes to the whole senate, but that is in no way a requirement.
Donald Trump could die
In my opinion, the President dying of coronavirus would throw a major wrench into this confirmation process, as would the loss of any particular senator who currently has corona. To me, this is the biggest risk factor to Barrett’s nomination dying in Congress.
A few key Republicans could bail
Despite my earlier proclamation that the Republicans wouldn’t have the votes to confirm ACB, it looks very clearly like they do, and that they are willing to treat her confirmation the way Democrats treated Obamacare, and George W. Bush fiends treated the War in Iraq: basically, it is a hill worth dying on.
However, senators like Mitt Romney, Rob Portman, Joni Ernst, and Pat Toomey have issued statements that leave the door open to voting NO on Barrett if she underperforms in her confirmation hearing. If you’re worried about this, then watch Ernst and Toomey closest here.
Jonie Ernst is behind in a red-hot senate race that has caused her to give her appearance a total makeover. See the 2014 vs 2020 look here:
So don’t be surprised if she gives her voting record a makeover too.
Pat Toomey just announced that he is going to retire in 2022, which means he is now officially an honest man with no incentive to pander to special interests. I am 100 percent opposed to this due to the fact that it makes politicians very unpredictable and difficult to bet on.
So there is a real situation where Rs say they won’t vote YES until after the election in keeping with the public’s preference for this.
But the Democrats Don’t Really Care, So Here’s My Bet:
As for the Democrats, they’re signaling that their primary line of attack on Barrett will be that she is: (1) against Obamacare; (2) religious; and (2) opposed to abortion. This basically describes an average Republican. What this tells me is that Democrats are not planning to offer serious opposition to Barrett and are just going to use her nomination as a massive fundraiser. Basically, we are just going to see Kamala Harris and Sheldon Whitehouse taking turns bashing a Mitch McConnell-shaped pinata until enough money spills out of it to make them shut up.
Long story short, nothing has changed. It looks like McConnell has the votes but Barrett has to perform when the pressure is on. I expect that she will (she already has once before) and that Democrats will take it easy on her since her appearance and character are almost identical to the voters they need to win this election.
So it follows that when this market dipped into the 50s over the weekend, I put on my big boy pants and went on a buying spree. My average cost is now 63 cents. And while I still think the most likely outcome is that this vote happens before the election, I would not want to be holding YES at a price much higher than that. I’ve maintained my original positions on a vote during the lame duck, but I’m selling chunks of those every week. It looks like this is happening and my dwindling hedge reflects. I’ll keep you updated as things go from here.