While Democrats celebrate the all-but-certain confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, Republicans have a message for Joe Biden: enjoy it, because she may be the only extremist you get. If the November elections are the bloodbath experts predict they'll be, the script in the Senate will flip. And Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is warning Democrats that the GOP's new bargaining power may come in very handy for future vacancies.
"I'm not going to go forward with any prediction on what our strategy might be should we become the majority," McConnell told reporters. But, he continued, "What I can say with pretty great certainty is the president who ran as a moderate and who has governed as Bernie Sanders would have to spend the last two years of his term being a moderate."
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also put the Left on alert, insisting, "If we get back the Senate, and we're in charge of this body, and there [are] judicial openings, we will talk to our colleagues on the other side. But if we were in charge, she would not have been before this committee. You would have had somebody more moderate than this."
And according to Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), just about anyone would have been more moderate. In a grim analysis of where Jackson stands, the Texas senator made plenty of headlines when he predicted that of the 115 men and women who've served on the Supreme Court, Judge Jackson "will prove to be the most extreme and the furthest-Left justice ever to serve..."
On Tuesday, he stood by that comment, outlining a laundry list of freedoms that could be one vote away from extinction. "... [I]t looks like all the Democrats are going to vote for her -- and three Republicans [Senators Mitt Romney, Utah; Susan Collins, Maine; and Lisa Murkowski, Alaska] are voting for her as well. And I think that is really unfortunate," he told listeners on "Washington Watch." Here's what that could mean, he explained. "I think she will vote to overturn Heller versus District of Columbia, the landmark case that protects our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. I think she will vote to overturn Citizens United, the landmark case that protects our free speech... I think she will vote to overturn fundamental protections for our religious liberty, including Zelman versus Simmons-Harris, the landmark case that upholds school choice programs across the country. All three of those cases were 5 to 4, one vote away from reversal. And I think she will be a hard-Left vote on life."
Worse, based on her history and judicial record, Cruz thinks she will vote to strike down "every single restriction on abortion you can find across the country. That means prohibitions on partial-birth abortion. That means requirements for parental notification or parental consent." And that doesn't even begin to touch on an issue that grabbed a majority of the headlines from her hearings -- Jackson's softness on crime.
As for what shaping power she has on the court, Cruz believes it's significant. "I think she will be way, way, way to the Left of [Stephen] Breyer. Breyer will occasionally vote on the conservative side of the aisle," Cruz said, pointing to a Ten Commandments case in Texas that he litigated and won 5-4. "The deciding vote was Steve Breyer. [He] voted with the state of Texas to uphold that monument... If Judge Jackson had been there instead of Justice Breyer, I believe... the court would have ordered us to bulldoze a monument that stood on the state capitol grounds since 1961. As you know, the last book I wrote is called One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Could Change History. And every chapter talks about these landmark five court decisions that are hanging in the balance. And I think Judge Jackson will be a consistent voice pushing her colleagues to the far, far Left."
As discouraging as his prediction is, there are some bright spots that we can take away from the hearing -- including how hard Republicans fought Jackson's nomination, no matter how certain her confirmation seemed. From Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Cruz, Graham, McConnell, and so many others, the GOP did its part to draw out the important distinctions -- to get Biden's judge on the record. That's what conservatives want to see in our leaders: the courage to address the values they campaigned on and the issues that are important for this country.
Lindsey Graham was right when he said in January, "Elections have consequences, and that is most evident when it comes to fulfilling vacancies on the Supreme Court." Let's hope the American people have seen enough of Biden's party to trust any of their choices moving forward.