Velshi Cues Up Laurence Tribe to Fearmonger Over Trump Judges

Listen to the Article!

On Saturday's Velshi show, MSNBC host Ali Velshi provided a forum to liberal constitutional attorney Laurence Tribe to bash the conservative judges that President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are putting on the courts, and to fearmonger about how they might effect the country's future, calling it a "terrifying" and a "really scary prospect for anyone who cares about the future of this country."

As Velshi introduced the segment, he noted that Senator McConnell wants to reconvene the Senate soon to confirm judicial nominees even though there are not enough tests to test all Senators and their staff of COVID-19. The MSNBC then intoned:

 

 

Now, we've always understood McConnell's determination to fulfill his pledge to leave no vacancy behind when installing judicial nominees, but I don't think we've understood what or possibly who he'd risk to make that happen. … a recent article in The Guardian argues that the nation has come to a point where November's election is not really a fight for the White House as much as it is a fight for the rule of law. Because the article argues that judges are more partisan and more political than ever, our next guest says, quote, "The cost for constitutional democracy and the rule of law will be incalculable."

Tribe complained that McConnell has both "chutzpah" and "hypocrisy," singled out one of President Trump's judicial nominees whom the ABA declared "unqualified," and then excoriated Senator McConnell and President Trump for trying to "pack the courts from top to bottom with people who are loyal to the Trump philosophy, not protecting the country against the coronavirus, but making sure that the agenda of Trump and Barr -- who challenge what is being done to protect us from the virus....becomes not only the law of the land for the next few months, but for the rest of our lives."

He further fearmongered about how President Trump's justices would effect the country's future:

They are very young -- they're inexperienced -- they're political hacks more than they are jurists -- is a way of endangering all that we value under our Constitution. The rule of law -- the rights of individuals -- the separation of powers -- checks and balances -- all of that is at stake. And I really couldn't emphasize more seriously that it is our future that is on the line in this election. And even before the election, I think Democrats have to do everything they possibly can -- which isn't a lot -- to stop McConnell from carrying out his purely partisan political agenda with respect to the federal courts.

Rather than pushing back at all, Velshi followed up by cuing his liberal guest up to further bash conservative judges:

The thing that's important here is, if there is another administration, a lot of the policies that people get so angry about  -- published cases can be overturned .There may be some long-term damage this administration has done to climate change that we can't reverse -- but the point you make is they're very careful -- this administration is very careful about the judges that they're appointing. They tend to be young -- they tend to be doctrinaire, and they tend to be people who are likely to be on the bench for 40 plus years.

Tribe added to the demonization as he poured more fuel on the fire: "That's right. Young, dogmatic, doctrinaire, closed-minded, and bound to carry out this agenda for as long as any of us are alive. That is a really scary prospect for anyone who cares about the future of this country, I think it's a terrifying prospect."

Below is the relevant transcript:

MSNBC's Velshi
May 2, 2020
8:40 a.m. Eastern

ALI VELSHI: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does share Trump's commitment to leave a judicial legacy behind as the Senate reconvenes on Monday. A spokesperson for McConnell said that, while any solution to the confirmation will require Democratic approval, McConnell made a pledge to the President to, quote, "find ways to confirm nominees considered mission critical to the COVID-19 pandemic." "Mission critical to the COVID-19 pandemic." McConnell promised Senators they'd be safe to return, but, this week, the Capitol's attending physician reportedly told GOP officials there aren't enough tests for all lawmakers and their staff. 

Now, we've always understood McConnell's determination to fulfill his pledge to leave no vacancy behind when installing judicial nominees, but I don't think we've understood what or possibly who he'd risk to make that happen. The Trump administration has confirmed a record-breaking 193 judges -- including two Supreme Court justices -- and a recent article in The Guardian argues that the nation has come to a point where November's election is not really a fight for the White House as much as it is a fight for the rule of law. Because the article argues that judges are more partisan and more political than ever, our next guest says, quote, "The cost for constitutional democracy and the rule of law will be incalculable."

Joining me now, Laurence Tribe -- he's a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, and is the author of To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment. Laurence, thank you for being with us. Good to talk to you here, Talk to me about the relevance here of appointing judges because of the necessity driven by COVID-19 or coronavirus. What's the -- is that a legal argument or is that just a political argument?

LAURENCE TRIBE: Everything from McConnell is purely politics, and when he says, "Leave no vacancy behind," the hypocrisy is astonishing given what he did with the Scalia vacancy in holding up any consideration of Merrick Garland's appointment. You know, you have to have a new word for the combination of chutzpah and hypocrisy -- maybe chutz-pocrisy. But it's really not funny because what's at stake is lifetime appointments like the appointment of Justin Walker who McConnell has tried to push onto the one vacant seat on the D.C. Circuit. Justice Walker is a Kentucky protégé of McConnell.

He was deemed totally unqualified by the ABA even for a district court seat in Kentucky. And what McConnell is trying to do is simply pack the courts from top to bottom with people who are loyal to the Trump philosophy, not protecting the country against the coronavirus, but making sure that the agenda of Trump and Barr -- who challenge what is being done to protect us from the virus -- that their agenda becomes not only the law of the land for the next few months, but for the rest of our lives, for decades, because these far-right people are deemed unqualified for good reason.

They are very young -- they're inexperienced -- they're political hacks more than they are jurists -- is a way of endangering all that we value under our Constitution. The rule of law -- the rights of individuals -- the separation of powers -- checks and balances -- all of that is at stake. And I really couldn't emphasize more seriously that it is our future that is on the line in this election. And even before the election, I think Democrats have to do everything they possibly can -- which isn't a lot -- to stop McConnell from carrying out his purely partisan political agenda with respect to the federal courts.

VELSHI: The thing that's important here is, if there is another administration, a lot of the policies that people get so angry about  -- published cases can be overturned .There may be some long-term damage this administration has done to climate change that we can't reverse -- but the point you make is they're very careful -- this administration is very careful about the judges that they're appointing. They tend to be young -- they tend to be doctrinaire, and they tend to be people who are likely to be on the bench for 40 plus years.

TRIBE: That's right. Young, dogmatic, doctrinaire, closed-minded, and bound to carry out this agenda for as long as any of us are alive. That is a really scary prospect for anyone who cares about the future of this country, I think it's a terrifying prospect.

NB Daily 2020 Presidential Appointments Judiciary Garland Nomination Congress Environment Global Warming Coronavirus Conservatives & Republicans MSNBC Video Ali Velshi Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Laurence Tribe