Will Manchin Or Sinema Torpedo Biden’s SCOTUS Nominee?

Unless you have been under a rock, you have heard that Justice Stephen Breyer has announced his United States Supreme Court retirement. Rather than hang on to the bitter end like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Justice Breyer’s retirement decision has given a faint gasp of life to President Biden’s cratering presidency.

The Administration has been beset by generational inflation, embarrassing gaffes on the world stage, the Afghanistan debacle, and an inability to pass their wish-list progressive agenda. One of the domestic policy side breaks, or two breaks, I should say, have been Senators Sinema and Manchin.

Both Senators opposed Biden on the failed attempt to nuke the filibuster to get the administration’s federalization of the voting system approved. Additionally, Manchin was an incredibly sharp thorn in the President’s side on the stalled Build Back Better bill. Opposition from either Senator could be a fatal blow to a nomination given the razor-thin margin in the Senate.

On the other hand, a successful nomination and installment of a new Supreme Court justice could give political cover for the White House’s current misadventures. Biden is expected to nominate the first African American female Supreme Court Justice.

Some more fantasy-minded observers have suggested current Vice President Kamala Harris as a candidate. Besides the fact that the Vice President has an even lower approval rating than the President, there is the interesting legal question of could she be a tie-breaking vote on her nomination. The VP would be a bridge too far even for the Biden Administration.

The initial buzz suggests that the three most likely candidates are US Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, US District Judge J. Michelle Childs, and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.

Do not forget, however, Barack Obama’s immortal words: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*ck things up.” The Administration’s incompetence, coupled with those Senators who have not forgotten the madness of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, will make for some epic political theatre. Get your popcorn ready.