Hillary Clinton has been undergoing a transmogrification since announcing her candidacy for president. Gone are the neoliberal beliefs and policy positions and in are almost every single last one of the progressive credos. This is quite the feat since her staff of advisers and policy-wonks are all holdovers from Bill Clinton administration parts I and II.
The latest announcement, about Hillary’s litmus test for any prospective SCOTUS candidate she might consider is… getting rid of Citizens United. Well, that sounds all well and good but… how meaningful is it?
Well, the answer is pretty straightforward. There would have to be a majority of justices willing to overturn Citizens United. There would also need to be a case that winds its way up the chain for the justices to consider. Would that be better than counting on Congress to pass an amendment to the Constitution, vote in favor of it and then send it on to the president for signature and then the states for ratification? No. We probably should have both to spare future generations from the mess we are currently in.
Now… Litmus tests are problematic. The overarching concern when choosing a nominee should be the candidate’s qualification and abilities and that person should be allowed wide-berth to reach their own conclusions in due time, when in front of the relevant case materials. One would think that any wisely vetted and chosen candidate would, as a matter of course, follow a certain logical path, without the need for litmus tests.
I blogged about Hillary Clinton’s acceptance of funds from Corning, the New York corporation, in a previous post, Without even delving into past scandals, Mrs. Clinton’s own behavior over the years, including the last seven, when it comes to accepting corporate money, makes her one of the least qualified to choose a Supreme Court justice.
The Clintons, it is patently clear, didn’t bother to think very deeply about the ethics of running for office during these last few years. One would think they’d have been far more circumspect about how they manage their finances and that of their foundation. Questions about money have always come up before elections. This one is no different. In the case of the Clintons, propriety has been in question since the Whitewater scandal. That’s a long time not to change one’s habits from sloppy to punctilious.
Each new revelation about Clinton donors is an unforced error that taints Clinton a little more and makes her seem less serious. For those willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, it takes away from the perception that she should lead.
Hillary Clinton’s litmus test for Supreme Court nominees: a pledge to overturn Citizens United
This post has been updated.
Hillary Clinton told a group of her top fundraisers Thursday that if she is elected president, her nominees to the Supreme Court will have to share her belief that the court’s 2010 Citizens United decision must be overturned, according to people who heard her remarks.
Clinton’s emphatic opposition to the ruling, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums on independent political activity, garnered the strongest applause of the afternoon from the more than 200 party financiers gathered in Brooklyn for a closed-door briefing from the Democratic candidate and her senior aides, according to some of those present.
“She got major applause when she said would not name anybody to the Supreme Court unless she has assurances that they would overturn” the decision, said one attendee, who, like others, requested anonymity to describe the private session.
If the make-up of the court does not change by 2017, four of the justices will be 78 years of age or older by the time the next president is inaugurated.
Clinton’s pledge to use opposition to Citizens United as a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees echoes the stance taken by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is challenging her for the Democratic nomination.