No, Kamala Harris will not be Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Justice Steven Breyer when he retires from the Supreme Court later this year.
“Imminent Supreme Court retirement?” ejaculated CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin earlier this month. “Longshot: VP Kamala Harris,” he suggested. NBC scooped on Thursday that Breyer would step down at the end of this term — and more cranks joined the Kamala chorus.
“Kamala Harris for the Supreme Court. #KHive She cannot win election with these numbers (yes it’s unfair, but Kamala is a pragmatist) she’s young, she’d be a great justice — and she’d spend a lifetime on the bench,” tweeted Louise Mensch. “@amyklobuchar for Vice President.”
“Straightforward from here,” wrote Bill Kristol. “June 30: Court overturns Roe. July 1: Breyer resigns, says Court ‘needs aggressive progressive justices.’ July 4: Biden picks Harris for Court. Harris resigns as VP. July 5: Biden picks Romney as VP, says national unity needed for the world crisis. Fall: Progressives are energized by the bitter Senate fight to confirm Harris and fierce state legislative battles over choice. Centrists are reassured by the competent Biden-Romney national unity government. Nov. 8: Democrats have best midterm for party in power since 1934.” Very straightforward indeed.
Behind the craven SCOTUS Justice Kamala chatter is a drive to soak up attention: on Twitter, on click-hungry blogs, and on the entertainment-gossip shows that masquerade as serious analysis on MSNBC.
Biden administration officials know that Kamala won’t be the pick, but they’re happy to let the cheeks flap so they sidestep another bad news cycle for Biden, what with inflation and Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine. That’s why Jen Psaki twice declined to shoot down the idea in her Wednesday press conference.
The internet is already being flooded with fanfictions about replacing Kamala Harris, and who could be Biden’s next vice president, and who will be the 2024 frontrunner. Harris will once again serve her duty to this administration as the equity ornament who silently stands behind the old white man president to give him credibility with the base: a role she plays well when she’s not gaffing her way through interviews. Harris’s name will doubtless be floated on background to administration-friendly reporters who have no problem helping this admin out of their malaise.
When news of Breyer’s retirement broke Wednesday, Twitter lit up instantly with both serious and facetious suggestions to nominate the current VP to the court. Despite the Trump era protestations, Biden’s is an administration unusually glued to Twitter, whether it’s Ron Klain turning his thumbs into bloody stumps retweeting Jennifer Rubin or Jen Psaki deploying hashtags in valiant defense of America’s allies. They will no doubt deploy the Harris talk to distract the media and social media. Once again, Kamala will serve as a flak jacket for the Biden administration’s woes. To be fair, it’s what she’s done best thus far. A Harris-for-SCOTUS news cycle is chum in the water for the pundits who see Biden at historical lows in approval and mounting domestic and foreign policy crises and want nothing more than to help him change the subject.
Meanwhile, Biden’s team will go about quietly vetting and selecting more qualified candidates, such as district court judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (the likely pick) or Leondra Kruger, two names being floated already by equity-thirsty media outlets, who are making it their sole duty to remind Biden of his promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court (sorry Merrick Garland). The Biden team is happy to watch “Kamala to SCOTUS?” panel discussions eat up all the oxygen, while journalists ignore due diligence of the more likely nominees.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.