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Live at the Improv, featuring Amy Coney Barrett

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Above, center right: Josh Hawley’s friends, just outside of the camera lens

Here’s a line from the standup routine Amy Coney Barrett performed at the McConnell Center after being introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which could not be recorded by the few members of the press permitted to attend:

“My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” the Trump nominee said in a talk in Louisville, Kentucky, at a center named for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who was sitting on the stage near the justice.

McConnell engineered Barrett’s swift confirmation just days before last year’s presidential election and little more than a month after the liberal icon, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died. Barrett’s confirmation was arguably the most political of any member of the court. She was confirmed on a 52-48 vote, the first in modern times with no support from the minority party.

McConnell’s push to confirm Barrett in the final days before the election stood in contrast to his decision to hold open the seat held by Justice Antonin Scalia when Scalia died months before the election in 2016 and President Barack Obama, a Democrat, sought to name a replacement.

Mission non-accomplished! Well, except among certain people with SCOTUS bar brain:

Tom Goldstein, the founder of the court-focused SCOTUSblog website who argues frequently before the justices, doubts this time will be any different. He says the court “has built up an enormous font of public respect, no matter what it does.”

I think they are about to find out that there is no such “enormous font of public respect.” As a matter of raw power is doesn’t really matter in the immediate term — mutually reinforcing anti-democratic constitutional mechanisms will insulate them from real challenges to their authority — but the idea that an openly manipulated Court can overrule Roe and strike down modest gun control measures etc. etc. and retain its ex ante legitimacy among anybody but partisan Republicans is very unlikely to be true.

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