Day two of hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett: Democrats maintain silence on White House plot to overturn election

On day two of nationally televised Senate hearings on the confirmation of far-right judge Amy Coney Barrett, named by President Trump to join the US Supreme Court, Democratic senators maintained their silence on the fascist plot exposed last week to kidnap and murder the Democratic governor of Michigan and its connection to Trump’s plans for an Election Day coup d’état.

The politically criminal character of the Democratic Party’s refusal to warn the American people of the immense dangers they face was underscored by new revelations showing that the plans discussed by the 13 men arrested last week by federal and state prosecutors included the kidnapping and murder of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, also a Democrat. This development, reported by the Washington Post and other news outlets, indicates that the mobilization of violent fascist vigilantes in the run-up to the November 3 vote extends well beyond Michigan.

Armed militia members demonstrated at Virginia’s state capitol building last January to denounce Northam’s signing of a bill imposing token restrictions on guns. In April, when Trump tweeted “Liberate Michigan,” “Liberate Minnesota” and “Liberate Virginia” in support of armed vigilantes demanding an end to coronavirus lockdowns, the president added in relation to Virginia, “and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett speaks during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

The enforced silence on the plot centered in the White House by Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee includes Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, a member of the committee. It comes under conditions where Trump has made clear that Barrett’s elevation to the court, giving him a 6-3 far-right majority, is a major component of any effort to overturn an unfavorable election result and illegally remain in power.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the Democrats adopted a posture of cringing respect for Barrett, echoing Biden’s remark in last month’s debate with Trump that she is “a very fine woman.” Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee, began her questioning by asking Barrett to introduce her seven children, who were seated behind her.

Chris Coons of Connecticut told her, “I think you are sincere.”

But when asked by Feinstein, “Does the Constitution give the president the authority to unilaterally delay a general election under any circumstances?” Barrett sincerely declined to give an opinion.

Similarly, when Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar asked, “Is it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls?” Barrett called the question “hypothetical” and said she could not answer it.

Trump has publicly stated that he needs Barrett on the court to “check the ballots.” He has predicted that an election crisis, precipitated by bogus legal claims of voter fraud, combined with voter intimidation—or worse—by pro-Trump “poll monitors,” will end up being adjudicated by the Supreme Court.

For the second day in a row, both the New York Times and the Washington Post failed to publish an editorial on a Supreme Court nomination with far-reaching and ominous implications for basic democratic rights. The media mouthpieces of the Democratic Party have ceded the initiative to the pro-Trump far-right.

The Wall Street Journal ’s lead editorial Tuesday was headlined, “Barrett Should Refuse to Recuse.” It made clear Barrett's assigned role in helping steal the election for Trump by throwing out mail-in ballots, stating: “The questions presented would be legal ones, such as whether a federal judge overstepped his role by ordering state officials to ignore the law and count late ballots.”

The silence of the Democrats on Trump’s ongoing conspiracy is motivated by fundamental class interests. The Democratic Party is a party of Wall Street, the CIA and sections of the military. It fears doing anything that might encourage social opposition from below far more than it fears the fascistic sections of the corporate-financial oligarchy represented by Trump.

The Democrats abandoned any pretense of seriously opposing Barrett’s elevation to the high court within days of Trump’s announcement naming her to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal justice who died last month. For the most part, they have limited themselves to complaining about the rush by the Republican-controlled Senate to get her confirmed in advance of the election, now only three weeks away. Other than that, they have appealed to Barrett to recuse herself from any election-related cases that come before the court in the aftermath of Election Day.

Barrett, a disciple of far-right Justice Antonin Scalia and religious zealot, who opposes abortion rights, gay marriage, gun control and corporate regulation, has refused to make any such commitment.

The Democrats’ supine posture was underscored Monday night by Joe Biden, who scuttled talk within Democratic circles of adding more justices to the court should the Democratic Party, as indicated by the polls, secure control of the Senate and increase its majority in the House of Representatives. “I’m not a fan of packing the court,” the right-wing Democratic candidate told an interviewer.

To the extent that the Democrats have a strategy to oppose a Trump election coup, it is to appeal for the intervention of the military brass. Should a Biden administration come to power on such a basis, it would be little more than a fig leaf for the military-intelligence apparatus.