Webb’s Wrap: Exercising raw political power . . . The Biden list . . . Praise for Herbert’s pandemic response . . . Supreme Court battle by the numbers

The Democrats are right. Confirming a new Supreme Court justice before the election will be an exercise in raw political power by the Senate Republican majority. It will be inconsistent with their refusal to act on the Merritt Garland nomination by Pres. Obama.

But, guess what, welcome to big-league politics. Elections do have consequences. Rest assured that the Democrats would do the same if they were in power.
Raw political combat is nothing new. It was an exercise in raw political power when Sen. Harry Reid changed Senate rules so a simple majority could confirm judicial appointments. It was an exercise in raw political power to impeach the president. It is raw political power to threaten to pack the court, and to eliminate the Senate filibuster.

The exercise of raw political power is certainly bipartisan.

By the way, good for Sen. Mitt Romney for taking a principled position in favor of the confirmation process consistent with the Constitution and precedent.

My opinion. I’d love to see a more conservative Supreme Court that values originalism and avoids legislating from the bench. We’ve recently had a fairly balanced court. But previous to that, liberals dominated the high court for decades. It’s about time for a truly conservative majority. And, believe me, it won’t be the end of civilization as we know it, despite the wailing from Democrats. Change will be incremental and nuanced. Roe v. Wade will not immediately be overturned, but the justices will be more inclined to follow what’s actually written in the Constitution.

The Biden list. Joe Biden should release his list of possible Supreme Court nominees, as he promised, so voters can compare his prospects to Trump’s choice. But Biden won’t do it, fearing it will hurt him with voters.

Stuart Reid on Utah’s pandemic response. Stuart Reid, a former state senator, Salt Lake City Council member, and frequent writer and critic on political issues, sent an open letter Tuesday to Gov. Herbert, praising his response to the recent upsurge in Utah COVID-19 cases.

The letter says, in part:

Those government officials overreacting to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases among resilient youth and young adults are unnecessarily sowing alarm. The proper balance of mortality rates, economic security and social stability should be the guiding measurement that determines the responses of all levels of government. The Herbert/Cox Administration and the Legislature have been exemplary in the way you have responded to this devastating plague. All Utahns are indebted to your steady hands. Because of your steady leadership, Utahns feel and are more safe, secure and satisfied than the residents in almost all other states. For the continual benefit of all Utahns, I petition you to please stay the course!  Thank you for your unflappable service.

By the numbers. The Washington Post on Tuesday put together some numbers that on the status of the Supreme Court battle:
51: Votes needed to approve nominee
53: Number of Senate Republicans
4: Number of defectors that would sink the nomination
2: Republican defectors so far
3: Potential defectors that have since signaled they support moving forward
8: Current number of Supreme Court justices
3: Justices leaning liberal
5: Justices leaning conservative
70: Average days for past Supreme Court nominations
42: Days before the election, as of Tuesday, Sept. 22

Parting shot. Every day I get messages from WalletHub, often ranking Utah or its various subdivisions on one issue or another. When Utah is ranked poorly, I assume the criteria are skewed. When Utah is ranked favorably, I assume it’s a brilliant analysis. In reality, these are not scientific studies and the indicators and criteria used are rather arbitrary. But yesterday WalletHub ranked Utah as the 2nd happiest state in the nation, so I’ll take it.

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, shoot me a message at [email protected].