hoka shoes

Posts Tagged ‘ pick

Boris Johnson’s wish to pick fights with his old enemies risks making the UK a pariah

‘No way out’: Commentator predicts Boris Johnson’s future 02:10

London (CNN)UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government have spent much of this week fighting with the EU and rowing with a European human rights court, all while playing down accusations that they are breaking international law and pandering to his party’s base.

On Monday, Johnson’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, revealed the long-awaited Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, a piece of legislation that, if passed, would allow the British government to unilaterally override parts of the Brexit deal it agreed with the EU in 2019.
Two days later, the EU responded by launching legal proceedings against the UK over its failure to implement parts of the protocol to date, while Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission vice-president, said that “there is no legal nor political justification whatsoever for unilaterally changing an international agreement … let’s call a spade a spade: this is illegal.”
UK government officials responded angrily by insisting that the bill, if passed, would be perfectly legal. Suella Braverman, the attorney general who gave the new bill a green light, went on television to defend the proposed legislation. In doing so, she accused the BBC of painting the EU as “the good guys” and told ITV’s political editor that his assertion the bill would break that law was “Remaniac make-believe.”
On Tuesday, the Johnson government found itself cursing the name of another European institution, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), after it was forced to abandon a flight that would transport asylum-seekers to Rwanda. The UK announced a deal in April under which asylum seekers in the country could be relocated and granted asylum in Rwanda. The UN’s human rights agency had previously warned the UK that the policy might be unlawful, as it could expose those refugees to human rights abuses in Rwanda.
Demonstrators protest outside of an airport perimeter fence against a planned deportation of asylum seekers from Britain to Rwanda, at Gatwick Airport near Crawley, Britain, June 12, 2022.

The scheme had been widely criticized by human rights organizations, which succeeded in numerous legal challenges against individual removals but failed in their bid for an injunction suspending the flight. However, when the ECHR intervened on Tuesday night, saying that the last asylum seekers due to be on board had not exhausted their legal options in the UK, the plane was grounded.
Again, government ministers responded by insisting that the plan was lawful. Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has since suggested that the UK will introduce its own Bill of Rights that could effectively allow it to ignore the ECHR.
Johnson’s willingness to have public spats with large, international institutions makes sense when you look at recent history. Both Johnson and his predecessor, Theresa May, picked fights with the judiciary and the EU during the most frustrating days of Brexit. This, so the theory goes among Conservatives, gave both leaders a boost among their core supporters for attacking elitist bodies that were blocking the will of the people.
“Historically, Boris has done well hitting out at big institutions like the EU and courts,” says a former government minister told CNN. “These were not artificial fights, both Rwanda and Northern Ireland are proper government policy. But the hardline way we’ve defended them suggests to me that Boris sees a silver lining,” they added.
In one sense, this logic makes sense. Johnson has been hit by scandal after scandal and has seen his personal approval ratings tank, along with national polling for his Conservative Party.
He has had to fight off a vote among his own party to remove him as leader and on Thursday night saw his own ethics adviser Christopher Geidt resigned, saying that Johnson’s government had put him in an “impossible and odious position.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks as he takes questions at the House of Commons in London, Britain June 15, 2022.

So, a fight with the lofty elites in Brussels and Strasbourg over real red-meat Conservative issues like Brexit and immigration could be just what Johnson needs to get things back on track.
However, every time a government becomes so fixated on domestic policy, it risks forgetting that allies and enemies around the world are paying attention.
CNN spoke to multiple Western diplomatic sources who said that Johnson’s government had cast a dark shadow over their perception of the UK. One senior Western official who has worked closely with the UK during the Ukraine crisis said that while allies still coordinated with the UK, the sense of concern that they don’t know what version of Johnson they will get has become normalized.
“He is not Donald Trump, but he is so unpredictable that it’s easy for allies to think of him as being like Donald Trump,” said a Western diplomat.
A European diplomat told CNN that “it’s hard to overstate just how much damage has been done. Trust has been hugely damaged.” They pointed to the issue over Northern Ireland, saying that “on our side, we know that there are solutions to the protocol. But those solutions rely on trust. Why should we trust him not to tear up any new agreement in the future?”
Western officials say, with some sadness, that there were moments in the immediate aftermath of Russia invading Ukraine where they thought Johnson might start behaving like a “stable and predictable” leader, as the Western diplomat put it.
A European official agreed, saying that “there were moments when we looked at the UK with some admiration and thought there might be some path forward. Ukraine was something bigger than our squabbles.”
However, the official continued that this feeling of optimism faded quickly, after Johnson compared the Ukrainian fight for freedom to Brexit.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the National Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul's Cathedral as part of celebrations marking the Platinum Jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Friday, June 3, 2022.

Conservatives in Westminster have mixed views on how bad this all is. Some worry that Johnson’s continued scandals and rhetoric are making the UK a pariah. Worse, they fear that a country like the UK — a longstanding member of the rules-based, international order — playing so fast and loose with international law sets a terrible precedent at a time when democracy is under threat in many parts of the world.
On the other hand, some MPs think that Johnson’s critics are getting worked up about something that normal people don’t care about. They say, not unreasonably, that a G7, NATO member with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council — and one that has in many respects led the way on Ukraine — is not about to get cut out by its allies.
Ultimately, Johnson’s international spats are most likely to play out in the domestic political arena. Some will love that he is taking a hardline stance. Others will feel a deepening sense of embarrassment that this man is their prime minister.
“If you are in Boris’s position, then you may as well double down on some of this stuff. What does he have to lose?” a senior Conservative MP told CNN. “Either things are so terminally bad that he’s doomed whatever he does, or he’s got two years to turn things around before the election. So why not go out there and have fights on your own pitch?”
That summary makes a lot of sense when you are sitting in Westminster, talking to people who spend too much time in Westminster. However, Johnson’s decisions seriously impact the lives of people who spend no time in Westminster and for whom this really is not a game. Especially as the UK is going through the worst cost-of-living crisis it has suffered in decades.
Johnson won’t know if his red meat gamble has paid off with the public until the next general election — unless he’s removed from office before then. There will undeniably be people who see him as the same Brexit street fighter who stands up for Britain against the bullies seeking to do it down.
But there will be an awful lot of people who think that instead of picking fights with the EU and ECHR, Johnson should be thinking of ways to improve their lives.

Democrats walk on eggshells around Breyer as GOP plans another blockade for any Biden Supreme Court pick

Senate Republicans are poised to deny President Joe Biden an appointment to the Supreme Court if they take the majority in the 2022 midterm elections.

Five Republican senators raised the stakes around Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement, telling CNN they’d oppose any likely nominee out of this White House.
But Democrats in the Senate and the White House, though they’ve come off the November elections more worried in recent weeks about a potential wipeout in the midterms, are still avoiding calling directly for Breyer to quit, fearing that it would backfire and encourage the 83-year-old to stay on the bench.
Breyer has told several people who’ve made unofficial efforts to push him to retire that he thinks the confirmation process shouldn’t be political, according to people told of those discussions, and Democrats worry he’d remain as an act of resistance to show he’s not bowing to politics.
Still, top Democrats across Washington would like Breyer to announce he’s going even before the end of the court term in June, so they can get moving on confirmation hearings well before the midterms. More than the political calendar is on their minds — with their 50-50 margin and several aging Senate Democrats coming from states with Republican governors, they head into the new year fearing that their control of the chamber could collapse at any moment.
Stephen Breyer says now isn't the time to lose faith in the Supreme Court
Privately, multiple Senate Democrats complain that Breyer seems to have let his ego overtake him and he is not being realistic to how radically Supreme Court confirmation politics has changed in the last five years.
Publicly, they continue to approach Breyer gingerly. Asked if the 50-50 Senate divide, the health of his colleagues and Breyer’s own health should accelerate the justice’s timeline, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse chose his words carefully, noting that he’d deliberately avoided calling for Breyer’s retirement.
“I would hope,” the Rhode Island Democrat finally said, “the choice and its consequences are apparent to the justice.”
And the White House is stuck in the middle, with the President adamant that Breyer should get to make his own decision.
Biden has so far avoided the kind of pressure that Barack Obama tried to exert on Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2013, when the President hosted the aging justice at the White House for lunch to nudge her toward the exit. But in the West Wing and among civil rights leaders, the frustration is about more than just a Supreme Court seat: every day that Breyer remains on the bench is a day that Biden isn’t able to fulfill his campaign pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo in April.

There are also the political considerations, with Democrats eager to excite their base ahead of next year’s elections.
“The President made a bold commitment,” said National Urban League President Marc Morial. “I hope it would add to the thinking to make that kind of history.”

Republicans ready for replay of Merrick Garland pick

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans aren’t shy about laying out how they’d handle a nomination from Biden if they take the majority: They wouldn’t.
“You know what the rule is on that,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “You go back to 1886 and ever since then, when the Senate’s been of one party and the president’s been of another party, you didn’t confirm.”
There is no such rule.
Senate Republicans have invoked a number of what they call “rules” in recent years to explain, for example, refusing to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, the now-attorney general who was Obama’s choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, or their rushing to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s choice to replace Ginsburg.
But the then-Democratic majority Senate voted to confirm President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Anthony Kennedy in 1988 and President George H.W. Bush’s nomination of David Souter in 1990 and Clarence Thomas in 1991, all while Grassley was in the Senate. Back then, the Judiciary Committee chairman was a senator from Delaware named Joe Biden.
While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has sought to downplay this talk — “I’m not going to start talking about what might happen if I’m the majority leader,” he said last week when asked about Supreme Court nominations — he was the mastermind of the GOP efforts to upend the confirmation process to seize seats. And many of his members were more willing to discuss where this is headed, particularly if the seat were to come open in 2023 or 2024, when they would use being in a presidential election cycle to make a similar justification for stonewalling a pick as McConnell did in 2016.
Then-President Barack Obama joins then-Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland during his nomination announcement in March 2016.

“Constitutionally, the Senate has an obligation to advise and consent. The Senate can take up nominations when it wants to,” said GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri.
Not that most Republicans could imagine supporting a Biden nominee at any point.
“Given the pattern of judicial nominees he’s put forward so far, he keeps being captive to the radical left in his party. If he nominated a radical leftist justice who would ignore the rule of law and undermine our constitutional rights, I can’t imagine a Republican Senate would confirm an extreme justice,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Sen. Thom Tillis, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Republicans would make a choice if they didn’t like a Biden pick: “Either don’t move on him or have him fail in committee.”
“It’s not our intention to rubber stamp nominees,” the North Carolina Republican said.
McConnell's Supreme Court
Sen. John Cornyn, who sits on the committee but also is a member of leadership, said how the GOP would act on a nominee depends on when a vacancy would occur.
“Usually if we are in the majority and Biden is still in office, what that produces is a negotiation,” the Texas Republican said. “I haven’t really thought about filing the vacancy or not, so I think a lot of that has to do when in that two years of time it occurs.”
Cornyn added: “The later it occurs in his term, the less likely it will be; the earlier, more likely.”
Sens. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, both Judiciary Committee members, declined to comment on whether they’d be willing to consider a Biden nominee for the Supreme Court. When asked if there’s a Biden nominee he could envision supporting, Cotton suppressed a chuckle.

Democrats scramble for a response

Democrats have struggled to respond to Republicans’ escalation of Supreme Court partisan warfare.
Many who presume Breyer will announce that he’s retiring in June also presumed he was going to announce he’d quit this past June. He’s been on the court since 1994, confirmed a few months before the massive Republican wave in that year’s midterms, and is quickly moving up the ranks of the longest serving justices ever (he’s currently at No. 23).
“I’m deeply concerned,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who’s a member of the Judiciary Committee, said when asked about a Breyer retirement in a GOP majority. “In effect, the threat of Republican control in the Senate is a dagger aimed at the heart of the Supreme Court, which would be potentially out of balance and out of the mainstream if there are more right-wing ideologues appointed.”
Blumenthal said he is not urging Breyer to retire but added: “I’m just hoping he assesses as strategically and intelligently as I know he will do … the potential dangers of a GOP majority.”
Justice Stephen Breyer speaks during an interview on "The David Rubenstein Show" in New York, in September.

In public interviews in recent months, Breyer has also downplayed America’s current divisions, arguing the country has survived other tough times in the past.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, often talks to colleagues about how they’re “a heartbeat” away from the minority with the current 50-50 Senate. Privately, multiple Democratic senators acknowledge that — with seven of their members over age 70 coming from states with Republican governors who’d get to appoint replacements — they worry how right, literally, he’ll turn out to be.
Those senators include Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy from Vermont, who are both over 80 and have been suddenly hospitalized in recent years — Sanders for his heart attack in October 2019 and Leahy for feeling “unwell” last January.
“Absolutely,” said Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, when asked if it were a real worry when looking around at the number of his aging colleagues from states with Republican governors. “No question about it.”
A spokesman for Leahy, who as the then-Judiciary Committee chairman tried to encourage Ginsburg to step down before Obama invited her to lunch to ramp up the pressure, didn’t respond to an emailed question about whether the senator thinks Breyer should step down now. But Leahy’s announcement last month that he won’t seek another term has only increased anxiety about his health among colleagues.
Not only did Republicans seize the opportunities created by Scalia’s and Ginsburg’s deaths, but Trump’s White House counsel carefully worked Kennedy to retire on their timeline ahead of the 2018 midterms, assuring him that he’d want to guarantee that another conservative took his spot.
The secret Supreme Court: Late nights, courtesy votes and the unwritten 6-vote rule
“Clearly the examples of Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kennedy put in very plain relief what the difference can be for the make-up of the court,” said Whitehouse, the Rhode Island Democrat who’s become a leading voice for changes at the Supreme Court.
“Breyer may pine for a time that never was — a fantasy era when judicial selection wasn’t political,” said Robert Raben, an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration who has since become an advocate for increasing diversity on the bench. “That’s a chimera, and we on the left need to accept the fact that if you’re assigned a bill number and marked up in a committee, it’s politics.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told CNN over the summer that she hoped Breyer would retire “sooner rather than later.” Those feelings have spread and intensified among her colleagues in the months since, and Senate Democratic leaders have already had preliminary discussions about how they would conduct a confirmation process, according to people involved.

A close eye on Breyer

When Breyer sat for a round of interviews this summer to promote his new book, White House aides carefully parsed his answers about potential retirement, including when he told CNN that both his health and his new position as the court’s senior liberal would weigh on his thinking. Later he expanded further to the New York Times, saying he would factor in who was choosing his successor when making a decision about stepping down.
Justice Breyer says return to in-person Supreme Court arguments is a 'big improvement'
The comments led to rounds of speculation among some Biden advisers of what Breyer’s intentions really were as it became clear the justice would not retire ahead of this year’s term. Some viewed the comments as a sign he was taking into consideration the make up of the Senate.
Asked in October about calls for him to retire while the Democrats were secure in their Senate majority, Breyer told CNN, “That’s their point of view,” adding, “I think I have most of the considerations in mind. I simply have to weigh them and think about them and decide when the proper time is.”
Breyer said he does not want to die on the court. Presented with the history of previous justices giving early word of their retirements to presidents, Breyer said, “I’ve looked through the various practices.” In some years, justices who are planning to retire at the end of the term have told the president several months ahead of time.
Still, among many Democrats close to and inside the White House, Breyer’s decision to remain on the bench this year was a serious disappointment. Inside the White House, the prospect of a Breyer retirement has been simmering underneath the surface since nearly the moment Biden took office.
Among other factors, it’s hard to press an 83-year-old justice to retire when Biden says he’s planning to run for reelection when he will be in his early 80s himself.
Then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Stephen Breyer meets with then-Sen. Joe Biden meet in Biden's office on Capitol Hill in May 1994.

Various candidates to replace Breyer have been suggested to Dana Remus, the White House counsel, by Democrats close to Biden, who are eager to put forward names. Biden allies have also approached Vice President Kamala Harris and members of her team with candidates. There’s even been outside rumor mongering that Biden could appoint Harris.
Among members of Biden’s senior team, at least one maintains a close connection to Breyer: national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who clerked for the justice in the early 2000s. Sullivan’s wife, Maggie Goodlander, also clerked for Breyer three years ago and Breyer attended their wedding on the campus of Yale Law School in 2015.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain, who was a top Senate Judiciary Committee staffer under Biden and has been hyper-focused on judicial nominations since the beginning of this presidency, has a decades-long friendship with Justice Elena Kagan, one Breyer’s few fellow liberals still on the court.
Thinking back on that lunch attempting to nudge Ginsburg in 2013, several Obama aides note that the former President turned out to be justified in his interest in seeing her retire while Democrats had the majority.
Biden has insisted on a more hands-off approach to Breyer.
“The President’s view is that any considerations about potential retirements are solely and entirely up to justices themselves,” said White House spokesman Andrew Bates. Anxiety about potential backfire from pushing Breyer to retire also comes up often in discussions with top West Wing aides, according to several who’ve had those conversation.
Most of the speculation on a potential pick focuses on Ketanji Brown Jackson, confirmed this spring for the DC circuit court of appeals, a traditional feeder for the Supreme Court. A former Breyer clerk, she has already been vetted by the Biden team and interviewed by the President and has been supported in the past by former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a prominent Republican who is related to her by marriage.
California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger is also discussed. She is seen as helped by being well liked among the alumni of the solicitor general’s office, where she was a top official in the Obama administration. She has not, however, been as thoroughly vetted.
Biden Supreme Court commission's draft report details 'profound' disagreement over adding seats to bench
Other names currently circulating: Minnesota district court Judge Mimi Wright, outgoing NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Eunice Lee, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, and J. Michelle Childs, a South Carolina judge who’s been pushed by House Majority Whip James Clyburn and whose nomination is currently pending for a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals seat. Clyburn, notably, gave Biden the endorsement that helped salvage his campaign in the 2020 primaries after getting him to promise to appoint a Black woman.
Clyburn, who has previously said he didn’t think it was his place to call for Breyer’s retirement (and who’s 81 himself), is sticking by that position, according to an aide.

Process becomes a problem

Even if Breyer announces his retirement in the spring and they’re still in the majority, Democratic senators and top aides on Capitol Hill worry about how long confirmation could take, between the regular order of the process and expected GOP efforts to slow it down.
Republicans “use power maximally especially as it relates to the judiciary, and I think we should expect nothing different going forward,” said Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.
And, as with everything these days, Democrats worry about securing votes from Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
The current Supreme Court's partisan moment rivals Bush v. Gore
Republicans have also proven much more adept at activating their base voters around Supreme Court confirmations, whether when Scalia’s seat was in the balance in the 2016 elections, when Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings exploded ahead of the 2018 elections or when Barrett was rushed onto the bench ahead of the 2020 elections.
Democrats warn against thinking that they’d be the ones who would benefit politically from a retirement ahead of an election, even with a historic pick and potentially momentous abortion ruling motivating their base. The threat to Roe. v. Wade is another reason why they want Breyer to announce he’s leaving ahead of schedule.
“Securing the seat is more important than trying to be cute about the timing for some midterm impact,” said Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, a Democratic group focused on judicial nominations.
In 2016, McConnell’s refusal to at least give confirmation hearings to Obama’s nominee left the seat open for almost a year, enraging Senate Democrats and making several of his own Republican members deeply uncomfortable.
Republicans say they’re now ready to leave a seat open for years, if that’s what it would take to wait out a Democrat in the White House. And the stakes could get even higher, if future election challenges make their way to the Supreme Court, which would have an even number of justices if Breyer is no longer in his spot.
Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican who doesn’t sit on the committee, believes it’s “unlikely” Republicans would keep a seat vacant for two years.
“I would presume we’d go for the hearings and make a decision,” Romney said. “By the way, we might vote no, but we might as well have a hearing and make a decision.”
Multiple Republican senators say they’d rather avoid the kind of showdown that a retirement would set off in a GOP majority, or in a presidential election year — or both.
“If he’s going to retire, he needs to retire next year,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, the former Judiciary Committee chairman. “It would be a lot easier.”