On Thursday, Harvard Law School’s longtime leftist constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe, who has notably floated such fringe constitutional theories as advocating for the constitutional rights of chimpanzees, took to Twitter to blast Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a “dickh***.”
“Hypocrisy is McTurtle’s middle name. And his first and last name too. What a flagrant dickh***!” Tribe tweeted.
Accompanying the tweet, Tribe linked to an underlying article in The Economist that discusses McConnell’s announcement that he would lead a confirmation vote for a President Donald Trump-nominated U.S. Supreme Court in the election year of 2020. Per The Economist:
WHEN ANTONIN SCALIA died suddenly in 2016, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, wasted no time staking out the Republican position on the conservative jurist’s successor. Hours after news broke of Mr Scalia’s demise, Mr McConnell declared that “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice”. With nearly nine months to go before the presidential election, he told America that his legislative chamber would take no action on any Supreme Court nominee named by Barack Obama. “This vacancy”, he announced, articulating a broad principle, “should not be filled until we have a new president.”
It was an aggressive move. The constitution gives presidents the power to nominate federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, and the Senate’s “advice and consent” are necessary before they take their seats. But Mr McConnell took the unprecedented step of building a blockade around Scalia’s seat rather than give a hearing to Merrick Garland, the moderate chief judge of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals nominated by Mr Obama. After stonewalling Judge Garland for the remaining 11 months of Mr Obama’s term, the Republican Senate avidly took up Donald Trump’s nominee, the highly conservative Neil Gorsuch. He was confirmed on April 7, 2017.
The Economist, a formerly right-of-center publication, has often trended in recent years toward being staunchly anti-Trump. For example, there was actually no shortage of historical precedent for the so-called “aggressive” move to leave the Justice Antonin Scalia-vacated Supreme Court unfilled in a presidential election year. Furthermore, it is highly questionable whether Justice Neil Gorsuch, while no doubt a firmly right-of-center jurist, is best described as “highly conservative.”
Tribe has been afflicted with a particularly acute case of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” based on his alarmist and crude Twitter feed, but has also publicly advocated for some bizarre legal theories. Just last year, Globe NewsWire reported on Tribe’s advocacy for the purported constitutional rights of chimpanzees:
The Nonhuman Rights Project announced today that legal advocacy organization the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professors Laurence H. Tribe (Harvard Law), Justin Marceau (University of Denver Sturm College of Law), and Samuel R. Wiseman (Florida State University College of Law) have submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of the NhRP’s motion for permission to appeal to New York’s highest court in the cases of captive chimpanzees Tommy and Kiko. …
The brief submitted by Laurence H. Tribe (Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professional of Constitutional Law at Harvard University) asks the Court of Appeals to “recognize that Tommy and Kiko are autonomous beings who are currently detained and who are therefore entitled to challenge the lawfulness of their detention by petitioning for the writ, even if that court ultimately concludes that their detention is lawful.” This is the third such brief Tribe has submitted in support of the NhRP.
One can presume that the pro-abortion Tribe does not feel the same way about unborn human children as he feels about chimpanzees.
Tribe is also not exactly known as a model of intellectual consistency, as Ed Whelan recently noted at National Review’s “Bench Memos” blog in a piece entitled, “Larry Tribe Repudiates Larry Tribe on Senate Duty to Act on Supreme Court Nominee”:
Back in early March 2016, a few weeks after Justice Scalia’s death created a vacancy on the Supreme Court, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe was perhaps the most prominent of some 350 law professors to sign a letter asserting that the Senate had a “constitutional duty to give President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a prompt and fair hearing and a timely vote.” Declaring that “[t]he Senate’s obligation in this circumstance is clear,” the letter invoked the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. …
I’m pleased to discover that Tribe now agrees that the Senate does not have a constitutional duty to take any action on a Supreme Court nominee.
Yesterday I was reading through an essay by Tribe and Joshua Matz that responded to a review of their jointly authored book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment, published in May 2018. In that review, I ran across their statement (p. 97) that in their book they opened their analysis of the power of impeachment “by considering—and squarely rejecting—arguments that the Senate violated the Appointments Clause of the Constitution when it declined to hold confirmation hearings for Chief Judge Garland.” Wondering if Tribe had really reversed himself or whether I was somehow misreading that statement, I found confirmation in their book …