Washington buzz says Supreme Court ‘nuclear option’ being considered for ‘unelectable’ Kamala Harris

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Earlier this month, CNN published a bombshell story in which the outlet quoted several White House officials who said they were “worn out by what they see as entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus” with Vice President Kamala Harris and her staff.

But a little-noticed detail that was buried within the story and which has since resurfaced in a Sunday report from the UK’s Telegraph was even more explosive: A ‘rumor’ floating around within the West Wing has President Joe Biden’s people considering replacing Harris, who is viewed as wholly unelectable by Democrats, and shuttling her off to a permanent seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

CNN framed the rumor this way:

Defenders and people who care for Harris are getting frantic. When they’re annoyed, some pass around a recent Onion story mocking her lack of more substantive work, one with the headline, “White House Urges Kamala Harris To Sit At Computer All Day In Case Emails Come Through.” When they’re depressed, they bat down the Aaron Sorkin-style rumor that Biden might try to replace her by nominating her to a Supreme Court vacancy. That chatter has already reached top levels of the Biden orbit, according to one person who’s heard it.

Adding context, The Telegraph indicated that despite claims by Biden and members of his administration that he plans to run for reelection in 2024, Democrats are nevertheless “desperately scrambling to find a potential successor to” Biden “in 2024 and are whispering about a potential nuclear option that could see [Harris] … nominated to the Supreme Court.”

“While the scenario is highly improbable, and perhaps a reflection of a Washington rumor mill in overdrive, the fact it has come up at all shows the depths of the predicament the Biden administration currently finds itself in, amid rising inflation, a stalled domestic agenda, and foreign policy disasters,” the paper continued.

In a Twitter thread, The Telegraph elaborated.

To add more political intrigue, The Telegraph claims that Democratic “operatives” are also entertaining the possibility of a contested presidential primary; the last time around, Harris was forced to drop out of a crowded Democratic presidential primary field in late 2019 because, amidst campaign staffing turmoil, she simply wasn’t popular among Democratic voters.

The paper went on to note that while there is no precedent for naming a sitting vice president to the nation’s highest court, there also is “no impediment,” either.

“I do not see any impediment to a sitting vice president being nominated for the Supreme Court,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, told The Telegraph.

Were that to happen, there is a constitutional process, albeit a complicated one, for naming a replacement vice president. Section 2 of the 25th Amendment authorizes a president to nominate a vice presidential replacement, “who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.”

That person would then become the most likely Democratic presidential nominee in 2024 if Biden elects not to run.

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Jon Dougherty

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