My Near-Out-of-Body Experience While Watching the Debate Last Night: Hearing Clinton’s Answer To the Supreme Court Nominees Question


It came so late in the debate—the third-last question, the second-last on policy agenda, less than 10 minutes before the end.

Asked what she would be looking for in selecting her Supreme Court nominees, she began not with a culture-wars answer or by referencing the need for diversity among the justices as concerned with race and gender identity, but instead by saying she would look for diversity in professional background.

O. M. G.

Then she mentioned Court review of state and federal laws concerning voting rights and ease of access to exercise the right to vote.

She then pointed out the need for new justices who would be willing to reconsider Citizens United if there is to be actual chance to the stranglehold that billionaires and mega-corporations and specific industries—the financial services, fossil fuels, pharmaceuticals, healthcare insurance—have on government at every single level that matters to those industries, via their funding (so much of it secretly) of candidates and the political parties.

And then there was this: In a single, brief but eloquent, clause, she told the voters who were watching that the current Republican appointees to the Supreme Court, and most of those appointed by Republican presidents in the last three decades—and those who Donald Trump has made clear he would appoint—are, quite literally, simply proxies for Big Business.  Against individuals and against small businesses.

Only then did she note the obvious: that Roe v. Wade and LGBT-rights Supreme Court opinions that brand-new Justice Scalias would reverse.

In other words, her purpose was to educate the public about the whole panoply of things that Supreme Court appointments will do, rather than just reminding them of what they already knew.

It took my breath away.  She was channeling me.*  She really could appoint Jeffrey L Fisher* as her first or second Supreme Court nominee.

I also really loved her answer to the question after that one—the one about energy and environmental policy.  I loved the substance and I loved her soft-spoken and heartfelt manner as she answered it.

I was disappointed about a few things: One was that in her response on healthcare insurance she didn’t mention the Public Option—although maybe that was because she recognized, as I did, that Trump did her a yuge favor by saying that she wanted a single-payer (a.k.a, Medicare-for-All-type) insurance system, something she did not dispute.  And she wonderfully pointed out that Trump wanted to return the healthcare-insurance system to one in which the insurance companies have carte blanche control over it.

I also was disappointed that she didn’t point out that Trump’s campaign is funded very substantially by an oil magnate and two finance-industry billionaires—the Mercers and the Ricketts.

And I was surprised and disappointed that she didn’t make clear that Trump’s proposed fiscal policies would add—what?—$10 trillion to the national debt in the space of about 10 minutes, or something.

But as the debate ended I sat back and realized that I am now a genuinely enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.  I will happily, not grudgingly, vote for her, in the actual belief that she will be what I’d been hoping for so fervently: a true progressive in the White House.

I don’t think she’s the candidate—or the person—she was throughout the campaign until late last month.  I really don’t.


*Links added, 10/10 at 2:02 p.m.