Biden refrained from expanding the strength of the Supreme Court so as to ensure a moderate majority on the bench. That miscalculation could cost his son Hunter his freedom, writes Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat
Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, ought to have been on the US Supreme Court bench rather than in his present job. He was an upright jurist who refused to get sidetracked by the “give them the old razzle dazzle” antics of some of those who pleaded their cases before him. He was neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and this proved to be his undoing.
The Republicans who controlled the Senate when President Obama put forward Garland’s name as a judge of the Supreme Court wanted only those jurists who followed their philosophy, even in a somewhat extreme form, to secure lifetime tenures in the Supreme Court. They succeeded in making the apex court tilt to the conservative side in a manner not seen since the 1930s.
In the name of individual freedom, the present US Supreme Court has rolled back several freedoms that had by then been taken for granted by the populace, such as the right to abortion. The time had arrived for the Supreme Court to have fifteen justices in place of the existing nine as soon as the Democratic Party controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but President Biden refused to follow that logic.
He refrained from expanding the strength of the Supreme Court, so as to ensure a moderate majority on the bench in place of the Republican-tilted majority that was among the legacies of President Trump.
That miscalculation could cost his son Hunter Biden and perhaps some of his other relatives their freedom, as the present US Supreme Court is likely to deny Hunter and other members of the Biden family any presumption of innocence in the matter of securing substantial fees, including from Chinese and Ukrainian sources.
Such monies were secured by his relatives during the period when Joe Biden was Vice-President. As Kamala Harris can testify, barring the ability to exercise the casting vote in the rare case of a tie in the US Senate, the Vice-President of the US has less authority than a gardener in the White House. Given the fixed 4-year term of the US Presidency, the purpose of having a Vice-President is to create a mechanism to avoid an election, should the President become incapacitated.
An invisible rule for any US President or Vice-President to follow would is to have immediate family members be poorer rather than richer during their terms in office, else any rise in their wealth could be misconstrued through legal legerdemain as having been the consequence of being related to the President or the Vice-President.
There is nothing on record to indicate that the wealth of President Trump increased during his stay in the White House, but the Biden administration has nevertheless charged forward to indict and imprison Trump, a sprint led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, the individual who was unfairly deprived of a seat in the Supreme Court by the Trump-dominated Republican Party.
The more the persecution—sorry, prosecution—of former President Trump, the closer he will be to defeating Biden in a 2024 rematch, assuming that both emerge as the candidates of their respective parties.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy may in such a situation be Biden’s lifeboat, as the Speaker’s going forward with the Republican fringe’s efforts to impeach the 78-year-old President of the US is likely to backfire, given that it does not appear that privileged access to the White House has in any way helped Hunter Biden to avoid getting entangled in a medley of criminal cases. Indeed, his being Biden’s son may be why an attempt at a compromise settlement of several charges against him in the manner commonplace in the US justice system subsequently unravelled.
Were President Biden to do now what he ought to have done at the start of his Presidency, which is to announce that he would not be offering himself up for re-election, much of the head of steam sought to be created against him and his son may dissipate, as would the appetite within the Republican Party to once again nominate Trump as its standard bearer in the 2024 Presidential polls.
Nikki Haley, who walked away from the prestigious job of US envoy to the UN during the Trump presidency, is right. It is time for a change at the top of the Republican table. As matters stand however, Trump seems to have been given the advantage of perceived victimhood through Garland’s obsession with jailing his former nemesis, a stance that Biden appears to be comfortable with.
The way the Biden Justice Department is going after Trump has ensured that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will in retaliation work towards sending Hunter and perhaps a few other members of the Biden family to prison.
Both Nikki Haley as well as the other Indian-American contender for the US Presidency, Vivek Ramaswamy are formidable candidates, although Haley appears to have signed on to the “Europe First ” stance of several Biden appointees besides members of her own party such as Senator Lindsey Graham.
In contrast, Ramaswamy has been candid in his view that getting Russia over to the US side against China would be way more preferable than trying to achieve the impossible in an effort at trying to give Zelenskyy control over regions lost by Kiev since 2014, and which in 2022 have been incorporated into the Russian Federation.
Why President Biden is so fixated on making Ukraine the principal priority of much of his foreign policy is unclear, although the hypothesis that it is because of Ukrainian money paid to his son and other relatives during his days as Vice-President is an unproven and unfair charge.
Only Trump and Ramaswamy have thus far had the commonsense (or the courage) to point out that it is absurd to claim that the ultra-hawkish Biden stance on Ukraine is deterring the PRC from attacking Taiwan, when the reality is that the longer the Ukraine-Russia war lasts, the less likely will there be an appetite within the US policymaking apparatus to intervene directly in a kinetic conflict involving both sides of the Taiwan Straits.
That the G7 members signed on to the Delhi Declaration on the first day of the 2023 Summit is the first sign that they may be in the process of remedying a situation where most of the rest of the world has adopted the view that all that the West cares for within Eurasia is the European part.
Should such a fixation by both sides of the Atlantic on what is a European war mean a continueation of their crusade against Russia, the risk they run is that there could be a repeat of what is being witnessed in Africa, where former French colonies are in the process of expelling French citizens who previously had significant influence in these countries.
In this process, the Russians are playing an increasing role in inflaming local passions against the French, part of the price being paid by the West for implementing a policy that has forced Moscow to move further into the orbit of Beijing.
Following the law of unintended consequences, the way in which President Biden has led the charge first against Trump soon after he took up residence in the White House in 2021 and in 2022 against Putin subsequent to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has led respectively to the strengthening of the Sino-Russian partnership and to the determined push by the Republicans to send Hunter Biden in particular to prison.