Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed TN (R) U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty to the newsmakers line.
During the third hour, Hagerty weighed in on the Senate’s upcoming vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett next week and was disturbed by the idea of court-packing as proposed by Chuck Schumer and the Democrats. He added that if he is elected to the U.S. Senate, he will go to Washington as a businessman that will help turn the economy around and work hard for the people of Tennessee.
Leahy: With us on the newsmaker line is former Ambassador to Japan and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Bill Haggerty. Good morning Bill.
Hagerty: Good morning. Great to be with both of you.
Leahy: It’s always great to have you on.
Swain: Yes Bill. It’s great having you on. And pretty soon it’s going to be a Senator Hagerty.
Hagerty: Well, listen, we’re not taking anything for granted. But in about 12 more days our hope and our prayers are that that’s exactly the way things will be. Thank you to all your listeners for their help and support. But everybody needs to get out and vote.
Leahy: Now a bill, today the Senate Judiciary Committee is convening for the purpose of voting to move the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett on to the Senate floor. I’ve heard reports that the 11 Democratic members of this 24-member panel are going to boycott the vote. Have you followed that at all?
Hagerty: I’ve heard exactly the same thing. And it’s another stunt. They’ve done everything they can to derail this process. But we’re going to keep moving forward. I mean, I think America has fallen in love with Judge Barrett. She has proven herself to be incredibly competent. She will be a jurist that actually interprets the Constitution.
Not an activist that makes it up like the Democrats would like to see and she’s a wonderful person as well. A great mother and a great citizen and a great patriot. So I think that she will move through with unanimous Republican votes. And this stuff by the Democrats is just another attempt to discredit both her and the Supreme Court.
Leahy: I think if this stunt goes through as they claim they’re going to, these are my words, not yours. You’ve got on this committee, you know crazy Mazie Hirono from Oahu, Hawaii. I don’t know how the people from Hawaii keep electing her. But the Democrats seem to be just focused on political theater and stunts. My view is it’s going to backfire on them. What are your thoughts?
Hagerty: (Chuckles) I was going to say the same thing, Mike. I think you’re exactly right. The majority of America wants to see her confirmed and they’re going to see right through this stunt for what it is. It’s cheap politics. It’s cheap political theater. And you know just like with Brett Kavanaugh, those Democrats have voted against Kavanaugh paid the price on Election Day and I think the senators that do this, the Democrats that pull this stunt, may pay the price at the polls.
Leahy: You said something very important there about how America feels about Judge Barrett. I compared that to sort of what happened with Judge Barrett’s hearing with now-Justice Kavanaugh’s. At the beginning when the name was announced they were both about plus 7 in the polls in terms of you know favoring or not favoring. After all that onslaught against Brett Kavanaugh, it was down to like negative three in the polls for him. But with Amy Coney Barrett the latest poll showed that she’s plus 22 and a majority of Americans not only want her confirmed but want her confirmed before the election.
Hagerty: Yes. Yes indeed and I think she did a spectacular job during the hearings. Many Americans were tuned in and they saw her sit there with her composure intact as she was under attack with no notes and coming right back at these questions, and she really proved herself to be an intelligent upright and a highly competent individual who again is going to interpret the Constitution as it was written. That is what Americans want.
I think people are very scared about what the Democrats are promising to do. And you know, Joe Biden has said he’s going to wait to see about this. But the threat is the following they are going to “pack the court.” And I’m sure you’ve talked about it, but they’ve threatened to add four new justices all appointed by Biden. These justices will be activists. They’ll be partisans. They will legislate from the bench.
They’ll make the court into something that the Constitution never intended, a super legislative body. Think about it? These folks have a lifetime appointment. They’re unaccountable to the voters. And they will be able to use the court as a backdoor to impose their little policies on all of us. So it really is terribly concerning when you think about putting activist judges on the bench that will rubber-stamp socialism if they get their chance.
Swain: Well, that’s definitely the case. We know that and they’ve been very clear about their agenda. And when I think about Amy Coney Barrett, she didn’t need notes because when you’re not engaged in deception and you’re genuine, you don’t have to look at your notes to figure out what you think.
Hagerty: Amen. I like that Carol.
Leahy: So Bill, let me ask you this question. I’ve been thinking about it and you’re a Vanderbilt Law School graduate. You are familiar with the law. Let’s say the worst-case scenario that what happens is that if Joe Biden would be elected president and if the Democrats were to take control of the Senate and keep control of the House they introduced a bill to pack the court.
And let’s say they want to add four justices to the court raising the number from 9 to 13. The Constitution is silent as to the number of justices. But here’s my question for you. Could a constitutional argument be brought up to say such a court-packing law is unconstitutional because it violates the foundational principle of separation of powers that is embedded in the Constitution itself?
Hagerty: I think you make a wonderful case for that just as you articulated it, Mike. Again, you know more about the Constitution, and then I think most any lawyer in the United States. But it would have to be an argument at that level. I think we know and in the point has been made clear by the Democrats the path that they would pursue. And it would be a challenging battle.
If they do become effective at doing that though this will be a race to the bottom like none other. Because the next time the Republicans can get control of that wherever possible again, they would just expand the court yet again to get a conservative constitutionalist majority and at some point what if the Supreme Court has a hundred justices sitting on it? I mean if you follow it to its logical conclusion it’s ridiculous. This is what they’re trying again.
Swain: I expect that their actions to fair about as well as it did in 1937 when they attempted to pack the court. And it didn’t fare very well. And not only would the Congress under Democrats change the number of justices. They are also talking about changing the number of House members and you know, the number of Senators. They are very dangerous people. They have no respect for our Constitution and I realized that many of the people who are in the Democratic Party that you know, were born into the party. They’re sincere people. But this Democratic Party that we’re seeing today is not the party of that. And it’s not the party of pre-Barack Obama.
Hagerty: Carol, I’m hearing that all across the state campaigning every day. Everywhere I go every day I meet people who were Democrats who were saying look Bill, I’m voting for you. I don’t recognize the party anymore and it’s just as you say. It’s not the party of their father or their grandfather or grandmother. It’s something completely different and I think that they are losing hold of their former Democratic base. They’ve moved so far left. The media, you know amplifies a lot of this. But it is frightening the average Tennessee Democrat.
Leahy: In the event that you are elected to the United States Senate in 12 days and then you go into Washington in January, what kind of workplace approach will you have in working with Democrats who seem to be not at all interested in working with Republicans?
Hagerty: They’re definitely a group of Democrats like that in the Senate. Those are the ones that we see covered on television every night. There is also a group that isn’t on TV every night that is up there trying to get things done. That’s who you’ve got to find to work with to the extent we’re going to get things accomplished. I certainly hope and pray that we have a Republican majority.
That’s going to be critical for our nation because we don’t want Chuck Schumer to make clear what he’s going to do. He is going to be packing the courts as you described. Carol mentioned it’s been tried before but they’re going to try the tea up more States. D.C. is already ready to go. That’s two more Democrat Senators. They’ll probably go with Puerto Rico that would be another two Democrat Senators and congressmen.
So there’s going to be an incredible challenge before us. But I think that business people like myself by the way too few and far between in the U.S. Senate today, but we’re going to have to be the ones that try to keep a level head and move things forward and try to advance the cause of America. But also we’ve got to have people that have the grit and stamina and the determination to stand up when our values are being challenged.
And people like myself that don’t have any, you know, desire beyond serving the Senate. I’m just going there to help others to be successful in business. I’ve had a great business career. I’m not going up there for some future career as a CNN or Fox News commentator or a lobbyist or whatever folks may do up there. I’m going up there to represent Tennessee to my fullest extent and hopefully continue to carry our values for it in the U.S. Senate and get things done to get our economy turned back around.
Swain: Bill my hope for you is that you will be a statesman. That’s why I supported you and I believe that if you do what God has called you to do for America that you can help change us for the long term.
Leahy: Soon to be Senator Hagerty.
Swain: Senator Hagerty!
Leahy: I couldn’t stop it. Soon to be Senator Hagerty, thanks for joining us.
Hagerty: Good to be with you both. Thanks for having me again.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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