New Documentary Focuses on the Epic Battle Taking Place in the Supreme Court
FRONTLINE traces how Mitch McConnell’s decades-long strategy to reshape the Supreme Court led to Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation.
A new Frontline documentary investigates how Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won the battle for the Supreme Court.
In September, six weeks before the 2020 election, and moments before liberal US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died Ginsburg asked that her final wish was that “her seat not be filled until after a new president is elected." The Kentucky Republican, however, had other plans. On the night of liberal Ginsburg’s death, McConnell pushed Trump to nominate Amy Coney Barrett, NPR reported.
With Barrett’s confirmation — one of the quickest in Senate history and almost entirely along party lines — McConnell further secured the Supreme Court majority he had been seeking for decades.
Filmmaker Michael Kirk's "Supreme Revenge: Battle for the Court," an updated version of 2019’s "Supreme Revenge," draws on interviews with current and former lawmakers, judicial experts, and political insiders to unpack how McConnell worked steadily over the years to amass the power to build a conservative court.
The most current version shares with viewers McConnell’s 30-year-old grievance — starting with the failed confirmation hearing of President Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, presided over by Joe Biden, (D-Del) at the time the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“He has been working towards this moment for his entire professional career, and it was all coming to fruition,” said Josh Holmes, McConnell’s former chief of staff. “Now was the moment that he finally got what he came for."
In an excerpt, Holmes tells FRONTLINE that McConnell told President Trump two things. “First, I’m going to put out a statement that says we’re going to fill the vacancy. Second, he said, you’ve gotta nominate Amy Coney Barrett.”
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky) tells Frontline of McConnell: “There’s nobody who’s more focused on political conquest than he is.”
Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz) added: “For Mitch McConnell, the court is everything.”
The documentary is available to stream at pbs.org/frontline and on the PBS Video App.
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