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Hillary Clinton Just Delivered the Strongest Speech of Her Campaign -- and the Media Barely Noticed

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Reprinted from The Nation

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Nothing sums up the high-drama, low-substance nature of 2016 race coverage more than the underplaying of a serious speech about the Supreme Court.


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Madison, Wisconsin -- Hillary Clinton delivered the strongest speech of her 2016 campaign in Wisconsin this week, and the media barely noticed.

In this absurd campaign season, when media outlets devote hours of time to arguments about which Republican candidate insulted which wife, about violent and irresponsible campaign aides, about whatever soap-opera scenario comes to mind, thoughtful discussions of issues get little attention. And deep and detailed discussions of issues get even less coverage.

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Clinton's speech on the importance of filling Supreme Court vacancies, and on the values and ideals that should guide judicial nominations, was a deep and detailed discussion of a fundamental responsibility of presidents. What she said impressed not just her own supporters, who gathered Monday to hear her speak on the University of Wisconsin campus, but also Wisconsinites who are undecided or inclined to vote for someone else in the state's April 5 primary.

Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a tight race in Wisconsin, where the latest Marquette University Law School Poll has the senator from Vermont at 49 percent and the former Secretary of State at 45 percent. They have differences on a number of issues. Yet, they are not particularly at odds with regard to questions about the courts. Both Sanders and Clinton could be counted on to make outstanding nominations to fill openings on the high court, and Sanders has spoken well and wisely about the standards he would apply in doing so.

But Clinton, as a Yale Law School graduate, the author of scholarly articles on children and the law, a former law-school instructor and a former board chair of the Legal Services Corporation, has a long history of engagement with legal issues and the judicial-nomination process. When she speaks about the Supreme Court, she does so with insight and passion.

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