A Futile Call For Fairness And Integrity From Senator McConnell

I know this is a waste of time and words, but here goes nothin’…

Yesterday we got the news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 86 and already being treated for enough maladies to kill a normal human being  half her age, has pancreatic cancer. Treatment is going well, we are told, and Ginsberg isn’t even cutting back on her schedule.

Nonetheless, the proverbial writing is on the wall. Sheer will only can accomplish so much. If I participated in “dead pools,” Justice Ginsberg would be at the top of my list, even ahead of soon to be 103-year-old Kirk Douglas. Though she is apparently determined to hang on to her SCOTUS seat if it means that she will finish her tenure in a box that signals “yes” and “no” like  poor Captain Pike in that “Star Trek” episode, I would be stunned if there isn’t a vacancy on the court in the near future. That will mean that President Trump will have an opportunity to appoint a conservative justice to replace the most liberal voice on the current court, a result that will spark panic from the Left and delirious joy from the Right. If this happens after January, 2020, it will also create an integrity test for Mitch McConnell.

That is, it should.

When Antonin Scalia died on February 16, 2016, President Obama appointed moderate liberal judge Merrick Garland to replace him. McConnell, however, the GOP Senate Majority Leader, announced that the Senate would not consider the nomination, debate it, or vote on it. He concocted a rule that when a Supreme Court vacancy occurs in the last year of a Presidential term, it should not be filled until after the November Presidential election. The supposed justification for this was that SenatorJ oe Biden had once made a similar suggestion. Basing any policy or rationale on what Joe Biden says is like using the spontaneous utterances of Tourettes sufferers as life guidance, but never mind: Mitch was gambling that a SCOTUS vacancy would bring more Republicans to the polls than Democrats, and that the Garland nomination would eventually be moot.

The gambit was legal but unethical, but then, that’s Mitch. It was also stupid: Garland was no Scalia, but he was far more moderate than some of Obama’s other options, and if Hillary Clinton had won, as looked like a sure thing in January, she was likely to nominate a far more extreme progressive judge. But in the manner that has hooked suckers and created gambling addicts for centuries, Mitch’s long-shot bet paid off. Trump won; Neil Gorsuch replaced Scalia, and Merrick Garland joined Samual Tilden in the “What If?” Hall of Fame.

If RBG leaves the Court or this vale of tears in 2020, however, Mitch should find himself hoisted by his own petard. By his own words, that new opening on the Court should not be filled by President Trump’s choice unless Trump  is re-elected in November; the public should have the opportunity to include the composition of the Supreme in their calculations regarding who to vote for. So declareth Mitchi n 2016, as progressives and Democrats screamed and ripped their garments,

Having created a principle and a precedent, Senator McConnell should stick to it. The problem wasn’t that his theory in 2016 was indefensible in theory–it is.  The problem just that it was disingenuous. Mitch wasn’t interested in fairness or democracy, just expedient politics. Thus it comes as no surprise that McConnell has told his party members that if there is a Supreme Court vacancy, he will move to confirm a conservative nominee so fast it will break the sound barrier.

He should not, however. Doing so may be good old fashioned hard-ball politics, but it will also be a lost opportunity to start repairing a broken legislative branch that McConnell played a major part in breaking. Such a cynical reversal of his own stated “principles” will also make the public less trusting than they already are of the motives, honesty and integrity, not just of Mitch, but of the their elected officials and government. Our democracy can’t take much more distrust and cyncism. Democracy breathes trust.

Who knows? Maybe Mitch will hit the jackpot a second time. Maybe the delay will backfire, with more outraged Democrats being attracted to the polls than activated conservatives. Nevertheless, Mitch McConnell has an ethical obligation to treat the next SCOTUS vacancy during the final year of a Presidential term exactly like he did the last one, in the name of integrity, fairness, process, consistency, trust, and the health of our Constitutional system.

41 thoughts on “A Futile Call For Fairness And Integrity From Senator McConnell

    • Speaking of “ethics” the Democrats should have expelled all four of their freshmen. No, they allow them to make a mockery of our country, its laws and values. Also to their own speaker: You Dumb Democrats allow them to make a fool out of you all. Republicans, on the other hand, will not tolerate this anymore. Sign us as the DEPLORABLES. YOU KNOW WHO GAVE US THAT TAG???

    • You are mentally diagramming it wrong I think. It’s “A Futile Call For (Fairness And Integrity From Senator McConnell)”. You seem to be thinking of “A Futile Call (For Fairness And Integrity) [to] Senator McConnell”. I know parenthesis aren’t really a grammar thing, but it was the best way I thought of to lump phrases.

  1. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by following his own rule. By following it resolves the issue over Garland.

    Assuming the Senate remains Republican majority, if Trump is reelected he will easily confirm the nominee, if Trump is ousted he can play serious hardball with the new President’s nominees.

    By playing the long game and risking losing the Ginsburg replacement he protects the potential for delaying future nominees when the R’s don’t control the Executive branch. That protects its current 5 to 4 majority.

    Waiting also gives R’s another reason to get out and vote. Given the behavior we have witnessed from the left I for one believe that giving them any power at this juncture will result in the belief that the criticisms of all things American were validated by the people and henceforth the new global citizens will be able to vote themselves a share of other people’s income and savings.

    • Waiting also gives R’s another reason to get out and vote.

      As a disgruntled ex-Democrat, I tend to concur. An open court seat may be a sufficiently machiovelian scheme to push me not to leave the presidential line blank this year.

  2. According to Chief Justice Roberts there are no Obama judges or Trump judges there are just impartial arbiters of the law, so at this point what difference does it make? Of course I jest.

    It seems to me that waiting until after an election suggests that judges are not impartial and not waiting suggests the same thing so is it ethical to force one side to give up its current power to allow the other side to control the law of the land simply because you out-maneuvered them in an earlier gambit. I am not sure but I believe waiting will cause the opposition more long term problems politically so it is a better strategy.

  3. The one distinction is that McConnell knew that there would be a new president elected that November. That will not apply this time. Because Trump maybe be re-elected, it would be unfair to delay a hearing on his pick.

    I am betting that will be the rationale given.


  4. I think if this came to pass, that McConnel pushed through a nominee, and the Dems take the WH. This will make for an excuse for a real push to pack the house to counteract that move.

  5. So, with the McConnell rule, when is the cut off? If RBG died today, is that too late — we’re already having debates for the 2020 nomination, although I wouldn’t say there is a certain candidate just yet.

    Is there any support in the Republican caucus for this position? It wouldn’t take very many of them to prevent a nomination from succeeding. Ideally, if that were to happen it would be a behind the scenes effort (yeah, yeah, call me an optimist).

    The ultimate integrity and ethics fail? Trump is defeated and Ginsburg dies November 15th. Any odds as to what would happen then? On the other hand, I wouldn’t put it past Trump to do the right thing and not submit a nominee, thus tying the hands of the Senate. Trump may be a lot of things, but I think we can agree that he is a patriot. He, I believe, has actually stuck to more norms than the Democrats.

  6. Cry me a river.

    I could go through Jack’s list of rationalizations for what I’m about to write, but in one sense, this is no more than the Golden Rule applied in a way we don’t think about it.

    If Robert Bork were on the court today, I’d be in hearty agreement with what Jack posted. But Mr. Bork is not, so Mr. McConnell is just treating Democrats the way they want to be treated.

    • I agree completely. I do strongly believe that the R side of the aisle has been far less agressive in packing the courts. This was started by Sen Kennedy attacking Bork and completely mis-characterizing his positions.

      McConnell’s mistake was offering a rationalization. He should have been honest. There isn’t a good reason not to. Simply say the democrats are making judge approvals war and this is my political response.

      I also don’t think Garland was as a big a gamble. In an alternate history with a Hillary win, Garland gets Senate approval the next day. A Senate change wasn’t likely and they could say yes to Garland and if the nomination was withdrawn, promise a 4 year vacancy to anyone farther left.

    • Bork received hearings & a full Senate vote. Garland is the only nominee in over 100 years not to get a hearing. Major difference in how they were treated. No comparison can be made with McConnell’s unmitigated hypocrisy & blind partisanship.

      • I agree that the two are very different, but I also have no doubt that had the Democrats not rejected for the very first time in US history an unquestionably qualified nominee for the Court who had no conflicts or black marks on his record, the Merrick Garland maneuver would not have happened. Prior to Bork, the assumption and tradition was that a President had the right to nominate his choices for the Court when vacancies arose, because he was President. The purely partisan attack on Bork changed everything, and that’s on the Democratic Party forever. In both cases a qualified nominee who should have been confirmed wasn’t for partisan reason, which shouldn’t enter the equation at all. Yeah, there was a major difference: Bork was slandered on his way to a humiliating and undeserved rejection. Garland was ignored. Both never made it to the Court. Choosing which was worse is a matter of taste. After it was all over, the public thought Garland got the shaft, but that Bork was Satan. Read Ted Kennedy’s obscene speech again.

      • Democrats never think the bill will have to be paid. Embrace the suck.

        They have made it clear that they are on the way to death camps for political foes, where all socialist societies end up. The right can either play the game by the rules Democrats established or die. This is the only path back to detente: mutually assured destruction.

        Reap the whirlwind.

  7. The way I see it is this: Let’s go back a few years. Say Ginsburg had died in 2008, and GWB had put up a conservative judge. Do you think even for a minute Harry Reid would have even considered any nominee from GWB? No, he would have pocketed the nomination and refused to discuss it further. Now let’s say the end of Obama’s term was approaching, Reid was still in charge, and a liberal justice died or retired. Do you think even for a minute he would have stood by his own decision from before? Of course not, he would have made sure another reliably liberal judge nominated by Obama was quickly confirmed. If he was asked about it, he would probably have just shrugged and said he had the votes and he was just trying to make sure progress didn’t come undone.

    The GOP doesn’t owe the Democrats anything, especially not now with this talk of packing the courts, giving the big states more senators, anything to stack the deck in favor of making it easier for liberals to win. McConnell would be fully within his rights to move a conservative justice onto the Court and say that HE had the votes and there was just too much at stake to allow even a risk of another knee-jerk leftist getting on the court.

  8. I’m of two minds about this: If Trump was to nominate a moderate conservative like Kavanaugh should Ginzburg die in office or resign to enjoy her last days, surely the Democrats will continue their despicable behavior in the House as they previously did. My other self says, find a tough well qualified justice and let the chips fly as they may.

  9. Look what they did to Senator trying to heal with shoulder was threatened by hostile DEMORATS,Said let’s kill him.To hell with these devil DEMORATS. Put a Constitional Judge up.If RGB passes.Republicans stand tough.

  10. Yes, the article was.futile.
    The mystic of masterful McConnell has been blown. His constituents and the nation see him as on Trump coattails now . His vote to block election security and the issue with the Russian Aluminum plant in Kentucky has bought him very bad press coverage. I thought the Merrick Garland fiasco was strictly McConnell anger that Obama wasn’t a one term President. But given his stance on non election security prior to the 2016 election, I think his bet was always on the Russian interference. He had been briefed on it prior to the election. He wanted to be bodacious with the SCOTUS seat. Let’s see what happens to the future of the Senate.

  11. None of this would be a problem if the Left hadn’t broken SCOTUS by turning it into hyper-politicized advocacy group. Also, specifically and increasingly a single-issue advocacy group.

    Frankly, I don’t care about the Left descending into even greater depths of madness because they think the central sacrament of their religion – the killing of the unborn – may be remotely threatened by a “conservative” SCOTUS.

    The most that may come of a “conservative” SCOTUS is the determination that all Americans have no obligation to pay for some Americans abhorrently unethical conduct. Which still means those few Americans still have the freedom to kill their children in the womb.

    The horror.

    The Left wanted this Cold Civil War. They manufactured. They declared it. And since the pro-America fervor post 9-11 died down about three quarters of the way through Bush’s 1st term, they’ve been wholeheartedly fighting it while Republicans have docilely laid back until recently.

    I don’t care what McConnell does here. Playing nice only means the left continues to advance it’s divisive and destructive rush to totalitarianism, because the Left never reciprocates…they’ve been in end game mode since Obama’s presidency. Of course, McConnell not playing nice allows the Left to play the divisiveness game even more effectively.

  12. This topic is about the very unethical McConnell, who is sucking the life out of this Nation, while feeding off the negativity. His main passion is money, not the interest of the American people. He’s merely towing the line of a chosen few, who are equally unethical and corrupt to the core of their being. The Democrats now, are only shedding light on that corruption. You should be thankful!

    • Since this is your first moderated comment, a few tips. Comment number #2 (You should realize how silly you are. The whole point is lost on you. One thing you’re correct on though, is that you wish to be called a deplorable, so therefore, you are!) was dinged, as purely insulting comments are not encouraged or a appreciated here without some accompanying substance, which you did not provide.

      Comments with such obviously absurd hyperbole like “McConnell, who is sucking the life out of this Nation, while feeding off the negativity” are similarly useless, and don’t advance the topic, which is ethics. Similarly “His main passion is money, not the interest of the American people.” Prove it. I detest Mitch, but I have no doubt that he’s not in politics for money, and at this point, he doesn’t need it. He certainly could enjoy life without putting up with insults like yours. He’s a public servant, just like his equally evil twin, Harry Reid. Grow up.

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