To remind regular readers who may have forgotten, and newer readers who have not taken the time to review the list of Concepts and Special Terms (Shame! SHAME!!!), ethics train wrecks are “chains of unethical conduct created by a central unethical action. As the event becomes more complex and involves more participants, it becomes increasingly difficult to sort out right from wrong, and all parties who become involved with the episode in any way are at risk of engaging in unethical conduct themselves, intentionally or inadvertently.”
In no particular order:
- It’s not called The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ethics Train Wreck for nothing. The individual responsible for this ethics train wreck is, aptly enough, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was irresponsible for her to stay on the court well past her shelf date, as it is irresponsible for any judge to deny the unavoidable effects of age on their acumen and ability. This would have been true if she were completely healthy, but the Justice had cancer, and that also had to sap her energy.
This was arrogance, and any harm to the nation that comes from her refusal to retire ten years ago is part of her legacy.
- Everyone is a hypocrite. If Mitch McConnell is a hypocrite for treating the SCOTUS nomination by a sitting Republican President differently from his treatment of a Democratic President’s nomination under similar circumstances, so are Democrats for insisting that he should again do what they claimed was unconscionable in 2016, because this time they think it will benefit them.
Althouse points out: “The strongest argument for Trump to go right ahead and immediately nominate someone is that President Obama made a nomination in the election year of 2016 when Antonin Scalia died. Obama’s nominee was not confirmed, but that was because the GOP controlled the Senate. There was nothing about Obama’s lack of support in the Senate that made him more willing to put forward a nomination in an election year. He made the nomination in spite of the lack of support. Why should Trump refrain when he has Senate support?”
Oh, you know: Because he’s different, and what other Presidents do or did is automatically outrageous when he does the same thing.
- The two female Republican Senators who are seeking to block whoever President Trump nominates by refusing to vote to confirm her or him are just showing logical and political weakness. “Fair is fair,” as Senator Murkowski said, is grandstanding nonsense. Democrats howled that it was unfair for Republicans to not hold hearings on the Garland nomination, but now it is fair to be unfair again? No matter how often mothers tell their children that two wrongs don’t make a right, the children still grow up without absorbing the principle.
I assume Maine’s Senator Collins is signaling her vote to avoid having to make a choice that will cost her support whatever she does. That’s not exactly courageous leadership.
- Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!
For the record, there is no question that Justice Scalia is a far, far more legally and judicially significant and influential Justice than Ginsburg, and I’m sure she would have agreed.
- Is there any legitimate argument which political party and which side of the ideological spectrum now supports violence rather than peaceful democracy? Reza Aslan was the host of a CNN series. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the International Qur’anic Studies Association. He is a professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside and a board member of the National Iranian American Council . Here’s what he tweeted:
- How could anyone be shocked or surprised at this? It was delusional. I pretty much assumed that Ginsburg was likely to drop dead any day. She was 86 years old, she had one of the most deadly cancers, it had returned after being in remission, and she had other health issues as well. These videos of people screaming and crying like this was some monstrous trick of fate are hilarious.
I consider this Ethics Train Wreck as a byproduct of The Great Stupid.
- Chuck Schumer tries to be cute, ends up looking foolish. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” Schumer tweeted. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” See, that’s almost word for word what Mitch McConnell said as his rationalization for torpedoing Obama’s nomination of Judge Garland. Brilliant!…except that a). Schumer was vocal about how wrong McConnell was b)He was right then, so he can’t be right now, and c) McConnell was describing a different situation, since we were certain to have a “new President” after the 2016 election.
Mainly, however, the argument was and is dishonest. The public elected a President to appoint SCOTUS justices throughout his term in office, just as it elects a President to discharge other duties. That was true of President Obama, and it is true of President Trump.
- Ted Cruz bought a ticket with this intellectually dishonest statement:
“I believe that the president should, next week, nominate a successor to the court. I think it is critical that the Senate takes up and confirms that successor before Election Day. Democrats and Joe Biden have made clear they intend to challenge this election. They intend to fight the legitimacy of the election. As you you know Hillary Clinton has told Joe Biden ‘under no circumstances should you concede, you should challenge this election.’ and we cannot have election day come and go with a 4-4 court. A 4-4 court that is equally divided cannot decide anything. And I think we risk a constitutional crisis if we do not have a nine-justice Supreme Court, particularly when there is such a risk of … a contested election.”
Cruz is fearmongering, and I suspect he knows better. In some ways, an 8 member Court without Ginsburg is safer than a 9 member Court with her. Ginsburg, remember, wanted the flawed chad-counting in 2000 to go on indefinitely, with a Constitutional crisis looming. One thing we know, or should, is that John Roberts is a pragmatic conservative. If the only way to avoid a Constitutional crisis is to vote with the conservative bloc, he will do it. This is a 5-3 Court now, instead of a 5-4 Court.
- Looks like the public has more integrity than the politicians…On the topic of whether hearings should be held before the election on Trump’s nominee, a poll result from Marquette: