Damn Right Mitch McConnell Would Fill SCOTUS Seat In Election Year While Ordering Code Red
During an interview last week, Mitch McConnell was asked what he'd do if a Supreme Court vacancy opened up just a few months prior to this year's presidential election. This was somewhat of a softball question. McConnell is the Senate majority leader and, when not running sham impeachment trials, confirming Supreme Court justices is a big part of his job description. What kind of a ragamuffin Senate majority leader would leave a Supreme Court seat open for months, collecting dust and looking all sad like Miss Havisham? Mitch McConnell, that's who. It's what he did in 2016 when Antonin Scalia defied his Christian God and died during Barack Obama's presidency. McConnell said that the "American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President." It was a fancy pronouncement with at least one instance of a "therefore."
To the surprise of no one not suffering from terminal naïveté, McConnell now says that he would indeed confirm a Supreme Court justice during a presidential election year, because Donald Trump is president, not Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Trump is a Republican and would nominate someone from the right-wing hack section of the Sears catalog. McConnell doesn't understand what your problem is.
It's been four years and people keep asking McConnell this question like he's some sort of a carbon-based mammal capable of feeling shame. It's unclear why people make this error. He's not even that lifelike. You can only eat wax fruit a few times before you're responsible for your own gastric distress.
MCCONNELL: Let me remind you what I said in 2016. I said you'd have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time that a vacancy on the Supreme Court occurring during a presidential election year was confirmed by a Senate of a different party than the president.
That's not at all what he originally said, although it shares a few nouns and verbs. Hey, the words "Supreme Court" are right there! This is obviously a craven political calculation regarding a supposedly non-partisan branch of government. McConnell just threw together some freedom-sounding talking points for Ted Cruz and, yes, Jeff Flake — that nice "sensible" conservative who, at the rates things are going, will be the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nominee.
Confirmation hearings should wait until Americans choose the next president, Flake said, echoing a majority of Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
"Because this nomination has the potential to so dramatically shift the balance of the court, I continue to believe that the Senate is fully justified in waiting until the presidential election before proceeding to fill the seat," Flake said.
Blocking Merrick Garland was consistently presented as "giving the American people a choice" rather than a matter of who has power and who doesn't. So many presidential candidates wish they were Barack Obama, but if they come across a genie, they should specify they want to cosplay the newly inaugurated 2009 model, not the poor bastard who spent the last months of his presidency meekly imploring Republicans on social media to #DoYourJob.
Unfortunately, McConnell had already completed the job given to him by Republican voters and the Democrats who slept through the 2014 midterms. He stole a Supreme Court seat from the first black president and bragged about it whenever he had the chance. He considered it his "proudest" moment. McConnell is not a man with any "principles" or beliefs beyond accumulating power. There was never any "precedent" set in 2016 regarding filling Supreme Court seats. When someone robs your house, they aren't setting the precedent that you can some day take what you want from theirs. They're just teaching you to lock your doors.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).