Mitch McConnell probably wasn’t expecting this from a Fox News host.
Yet, when the Senate Majority Leader appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, the closest thing to an actual journalist Fox can muster, McConnell was confronted with what he has said in the past about judicial nominees compared with what he is doing now in the name of partisan politics.
McConnell used remarks made by Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer in 2005 and 2007 to make the claim that Republicans “are following a longstanding tradition” of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court during a presidential election.
Leave it to Republicans to think that 11 years is a “longstanding tradition.” The fact is, however, that current Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed to the high court in 1988, which was an election year. If we go back even further, we find that Justice William Brennan was confirmed in 1956 and Justice Frank Murphy was confirmed in 1940, both during election years.
So it’s clear an election year does not justify the refusal of Senate Republicans to do their constitutional duty.
But Chris Wallace hit McConnell with his own words from 2005 when he said on the Senate floor that “in a democracy an up or down vote should be given to a president’s judicial nominees.”
“It isn’t complicated. It’s simple. It’s fair. It worked for 229 years and it has served us well.”
“Frankly, isn’t there a fair amount of hypocrisy on both sides here?” Wallace said, calling out McConnell’s own hypocrisy on this issue.
“Senator, if an up or down vote for a judicial nominee is simple, fair, and a principle that has served us well for over 230 years; if that’s true then, is it still true?” Wallace asked.
McConnell, of course, tried to weasel his way out of it by saying that “it’s apples and oranges” because Supreme Court nominees are somehow not considered judicial nominees even though the Constitution includes the Supreme Court as part of the judicial branch. It’s right there in Article III.
When asked if Senate Republicans would confirm Garland after the election to prevent a more liberal nominee should Hillary Clinton become president, McConnell proceeded to trash current nominee Merrick Garland as a liberal and complained that his confirmation would swing the court to the left. And if McConnell and his fellow Republicans are unwilling to confirm Garland, you can bet that if the GOP loses the election, they will continue to obstruct any nominee that Clinton nominates to the Suprem Court as well.
Here’s the video via YouTube.
Basically, McConnell just admitted that the real problem Republicans have with confirming a Supreme Court nominee is that they don’t want to lose the conservative-leaning Court they have used to roll back policies they don’t like over the last couple decades. They are literally throwing a temper tantrum because they think late-Justice Scalia should be replaced with a conservative judge who will be just like him.
But that is not how the Supreme Court works. It has always swung from left to right and back again depending on who the president is at the time a vacancy arises either from a death, which is the case now, or a retirement. Justice Scalia probably would have preferred to serve another decade or more on the bench, but even he would say that his vacancy needs to be filled even if the most liberal nominee in the world ends up filling it.
As it happens, Garland is not a liberal. He is, in fact, a centrist. But according to McConnell, even that is far too liberal for him and his colleagues to consider.
Republicans are literally willing to keep the Supreme Court from working at full capacity for the next year or more until they get their way. So not only have Republicans kept Congress from working properly, they are now preventing the high court from working properly as well and that should outrage every American to the core enough to boot Republicans out of public office for generations until they learn to do their jobs with honor again and start working for all of the American people instead of just their extreme right-wing base.
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