Obama spoke a great truth
I am watching with sadness, but with a higher level of hope, as the wheels of government churn to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My sadness regarding the general state of our country is not new, but this higher level of hope for America is a rare experience for me in the context of the past few years. I suppose my hope comes from the fact that Republicans in the Senate have apparently awakened to the truth of something former President Obama said to a group of them years ago.
In a meeting with Republican Congressional leaders during 2009, then President Barack Obama said to them, “Elections have consequences and at the end of the day, I won.” This was a time when Democrats had a majority in the House and Senate.
Then came 2016 and a Supreme Court vacancy during the last year of Obama’s second and final term. Republicans held the majority in the Senate. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader (Rep), said there would not be a vote on a nominee until the next president was in office. Democrats were outraged. Trump won the 2016 presidential election, nominated Neil Gorsuch, and he was confirmed by the Senate that still had a Republican majority.
Now comes the current vacancy and McConnell says when President Trump submits a nominee, there will be a vote prior to the 2021 inauguration. Democrats are outraged again because they say this is hypocrisy on the part of Republicans. As of 25 September, it appears Republicans have the votes to confirm a person nominated by Trump.
Democrats are making all kinds of threats as to what they will do if this nomination goes forward. These threats are being made even though Trump has a constitutional right and responsibility to put forth a nominee. One threat is to impeach Trump again and, by so doing, slow the confirmation of a justice. Beyond that, they are threatening to, if they win the presidency, House, and Senate, add seats to the Supreme Court (making it more political); ending the filibuster (requires 60 votes to stop debate on some issues) in the Senate; making the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico states because they are very heavily Democratic areas. As I finish this blog post, several Democrats are backing away from some items in this threat package and moving to talking about how health care and some other issues, by Democratic priorities, would be adversely impacted by a Trump nominated justice.
In the face of these threats, I would expect Republicans to “roll-over” and do as the Democrats say. Apparently, enough Senate Republicans recognize that elections have consequences and they won. Beyond that, they understand that if Trump loses and Biden gets to nominate the Ginsburg replacement, it will be a liberal who believes he or she gets to make laws according to their views rather than simply interpreting the Constitution and laws legitimately passed by legislative bodies.
Forthrightly examining the facts and adjusting course is not hypocrisy. In this case, that means looking at the destruction brought on America by liberal justices making laws instead of interpreting laws that have been, by proper procedure, put in place.
Be advised, there are at least two Republican senators who apparently do not understand this argument that says there are times when one must stand up and do what is right for the country. They are Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. These two senators hold that the next president should make the nomination. Under pressure from Democrats, I expected this kind of response from more Republican Senators. So far, Surprise-surprise.
Here is a closing question: Who out there believes that if Democrats were faced with the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice under the conditions now faced by Republicans, that Democrats would leave the selection to the next president?
Karl: Great article. Right on target. Thank you very much. I have to laugh when reporters ask Trump if there will be a “peaceful transition” of power after the election. My answer would be, “I’m taking Hillary’s advice to Biden and not conceding anything!”
– John Bantsolas
Thank you for your objective analysis, as usual. Democrats have consistently shown that they will “interpret” the laws to their
advantage and ignore the intent of the law.
The only problem is that there is no reference to trying to maintain balance in the Supreme Court. There is nothing new or revealing about the fact that those that are in charge get to make the decisions. And I am sick of hearing that one group or the other ” interprets the law better based on the Founder’s intentions “. I suggest instead a quote by one of President Carter’s teachers, “we must be willing to adjust to changing times with unchanging principles”. Power does not make right…
Karl: As per usual, you are right on point. Of course the Dems would do exactly the same given the reverse situation. I know Judge Barrett will be skinned alive by the Dems in the Senate and the media and that will be a travesty! The time is NOW. I hope the Majority in the Senate hang together and get this done by election day.
Another thought-provoking blog.
Believe you answered your hypothetical question with the discussion on the Garland nomination. Of course, a president should make a SCOTUS appointment to fill a vacancy – even late in a term of office. We should expect elected officials to fulfill the duties of office until their last day in office. Article II of the US Constitution states the executive powers of the President. The Founding Fathers did not include a lame duck provision in Article I (legislative power), Article II (executive power), or Article III (judicial power).
Justice Ginsburg authored about 462 opinions. Viewing her decades on the bench, she wrote opinions some would believe defended the Constitution and rule of law and opinions some believe were legislating from the bench and not ruling on the Constitutionality of the law. Today, that’s called judicial activism. Clinton appointed her as a liberal soldier. She accomplished her mission. Occasionally she got out of step with liberals writing some majority opinions that would make liberals blood boil if they studied her record. For conservatives she authored some landmark decisions that conservatives would likely support had they been paying attention.
Justice Ginsburg was a fighter. Rest in Peace.