“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” said Mitch McConnell in February 2016 shortly after Justice Antonin Scalia died. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
When he uttered those words with nearly a year left in President Obama’s term, the Senate majority leader had no clue a failed businessman and game show host would win the presidency by the thinnest of margins. Craven Senate Republicans now live in mortal terror of a Trump tweet condemning them if they don’t do everything he demands.
We’re a little more than a month out from another presidential election, one that could well see a President Joe Biden inaugurated in January, but McConnell says things are different today than when Obama was in the White House.
It’s not just hypocrisy, it’s also rank treachery, but that’s McConnell, a man with no principles, only a lust for power.
With the death last week of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell and his Republican henchmen and women, including Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, hope to ram through a far right wing ideologue that will ensure a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future.
I say go for it.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found 62% of Americans, including five out of 10 Republicans, agree the vacancy should be filled by the winner of the Nov. 3 election. Thus, the rush to confirm a justice without the input of the American people will almost certainly backfire on the GOP.
I have seldom seen anything energize Democrats, and particularly women, the way McConnell’s deceit over the RBG vacancy has. Democratic, undecided and even moderate Republican women will turn out in droves on Election Day for Biden.
And when the Democrats hold the House and Republicans lose the Senate majority and the presidency, they can expand the court, adding more seats as proposed by Kurt Walters in the Harvard Law and Policy Review.
Alternatively, Democrats can do as Ryan Cooper suggests in The Week. “There has been comparatively little attention to the simplest and easiest way to get around potentially tyrannical right wing justices,” he writes. “Just ignore them. The president and Congress do not actually have to obey the Supreme Court…the explicit principle of judicial review (of legislation) is nowhere to be found in the Constitution.”
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Last week, President Trump denounced the New York Times’ seminal “1619 Project,” a detailed look at how enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to North America’s shores and how it has impacted race relations to this day.
I doubt Trump bothered to read this Pulitzer Prize-winning work, but I did, and without question, slavery is this country’s original sin, completely at odds with the ideals on which America was founded, the point of the project.
Some have opined that the 2013 Academy Award-winning film “12 Years a Slave” was an abomination. I said it should be viewed by every high school senior in America. So too should 1619 be read by every senior and college student. If you don’t learn from our past, no matter how immoral it may be, you are doomed to repeat it.
Trump wants to erase that past. He calls 1619 “ideological poison.” That’s right up there with Holocaust deniers who say “six million lies.” The president would prefer a sanitized history curriculum, one of “patriotic education.” Our responsibility to acknowledge and reconcile the past? Meh.
I would expect nothing less from this failed “leader.”
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Speaking of failed leadership, Trump announced this week he deserves an A+ for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic even as more than 200,000 Americans have died from the disease. That’s about the population of Richmond, Virginia, and around half of all World War II battle deaths.
In 2014, Trump demanded President Barak Obama resign when one person died of Ebola.
The president gives himself a perfect grade after admitting to journalist Bob Woodward last February the virus is airborne, far deadlier than the flu, and doing almost nothing about it. How does that grade drop to an A, or A -, or B+? If 200,000 deaths is an A+, is a grade of C earned for 500,000 deaths?
This week, the Trump-politicized Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted and then quickly removed warnings about the virus being airborne, saying it was a “draft.” Meanwhile, Trump told rally goers in Ohio, many maskless, “COVID affects virtually nobody” on the same day some 690 “nobodies” succumbed to the disease, including a 28-year-old doctor in Houston.
The treachery, the racism and the lethal lies all represent a win-at-all-costs mentality among Republicans, even if the cost is more Americans dead along with the death of our democratic principles. By blindly backing this power-drunk president, the GOP has abandoned any claims it may have had to legitimacy while pushing our country closer to authoritarianism.